Saturday, June 27, 2009

Art and Heart

The week went out with a bang. My sister and her children from Pennsylvania are visiting my mom. We have a brief break for Tom Dooley practice because Moonshine and Thunder has taken the stage. So, PJ and I zipped down to Cary to visit early on Thursday to arrive for the highlight of the morning for me, a presentation by Jerry Miller.

Jerry Miller is a renowned pen and ink artist. I have his view of the belltower at NCSU in my living room, signed by him and addressed to me which usually gets attention when its hanging in my offices in the textile world. He has thousands of drawings now. He made his living as an artist which is quite unusual. Anyway, I have told him about the park service and asked him to locate the drawings and paintings he may have created of revolutionary places in NC. It will be a monumental task, but one which is only a matter of marketing since he has probably already made them. I think his gallery is a tourist attraction in itself. And realism is coming back in fashion if it is obviously well done. It reminds us of the time before the camera when revolutionary artists were held in high esteem. It's not easy.

He is from Cary, was a great friend of my Dad's and is a supporter of the whole state of NC. His artistic content ranges from lighthouses on the sea to the barns and cabins of the mountains. Between images and stories, he also told jokes and suddenly I was transported to Roger's Restaurant in Cary and could hear my Dad telling those ol' jokes. Even the rhythm of his speech reminded me of Daddy. I think it was a "cultural experience" for PJ, though he fancies himself a cartoon artist and animator already. I thought he liked it, but I'm not sure he got the accent. Being from the mountains, sort-of, the old Cary sounds are not quite twangy enough for him, maybe they are round sounds from the early English and Scots. Anyway, he had to listen hard.

Equally important, Jerry Miller is a member of the Tyson-May family reunion I told you about earlier and was president of the reunion one year. This means he is my relative. In fact, Mom found him in our genealogy and informed him of this fact some years ago. Thursday, he informed me that Gov. Jim Hunt had been the president of the reunion one year, so I guess that means I am also related to the Governor.

Governor Hunt lived in Wilson and used to come to my aunt's house for Christmas teas. My first husband and I went too when we lived there. They were on opposite sides of the aisle so to speak. However, the Governor was ever gracious and my husband was polite. It was interesting because they found themselves on the same side of an issue unexpectedly. I think the Governor won that one. (It is also interesting that after half a lifetime one can have so many adventures and meet so many people.) I'd like to find Governor Hunt and inform him we are officially related to the revolutionary heroes Benjamin May and/or Cornelius Tyson. Maybe he can help the eastern counties with their petitions to the National Park Service study.

Wilson is a very nice town. The homes are beautiful and serene. Christmas there is all white lights in every window. This does not satisfy my Pennsylvania brother-in-law who misses the color crazys when he is here, but I must say it gives me the warm glow. Wilson also has a famous community chorus, the Wilson Chorale and is the home of Boone's Antiques.

If you collect antiques you must know Boone's. It is right off Interstate 95 and is one of, if not the largest antiques dealer on the east coast. Now I do not collect antiques. Bless me, I do not buy furniture. I am unfortunately decorated still in early college and inherited pieces - not antiques yet. BUT, I used to go there just to see. The dining room tables for twelve armchairs were the most impressive, but everything is just the best. They shop Europe, and the rest of the world, four times a year. If you can't find it there, they will find it for you. They sell wholesale and retail. Just going there is inspiring. In fact, as I type, this will be a great place for inspiration for my next round of jacquard fabrics... I've asked them to consider their 18th century pieces - remember the time of the revolution- and market them that way and of course I told them about the opportunity with the Congress and the NPS.

PJ's Pennsylvania cousins are the best young ladies, both very, very smart and they enjoy coming and visiting as we do too. We are just too busy it seems to see them more than once or twice a year. My surgery is interrupting a week together this summer which is disappointing to PJ so I'm debating sending him a week earlier to Philadelphia on the train by himself. Hummm.... Well, he is practically grown and a responsible young man. He won't get lost. He is 6'8" now.

By the way, in Asheville this summer, if you want to explore your artistic side intensively, sign up with the Fine Arts League of the Carolinas for Depot Street Summer Intensives. These are week long "summer camps" for artists or artists-to-be. And don't be afraid to learn the craft of fine arts (I say to myself). It must be helpful to learn some of the rules in order to creatively break them later. Why and How always makes a story more interesting to me. We can spatter-paint in free form later...

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