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Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Memories Lost and Found: My Early Work, Part II

What does "Sauer's Kitchen" Have to Do with this Story?
Memories Lost and Found: My Early Work, Part II

For anyone who hasn't heard Part One of this story, here is a quick summary: A few weeks ago, I got an email from Harry, a worker at a thrift store in Bristol, VA. The owner had bought a stack of paintings at an estate sale and they tracked me down via the internet (I'm very easy to find). These works from years and years ago, mostly from my childhood and teenage years, I had accidentally left in a house when I moved away from Bristol, TN. These early works capture evidence of my early self-taught artistic development, memories of my early days as an artist, and even childhood memories. Before I could make the store an offer on the works, a saintly soul of an art lover bought them instead, and then HE tracked me down (I'm easy to find). We communicated and worked out a deal, and this is where Part Two of this story begins........

Johnny is a young businessman, traveler, entrepreneur, and yes, art lover. I wasn't clear when he first emailed me that he was a customer at the store, and not the owner. After all, a worker at the store really wanted me to be able to get my work back. His first contact to me through my website said "We recently acquired several of your early works! Some of which are dated as far back as 85. I suggested contacting you in case you would like an opportunity to look at what paintings and drawings we have. Please e mail me back if you have any interest in viewing the collection." The owner must not have been as willing. Only one day later, I got email from Johnny -- he beat me to it.

Fortunately, Johnny felt sympathy for my situation when I told them how I didn't mean to leave the paintings behind and what they represented to me. He said, "I was going frame them but now I feel terrible." I didn't want to "guilt" him out of the paintings that he rightfully bought. After all, he must have liked them to buy them! I told him, "It would mean a lot to me if you could photograph them for me and send me the digital pics. . .then enjoy the artwork. . . Then follow my current work. You will be one of my biggest fans."

It's when Johnny offered to send me back the work and repay him "some day," that I had an idea. Roughly midway between Bristol and my residence in Kernersville is an art gallery where I show my current work, Artwalk in Boone. The idea occurred to me, Why not work out a trade? I really wanted Johnny to have my work, and it would mean so much to me to get back my early work, so I proposed that he bring the work to Boone, leave it there, and take in its place, one of my more current works, "Sauer's Kitchen." It took some convincing, because he didn't want to take anything at all, but finally we agreed. Johnny made the trip one cold, rainy day last week.

I literally could NOT wait to get to Boone and retrieve what I had considered "lost forever" all these years. What would it be like to see it again in person (and not just in my memory)? My girlfriend Therese and I made the trip this Saturday to Artwalk, and also to take care of some other art business there. It was perfect timing. We arrived that afternoon and an employee got them out of storage where they had been keeping them safe.

What would I think of my early efforts? Would I remember them? What memories would come back of when I had created those works 20 and 30 years ago? Therese and I thumbed through them one at a time, hovered over the hood of my car. Sketches, pastels, finished paintings -- spanning from age 10 to my early adulthood -- an entire stack that chronicles the early stages of my artistic journey. Was the whimsical artist there all along?

Do we see these traits in the painting to the left?

What did we find in that stack of drawings and paintings?

Read more next time....

---Whimsical Artist Scott Plaster


Therese Honeycutt said...

We found mixed emotions, and some wonderful art. We watched an artist mature right before our eyes. It was a beautiful thing to witness. A very beautiful thing.

Unknown said...

What a cool story! There's nothing like finding long lost artwork.

Unknown said...

What a neat story....So I'm not sure of this time frame considering I thought you guys lived in Denton for many years of your childhood...maybe before you moved...hummm...your work is amazing...thanks for sharing..