Coincidence or Plan?

April 07, 2014  •  3 Comments

Coincidence or Plan?

Time to catch you up on me.  Last October 2013 I became once again a single man and I’m sure it was both parties at fault but during this time. My life changed in two ways.

Due to going to be divorced, I was shopping for furniture and had frequented a furniture store several times trying to decide what I wanted for furniture and hadn’t really figured out where I would be living, if I wanted to keep the house or move. During that time searching stores I noticed the furniture store had a lot of art on the walls, so one trip I actually and with my future x-wife who was also looking for furniture, ask the salesman if they sold very much art. He said, “Yes”. I showed him some of my work, he took me to the manager, whom said we’ll try it and what you bring in I’ll mark it up X% and we’ll see what happens.

I printed a couple of pieces, had framed and took one Nashville B&W and one of the Arch’s of Antigua Guatemala basically the pastel colors thinking furniture store.

I took them in on a Saturday morning, leaned them up against a recliner, and a lady checking out was distracted by the salesman who noticed I brought a print of Nashville when he said Wow that’s Nashville. She turned around, glanced, took another look and said "Wow that’s Nashville I’ve got to have it! How much is it.” The store employees looked at me and told her, we don’t know you’ll have to ask him, he just brought it in. I told her the agreed on price I had with the manager and she said, "I’ll take it." It was in the store less than 10-minutes.  I watched it go back out to her car, after she bought an Easel to display it with. I didn’t have the photo, Gallery ready to hang, as I learned the technique soon afterwards.

Now where can I get frames at best cost, so I go to Old Time Pottery in Madison TN. Looking for frames had a couple in my cart and was headed out the door when I noticed a very pretty young lady with two kids and the one in the cart was starting to climb out. I said you’re about to loose one. She took care of the situation and I gave her my card and said, “If you ever need family portraits give me a call.” She replied, “You’re a photographer?” I said “Yes” she said; “I’m a framer” I said your kidding. I got her number, and after sever txt messages she said she didn’t think her frames would be what I needed for my photos, but I should go to Market Place @ Amberleaf in Gallatin on the Square and look up her booth “A Piece of the Pie” and look at here frames.  With me spending most of my life in Gallatin I knew just where to go.  (Note: She was 30-minutes from her home towards Ashland City, and I was another 30-min opposite direction from my house in Portland.  Either of us at 30-seconds either way, this plan would have be altered.)

I walk into the store Market Place in Gallatin and I’m greeted the first 20ft in the door by a lady, Melissa J. She ask if it was my first time there I said yes, could she help me, I said, “Looking for the ladies booth who does frames” she took me to the booth. I quickly agreed the frames were beautiful but not what I needed for B&W photos. Melissa asks what I did to need frames. I said I’m a Photographer. She said I sell Art I’m on the second floor, and she represents people and sells their Art, and other items, as we were going up the steps she said she has some photos from a photographer but can’t get enough. I told her I could load her up with photos. So now I am packaging smaller items for her to sell for me. She said in December 2013 she was going to do a show at the Expo center in Hendersonville and ask if I wanted to join her in the booth.  I said I might show up. Well I did. I had the chance to meet people and talk. (Who would have thought that, me a talker.) I sold enough photos’ that I had to go have more photos printed, buy frames and go back to the Expo to sell more the same day.

Melissa on this day at the Expo Center mentioned an event in Nashville called Hey Day only once a year event, she was thinking about doing, I said we could split it but I’d get half the booth. The term “Booth Hog” was brought up in a nice way. I think. Later after many conversations she decided not to do it and said I should, and that I would meet Olga of “O” Galleries across the street from the event.  She actually said Olga would find me. I had to research the event if I wanted to get in. I found it. Cabin Fever Hey Day Feb. 8th. 2014 at the Marathon Music Works Building. Booth rent $275 for 6-hours. I said to myself. Go Big or Go Home. I jumped in with both feet and a couple borrowed feet; Sherrie G. my Sons girlfriend was very helpful.  It was an awesome event. I really enjoyed it and had a great day. Melissa came to the booth that day and later said I very well could have been the top seller at the event.

