Posted by: thewoobdog | October 23, 2012


In the full sense of the word… We are going to an artist’s reception/dinner this Friday hosted by a gallery we frequent in Asheville and we’re a bit, um, terrified.  We attended a more informal artist’s reception held there this past April, and had the privilege of meeting one of our favorite artists, Stefan Horik, and that all turned out okay.  We fell in love with his work the first time we wandered into the gallery three years ago while waiting for our dinner reservations.  His paintings are absolutely breathtaking in person – they have this incredible dimensionality because he uses a palette knife to layer on paint and color, then seals the finished work with multiple layers of shiny lacquer so the paintings look like they’ve just been completed and the paint is still wet. 

It was a big step for us to go to that reception, since we’re just normal people and we don’t frequent the art world or attend champagne galas or wine-and-cheese parties.  To be honest, we don’t really even care for wine (craft beer, now, that’s a different story – we can dissect a good craft beer), and the Horik paintings are the first we’ve ever loved enough to consider some day purchasing.  We tend to stay away from wine tastings and art galleries, since we know nothing about either wine or art apart from our own personal tastes – that is to say, we can point at something and say “We like that!” (or, “Ooh, that’s purty!”) but would be hard pressed to define that liking with definitive artistic vocabulary.  Still, the gallery docent (whom we’ve befriended on our many visits to gaze awestruck at the Horik landscapes) really encouraged us to come and meet Stefan, and the fact that the gallery would be displaying more of his work for the reception settled it for us.  It ended up being a great experience, and we didn’t make any huge faux pas like knocking over a vase or mistaking a display cabinet for artwork, so we made it out with our dignity intact.  Plus, it was absolutely amazing to meet the artist and talk to him about his art and how much we enjoy it, and we were amazed at what a nice guy he is.  We actually were able to purchase one of his works while we were there and he was kind enough to sign it for us with a personal message.  The whole evening was amazing and we thoroughly enjoyed it.

This upcoming event, though – it scares me.  It goes beyond reception and into full-blown four-course dinner territory, complete with wine pairings.  The artist, a French expressionist by the name of Jean Claude Roy, and the owners of the gallery (which has multiple locations nationally) will be at the dinner, so, you know, no pressure.  I mean, at a reception you can wander around, pretend to mingle, and have an array of pre-determined excuses on hand to extricate yourself from any potentially embarrassing situations.  At a dinner, though, you’re a sitting duck (or goose, as the case may be), so the chances of displaying your massive ignorance just skyrocket. Sky. Rocket. We don’t know appropriate dining etiquette for a fancy French four-course dinner!  We like fine dining and we like to try new things, but there are some basic ingredients we just don’t eat (examples: escargot, mussels, squid, and any kind of intestines), and we aren’t exactly wine connoisseurs.  Case in point – I tried an upscale wine once, a Spanish tempranillo, that said it tasted like leather and smoke, and for a wonder it tasted exactly like the description, which frankly has never happened to me before (the nice fruity wines never taste like “spicy black currant with a hint of pear,” oh, no, because that would actually be nice).  This was like licking a leather ashtray – my whole mouth puckered up and dried out like the Sahara.  I’m sure my face betrayed my utter lack of cultivation and horrified reaction to the wretched stuff, too.

What if we make complete and absolute idiots of ourselves at this thing?  I mean, I keep reminding myself that the safest bet is always just to be yourself, because trying to be something you’re not inevitably backfires, but then I think of some of the colossal blunders I’ve either made in the past or avoided by the narrowest of margins, and I kind of have a nice quiet panic attack.  On the one hand, I think of all the nice affluent high-class people we’ve met (or, um, seen in movies), and how they quite enjoy a breath of fresh air in the form of normal people just being normal people.  On the other hand, I think of all the stuck-up, elitist social climbers we’ve (sadly) met (or, again, um, seen in movies), and how sometimes it just seems like they’re waiting for someone to make some pignorant gaffe just to provide them some entertainment for the evening and give them something to snigger about in their après-dinner brandy snifters (and no, I have no idea whether people drink brandy after dinner – for all I know, they drink it before dinner, and I already look like an idiot). 

Yes, I have an irrational fear of unintentionally looking like an idiot.  I have no problem looking like an idiot on purpose, but who said phobias were logical?



  1. Well. This is my favorite blog entry of the whole year. When I come home for Christmas, can you please tell me what actually happened? I find this all fascinating. And it makes me love you and Terry even more, which I didn’t think was possible. You’re both so secretly cultured! Farthing, art shows, using the words après-dinner…It’s the best.

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