This time, fifteen years ago, Shannon and I entered our first Art Show together. The lovely ladies of the Fredericksburg Women's Club make every artist, regardless of how seasoned or how new, feel very special.
It was a wonderful experience and Shannon won the award for "Most Popular" for her colored pencil piece, "Eternal Autumn" , an award given to the artist who receives the most votes, cast by those who visit the show.
When the ladies of the Women's Club learned of Shannon's death, six weeks later, they established a memorial award in her memory, that continues still.
Over the years I have continued to participate in the show. I think it's because each year I have the opportunity to see the ladies of the Women's Club. They embody such warmth and grace and they always, always mention Shannon.
Today Shannon's cousin Alex, was coerced into participating with me. He is a very talented "Spray Paint Artist" but this was his first art show.
It was wonderful to see the Fredericksburg ladies greet him with the same wonderful enthusiasm that keeps artists returning to their show at the Dorothy Hart Community Center, year after year.
I was imagining that Shannon was smiling at us as we struggled with the placement of our pieces on the rows of frames, admiring the amazing creations in categories ranging from Digital Art and Photography to Drawing and Oil.
My own attempts at creativity have evolved with time, and this year I combined what I love, photography, graphic play, acrylics and oils, with moments, memories that I love even more, and for the first time in many years, I was happy with the results and actually felt like an artist for the very first time. Funny how years have a way of changing our perceptions, not only of the world around us but the world within as well.
If you happen to be in Fredericksburg anytime between March 1 and March 10, I invite you to visit the Women's Club Art Show at the Dorothy Hart Community Center at 408 Canal Street.
The art will inspire you and the Fredericksburg Ladies will most certainly make you smile.