Art at the Mill. Remember my post from 2.5 years ago? No? That’s OK.
I did it again, but 2013 was different. I entered 5 pieces this year created in the most energetic and happy creative spirit I have mustered since college. It was a great week when I painted 4 works in the middle of being a mom, running a kitchen business and creating a new soup for our line of products. That was the real accomplishment. Although the deadline for entry into Art at the Mill for August 2 was the carrot, I am the bunny who hopped, hopped to the finish line.
How did I do? The same result as Spring 2011: 1 out of 5 was accepted. Rejection or crickets chirping in the background is nothing new. I was, however, more excited this time. I did not expect Home Made Guitar to be the finalist. The painting Put Your Coat Away was the one that got the most attention pre-entry via my social-media litmus test. Maternal doting is hard to resist. Summer felt a little like a teen-age crush homage to David Hockney and Edward Hopper. I did think someone in the greater Clarke, Loudoun, or Rappahannock counties must need something new for the Pool House or the Game Room. Apparently not. Monuments was a bit somber, but the impulse to paint it was as electric as the impulse to paint Put Your Coat Away, but better executed. October Snow was a long shot, as it is just a blatant capture of my son (and no one else) in a very happy moment.
The goal of Art at the Mill is to sell paintings to benefit a Non-Profit in a low-density, rural county. Sentimental moments a la Cassatt in acrylics are not parlor or sofa art that will sell like hot-cakes at $800 a piece in Northern Virginia. I get it.
Nonetheless, silence may be the best way to inaugurate a new season. I won’t be teaching this year, I’ve grown comfortable with the idea of weeds, and there really isn’t much on my horizon to keep me from a healthy painting habit on Tuesdays and Wednesdays each week. It’s on the schedule, and somehow I’ve given myself more permission to just paint whatever.
What’s in store? Lots of portraits. I want to capture people again. Darn that John Singer Sargent. He made it look so easy traveling across Europe and America as he painted Social Starlets. It helped that he had wealthy, adventurous, expat parents to blaze a trail.
Bunnies? Of course. When I got my letter in the mail yesterday, I immediately thought of Bunny with her paw giving a sweeping flick under her chin. That’s not very nice, I know. I am currently brewing my August water-color for the Kitchen Post Card 2013 series. Don’t worry, I haven’t given up on cuteness.
Abstract? I miss it. In fact, my secret painting that I pause for every day when I pass by is Morning Walk. It is displayed on the first landing of the stairs that lead to the basement. It hangs unframed with a broken orchard ladder just underneath. It is my escape route to the clouds. I think of it as I peel peaches, pull weeds, hold my tongue, and answer, “Which character are you in the book?” at farmers market.