David and I chatted for a long time…and so today I’m sharing the rest of our conversation. If you missed Part One…here you go.
When I find a place that fills me up and appeals to every one of my senses, I want to go back over and over again, because it makes me happy. The David Arms Gallery is one of those places and before I get started, I want to share a little story with you.
When my husband and I first came to visit Franklin, we knew nothing…literally nothing except that Franklin was a very charming city with friendly people and it had a lot of history. Really…that’s all we knew.
So when our realtor asked me what I wanted to do after house hunting, I said that I wanted to go to Leiper’s Fork! To say that he was shocked is a bit of an understatement. Seriously, Leiper’s Fork and not Nashville! No…Leiper’s Fork is where I wanted to go, because I was going to The David Arms Gallery.
So off we went and when we rounded the bend as you come into town, I saw the barn and in that moment, something changed for me. I can still remember walking in through the front door…something came over me and suddenly I was crying…tears were streaming down my face because it was exactly the way I pictured it and I knew I had entered a truly special place. That’s what this place does for me.
Does it call your name like it does mine?
And then when we went outside and sat in the Adirondack chairs looking out at the landscape…I knew. I just knew that this is where I belonged.
This was a very special moment for the two of us.
It’s a completely restored old barn and this is not your typical art gallery…but then, nothing is typical about David. This is also not your typical barn. It’s beautifully appointed with a keen eye for the delicate details that fill this artist’s life. You feel as though you’ve walked into David’s living room. “I want my guests to feel special when they come through the front door, but I also want them to somehow feel the presence of God.” It’s impossible not to feel something BIG in this small barn.
There is symbolism in each of David’s paintings. And so you can understand more, he generously shares this with us on his website.
The non-traditional gallery appeals to all the senses – from the fragrance of David’s signature candle to the dazzling light, to the sitting areas designed to relax and of course, the beauty of the art surrounds you.
The simple placement of all things treasured…
David knows God is here. He shared a story with me about a group of women who came into the Gallery. “People cry here a lot,” David tells me, “and this woman from out of state was crying, and a lot and after she left, she came back in a few minutes later, and she said to me, ‘This is the first church I’ve ever been too where they really understood me.’ and I smiled, because I knew what she felt.”
When you make it to the Gallery, you’ll see how David plays with light in each of his paintings…studies it…dances with it and for me, it’s his use of light that is so inspiring. I asked him about the importance of light and without blinking an eye, he said, “If you want to convey truth, it better be about light.” I’ve written this out and now look at those words every day.
This fox is absolutely magnificent. The layering of color is brilliant.
It may not surprise you to find out that David is an avid reader. “I love words. They are used like paint. They can be blended together on a palette to create beautiful moments and thoughts. They encourage, challenge, even transport. All artists have the same tools available – words, paint, etc. – it’s how they are used that makes all the difference. Like all art, different works affect different people in different ways.”
I asked him what his top 5 must read books would be, a totally unfair question to ask a voracious reader, but still I asked.
The Bible – “It’s in a category all its own and it’s not always the easiest or the most pleasurable…but it stands above all others.”
Jayber Crow – by Wendell Barry “Such an important book in my life. The way Wendell Barry uses language is flawless.”
East of Eden – by John Steinbeck – “I love how Steinbeck shares the struggle of the human condition.”
Gilead – by Marilynne Robinson – “A fascinating story of family…the words are so powerful.”
Country – by Jasper Conran – “It’s an exquisite book and it’s in my palette.” (It’s a perfect coffee table book for a beauty collector.)
I didn’t want to leave. There is such peace and inspiration here and the thing is that when our heart is touched on a deep level, it’s almost impossible to put on paper what that feeling is. I’m sure you know what I mean…I’m sure you’ve felt that inexplicable moment when nothing in the world matters except being right where you are and fully present.
This, my sweet readers, is David Arms to a tee…humble, gracious, witty, soft-spoken and truly…truly an authentic lovely man. I believe that our broken world needs more David Arms…and I’m so grateful to have spent this special time with him. I hope you enjoyed sharing coffee with us today.
What are your must-read books? We could do a great book list, I’m sure.
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