At the Art Reception

When I attend an Art Reception, I usually seek out the company of another artist, preferably to sit one on one in a quiet corner.

The patrons are OK too, but the conversations differ. I have thankfully out grown the extreme shyness of my youth. It is no longer impossible or painful to talk to new people about my artwork. (It surprises me that I am sometimes the most At-Ease and confident person in a room! Being older has it’s advantages.)

I enjoy talking with a new person about why I chose those particular fabrics, or that “this was a different piece entirely- before I cut it up and rearranged it.” I want to share that my most productive time of year is winter, and that most of my reference photos of people are taken at a family reunion, and that the current events of the day are working their way into my artwork. I might mention that right now I am doing a lot of spring time garden tending. This is still on topic, because gardening is excellent practice for using what you have, and working on a large scale.

Below are some examples of artwork influenced by events of the day. ‘Freedom’ refers to women being given equal opportunities, without fear.  In the piece ‘Shine a Light on it’, we are looking at the shadow cast by an object, in order to ascertain it’s true form. ‘Sniff Out Truth’ is about journalism. I admire the daily work required of reporters. ‘Connect the Dots’ is about the Russia investigation.

Freedom, 14 X 11, sold

Sniff Out Truth, 12 X 16, sold

Connect the Dots, 12 X 16, sold

Discovery 10.5 X 7.5, Sold

What do I talk about with my fellow artists? I ask questions about their latest artwork and where it is going. I want to know their optimal work schedule and what shows they are entering. How do they get momentum back? I encourage them to focus on the things in their own artwork that are really working. For example a friend who has embraced a new 3-D medium of recycled wood and tree stump/roots, needs to be told how super remarkable this work is. Keep Going!

I encourage my fellow artist to develop their voice, even if it is not standard. One young man creates large bright canvases. They have lots of connected stories that reference pop culture.  He asked two artists if he “should try to work small?” We both said NO, because how would the intricate stories fit on a small canvas?

I encourage another art friend to journal about what they want to say. “Write down your list of themes and adjectives.  Add to this, the color palette and unique qualities of your medium to advance the telling. Allow the medium to do the work. Listen to it and let it take the lead.”

Giving encouragement and tackful feedback is a way that I support the arts, by supporting the artist. If the Art Reception is for one or two brave artists, it is important to show up and see their work. The artist showing art feels a little exposed and vulnerable, and at the same time excited to share this visual expression of what they have to say.

Syncopated Dialogue, 40 X 22, $500

Built to Last, 16 X 12, sold

It would be nice for the world, if the political right and left, could just work together as successfully as the on- beat and off- beats of music. That is the idea of ‘Syncopated Dialogue’

reference photo for Built to Last

Background fabric used for ‘Discovery’ is perfect for advancing the idea of delight and examination.

The fabrics that I used in ‘Built to Last’ are an unexpected combination, but they really wanted to play together. This structure is a gravity fed aqueduct, so encorporating some rain drop fabric just made me smile.

Recipe for Tahini Asparagus: Cook 1c. quinoa in 2c. water and 1/2t. salt. When done (simmer about 18 min.) add 3 -4 T. tahini, stir, and set aside, covered. Wash 5 – 10 spears of asparagus, pat dry, and slice. Wash and slice 2 or more cups mushrooms and 2 -4 green onions, chopped. Saute vegetables in coconut oil or butter for a few minutes. Add water or broth to pan and cover for a few more minutes.  Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve on top of the quinoa.

7 Responses to At the Art Reception

Joan Sowada Art

Thanks Susan. I’m glad that you got to do the Gala this year.

Susan Love

I am sorry I missed your artist reception at Rapport. I did however enjoy your conversation at the Gala. After visiting for few minutes I now know to look for the story in your work. Delightful.

Christy Gerrits

Great to hear what an artist likes to talk about. I am usually at a loss. Great to see that you sold so many! You go girl!


Enjoyed your discussion! You keep growing and blooming and it’s wonderful to watch!

Janet Hildebrand

You know I love everything you create in all its variety, Joan, and besides the visual artistry, I love the philosophy behind each one, and love it when you talk about it and about how each choice you made goes into the expression of that philosophy. Answering the questions I don’t know to ask and love to learn. Your blogs are art and art extensions! Thank you!


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