Monday, July 30

True peace

8:30a.m. As my family set off to the south for church yesterday morning, I headed north to St. Michaels. I was looking forward to the day ahead of me as I was to be a volunteer at the Annual Easton Plein Air Competition. I was headed for Hemmersley Farm where the artists had already started setting up easels, canvasses and squeezing out paints... most likely having already decided on their inspirations.
I crossed the Choptank bridge into Trappe, drove around a bend and came to an abrupt stop behind a line of idling cars. Ambulances, Rescue vehicles, and State Police were starting to speed by. I settled in for the wait and started praying for the accident victims and rescue workers. Surprisingly just 15 minutes or so later they started letting the traffic crawl by. I found this hopeful for the victim or victims. Until I inched up on the scene. The body laid out on the road was lifeless and my heart skipped with the realization. My prayers changed to pleas of compassion for the family of the man, who I imagined were at that moment drinking coffee thinking all was well. Man knows not the day or time of his last breath. We kiss our loved ones goodbye carelessly, not realizing it may well be... Goodbye.
I traveled onto my destination, praying for his family, for mine - for mercy- with Thanksgiving.

9:00a.m. I pull into the farm lane and park under a shade tree. Walking up a path surrounded by meadow I head toward a twin- peaked tent under which a bluegrass band is already warming up. The caterer's servers are calling out to one another and making last minute decisions on set-up. There is a wonderful breeze blowing off the Miles River and the sky is overcast. I'm hopeful that the much needed rain holds off for a few more hours.

My friend, Laura, pulls her van up to unload yet more easels that will be used to auction off the day's creativity at this fund-raiser. She tells me she, too, started praying for this accident victim's family as she passed the scene on her way here. We both feel God had us where we were at that time to keep that poor guy's family lifted up to Him.

Now, though it seems at this point that the day would be pulled down by a sinking heart, it was really quite the opposite. I felt so grateful to be alive in the midst of such beautiful Creation! I felt the presence of the Lord was all around me and people were using their unbelievable gifts and talents to try and capture this beautyand sereneness on canvas. I walked the property observing artists and meeting people with a goofy grin stuck on my face. Because of impending storms the smells were intensified and the breezes made whispers through the long grasses for my ears.

11:30 a.m. I head back to the tent to offer help as some artists have already finished, and I feel my only real use at this point is to bring large rocks from the shoreline to weight down easels so the wind doesn't blow over the paintings where they're lined up with backs to shore for the guests' viewing.

A few raindrops don't dampen anyone's spirits and the piles of crab salad and crab cakes, fresh fruit, scones(my British friend Janna informs me that they're pronounced "scons" not scones. I'm afraid I'm too American and would feel too silly to say that) and other brunch yumminess have greatly diminished. I helped with the lessening of the piles with joy. My stomach was content. My tastebuds very happy.

12:40 The auction had begun and the bidding was generous. I ran with my clipboard to gain information for the first painting sold. I shared my duties with 3 others and the 15 paintings were quickly sold with a minimum of fuss and a great deal of excitement.

1:30 I reluctantly bid my goodbye's to all those in charge and beg to be allowed to help next year.
I have been so inspired.

Tuesday I start my next painting. It's my last class of the session and I've no free days to continue it into August.Sadness!
Today ( Monday) I set up little vignettes and photographed them. Emma and I went out to Walmart, chose one, and had it printed into an 8x10. I'm rather pleased with it and I've decided if the painting bombs, I'll simply mat and frame the photograph.

I was going to insert a picture of the above said photograph...unfortunately I inserted the card in wrong just now and had to pry it out with a butter knife and as you can's ruined! Ah well, no use getting over upset over a card. Spilt milk and all that.... At least I didn't ruin the laptop:)

Thursday, July 26

This week I completed something which I had feared beginning since I was a teenager. It all began a little over a month ago while taking one of my daughters to the orthodontist. We were a bit early for the appointment so we stopped into an art gallery.
We oohed and aahed our way around paintings and my heart skipped each time I paused in front of a particularly well done still life. I have a thing for them. I have always harbored dreams of painting one myself but I've never let it go beyond a dream because...well, because what if I was really, really bad at it?! Then I could never pause and dream about creating it again. Instead, I might have to pause in front of a particularly dear still life and remember how bad I was at it.
As we entered the rear of the studio there was one of the artists herself, who just happened to be an old friend. We were delighted to see each other. She exclaimed over how my girls had grown up and I asked the question I always asked with no real intent behind it, "when are you going to teach others how to do what you do?"
To my surprise she said she was teaching and that the next class would start in a week and a half. To my bigger surprise I pulled out a wad of cash and signed up for it. She warned me there was no refund as space was limited. I warned her I was really going to show up.
Two days ago I brought home my first oil painting. While I'm no old master, it was not a bad first attempt! In fact I am going to frame it and give it a place of honor in my home.
All those years wasted for the fear of what may or may not be. Tis a pity. I go next Tuesday to my next class.
I can't wait.
I wonder what else I can do that I've always been afraid to try....