We’re In This Together

I enjoy demonstrating and exhibiting my art  because of what I learn about others and myself. Plus, I get the uncensored version on how the public views my efforts.

Visit www.yadkinvalleyliving.com and click on “June Rollins” during Jan/Feb 2011 to read what I found out. After Feb. 2011, read below:

We’re In This Together

Most people think when they go to an art exhibit they’re the observers, the ones viewing the artist’s efforts. And they’re right, they are. But, let’s not forget, artists are observers by nature. Attuned to seeing from the inside out, sensing and interpreting what often goes unnoticed by others.

At a recent solo-exhibition of my work in Monroe, NC at the Union County Community Arts Council I had the opportunity during the two-day Monroe Art Walk to observe the observers. I watched them analyze, question, identify, critique and sometimes judge.

There was the usual percentage that breezed through not seeing. One must be present to receive what art is offering. I’m not speaking of personal tastes, of liking or not liking. We all know art is subjective. I’m speaking of being aware, open and receptive. And a few folks just didn’t have their antennae up. Flushed and glassy eyed from a little too much liquid confidence, in too big a hurry, agitated or bored, the walls might as well have been blank.

Then there were the one or two with antennae like snapping whips. “She copies,” one self-assured expert whispered with disdain into her friend’s ear.

But, mostly the people simply received and responded.

A Queens College art student chose one of my paintings as his audio-assignment and stood before it for several minutes talking into his recorder of its vivid colors and 3-D effects.

Two Wingate art students returned the second day with a friend. “We had to come back,” they said. “We wanted her to see this too.”

The model in one of my pastels brought by several family members and a joyous mini-reunion took place beneath her portrait, her smiling clone adorned in a black vintage hat overseeing the festivities.

One woman showed interest in buying a painting but wanted her husband to see it first. She left without it, declining my offer to hold it for her. Within the hour someone else came in and bought it.

Another woman smitten with a 5×7 loosely rendered landscape I was creating out of my head said, “I want that! I love the colors! Hold it for me. I’ll be back tomorrow to buy it.” And toward the end of the second day, she returned, money in hand.

An artist came in, a beginning draftsman of dragons and wizards. I affirmed his efforts.

Another artist came in, he had recently gotten “Best Of Show” in a Mint Hill Arts competition I had also entered last fall. I had been awed by his work. He affirmed my efforts.

A teacher from Country Day School in Charlotte brought a small group of students who eagerly took turns with my offered brush when I asked, “Would you like to try?”

One woman wondered if she had encouraged her son enough when he was younger. “He used to be such a good artist. Is it my fault that he didn’t stick with it?”

And a “we’re doing whatever-it-takes”” mom came in with her reticent 18-year old daughter whose vulnerable, young heart was wishing for an art degree.

“She’s so shy,” her mother confided.

I saw myself in the daughter and I couldn’t help but think, what if? What if I would have had the courage, when I poured over that JMU (James Madison University) handbook thirty-five years ago to declare the fine arts major I so yearned for?

“I’ll trade places with you,” I told the daughter.

An artist was once asked, “Why are there no people in your paintings?”

“Ah, but there are,” the old master responded, “You and me.”


2 thoughts on “We’re In This Together

  1. June,
    Your “Come Test the Waters” class was such fun. You are a wonderful teacher as well as a wonderful artist. I had taken a watercolor 5 day workshop and was totally turned off by the instructor. I learned more in one day with you. Looking forward to taking “Come In, the Water’s Fine”. Dolores

  2. Dolores,

    Thank you so much. Your positive feedback is very much appreciated.

    I look forward to working with you in the in the five-week series. I believe there is only one more opening. We will have a fun group.

    Looking forward to Jan. 21st,


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