Thursday, June 7, 2012

Banners for Downtown Gresham

When I first started this art journey and found my style,
I was talked into attempting to jury into a local art walk.
Our community of Gresham hosts the annual Gresham Art Walk which I had attended as a patron for several years.
This was an event for "real" artists.
That wasn't me. Or at least that was the way I felt.
But my brother, who is a fantastic potter, convinced me that I needed to try.
So I did - and my first jury application looked sooo very amateurish - but I was accepted.
Our first attempt at a booth space was rather humourous. We had no idea what we were doing.
It was held together with tape, wire and hope!
But we made it through and we sold several paintings.
I was shocked. I was thrilled. I was humbled.
And so my journey into the larger art festivals began.
I started calling myself an artist.

That was about 7 years ago and the Gresham Art Walk remains one of my favorites.
It's a big street party.

This art walk began as a grass routes brain child of a single woman.
The first festival had about 25 vendors and covered a block.
There are now over 140 vendors and it covers several blocks.
There is a committee of dedicated people who believe that this event is an integral part of the the community.
They decorate parts of the street leading up to the event.
Last year, they added hand painted banners to the light poles.
No advertising - just art.
They were such a hit, that this year they are adding a few more.
They asked a few of their favorite art walk artists to produce a banner or two.
I was asked and once again - I am humbled.
Seriously???
I get to paint banners that will be hung in downtown Gresham?
People will be seeing my art as they drive down the main street, go shopping, head to their favorite restaurants, go to buy the produce at the weekly farmers market and to visit their favorite coffee shop?
WOW!

Two banners - both sides painted with a different image -for a total of four.

I was instructed to do what ever I wanted - but do include positive words.
No problem!

As with the past commission piece - once I agreed the panic set in.
I left the banners in a corner of my studio for a very long time.
I eventually took them out and looked at them - they were stark white - and big.
2 ft wide x 5 ft tall.
I did what any self respecting person would do - I rolled them back up and put them back in the corner.

Finally - about a week and a half ago, I pulled them out and spread them out on the table.
They stayed there for a few more days.
Mocking me with their white color.

Then I said to myself- this is it. I am going to paint these.
And instead - I did the dishes. And then I cleaned the studio.
Sometimes we all have avoidance issues. 

And then I finally started.
I started laying on bright colors in random order.
I didn't know what to paint. What would people think? What colors should I use? Questions, questions, questions. . .

But I just DID it.
I found myself settling into a groove and the creative brain took over and I found my happy place.
Now I was obsessed with completing the project.

One week later . . .



Again - another life lesson.
The hardest part of any new project is to get that awful little gremlin that sits on our shoulder to go away.
You know the gremlin - the one that tells you that you aren't good enough?
And the best way to get him to be quiet is to just jump in and go for it.

So there you go -
starting in mid-June, if you are in downtown Gresham, Oregon -
be sure and look for my banners.
And don't forget to come to the Gresham ARt Walk on July 21st.
I'll be in the brightly colored booth!

3 comments:

Giggles said...

Oh how I would come if I lived near by, and bring a posse of goddesses and my SIL with me!! Just to see you and your amazing vibrant, happy art!! You truly rock and I'm glad you shut that gremlin down!! The flags are amazing. You better have a big price on them when people ask to purchase them!! Good luck...you are amazing!! Love them!! Thanks for being so authentic!!

Hugs Giggles

Patty said...

Laurie that is so fabulous! Your work is PERFECT for the event. I've always loved the cheerfulness of your style and the happy colors.

Kris Zorko said...

Laurie, I love your bright, vibrant designs and positive words! I have three of your plaques in my studio and have given some as gifts as well. Keep doing what you do -- you are an amazing artist!