When we left Indiana to start our Odyssey back in December, we knew that we had an important midwinter commitment we had to return home for: my gallery opening at the Union League Club of Chicago. This was going to be my first solo art show, so it was kind of a big deal. But getting ready for it had been a major logistical undertaking.
First, I had to prepare the artwork prior to our departure. That meant a few frantic weeks back in November preparing and printing photographs at the print lab, getting them to the mounter, negotiating with the framer and the gallery about specifications and delivery dates, and an art handling firm for pickup of the work after the show. Maureen also was heroic in sending out invitations for the opening to a long list of friends and family.
We also had to find a place to store the Jeep and trailer in the Phoenix area while we were back home. Our high school friend Jim, who lives in Glendale, generously arranged to store the trailer on his friend’s backyard lot, and the airport hotel said they would let us park the Jeep on their parking lot while we were gone. Finding no-cost storage in relatively safe locations while we were traveling was a big load off our minds.
Thankfully the weather was quiet for our flight home to Chicago. We rented a car at the airport and drove back to our house in Beverly Shores, IN. Even though we have someone watching our house while we are gone, it was a relief to see everything pretty much exactly as we left it. It took some getting used to, being back in our “stick house” (as RVers call “normal” houses), but I must admit the king-sized bed and unlimited water supply felt like an extravagant luxury.
On the Sunday before the show we drove over to Chicago and Maureen dropped me off at ULCC while she visited friends. I spent the better part of the afternoon helping the curator install the show (it’s mostly arithmetic and crawling around on the floor – my legs were sore the next day). Seeing the work on the wall as I had envisioned it was a thrill, and frankly a big relief.
The rest of the week prior to the show was taken up with haircuts, dentist appointments, and multiple visits to family and friends so that we could catch up on two months’ worth of news. We put over 1000 miles on our rental car going back and forth to the Chicago area, but seeing everybody was worth it, plus fortunately gas is cheap right now!
The night of the show finally arrived, and thanks to Maureen’s invitations, our friends’ and family’s loyalty, and the Club’s members, we had an outstanding turnout of about 100 people – the curator said it was one of their largest receptions ever. I got to talk to many of these people (but not enough!), say a few words about the work, and answer some questions. It was sort of like being at your own wedding – a big celebration in your honor, but not enough time to enjoy all of it. It was a night that happens once in an artist’s lifetime – your first solo show – and it was indeed memorable. I even sold a piece, which was the capstone on the evening.
The next day we packed up, and since the weather is starting to warm, we exchanged a few sweatshirts for shorts and t-shirts. Full of memories, we flew back to Phoenix to resume our Odyssey.