The Art Festival from the Inside

Art on the Greene, March 21, 2014

Art on the Greene, March 21, 2014

There are moments in our lives, there are moments in a day, when we seem to see beyond the usual.  Such are the moments of our greatest happiness.  Such are the moments of our greatest wisdom.  If one could but recall his vision by some sort of sign.  It was in this hope that the arts were invented.  Sign-posts on the way to what may be.  Sign-posts toward greater knowledge.  

Robert Henri, The Art Spirit

As I write this it is Saturday morning.  Though I did not get in until after midnight last night, and the preceding 48 hours were consumed by the packing, loading, traveling and setting up of my tent at the Art on the Greene festival, I awoke several times in the pre-dawn, and finally got up a little before 7:00.  The printer has been busy, with over thirty 8 x 10″ prints now ready for matting and sleeving in plastic.  I’m opening the blinds to let the dim early morning light enter my studio, and am pouring my first cup of coffee.  And I am smiling inwardly with contentment.

We opened yesterday at 3:00 to perfect weather and good crowds.  I enjoyed many, many conversations with patrons, and this morning I cannot let go of the words of one who purchased several works: “I cannot stop looking through all these, because your paintings move me.”  Purchases are wonderful, but nothing gratifies me more than hearing someone say that s/he is moved when looking at my work.  I know how stirred up I am when I see something that compels me to paint, and I know how I am moved when I work on a painting and everything seems to be coming together.  But everytime an observer shares with me that s/he is moved when looking at my paintings, I feel that rush anew.  So, this morning the light through the window is better, and the coffee is better.

For a number of years, I walked through art festivals, making the occasional purchase, chatting up the artists and admiring the works on display.  Being an artist myself, I often wondered what it would be like to be on the inside of this operation.  I finally threw my hat in the ring, and have now lost track of how many years I have moved in the festival circuit.  It feels like seven or eight maybe.  I could probably write a book on that experience, but I doubt that it would be an interesting read.  Some years I have participated in as many as a dozen festivals, while holding down full-time high school and three-quarter time college positions.  That was too much.  Now I have my routine down to about a half dozen festivals per calendar year.

Since I do this alone, I cannot exactly mingle about the festival and leave my booth unattended.  But I do feel a calm sense of contentment when I arrive early and move through the “village” as booths are opening, and artists are all in a chatty frame of mind.  I enjoy the sounds of the morning conversations and the “waking up” of the art scene.  Perhaps one day I’ll tell my favorite story involving a delicious experience at Edom Festival of the Arts that occurred in the wee morning hours.

But for now, I have packaging to do in prepartion for this Saturday, an  eleven-hour run.

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.


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6 Responses to “The Art Festival from the Inside”

  1. Xraypics Says:

    Sounds like a wonderful experience. We’re all agog to hear your story. Enjoy the rest of the weekend, hope you are very successful. Tony


    • davidtripp Says:

      Thanks for reading, Tony. The festival has gone pretty well despite frigid temperatures and high winds (at least the rain stayed away). I’ll tell my favorite story when I get back to the computer again. I appreciate your interest.
      Sent via BlackBerry by AT&T


  2. J Haeske Says:

    As Xraypics says, it does sound like a very good experience – and it’s a scene I know nothing about. I only know some of the big art shows which are always a bit offputting to me because they are overly commercial.


    • davidtripp Says:

      Thank you for that observation. I know that off-putting commercial scene all-too-well. As for me, I really enjoy chatting with the patrons, regardless of whether they are buying or not. Most of my inspiration comes from those conversations. This festival has been rich in new friendships. (Though freezing cold!)
      Sent via BlackBerry by AT&T


  3. B. Ratzloff Says:

    I’m happy for you that you can go to art festivals and receive inspiration from them! And I agree with you…when someone tells us how our art moves them…it’s the best compliment in the world. I’ve been keeping up with you…(just a bit quiet because of the ever present pain. Tough…but I’m fighting it.) You are also a writer! I enjoy reading your posts so much. 😉 Have a good day!


    • davidtripp Says:

      You made my day, thank you so much. I wish you all the strength and all the positive thoughts as you fight through this. I hope you are still finding peace and worthwhile sentiments as you pursue your art. You inspire me, the way you persevere and find inspiration in your artful life.


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