In the late afternoon quiet I sit on my shaded deck. Just a few feet away, a robin teaches its young to hunt. The offspring must not be paying enough attention, because dad – I think it’s dad – hops over to the teenager and gives it a brief peck on the head. Listen up, sonny-boy. It isn’t me who needs to learn this. Then dad takes a few demonstrating hops, and junior does the same, following. A few more hops, and this time the young bird is right near dad’s wing. Dad pecks at the ground. A bug! The boy is beginning to get the idea. Now I see what he’s been going on about!
There’s a bright yellow goldfinch at the bird feeder, closer to me than I would have thought a bird would come, cracking black sunflower seeds in its beak and spitting out the hulls. When he’s had his fill, he flies away and is soon replaced by the female. They must have a nest nearby and are taking it in turns to eat.
A pair of wrens also uses this garden as its own. There’s a nest box on one of the tree trunks. When the male discovered it a few weeks ago, such a carrying-on he made. Music all the day and night. He must have been persuasive, and really, it was a beautiful song. So now there are the two of them, mom and pop, disappearing into the small opening at the front of the box. Maybe soon we’ll have wren babies. Like the robins and the goldfinch, wrens seem to find refuge here.
And in this spot, one of the quietest and most sheltered settings in a quiet, remote little town, I have opened my tiny art gallery. If you lean around the back porch that shelters this deck from the street, you can see the sign. Inside the porch, a space about nine feet by six, is the whole gallery. Come in! Enjoy!
I didn’t intend to open a business. I’ve done that. For five years I operated Grasslands Gallery here in Val Marie, gateway to Grasslands National Park, representing over 25 artists inspired by the Grasslands experience. I had a retail location and open hours and I designed displays and promo and I looked for expansion and worked well with others and I planned for the future. And as much as I loved doing it, I missed my real life.
So this is my real life. Studio, art, birds. The present. Refuge. It might not be retail, but it’s mine.
The Backporch Gallery opened on July 1, 21 days after I stated my intention. How to open an art gallery in 21 days? Just decide to. No one can see your art if you don’t give them a chance. You can work with commercial art galleries, sell online, set up at craft fairs, do whatever you want. Just try it.
You can. It’s yours.
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