Fudge's End of the Year Art Review - 2010 Was BIG

If I were to try to sum up 2010 in one word, it would be BIG. There were a lot of big firsts for me this year and many of them really made me feel like a BIG deal (or at least 'semi-famous').

To start the year off, six of my paintings were on display at the BIGGEST gallery space on South Main. The 409 Gallery is located in the old Jay Etkin's space. There was a great crowd there on that trolley art night and i felt really honored to be included.

I really didn't do a whole lot of shows this year. In many ways, I took a step back but I did have my work shown at the 409 Gallery, Downtown Presbyterian, Starbucks at Trinity, and the Germantown Community Theatre. The nice thing was that they all called me which was pretty cool. It's nice to be asked to come hang your work instead of going around like a door to door salesmans to find a place that will display your artwork.

Biggest painting:

From May to August, I was working on two 4ft x 6ft canvases for a whopping 48 square feet. Not only was it the biggest painting I've ever done, it was also my first corporate commission. It feels like a big deal and a great honor to be included in the area's first hospice house, the Baptist Trinity Hospice House & Kemmons Wilson Family Center for Good Grief.

Also falling into the biggest painting category is my biggest live painting. For The Stirring's Christmas service, I completed a 3.5ft by 5ft canvas. That night was the first time The Stirring was held in Hope's big sanctuary (seats over 5,000) and it was our biggest attendance at over 2,200. (okay, now I'm regretting theming this as BIG and having to use big and biggest all the time. Hopefully this wont be that a big post).

A great BIG roadtrip:

In 11 days, I drove over 2,000 miles through eight states. It was wonderful experience. I can't wait to do something like it again or at least return for an extended stay at one of my favorite stops. Hopefully, 2011 will be the year of the Great American Artsy Rail Trip - aka GAART 2011 - with a train ride to Chicago. Or at the very least a return to Asheville for a 4-5 day trip ( could i still call it GAART... Great Asheville Artsy Return Trip?) I only stayed one night there and had such a great time. Asheville was like the beautiful girl you spend the evening flirting with, you get her number with a promise of a date, and then lose the number never to see her again... Oh what might have been!

You make me feel like a big deal.

I don't want to sound like I've gotten a big head, but I had some moments this past year that were very touching and exciting. And i just wanted to say thanks. Falling into the "Aw, shucks." category I feel like i had art groupies. Or at least Chester did.  

You'll recall that journal project I had going. I've made a lot of connections with artists all over the country. One of those was Robyn. She loves Chester and lived in Texas at the time. I never expected to meet her in person. But one day i get a phone call, "Hey Fudge, my friend Paula and I are driving through Memphis and would like to meet you." It was very surprising and a lot of fun. She picked up the drawing she had ordered from me, got a tour of my art studio, and generally made me feel like i was a big deal. If a painter can have groupies, Robyn is the President of the Fudge fan club.

And if Robyn is fan club president than Susan Isaacs is head of marketing. She has three Chester paintings in her collection and she is Chester's most famous fan. Susan got the word out about my art like no one has before by tweeting about it and even included it in a video she made. Heck, she seemed just as excited about my work being published in Anne Jackson's book as I was. 

And to be honest, there were many people this year who were supportive and encouraging of me and my work. I can't begin to mention you all. So a BIGGGGGG THANK YOU to everyone who purchased a painting or drawing, let me crash on your couch while on my roadtrip, expressed how much they liked a painting, shared how a painting touched them, asked me to show my artwork at your space, attended my art openings, etc. I love you guys. You helped me have most exciting year for my art so far. 


Have yourself a Merry Stirring Chirstmas

First of all, these are not my photos. I borrowed them from a few friends on Facebook.
I hope they dont mind.

For the first time, the Stirring was held in the main HUGE sanctuary in Hope. I think it can seat like over 5,000.  To give you some scale, The Stirring has been averaging about 450 in attendance and our normal meeting space maxes out at around 1,000. Look how massive the stage is! We had to have 2 artists and both of us had to paint on XXL canvases. Chris Reed worked on a 6ft x 5 1/2 ft one and I worked on a 3 1/2 ft x 5 ft canvas. Chris did a fair amount of prep before hand, but I just started from a blank canvas. 

Last year, we held two services in the South Hall and had to turn people away from the first service. Since we didnt want that to happen again, we moved to the big sanctuary. It felt like moving from the kids' table to the grown-ups' table. And it was a good thing too because we had over 2,200 in total attendance. 

Okay, so they put me on a riser nearly center stage. Take a look at the depth of the platform. It was maybe 4 ft deep and the easel took up 2 ft. I was every concerned that I'd take a step too far back and... I dont even want to think about it. Thankfully neither i nor the easel fell off. In addition to this being the largest service that I've ever painted during, it was also the largest canvas I've ever attempted to paint from blank to finished (mostly). If you were wondering what i was thinking during the service it was probably one of these concerns: "Don't fall. Don't bend over too much and flash the audience. I hope I brought enough this color paint. I hope i can finish this." etc. repeat.

Here's a shot of both Chris and I painting. I'll have to post a photo of each of our "finished" paintings. I dont think either of us actually finished our pieces but they looked finished enough. 

All and all, it was huge. Huge amount of work, volunteers, staff, art, music, venue, attendance, etc. I can't believe we pulled it off.

And here's a photo of my finished painting "Silent Night"