For the last several weeks I’ve been hinting about a special visitor who was going to be at my artist reception at Eye Candy Gallery earlier this month. I was being discrete about it because my sister was planning to attend the reception and I wanted the presence of my guest to be a surprise to her. I can spill the beans now. Its a very wonderful story, at least for me it is. In order to tell you all the details, I must go back and retell some of the details which you may have read before.
Back in April, I blogged about my Sunflower (“Sól”) which I created for the 2012 Double Takes show at Eye Candy Gallery. (You can read the story here.) When Double Takes ended, the owner of the gallery Frank Pierce asked if they could represent my work after the show and so, I left “Sól” to hang there.
By late last fall, “Sól” had been at Eye Candy for while and I had decided it was time to rotate it to another location for a little while. When I went to retrieve the piece, I found that during its visit at the gallery “Sól” had acquired an admirer who was willing to make a deal to keep it. I was asked if I would take a trade.
After some discussion, Frank Pierce and I agreed that he would do a commission portrait of my paternal grandmother, Salomea. In exchange “Sól” would become part of Frank’s personal art collection. Yes, that’s right, the owner of Eye Candy wanted my artwork and was willing to do a commission work for me. I am a huge admirer of Frank’s work, but never felt I would ever be able to afford one of his pieces, especially something this meaningful. I felt like I had won a lottery. And for someone who feels like they never “win” anything, you can imagine what a big deal I thought this was.
While Frank was working on the piece, I was able to check in from time to time to see the progress. Each time I checked in, I found myself gasp and felt tears well in my eyes. The day it was completed they surprised me with it. On that day, I found myself speechless. Frank was able to instill life into an old black & white photo taken in the early 1920s, my grandmother’s engagement photo. The colors in the painting take my breath away. I love this portrait, it means the world to me in more ways than one.
When I checked in on the progress, Frank always seemed excited to fill me in on the details. He had always wanted to do a portrait using egg tempera and chose my grandmother as his first subject. Egg tempera is an ancient form of painting using egg yolks and pigment to create the color. The details that Frank was able to capture with this media is amazing. I especially loved to hear that Frank found himself so enthusiastically involved in the process that on a few occasions he lost track of time and nearly put in some all-nighters working on it.
When Frank was finished, I knew Salomea (aka Busia) needed to be with me at my artist reception. She died when I was 10 and I had always imagined she was the one who guided me to follow the right paths in life. It was important for me that she was there that night watching over everything.
- My work, as featured artist, is on display at Eye Candy Gallery until May 24. Stop by, if you are in Southern Pines.
- My grandmother’s portrait will be on display at Eye Candy Gallery in June as part of Frank Pierce’s portrait show. His portraits are amazing!