Sometimes something happens that can be experienced as disappointment or viewed as life lessons. At this stage of my life, I tend to flip things around to find out what each experience is meant to teach me. So, here is my story….
This past weekend I participated in an art show in Venice (Fl.) ~ a wonderful quaint town with an artsy feel. Even though a cold front had set in both weather wise and health wise; I was filled with anticipation and excitement. My story art has taken on a whole new look and feel, and I was unveiling a brand spanking new professional tent display. Lots of work had been done in preparation for the show, and the man who is my life partner and I felt more than ready to participate.
For those of you who aren’t familiar with what goes on before an arts and craft show; I liken it to the advance team who sets up a circus before it comes to town. Artisans, entrepreneurs and hard working vendors arrive in caravans at 5:30 a.m. We sign in with the event promoters, are given our spot number, and with flashlight in hand, find our designated location…always hopeful that it will be a “good one.” Then comes the unloading of vans or tightly packed cars. Some vendors, who do shows 48 weeks a year, travel in mobile homes all around the country. Everyone’s home is their studio, their workshop. You hear people talking, greeting each other as hand trucks roll across the cement carrying boxes; and you greet your new next-door tent neighbors. Even though it’s early and cold; we arrive sleepy, hopeful and in good spirits!
I am dressed in double layers, with a scarf around my neck and gloves on my hands. My life partner does a yeomen’s job of assembling our new tent and placing the artwork just so. Then I settle into my tall directors chair with a cup of much needed coffee in hand and wait for the crowds to arrive.
Because I am a people watcher, this is actually fun. I have had to learn when to leave people who visit my space alone, and when to step in to “chat.” I have also learned that there is no predictability as to what will sell…sometimes it’s my notecards, sometimes it’s my framed pieces or giclees, sometimes its’ my book; sometimes it’s my prints. Each show is different, each crowd is different; so I settle in and let the event evolve. A year ago, when I first started doing this, my anxiety was high throughout the event because I wanted people to like my work and to earn at least enough to cover the cost of the booth and the products. That didn’t happen very often the first year; but it is happening this year. I guess I just needed to put my time in and my resolve was being “tested” by the Universe.
On to the title of this story “it is as ‘It Is!’” On the second day a lovely couple seemed to be very interested in two of my pieces. They knew they wanted a very large piece, but they also wanted one of the pieces to be “less blue” more black and white. In my eagerness to make a sale, I said no problem – that I would work on changing the color of the picture and price up the sizing of a giclee. On Monday I spent 5 hours on one of my signature pieces (which sells at every show); changing it around to meet their specifications. Then I emailed the couple a small version of the art with a logo across it. They wrote back and said they liked the picture but wanted it as a matted print before they left in less than two weeks, and agreed to an initial deposit once I would provide them pricing. To make a long story short; when I presented the cost of the matted print the couple thanked me for my time but decided not to buy it because they didn’t want to spend that much money on “just a black and white print”. I graciously thanked them for their interest and said to myself “okay what was my lesson here?”
Obviously there are several, including not to do work without a deposit. My work can easily be changed in size or medium (print or giclee). But when I put my original picture side-by-side with the black and white; I realized that in the transformation it had lost its spirit and soul. This particular piece of artwork is very special to me and stirred me to write a poem to accompany it. Everything can be “tweaked” and improved; I do it all the time when my instinct tells me to make a change. My artwork and poetry is a reflection of my spirit and when a piece of story art is brought to life, I am not thinking “should I change it to be more commercial so that it will sell.” I am feeling “oh I just love this piece …what should I call it and what does it mean?” That is my truth.
There is a quote by David Hume “Beauty in things exists merely in the mind which contemplates them.” I now understand my story art is intended for viewers to interpret or react to based on what it stirs within them. And, if a picture is meant to go home with them, then so it will!
And now here is “Elegy to a Tree” in all its colorful glory …. as story art and as a poem. Enjoy – Laurel
Elegy to a Tree
Welcoming all to a vision of grandeur,
you stood tall and proud with your trunk rooted firmly in the ground
and your limbs reaching towards the heavens.
I watched in awe as playful birds rested on your bare branches,
and marveled when your sparse limbs were
illuminated by gleaming sunbeams.
You withstood the force of fierce winds ~ unrestrained rainstorms,
and seemed to revel as lightning danced raggedly around you.
During your life, your spirit was one of
beauty, dignity, grace and, above all, courage.
Suddenly, one day, you disappeared!
Thoughtfully cut down to fulfill man’s need for youthful perfection,
a rather unremarkable seedling replaced you.
Perhaps it was time for your journey to
come to an end and for a new life to begin.
Nevertheless, your loss was jarring.
But know this, oh grand tree
~ as long as I am alive there will always be
a place within my soul where
I evoke the image of your strength and glory!
Laurel D. Rund (c) 2010