She was six, sweet and showed me the future in a six-by-six sketch of love.
Ila Elizabeth stopped by the gallery last evening for ArtWalk. She wasn’t on the hunt for something to eat or drink. She strolled in to see the art. She didn’t simply glance either. She studied each piece and was quick to tell her aunt what she saw and felt. I saw something special in her, but I didn’t see the future until she came back after dinner, holding her drawing, wanting to share her creation.
It was love, captured in pencil, by a super power in her special brain, and all I wanted to do was hug her. She reminded me why my own world is consumed by art — creating it, sharing it and encouraging others to do the same, making a space so artists can use their special powers to enhance life and stir emotion.
She is our future, and there is hope for a world when love can be found in the heart and passed through a pencil, creating a lasting image that feels like a hug.
Thank you, Ila. Here’s a little me with a big hug for you.
I opened a gallery, and I want you to feel comfortable coming in to enjoy it.
Sure, the ultimate compliment for an artist is for someone to purchase his or her art, but I want everyone to feel comfortable just coming in to East End Gallery to enjoy art. Tell us what you like and how it makes you feel. Grab a cup of coffee, sit awhile. Look, and I mean really look, at the works of 28 local and regional artists. Hopefully, you will leave with a little more bounce in your step . . . because, well, art can have that effect.
I partnered with two others to connect artists with art lovers, utilizing the Blue Title space located behind Shades Bar and Grill on the east end of 30a, in Inlet Beach, and after the 60 works were hung, chosen from over 130 submissions, a new artist contacted me in the hopes of inclusion. I requested her biography, and what she wrote made me realize that this is why I do whatever I can to help promote artists. She said, “I am going to be perfectly honest. It was the first time I’ve ever sat down to write an artist bio, and I’ll admit that it took all day and lots of editing and erasing!” This I can relate to! “There is just so much to say, and ended up not getting anywhere remotely close to what I would’ve like. So many emotions tied into what I do.”
Emotions. Her bio was filled with them, and I immediately connected with her, probably because I feel the same way. Art is our way of expressing our emotions, baring our souls, fearing the worst — that no one will like our art and thus us. Yet we do it because we must. Art heals.
So she will have a space at East End, and I hope it propels her art beyond her imagination. And I hope you will stop in for a visit and enjoy it.
No purchase required.
East End Gallery, 10952 E Co Hwy 30A, Suite B, Inlet Beach, FL 32461
Monday-Friday, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. and Saturdays by appointment
Some days, it can feel like magic . . . you go to work in the studio, stand for hours making strokes with paint, and you end up with a “wow” and you question, “where did that come from?” And other days, you start the same but finish with an “ugh” and you question, “where did THAT come from?”
The process of making art is always magical to me, always a time to get lost in the search for something wonderful. On a good day, the process brings a sigh of satisfaction and sense of peace. On a not-so-good day, the process can be painful, and worst of all, that little voice of negativity says the hours were wasted once again. Those are the days I have to quiet the voice and say there is no waste when there is learning.
So where is the consistency? I have not found it yet. I don’t know where it comes from, but I have a feeling that it can be found in perseverance. Or maybe consistency is the carrot I chase, believing with each “wow” that it can be caught.
Today I will gladly try again, and I hope you will, too. Make something beautiful or make someone smile. And know that it came from inside of you.
Times change and roads that were once void of traffic are discovered, thus losing the loneliness I loved. The only solution for me is to get on a new road — one less traveled. So off we go to the land of the cypress and the tiny town of Wewahitchka. I wished for nature trails and paths to the paveless places. But this town is not looking to be discovered, not looking for fame and fortune. It’s not looking to entice visitors with TripAdvisor attractions.
This is a simple place where white-haired women with tangled fishing lines chat easily with anyone and everyone, and where young men who just moved here from Alabama are quick to share alligator gar stories and smile big while luring bait fish along the cypress banks of Dead Lake. I am here to catch a glimmer of fall Florida color, missing the Jersey leaves but not the northern cold.
The gray sky mimics the cypress trunks as reflections of bronze, rust and gold float on calm water. New colors can be exciting — so unfamiliar to this blue and white based beach girl.
So today, in honor of yesterday, I will travel the quiet roads in my memory and open up to new colors of paint. Let’s try a little change.
The walls are painted and the hanging system is set to be installed next Monday. Artists bring their works in on Wednesday and SQUARES At 560 opens the Emerald Coast Theatre Company’s 2017-18 season! It’s going to be Grand!
Why do I think so? Because it’s good to be a part of something good and grand to be a part of something grand. ECTC has a killer season lined up, and Lowkylzart (that’s me and my local artist community) is ready to join in with an all-square theme of fantastic new creations to enrich audience experience and support the theatre with art sales. It’s our fifth year working together.
Why squares? Because squares are cool, and easy to share and perfect for so many places in your home. Collectors can connect directly to the artists through Instagram #squaresat560, if unable to see this incredible theatre and art space in person. So follow Lowkylzart on Instagram and Facebook as our journey through the ever-changing, always-inspiring, thought-provoking world of art and theatre afford you the grandest six months at 560 Grand Boulevard Upstairs.
It’s only good to be part of something grand when what you’re a part of is a good thing.
These are the faces of my latest limitations.
If I couldn’t use my right hand, I probably would never have attempted new art. I feel like I really had nothing to lose in trying lefty pastels and then my oil and cold wax faces. After all, I wasn’t allowed to paint in familiar ways during the days following carpal tunnel release surgery, so if I wanted to paint, I was going to have to push myself outside the old comfort zone.
My right hand has a long way to go in the healing process, but I think I’ve adapted and even grown. I’m sharing this in case you ever feel frustrated with limitations placed on you. Don’t let them defeat you even for a moment. Just grow where you’ve never thought of growing before.
two days have gone by in the month-long countdown. surgeon said no right-hand painting, but i thought i would experiment with the left. if i can vacuum with my left hand, surely i can get loose and go lefty with my art. so off to the studio i went with my black lab anxiously hoping for a good nap while keith jarrett’s piano plays us something peaceful. it didn’t take long for reality to set in. without a second hand, i couldn’t even open the tube of paint. funny. i forgot about that one little detail. 28 days to go.
This painting was chosen yesterday — chosen to leave my little nest for the big city of Atlanta, to live its life in a luxurious loft. I’m a little sad because I always loved it. And I’m a little happy because someone else loved it as much as I did.
This is the life of an artist — a life of letting go.
First you have to let go of inhibition, of perfection, of rejection and of fear, constantly reminding yourself that not everyone is going to like what you create, and it’s ok.
Then, someone comes along who not only likes it but wants to purchase it, and you have to let go again. It’s a roller coaster of emotions on any given day.
So back to the easel I go, getting ready for the next letting go lesson.
Sometimes you have a day that shines on you — not only in an external way, but inside as well. All the good stuff you feel in your heart and your head somehow surfaces and shows up in your face and in your walk and in the way your carry your burdens. I know this only because it happened to me after a rather enjoyable and productive day “working” in the studio.
Sophie is my dog, and she expects an afternoon stroll to the bay. So that’s where we were going. A new neighbor and her pet crossed our path, and we exchanged pleasantries. She shocked me with a “You look nice today.” Really??? In my old jeans, t-shirt and work boots? It wasn’t the outfit, I realized. It was the “infit.”
I thought about this for quite some time, hoping I could duplicate the day, and keep that look going. The only way, I think, is to take every kind of day and focus with enormous gratitude on every breath with which we are gifted. Then give that gratitude to another with a smile and a strut that shouts of shine.
Have a blessed Easter weekend!