Something truly magical happened today: My mentor John Ross Palmer introduced me to Dr. Carolyn Farb – one of the most glamorous and celebrated Houston figures, famous for her philanthropy, volunteering, and leadership, as well as for her fabulous sense of style. In case you’re not from Houston, and not familiar with her many accomplishments, please check out Dr. Farb’s bio. You will be impressed by her generosity, her dedication, and her talent for fundraising – a subject on which she’s published two books. Note also that Dr. Farb’s commitment to the causes she supports has often been ahead of its time, therefore instrumental to social and cultural change: Notably, she supported AIDS research since the late 1980s, a time when awareness and advocacy was needed but many people were avoiding the topic.
I had the honor of painting Dr. Farb’s beautiful home as part of my house portrait series, and I was absolutely thrilled that she loved it. After lunch, she gave me a tour of her exquisite art collection – which includes the most incredible hyper realistic sculpture of a goddess in the likeness of Dr. Farb sitting on top of a pink lotus flower – the Carolyn Farb DurgaMa by Carole Feuerman.
Of course, you might wonder where we went for lunch, what we ate, and especially what we wore. The venue: Toulouse in River Oaks. I wore a black sleeveless cashmere sweater and flared black Chloe skirt my friend gave me. Dr. Farb wore an amazing flowy bohemian dress, and the most beautiful burgundy tassel earrings. John Ross Palmer wore an impeccable suit and Dior sunglasses.
I ate steak tartare because that’s what I always eat in French restaurants. “It looks beautiful. Will you take a picture of it?” Dr. Farb asked. She is friendly and funny and and so much fun to be around. Also, she’s very beautiful and a very graceful presence, with a soft voice but a big personality. She ordered the salmon. John ate a burger. We all had profiteroles with pistachio ice cream for dessert.
We discussed our love for Paris, talked about museums we visited, places we liked. We also all love dogs. Of course, we also talked about art. And about helping people and changing the world. Dr. Farb asked John for news about the Escapist Mentorship Program, as she admires his dedication to improving the lives of emerging artists and changing the perceptions people have of art as a profession. A big supporter of the arts, Dr. Farb shares John’s enthusiasm about the program’s mission.
I was so honored to be in the company of two people I admire so much. And although I was sure I’d be starstruck and therefore shy in Dr. Farb’s presence, her natural grace, her humor, and her kindness totally put me at ease. Two hours flew by before we knew it. At the end of our long fabulous lunch, we agreed that these are the best moments – when one is having such a lovely time that one forgets the outside world and all the mundane daily worries for a spell. This only happens to me when I’m painting. Or when I’m talking to people who are as amazing and inspiring as John Ross Palmer and Carolyn Farb.