Saturday, August 22, 2009

The Begining of The End

It is true that some of my paintings have won awards. This one, Bowl of Cherries (as a writer you would think I could come up with a more imaginative name), won a Best of Show award. I was allowed to glance at the little notation, written by one of the judges. I wanted to stand there and memorize it, line by line, but I hated to appear self-absorbed; all I remember was “technically precise”, and it is that.

In that same show, I also entered this imaginatively titled work, Lauren Sketching. She took the Peoples’ Choice award. In all honestly, though, I think the poll was rigged. Lauren is a friend of mine with a very large extended family, and I wouldn’t put it past some of them to stuff the ballot box. But, who am I to argue with the numbers? Besides, the prize was something like $50.00, enough to keep me in paint and paper for a year.

Before you get all impressed, I should tell you that it was only a county fair. Yes, it's true that the art show was separated from the pie contest, veggies exhibits and cow stalls, but the blue ribbons did look exactly alike… Okay, in all fairness, and out of respect for fellow entrants and administrators, I should emphasize that there were some very accomplished artists, in fact the show had an amateur and professional division. I entered the amateur division for years (in my opinion, I did not meet the 'professional' criteria: sells or teaches art). The last year, before we moved, the administrators 'forced' me to enter under professional.

The hardest part of those shows was claiming the awards, and retrieving my paintings. That could be done only within a brief window of time, during which all the other artists milled about.

When no one was looking, I removed my paintings, hoping to claim my money-laden envelopes and flee.

“Oh, J.B. Chicoine…” that’s how I sign everything, but my name, Bridget, was right on the entry form in front of the woman at the claim station, announcing my presence. I cringed at how pretentious J.B. sounded, and suddenly I had an audience asking me questions.

“How did you get that texture on her jeans?”, and “I would just love to stand over your shoulder and watch you paint...”

‘Really?’ I thought, ''cause I’d rather be stripped naked and chased down Main Street by an angry mob, than have someone watch me paint.’ I smiled and said nice things back, amazed that they actually thought I was an artist.

Oh, what the heck, just call yourself an artist for Pete’s sake. So, I did. Thus ended possibly the most prolific painting spree of my life. I think I started and finished nearly 10 painting in a year’s time, most of them in a span of weeks.

Now, when I pass a favorite, hanging on the wall, I pause and wonder? Did I actually paint that?

I wonder if I can ever paint that good again.


  1. Hi, Bridget.

    You actually stole my words... "Oh, what the heck, just call yourself an artist for Pete’s sake."

    You really are very talented, Bridget, no matter what you say... your paintings exude a sense of tranquility. They make me feel a little calmer... so if they're hanging in your house, I'll bet you feel calm all the time. Right?

    And don't underestimate an award from a county fair... it's still a nod from your peers, which is always cool.

    I hope you do paint again... I look forward to seeing more of your work. But no pressure, of course! :-)

  2. Home is one of the few places I do feel calm. I actually love being at home. It’s sort of the artistic center of my universe. Not only does our artwork consume the walls, but also my husband has unleashed his creativity on the trim work in our old farmhouse. It’s a happy place.


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