This past weekend was the opening reception for Archway Gallery's 3rd Annual Juried Competition. It was SO much fun.
The Amazing Reese and I got there relatively on time, which gave us time to take the requisite photo of the painting and me posing in a gallery setting. Expecting a crowd, the gallery very wisely had fans positioned throughout the space in order to facilitate air flow, which lent itself to more than one Marilyn Monroe moment with my full skirt.
The juror for the show was Bert Long, a Houstonian and internationally acclaimed artist. As stated before, I've long been an admirer of his. When Archway Gallery sent out the artist call for this show, the main reason I entered was so that Bert Long would see my work. Then when "Cottonwood" was selected, I was beside myself because here, finally, was my opportunity to meet Bert Long.
(Can you tell how excited I am? That's Bert Long!) Devotedly, I followed him around like a puppy dog waiting for the opportunity to introduce myself and thank him for selecting my work for the show. Had I been an actual puppy, it would have looked like my tail was wagging, but that was just the gallery wind blowing up my skirt.
I'd like to think that we became fast friends the moment we met, but the grown up in me knows better. He very graciously spent some quality time with me talking about the painting, the technique, the brush strokes, etc., and how he selected "Cottonwood" not only because it's worthy on its own today, but because he sees promise in my artistic future. (!) The critique was very humbling and affirming at the same time.
The gallery had the right idea about the fans. The opening reception was absolutely packed. Several groups of our friends came out in support. It was wonderful to see everyone enjoying the art -- not just "Cottonwood", but the whole show. Bert Long did a fantastic job of selecting the pieces in the exhibit, showcasing artistic skill, heart, soul, messages, and variety -- lots of variety.
It just so happens that Bert Long and I have mutual friends, he's a neighbor of some of our long time friends, and I'm a neighbor of one of his long time friends. Of course, as this was pointed out to him, he briefly and silently studied me, peering over his glasses, like he couldn't decide if I was crazy or not. (I'm not -- really.) Bert Long didn't know it, but we've been one degree of separation for years.
The delightful evening wouldn't have been possible without the Amazing Reese. Not only is he adorable arm candy, without his supportive enthusiasm, it wouldn't have occurred to me to consider being an artist as a "career". It's incredible to think that all of this has happened in the last six years. (And that Bert Long talked about my FUTURE as an artist! So cool.) Thanks, Amazing husband Reese.
At the end of the evening, the very approachable Bert Long, with a little nudge from his lovely companion, Joan Batson, agreed to pose with me in front of "Cottonwood". I couldn't have been happier.