Collector and Artist Meet
I’m posting this experience as described by Patty Van Sicklen of her visit to our home and studio. Such an interesting and delightful woman and a new friend. Although we had been corresponding by email, we finally had a chance to meet face-to-face when Patty came to Bigfork in September of 2023.
I am home from a quick, but very meaningful trip to Montana. The highlight of the visit was meeting Francesca Droll, whose house is not far from where my mother’s family once lived.
Francesca is an artist, specializing in pastels, and a storyteller. I began communicating with her via email last year after I viewed online some of her paintings of Flathead Lake. I asked if I could see her recent work while I was in the Bigfork area. She and her husband, John Webster, invited me to their lovely home.
Their view of Flathead Lake is breathtaking. When we stepped downstairs to her studio, which also overlooks the lake, I was immediately drawn to a particular painting. Francesca said she painted it after I emailed a photo I took in 2010 of the cove on the lake shore where my grandparents’ house once stood.
I asked if I could acquire the painting. She recommended a frame and said she would have it ready the next day. She said she could ship it or I could join them for dinner the following evening and pick it up then. Well, of course I opted for dinner.
We drove down to the shore, to that exact cove. While I was trespassing, we met a very gracious lady, age 88, who was walking her dog. She owns a house that sits on the property where my mother and her sisters spent their childhood. I was amazed to learn that the lady briefly had lived in my grandparents’ house before it burned in the early 1960s.
I returned for dinner with Francesca and John the following evening and met their other guest, a delightful woman who also has a great appreciation for Francesca’s art.
So not only do I have a painting that fills my heart, I also enjoyed dinner with good company, John’s music, and watched the sun blaze low across Flathead Lake as it dropped behind the mountains on the far shore.
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