Artist illustrates the poetry of a day in the life of her dog – Monterey Herald
Since he was little, Barbara Brustman’s son has always wanted a beagle. Instead, he got Beau, a mix of Golden Retriever and Australian Shepherd who needed to be rescued. Blessed by the mixed physical beauty of the two races, as well as the distinctive personality traits of each, Beau was intelligent, friendly, reliable, loving, energetic, affectionate, and kind. He became the beloved brother of his son, his second son. Although the family lived in the San Francisco Bay Area, they frequently brought Beau and his boy to Carmel Beach, where they ran and played with abandon.
And then one day, after nine years with his family, Beau died.
Anyone who has loved and lost a dog understands this – feels the hollow of his absence, expects him to bark at the door, waits by his bowl of water, pushes us for attention. And sometimes you can feel it, as if it is still near. Some say it is.
Overwhelmed with grief, Brustman, an artist, searched for ways to remember Beau, honor him, and keep his memories vivid. Using oil pastel and metallic copper pens for her fur, she began to paint illustrations of Beau from photographs she had taken over the years. The act of painting, of focusing it on the canvas, has become a way of spending time with its beautiful Beau.
As she worked, Brustman thought about Beau’s name, and how full of himself, “full of beautiful,” good-looking, really was. While continuing to play with words, she began to write a simple story of her daily life in rhyming verse to accompany her paintings. The result is “My Name is Beau,” a hardcover book, published in 2019 by Alive Books of Alamo, and recently presented to bookstores on the Monterey Peninsula.
“We released the book,” Brustman said, “so we could give it away and put it in the bookstore. It’s about sharing Beau with as many people as possible, especially artists and kids who will love and benefit from it. delivered.
“My Name is Beautiful” is categorized as a children’s book, intended to engage young listeners and early readers while teaching them a dog’s sensibilities. Yet anyone who has ever read to a child realizes that there is as much, if not more, for an adult to learn by reading between the lines.
The art of living
A natural artist, Barbara Brustman took studio art classes at the University of Minnesota and earned a liberal arts degree. She then pursued a master’s degree in art history, with the firm intention of obtaining her doctorate as well. Instead, she was “bowled over” by a young minister named Wendell Brustman, who introduced her to the Esalen Institute workshops on self-exploration and personal and societal transformation. Back in Minneapolis, they got married and opened the International Design Center, a retail business specializing in contemporary and Scandinavian furniture.
“It was common for women to leave unfinished school to get married,” said Brustman, 77. “It hurt me, but I was able to develop my love of art through the business.”
The Brustmans showcased furniture and crafts in a refurbished warehouse where once a year they held art events and exhibitions along with furniture they brought to complement the art. Among their most memorable guests were the Danish Ballet, as well as Swedish dramatic soprano Birgit Nilsson, and Danish-American actor, conductor and pianist Victor Borge, and Danish designer and artist Bjørn Wiinblad.
“It was a wonderful platform for the arts,” said Brustman. “I loved every aspect of the business; he was my second son. My first son, Thomas, is an incredibly talented and special person. Of course, Beau was also like my child – the ones I took care of and loved very much.
Eventually, in the 1980s, the Brustmans sold their business and moved from Minneapolis to Walnut Creek, as part of Wendell Brustman’s spiritual search, which brought them back, full circle, to Esalen.
Brustman still enjoys regular visits to Carmel, always aware of Beau’s love for the beach and everyone. Her book, she believes, conveys this love.
“’My Name is Beau’ is a story for all ages,” said Brustman. “It goes beyond Beau’s life to express the beauty of creation, to give and receive love, to join inner silence and to go beyond human boundaries to experience higher love. . “
It is perhaps more hoping than knowing, except for those who have ever loved a dog.
“My Name is Beau” is available at these local bookstores: River House Books in Carmel, Olivia & Daisy in Carmel Valley, Luminata in Monterey, Bookworks in Pacific Grove. and also Diggidy Dog at Carmel.