The Real Intent Behind an Art Show

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There are numerous reasons why artists want to have and be a part of Art Shows. One may be a very simple desire to recoup some of the cost that goes into the making of their creations. Another might be to go beyond that and actually make a profit. Some artists may wish to develop a following, extend their list of collectors. Others desire to receive favorable reviews of their technical expertise. But I have a feeling that most artists and creative folks have a desire and intent underlying all these things.

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I cannot speak for every artist. But as for me, my real intent in having an Art Show is so that you might see what I see. Regardless of whether you walk out of the show with anything in your hands, my desire is that you might get a glimpse of the beauty, joy and wonder that has been found in living an everyday life in an everyday town. Sharing what I make is not about “See what I can do”, but rather “See what I have seen”, and “Revel in the beauty that’s right under our feet.”

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(detail of larger Freeform Crochet Landscape)

Art Shows, museums, exhibits and galleries are meant to be reminders to us all that no matter how bleak life may seem, beauty still exists! If you find yourself fearful in the aftermath of the Paris tragedy, weighed down with personal concerns, heavy hearted with unwelcome news…go find an art showing somewhere. Spend some time taking in how that artist sees his/her world. Let that art speak to you and remind you of what is true, good, and wise. You just might leave with a lighter step, a brighter countenance, and hope for what lies ahead.

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You Are Invited!

Jennifer Edwards

Annual Art Show & Book Signing

Saturday, November 21, 2015

4-7 pm

Southwinds Gallery

West Mountain Street. Kernersville, NC

*21 New Paintings *2 Embroidered Line Drawings *Freeform Crochet Landscape *New Card Sets *Book Signing *and more!

Thankful

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I wonder sometimes if this word may become worn out. Like taffy pulled too thin, or chocolate pie eaten too much, we hear this word bantered around in various ways and forms. It’s always an exhortation, an encouragement, a command to be more thankful for what we have, where we are in life, even to consider being thankful for the not-so-good parts. When we hear something so often we can become calloused to the message, the intent behind the words, and it may go in one ear and out the other.

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And if we do practice a daily awareness of all that we have to be thankful for, we might be left bereft of a language to communicate when we are truly, utterly, grateful beyond words. We may feel we have to resort to saying we are uber-thankful, over-the-top grateful, filled-with-excessive-thanks. A simple thank you ceases to carry the full impact we wish to communicate.

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I find myself in this position after the Art Show that took place here in my little town on Saturday, November 22nd. I’m never prepared for the 3 hour revolving door of friends, family and new supporters. I can’t quite take in that others would want to travel distances to attend the show much less to own a painting or some cards of mine, one of my books, a knitted shawl or cowl. I’m left without words to adequately describe how I feel and thus resort to paint to somehow communicate the bubbling over gratitude that wells up after a show. I am simply…thankful…in all its grand and humbling feelings.

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As human beings our default setting is not thankfulness. Perhaps I generalize too much here. I should say that it is not MY default setting. My default setting tends to be grumbling, not gratitude. And for me, I have to have a daily discipline of searching for things I am thankful for in order to counter the grumbles and hopefully nullify them.

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So I’ll risk overusing this word. I’ll pull it as thin as I possibly can because in doing so, perhaps I’ll see through even the difficult things to the beauty contained therein. I’ll keep eating the chocolate pie of gratitude because it is in doing so that I sense a richness to my life that isn’t there otherwise. I’ll continue painting thankfulness in my everyday life so I can knit into the fibers of my being all the colors, lines, and shapes that make a life worth living.

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May I just say, Thank you? To all who came out for the show. To all who support the art that I am well aware is a gift given to me. To you, dear reader, who tirelessly reads this blog and to those who kindly take time to comment. To all of you…thank you. From the bottom of my grateful heart.

Harvest

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If I look back over this year as if my life were a field that should produce a crop, it appears at first glance to be spare and thin. Surgery in June and its aftermath, from which I’m still recovering, makes me think the bumper crop will be sparse this year and for good reason.

Yet I’ve been looking through my sketchbooks and artwork I’ve made this year in preparation for my upcoming Art Show at Southwinds Gallery. Last year’s show was an epic event that should have proved to me that much rain and storms often yield a bounteous crop! I’ve been marveling, once again, as I prepare for this show, that indeed there has been a profusion of art growing from these fields of creativity I tend. It is humbling. It is head-scratching. How? How has this happened in the midst of what has felt like turmoil?

I really don’t know the answer to that. All I know is that what I thought would be a sparse harvest, actually looks much like the drawing above, made at the Ciener Botanical Gardens this fall…a profusion of color, flora and fauna springing out of much rain and not a few storms.

