Thursday, November 15, 2012
Candis Wheat, "Untitled", pastel on paper, 18 by 13 inches.
I'm posting this to celebrate my long time and great friend, Candis Wheat. I've always thought this piece, a gift from her years ago, could be a self portrait, although it doesn't objectively look like her.
Candis produced drawings like chickens lay eggs, if those eggs were of the Fabergé variety. She would use cast off bits of paper, check stubs, receipts, shipping tags, torn corners of notebook paper, notepads, whatever was around, and with a pen, pencil, colored pencils, pastels, again whatever was around, create exquisite, beautifully expressive drawings full of humanity and empathy, with a direct connection to the soul. Her observations on the human condition and everyday life were witty and full of truth.
Candis was one of the best friends I have ever had. Outgoing and charmingly self-effacing she was nevertheless sometimes inclined toward what our mutual friend Greg Metz accurately called "hermetic" periods. Once I was selfishly frustrated by one of her prolonged cocoonings. Trying to explain her importance to me, and knowing her deep well of pop culture trivia expertise, I quoted the western "Tombstone" to her. I recalled the line of dialogue delivered by a member of Wyatt Earp's posse. Asked why he was pursuing outlaws instead of resting in bed, an ill Doc Holliday replied, "Because Wyatt Earp is my friend."
The cowboy said derisively, "Hell, I've got a lot of friends."
Doc Holliday said, "I don't."
I do have a lot of friends, but I haven't had many like Candis. She had more friends and admirers than she could count and more than she may have realized. I was just one of many. I could talk to her about anything and, probably more often than she would have liked, I did. She was mysterious, kind, patient, compassionate, witty, brilliant and talented. She was an undiscovered genius. But I'm not sure she wanted to be "discovered" by the wider world anyway.
Candis left us Friday morning, November 9, after an illness, and under the doting care of her longtime companion, Harrison. She'll be missed by everyone who ever met, knew or loved her.