Friday, July 22, 2011

Inside - In the Huddle

Stephanie Blank (wife of NFL Atlanta Falcons owner),
"In the Huddle" 36" x 48" © Kristye Addison Dudley
In 2002, while I was a professional cheerleader with the Atlanta Falcons, I participated in a charity auction. Although I have drawn since I was a child, majored in fine art and received a graduate degree in graphic communications, I still found (find)  myself feeling insecure about my art. I think it's because when I share my work, I am not just sharing an image. I am sharing a part of myself. Exposing those things that most of us write only in our journals. My journals are there for the world to see and built by my own hands. When it's not accepted, it's like being personally rejected.  This was the first painting that I was publicly  displaying and I was pretty terrified about it.

First of all, when approached about the painting I said "I don't do Football players", and didn't think that my work would work for this venue. I started to think more about the nature of sports and less about the helmets and pigskins. I thought about the spirit of teamwork and the image of the huddle came to mind. The bright, bold and strong figures said everything that I was feeling, the painting was ready.

I thought "In the Huddle" was going to be in the silent auction. But on the day of the event, it was in the live auction. I was there as a cheerleader, greeting guests, signing autographs and performing for the fans. Right before the painting was to be sold, I was called to the front of the room, introduced as the artist and asked to stand next to the painting. I felt like I was up for auction too. I could see the surprised look on the faces of the fans. A cheerleader painted this?

Of course I am used to being pre-judged, as were my teammates. We all enjoyed dispelling the myths of our part-time profession. We all had day jobs! And after the game, and after the uniforms came off, we were back to our daily routines working and raising children. We were rarely recognized, kind of like Superman hiding in plain site.

The bidding started at $350. An NFL player and Mrs. Blank, wife of team owner, started a bidding war. The painting sold to Stephanie for $3500. I was in complete shock. The painting is in the permanent collection at the Atlanta Falcons Headquarters. Immediately following the event, I was asked to do shows all over the Atlanta area and starting sharing my work with collectors and the community.

It's a great testament to my winding path as a professional artist. I still find that my being a former cheerleader brings funny looks, but it's part of who I am. I started in Jr. High and cheered in college too. During my years as a college and professional cheerleader I was able to participate in countless community service activities and travel the world. My first trip to Egypt was as a cheerleader entertaining our troops.

During my time as a professional cheerleader the team consisted of a VP of a bank, a chemist, a chiropractor, a number of entrepreneurs, nurses, teachers, guidance counselors, and college students with a variety of challenging majors. I met amazing women, who I am so proud to know and are my friends for life. So, don't judge a book by the cover, or pom poms, a cheerleader may be in your midst.

Cheers to you all,

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

New Painting and New Website

Recent Commission, Acrylic on Canvas, brush and palette knife © Kristye Addison Dudley
This painting was commissioned for a wedding. The newlyweds wanted to have a painting made of their engagement photo. They walked through a beautiful park, holding hands stepping over stones that linked across a pond. I love the reflections of the figures and I was so happy to be a part of their new journey in life together.

Also, I have finally updated my website. The new address is simply
Let me know what you think.

Have a great day,

Friday, July 8, 2011

I Don't Believe He Brought Me This Far

 Commission for Mo'Nique (Oscar award winner) © Kristye Addison Dudley
Tonight I took some time to update my list of exhibits, collectors and charitable events. I was shocked when I saw them all together. I have really had some great experiences, met some wonderful people and have had the opportunity to share my heart.

This is one of those divine things that happened to me. My first solo show was in 2002. I was so excited that I sold a large painting. I was walking on cloud nine and trying to learn more about how to become a "real" professional artist while pursuing my graphic design career.

While delivering my first sale, my collector was in a meeting with a customer, but he told me to come and bring my book. He invited me in and introduced me to his customer. I was so surprised to see that it was Mo'Nique! She's a comedian, and won an Oscar for her supporting role in "Precious". She liked the work I was delivering and asked to see my work. 

She looked through my portfolio and said, "I'd like this painting, in these colors. How much is it and can I have it in two weeks?". I simply said the amount and that I could do it in two weeks and that a deposit could be paid by check.

This painting holds a very special place in my heart, but I still sometimes forget about these milestones I have had along the way. I find myself looking back and focusing on my mistakes and my mishaps as failures, when really they are just stepping stones. After all of those "failures" was a triumph. There were people around me to lift me up and encourage me. There was a cheering section of family and peers to remind me that the road was winding but not ending.

I am so thankful for the friends that God has put into my life. And for the angels that watch over me and my family everyday. "I Don't Believe He Brought Me This Far to Leave Me", great things are in store.


Saturday, July 2, 2011

Relax and renew

Red chair in the rain - Watercolor and ink © Kristye Addison Dudley

I have spent the last week on vacation with my family. We are coming to the last day of our vacation and I am on a sun-sand-seafood-induced high. This was KJ's inaugural beach trip.

There was a "first" everyday. Her first time putting her little toes in the sand. Her first time waddling into the ocean and and then running back to me. The first time getting sea water up her nose and then laughing about the weird sensation. So many wonderful firsts. I love seeing the world through her eyes. I did find time to sketch, this one is from the one day it rained.