I’m grateful. This is an understatement. Gratitude to my heavenly Father who is bringing me through a year of difficulty, all the while having planted and sowed such beauty along the way. As I flip through my sketchbooks and look at the pile of knitting and crochet wrought this year, I’m humbled at how I’ve been allowed to create despite the churned soil and wretched storms.

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It occurs to me, as it has in the past, that each and every drawing I make, is a chronicling of something I’m grateful for. It is putting down on paper, a visual recounting, of what I find beautiful in my life. Wow…there really is A LOT that is beautiful. And I don’t often realize this truth unless I stop and view the harvest.

It is my hope that this post does not seem self-congratulating in any way. Oh dear, it really could be perceived in that light. My intention is to confess to you that my natural tendency is to view my life as meager, sparse, UNDERwhelming, UNexciting, and thin. I realize time and time again, that this gift of art could quite possibly have been granted me for no other reason than to reveal to ME the breath-catching beauty that is all around me in my life no matter the circumstances…to show ME that the yield of a life is not measured in huge accomplishments but in the day to day small things that add up to a satisfying harvest. This is a lesson I seem to have to learn over and over and over again. Truly humbling.

This makes me excited about the art show this year! Especially since I get to share it with my dear friend and fellow artist Debbie Schiappa! She and I have, for a few years now, drawn together on Friday mornings in and around Kernersville. We will be showcasing some of our drawings and paintings of our town along with other artworks of various kinds. Saturday, November 22nd from 4-7 will be a wonderful day to view just some of the harvest from each of our year’s crop. I would love for you to join us there!!

It will truly be a harvest celebration!

A Harvest of Art

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Every year, during our annual Art Show at the school where I teach, parents and others say to me, “You did a wonderful job!” To which I always reply, “Our students are truly amazing artists. They have made beautiful pieces of art this year!”

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I’m not trying to deflect a compliment where a compliment is due. It’s just that I truly don’t feel that I have all that much to do with the exquisite art on display. Yes, I, and several others, prepped the artwork and hung it all up. Many others created the delightful reception we enjoy while looking at the 600+ pieces of art hanging on panels and displayed on tables. But I just can’t take credit for the actual art itself.

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One of the beauties of teaching at Redeemer School is getting to be a teacher in the philosophical environment which underpins what we do. One of the philosophies we try to live out as teachers, is that we, ourselves, are not the pinnacle of the classroom. We, the teachers, are not the disseminators of information. Rather, the subject itself, is what we ALL are there to learn from and about. I think of my role as Art Teacher much like a gardener. I have in each of my classrooms a certain number of seeds (the students), in which reside all the things necessary for creativity. It is inherent in each and every child, whether they are Kindergartners or 8th graders. The only thing I do is create an environment for that seed to grow. A little watering here. A lot of sunshine there. A basic trellis made up of the elements of design and a bit of color theory. And very, very, very little pruning, if any at all, since these are such young seedlings, and we really don’t know at this point, what each seed will grow to be. My job as an art teacher is to create a nurturing environment for seeds of all sorts to grow, explore, expand and discover in their unique creative capacities.

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An Art Show is like a harvest of sorts. As a gardener, I get to stand back and view the fruits of our labor. It is truly breathtaking to see it all up at the same time. I myself only get to see these works in their finished state briefly in the classroom setting, right before I tuck them away for safekeeping for the show. We save all their art from the beginning of the school year. And this is only the art they create in my classroom. Art is so infused in the basic curriculum across all grade levels at our school, that the amount of art students create throughout their days there is truly staggering!

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I wish I had taken close-up pictures of individual work. These photos were taken prior to the show. We have many who like to come see the artwork before the huge crowd gets in there. I must admit that I was simply overwhelmed at the tremendous work these kids did. So many of these pieces should be in a museum somewhere! Now THAT would be an art museum I would surely go to!! A museum dedicated to children’s artwork from around the world! Wouldn’t that be stunning? Our show was like that. I always feel it’s a shame to have to take it down so soon.

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I like to put art quotes up around the perimeter of the show. I always hope that folks will read them. I leave you today with a couple of the quotes, this one by Charlotte Mason, whose philosophy of education is the foundation for our school:

 “All beautiful and noble possibilities are present in everyone.”

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And this one, I love, by Frederich Nietzche:

“The essence of all beautiful art, all great art, is gratitude.”

