I’m sitting here at Delurk, the artist-run gallery in Winston-Salem, NC working my Sunday afternoon shift. As I look at this painting of mine hanging on the off-white brick wall, bathed in warm light, I think about how it came to be.
I was at a place where I was unsure of my palette, and what textures I wanted to paint next. I was in the studio on a warm spring morning, just messing around with paint, when Jeff walked in, on his way back in from having a cigarette out on the loading doc, cradling something in his hands. He held it out to me and said, “Look what I brought you…!”
I peered into his outstretched hands. It was a moth, with soft powdery wings of various browns and beiges, slow, on the verge of death, too tired to fly away. I gasped at the beauty of it. He gingerly set it on my table next to my easel, patiently waiting while it stepped off his fingers and onto the edge of a book.
I was mesmerized; It was gorgeous! I studied the lines, the colors, the textures–warm beige fading into dark dark browns and dots of soft powdery white. I stepped up to my easel and palette and began mixing the colors I saw on the moth. I applied them to the canvas, smoothing and blending, and scraping off at times.
The next morning the moth was dead and gone when we arrived at the studio but I continued working on the painting that was inspired by this beautiful, magical creature and the wonderful man who brought it to me.
“I think it’s done,” Jeff declared a couple weeks later when I stepped back to evaluate my work.
It was May of 2012. It was the last painting I did before Jeff’s death.
That spring and summer I saw more moths than I’ve ever experienced in my life. It was like they came to visit me silently in our studio, sent there magically somehow by Jeff to let me know that everything was going to be all right.
My latest show opened on Friday, March 4th during Winston-Salem Art District’s monthly gallery hop. Delurk Gallery became the temporary home for some of my most beloved objects.
My paintings (still life and abstracts) were combined with installations, recreating familiar moments in a grandparent’s home–like playing on a knit quilt the floor as a child, viewing vintage and antique items arranged in an heirloom glass door shelf, or the surreal scenario of self as a clown in front of a dressing table.
The items brought the viewer back to a familiar past; the paintings activated their imaginations. A group of young men stood around, intently examining each one of my paintings and discussing them, sharing what stories were conjured in their minds when they looked at my work.
A couple of women commented on my painting of a clown toy, asking if the bells on his pants were strategically placed by me–they were amused by what the placement made them think of. They thought it was playful and fun.
I was delighted by the number of people who looked and smiled, reminiscing. Many read my statement, nodding unselfconsciously, and connecting with my sentiment. People were loving my work and asking who the artist was, eager to meet me, ask questions, and share their reactions. It was overwhelmingly positive. I felt like a star!
I recently joined Delurk Gallery, an artist run gallery in Winston-Salem, NC. Friday was the first opening reception that I participated in with them. The art district’s monthly Gallery Hop is on the first Friday of every month and Delurk has a new show each month with the opening reception coinciding with the Gallery Hop.
It was a rainy windy evening with the threat of hurricane Joaquin headed our way. Although the weather cut down on the number of visitors we had, it gave us Delurkers time to chat and get to know each other. What a great group of people! I’m really excited to be a part of it–an established gallery with a group of strong artists dedicated to a common goal, working together to make things happen. And they’re all making amazing artwork!
After the few dedicated Gallery Hoppers, undaunted by the weather, cleared out, we turned out the lights, closed up shop and decided to go have a beer upon the suggestion of a new friend and fellow gallery member.
We headed down to Single Brothers, a cozy local pub. I was told that they’re known for their delicious mixed drinks and local beers on tap. We got our drinks and headed for a table out on their patio. Sitting outside under their curagated metal roof so engrossed in conversation over delicious pumpkin flavored drafts, we finally noticed the wind getting stronger, the rain pouring down harder and the temperature dropping; we decided it was time to bid farewell and go home.