The Girl with the Ponytail

Inspiration is out there!  When I was out and about today I heard some people talk about a conversation-lecture that was due to be held at a small gallery later that afternoon, with none other than Lydia Corbet – also known as Sylvette David who was a model for Picasso more than 60 years ago and a muse for his work.  So I went back and queued up for a ticket – and was lucky enough to be squeezed into hall.

It was fascinating hearing the time in her life – she was 19 – when she modelled for Picasso – a relationship she describes as being like a God-daughter to a God-father.  Picasso was 70 and saw in Sylvette, style and quietness that inspired him for the next 6 months, in which time he painted and sculptured more than 60 works.  In the conversation, Sylvette spoke of her shyness, and it seems to have drawn out a soft and tender side of Picasso.  When she modelled for him, he was happy that she didn’t want to chat, and she was happy that he didn’t want to talk.  It was so lovely hearing about her experience at that extraordinary time in her life.

It was also lovely was to hear more about her own life.  She spoke most fondly of her grandmother who was very spiritual, and it influenced Sylvette to have her own faith in God.  She spoke of that faith and that life force showing through in her art in the vibrant colours she uses. It also comes through in the openness to life she has, to the surprises it holds and the excitement it gives, even in the middle of the complications of life.  She said that is why she always smiles and that is the seat of her joy.

And what is inspiring and extraordinary also, is that this Quiet Muse, herself became an artist, starting at the age of 45!  She consciously embraced the style of Picasso, but also the traditions and influences of various of her ancestors.  She is entirely self-taught and she draws and paints intuitively – her subject matter being the things that she likes and is interested in.  Her works have a freshness and innocence about them, and a beauty and dream-like quality that is charming.  “I never went to university; I never danced in a ball room.  But I dance in my work”.  A marvellous woman, who is now 82, and a marvellous life she has made her own.

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Inspiration is certainly out there.  Life if full of surprises – and I am so glad for this today.  And it was great to see Claudia and Georgina there too – good to see you two 🙂


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