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The Big “Ball-Drop”: A Key to Artful Living

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When the ball dropped in Times Square, ushering in the New Year, I had a brief moment of clarity. It then proceeded to leave the forefront of my mind until now, as I stand fully rooted into 2014 and finding I am unable to juggle all the balls in my life.

There are so many! A few of them, I never really let go of at all. Nor do I want to. The balls of “wife”, “mother”, “family” are always in play, as they should be. But then there is “teaching”, “house upkeep”, “drawing my life”, “Friday drawing”, “blogging”, “knitting”, “drawing Genevieve”, “walking”, “book signings”, “Etsy Shoppe Management”, and I’m sure others. But I’ll stop there for now. That alone, just looking at all those balls, makes me tired.

What blitzed into my head on New Year’s Eve, was that this needed to be the year I hone the skill of ball dropping. To somehow let one or two balls (maybe more!) drop to the ground in order to hold onto and juggle well the ones I have in my hands. Then, at a later time, when a couple of balls are not in play, I can pick them up and start juggling with them again.  A big ball I begin to add into the juggle mix in January of every year, is prep for our Art Show at the school where I teach. I’m letting a few balls drop for at least a week or more to see this one through to its finish without collapsing (or landing in the hospital!).

So I’ve chosen a couple of balls I will let drop for the next month or so. One of them is “blogging”. I will see you all on the other side of the school Art Show! And of course, I will share our amazing evening of art at Redeemer School with you, which will be held February 13th. (If you click on that link to our school’s website, you can view a little video about our school. You’ll also see my students painting and drawing, and a tiny little interview of me and many other teachers. 😉

Til then, I hope you are able to set down a ball or two if you need it, like I do, so that you can move through life a bit more gracefully and sane!

Beyond Imagination

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In the daze (days) following Saturday’s Book Signing and Art Show, I haven’t quite known how to blog about the event. From almost the moment I walked into Southwinds Gallery at 3:45 until I stepped out the door at 6:15, it was at the same time– a blur AND a piercingly memorable evening. I had planned on getting lots of pictures. My husband and I, the gallery owner, and others were so busy we only got a few pics from the event. The above pic was taken by my brother in law…thank you Richard!! That’s my husband Randy peeking over my shoulder. 🙂 I’ll share with you the others I have:

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My arms were full as I walked into the gallery, bringing boxes of both books, Genevieve cards and prints. Already there, was a dear friend and fellow artist from Reidsville, who had driven 40 minutes to come to the show. Any jitters I might’ve had prior to arriving at the show, were seriously calmed seeing Teresa (on the right of my daughter Maddie). She has been a huge encouragement to me both in friendship and in all things creative. After just a few minutes of hello and getting books and such settled, more people began trickling in. My parents, a few friends and some local folks relieved my fear that I might be standing around twiddling my thumbs for two hours.

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But by 4:15 I was anchored to the counter signing books. With the exception of one or two dashes from my signing spot to hug a neck or two, I stood there, writing away. The din of happy voices, laughter, people milling and having a good time was music to my ears. I truly could not believe what was happening.

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Friends and family from so many different walks of my life had made their way to this event. I really wish I had photographs of these dear people to share with you. The memory of them, however, is permanently planted in my heart and mind.  There were friends from Boone days…growing up there and attending Appalachian State University. Several artist friends came out for it too! Also, my knitting friends from 2008 and after came … each not knowing the others were coming.  Friends from church, neighbors, and local Kernersville folks, some of whom I had never met before. Family from Pittsboro. Friends who had moved away from Kernersville in recent years.  All were happily milling around, looking at artwork, catching up with each other, enjoying the food and beverage, and waiting for me to sign their books.

A fellow Kernersville resident and crochet friend of mine, Tammy Hildebrand, is an internationally-known crochet designer. I was humbled and delighted that she would come out for the show, and I enjoyed catching up with her and hearing about her TWO new crochet books coming out in the new year!

At one point as I was madly signing, I looked up to see a sweet face I recognized.  Even though I had only known her as an online friend through Everyday Matters, my blog and Facebook, I immediately recognized her and couldn’t believe she had driven all the way from Galax, VA to come to the show! Deborah Alexander made my night as we finally got to meet face to face. I only wish I had had time to talk with her more!

I wish I could have done that with everyone … to really chat and catch up with each one! But my delight in seeing everyone and meeting new faces while signing books was not dimmed one bit! At 5:45 Angie (the owner of the gallery) and I began to breathe a bit. Then in walks Mr. Whicker with his lady friend (as he calls her:).  I couldn’t believe he actually came out for this. It was a delight to talk with him for a few minutes and show him the paintings of his farm and field where I love to paint. I do so wish I had a picture to share with you. By this point I think my brain was fried!

