14 June 2015

Blue Ribbons

Ford, 2015. Graphite & oil on canvas, 48x48".
The painting "Ford" was awarded a blue ribbon in the 'Scapes show at Radius Gallery in Missoula. Truly, there is a blue ribbon pinned  beside the artwork in this exhibition of Landscapes, Seascapes, Mindscapes. I'm honored. And this puts me in mind of other blue ribbons I have won. It stirs a deep and enduring gratitude for the early affirmations my art received when I was a child.

Growing up in Walla Walla, it was a happy Late-Summer ritual to submit artwork, crafts, science projects, and produce to the Southeastern Washington Fair. As one benefit, we all received a free entry to the annual carnival with our submissions. It was also a treat to see our handiwork on view to fairgoers and possibly receive a ribbon, white, red or blue.

I didn't always receive a blue ribbon from the judges, but it still meant so much to me as child to receive some public recognition for my efforts. Year after year I was in some way affirmed for my projects. I believe this helped me to form my identity as an artist in community. It seemed that what I created, whether at school or alone in my room, could mean something to others.

The county fair may not be the first place we look for aesthetic edification as adults (though one may be surprised!), but it was a first for me as a young artist. That venue in the heart of my home town mattered. Now, having worked with through another mural project with the students of Willard High School, I prize more highly those quaint chances to acknowledge the creative efforts of children. Let us welcome their visions into our artistic scope, ever evolving.
Pears, 1981. Ink & Water color on paper, 8x10".

For further information about the 'Scapes show at Radius Gallery: www.radiusgallery.com