A journey is best measured in friends, rather than miles.
Over the last few weeks, I’ve been curating my miniature paintings for my first solo show, looking for themes and stories and whatever else may jump out as significant. My hope was to organize the show by these theme or stories.
My process was to look at each miniature and ask “What comes to mind when I look at this?”. What surprised me about this process was the frequency of time a person’s face popped into my head, before anything else. It was people that I’ve travelled with, and people that I’ve met while travelling. As I went through the process, I kept a list of who came to mind and the length of this list was what jumped out as significant.
People I’ve met during art adventures. People I met first on social media, then in person. People who opened their homes to me. People who generously shared their love of wine or food or cars or their country. People who were from my hometown but I met only on the road. People who encouraged my art practice. People who helped guide my travel with laughter and light. All these people were once strangers and are now friends.
And then there are my regular travel buddies with whom I’ve shared so many incredible experiences – who are an indelible part of my artwork even if they are not physically shown in it. Like in my latest miniature, “Le Langhe Wine Country, Italy” – my 3 friends are not shown but I can picture where they are when the photo for this piece was taken. I can recall the early morning walk up to the Serralunga fortress, climbing up to the top tower, seeing the 16th century graffiti on the walls, and looking out over the vine-covered landscape, trying to figure out where we’d be hiking to next. Then in the moments after, setting off through these very vineyards on our way to Castiglione Falletto with one unscheduled Barolo-tasting pit stop (because we pet a friendly dog and its owner invited us into his winery). With new-found Barolo energy and giggly confidence, we then conquered the steep hill into town for lunch. I remember sitting at that restaurant table overlooking the valley we’d just hiked through with the fortress way off in the distance, thinking that I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else or with anyone else.
Needless to say, there will definitely be a section of my solo show dedicated to friendship – travelling WITH friends and travelling TO friends. And I’m blessed not only to have these friendships and memories, but also their spirit forever soaked into these pieces of art.
(Original available now at my Etsy Shop, ArtWeWonderful)