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As I walked out of the gallery that evening, I had very little in my hands but my heart was filled to overflowing. The success of an Art Show/Book Signing is typically determined by sales. And though I am overwhelmed and delighted by the generosity of so many, I actually determine the success of a show by the number of faces.  I woke the next morning with face after face of dear folks and newly made friends marching across my memory. I got up in the wee hours and went to write down their names, even if it was only their first name I could remember.  I would say this show goes down in my memory history books as one beyond my imagination!!  Thank you to each and every one of you who were able to make it out for this show! The love and support I experienced and carry with me is beyond comprehension. Merci de mon coeur à tous!

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If you were unable to make the show and would still like to see the artwork or pick up a book or two, feel free to go by Southwinds Gallery! Angie has it all up for a little while longer, and this lovely gallery will be the permanent home for Genevieve and the Kite and Letters to an Artist.

Thank you again. For everything!

You’re Invited!

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For the first time in many years, I will have artwork represented by a gallery!! I am so very excited about this upcoming Book Signing and Art Show!! Please consider yourself INVITED!! And come out for a grand time at Southwinds Gallery in Kernersville, NC! Bring your kids, family and friends!! Here’s what’s on tap for the show:

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I’ll be signing copies of Genevieve and the Kite, a perfect Christmas gift for someone on your list.

It’s perfect for children, but also for the older kids at heart!

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All my cards and prints of Genevieve will be there for sale as well!

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I am SO excited about the ART SHOW part of this event! Angela Jarman, the owner of Southwinds Gallery, has chosen lots of my drawings and paintings of Kernersville!! It will really be something to see them up on the walls, available for sale! This one here is of our local Bistro B. Nearly ALL of these paintings and drawings were created on site, meaning that I drew and/or painted them while sitting right there! This one of outside the Bistro B restaurant is no exception. The alley with all their tables and chairs is a beautiful spot for drawing.  Other drawings and paintings are from the Factory, the Ciener Botanical Gardens, Harmon Park, and my favorite field and farm here on Silver Dapple Lane by Mr. Whicker’s farm.

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AND…if all goes well with the postal service, I will also have my soon-to-be-published book, Letters to an Artist!! I’ll sign these as well.

So, all in all, it should be a grand event, fun for everyone!!

Mark your calendars…Saturday, November 23rd, 4-6 pm.

I’d love to see you there!

Trumpet Call Announcement!

Hear Ye! Hear Ye!

An Art Show to help a Garden Grow!

Thursday, November 29th 4-8 pm

Featuring Artists from the Triad area

(one of whom is ME!)

Put it on your calendar to come enjoy wine, hors d’oeuvres and music while browsing fine art & craft for your holiday shopping! Entrance cost is $10, and a portion of anything purchased goes to continuing the growth of our Ciener Botanical Gardens!

It has been a loooonnnngg time since I’ve done something like this and I’m soooo excited! I do hope to meet many of you at this lovely event! I will be featuring my drawings and paintings of downtown Kernersville, as well as offering Genevieve Cards and Prints.

This is a one evening event! Please come by and say hello!

For your invitation and ALL the details of this event, click below!

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**Several of my works created on location at the Gardens and downtown Kernersville area will be displayed and offered for sale!  The above drawing of Angel Trumpets was created while sitting at the Ciener Botanical Gardens drawing and enjoying the flowering purple basil next to it!

A Wonder-Ful Evening

Hang onto your hats…fasten your seatbelts…be prepared to feast your eyes on some incredible artwork by the students of Redeemer School.  Our music teacher’s wife took these photographs and wow! They are works of art in themselves…so…

The evening began quietly as parents and students attended a brief meeting.

Artfully delicious food awaited…

Windows and tables were bedecked with art…


And they began to come in…

Soon the place was packed…

They came to see their student’s artwork created from the beginning of our schoolyear…

They came to see collages…

And Zentangles…

And clay works…

And bowls made from cereal boxes…

And fish made from empty water bottles…

And so, so much more…

But the stars of the show were the students and their families…

The wonder on their faces…

The comraderie of fellow artists…

The musicians who played beautiful music in the background…

And the smiles of a shared love of art…

As their Art Teacher, I could not have asked for more.

Thank you students.  Thank you Hazel.  Thank you Linda. Thank you Janice and Pinkney and so many others who helped hang the show.  And thank you to all the dads who helped break it down at the end of the evening.  I hated to see it come down so soon…it was truly Wonder-fulllll!!!