At The Gallery: Day 3: OPENING NIGHT!

Day 3 started early. My gracious host Berkley had to take his poor pomeranian to the vet which was semi-close to the airport so he agreed to drop me off there. My mom's flight in was at 9:20 at Bush Intercontinental and then we had to grab a rental car and get Houston Hobby by 11:30. After a false start at the car rental (the first car they gave us was too small) we were off!

Houston is NOT an easy city to navigate. There are lots of roads that don't seem to go where they should really, and not a lot of signage. There were several near misses of exits, and a little bit of arguing, but we made it to Hobby with time to spare. Mark and Kid Flash followed along pretty quickly and we grabbed some (truly awful) coffee and headed back to Bush to grab Michelle. On the way we found out that Michelle's plane was delayed. The winter weather that had swept through Houston the day before was wreaking havoc in St. Louis and had grounded the flight crew of her plane. She was going to be 2 hours late. There'd still be plenty of time if we could pull everything off perfectly.

The four of us had a leisurely lunch at a Middle Eastern place then swung by the gallery to check in and see if Jessica needed any last minute help. Jessica had hung the blow-ups and was starting to set up the tables and seemed to have everything in hand. After some advice about roads she suggested that I go ahead and take off even though it seemed like to me that we still had plenty of time. We arrived at the airport with time to spare again, so there was more sitting around and waiting for the flight to arrive.

We finally retrieved Michelle and got back on the highway at 5. I was supposed to be at the Gallery by 7. Even though we had done this trip once already we fell victim to poor signage and ended up on the wrong highway which was just a parking lot full of traffic. Turning around getting back to the correct road and then fighting traffic into town took over an hour. We checked into the hotel at 6:15. I rushed upstairs and into the shower while Kid Flash ironed my shirt and touched up my jeans. I was holding my breath the whole time and trying not to panic.

At 6:45 we were out of the hotel and onto the street again but the northbound lane, where we needed to be, was completely closed by construction! Now I panicked. Improvising a way to get between places and avoid traffic is easy if you are familiar with streets, or if the streets are laid out in a logical way, but in this case neither of those was true. With KF holding my hand and whispering in my ear to keep me calm I managed to navigate a way through it, but we didn't arrive at the gallery until 7:20.

As soon as we got to the gallery my nerves and apprehensions melted and I felt completely at ease. The show went off flawlessly. It was easy and comfortable to talk about my work and to meet the patrons who came through the gallery. I got to meet some great people who were truly interested and interesting. Some of the highlights included a former art teacher and her daughter who were a true pleasure to chat with. There were some members of the Everyday Matters chat group that were in the local area who came by, Kay and Sharon(you can see Sharon's reviews of the show here and here). Some members of the local art community came through, and several members of church that hosts the gallery. My friend Karen, who I met in my first year of college and who I haven't seen in over 8 years made the long drive over from Fort Worth which made me enormously happy. I tried very hard to chat with everyone who bought a piece and to tell them as much as I could remember about the people in the sketches, but I don't think I managed to catch everyone. Even still I talked more in that one evening than I have in months. My throat was dry and I was a bit hoarse before it was all done.

My Mom, Mark, Michelle and KF were all very gracious checked in with me on and off through the night. KF was great, he held me together in my panic before we got there, and he held my hand several times while I tried to gather my wits to chat with the patrons. Mark was in charge of the photography and took some great shots of everything. It meant more to me than I can say to have most of the important people in my life in one room, and it made the night go a lot easier. Especially considering that my mom and Michelle came from so far away and Michelle endured delays and bad travel to get there.

In the end it was one of the most enjoyable evenings I've had in a while. Besides my family I owe big debts of gratitude to everyone who came, to Jessica for arranging the whole event and convincing me that it would work in the first place, Eric for his ingenious hanging system, Berkley and Ann for hosting me and letting me run around town in their car, Ash for his DJ services, and everyone else at the gallery and at Ecclesia in general. Thanks to all of you!

After 4 hours at the gallery, the five of us, hungry and tired found a place to eat and then went back to the hotel to crash. My nerves and the tension and apprehension and all the talking and standing at the gallery equalled quite a wave of exhaustion.

The next morning greeted us with more travel worries. The flight that Mark, KF and I were supposed to be taking home was cancelled. Because of the rental car and Mama and Michelle being at the opposite airport, we ended up being stuck at Hobby for nearly 5 hours. Needless to say it was not enjoyable. Neither the Jetblue wireless, nor the wireless that is supposed to be available in the airport itself was working and the wing that our gate was in housed one small newsstand one restaurant and one bar. It was boring to the extreme, and the reason that this post is late!

I'm back in the city, with a brand new sketch book and ready to get started on the next show. (after a nap, okay?)

p.s. Look for more photos soon, I have a little editing work to get them to a showable point.

6 Response to "At The Gallery: Day 3: OPENING NIGHT!"

  • Bonny Says:

    Hi Cully;

    What a fabulous experience - even if it was nerve wracking, at times! It sounds like you had lots of friends there to support you and enjoy the experience with you. And here in Cyberspace and on the EDM Group you had lots of friends waiting with bated breath how the Show would turn out. I'm so very happy for you that it was such an awesome event!! Congratulations!!!
    Now I and everyone else is looking forward to more sketches.
    Welcome Home!

  • Jessica Says:

    Cully, I'm so glad to hear that you made it home safely even if it was with plenty of drama. Again, it was delightful to have you, thanks for letting me talk you into this show!

    Since the gallery doubles as Ecclesia worship space with the venue on Sunday mornings and evenings your show essentially had another opening reception this morning. I fielded more questions and inquires on the show and sold two more pieces this morning, very exciting. Appreciation for your work was flowing freely this morning. I won't be there tonight but I have someone ready to assist the guest there this evening.

    Thank you for this wonderful show!


  • andrea joseph's sketchblog Says:

    What a great photo - very stylish exhibition.

  • Felicity Says:

    Wow, what an experience! The way you write makes me feel I was there! So glad the nerves went and you all had a great time! (BTW, you are much more handsome than your avator!)

  • Vinnie Says:

    Look at you the successful artist!

    I'm so happy for you, I wish I could of come out to support...but alas...

    I'm proud to be your friend.


  • Zee Says:

    Cully... contrats again!

    Excellent review by Sharon, and a wonderful picture of both of you. You look great!