Kate Power 16 with Appolonio 12-string guitarAt least once a day, something crosses my mind that speaks to “the one thing.” It’s usually something I’m acutely aware of but the source is not. It’s also something I often wish that person knew about because it is “the one thing” that makes a difference in our life as Quality Folk or in a more personal way.  If they had any idea how big a deal “the one thing” was to us, they would also know that we think of them a lot more than our communication (or lack of it) might indicate.

For example, when Steve and I decided to move to Olympia, we had yard sales and gave a lot of what we owned to our kids and grandchildren.  We boiled our possessions down to about twenty-five percent and then moved into a tiny house with limited square footage to fill.  This led to a number of boxes of art and artifacts we love to inhabit space in storage rather than unbundling things outside of utilitarian purposes in our small space.

When we looked at the freshly painted off white walls in the cottage, the one thing that attracted Steve and I was the artwork of our Irish friend, Fiona Marron.


Wet Field III by Fiona Marron

It has been many years now since we spent time together over her supper table in Clane, Co. Kildare and before that, down the street in northeast Portland, Oregon.  Fiona is an elegant, earthy and beautiful woman – not only in looks but in spirit.  Fiery, gentle, funny and compassionate, Fiona has an eye for the life under the surface that lies filled with color and movement.  Her paintings, pastels and etchings display a rare quality of depth and range. She is an irrepressible artist and her fingertips emit artistry like Merlin makes magic – with natural intelligence and impulse.

At first, the pieces we chose for the walls depended on their ability to enhance without taking over – the mossy Bridget’s Grove etching hangs on the brief wall between my office and our bedroom, the pastel landscape that commanded the mantle in our Portland home is prominent by the front door, the Sheela na Gig “Hag in the Wood” is safely secreted in my writing room, and the golden coppery bronze hills of “The Sweet Air” rendered as a gift after my song for a mutually beloved friend now gone hangs behind my desk.  The only other piece of art hanging in our house is a brightly colored painting of birds outside a curtained window by Steve’s late Aunt Cora, who began painting in her childlike Grandma Moses style in her declining years.

We used to have paintings and art hung everywhere in our many-walled, multi-faceted Portland home.  Our exercise to reduce our carbon footprint and the amount of space we take up to do what we do led us to a simpler lifestyle.  Using a motto of “less is more” extends to almost everything – including art.  Being artists at work ourselves, we are bound to a great love for all of the art and artifacts that remain in our possession.

The one thing that compelled us to put some of our collection of Fiona’s art work up on our little walls was the way it feels when our eyes fall upon her work.  We can feel not only her divine strokes of color but her intention and motivation to extrapolate life wherever she finds it into pieces of art wrought with sure, strong fingers up to their knuckles in colored chalk, paint and ink.  Besides which, each one is absolutely beautiful and unique.

When eyes gaze upon something beautiful, that sense of beauty spreads inside the human being perceiving it and touches the lining of the soul.  We become more beautiful for a moment just by taking it in.  It’s effect mixes with the rest of us waiting there churning inside and turns us into more than we were as we absorb it and find it has become a part of us.

I haven’t heard Fiona’s voice since a birthday voice mail more than a year ago.  The one thing I would like her to know is that she is with me and Steve every day in the little rooms of our lives at home.  Her work hangs on our walls in a perfect balance of color and light. Sometimes it is the one thing that connects us with our cherished memories of times past and love shared that molded us into the people we have come to be.    -kate

“the one thing” collection will move to its own page in our Quality Folk blog so stay tuned…kp