Most of the time, I confess, I tend to skip art receptions in far-off locations because, well, I'd rather be home painting in my studio. And the time and expense involved in overnight travel is no small matter. But this spring, I resolved to attend two out-of-town receptions and I'm glad I did.
The first was in the small coastal town of Coos Bay, Oregon--located 4 hours from my home in Portland. Their annual Expressions West show is a regional show and the 65 selected paintings hang in the Coos Bay Art Museum (a beautiful historic building that used to be a large post office). Each painting was given ample wall space and its own spotlight! My husband and I attended the Friday night reception and mixed and mingled with artists from all around the state. A group of us all went to dinner afterwards, and had further conversation about art and life. We met a couple who told us how they met years ago at work and married later (after their spouses had died). We even visited their home on Saturday morning to see the miniature electric train set that the husband had built in his shop. I stopped in to a local art coop and spoke with some of the artists there--it's always good to see what other artists are up to--and then we went back to the museum after lunch for the juror's walk-through of the show, in which she described what she liked about each of the paintings. My husband and I talked about art and artists all the way home in the car,
The second reception (which I am attending tonight) is two hours away at the Emerald Art Center's 13th annual Spring Show in Springfield (near Eugene). I am only familiar with a few of the artists in the show, and the juror, Randy Meador, is a watercolorist from Texas (where I grew up). I decided I'd like to see the show in person for a change (and not just from the catalog, as I did last year).
Both of these shows, it should be pointed out, are "all media" shows and include watercolor, oils, acrylics, and collage. This is different from the mostly watermedia shows that I typically participate in, so there's often no "apples to apples" comparison of paintings. The juror does his/her best to select paintings from the bunch and bestow awards according to his/her aesthetic ideals.
So I will put on my fancy shoes, and attend tonight's reception (even though part of me really would rather be home painting in my studio). I look forward to meeting and talking to new artists about their work. Here's to learning to celebrate!