The Month Before Christmas…

Winter is in the air and the spirit of Christmas upon us, and it always seems that the season creeps up slowly then hits suddenly. I’m never quite prepared for it, and I doubt I ever will be. I like to hold on to summer as long as possible, then fall approaches with Halloween, and when Thanksgiving is here I want to enjoy the harvest and warm comfort of good food and family. I don’t even want to think about Christmas until it’s December!

Pears in Square Dish with ApplesHowever, when I went shopping for some last minute Thanksgiving decorations, when Thanksgiving was still a week away, I had a hard time finding anything left in the store, or in the several stores I went to. Not even a single marked-down item for Thanksgiving was to be found.

Everything was already set up for the Christmas shopping extravaganza. Red and Green, tinsel and lights. Please don’t get me wrong, I love Christmas — but why do they get rid of all things Thanksgiving a week before Thanksgiving!

I realize that many stores start putting out Christmas trees and decor in September so that shoppers  get in the “mood” for holiday shopping, but that’s just not my game. Sure, when Christmas is here, I’ll wish I had started shopping for gifts in June, rather than wait until December, but I will probably never do that. I never have, so chances are slim I’ll start now.

Christmas, in my mind, is a time to celebrate our lives together in Christ. Born in a manger, with cows and sheep all around, Son of God ~ a Gift to us all ~ given to teach us what Truth and Love are so we can live in Peace and Love one another with Joyful hearts.

But what says Christmas, like Black Friday!  This year, Black Friday started early ~ a week before the day we Give Thanks for all we have. This is the biggest farce of all!

Does it make sense to you? … Not to me!  I stick with my old-fashioned belief that there is a time for every season under heaven. The marketing world wants us to move too fast, to jump ahead, making it impossible to take time for the present moments and enjoy the ambiance of each occasion. Let’s not be sucked into the money-grabbing capitalistic machine where the bottom line for the holidays is increased sales!

  •  I will have a Christmas tree.
  •  I will send Christmas cards.
  •  I will wrap presents and prepare gifts for my husband, daughters, sons, grandchildren and other family and friends.
  •  I will send packages to those I love, too far away to be with.
  •  But I will not make buying gifts the most important aspect of the season!

It’s a time to be joyful and remember the good in our lives and the love we have for each other! The gifts are merely a token of that love. It’s not about getting or giving the biggest, best, most expensive thing you can afford or add to your credit line ~ and its not about fulfilling everyones wishes and dreams. It’s about sharing something special with your loved ones ~ the hugs and kisses, the smiles, the laughter, the songs. Creating happy memories ~ the smells and tastes, the twinkling lights and candles, and sharing the traditional foods and treats.

I hope you have a very Merry Christmas!

 If you are in Salem, Oregon ~

  • Be sure and join the Artists in Action on Wednesday, December 3rd for an Art Walk and reception for the Something Red show in downtown Salem. See the AiA website, www.artistsinaction.org for more information about this fun art event.
  • The Holiday open house at the Enid Joy Mount Gallery, for the Keizer Art Association is on Saturday, December 6th from 11 am – 4 pm, with the Small Works show and holiday gift boutique.
  • The tree lighting ceremony at Willamette University is in the evening on Saturday, December 6th. There is a free Christmas concert and sing along in the Smith Auditorium after the tree lighting on the WU campus.

November ~ already?

September and October flew by, with three art shows running simultaneously.  Not much time for painting or writing in my art blog, but it was a wonderful experience to have all of my recent paintings hanging in various locations, attending the receptions, and gaining exposure for my artwork.

Pacific Dream - APL show

Pacific Dream, oil on canvas. One of the paintings brought in later to fill the additional space at the Albany Public Library. September-October 2014

My husband, John helped me hang the paintings at the Albany Public Library.  I had never been there before, so I had no idea how large the spaces were and how many wall there were to cover, so we ended up making two trips to add an additional six paintings, with a total of 22 paintings on the walls throughout the upper floor of the building. I received many nice comments from the staff and patrons there, so it was fulfilling to show my artwork in different city and gain that exposure. No sales happened, but it was a good experience.  I left postcards announcing the show on display there as well as my business cards, so you never know what will happen. Someone could contact me about a painting in the future. Sometimes art lovers have to sleep on it, before they finally decide to purchase a work of art.

Red Hawk View, acrylic on canvas

Red Hawk View, acrylic on canvas. This painting was awarded an Honorable Mention at the Paint the Town exhibit.

The Paint the Town show at the Elsinore Gallery ran during the month of October. Paint the Town paintings are generally plein air paintings that were done during the Summer months at various locations in and around the Salem area. I had two paintings in the show. One of my paintings, Red Hawk View, received an Honorable Mention. I’ll add that ribbon to my collection. It’s very flattering and encouraging to receive an award for a painting. This particular painting was one of my favorite painting experiences, because I really felt connected with the landscape and the scenic atmosphere while in the process of painting it en plein air at Red Hawk Vineyard in July. So, it was very nice to get the perk and receive recognition for the work.

The Westminster Fine Art Fair was also in October. This is juried entry only show. It was up for three days, and there was a total of something like 63 artists participating in the show. Each 2-D artist could enter up to eight hanging pieces. I was very impressed with how well the show was hung, and the beautiful variety of artwork in the show. Everything flowed together, which is not easy to do successfully with so many different styles and subjects that are submitted into the show. Paintings in oil, acrylic, watercolor, pastel, as well as sculpture, jewelry, pottery, photography, digital art, and multimedia. Large and small works, landscapes, portraits, modern, expressive, realism, impressionism, and linear. The volunteers did a fantastic job of presentation considering the variety of styles and mediums. It was a very tasteful and upscale display.  I sold blank note cards of my artwork. It was good to have more exposure in a different circle of art enthusiasts and to enjoy the camaraderie of fellow artists at the reception.

Now it’s November already, and there is still another show to consider before the end of the year. The Something Red show is coming up in December. This an annual Winter show that Artists in Action organizes with local merchants in the downtown Salem area. Many artist (up to 300 in past years) submit work that focusses on the color Red. The work is juried by several local artists or business owners, and the Mayor. It is then hung around town in various shops that participate ~ usually around 25-30 merchants. On the First Wednesday of December there’s an Art Walk throughout the downtown area, with artists present  where their art on display and afterward a gala art reception with lots of food, music, and other refreshments, and the awards are presented to the winning artists. It’s usually very well attended and always a good addition to December Christmas shopping atmosphere for the downtown shops.

Vertical shelves

Vertical shelving for painting storage.

On a personal note: Last weekend, I built  a vertical shelving storage unit in my basement, so that all my paintings can be properly stored while they are not in a gallery or other location. This also frees up space in my art studio upstairs, so that I can paint indoors during the winter months. The storage unit came out pretty nice, using particle board shelving from Bi-Mart, turned onto the side and doubled up to create vertical shelves that fit most of my paintings.

Now I need to go through my photographs to find inspiration for a painting that features the color Red.  Each artist can submit up to three paintings. I will probably only have time to finish one new painting by the submission date. So I may go through my finished paintings, to see if I already have a painting  that features the color red — something I’ve never shown before at the Something Red event. Stay tuned….