I was invited to be one of three local artists participating in a live painting demonstration at a fundraiser for Art Van, which is an amazing cause here that brings art and art therapy to children for free. I connected with them through my work at the library, and felt honored to be asked, but also nervous about being on display. I have been doing mostly watercolors for the last few years, and on a much smaller scale than what we would be doing. However, I believe it is extremely important to role model fearlessness in art for kids, and so I went for it.
When I arrived, the organizers for the event were setting up makeshift work spaces at the center of the room. The three of us artists were to choose one part each of a triptych representing part of our downtown. Then, we each made ourselves comfortable, got out our paints, and began as people came in.
Around the room there were various tables set up, with different art activities for the kids and families to partake in. They served cupcakes made by the library’s cooking club for kids. There was music playing, and a movie showing some of the projects the Art Van program has done in the last year. Occasionally, someone would approach one of us to ask about our piece, praise us, or make conversation. The local paper even took our picture. One little boy told me I should put sharks in my painting.
All the while, we worked on our paintings. I have to admit, I was humbled by what I saw when I glanced over at the other two women’s easels. I listened as they chatted about various gallery shows that their work is currently hanging in, and a recent artist collaboration which they were both part of, and I felt so meek thinking about how little involvement I have had in the art world since college. But I kept telling myself the same things I say to kids who tell me they don’t feel good enough: There is no wrong way to make art. Have fun with it. Explore. Experiment. Get inspired. Keep practicing.
My work in progress now sits in my kitchen. We each have a few weeks to finish working on them. Eventually, they will hang together at the library, right on the children’s floor where I work. I have my work cut out for me, but I cannot wait to see the three finished works hanging together. I am also excited to share my finished piece with you.