Solitude & Community

July 2018

In the past few weeks, I finished three paintings in my home studio in Bay Harbor, Michigan. I wondered: What is their final destination? What is the fate of the paintings hanging quietly in my Naples studio?

Left: Paul lending a helping hand.

I experience a lot of solitude while painting. But on the other hand, I love being part of my community and tapping into the energy of the people and the spirit of the place.

And one of the most satisfying ways of doing that is finishing a painting and releasing it to the world, like a child leaving the nest.

On a recent morning stroll on Bay Harbor’s Main Street, I found the answer to my questions and needs: an available boutique-sized retail space with high ceilings, track lights and smooth pale green walls. It spoke “gallery.”

After a few days of listing pros and cons, and receiving encouragement from my husband, Paul, I signed a lease and shipped my Naples paintings to Bay Harbor. Summer season is kicking off, and we had less than a week to spare.

Paul and I got to work hanging the art, printing signs, making minor repairs, and setting up an easel in the corner for me to work. For finishing touches we brought in a vase of peonies, a mint green mini-fridge (retro-style), and an antique wood desk and chairs bought on consignment. I even dragged a bench from my closet for people to sit on while viewing the paintings. Then I was lucky to find two right hands to help me operate the gallery, greet people and answer the phones.


Above: The raw space with a crate of paintings.

The gallery is called Amy Art, and it’s one of the most exciting adventures of my life!

Amy Art has now been open for three days. It’s a beautiful little space nestled between Sandra Lee Photography Studio & Gallery, and a men’s store called Carl Sterr. Across the street is a pancake house and the Main Street Market. The gallery is literally a minute’s walk from my house. The marina is at one end of Main Street, and at the other end, the Great Lakes Performing Arts Center is opening July 7th.

I feel fortunate to be part of a growing arts community.

So far, we’ve been welcoming a steady stream of neighbors and visitors and it’s fun to meet them and observe which paintings they connect with most.

Of course, artists like to sell their work. But right now I’ve been enjoying the energy of creating new bonds with people as they engage with the art. Energy is the operative word. Inspiring, motivating, alive.

And then I ride the wave of the energy back to my easel and the solitude of the creative process.

May your day be filled with heart, imagination and color.

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