Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Chris Stephens

How many years ago was it that I first saw the paintings of clouds that stopped me in my tracks? It was in a gallery in Sperryville, Virginia. Ann Georgia brought me there to see some local art; in particular some handmade books. The books were nice but ordinary, however the cloud paintings, well I wanted to live with them. As time went by and I returned to Virginia I met the artist Chris Stephens. We got to know each other a bit doing some art together and sitting on the porch at Ann’s place, Revival Springs Retreat for Creative Action. This year before I went to Hampton to teach I was staying with Ann and we drove over to Chris’s to visit his studio. I expected to see several paintings but I had no idea what a treat I was in for. There were lots and lots of them, all different sizes, and I got to look at as many as I could take in. Which is a bunch. I wasn’t conscious that I was going to buy a painting that day. What happened for me was as I looked, really looked, I began to sense very quickly a yes or a no. Yes or no to what? Something special occurred that I think is probably rare when a potential buyer is with the artist; Chris and Ann and I talked about why I was setting a painting aside and choosing to see another. What was it that I was looking for? It really wasn’t so much what I was looking for as what I was looking at. My body, my energy was responding in various ways to each piece. My mind only got to say, you are moving into a very small house, does the house have the distance you will need to view this painting and feel the impact of it. Okay, and at decision time when I got down to five paintings that I wanted my mind said I could have only two. Other than that I followed the feeling and I have to say that now that they are at home with me I am thrilled with their company! They are alive and they enliven and inspire me. Oh, and they make me smile. Partly because they are so vibrant and partly because I let myself have something I really really wanted.

Chris Stephens lives in Front Royal, Virginia and paints just about every day. What about you? Do you do what you love just about every day? http://christopherstephens.us

Ann Georgia McCaffray lives in Sperryville, Virginia at Revival Springs Retreat for Creative Action where she creates and holds community, takes in strays, makes wonderful art, hangs art exhibits for various groups, works with Nature, finds beauty in and nurtures all forms of life and most importantly, holds down the porch!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Ann George's Table at Art & Soul

Here are some photos of Ann Georgia’s tables at the vendor’s sale at Art & Soul. It was an amazing display of nature’s treasures mostly from the part of Virginia where Ann lives. I say mostly because one of her friends came up with a shark’s jaw that she happened to have lying around the house.

One of Ann’s talents is hanging art shows and when she was standing amidst the boxes and bundles of branches, bones and bugs she had brought I thought she would be there forever setting up and offered to help. But she said she was going to set up her tables in the same way she hangs shows and when I came down later I was delighted with the results.

And apparently so were others.
It was a lively evening and Ann enjoyed sharing her enthusiasm for the natural world with kindred souls. Hopefully she will be back at Hampton next year.