Do you remember telling me at my 50th birthday lunch with you that I “am searching and that I don’t know who Alison Weld is ”. More than three years after our luncheon, I understand your comment_ The comment that I was a “virtuoso painter and an excellent writer” intrigued me at the time. Do you remember my quick response of an incredulous “ Stella_”. I knew I wasn’t a virtuoso for it is hard for me to paint. I’ve always thought virtuosity implied facility rather than depth. I know I am deeply involved with essence now, as well as with essence of the past as you also were. I wondered about your response to my work, exactly what prompted such a description. I’m afraid that I chose not to pursue your comments. Instead I responded to you about other matters as well as discussed your artwork. At the time you seemed to be insulting me and were a provocation to my longtime prejudice that it wasn’t allowable to be intelligent and creative. I actually thought that I should be doing manual labor instead of using my intellect and my visual eye. At the time I never really accepted your comment as representing your feelings or insights. I loved you so deeply though and I knew we were soul mates. I’m so much more confident now about who I have been. I now accept myself both as a painter and as an intellectual with a visual eye, as an exhibition curator and writer. It has taken a long time for me to believe that it was valid for me to be an intellectual. The bohemian myth as a role model for an artist is no longer embedded in my psychology. Before I could convince others to respect me I had to respect myself. You understood and loved both sides of me. I’ll never forget the times you said ‘I love you’ instead of goodbye. And asked ‘aren’t you my daughter?’ But I was your daughter in less painterly ways–I called weekly to discuss your daily life as well as to be in touch with your more profound inspirations. I never lost my faith in you, Stella, but at the end of your life I was concentrating on myself as a full time artist. Being a full time artist thrilled me. At the time I fantasized about being a bohemian artist sipping wine and smoking cigarettes while contemplating the canvas no matter the time of day. Realistically however I was poor for so long and couldn’t afford much paint or wine but I wasn’t bohemian. I was just poor. You were bohemian and I yearned to be Stella. I too wanted to have chipped plates and not be bothered by them. I loved your free spirit and your youthfulness.