The Shed Cafe, Edom, Texas
. . . your desire to make art–beautiful or meaningful or emotive art–is integral to your sense of who you are. Life and Art, once entwined, can quickly become inseparable; at age ninety Frank Lloyd Wright was still designing, Imogen Cunningham still photographing, Sravinsky still composing, Picasso still painting.
David Bayles & Ted Orland, Art & Fear
I love that point raised by Bayles and Orland. If I could be fortunate enough to live to see ninety, I would hope that I still have the eye and the steady hand to continue making art. I still feel like a student, am still filled with surprises at every turn, and love the discovery of new ideas and techniques. I make art because it is in me; I am not complete when I’m not making something new. This morning, I am exhausted from finishing a three-day art festival that featured frigid temperatures and high winds. Nevertheless, sales were O.K., and the conversations with patrons were very warming to my soul. I am grateful for all the positives that came out of this one. I have two weeks before the next festival, and plenty of time to rest up and recuperate. All things considered, the festival was a good experience, but it meant three days without making art, so I am itching to get back into the studio.
I promised in an earlier post to share my favorite memory from the art festival circuit. Every October, I participate in the Edom Festival of the Arts in remote east Texas. The setting is rolling pastureland with several barns and sheds scattered around the property and enormous shade trees. The booths are not lined up in a grid, but arranged organically around the property, inserted between trees, outbuildings, etc. A tall privacy fence hides the festival grounds from the highway nearby. There is no electricity on the grounds, so we don’t have to fuss with track lighting, laptops or credit card terminals. Patrons know that the event is a cash-and-carry affair, with an ATM in the town, and the two-day festival is filled with art shoppers. Sales and conversations at the Edom Festival of the Arts are first rate, and I can’t wait to go every fall when the weather begins to cool.
Two years back, to save money and time, I decided not to book a hotel (about a thirty-minute drive to the nearest city). I had this romantic and ludicrous notion that I would sleep in the back of my Jeep Grand Cherokee, disregarding my age and lack of general fitness (also disregarding the soreness and achiness that always comes from loading the Jeep, driving two hours, setting up the tent, furniture, and hanging all the art). When darkness descended, I crawled into the back of my Jeep that was parked near the forest with all the other artists’ vehicles and trailers (a number of them have camping trailers for accommodations). The night grew chilly, and I never got comfortable in the back of my vehicle. I chafed at my lack of judgment and slept very little as the night wore on.
Finally, just before dawn, I decided I had to get back on my feet. I had slept in my clothes, so I did not have to undergo acrobatic contortions, dressing in the back of the vehicle. Emerging from the Jeep, I trudged with heavy feet up the hill and through the festival grounds. The grass was wet with dew, temperatures were in the upper forties (the sweatshirt and jacket were doing their job just fine), and as I walked among the gleaming white tents in silence, I felt an exhilaration I cannot explain. The morning was crisp, cold and delicious. I loved the scent of the October pasture. The artist “village” was so attractive to me, though all the tents were shuttered and no art work was visible at this hour. But I loved the morning walk through the darkness, and as I wended my way toward The Shed Cafe (not visible because of the privacy fence), I could only hope that it opened according to “traditional country cafe hours”. It was 6:05 and still dark. Rounding the corner of the privacy fence, I saw what is posted at the top of this blog (this photo was taken later, nearer Christmas time, hence the holiday lights). Warm light poured out of every window, smoke was billowing out of the chimney, and I instantly smelled eggs frying, bacon, ham, biscuits, gravy, coffee–the works! I cannot describe the rush of good will that filled me at that moment. All the achiness and sleepiness from the goofy night sleeping in the Jeep disappeared, and all that mattered was the warm, affirming feeling of a hot country breakfast. The food at The Shed is among the finest I’ve ever had, and regardless of the success in sales at the Edom Festival, breakfast at The Shed is the highlight of the weekend.
The Shed Cafe
Last winter, I painted this 8 x 10″ watercolor of my favorite east Texas eatery.
Thanks for reading.
I paint in order to remember.
I journal when I feel alone.
I blog to remind myself that I am not alone.