A few days ago, I received the following from (for a distinct want of a better term) my partner Michelle. I had been feeling totally overwhelmed, frustrated and demoralized by the pain and lack of mobility due to a broken leg and two knees which no longer function properly. When I read this, I knew it had to be my first blog entry on our new website.
As the self proclaimed Logistics Queen of DUG Art and girlfriend of the artist, I get to ride along on this amazing journey of DUG Art. It’s crazy, entertaining, both exhausting and energizing, but most of all, it is a blast.
Doug and I both enjoy going to events to introduce new people to his art and reconnect with our collectors. I’m not normally an extrovert. In fact, I’m the quiet person at the party when I don’t really know anyone. When we are at an event, however, no one is a stranger. I love to talk about Doug’s art. I love to tell the stories behind the different pieces.
My favorite story, though, is the story of one of Doug’s pieces, Michelle II.
With great pleasure, I tell people that I am Michelle, and that Michelle II was Doug’s Christmas gift to me in 2011. I then backtrack a bit to fill them in on the events of 2011 that led to the creation of this piece.
In April of 2011, Doug was racing at the Tour of the Battenkill. In 2010, he finished second, but in 2011, he had been training hard and was in great form. He had his sights set on the victory, but it was not to be that day.
Little did either of us know that this would be the last race of his career. At mile 6.66, Doug crashed at pretty high speed along with 11 other guys. Doug ended up at the bottom of the pile with life threatening internal injuries and 21 fractures. Long story shorter, he had a long and sometimes very difficult recovery, but we soldiered through it together. By the beginning of June, he was back on his bike and riding outside.
I remember getting on the ferry to Martha’s Vineyard where he was waiting for me. He had gone on island a day or two ahead of me as I finished up my last responsibilities at school.
I had his frame rebuilt, with parts from the old bike, and some new parts as well, including a new wheel. He had not seen it, and did not know of my plot to rebuild until I walked off the ferry with it.
We went for a ride the next day, and from then on, he was back on the bike regularly. That summer was filled with physical therapy and doctor’s appointments as he tried to have his shoulder put back together. Despite the challenges, we were able to enjoy our summer together. We were both back riding and thankful to be able to do so together.
Doug referred to me and the crew of people who supported him as his angels. To show his gratitude for my care and stubbornness to never leave his side, he made the Michelle II piece. And he managed to do it without me knowing, which was most impressive!
The angel standing on the rooftop holding the wheel is watching over the peloton. She is there to help the rider in need. If you look carefully, the angel is wearing glasses, just as I do.
The peloton is cruising through a village that was inspired by a Cezanne work.
The buildings and the background are all composed of tissue paper. The angel is made from tracing paper and the riders are cut from gift wrap. This was his gift to me and it brought me to tears. The original hangs in our media room and is a popular giclée with our collectors.