During the day while taking money from a customer, I turned and saw Olga in my booth. She looked around and asks if I was Raymond, I said Yes… She said, “You need to be in “O” Galleries in the Arcade.” I said. “I do?” She said, “Yes”. When you pack up this evening, come across the street to her Gallery and she would take me downtown to the Arcade on 5th Ave. Nashville TN. and show me where I needed to be. I agreed. We meet, went downtown, she showed me a wall in the Gallery and said this is where you need to be. I accepted she also discussed rent, and commission.  Feb. 8th. 2014

On October 2013 I had just heard about the Nashville Art Crawl from Melissa. I actually went downtown November 2nd. 2013 to explore the Art World of Nashville, and did the Art Crawl. I had visited the Tennessee Art League 5th Ave. Nashville, along with many other Galleries, and I had also been inside “O” Gallery in the Arcade.

One evening after work Feb. 19th. 2014. I walked into Tennessee Art League TAL and ask about having a photo on the Gallery wall. They said it has to be Juried in I said okay. So the next Friday Feb 21st.  I stopped by and paid the yearly fee, and dropped off a print. Nashville B&W on gray matte, and framed. The two people there were a lady and a gentleman, they started doing the Ooo… Ahhhhh so I’m thinking I might get in. That same evening I figured out the lady would be my competition at the TAL, well, we shoot the same locations and she has a different style she said we really don’t compete.

Feb 25th Tuesday prior to the Art Crawl on Saturday night. I remember about the Gift Shop at the TAL and I called and ask what I needed to do to get smaller photos in. Again I would have to be Juried in. but needed to call this other lady. I got the number and called.  She said I’d have to be Juried in. I said okay, an example of mine was just hung in your Gallery this past Sunday (prior to the art crawl) the B&W of Nashville. She said, “Gray matte, black frame, and are you Raymond?” I said, “Yes” “She said bring your stuff on down for the gift shop.” Now it is Wednesday Feb. 26th. prior to the Art Crawl, I’m eating supper at a restaurant and get a phone call. Is this Raymond, I said "Yes,” This is the Tennessee Art League, “Would you like to have your own wall.” I said “Yes I would”. They said short notice but can you be ready by Saturday. I’m thinking, I have to get Prints, Frames, Mattes, and put it all together, and said Yes. I hung my wall Saturday the day of the Art Crawl March 1st. 2014.

I’ve had enough success, I have not only just finished April Art Crawl, but also I have already told Olga, that I would be there in May.  

I’m really stretching it with my next adventure, and I really only give it a small chance of success, but once again. Go Big or Go Home. I’ve at least made it to the second phone contact level and leaving messages, but you never know until you try.

Now stop and think about any of this happening if I hadn’t meet the lady Lisa S. with the two kids at Old Time Pottery in Madison, TN.  October 2013.

All this probably wouldn’t have began had my now x-wife, Jenn, not purchased my first quality Digital Camera while we were dating several years ago and my latest Digital Camera 2013.

I used to be the bashful, quite person in High School. Imagine that.

Coincidence or Plan?

I know which it is, and apparently I was getting behind on the plan that God had for me.

I hope you follow me and see where this trail takes me. I need the company.


Diane Deason(non-registered)
"Commit to the Lord, whatever you do and your plans will succeed." Never forget this is a talent He gave you and give Him the glory................
Linda Case(non-registered)
We all need friends to help us through our journey we call life. Sometimes people walk in front of us to lead the way, beside us for support and then behind us to give us a push when needed. You are an outstanding man that God has great plans for. John and I will help you in any way we can as you journey to a next bend in the trail.
Jim Hawkins(non-registered)
Great story about this latest chapter in the life of Raymond!

Raymond, you are a quiet but remarkable example of a person who continues to learn and to grow.

From your years as a talented high school band member, to your career as a superb metal machinist, to your many years of service as an outstanding Scoutmaster, to your loyal and continuing role as a dad, you continue to excel.

And, your photo artwork is superb! Keep making people smile, and keep being open to God's plan.
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