Sunday, July 26, 2009

Our June Artshow Trip
10 Days - 6 states - 2000+ miles AND Tons of smiling faces

On Our Trip.............The major highlight of the trip for me came in from of 2 encounters, one with a fellow artist and one with a new client...It was the last day of our shows on the OBX when this lovely lady approached our booth "oohing" and "ahhing" over our Gallery Edition pieces..........After viewing just about every piece, She was strongly attracted to a pair of perfect vivid aqua English sea glass earrings and a classical fine silver set multi fine set pendant.........within 2 hours she must have come back 2 or 3 times, the last time trying on both and making a purchase..........While we were concluding the transaction, she shared with me that she had lost her husband, a tear moistening the corner of her eyes,,,,,,,I of course, replied with the usual "I am so sorry"....having lost my father to cancer not so long ago, I was very aware of the grieving process and know that sometimes people just need to talk about losing someone close to them.............You could tell she wanted to share but hesitated as we had just meet.............As you see, we had become close in a short time chatting while she was looking over our creations............

Later in the day, a group of 4 ladies come up to the booth with much excitement ready to purchase some jewelry like her friend had.............One lady picked out pieces for the ladies that were not coming to the show. You see they were a group of lifelong friends that were celebrating a "50" party.....All having turned 50 years young in the last year. Most had been friends since childhood with newer ones coming aboard as school and college years came and went, but they were a group of steadfast friends that had shared births, deaths, marriages divorces,,,,,,the group numbered over 10! I thought of how lucky they were to have had so may friends for so many years. The Aqua Earring Sea Glass Lovely Lady who had lead them there soon appeared sporting her new earrings and beaming.......My hubby commented with a Billy Crystal type comment (meant with all good intentions) of "You Look Fabulous", or Beautiful or something liked that...He later mentioned that he saw her tear up when he said this and that he was a bit stunned..... thinking he may have said something wrong............

I Came to find out from her friend that she had indeed lost her husband in the 9/11 attract on the Pentagon in Washington. A career officer serving his country - at last from a desk and no longer in combat (ironically his wife probably worried more about his commute to the office)... he was instantly killed when the plane hit the pentagon on that clear and lovely September morning,,, leaving our lovely aqua sea glass lady husband-less and his 3 children fatherless.......Forever! The tear my hubby witnessed may have been from a line her hubby said to her or just the sheer fact a man was saying she looked lovely,,,,,,but as a stalwart man on hearing my recount, my Jim was moved to tears as well.On hearing this I was immediately broke to tears and confided in her friend that I was glad her friend did not share it directly as I would have broke down and cried like a baby......she said that her friend had come back so thrilled and happy with her aqua and end of day jewelry purchase that they all were moved to come and get a piece of their own....

The Second Encounter - Later in the day when we were slowly closing down and I stopped to talk to the "famous" Chicken Lady,,,, an artist that features colorful graphic chickens in her large scale paintings...... I had stopped by her booth many times to admire her vivid and moving work and never questioned just why I liked it so much... It was BOLD, Inventive, totally different, but there was some other quality that attracted me to the paintings....

On this casual trip I noticed that she had posted a calligraphy framed explanation titled "Why Do You Paint Chickens"...on reading it I was moved again to tears for the 2nd time that day...I cannot recall the EXACT words.

After a failed marriage, careers and the loss of her most favorite person in the world, her older cousin (whom she had always aspired to be) along with 2 other cousins in an 18 wheeler accident that tragically took all their lives. , she found herself wallowing at her South Carolina country home, stomping the ground, crying to the heavens about how horrible everything was, how unfair to have her cousins taken so short of a full life, why didn't god take her instead of her wonderful exuberant favorite cousin, commiserating in her failed marriage, overweight, miserable, she said she stomped the red clay ground asking why were things so unfair and asking the heaven's what to do,tears streaming down her face she heard CLEARLY in her head, "Why not paint chickens?????"..............dumbfounded,,,, and doubting her own sanity, she glanced around at her Guinea hens all staring at her in her tirade,,, and the only thing she could think of was,,, "WHY NOT"...............

Believe it or not this began a new career of painting marvelous, whimsical yet, somehow serious chicken paintings...She has been featured in Southern Living several times, won numerous awards, and is a delight to share time with...The thing that really stuck with me is she told me she put that sign up because people continuously asked her "WHY DO YOU PAINT CHICKENS?.............", she turned to me after recounted all of this very personal, very emotional history and said, you know every artist has a reason why they do what they do",,,,,Why do you work with Sea Glass?"................HUM, I thought,,, Why do I work with sea glass.............I mean it has been a good 18 years and thousands of pounds what seems like a million pieces made and sold, but have I ever bothered to ask myself why,,,,,,,,,????????I thought for a moment and answered with something like,,, Well, I was attracted to sea glass because it was something that people had discarded, something left for trash, that time and nature made into something beautiful... I have always been attracted to found object art whether it was sculptural metal from junkyards, or otherwise.......And then I remembered my 9/11 Aqua sea glass lovely lady that lite up so much upon being complimented on her earrings..."well I said, though I am a bit jaded to sea glass having acquired so much of it and sold it for so long, I still see how it effects people,,,,,,,,,,,,, now granted I am not "new agey" in any way, but something about sea glass sooths people, and I am glad I can pass that along...Well, I was stunned with my eloquence, but thought of these 2 encounters on the 1100 mile trip all the way home. One woman who lite up brighter than the aqua sea glass she had purchased from me and one that asked my "Why"... Why do you do it?I want to thank both of these beautiful amazing ladies for making my trip the best!

Madison Latimer - From her backyard/barnyard, Madison Latimer paints stories of creation, disappointment, and survival. "Me and the chickens celebrate life every day. If ya'll are hearing something laughing and it's not you, trust me, it's just us chickens dancing and singing in the barnyard." - Madison Latimer
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