On Saturday evening, a charming lady named Mauna noticed my name as we hob-nobbed (in my new hat, above) in the Garage Mahal portion of the Art and Invention Gallery at the opening reception for their holiday exhibit and sale. She said, "So you're Evie Coates?" (This still astounds me, that people I don't know know who I am.) She went on to say that she and her husband bought one of my works a few years back, that it hangs in a prominent spot in their home and that she gazes at it adoringly every time she passes it. "It's got lots of stars on it" she said. Yep, must be one of mine.
Early this morning, I received an email from another patron. Her name is Laura and she chose, as her Christmas gift from her husband, one of my pieces. It's titled "Kindly Light" and was one of the stragglers from my October show, which I just could never understand. It was one of my very favorites from the entire array of 62. Evocative of a winter's night, cohesive in the placement of all its found treasures, gently colored and treated with a soft touch of the brush -- just a real beauty, if I do say so. Now I know why it waited to leave me. It waited until the right person was ready for it. In her shipping confirmation email, Laura wrote the following:
Your package arrived here safe and sound yesterday afternoon. And I'll confess, I didn't just peek.... I ogled and gaped. Such artistry. From the address, to the folds in the cardboard packaging, to the inside paper wrapping -- you do nothing without beauty and attention to detail. And then when I peeled back the paper, there it was...When I turned it over and read your inscription, I cried. It was all I could do to wrap it back up and put it under the Christmas tree. I can't wait until it gets to hang on my wall and I can show it off to my friends. I've never owned a piece of visual art that has held so much meaning and emotion for me. It made my heart swell with gratitude for...the way in which he speaks to me through the arts and his artists. So thank you for "Kindly Light". I promise to love and care for her well.
To top it all off, the cover of a book I recently designed just came back from the presses. It. Is. Gorgeous. Nothing like seeing a long-labored illustration come back unhindered and not-screwed-with from the printers. Whew. Fiddler's Green. If you're a smart human being, you'll check it out. (Only after you've read the first one, though.)
What I'm saying, I guess, is that it's nice to be reminded, in threes and by strangers, that I am an artist. I'm an artist people know and actually recognize, and whose work some people actually inquire after when they walk into Meg's cozy little East Nashville gallery (as she tells me). I am easy to forget, this artist self. Yes, a real shot in the arm.