Notes from Candice Ransom

Making Magic

coffee shop table web

We heard their piping, excited voices as soon as we walked through the door.  My friend Donna and I had planned a Friday morning pause between exercise and errands.  After meeting at a downtown coffee shop to talk shop, we’d sandwich in a gallery-hop at Liberty Town Arts Center.  And now there were kids.  We exchanged glances of amused dismay.

Voices carried in the high-ceilinged old plumbing supply warehouse that housed studios and galleries.  We followed the chatter upstairs.

art stairs web

At a table set up in the narrow hall, a painting class was in session.  The kids looked up at us and I wondered if they were irritated at our intrusion.  The little girls, all about six or seven, smiled bright as newly-minted pennies, then returned to their work.

art girls better web

As we edged past, one girl said to the others, “This is the magic time.”  Yes, it is, I wanted to say.

Donna and I wandered through the beehive of studios.  Finished paintings were propped against easels. Glazed pots lined shelves.

art red wall web

Jugs of brushes, baskets of half-squeezed oil tubes, and watercolor-daubed palettes covered taboret carts.

art supply table web

Some studios had inviting furniture and thickly-piled rugs.  Crystal chandeliers made a classy contrast to open duct work.  I longed to move in and play.

art red sofa web

Studio paintings seemed at rest, content with the last brushstroke.  Slightly musty air settled on my arms.  I recognized that mid-August feeling, like riding the Ferris wheel when it pauses at the top and the whole world is spread out below.

art red painting web

Donna glanced at her watch.  Time tugged at us.

Art, says Teller of Penn and Teller, is anything we do after the chores are done.  My to-do list was depressingly long but I was grateful for this interlude.  After steeping myself in paintings and pottery, I could face the hot sun and uninspiring stops along Route 3.  Maybe save some of this day for some art-making of my own.

art chair web

On our way out, we passed the children’s class again.  The little girls smiled around lollipops, cheerful as a field of daisies.  The whole world stretched out before them; time hung suspended between the taste of cherry and a splash of red paint.

I walked down the steps, remembering when I was forever-seven in always-August and I too made magic all day long.

art fair web

One girl remarked to the girl sitting across from her, “Don’t you wish you were me?”

Yes, I wanted to say back.  I do.

11 thoughts on “Making Magic”

  1. What a wonder. I loved getting to visit this space with you through your post. Infusing magic into our lives with diligence and expectation is what the creative life is all about. Thank you!!!!

  2. I am blessed by your friendship and so very grateful that we shared this adventure and the gentle reminder that we can make magic – no matter our age.

    • I should point out that Donna took one of these photos, the one of me climbing the stairs (there was a tiny little struggle as to who would have their rear end photographed–I lost!).

      Donna and I talked about the importance of taking photos alone–it’s the only way to visualize what only we can see. And then we snapped happily away together. Friendship!

      • It’s a flattering shot all on its own, but I love that it shows you in your element. You & Donna dwell in that magic place between responsible adulthood and carefree childhood, and we are better for having been invited to join your adventures.

        • I don’t know about flattering (must get to the gym!), but I loved those stairs with creative words on every step. Donna and I are either very good or very bad for each other–I think good!–because when we hit the road, look out, world! You would be a perfect member of our little tribe!

  3. What beautiful pictures, and it looks like such a magical space! As I prepare my teaching studio for my children’s art classes this September, I will remember to tell the students we are “making magic”. Thanks for the inspiration!

    • Out of the mouths of children! They know best what is magic and what isn’t. I’m sure your students will love your classes, since you make magic wherever you go, Miss Joan!


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