I met some familiar faces, I mean on paper, when I was in a museum in Reykjavik last April. I enjoyed looking at the work of the Icelandic painter Jóhannes Sveinsson Kjarval (1885-1972). He was one of the pioneers of Icelandic art in the 20th Century. Romantic and bohemian, he had once said, "art is too serious to be taken seriously." I was mesmerized by his drawings on paper, almost like he doodled out of any waste papers he could find around his table. Yet the drawings have certain sensitivity that strikes the same chord, and vibrated through the drawings of another friend of mine - Irina Schestakowich.
In the Summer of 2002, I received Irina's postcard sent from Newfoundland. It was heart and soul and I still remember and appreciate the effort she took to share it with me. Maybe there was no effort at all from her point of view :). With a thankful thought I wrote something down to remember the day I received the postcard.
"I got a couple of things from the mail box this morning - a Pizza Nova leaflet, three different packages containing stuffs that Iris bought from the Internet, a Flare magazine renewal notice, and, thinking of just another promo thingie, I almost threw this postcard to the recycle bin. Glad that I didn't. A casual flip on the back showed me it was a postcard from a friend. I instantly recognized it as Irina's. She mentioned to me a few months ago about going to Newfoundland this summer to help a B&B, in exchange to stay there for a few weeks at the water's edge. She would cook breakfast in a kitchen that can smell the sea. On the card she wrote:
Roughing it on the Boat House - not hot, ocean traffic. Helping with the Rock Bottom B&B. Brought wrong clothes overwhelmed with the heat - looking forward to sleeping in my own bed Again soon. Regards from much water - Irina + G
It's seldom to receive a postcard these days, even rarer a hand-written one. Irina's writing and drawing is pure pleasure. She must be sipping a cup of coffee as she wrote, with a box of water colours on the side, she signed it with her iconic, greek and Picasso inspired goddess profile.
Among her writings, which were all over the card, she left this originally printed line without disturb: Sauna, Jacuzzi, Hiking, Fireplace, Hot Breakfast, Internet, Icebergs, Whale Watching, Sea/City View, Nightlights.
And on the front of the picture postcard, you can see the bed & breakfast nestled under the cliffs of a hill. It has this message: Is Operating And Is For Sale."