As I was rushing thru the Painters marquee to get to the first practical class I booked myself in to. I saw loads of artists busily painting away or chatting to people in the middle of their stalls filled with paintings, postcards and posters, and then, I came to the stall of a young man named Nathan Ford.
This stall was empty except for a stool on which sat Nathan, a table with a box of used pencils and a large, toned canvas hanging on a wall.
He smiled at me and handed me a pencil.
I walked up to the canvas, completely overwhelmed, and drew a little ladybug on a small empty space, above someone’s heart.
Then I stepped back and looked…
and looked some more.
And within two seconds of me moving away from the canvas, my position was taken up by more people with pencils, and then their position was taken up with others and so on and so on.
And I stood there, took photos and watched, and it occurred to me that this is the most brilliant community project. Reflecting a community of people who share in the arts. Who are we there? We’re artists, and craftsmen, and laymen, and philistines, and children, and volunteers, and bored spouses, and ageing dreamers.
And here, we’re all invited to make our mark.
And, you know what? It’s irresistible. We all do. We step up to that canvas and mark it in our own way. We leave our own signature, or hand print, like a prehistoric man on the cave wall. It’s in our nature. I saw parents holding their children up to the canvas, I saw pensioners rolling up in their wheel chair, I saw strangers nudging each other, holding dog leashes, holding bags sunhats for each other, all for that precious mark on that wonderful canvas…connecting everyone.
We’re royalty and we’re beggars, but we all come together to somehow celebrate art…somehow…in our own way, whether we disdain it and are being dragged along by our insufferable other, or whether we’ve flow half way around the world to be there. We are there, and we find something beautiful. And I don’t know if that something is simply the pretty girl walking past in the sexy sundress, or the amazing artistic expressions on display, we all find something, somehow, to admire.
And in that moment, we are all united. That’s the power of art.
By the way, Nathan won the Best of the Best award, chosen by all the demonstrating artists.