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Community Art Show Featuring Jane Seymour Cat

Jane Seymour Cat, art  by Tara Fly.

“Jane Seymour Cat” ©TaraFly, 2013.

The Washington County Arts Council is presenting the 2013 Community Art Show, featuring 70 pieces of juried artwork from local artists.

I am pleased to say that “Jane Seymour Cat” was accepted, and will be on display at their gallery on 34 South Potomac Street, Hagerstown, from December 6th ~ December 31st.

All artwork will be available for sale through the gallery, which is managed by Chris Brewer. Call 301-791-3132 or e-mail GalleryMgr@WashingtonCountyArts.com

Jane is listed for $150.00 She is an acrylic painting on stretched canvas, measuring 8″x10″, and comes with a Certificate of Authenticity, and probably a couple cat hairs embedded into the varnish, also for authenticity…. ;)


 

This is the first time my work has been recognized by a gallery; even though it was an open call for artists to enter, I still feel proud that the respected jurors, Lee Weaver and R. Benjamin Jones, deemed my painting worthy of being included. :)

 

Despite the fact that I’ve been selling my work fairly steadily for the past four years, and regularly communicate with artists all over the world (thanks to Facebook), I have never felt comfortable proclaiming myself as an artist within my own community.  Of course, I had never considered art as a career until very recently.

I have visited the downtown galleries on occasion, and the style of artwork that I’ve seen displayed is vastly different from my own.   Landscapes of covered bridges and Amish farmhouses were popular,  as were snowy woods and cityscapes. There were the usual still-life oil paintings of flowers and portraits of people, photographs of trains, and abstract pieces… bright and contrasting paint dripping down large canvases like melted crayons.

The animal portraits I noticed were always realistically portrayed, cats sleeping on windowsills and puppies playing with butterflies. I couldn’t imagine my artwork hanging there.

The annual “Art for the Animals” charity auction has been the only art scene in which I’ve participated within Washington County.  An animal fundraiser event seemed like the perfect place for a cat artist to be. Yet even there, surrounded by animal lovers, I was an outsider.

My art is too different.

I don’t have a philosophical message. I’m not trying to rediscover a lost art form. My work isn’t political in nature, or looking to raise important questions about inequality or oppression.

I’ve read artist statements and biographies of local respected artists, and realized why I’ve been struggling for years to write my own statement. Everyone takes themselves so seriously! :P
What could I possibly say about my work?

“I seek to populate the world with cats masquerading as people.” Hahaha!

I simply want to make people laugh and smile! I want to paint something fun and amusing to me, which will hopefully be appreciated by someone else.

The world can be a very depressing and stressful place to live, and quite honestly, the last thing I want to wake up and see every morning is a gloomy piece of artwork.

While puppies, and butterflies, and sailboats, and covered bridges are all very serene and familiar… I want to create art that makes people happy!
Like hearing your favorite song on the radio, urging you turn the volume up to sing along!

 

Years ago, when someone decided to become an artist, they started locally exhibiting their work, and eventually expanded to a larger regional area, and if they were really good, they would tour across the US and abroad. Galleries were essential to growing their careers.

I have been fortunate to live in the technology age, where anyone interested in creating art can simply “test the waters” by selling a few pieces on the internet.

My Etsy shop and website have been running since 2009, and since then my work has evolved and changed as I continue to experiment with ideas. I never worried about whether or not my art would be accepted, because the internet is like an endless tide of people sweeping in and out, many of whom washed up on my shore and enjoyed my point of view.

It has been said, albeit condescendingly, “People will buy just about anything.” And it’s the truth.

It always felt “safe” to sit behind my computer screen and interact with strangers halfway around the world, whether it be a small wholesale order for a giftshop in Australia, or a private commission from someone in Japan. They never asked whether I had gallery representation, and they seldom asked which art school I attended.

But off-line, these things seem to matter to people. And my lack of local presence has been weighing on me lately. I feel like I need to step away from the computer and put my work in front of the jury. I feel like I’m finally ready to take myself seriously.

I know my style needs to be improved upon, and my technique has a long way to go… but I’m working on it every day, and it was very special to me that all my efforts have been recognized in that lovely acceptance e-mail from Mr. Brewer.

Now what should a Crazy Cat Lady wear to an art gallery exhibit opening? =^,,^=

Tara Fly

About Tara Fly

A Crazy Cat Lady ... who divides her time between painting portraits of cats dressed in period costumes, watching BBC mini-series, growing weeds and wildflowers, and baking pumpkin pies seasoned with cat hair. Would you like some fur-flavoured coffee?

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