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Cape Fear Voices/The Teen Scene

Cape Fear Voices/The Teen Scene

Cape Fear Voices/The Teen Scene

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The ‘Gift’ of Art

Dan Dodge

I grew up pretty much artless.

In Primary Four I sat next to the talented Allan E. His artwork was displayed both in our classroom, and in the Art room. Mine was nowhere to be seen. One day I asked him where he got this gift, and where could I get it…but he looked at me as if I had three heads.

Fast forward to fifth form at The Academy and Mr. Bone, the Art teacher was mulling over my year’s ‘art’ in my portfolio. Finally, he wrote fifty seven percent on the cover. When I protested, his answer was: ‘Believe’s a gift’

Art was something that belonged in Art Galleries, or Museums; it was clearly something that gifted people did.

So, when we recently moved into a new house and Sherrod brought up the idea of commissioning a piece of Art for a large, blank living room wall, it was like contemplating specters from an artless past.

Turns out, in Wilmington, Art was not confined to Art Galleries and Museums. Courtesy of a local Gallery, Art in Bloom pop-up Art Show in Mayfaire, Sherrod was impressed by a semi-abstract painting by local artist, Joan McLoughlin. A subsequent visit to the Art in Bloom gallery put us in touch with the artist. We checked out her website and sifted her work spanning different periods.  The visit to Joan’s house only confirmed Sherrod’s initial impressions; meanwhile, I was revisiting the ghost of Allan Easson [except Joan was of a different gender and slightly older]. Same gifts though.


We invited Joan to visit our house of mostly blank walls and we discussed several possibilities. Size. Colours. Possible themes [in the abstract]. Ideas birthed several more ideas until we agreed to a plan:

[a] the painting would be an agreed upon size

[b] the painting would be semi- abstract; certain colours were to be included

[c] Joan should have full artistic license in creating it.

About a month later, Joan contacted us to let us the know the painting was ready. Bright eyed and bushytailed, she carried the painting into the living room and propped it on the fireplace mantel.

We stared at it from all angles and were delighted, and we continue to be delighted. Subsequently, Joan helped arrange to have it framed which meant we were back to staring at the aforesaid blank wall for a brief time. We missed the painting more than we cared to admit. About a week later, Joan contacted us with the news that the framed painting was ready to return to our blank wall. Needless to say, we were delighted to have it back.

Sadly, I am still artless…but no longer Art-less.

Artist Joan McLoughlin gave us the gift of Art, and in so doing, gave us the gift of herself. That’s pretty special…even Allan E. and Mr. Bone would agree!

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