What a weekend!
It was more than any of us expected.
Friday night was the most crowded night, with people practically shoulder to shoulder for the first two hours. There was someone playing an old black upright piano throughout the night, there was punch and a table filled with delectable appetizers, and there was art.
Beautiful, colorful, diverse, glorious art.
Kate and her friend Laurabeth were thoughtfully placed together (most likely by the art show director who realized they were friends). They were both happy about that, chatting and drawing throughout the evening, as well as walking around a little to look at the other artwork.
Well, that is when they weren’t being asked alot of questions by other artists and patrons. (Kate did turn her chair around so people could see the portrait she was working on.)
Because it was Kate’s first year as an exhibitor, she was allowed two portraits to be hung.
“The Russian Girl” was on the wall to the left as you entered the exhibit.
She looked beautiful.
She drew a good deal of attention, and since Glenn and I spent most of our time walking around, trying to give Kate some space, we were able to see how many people stopped to admire her. Throughout the evening, I saw small groups of people going into the room where the girls were sitting, and many times I heard, “Only 14!!”, exclaimed, as they came out or were walking around.
Laurabeth’s beautiful zentangle cards were in great demand – they sold like hotcakes.
Amazing, aren’t they?!
I loved her beautiful zentangle vase. It was incredible!
The first two hours of the exhibit were for the sponsors only. These are patrons who have pledged a dollar amount and their intent to purchase something at the show. Although they may certainly buy as much as they want, they are given a red card which they can give to the artist of their choice, with the words “Purchase Award” on either the artwork or at the artist’s display table. Kate received two awards!
One was given by the patron who bought “the Little Dreamer”
and the other was for “the Russian Girl”.
We were so excited for Kate!
Glenn and I were able to talk with many artists and patrons throughout the weekend. We learned a great deal about all different kinds of art, and we also realized more fully that Kate does indeed have a unique gift.
It was one thing when we looked at her drawings at home, and they would make the breath catch in our throats. But it was quite another thing when artists and art teachers were telling us that they can’t draw people the way she can. That she has a unique ability not only to draw proportions and details accurately, but that she captures something of the spirit, or “essence”, of the subject in her portrait. Something which they said just can’t be taught.
By the end of the weekend, I think we all felt a little overwhelmed.
Inspired and encouraged to be part of something which promotes beauty and creativity, in a way that crosses the boundaries of time. Warmed by good conversations and engaged by excited artists eager to share their gifts.
One slightly older gentlemen who told Glenn and me he has been an artist all his life, and draws and is active in the art world, said that in his wildest dreams, he will never be able to draw like Kate does. And he said it makes him mad that she is only 14! :) Another artist told Kate her work is already on a professional level, and yet another art teacher told Kate that she could pick the art school she wanted to attend. That if she gathered up her portraits and took them to the art school, they would accept her immediately. And so many more gave her words of encouragement and approval and told her to “trust her instincts.”
The older gentleman talked to us for quite a while. He talked about how after WWII, the appreciation of beautiful art – which had always been considered “Good” art, was turned upside down. And that “perversion, brain junk, and ugliness” became “Good” art. He named a couple of artists, whose names I forget right now, which led the way in this trend. And he talked about how art schools have followed this trend, essentially not teaching that what is beautiful is “Good”. He said what Art needs is artists like Kate. Artists who will be exposed to “bad” art, yet have the strength to not follow along in the trend which has prevailed. But instead, to continue to pursue and create beauty in their art, and turn the tide in the art world so that once again, what is beautiful, is good.
It was a vision for the future.
Kate was interviewed by a journalist from the paper that night. After several questions, he asked if there was anything else she would like to say.
She paused. Then she said, “I know that any ability to draw I have is a gift from God. I want to do my best to always draw in a way that will bring glory to Him.”
By the end of the weekend, Kate had sold 3 of her portraits, and another was bought by the library for their own art collection! They said they had a small budget allowed and so many people loved Kate’s work, they decided to buy one for themselves while they could still afford her. She was invited to participate in another art exhibit next April at a Plainfield gallery, her business cards and flyers disappeared, and especially exciting was the offer by a famous Indiana painter, Rena Brouwer, to display both Kate’s and Laurabeth’s work in her art gallery in Delphi. Ms. Brouwer wants Kate to do a demonstration in December, and she plans to promote the girls and their art. She is sending a contract for Kate to sign.
And what about “Chelsea”?
In the end, Kate couldn’t bring herself to part with her.
She will stay with us.