Saturday, August 2, 2014

PROCTOR ARTS FEST 2014 ~ Art-Inspired Stories

What a rush!  This was great fun, and engaged my creative brain in ways I did not expect.  I'd do this again in a heartbeat!

The minute I walked into the Art Show Friday morning, the vague "I'll see what speaks to me" criteria became sharp and clear.  I chose 18 pieces out of the entire show, and narrowed them down to 10, which I wrote for. Five of those were presented live this afternoon at the Festival, and the artists received a copy of the story (signed) that was inspired by their work.

I did not choose:

  • Works whose message was clear - why muck with or restate something so strong?
  • Works whose stories could not be contained to 100 words
  • Works who possessed stories too discrete - in the future I might delve into these more
The narrowing down and selecting involved balancing the general themes of the stories (funny, sweet, contemplative, etc) and the various mediums and styles.

Here's how it turned out!

Note: All Stories are (c) 2014 by Judith Cullen
Use of any of the photo images on this page without the express permission 
of the individual artists is strictly prohibited

Pieces Selected for Presentation at the Proctor Arts Fest Juried Art Show

Egyptian Two Step by George Hoivik – Bronze & Walnut   

“Do you come here often?  I don’t remember seeing 
you before.”

Her lustrous feathers were ivory and ebony. Her eyes 
twinkled - endless pools of lapus lazuli.  She shimmered 
in the golden light, while her legs shimmied to 
the music. 

“ I just flew in today from Aswan.  I’ve never been to the 
Delta before.”

She smiled shyly. She was just about to give him a 
coy wink, as she looked up through her lashes at him.

“Ouch!” she suddenly cried. Her majestic head flew up, eyes now filled with 
pain and surprise.

“Oh.  I bet that was your foot.”  

Blowing Kisses by Katy Tuma – Photograph    

Day and Night.  Winter and Summer I sit here.  
Pinwheels tickle my ears, dandelions caress my 
feet, leaves dance around, and the snow gives me 
a white sweater that does not keep out the cold.  
It does not matter.  I am here for a singular purpose.

Years pass.  Moss, lichen, and dirt snuggle into 
my creases.  Someone comes along every once 
in a while and scrubs them out.  
It is just the same to me.
I am here regardless of it all.

My lips remain pursed, forever blowing kisses. I remind living people 
what they are all on Earth for.

African Women Sunset 
by Michaelina Tenney – Acrylic       

Sisterhood!  Clasped hands, jangling bracelets
 and hearts alight with greeting as the horizon 
bursts into flame, touched by the retreating sun.  
You are my sister. In your company I am strong.  
I am your sister. In my care you shall be cherished.  
Together, we are nurturers of life, planters of trees, 
grinders of grain, weavers of cloth, and solvers
of problems.

At my side, there is nothing we cannot accomplish.  At your side, our burdens will be shared and our toil lessened.  Hold my hand. Weep with me, and share laughter. We will endure, my sister. Together, we shall thrive.         


Rudolph by Miss Liza Morado  
(I just couldn't resist this one!)    

I like Rudolph.  His nose lights up.  
It makes me happy, his nose.

I didn’t used to be all songs and television specials, 
you know.  Rudolph had no friends.  Everyone made 
fun of him because he didn’t fit in, though he really 
wanted to.  Sometimes people are mean to you when 
you are a red-nosed reindeer.
Have you ever felt that way? 

That nose that everyone made fun of turned out
to be a good thing.  Then Rudolph had lots of friends.
See, people don’t always know as much as they think they do.

It makes me happy, his nose.

Express Yourself by Kim Shuckhart Gunns 
– Mixed Media    

One drawer has trims.  A box under the desk contains 
ribbons of all sizes, some creeping out from the lid.  
There are no pastel shades in my paint box.  There is 
no separation of mediums – just pigment, vehicle, 
and a hundred possibilities.

I turn up my music, loud. Brush in my hand, glue waiting, 
I pour today’s essence onto the surface: bold strokes in 
bright hues.  There are no small thoughts this day. The 
work emerges from the inside to the outer edges.

