Last week was a bonus week . . . I was gifted with a full week in the studio . . . practicing, playing and picking up the pieces of paintings left unfinished. In other words, although there were struggles, there were also some successes and I found myself feeling good about a couple of things I wanted to share with you.
The first was an exercise in freedom. It’s harder than you think. No planning allowed, only a will to lay color to the surface and keep going until you feel satisfied. The big idea behind this exercise was to be oblivious to the applause of others. Over the years, I have somewhat grown in confidence because of time spent practicing the process, and although I still seek approval, I am happy if I can look at the finished work and smile, at least a little, knowing I did my best and that I would happily hang it on my wall. But please don’t stop the ‘likes.’ I’ll be devastated.
The second thing I learned last week came after a conversation with a dear friend who wanted to know why I don’t have the ability to make purchases on my website. Without even thinking about this in depth question, I said, “because I want to meet the people who like my work.” So far, I really like everyone who likes my art. It’s crazy, but I don’t want to give that up by including a shopping cart and digital checkout. I want to get to know you, maybe meet your family, share a few bites or a glass of wine and hear what you love about my art. It feeds my soul and gives me the courage to continue.
So I guess what I’m saying is that I need you. I enjoyed the quiet studio time striving for freedom from fear. But we need each other in this journey of life, and art enhances it.
I hope I’ll see you at the studio someday soon. In the meantime, enjoy the new additions to my website. No cart, but lots of heart!
Although I never dreamed of having my art hang in an art museum, I have to admit it feels really good . . . and it’s going to feel even better when it sells at the Huntsville Museum of Art 29th Gala next month. Their website explains, “The Museum seeks to foster understanding of the visual arts and appreciation of artistic achievement. The mission of the Museum is to bring people and art together through acquiring, preserving, exhibiting and interpreting the highest quality works of art.” Wow! What an honor to be included in “highest quality works of art.”
So as I was thinking about museums, and then galleries, I came to the realization that although it is truly wonderful to gain such inclusion and recognition, for me the real honor comes from you hanging my art in your home. There is no finer place because it is your personal space, your sanctuary, your comfort zone. An invitation into your world is the greatest compliment.
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.
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.