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Archive for the ‘Small Town Life’ Category

My friend Deborah and I took her mom out to the Garden Show at Blandy Experimental Farm yesterday for the Garden Show after a little brunch.  It was a fun time.  So many beautiful plants were available.  But there was also other garden related items …. and animals.  We saw these great guys…not sure if they are llamas or alpacas……but they were CUTE!  And while I didn’t buy a basket I did get a hat…and it’s cute too.  I didn’t ask how much the baby was that was on display with the baskets because I really didn’t need one.  LOL!

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I visited Montpelier yesterday.  It was a terrific day trip to learn more about how James and Dolley Madison lived.  It was really interesting and very well done.  While they didn’t allow photography inside the mansion there was plenty of wonderful things to take pictures of outside.

And of course, while there I had to pay my respects to the author of our Constitution at the family cemetery.   Montpelier is near Orange, Virginia and if you are ever in the area it is worth the time.  Click here for more info.

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We had a guest instructor at The Studio yesterday to teach Gelli Printing.  Sandra Charles, a wonderful fiber artist, came in to teach the kids how to get fabulous designs on paper and cloth using Gelli plates.

The kids learned about mono prints and were excited to create such cool designs.

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The Studio is sponsoring a really fun event for the Humane Society of Warren County – PAWCASSO.  When Lavenda Denney approached me last year about her idea for this project she knew she had me at art and rescue pets.  She wanted to have the available animals at the shelter “paint” works of art to sell at a show at the arts council.  I loved the idea and agreed to sponsor it right away but also suggested we take it a little further by offering private lessons for people who already have pets.  So The Studio provided 10 sessions to people who would pre-purchase a large (18″ x 24″) painting with their pets. The pets had a private lesson with me and we created the large work of art.  And it’s no surprise that those sold out.  We have had so much fun with this project.  And tonight is the reception from 6-9 pm at The Blue Ridge Arts Council at 405 E Main St.  You don’t want to miss it! You have to see this art and these wonderful small works are for sale.  Please come.  Here are some of the painters at their session.  LOL!

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Today would have been Big Mama’s birthday.  She was born in 1908 and lived through some really interesting times.  She taught me so much – cooking, sewing, crocheting and how to work hard.  She loved her family, her community and her church and her friends.  She was a beautiful person and I miss her.

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Inspiration is everywhere for artists even in our own backyard….at least that is how I feel. (These photos I took a few days ago as inspiration for a new painting.)  I don’t often write about the “how” of operating an art business in a small town.  It’s a challenge…and I love it….but it’s not easy.  When people tell me that I have a fun job and they wish they could work doing something fun all the time like I do I just smile and agree.  Because it is fun. But it’s a lot like making sausage….you don’t want to see what actually goes in to it.  There is so much behind the scenes to get an image that I think people might enjoy painting at a party….so much that no one ever sees.  First I go through tons of photos trying to find something that will appeal to a large number; then I have to paint it; then I usually paint it again to simplify it so that it will look good but be easy enough for beginners to paint it in a 2-3 hour paint party time; next is the promotion, the registration, the ordering of supplies, etc., etc., etc.   I only say all of this to make people aware that when you choose to attend a paint party with an artist that steals another artist’s image that you are hurting someone…the artist that created the work.  You might ask, well how do I know if its original?  Ask!  Find out if the artist leading the party has a business license.  Are they a legitimate business or just a cash business not paying taxes or licensed?  I think most people don’t want to support people who are stealing from others and probably have never even considered any of this….they just see an offering for a paint party and think, that looks like fun and I’d like to paint it.  I’m writing about this today because one of my paintings was being offered at a Paint Party without my permission.  I only knew about it because I saw it on Facebook.  When I contacted the owner of the business offering it she immediately took the image down and contacted the artist she’d hired to do the party to correct the situation.  I appreciate that.  But even more I would appreciate people offering these parties to be inspired by their surroundings or developing images of their own.  The internet has been a wonderful thing for artists to share and sell their work but it’s also made lazy artists lazier because they don’t have to work at it.  They can just lift something to use.  Don’t be lazy….CREATE!  (OK…rant over….thanks for listening!)

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It’s a very sad day as yesterday I learned that a long time art student and friend, Jean Barbour, passed away this week.  Jean painted with us for many years often creating paintings for her family members.  She enjoyed painting….she enjoyed learning.  It was always fun painting with her because she was always happy and eager to paint.  I loved hearing her stories about her family (she was especially proud of her grandchildren) and her travels.  She often painted from photos from trips she had taken.  We have her beloved Charles in our prayers as well as her entire family.  Jean will be greatly missed.  (You can read Jean’s obituary here.)

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