© 2019 LAUREN SALAS

Art Shows in California

November 28, 2016

I’ve come through a time warp. It’s the only expiation; there’s a glitch in the matrix. There is no way that 5 weeks have passed since I was last sitting in an airport ready to board on my way to the states with the worlds most unconventional luggage. I packed over fifteen pieces of original artwork rolled into meter-long PVC tubes through four countries, two train stations, and three airports. When I made it to the final checkpoint on the way out of LAX I was fortunate to see that the Agriculture and Customs agent had a sense of humor as he called to his neighbor “Great, Jim. Here’s the little girl with the bazookas again.”

 

Thankfully and due to diligent packing all of the artwork made it through beautifully and was re-mounted onto their canvas frames, then quickly whisked away to be hung at the Del Mar International Horse Show. The venue was dressed to the nines with VIP lounges, big screen televisions, and full service bars; a level of class always delivered by these prestigious events at which the average horse competing costs more than my soul. Riders in fine Italian leather and bedazzled helmets astride immaculately groomed mounts made their way in and out of the arena all day, and I set up ringside with my palette and easel to paint a myriad of creatures equine and canine amidst the crowd.

 

Not sure what to expect, I was pleasantly surprised with the turnout and success which the venue brought to my one-woman-show. The days whirred by as I buried myself in the work; commissioned horses, dogs, and one flying pig to be exact. By week two of Del Mar I knew what to expect, had handed out hundreds of business cards, and landed some commissioned work. I had gleaned some interest from the national magazine “The Plaid Horse” and was working towards an editorial regarding the artwork and myself.

 

After four months of being on the other side of the globe, jumping back into the quick pace of California was a bit of a culture shock. Since when did the freeways get so packed, and whose idea was seven lanes? I suppose the biggest eye-opener was realizing just how consumer-oriented we all are. Everything is hyper-available and sourced out in massive quantities. Paper towels? Here’s 16 rolls. You need new socks? Here’s ten pairs likely stitched by ten-year-olds in third world countries for ten dollars.

 

While it’s convenient and easy, it is a stark difference coming from a place where most of your every-day-purchases come from local suppliers or the garden out back. Unfortunately much of the world is adapting to this big-box superstore lifestyle, and after seeing the positive impact that the “home-grown-way” had on my existence on this rotating sphere, it makes me sad to know that it might be short-lived on a global scale.

 

Am I getting to crunchy? Perhaps, although in wake of recent political happenings I think we should all fight a little bit more for the good of Mother Nature. I’m not about to get into it, nor is the results of the recent election the reason that I’m on this plane headed to reside in another country, but I will say that I’m not disappointed to spend a little time away from the chaos and madness which has consumed the nation!

 

I regress; back to the art, because that’s why we’re here, right?

 

After Del Mar wrapped up I spent a week scrambling to catch up with life’s more thrilling do-do’s like those dreaded doctors appointments and bureaucratic paperwork which went marginally not as great as I had anticipated. I wont bore you all with the details save for one epic moment in time in which I channeled my inner she-wolf and made the impossible happen, summoning legal paperwork from a reputedly lackadaisical office in a timeframe that left the woman behind the desk at the courthouse in awe. “Though I may not look it,” I told her, “half of me is in-fact Latina. And when it needs to happen, cholita comes rising to the occasion with guns blazing. Cholita will stop at nothing.” With a smile and a nod of respect I handed over the paperwork and made my way to Paso Robles for the next two weeks of horse shows and painting.

 

After setting up camp at the Paso Robles Horse Park, which, by the way, is the Holy Mecca of horse show grounds for reasons I will explain, I settled in at home base for the week on my cousins ranch. Might I mention that I have the worlds best cousins who, while I was away, watched over and foaled out my pregnant mare. There are certain things I have learned over the last few years and one of which is the value of family. Mine rocks. Additionally, I am not sure what kind of juju they cast upon the little one when he was just a bun in the oven, but the colt came out spectacularly.

 

 

His mother is a talented fifteen-hand freak of nature who will go course 1.30 with her eyes closed, but I’ll be the first to say that she isn’t much of a looker. While she’s got heart for days she aint’ winning the hack and if she’s had her beauty sleep she might not come out of her stall all that downhill. Meanwhile her offspring is a leggy lofty creature with a neck set to die for and movement which has already caught the eye of dressage queens near and far. I’m pretty proud of the pairing and excited to see how the little man (officially named Sherman) matures out.

 

Back to the horse park where, again, I set up and laid pigment on canvas amongst the elite of the horse world for the greater part of nine hours per day. Nestled into rolling hills and placed between all the vineyards a girl could dream of, this jewel of a facility boasts sprawling and meticulously maintained grass fields, brand new barns, and gorgeous amenities. If drooling over the horses wasn’t enough, there were plenty of local wineries in attendance happy to lighten the mood with their tastings and cheese platter pairings. I found my happy place amongst the ponies, paint, and pinot.

 

 

Which is why I was a bit shocked when I looked at the calendar and realized it was already my last weekend of art show.

 

HOW DID THAT HAPPEN SO FAST!?!?

 

I still do not know the answer to this, but when I think back on the personal goals that I have accomplished and the work that I have completed (and have yet to complete abroad), every hour and every miniscule detailed brush stroke comes to the forefront of my mind. It’s a labor of love, and while I have enjoyed every second of it more than I could have ever dreamed, I have to admit that its been saturated with an overwhelming sense of missing my ever patient and supportive other half; that wild Hungarian bow slinging horse riding nomadic man…

 

With horse-show-art-exhibition round two on the calendar for Februrary, I am so eager to get off this flight and back into the arms of my dear one, organize my studio space, and get on with the wild adventure that I am so overwhelmingly fortunate to call my own.

 

Stay tuned for tales of Eastern Europe, part deux, and thanks for following along!

 

 

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