Earnings from My Last Art Show – All That Is Gold Does Not Glitter

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During the fall, every hoot and holler sponsors an art show–or at least an arts and crafts show–and this year, I have decided to jump in the ring and to see what I could earn peddling my art from a wire-meshed booth and a 6-foot table that has been set up somewhere else.

My first ever outside art show was in my little hometown of Gideon, Missouri. It was during the coomunity’s annual homecoming, and it was also during my 50th high school reunion. I actually made a little money at that show, but I was so very busy getting reacquainted with people from back home that I didn’t have time to man my own exhibit.

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My cousins drove 5 hours both ways to come and process my sales. Another cousin made my booth for me, and his wife made the cover for my print rack. While I was fortunate to have sold enough art to cover my expenses, my real profit at that show was learning that when my family vowed that they would do anything for me, they were being honest. I have been stranded for years far away from family, and it has been a true blessing to re-learn that there is a network of people who care deeply for me, simply because we were born under the same umbrella.

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I was also blessed because my first ever outside art show physically forced me to return back home. As I first drove into town for my homecoming, I saw the above sign. Because of her health, my mom had moved away from my tiny birthplace, and instead, I had visited her in her new home. I had consequently not been back to my childhood neighborhood for many, many years. I was asked to be the featured artist at the town’s homecoming, and I feared that because of my neglecting the town thus far, no one would speak to me. When I saw the above sign, I was touched and I got out of the car and knelt down to take this photo. Within seconds, a couple that I had not seen for more than 50 years pulled up. The guy rolled down his car window and said: “Welcome home, girl!” As they drove away, It was all that I could do not to cry. I felt like the Prodigal Daughter.

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Because the people there had known me all my life, I earned a little bit of money back home, but my biggest earning there had nothing to do with money. It had to do with reconnecting and feeling loved. It had to do with finding again my childhood roots.

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This past weekend, I have shown from the Ozark Mountain Home of Mixed Media Artist Mary Olson.

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The above photo is one of Mary Olson. Aretha Franklin may have been the queen of soul, but Mary Olson is the queen of Ozark mountain artists. God has recently moved me from New Jersey 1700 miles away to the Ozark mountains, where before I had moved, I had only known one person.  But since my move, He has continued to work miracles by linking me to the best of the best. This weekend, I showed with Mary Olson, and in the Ozarks, she is one of the Best,

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Concrete Dress by Mary Olson

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Concrete and Metal Collage by Mary Olson

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Concrete and Metal Collage by Mary Olson

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In the Ozark Mountains, Mary Olson is famous, and she is the Queen Mother of the art scene in the area. Moments after I arrived at her house, I was washed by a sense of “Welcome” from her house and from her lovely and artist-daughters, and from Mary herself. One of Mary’s daughters Kara showed her exquisite jewelry at the show. The other daughter Maggie didn’t show her art this year, but she picked snips of the last of summer’s flowers that were barely hanging on in the yard, and she filled the house with simple but powerful arrangements.

Maggie’s Zinnias and Coleus: Bouquet – Jacki Kellum Watercolor

I demonstrated watercolor by painting one of Maggie’s arrangements on Saturday.

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I plan to paint at least one more arrangement today.

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There is something Andrew Wyeth about the way that Mary and her daughters live in her home. As soon as I was settled there, I felt the need to paint everything that I sensed through the Olson’s house.

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I plan to paint this scene later this week. I have already named this painting [that is yet to be painted] Mary’s Kitchen Window.

I earned a little bit of money showing with the Ozark Mountain artists this weekend, but what I truly earned from the experience is far beyond dollars and coins. This weekend, I have been enriched by Mary Olson, by her home, and by her daughters, and in turn, I sensed Mary’s acceptance of me. In the art world, an endorsement is far better than dollar bills. This past weekend, at her art show, Mary Olson endorsed me, and Mary has invited me back to show at her Christmas festival this year and to teach art in her home deep within the Ozark mountains, in Jasper. During this weekend’s show, which was the first time that I had come before my new Ozark audience, Mary claimed several of my pieces, and I am elated to claim her as my new friend, who is very much of an artist.

During the showing, Mary displayed her acquisitions of my art in the parlor of her home—immediately next to the maps of all the Ozark mountain artists. It was almost like she was saying: “Here is your map. Go see the restof these artists, but this is my pick.” I probably am exaggerating my read, but when people walked into her house, Mary would tell them about me. I felt that I had jumped through a hoop into the inner sanctum of Ozark mountain artists. This weekend, I became an Ozark Moutain Artist–Only because Mary Olson said I was so. Thank you, Mary Olson.

The bottom line of this story has to do with evaluating how much that one might earn showing his art at an outdoor festival. My experience this weekend validates what I had thought: If you are only looking for coins from an outdoor show, you may not get many of those, but I have grown to understand a resounding truth: All that is gold does not glitter. This morning I am feeling rich, even though my cash box does not agree,

 

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