Flash Back, Flash Forward

Posted by: JenDonald

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Yesterday while at the market, I watched a young man as he viewed my work. It is unusual to see a young person completely engrossed in looking at art and he took in each piece slowly, studying each one for the longest time. This went on for quite a while and I had the chance to speak with his father.

The Dad told me that his son is an artist but works mostly on his computer.  We chatted a bit before he went back about his business and we left the young man, oblivious to our conversation, to continue his silent enjoyment.

When he finally came back into our world I mentioned that his father told me about his artwork and although sheepish at first, he opened up and told me that he likes working in watercolor and pencil then enhances his pictures digitally.  He’s a budding young artist and said he doesn’t have much done, but he loves it and he especially loved the colors I use and how bright and bold they are. I asked if he had a website that I could see some of his work – no, he replied but he’d like to.  With that, he pulled out his cell phone and showed me a picture stored there. It was beautiful! It was then that I understood why he was so taken with my paintings; we use the same palette.

I got the chance to really talk with this young man, discussing photographing and printing his work, lighting, color depth, websites, tips and how-to’s. It was a warm and friendly conversation – two artists sharing their enjoyment of creating. He left shortly thereafter and I went about my time working my booth. The memory of a trip from some 30 years ago came back to me – from art class  in high school.

Our advanced art class took a trip to Washington DC to visit the galleries and museums. We were a group of rambunctious students, some partiers, some straight-A’s, smart-assed teens who knew it all.  I doubt the museum and gallery curators knew what was about to be unleased on them but like a tornado we swept through the city. I think that most everyone stayed in their groups, but my friend Barry and I took off!  We DEVOURED art anywhere we could find it, and practically ran from museum to museum to see all that we could in the few short  hours we were allowed.

Its funny that memory – I had a bit of a crush on Barry back then and enjoyed his company, but looking back on it, I enjoyed being with this person who was as caught up in the pleasure of experiencing fine art as I was. We were awestruck, mesmerized,  excited, engrossed, consumed.  I remember getting back on the bus, each of us going back to our own little group of friends and we took one more long glance at each other and smiled.  I realize now what happened that day. We lit art fire in each other.

Through my twenties, my failed marriage, children, moving on and remarrying, the embers burned and I’d think of creating again, but everyday life kept getting in the way and years passed.

My now grown children, friends, and husband often encouraged me  to start painting again and I realized when you have been forged by art fire, it may smolder, but  it never burns out. It just needs to be fueled.

Back to my young man of yesterday. I watched the embers glow in his eyes.  I fanned the flames of his art fire. This morning as I recall the day in DC with Barry, I hope his fire consumes him too.

Comments (1)Add Comment
written by artbyjude, August 18, 2010
I really really enjoyed reading this. What I've found with fellow artists is that they are all so supportive of each other, competitiveness is a dirty word to us. I love the fact you spent time helping this young man. I also love your statement "I realized when you have been forged by art fire, it may smolder, but it never burns out". That very much describes me also and our lives have been very similar. Great blog entry :-). Love and big hugs Jude x

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