Sunday, November 30, 2008

A small goodbye

Black Dirt Region. Pastel, 8x10

I took down my half of "A Confession of Color" yesterday.

I stood in the Wallkill River School gallery and looked at the half-empty walls. George Hayes's paintings still hung. And several of mine, all sold, still hung, looking lonely next to all the empty spaces. I said goodbye to them, silently, of course. Said goodbye to the images that carried my memories so easily on their shoulders.

One painting was already gone. I found myself feeling as though a good friend had left my party before I'd had the chance to hug her. It was one of two paintings from my trip to Wisdom, Montana, that sold. That surprised me. I thought they'd go, all of them. They are such strong paintings, with such a voice. They are so imbued with discovery, adventure and emotion.

To me, they are evocative and powerful, far beyond any of the more local paintings. But I'm starting to understand that most people like representations of places that they know, not places they dream about.

The Wisdom Trip paintings were bought by good friends. One, of a partly mowed wheat field in Milan, Ohio, was bought by an artist. The wheat is planted on small, undulating hills, and my friend told me she liked the rhythm and the movement in the painting. That's what I like, too.

The other was bought by a friend who, like me, was kicked out of her job at the Times Herald-Record. This is the ultimate Wisdom Trip painting, of a wildflower-filled meadow backed by hills and mountains on the outskirts of Wisdom. It's really the only painting I've ever reworked substantially. I got it, finally, the night before the opening reception. When Beth bought it, it was still wet. I think it spoke to her as the scene I saw spoke to me - inviting new life, with a big, open sky and a horizon full of possibility.

But first, two shows! The exhibit at Noah's in Stonington Borough goes up tomorrow and opens Tuesday, with no reception. The show at the Emporium in Mystic goes up Wednesday; the opening reception is Thursday, from 6-8 p.m. It's an exciting time, indeed.

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