12. Reception for the artists featured in The Honourable Barbara A. Hagerman’s Summer Visual Arts Exhibit at Fanningbank
Wasn’t I excited when I received an invitation in the mail from the Government House? When I saw the way the envelope was addressed to me and “guest”, and when I turned it over and saw the PEI coat of arms on the flap and the PEI Government House address stamped in gold, I knew right away that my painting had been selected for the Summer Visual Arts Exhibit for Newcomers at Fanningbank, the Government House of PEI.
I right away called up my dear friend Nettie and told her the exciting news. If someone had taken a video of me that time, they would have laughed at how excited I was, hopping up and down and skipping and pacing back and forth.
Funny how, all my life, I’d always been so restrained and never showed excitement. I always just took everything in stride, shrugged my shoulders a bit, and moved on. Even when I received word that I’d won 3rd place in the 2007 Palanca Award for Literature, my excitement was totally contained and never really became the bubbly, happy excitement you see on videos and television, and other games. I suppose the most I ever ventured was a big smile, no matter that it was a gold medal and a 3-foot tall trophy I was receiving for a national competition.
Since late 2010, however, when I first received word that I had been picked to mount an exhibit of my works at The Gallery @ The Guild, I’ve been expressing my excitement in ways I never had before. It’s hard to explain that feeling of being so overwhelmingly happy that you actually, literally, jump for joy. Since I had never done that in my life before, it was a totally new and totally awesome, exhilarating experience. I suppose it comes with experiencing little successes in something that is totally of your own choosing.
So, back to the reception. When I received the invitation on the 3rd of June, I was literally jumping out of my skin for joy. I suppose that’s what it’s like when you say you’re beside yourself with joy. I must say that, apart from a couple of incidents in between, I was in a constant state of HIGH. I was so intoxicated with happiness that certainly kept me going for a long time, all the way to the day of the reception on the 17th June 2011.
My insipid introverted self kicked in, of course, once I was there, although I did smile a lot, greeted people who greeted me, and said thank you when my work was praised or admired. I felt dwarfed by the attention the other artists were getting, even if there were only 17 of us. They had brought more guests, whereas I had only one.
Nonetheless, I was in an altered reality. A dream state that I knew would end, and end it did, as soon as the reception wound down and people started drifting away and Nettie and I drove away from Fanningbank’s grounds. Nettie so wisely and nicely suggested we eat supper out…it extended the intoxication a bit so the hangover wouldn’t be so bad. And what a hangover. It took two days to get me back writing, when I know I promised myself I’d write every single day.
The reception is over. The exhibit will run from the 6th of July to the 30th of August, which is the summer tour season for Fanningbank. That in itself is exciting, as all sorts of tourists will see my painting. The exposure is fantastic, and my art career is moving forward slowly but surely. I’m back in my cozy apartment and trying to decide what my next painting subject will be for my next assignment. Waiting until I’m so inspired I just have to sit in front of my little easel and begin the preliminary work. Waiting until the next reception.