I exhibited at the American Artisan Festival in Nashville last weekend. It's a terrific fair run by Nancy Saturn, who owns the American Artisan Gallery in Nashville.
As soon as I drove into Centennial Park, I remembered an encounter I had there last year. It reminded me how important art is in our lives.
A little girl, about 11, came in to my booth. It was drizzling and I thought she was just coming in out of the rain. That's fine. She examined my work very carefully. She reminded me of Hannah, my daughter of the same age, who loves art and takes it very seriously. I tried to talk to the girl, but she didn't want a conversation. Lots of kids, especially girls, love my images of Horses, and I thought that's the one that attracted her.
She started flipping through the bins, found what she was looking for and took it to the next booth to show her mother. Mom was engaged in a conversation with a jeweler and not interested in the girl's selection.
She came back, hugging the picture. She tried for 10 minutes to get her mom's attention.
I asked her to show me the picture she liked so much. I was surprised that it was Adventure Awaits, one of my favorites but a pretty sophisticated image for a tween.
Does that remind you of some place special, I asked.
She was so solemn, almost in tears. She nodded. "Home."
"New Hampshire," she said. "And I'll never see it again." By this time, she was crying.
Obviously, the move to Tennessee had been hard. She had a $80 print in her hand but I was determined she was going home with that image, whether her parents would buy it or not.
Her parents did buy her a smaller version. I imagine it in her room, giving her comfort and easing her transition to a new place. It's an amazing feeling when my work can touch someone so deeply.
THAT'S why I'm an artist.