My daughter had her first art exhibit last weekend as an emerging student artist at a national juried show. I tried (and mostly succeeded) not to embarass her by playing proud Mama, but to say I was thrilled is like stating the sun is kinda warm. I'm also a little in awe of her; she very calmly painted several new works while chatting with the public and putting herself and her art on display for two days straight. It's good that she didn't inherit my shyness because I know I would have been cowering in terror under the nearest table. I'm so proud of her. Bravo, my fearless one.
While at the show I was able to visit with one of my favorite watercolor artists, Peggy Engsberg Furlin. She's such a warm and lovely person, and her paintings are the stuff of dreams. I bought this painting from her because I was riveted by it for a good five minutes -- and that wasn't long enough; I needed to bring it home. I also talked to the artist a bit about working in abstract -- something I'm exploring with my art quilts -- and it reassured me to hear about her process. Following my instincts instead of trying to organize and color-code and perfect everything is new for me, and I'm still struggling with it. Sometimes you need to talk to someone whose work speaks to you in the same voice in order to keep pushing yourself and testing your boundaries. Peggy will be showing this month at the Boca Raton Museum Art Fair (February 9th & 10th) and at the Sanibel Art Fair (February 16th & 17th) so if you're in either area do stop by and see her beautiful work.
During the show I stole my kid from her booth for an hour to walk around and see some of the other artists and their works. The girl never asks for anything (she's a saint that way) but I watch her like a hawk to see what she responds to. She practically dragged me over to see the imaginative art of Richard Lorenz, whose whimsical Birdz are such delightful characters you can't help but smile the moment you see them. A little later I went back to purchase a piece she loved and then promptly lost my heart to this, Richard's gorgeous vision called Dawn II. I can't tell you what it is yet, but there's a story here, waiting for me to dream and write it. While I was buying both pieces I also had the chance to talk with Rick and his wife, Tina Louise, who were just terrific.
I'm so glad I went to this show, and not just to coo over my kid. Writing is such a solitary profession that writers often become disconnected and/or don't feel they're a real part of the arts community. Over the years I've come to see the arts as this gigantic tree with innumerable branches growing out in different directions. We may not do the same things to realize our visions but we're all connected by them just the same. I use words in the same way a musician uses sound or a painter uses color; no matter how we express our dreams we tap into the same source to find them and refine them and bring them into being. That's why we inspire each other, too -- no matter what we do or how we do, the act of turning those dreams into reality makes us creative brothers and sisters.
So writers, don't lock yourself in your writing space and deny yourself a chance to hang with the rest of your creative family. The next time there's an art show or a concert in your area, go to it, immerse yourself in it, and allow it to refill your well. These are your people, too.