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  • Writer's pictureApril Gavin

Art leads to more art + Open Studios

Updated: Sep 26, 2023

Shortly after my last post, my friend Bill euthanized his dog Stella. She was in her teens and had a tumor on her spine. I asked for pictures and had my pick of delightful photos.

So why did I choose this one? For those of you who have ever owned a dog, you probably know without me telling you. It's the expectant look on the face; the tail in almost ready to wag pose; the front paws on the floor - all of which say "I'm ready for my walk now." I think I captured it ok. Stella had some terrier in her and I think I captured that ok too.

No sooner than I had mailed this gift to Bill in Portland, my friend Eve needed to euthanize her dog Tilly.

Sometimes our dearest friends like Stella leave us suddenly and sometimes they slowly fall apart everywhere like Tilly. I asked Eve for a picture and she sent the one she had on her. Tilly hated having her picture taken so this one photo was all I had to go with.

What could I do - there's no facial expression to capture. There's no knowing look to the eye that invites the viewer to look closer. What I hope I captured is the spirit of the moment. Two friends who are obviously comfortable enough to relax together. The cat seems to be guarding her friend. What challenged me the most artistically was the shadows near Tilly's face and how the cat's fur rest on the bed.

And because one thing leads to another and art leads to more art, I went for another challenge. I entered a poster contest for an early childhood literacy conference. The contest asked for the golden light that happens this time of year, that October-ish feel, and a child reading.

My friend Erin's daughter Melody loves to read. According to Erin, getting Melody OUT of the library requires strategic maneuvers AND a wheelbarrow to cart out all the books. I was spoiled for choice this time and more than one photo was extremely powerful. A picture of a girl or woman reading is a very powerful image for me, but it's especially powerful when the little girl isn't even three years old yet.

The painting captures faithfully the absorption and how her eyes track the words. It captures how her hands grip the book like it's a precious object. I did make her a little older and of ambiguous race. She sits in mountain pose against the backdrop of the east bay hills. The pumpkins delight in the story. The color palette was mine - the warm golds against the light purple and held down by an earthly green.

I didn't win this contest, but I love the work itself. I loved making the work. Winning was secondary.

OPEN STUDIOS AGAIN! Early head's up that East Bay Open Studios is happening December 2nd + 3rd from 11-5. I will have fresh journals for sale and some fresh art. It might be the last one I do for awhile.

The beginning of 2023 felt hijacked and reminded me that I need to be more mindful of the people who steal our time and give nothing of value in return. It's an object lesson in not giving others power over us. I mention this because I'm setting my art goals for 2024. They will be different than in prior years. Once they're set, I'll post them here. Stay tuned until next time.

1 comentário

Christl Michele
Christl Michele
25 de set. de 2023

Wow… all these paintings have your signature heart force in them but in your Stella you nailed textures, shadows, shading, and especially her expression. I’m always in awe of and delighted by your artistic bravery. Looking forward to reading about and being inspired by your 2024 art goals!

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