Hemingway's compound in Key West is surrounded by a high brick wall. It is a tourist's delight so there is a fee to enter. Each day I arrived with my portfolio and easel, and they just waved me through.
Royal Poinciana trees ablaze with red sweet blossoms, Bougainvillea spread along the walls, I found myself in a tropical paradise.
For a moment I sat at a white wrought-iron table, taking in the shade of palm trees and the fragrance of the garden.
The are two yellow masonry buildings in the compound. His home is square and has two stories, both with wrap-around porches. The fanciful New Orleans type railings and six-toed cats decorate this beautiful estate. Ernest loved his six-toed cats and they lie wherever they want.
Behind the home are Hemingway's studio and kitchen. Most every day Ernest crossed a planked bridge to reach his favorite writing desk as I did that day. I parted the velvet rope and I entered the studio. As I entered the studio, the presence of Hemingway emanated from the walls and his desk. It felt that he had just stepped out and would return any minute. At a French window sat one of his famous cats facing out. You can see his footprints leading away from the ink he spilled.
As though a ghost, Hemingway's face is reflected in the ink. I was feeling special to have free rein to roam the room. After drawing the room with 5 different width pens I still felt him with me.
Written by Edmund Fratus . . . Copyright 9/26/2017