His wife, Tatjana van Beckhoven Blakeslee, has been an inspiration and helpmate to him for the last twelve years.
In addition to being a first-class gardener, interior decorator and gourmet cook, her career in fine art has been notable and is summarized in the following biography and sampling of her work:
Tatjana was born in Tilburg, the Netherlands, in 1941, and she remembers the German occupation. Her mother couldn’t take her outside because she was likely to start singing anti-Nazi songs to German soldiers that her uncle (a member of the underground resistance) had taught her.
When she was three, she drew a portrait of Beethoven with her older sister’s pencils, which she was supposed to leave alone.
She lived in Germany and France for awhile and traveled throughout Europe, eventually studying sculpture under Professor Vlad at the American University of Art in Paris.
After emigrating to the US she studied painting and sculpture at the Northern Virginia Community College in Annandale, Virginia, under Professor John Bannon, who taught by having the student copy an old master of the student’s choice, using the original oil medium. Tatjana chose Vermeer.
She graduated magna cum laude in 1984 and continues to copy Vermeer, along with doing her own original paintings of contemporary themes, mostly portraits. In 1985, she studied art restoration at the University of Delaware.
In 1986 she attended the Virginia Commonwealth University School of the Arts in Richmond, Virginia majoring in sculpture and minoring in painting and anthropology. She often worked overnight into the early hours of the following morning, producing tables full of sculpture, which she did to assure making the dean’s list! Her crystals and sculptures were produced during this period.
She graduated with a bachelor’s degree in fine arts in 1988.
About the Author: RD Blakeslee is a nonagenarian in West Virginia who built his net worth by only investing in that which can be enjoyed during acquisition and throughout life, as opposed to papers in a drawer, like stocks and bonds. You can read more about him here.