A local artist in her forties, Penelope has a light, friendly laugh coupled with a wicked sense of humor.

“So, tell me about your artwork,” Beth prompted.

“Oh,” Penelope shook her hair and brought her face up, suddenly giving her a rare “aloof artist” look, but it was gone in a second. “I guess I’d call it Jungian. I’m working on various artistic expressions of archetypes. Well, modern archetypes. Could you consider a secretary an archetype?” She pantomimed typing.

Beth shrugged. “Why not?”

Penelope got a far-off look for a moment, brow furrowed. For a second Beth thought she looked angry, or, disturbed, something, but when she turned her face was cheerful again. “It’s kind of a long-term project.”

“Interesting,” said Beth. “I studied Jung in college.”

“Oh, no wait, let me guess,” said Penelope, smiling mischievously. “liberal arts, psych major, getting stoned and discussing Kafka in the coffee shop.”

“An American student archetype, I know, so cliché of me,” said Beth, laughing.

As they got up to leave, Penelope lifted up a huge over-the-shoulder bag that had been out of sight behind her chair. It was bulging and awkward.

“That looks pretty heavy,” said Beth. To her surprise Penelope grinned and handed her the bag. She took it, expecting to be weighed down, but it didn’t weigh much at all.
She handed it back, face questioning.

Penelope laughed. She reached in, rooted around a bit, then pulled out a small handful of beautiful white feathers.

“The whole bag?”

Penelope nodded. “I got them at this funky place in the Castro. I’m using them for a piece: The Fallen Angel.”

Beth imagined what Penelope’s studio might be like. It’s probably big and airy. High ceilings, high windows, skylights. Tall, fascinating paintings adorn the wall as Penelope shows them to me, then dismisses them modestly with a wave of her hand. I notice a potter’s wheel in one corner, beautifully artistic vases and bowls arranged casually on a table nearby. A huge canvas on an easel dominates the center of the room, a portrait of an angel, adorned with feathers.

“So you work in bas relief?”

Penelope got a thoughtful expression. “Hmmm. I wouldn’t say that exactly. Maybe mixed media would be more accurate. With the occasional found object. Well, found, or stolen.”

Beth raised an eyebrow. “I’d love to see your work sometime.”

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