So, three long days painting outdoors from 10 am until 5 pm, enduring mud, wind, bug bites and forgotten supplies, I am now ready to frame a painting for the auction next week. It is still wet, not totally to my satisfaction, and I get a pit in my stomach thinking I have to watch as people bid, or not bid, on it alongside the 11 other works done by real artists.
11 x 14, oil and palette knife on canvas
wooden silver plein air frame
100% of purchase price goes to Stepping Stones Program
I did this piece on the second day of painting and the name of it is significant. Being as nervous as I was about the experience, I called upon a few close friends for support. Periodically they would send me a text message ("you can do it" or "you'll do great" or even a "good luck") and when I sent them progress photos they would respond with gushing reviews and continuing encouragement. No matter what I sent them, they loved it because they loved and supported me. They were my safety net, my cheering squad, and my support group. I survived with their help.
The "Stepping Stones" program attempts to do that same exact thing for kids who have aged out of the state supported system of child care. They turn 18, graduate....and then what? With no family providing a safety net, forced to strike out on their own with no support group, where do they turn for that all important validation of a cheering squad? (and I thought painting outdoors was hard ??) Eight kids graduated this month and my thoughts turned to them as I painted. How would I have faced that situation? Re-girding my loins, I decided to be part of their team and, even if I had to paint, frame and then buy my own piece, I would do what I could to support the program that assures them the support they deserve while crafting a new life chapter. I'd be a cheerleader. Now the painting part seemed much easier: Possibilities existed for them and for me.
The Gallery asked for one more piece to hang for sale and I am providing these:
Around the Bend
10 x 8, oil and palette knife on canvas
gold wood plein air frame
Off the Highway
6 x 8, oil and palette knife on board
gold filigree wood frame
You may find plein air pieces that are technically better, but you won't find any that are more heartfelt or sincere than these. Yes, I want to be a much better plein air artist at this time next year, but those kids needed a cheering squad this year, life does not wait for perfect conditions.
The auction will be held Wednesday, June 18 at the Hugh Chapman Center (part of the Avery County YMCA) from 5 pm until 7pm. There is no admission charge and you will enjoy light refreshments and wines. Last year Heidi said they even had some phoned in bids so if you want to participate you can either give me a "go-to limit" on your bid or contact her through the gallery link.
Now excuse me, I need to go experiment with framing wet art!