Sunday, July 20, 2008

On the Road Again.........


I left this morning for my show in Bellevue, Washington. I am spending the night in Eugene, Oregon tonight and then will drive to Seattle tomorrow so I can spend some time with my daughter. Nichole is going to school at the University of Washington and I have not seen her since I dropped her off at the San Francisco International Airport in March. She was leaving to spend her spring quarter studying in London and then flew directly back to Seattle last month. She is spending the summer participating in the 2008 Summer Institute in the Arts and Humanities research program at UW and wasn't able to arrange to come home before the seminar started. She has worked so hard and I am so very very proud of her! I can't wait to see her!

I picked up my rental van yesterday and then took everything out of “Big Blue” and loaded it into “Big White”?????. That sounds terrible! This van is so non-descript I can’t even come up with a good name for it. I don’t think I really want to bond with it anyway since I have to give it back next week.


My van breaking down has given me a lot to think about. I love doing art festivals but by this time of year I am usually exhausted. I start thinking about cutting back drastically on the number of shows I do each year, but by November I forget about that and start sending in my applications.


Have I been given a sign that I need to pay attention to? Perhaps 2009 will be the year I only do 4 or 5 shows and then look into some alternative ways of doing things. Trim my expenses to make it possible to create more time for making art instead of selling it. I don’t know. I had 2 hours on the road today with nothing to listen to (my iPod needed charging); maybe that’s why I have become so reflective. Silence has a sneaky way of doing that.

I think it’s good though. I feel energized when I think about other options. This could include new ideas about creating my art, changes in how I market my art, or just plain different ways of living my life. Stay tuned…………………

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Marilyn

One of the greatest gifts of doing my work has come from the people I have met along the way. I have formed quite a few friendships that began because they connected with my photographs and either purchased a piece or asked about future events I would be participating in. Over the years we visit when they come to shows or even get together for lunch or coffee. This has become an unexpected benefit of creating and selling my art.

I first met Marilyn at a show I do every year in Sacramento called the Town and Country Art Fiesta. This was probably 5 or 6 years ago. She shared with me that she was in remission from breast cancer and I could tell then what a fighter she was. She purchased a couple of small prints from me and asked to be put on my mailing list. After that she made a point to come to every local show and open studio event I had. She loved images of doors and windows and it is safe to say that every time I saw her she found a piece she had to have. The funny part was she lost track of the images she already had and on more than one occasion would come back to a show the following day and sheepishly inform me that she already owned the exact photograph she had bought and “could she exchange it for another”.

I always looked forward to seeing Marilyn and was upset when a couple of years ago she shared with me that her cancer had returned and she was going to have to cancel a trip to Europe. She seemed determined that this was just a temporary setback and in no time she would be able to reschedule any plans that may have been postponed because of the new diagnosis.

I wish this story had a happy ending but last year it became apparent that she was losing the battle. The amazing thing was she still came to see me, although this time a friend pushed her around in a wheelchair. And yes – she bought a piece she already had which her friend returned the next day.

In early June as I was getting dressed to go to the Town and Country show, I wondered if I would see Marilyn. I had not heard from her since a Christmas card I received in December so I was not surprised when her friend came to my booth alone. She came to let me know that while Marilyn was still fighting, nobody really expected her to last more than a couple of more weeks. Even when you expect bad news, it’s still hard to hear.

I learned shortly after that visit that Marilyn had passed away. I am still inspired by her passion and refusal to give up. In honor of her memory and her love of animals, my donation this year to the SPCA Auction will be made in her name. Thank you Marilyn for adding just another layer of sweetness to what I do.


Wednesday, July 2, 2008

A couple of weeks ago I was driving to a show in Danville, California, about 2 hours from Sacramento, when my van started acting up. It was stalling when I came to a stop. I drove the entire way in the slow lane – just in case. This was stressful. Since my biggest fear was that it would not start the next morning when I had to set up, I parked it at the show site the night before and got a ride with some friends. I figured as long as I knew I would be able to do the show, I would deal with whatever happened later.

After a sweltering weekend (a whole other story that involves paramedics) I did manage to get it home Sunday night and to the shop on Monday morning. They assured me they would have it in tip top shape before Thursday which was when I had to leave for my show down in La Jolla.

My van is a 1990 Dodge Ram Van with a great stereo. I bought it from another photographer about 5 years ago. He had already built platforms and cubbies for all the paraphernalia needed to do a show. A place for panels, a place for the ez-ups and places perfect for safely getting the art to the final destination. While this van was not the prettiest kid on the block, I took care of it and it got me where I needed to go - until last week.

The shop called to tell me there was no way they could get the part they needed to fix “Big Blue” (one of various pet names this van has been given) before I had to leave on Thursday and even if they could, it probably wasn’t worth putting that kind of money into.

Needless to say I was not prepared for this news. I thought that if I took care of “Van Morrison” and loved him with all his imperfections, he would transport me wherever I needed to go.

I am sad to announce that “Blue Van” will never again fly down the freeway, it’s driver singing along with the tunes coming out of the great stereo, and everything packed tightly in its proper place.

For the rest of the season I will be renting a non- descript, white van, just like everyone else drives. While this may sound boring and dull, it does come with some perks. Power windows, locks and mirrors, a rear view mirror (never knew how handy those were), better gas mileage and a certain sense of security that comes when driving a new vehicle. I don’t know what I will do next year. I really don’t need to make a decision right now. All I know is that I am really glad it started acting up when it did because breaking down on Highway 5 going south toward San Diego would have made me very grumpy.