The past couple of weeks I have had to hit the road a bit. Vermont Route 100. Also known as “Vermont’s Main Street” or “The Skier’s Highway.” A gorgeous scenic route that hugs the eastern side of the Green Mountains. My SUV has been filled with paintings on a rotating basis.
Art and frustration bounced around my SUV cargo space as I made my way north for a bit of an “art fire drill” last week. I am always a little anxious around a new art situation and never particularly comfortable outside of my studio. The effort, the amount of work and the business of art preoccupied my thoughts as I made my way to this new opportunity. I have been very busy trying to spread my art tentacles. Journeying north to Waitsfield was my immediate quest.
Hoop jumping. Humbling encounters have made me artistically unsettled. I have been questioning a creative life where one’s soul is on display with each canvas shared. I am my happiest painting and writing yet the business of art cautions me.
In between road trips I had spent days in my studio without leaving my home. The hours have flown by without acknowledgement. My sister called me on Monday, and I was surprised that she had called me so early in the day. It was in fact afternoon and the exact time of day we often chat. I thought it was still morning. I have been in mourning. Working non-stop to meet deadlines. The story I repeatedly told myself. Working tirelessly to ease the pain of losing a dear friend from another lifetime.
We were next door neighbors when our children were so very young. For seven plus years we shared our lives, daily. We ran together. Joined our first running club together. TriValley Frontrunners. Running and competing for Larry Olsen. The many miles we shared chatting nonstop. Straight up Wilson Street. Talking through every topic imaginable as our feet fell in quiet unison. Words spoken in the language of friendship. Pregnant together with our second children. I can still remember hearing the car horn beep as they headed to the hospital during the middle of the night. Our signal to let the other know when labor had started. Her daughter was born just a week before my son. Best friends. We laughed often. Cried too. Both of our mom’s died of pancreatic cancer. Cancer unfortunately found Barbara too. I can’t quite wrap my brain around the loss of a contemporary who always focused on a healthy lifestyle. I wrestle with the perceived injustice.
The backroads of Route 100 offered me a tranquil setting to be still with my thoughts as I wound my way south yesterday. Once again, a couple of large paintings were stacked in my car. I was headed to the Southern Vermont Arts Center to drop the paintings off for an upcoming member’s show. A rainy gray day yet the approach to SVAC was not dampened. Visitors enter this glorious campus along a long, graceful drive. Sculptures dot the landscape. The buildings sit elegantly with the magnificent Green Mountains as the backdrop. An art mecca. An oasis and a refuge from the every day.
Pristine white walls splashed with colorful original art. The embrace of creativity was immediately felt as one enters the foyer. Art and more art. Originality, celebrated. I took a deep breath. I basked in the environment of the unexpected and delighted in the possibilities explored by fellow artists. Color so exquisitely executed and displayed. I quieted my mind and felt at home…
“If you do not express your own original ideas, if you do not listen to your own being, you will have betrayed yourself. Also, you will have betrayed your community in failing to make your contribution.” – Rollo May