The sales were good, and the contacts I’ve made too, but the best part was meeting people who recognized the trail they know and love right where it happens, and letting people know that art can happen in unexpected places.
As I’d mentioned, I’d wanted to host the show at the event to be sure the people who used the trail, who typically attend the trail’s annual fundraiser, would see and enjoy it. And for the number of people who stopped to look at “The Rope Swing”, and then came in and recognized even more, it was highly successful. I heard stories about the swing, and many people recognized the sites of several of the works and told me exactly where that was so I know they’ve walked the trail and the woods as much as I have. I also had the opportunity to tell people I’d done about half of the works right there on the trail, not home in my studio. People don’t always realize that artists often work on site, “Even in the snow?” Sure, I said. That’s how I capture the essence of the scene. A painting is not just what you see, it’s also what you hear and smell and touch and taste, and being there while you work gets it all into the painting.
We often don’t find the things most familiar to us very inspiring simply because we are so accustomed to seeing them, and often don’t “see” them at all anymore. The fact that I found the trail and surrounding area, their neighborhood, the place they called home, to be an inspiring subject for art made a lot of people smile and comment that was why they liked it too, that was why they’d moved there.
Best of all were the kids’ assessments of my art, these paintings of the places they played, the places they’d remember all their lives. “Your stuff is pretty good,” they said. “This is really nice art,” looking serious and nodding their heads. They were serious, and I took it as a compliment. A big compliment. Coming from a ten-year-old boy or a couple of 14-year-old girls, that was huge. I hope one or more of them take a new look at this beautiful place when considering photography or painting.
I wish I’d had the chance to photograph people browsing my art, but I’m kind of glad I just didn’t have the time to.
And I also had a number of friends visit me, and a few who helped me set up and who I could also share a few favorite places with, namely the site with the rope swing, which was directly behind my booth in the woods. One couple came with me to fill my vintage kettle with water for the wildflowers I would gather to have in my display, and on the way there and back walking through the woods I showed them the rope swing and proceeded to identify all the wildflowers around us, walking encyclopedia as I can be.
It occurred to me then that it would be nice to have some photos of me walking through the woods with wildflowers. We didn’t really have time when we got back to my booth so I let it go, but decided today how much I’d like to have some photos of that walk and asked if they would mind coming back and taking a few photos since they knew the walk we’d taken and what I’d looked like, and the type of photos I wanted.
Michelle agreed, so I donned the same clothes as yesterday and we got a few nice photos. And who knows, they may be paintings as well some day. But at least I know what I look like!
Because it was so hot and humid and I didn’t want to greet visitors covered in sweat I wore a silk skirt and a lightweight cotton camisole. That worked well, but the effect of humidity on my hair made it totally frizz, even after a recent henna and olive oil treatment. Ah, summer.
Read more about my exhibit “Sun Shadow Ice & Snow: Seasons of the Panhandle Trail”. Take a look at paintings from this exhibit.
. . . . . . .