The Joy of Connecting Through Art

Posted by Stephanie Tickner on Monday, December 19, 2011 Under: Art Stories
December is such a busy time of year for so many reasons - family, school activities, getting ready for the holidays - then add to that for me, holiday craft fairs. There is so much preparation, packing, setting up and taking down to fit into my already busy schedule. I sometimes feel overwhelmed by it all until I actually sit down and remember why I like doing the fairs in the first place - connecting with people around my art. Once I am all set up, I have a chance to talk to people, which I really enjoy.

I especially like when people stop at my table and look though my book of commissions. For me there are so many stories and memories for each painting. It’s nice when someone asks questions or comments on a particular painting and I have a chance to share the story behind it. It is also fun to hear stories that people tell me about memories they have when they look at one of my paintings that reminds them of something in their life. With all the rushing around we do these days, connecting with strangers in this way feels really meaningful.

This year at the Orchard School Craft Fair in Walpole, NH, an older man and his wife stopped at my table. She glanced through my card stands and looked at the bookmarks and magnets, but then looked impatient to move on. The man had been looking through the commission book. He started on the very first page and lingered on each one, quietly commenting that I had a “gift” and that I was “blessed”. I smiled and thanked him. He asked his wife to come over and look, but she was ready to move on to the table of beautiful alpaca wool products. He reluctantly started to follow his wife then stopped and said, “I would really like to finish looking through this book of paintings. You go ahead and I will catch up.” So, he stayed and I shared stories of the various paintings.

At one point I asked, “were you in the service, by chance?” He stood up, looked proud, and said that he was. I suggested he might enjoy this painting I had done of my father and his Navy buddies. He looked at it for a long time, counting the number of gold hash marks on my father’s friend Paul’s uniform sleeve, and commenting on his years of service. Knowing that Paul had passed away several years ago made it a very emotional moment for me. When the man reached the end of the book, he took one of my business cards, looked at me and again said I was “blessed”. I thanked him sincerely as he left to catch up with his wife.

I indeed feel blessed to have made the connection I did that day. It is another special story to add to the many that give such meaning to my art. 

Dad, Mouse and Paul

In : Art Stories 

Tags: "holiday craft fairs" "connecting through art" "painting commissions" 
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