Painting in the Sun

Where I live, we are fortunate to have a thriving arts organization, Cultural Arts Alliance of Walton County. One of the many events they host is ArtsQuest, an annual art festival that takes place on Mother's Day weekend. It's a juried show with more than 100 artists participating.

demonstration of cold wax and oil at ArtsQuest 2023

As a member of the CAA, I exhibited several items in the Member Gallery tent. With that comes a commitment to volunteer to staff the tent, and I did my time on Sunday morning. It was hot. We didn't sell a single piece of art in our tent, but lots of people came through and were very pleasant. 

This year, I was also asked to fill a slot in the demo tent, where I displayed art on one table for sale and set up a work space to demonstrate my technique with cold wax and oil paint. I mentioned it was hot already, so you might imagine how that went. For a brief time, my work space was in direct sunlight, and the paint started getting oozy. With the help of my friend, Mindy, who was helping me out that day, we pulled the table into a bit of shade, and that helped, but it was still not ideal for this medium. Tell me, all you acrylic or watercolor painters, would you have had the same issue? The lesson I learned is that painting in the sun is probably not a good idea. And I was reminded of a lesson I had learned years ago—I so enjoy talking to people, random people who walk by, strangers who want to tell me their stories. I met two people who convinced me to experiment with gelli plate printing, several people who asked if I would be teaching a workshop any time soon, and one woman with a story from a movie, or a sitcom, depending on your level of cynicism. This woman was Greek, she said, and was traveling through the area on a kind of wandering journey, having moved away from whatever place she had been living. Her car broke down in our town, and she was staying for a few days while it was being repaired. The color of water (it's called The Emerald Coast for good reason) reminded her of the water she remembered from Greece, and the people were so friendly, and she thought she might be able to live here, set up some kind of therapy office, and never leave. I will be wondering about her for some time.

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