During the past two September months, Garden City Arts and sponsors, have held a themed fundraising event which included a live painting competition during the evening. A small circle of local artists, about seven, are invited in to set up and create while the event (themed décor, cocktails, hors-d’oeuvres, live music, silent auction) stirs around. It’s quite fun and allows attendees to see how each artist creates. Maybe a little nerve wracking for the artist, but in the end, it’s very interesting. In 2017 the theme was “Twist and Shout”, and costumes were highly encouraged. There was no disappointment because most dressed the part, and all had a fab time!
I’ve learned that when I participate in something like this, I TRY to plan what I’m going to paint, but that usually gets adjusted, or nixed, at the last minute. You know, sometimes, that idea just swarms in your head for weeks, but it’s just swarming because you know you’re missing something? Many of my ideas happen that way. For whatever reason, I had been thinking about how my mom had taught me this one phrase, in shorthand, when I was very young. She had given me a special necklace with the same symbols on a heart shaped pendant. I think because the pendant was recently rediscovered by me, it must have stayed fresh in my mind.
My mom had started her court reporting career in the 1950s, before my existence. Her very neat wardrobed figure, sitting in her home office, glancing at the papers on the stand to her left, and then typing in steady speed on the typewriter, is a forever image in my mind. She still has the chair and the custom desk that I remember her sitting at in her then home office. Her skills with shorthand, however, spill over to present day. When I visit her in Arizona, I find many new notes displaying her shorthand and I have no idea what they say.
So, back to the fundraising and how all this added up to something special. My decision was to base my piece on my mom and what she taught me. Because the theme of the event was 1950s era, I began with the aha moment that settled this all into place. That evening, at the fundraiser, I painted an abstract based around the necklace and the shorthand message I Love You. Many watching had no idea what I was doing. I knew that would happen, so I made a small sign that I set up near the end of the competition. It explained my story.
At auction time, after the competition, this piece was won by a new gentleman collector. Later, I found out that he would be presenting I Love You to friends getting married in a few months.
Fast forward: I recently received a very nice message and photo from the gift giver and the new couple. All very happy how it turned out and the piece has already been hung in the newlywed home. For me, this is one of my complete circles. Each piece has it’s time and companion(s). This is why I paint.
© 2018, Robin Valenzuela. All rights reserved.