Limits are for sissies.  Break away from the constraints of someone else’s rules.  
Be yourself. Express yourself.    


Other Works from Proctor Arts Fest Juried Art Show

Splashes of Silver by Jeanne Strohrmann – Pastel    

The dawn dances light across waves of jade. A new cycle 
begins that has happened across millennia.  The tide wraps 
its embrace around shore and cliff: umber, onyx, and chalk.  
From a vantage in the waves of the air, a lone guardian 
keeps watch over the coral filled with a king’s ransom of 
jewels.  The golden, ruby and silver flit and flutter in their 
watery treasure box as the spray sings a hallelujah sweet 
enough to charm the raptures of the deep. 

Why do men dig for wealth beneath the crust?
All the riches in the world are right here. 

Creation by Judith Hunter – Watercolor on UPO    

It begins with two and a simple tango, steeped in the 
unknowable.  Couples joining in the dance of the
Universe. The music of the spheres changes: a
thrilling rumba, as opportunity winds, and dips.
Couples advance, retreat, reform.  The rhythm
becomes critical as eternity jars the floor with a
relentless imperative, “It is waiting there for us.  
It must be found.”

Suddenly a single spark.  It happened when the Gods 
weren’t looking.  “Did you see it happen?”  The tune
slows to a waltz, as couples move to a larger pattern.  Each is part of the emerging
whole: intricate and interwoven. 

Big League Dreams by Sue Stewart – Watercolor         

His glove is next to his cheek.  I know what he smells, 
though he is not conscious of it just now: the creak and 
smell of the leather, the fresh mown grass, the August air.  
I remember it like it was yesterday – like it is right now. 

He is wondering why the short stop is hugging third base.  
He is scrutinizing the batter, choking up on the bat ever 
so slightly.  He dreams of the small leathern sphere coming 
right to him: sailing majestically through the air and into his mitt. Hero of the day!   That is just the beginning. 

Flight to Warmer Climes by Pat Graham 
– Watercolor  
(It seems almost criminal to write something 
comic from the stunningly beautiful watercolor 
work of Pat Graham.  But this avian conversation 
would not leave my head.)

“Budge up there, buddy. It’s cold out here!”

“Haven’t you ever heard of personal space?  Hey!  What are you playing at, tugging
at my feathers?”

A flapping slap is heard.

“Ow! It’s just that I have an idea.”

“Oh really?  Time on your hands, have you?” 

“Gone in for a bit of contemplation, have we?”

“No, really.  I think this could work.”


“Well, what if instead of clumping together, crowding each other, we actually
looked for someplace warmer to stay till all this blows over?”


“Egad!  I think you just might be on to something.”

So, it begins.

Blue Lotus Dream by Karen Petrillose – Watercolor    
(This one resolutely did NOT want to be a 100 word 
story.  So, a compound haiku came out instead.  
It is just over 100 words, so there was no cheating 
on the "critical mass")

The raindrops falling
They are tiny caresses
Washing in cascades

No bustling of birds
The hustle of humanity
Fuss to cloud my quiet

I am cleansed and contented
A still serenity

Go and seek your own
That which cleans and fulfills you
Inhale, exhale, peace.

Tranquility is
Therefore you are if you choose
To embrace accord

Be one with nature
Your breath cradled in its hands
Mind serene, joyful.

My world of blue, green
And water-born restfulness
Free from the uproar

All of this repose
Gaps, pausing between each breath
Is where it begins

The space wherein life
Transmutes, transforms, and restarts
Is waiting for you    

My profound gratitude to the artists who participated in this, to the wonderful Gene Kester for seeing the potential in the idea, and to Proctor Arts Fest for letting us take this out for a spin at their party.


  1. Very nice Judith. I want to read more. This years works.

    1. Glad you enjoyed, Lucy.

      We don't want to give them away before the Show has opened. The Opening Reception is tomorrow night (Friday).

      Stop by at the Art Show Saturday at 2pm to hear a selection of the 19 works for this year, or check back to after 2pm that same day to see them all.