Posted by: jeannineatkins | May 23, 2011

Quiet Weekend

On Saturday, my husband and I caught some whiffs of lilacs on our way to Cottage Street Studios where workrooms were open for sales and artists were giving a percentage of their profits to Cancer Connection. We saw lots of paintings, handcrafted pots and plates, weaving, and jewelry. As we wandered, I thought back to my recent experiences at book festivals where I wonder how much I should interact with people passing my table. Do they want a bookstore-like experience, where they quietly make up their own minds from what they see on the jacket or page? I suppose they’d then be in bookstores. But if they want some interaction with the creator, how much is too much? How do you look helpful but not needy?

We appreciated people who welcomed us into their studios, and not a single person seemed pushy. In fact, most artists were more apt to look away than showcase, and clearly most expected that most visitors were there more to look than to buy. I expect I looked at art I liked a lot and art that didn’t particularly move me with the same expression, though I tried to offer warranted compliments if the artist was watching. We who sell our wares in public have to remember that just because people don’t look long or touch or buy doesn’t mean they aren’t intrigued.

We did come home with a lovely oil painting of a shell and stones by Barbara Johnson, who is not only brilliant at her work, but is both friendly and laid back. I hope you’ll click on the link to see more of her of portraits, landscapes, still lifes, and buildings.

Then we stopped at Mt. Tom’s Homemade Ice Cream, where one of the specials was Rose Cardamom. Like eating flowers in cream and also thumbs up on service, too: when Peter ordered a double dip, they asked which flavor should go on top. I raved enough that Peter ran back in to buy me the last quart to take home. Not the brilliant pink of the azaleas in the background, but perfectly faint, like the flavor.

There was some writing, some walking, some thinking about weeding, repotting geraniums, a college graduation gathering for a girl I knew since a baby – Congratulations, Rosa! I read poems by Mark Doty, which inspired a turn in one of mine, and Lucia Perillo, which inspired me to try harder to expand my scope, in the American Poetry Review. We watched The Last Station, with Helen Mirren and Christopher Plummer, based on the end of Tolstoy’s life, which I liked a lot. Now it’s Monday morning and I’m writing on the window seat with nearby dogs resigned about the rain and a view of wet azaleas and lilies of the valley. Refreshed, inspired, creeping toward an end of a draft.



  1. Sounds like a perfectly lovely weekend, Jeannine. I realize I try keeping a neutral expression as I browse, too. Never thought about it before, though.
    The oil painting is beautiful.

  2. What a lovely weekend. And you’ve reminded me that I’ve been meaning to watch The Last Station.

  3. I’m glad you like the painting, Tracy. Hope your week is off to a creative start.

  4. Sometimes we get so much information on what’s new, I’m glad when blogs mention older books or movies and remind me of those “I’ve been meaning to.” I’m almost always behind. I was thinking Russia, end of life, that this could be bleak, and while it may not be the jolliest film you’ll come across, all the actors brought a lot of zest. And I think the script did a good job of bringing a sense of where Tolstoy came from before penning some of his more rigid lines.Gorgeous forests.

  5. Thanks for sharing! Love that painting!

  6. Love the painting! It looks almost 3D.
    We were just talking at my goals group today (where they are all artists) about their open studios they had this past weekend. I think they come in all shapes and sizes, just like us writers. One of them greeted everyone at the door, a bundle of energy, asking if they had been before, talk talk talking the whole time. Another said it was all just too too much for her, even though she is a famous art quilter. She just sat in the back and only spoke when people spoke to her.
    And then we debated whether there is a need for artists to do things like this…the open studios. Is it just PR for them? Some of them sold some items, but low $ stuff, $100 and under. None of their expensive work.

  7. I love the peace, and colors, and ocean-ness, and it’s small enough to fit in a space right by the doorway out.

  8. That’s interesting and I expect important that everyone discussed their styles. I guess more naturally extraverted people may enjoy it, while others put up with it. I do think many people come to look but not buy, and you just hope the artists know their work is being enjoyed, even if people don’t open their wallets. There was one painter whose work I liked a lot and I took her card and may point it in my husband’s direction come my birthday. I guess the artists have to hope for some payoff down the road if not during the events, just as at book festivals, it can be the teacher or librarian you meet who has more impact than the few books sold.

  9. paleo blogs
    I love that painting.
    Thank you for sharing.
    Here I have some more recipes.
    paleo blogs
    Regards, Johny

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