The Story of a Painting
You may have read the bumper sticker saying EARTH without ART is simply EH! Well, this is a story about the word HEART and how when we follow our heART we can end up with Art with a capital A! Read this incredible story written by a new collector about her recent acquisition of a painting by Rosemary Kavanagh commissioned during Rosemary’s My Bay City Family Tree exhibit.
“Hello, my name is Ericka and I am here to tell you about how wonderful and creative the universe really is!
In order to correctly tell the story, I have to take us back to the 2018 Black & White Affair at Studio 23. My sister, best friend and I were gifted tickets to go. It was a beautiful event and we all felt so lovely dressed up, sipping on bubbly and gazing at spectacular art. Vowing we have to come to this event again.
Artwork credit in photo: Tisch Mikhail Lewis Photograph taken by Rosemary Kavanagh
Fast forward to summer 2020, Rachel (sister) and I started embarking on a yoga journey that takes place at Carroll Park. There are a few other women who regularly show up and we started to recognize faces after awhile. One of those faces belonged to Tara Welch, executive director of Studio 23. We didn’t chat much but always shared a smile. One day my yoga teacher sent me a photograph. It was of Rachel, my best friend, and I at the Black and White Affair! I was shocked and filled with excitement when seeing it. When I asked where it came from, she informed me that Tara from yoga class had sent it to her after seeing it on Facebook and recognized my sister and I. Luckily I saw Tara at yoga the next day and I inquired on who snapped it!? She filled me in that it was a woman named Rosemary Kavanagh who took the photograph. Rosemary was reminiscing on Facebook about joy-filled pre-Covid days and had posted the photograph. Tara also told me about Rosemary being not only a photographer but an amazing artist and how she comes from the Carroll family lineage here in Bay City.
About 7 weeks ago I decided to join the Sunday morning yoga class at Studio 23, and during that class I was surrounded by beautiful oil paintings of someone’s family. Each pose and different views of the paintings were transcending me to times of the past and I fell in love with the style of the portraits. The more I stared, the more the little dots in my head started connecting together and I suddenly realized who painted these portraits. The name in the corner stated Rosemary Kavanagh and I began to believe that this was the same woman who snapped that picture of us!
After class I approached Tara about it and she confirmed my suspicions. I knew in that moment that Rosemary had to create an oil painting inspired by the photograph of us she captured.
I have always wanted to be transform into a work of art. Being a fellow artist myself, this is such a dream come true. Having my sister and soulmate next to me is icing on the cake. My sister and I decided to go in on the painting and will be sharing joint custody of it!
In this photograph now rendered as an oil painting on linen, I was at a time in my life when I felt truly beautiful inside and out. I had lost 80 pounds, cut my hair the shortest it had ever been and was regaining the love for my soul. In the back was a painting I resonated with too, a face-less plus-size woman with short hair and standing confident in the mirror, nude. I felt her, I saw her, I am her.
The smile oozing across my face says it all in the painting, love thyself.
Gratitude for the universe working its magic, you just have to believe.
Written by Ericka DeFord
Thank you Ericka, for sharing this heart-felt story with us. We look forward to hearing the history of Rosemary Kavanagh’s painting as it travels from your home to your sister’s while you share it through the years. I am very happy and honored that we at Studio 23 could do our part to help facilitate this project.
For more information on our Artist Referral Program please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please join us Thursday, March 25, 2021, 5 – 7 pm for the opening of Land To River. We will go live on Facebook at 6 pm for our virtual audience.
Thank you to Saginaw Basin Land Conservancy for collaborating with us.
Thank you to Waste Management for sponsoring this exhibit.
Congratulations to all the artists.
This invitational exhibit includes the artwork of Mark Bleshenski, Zachary Branigan, Alex Gilford, Frits Hoendervanger, Erwin Lewandowski, Alan Maciag, John Sabraw, and Larry VanSteenhouse.
We are looking forward to welcoming more visitors into our galleries and classrooms this spring. We continue to maintain our gallery and classrooms safely, wear masks and social distance. Our hours are Tuesday – Saturday, 11 am – 5 pm. Please stop in!
Valerie Allen, curator
Studio 23 is part of the Amazon Smile gives program for nonprofits. Please consider using this when ordering from at smile.amazon.com and choose Studio 23 as your nonprofit.