Finding an audience

My mom was the parish organist and choir director for over 30 years when I was growing up. As soon as we kids could read, we joined the Junior Choir. I've been a musician ever since, usually in a group where I kind of let others worry about finding people to listen.

It's different with finding an audience for my paintings.

The paintings are intensely personal, as I am fully responsible for them, good or bad. I've been lucky so far and never encountered someone who let me know their displeasure with the work.

Each time someone takes the time to ask me about a piece, or tell me what they see in it -- each time they go out of their way to come see the work in person -- connects us. At a reception this week, one woman was turning her head 90 degrees to each side, finding a different story in each view of a certain painting.

When someone decides to take a piece home, it bowls me over. Though I may never actually enter, I feel like an honored guest invited into their personal realm. It forges a bond that isn't simply transactional. It says to me, "This object of beauty you've made resonates with my vision of beauty, and I want to fold that resonance into my world." It feels spiritual.


I never think to document that moment, but I am lucky that someone else did this week. Here's Natalie placing the red dot on the label for "Jerry (Square)". (A red dot is a notation in galleries that an artwork has been sold.) Natalie first saw my work at last fall's SF Open Studios. She signed the guestbook so I could stay in touch. She and her husband went out of their way to come to a reception for a new exhibit this week. Which gives me great joy.

At the end of the exhibit, Jerry will join Natalie in her home. And I couldn't be more touched.