Over the last two months, I have been working on two pieces to submit for the Theater Art Galleries juried show, The Bicycle: Art Meets Form. I have three pieces for submission, but two of them are larger pieces. I spent a lot of time uncovering what was driving my ideas. I wanted to put more of ME in my work. When I paint something, it contains a part of my soul. I’m sharing a bit of me with you. It may not be something you see or even understand, but I know it’s there.
Don’t get me wrong, I love doing home portraits and corporate work. This sustains me while I paint for myself. For the longest time, I painted for others. I would paint to find my niche, but not necessarily my passion. After spending some time with a fellow artist on the phone, I realized that I needed to put more of me in my work. And to summon the courage to enter my first juried show. I don’t know if any of them will be accepted, but I do know that they are real pieces of me.
When I think about all the things that influence me, my love of historic preservation, music, and the happiness I felt as a child…..these are the driving influences in my work. So, when it came time for me to look at the bicycle, the first thing I thought of was my red, Schwinn Fair Lady. It was my second, red Schwinn. I remember getting it for Christmas in 197something. It still had training wheels on it and a fabulous, vinyl banana seat in a floral pattern. I learned to ride it without training wheels in our front yard on Rockspring Road. That bike brought me much happiness. I loved riding bikes as a kid. When we moved to West Farriss, we (my brother and me) rode everywhere. It wasn’t long after we moved that my bike was stolen from our front porch. I was heartbroken. Someone else’s need for a free bike for their child broke the heart of another and probably without much thought. As an adult, I don’t condone stealing, but I was a lucky child. Born into a family who had things others didn’t. My dad worked hard to provide for us and he did. He gave us everything.
This loss ushered in the arrival of my first Varisty 10-speed. The silver 24″. I always cherished those trips to see Mr. Danny and Mrs. Dolly at the bicycle shop. Mr. Danny would adjust your seat for optimal riding and Mrs. Dolly made sure you left happy with what you picked out. It’s funny, forty-some odd years later, I still love this bicycle.