Sunday, November 12, 2006


Vista Lights is next Thursday, November 16 from 5 PM until 10PM. It is a big, annual fall event in Columbia's downtown area known as "The Vista". All the galleries, shops, and restaurants stay open late and start to celebrate the coming holiday season. Gervais Street is blocked off and there is generally live music. Each year, Vista Studios selects a "theme" for our art show. The title for 2006 is "New Crop: Art and Artists."

I could be polite and vague and mention no names, but this is my blog and these are my impressions. I'll just "tell the truth".

Laura Spong insisted that our show feature the two newest members of Vista Studios, Stephen Chelsey and Jeff Donovan. Of course I voted for these two artists to join our group. They are both my friends. Stephen Chesley is my mentor and has taught me too many valuable "art lessons" to list. I own one of Stephen's pieces and four of Jeff's. Jeff is one of the nicest people I've ever known. We have a personal friendship and an art conservator/framers relationship to boot. Yet, I absolutely do not think that our show should feature two members apart from the group. This idea is totally Laura's. Laura is nearly 81 years old, so I can understand how and why others go along with her opinions.

Anyway, The Carolina Arts article makes it clear enough. This is the "Jeff and Stephen" show, though neither of these artists were particularly keen on the idea. Stephen didn't even know this was being done! It is contrary to his creative approach anyway. Why did Laura do this? Well, she's just thrilled that two artists (especially Stephen) have joined the group. She thinks that their reputations will bring in lots of interested buyers and help sell more art work, especially hers. She thinks she's doing them a favor by featuring them above everyone else.

I decided not to deal with the situation at all. I planned my "themed" pieces to be hung on the wall outside my studio--not in the main gallery or even in the atrium. Each hallway is generally hung with pieces from those artists whose doors open onto that hall. I got permission from Stephen, Sharon, Robert, and Heidi for our hall. This is where I hung my Growth Series. I finished them on Friday and hung them that evening before going to Wim Roefs new gallery opening on Lincoln Street.

Frankly, I think they look perfectly suited to this wall. I'm not overly mad about the series or any one of the pieces. Yet, I do feel good that I found a way to both "participate" in the theme and "non-participate" in the show. Thus, the show can still be the "Jeff and Stephen" show and I can still be part of Vista Lights. It is a win-win situation!

Alex went to a USC basketball game on Friday. I had a great time at Wim's opening and met some nice people. I even had a fantastic conversation with one of my embroidery idols, Lee Malerich. Steve was in DC. In fact, Steve went to the Kennedy Center to hear the National Symphony and said it was a fabulous performance. The next day, Saturday, he went to the second of the antiquarian book auctions and was able to buy three lots. One is a good grouping of botanicals. One was a group of three ancient ruin engravings. The last lot was the best. SHELLS. We now own the best 18th c. shells we've ever had. I was truly floored by their size, detail, color, and beauty. They are fantastic. He drove home by 8 PM and I even cooked dinner. (He called on his cell phone every few minutes with OSU and Michigan football scores!)

Today, Sunday, was a busy one for Alex. He had "strike" at Trustus theater and then we set up his tree at the State Museum. He was assigned a prime location for his tree, right in the main entry hall. Nutcracker rehearsal went on then until past 7 PM. I spent the day in my studio. Between Saturday and Sunday, I finished over 30 single pages in the Life Everlasting Series. They look great. They will be in my studio for Vista Lights. I'm almost totally ready!

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