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? =^,,^=
Thank you to everyone who visited my Etsy shop this weekend! Several of the orders were shipped off yesterday, several more this afternoon, and the remaining few will be mailed tomorrow. :)
I had an interesting exchange at the post office yesterday.
I typically purchase my shipping mailers directly from my local branch, and as I was standing there sliding wrapped magnets and bookmarks into cardboard envelopes, a gentleman joined me at the back counter.
He began addressing his mail, but then stopped and asked me,
“How do you spell ‘Bethlehem’?”
I gave him the spelling ~ twice ~ but he still struggled to remember the second “H”, so after a beat, I handed him one of my finished envelopes and pointed to my own address.
I live on Bethlehem Court.
So does this gentleman. Surprise! We were neighbors.
Then he asked me for our zip code. LOL!
He looked at me at last, and said,
“Aren’t you the lady with the two young children, who walks her dog every morning?”
“Haha, yes. That would be us.”
“I’m the guy who lives on the corner with the small dog.”
“Oh, okay. Wow, well it’s nice to meet you.”
I had no idea what to say to the dog-owning stranger who was my neighbor, but I found it ironic (and slightly embarrassing) that I was packaging CAT ART ~ because I am a cat artist ~ while this man recognizes me as “the lady with the dog”.
When did I become The Dog Lady?!
I’ve never had a dog before in my life. I grew up in a strict two-cat family.
Childhood experiences with aggressive dogs had left me determined to never own one. In my mind, even the friendliest dogs were ticking bombs waiting to unleash their teeth of fury on me.
My children, on the other hand, have always been fascinated by dogs. I was able to make excuses about our lease not allowing for dogs, but when they learned we were buying our home, “adopting a dog” became a hot topic. Even my husband was in favor of getting one, as he’s grown up around dogs and assured me that most breeds are lovable and loyal.
I was outnumbered when a friend of mine shared a dog’s profile on Facebook, who was in need of a new home.
I found myself driving to Westminster to pick up Harley, a six-year-old pit-bull mix.
Seriously?! A Pit-bull.
Of all the dogs imaginable, I never would have expected to bring a reputed killer breed into my house.
However, my friend assured me that this dog was gentle with children and cats. She had known his former owner, who was suffering from health problems and could no longer care for him. She had spent time getting to know Harley and vouched for his good behaviour.
I put my faith in her word, and crossed my paws that I wouldn’t regret it.
Harley must have sensed my doubts, because he latched himself onto me like a toddler, licking my face at our first meeting and nuzzling me all the way home in the car.
At home, he waited for permission to get onto the couch, and once granted, he curled up beside me.
Somehow I have become his chosen person; he looks to me when it’s dinnertime, and I am the lucky one who walks him to the park as often as weather permits. I wait while he sniffs and pees on every stump and shrub, digs in the earth a bit, and continues to sniff the leaves.
Our walks usually last an hour or more, and have become something I look forward to… unless it is cold and wet. :P
The cats were naturally less than thrilled by Harley’s arrival. They hid in our bedroom for a full two days, prompting me to move their litter-box and food bowls upstairs as well.
Merlin was the first to venture downstairs and assess the situation. Dominic is a scaredy-cat, and would quickly exit the room when he heard the click-click of dog claws coming. Merlin would stand his ground and hiss in defiance.
It was interesting to watch as they adjusted to his presence. They are still not on speaking terms with him, but they tolerate being in the same space, even sharing the bed together.
I caught Dominic sniffing Harley’s face last night while the dog slept! :)
There are moments when I see him yawning or chewing on his rope toy, and my eyes are drawn to the sharp rows of teeth. He still makes me nervous.
I tell myself that he probably makes potential attackers nervous, too. Although if anyone tried breaking into our house, they would only need to toss him a biscuit and he would happily wag his tail and invite the thief inside.
Adopting a pit-bull has been enlightening for me, although it has left me wide open to unsolicited advice and warnings about “good dogs gone bad”.
But I also have had strangers stop me on the street to compliment my dog and pet him.
It is almost as if dog-owners are in a special club, and whenever they see you walking yours, they nod and greet you as a member. With secret handshakes and passwords.
The $1,000,000 question is whether (and when) I will begin painting dogs…..
We shall see. ;)