|Photo credit: Lyn Fenwick|
For the first time, I believe, last week I did not post a blog. The explanation is simple--my laptop was not available. It returned home this afternoon, just in time for me to tell you about the Pratt (KS) Art and Music Walk.
I have often shared what a progressive arts community Pratt and its surrounding area are, with the state-of-the art Vernon Filley Art Museum, the impressive Native American Art Collection at the Pratt County Historical Museum, the rotating exhibitions at Pratt Community College, and Mother Nature's beauty on display at the Forestry, Fish, and Game Museum. Not only the visual arts, but also music and theater are important at Pratt schools, churches, and community concerts. Surrounding towns also respect the importance of the arts, examples of which I have mentioned in previous blogs.
Last June the first Pratt Art and Music Walk was held in conjunction with the Miss Kansas Pageant. The second Walk was held December 2nd, and I chose to participate. Merchants throughout the down town area participated, and I was hosted by Parson's Jewelry Store. They were wonderful hosts, and I had a cozy corner just inside the front door in which to work.
The Art Walk lasted from 11 to 2, and I arrived with several sketches roughed out on my drawing paper, unsure what I would choose to do or how long it would take for me to finish one drawing. I do not believe in copying the work of another artist or photographer, so the rough sketch was my own work; however, I positioned my portrait of Santa at a similar angle to a photograph I had found.
It would have been nice to have had a live model, but Santa is so terribly busy at this time of year that he couldn't spare the time to sit for his portrait for three hours! I needed a reference to get my lights and darks correctly placed, and by blocking out my drawing at a similar angle I was able to use the reference photograph to place the highlights and shadows where they needed to be. (I do work from photographs I have taken myself, especially when doing portraits of children, who are too full of energy to sit still for very long, but I prefer to take several photographs to help me capture personality.)
I missed the pleasure of visiting the shops where other participants in the Art and Music Walk were working and performing, but I did step outside to hear the music of the PCC Carolers!
I also enjoyed spending 3+ hours at Parson's, reinforcing my belief in the importance of supporting our local merchants. We need to be reminded that local merchants give us so much more than a place to shop. Yes, I did overhear some sales being made, but I also overheard advice and suggestions offered--a true service to the 'customer' but not a sale for the merchant. I overheard friendly conversations and empathy being disbursed without any expectation of a sale being part of the visit.
It's fun to go to the city to shop, and it's easy to sit down at the computer to place an order. But when we can, it is important to buy from local merchants--if for no other reason than to selfishly make sure those stores can continue to stay open for us when we need them.
Thank you to everyone who stopped by to visit as I worked, thank you to everyone whose efforts made the Pratt Art and Music Walk possible, and a special thank you to the Parson's Family, who treated me so graciously.