Forces of Nature
The Maitland Art and History Museums‘ annual fundraiser “Participation” was last weekend, what a wild ride! First of all, the day started out with threats of rain and inclement weather, according to Doug’s weather widget on his fancy iPhone. “Maybe it will blow through by evening.” I said, ever positive. As the day progressed, the sky got darker, the widget threatened thunder and lightening… but it was early. We didn’t have to be at our tables awaiting dinner guests until 6:00pm.
I had volunteered to do a Creation Station after dinner, which would allow guests to participate in the art. Oh boy did my tennis (collage) elbow really flare up after drawing and painting 60 small Irises on bristol board to bring with me to the event. The idea was for guests to collage on top of the paintings, just as I do in my own work. I had tiny glue pots, collage papers, and a handful of brushes ready to go.
Despite optimism and wishful thinking, by 2:00 pm our phones and the radio in the car were blaring the alert signal of the Emergency Weather Service as we were advised to take cover immediately in a room with no windows, preferably in the center of the house, and to cover ourselves in blankets and comforters for protection from flying debris. A tornado warning for Seminole and Orange counties.
Could this get any worse? The curator emailed all artists to say that the Dinner Affair was still on, but due to the weather, the Creation Stations were off. Oh my, what in the world am I going to do with all those painted irises? (We all know I can use the glue and the brushes in the travel bag to keep me busy on upcoming flights.)
Tree of Life
As many of you followed the progress of my Tree of Life centerpiece on my Facebook photo album, you know it had come together and was pretty much ready to roll a few days prior. Around 4:00pm I backed the car up as close as I could get it to the garage so as to get the Tree of Life in without much water damage. I was dodging puddles at least 3-inches deep with rain. “I can’t believe they are still going to do this.” Doug said to me. “I hope you have sensible shoes on, so you can walk on wet grass.” “What? Sensible? And compromise my fashion?” I picked a pair of purple Fluevogs with chunky heels. Let’s be realistic.
We pulled up to the tent that covered all of the dinner tables behind Maitland Art Center and were met by the curator and her umbrella. “Your table is right here in front Elizabeth.” she told me as water cascaded into my car window. Doug and I opened the hatch and ran out with the Tree, trying to dodge the running water that was rolling down Packwood Avenue. Good thing I have a very short hair style that rain won’t ruin, I was thinking right as I stepped into the middle of that running water. Maybe that will clean the wine droplets off my shoes that I noticed on the way here…. I thought to myself
Mixing and Mingling
Doug took shots of the other artists’ AMAZING table centerpieces and I set up my tree by adding the Winter Park Magazine copies with my work on the cover, and clothes lines of tiny tidbits of colored paper extending out from the Tree branches and the edge of the table.
Cherie Dacko and I stood around chatting with Jeff Shonkwiler from Florida Artists Registry and marveled over her centerpiece. Cherie asked me if I was still working in my tiny backyard studio and I told her that I was, indeed. “Your studio kind of inspired me to create this little cottage in my centerpiece, “ she shared. “Wow!” I was flattered. Cherie and Doug talked about how he had wet the sidewalk and shot the photo of my studio in twilight, so that it had a magical fairy tail aura about it.
Suzanne Oberholtzer made her centerpiece and her headpiece from paper, and I loved it! She said her headpiece was one-of-a-kind. I told her she needed to make me one too! Derek Gores set up his table with magazines and Elmers glue, trying to get his guests to try their hand at his style of collage. Andrew Spear’s line art made me want to tear it up (And I mean that in the most complimentary way Andrew.) Kevin Haran collaged a jet that sat atop of his paintings, and Marla E’s work was the most fun for Doug to photograph. (Me, I wished I had a roll of papers and some crayons so I could do some texture rubbings on it.) How fun it was to be amongst so many creative people!
As Doug was shooting photos of art and tables and I was finishing setting up my own, something wonderful happened. Call it the power of positive thinking, call it good Karma, call it what you will… but the rain stopped, the sun came out, and the storm blew over. By 6:00pm when the guests were arriving, it was a little damp but spirits were high and people were happy to be arriving! Great fashion and fun people were coming in and finding their tables, chatting with the artists and appreciating the centerpieces.
Voci Dance provided dancers with amazing costumes and quite creative entertainment both before and during dinner. I loved their parasols and wondered if I could pull off carrying one. Hmmmm……
A Night to Remember
At Participation, the food was good, the entertainment was great, the patrons were amazing. After dinner we went over to the gallery to participate in the silent auction. After all, I had to be sure that my donated piece was being bid on! Just as Doug was telling someone nearby that we had no more wall space, I put a bid in on the BIGGEST piece in the auction. I smiled at him from afar, a wicked grin that he knew meant trouble. There was only one woman who bid against me, back and forth and back and forth… we were at war. I was determined to have this amazing collaborative wood block print. I had seen them created at Culture Pop last month, a steam roller pressing the paper on huge carved blocks covered in black ink, right on Packwood Avenue!
And then she told me her story. “My husband and I, it’s our one-year wedding anniversary. We decided to purchase a piece of original artwork every year in celebration of it.” Oh my goodness, just SHOOT ME. How could I take that from her? I acquiesced and told her that it was her story and her eternal matrimonial connection to original art that moved me. I let her make the final bid, two minutes before the end. “Hey, at least you drove the price up for the Art Center.” Doug said, as he breathed a sigh of relief.
I just love Johhny and Cathy Sandifer, they have supported the Art and History Museums over many years. They have purchased artwork through me and at auctions to support the Museum. Cathy and I clicked the first time we met. “Hey, you look like me!” Bells Palsy has struck both of us. “Together we have two good sides of one face.” Cathy said to me after she learned that she and Johnny would be taking my Cherry Blossoms piece home with them. (See the Cherry Blossoms in progress here.)
Well, positive thinking says you just have to make the best of every situation.
That’s my story and I’m sticking too it. Right Cathy?
Click on any of Douglas Nelson Photography’s photos to enlarge.
visit his Facebook page for more images: Facebook.com/DouglasNelsonPhotography
for being a part of my