Monday, May 23, 2005

Weekend with an Artist

What a beautiful weekend! Not too hot, sunny and breezy, beautiful weather for an Arts Festival. I only get out to Reston once a year, just for this festival, since I have no other earthly reason to go out there. In the one year since I have had last visited the Reston Town Center area, they have thrown up about 8 different condo developments . . . how could they build so much in such a short span of time? I hardly recognized the place!

I found out about this festival as sort of a fluke about . . . my goodness! . . . 11 years ago now. I used to get the local DC volunteer organization newsletter, where they used to list all of the volunteer opportunities in the area. I noticed an ad where they needed volunteers to work this particular festival that for a weekend, and not having anything better to do, but always wanting to learn more about the arts, I jumped at the chance. My job for the weekend was to pass out Festival programs to people for a 3 hour shift, after the shift you could go on and do whatever. I hadn’t gotten involved in politics yet, so I had not many friends and ample free time at that point. So after I did my shift that Saturday, I stuck around and help out with “Artist relations.” See, at this festival, each artist had their own booth where they hung up or showcased their works. They sat in tall directors chairs in front of each booth of monitored what was going on in their booth, answering questions and occasionally making sales. “Artist Relations” volunteers, would help out the artists by getting them stuff to eat and drink and occasionally sitting at the booth while the artist went to the bathroom.

So that is how I became friends with this one artist guy who does amazing abstract oil paintings . . . over the rest of Saturday and Sunday, I helped out at his booth, among many others. He was as old as my dad, so there was no crush-type thing going on . . . but he was quite a sweetie. The next year, I volunteered at the festival again and I was surprised that he remembered me. His work was starting to evolve a bit and I was curious what was going on. The next year, he didn’t come to Reston, but did another local festival and this time I actually bought a painting from him. Since he knew me and my poverty, he let me pay for it in many little installments. So, over the course of the past 11 years, we recognize each other and have a weird little back history going on but only meet up once a year to say hi, and check in on what’s happened in the past year. I introduced him to my husband to be, he talked about his daughters in school, then college. We talk about all of the development around here (he lives outside of Richmond) and how his paintings have been selling.

Sometimes, chance meetings lead to such interesting things. I can say I actually know a real artist and own a couple of his paintings. I also have a little more insight into how artists make money and manage to feed their families. (His wife is also an artist and an art teacher.) And now I go to more arts festivals, and have been exposed to more things and am not afraid to ask questions about someone’s work. You never know what opportunities answering a random ad may bring.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

It sounds like you really enjoyed our lovely weekend - yes Reston has totally built up, I can't drive over there, I get all lost!
- Virginia Gal