Thursday, June 13, 2019

My Mentor-Chester Anderson

When I first moved to Belmont one of the first people I met was Chester.
I'd spoken at the horticultural club and in the conversation I mentioned art, no surprise, most conversations eventually get there, lol.
Dinah Lee consequently introduced her husband  and I, and a mentorship was born. 
Some mentors are teachers first, there is a long tradition in the arts of the teacher/mentor, others are more of a guide, introducing the fledgling to people, organizations, and concepts. Chester was of the latter type.  He was a bit crusty, but I've always liked crusty, it keeps you on your toes.
Chester introduced me to the Dorchester Artist Network, a small group that met in the basement of  Thelma, it's founder. We had a show each year, and encouraged each other, but that was about it, which for a group of about 15 people was good.
After a while Chester took me with him to a Port Stanley Guild meeting, where a much larger group of about 40 were doing educational programs, as well as a show, larger and grander than Dorchester, though not as large and grand as it is now, but that after all was over 15 years ago...
The thread of life unspools, first Sandy, then Thelma passed, and the Dorchester group disbanded.  Chester, already elderly and not well, eventually stopped going to art groups, and I'm ashamed to say I didn't stay in touch. a couple of years ago he went into long term care.  This spring they held an art show just for Chester, I didn't go as I was teaching that afternoon in another long term care facility. I hope he received my well wishes, I truly regret not being able to deliver them myself. 
I never told Chester how much he meant to me, how his faith in my abilities, and support changed my life, now, it's too late.
I stopped in to his funeral today, gave Dinah Lee a hug but I didn't stay.  I didn't see any of the art crowd there, but  then again most of the Dorchester group are gone, and I'm not sure how many of the current Port group would remember Chester.
I for one will never forget him.
Afterwards I took my pastels and revisited some of the places we had sketched and painted. It seemed the most fitting way to remember him.
I think that when I work the sketches up into paintings, one will have to be named for him, my way of memorializing a kindred soul, Chester. 

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