After weeks of intense preparation, I opened my studio for my 22nd consecutive St Paul Art Crawl. About 2000 people wandered through my studio over the three day event. I had many incredible conversations about everything from paint to faith to the terrible third grade art teacher that squelched a kid's artistic dreams. Shame on her! An adult in her 60's is still hurting over it. I hear similar stories at every art crawl. It is nothing short of amazing to me how many children love making art and yet will stop creating because of something an adult says to them. I hear wonderful stories as well, the beloved aunt who always gave art supplies as gifts and the father who let his son paint on the basement walls. I see parents accompanied by children of all ages, pointing at paintings and smiling together. Well done! Quality family time and no electronic screen needed.
When I close my studio door at 6 pm on Sunday, I am still amped up. It is impossible not to be. I have just spent three days talking to people about my passion and my process for baring my soul. I've explained my visual images that portray my thoughts and beliefs on faith, community, the environment, social justice, joy and music.....heavy stuff. My head is stuffed full of the stories, good and bad, that crawl visitors have shared with me. 22 crawls have taught me that when you are up this high, there has to be a coming down. I refer to it as being "hit by the art crawl bus". It is a physical, emotional and spiritual exhaustion.
It takes about 2-3 days for me to process all I have heard, felt and experienced during an art crawl. It takes an intentional sabbath. A quiet time alone to abide. I feed the birds and squirrels. I watch the fish swim in my pond. I lay on my back and watch leaves flutter down from the trees. I write. I draw. I do yoga. All the time the words of crawl visitors loop through my mind. I know that at some point they will stop and I will be able to reengage in whatever "normal" is. I will emerge from crawl recovery with fabulous phrases the crawlers gifted to me. Like the small dark, gray headed woman who entered my studio on Friday night. She stepped in from the hallway, eyes wide open and scanning my paintings, she raised her arms as if she planned to hug the entire room, "Oh!" she exclaimed with a rich south American accent. " I feel as though I have been following a white rabbit and he has just led me down a tunnel. It is Wonderland!".
Yes, it is Wonderland. Tire tracks and all.