It’s summertime and it’s someone’s birthday in the family. I can see Babci walking to the backyard garden. She always wore a cotton dress, long and loose, covered with an apron. I’m thinking about my grandmothers today as a get ready for another Art After Hours at the galley. Valentine’s day is just around the corner, and I thought a pink theme would be fun for the refreshments I’ll serve. “Babci” (pronounced bob-chi) is Polish for grandmother, and she lived next door to us. She made beet soup — nothing I would have eaten as a child even though it was the prettiest color pink. There was just something about beets that did not excite this little granddaughter.
The excitement came with MomMom’s strawberry sheet cake. MomMom was my dad’s mother. Babci was my mom’s. Anyway, MomMom was famous for bringing that cake to everyone’s birthday party, probably because it fed a crowd, and it was always a hit with everyone in my rather large Catholic family.
I’ve never tried to make that strawberry sheet cake nor borscht, but I thought both would be the perfect color for my pink party tonight. Both have passed the taste test with flying shades of rose, and there will be many other pretty things presented for the palate.
This morning, as I continue with the chopping, mixing, rolling, poking and plating in preparation for the gallery gathering, I am reminiscing about my wonderful grandmothers, who added that happy color to my life — it’s the color of love, and I hope you can join me this evening to share in art . . . in love . . . and in life.
Not surprisingly, tears fell at a dear friend’s memorial service. But joy was also in the air, as I came to realize that each of us touch others in ways we do not realize. I learned that day that not only was my art a catalyst to our friendship, but that family time in The Henderson Resort bathrooms was one of the best memories this young nephew had of his wonderful aunt.
Zachary spoke from the heart when he relayed a heartwarming story of “Punkin” taking the family to lunch at The Henderson, with an agenda to include a museum quality tour of both the men’s and women’s restrooms for all to see 27 paintings in each and every stall and wall. Punkin, asked the hotel staff to guard the doors so this tour remained private while the whole family viewed the creations by her artist friend (that would be me). His point was she was unique. My point is we are joined to one another as we journey through this life, and sometimes it’s art that creates the bridge that brings us together.
Today, my car is packed with new works for Art Wave at The Henderson Resort. It’ll be a great party, as we help to raise funds for South Walton Artificial Reef Association. I wonder who will be drawn to my paintings, who will like what they see when nature calls and what new friends I will meet. I’ll be sharing studio adventures with my artist friends, grateful for The Henderson bringing us together. And I’ll be thinking of Punkin, knowing that in my own small way, I helped a young man with a memory that will bring him smiles for years to come.
With Special Thanks to Melissa Mercer Brown for introducing me to an opportunity of a lifetime.
Going balls to the walls in preparation for ArtWalk tomorrow — pumpkin balls and meatballs, that is. Throwing in a pepperoni and sun-dried tomato tortellini toss and cranberry-feta pinwheels, along with mozzarella rounds on marinated vegetable kabobs because you need your veggies. The white wine and beers are chilling as the cookies are baking. It’s supposed to start raining soon, so I started loading the car with easels, glassware, flatware, napkins, serving platters and coolers.
I love ArtWalks, and tomorrow’s should be exceptional. The gallery looks great — all the new art gets me excited to share. I am so thankful that we have the space not only for the community to enjoy, but also for the talented artists to unveil their latest creations. Every day is a good day to walk through the gallery, but ArtWalk is more fun because you mix a group of great people with good food and you get joy all around.
So please stop by if you can. East End Gallery is on the east side of Shades Bar & Grill, on the east end of 30A in Inlet Beach. My buddy Gary wasn’t available to play guitar, but iTunes will be on, the balls will be ready and the walls will amaze your senses as we celebrate “Moments & Memories,” the latest collection.
I almost forgot . . . just because . . . for every person who attends ArtWalk, my family will donate $10 to St. Rita’s Hurricane Relief efforts in Panama City, Blountstown and Marianna. You don’t need to purchase anything, just come visit and enjoy. As Dr. Seuss said . . .
“Sometimes you will never know the value of a moment until it becomes a memory.”
Let’s make some memories.
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.