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Saturday, August 31, 2019

Ten Things I've Learned from Beauford

By Silver Wainhouse

Silver Wainhouse is the author of Amazing Grace Is Yellow, a three-act play that presents Beauford's life as he moves from Knoxville to Boston, Boston to New York, and New York to Paris.

This is a warning!

Beauford Delaney has an infectious power. Start reading about him and looking at his work and he will infuse you, captivate you, get into your blood …

I am living proof of this experience. I was already drawn in by his story when I went to visit his grave. From that moment on, I have been under his continuing spell.

Silver Wainhouse at Beauford's Gravesite
© Discover Paris!

Beauford’s spirit is palpable - he speaks to me in a way that allowed me to write Amazing Grace Is Yellow. Below is a list of things I have learned from him.

1. Beauford was generous; sometimes even to a fault.

You always have enough to share.

2. He constantly sought those from whom he could learn, and took their advice as to when to move.

Mentors are life changers.

3. Beauford continued to study and take lessons from other painters he admired. He studied and incorporated newly-learned techniques.

Even genius needs practice and benefits from it.

4. One of his joys was to meet with friends in French cafés. There, he found people who cared about him and would check in on him, something he needed more and more as his health declined.

An artist needs community.

Café Scene
(1966) Oil on canvas
© Estate of Beauford Delaney
by permission of Derek L. Spratley, Esquire,
Court Appointed Administrator

5. Beauford loved all kinds of music. His favorite was the spiritual “Amazing Grace.”

Music fortifies you and will get you through.

6. Beauford was homosexual. The hiding he did was such tremendous pressure.

The closet takes a toll.

The Eye
(1965) Oil on canvas
Private Collection
© Estate of Beauford Delaney
by permission of Derek L. Spratley, Esquire,
Court Appointed Administrator

7. Beauford was a God-fearing man. Son of a preacher, faith was instilled in him at birth.

Believe in something greater than yourself.

8. Beauford had several personas and selected the appropriate one to adapt to the environment in which he found himself.

When someone calls your name, the part of you that answers depends upon who is calling.

9. Beauford’s legacy is real.

One has the ability to continue to touch lives after physical death.

10. Beauford always sought the sun, the son, and the light.

When we seek the light, we find grace -- and that grace is amazing!

(circa 1960) Oil on canvas
Signed at lower right and on back of canvas
84 x 75 cm
© Estate of Beauford Delaney,
by permission of Derek L. Spratley, Esquire,
Court Appointed Administrator

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