Yesterday I received a very blunt e-mail from a gallery. "Please pick up your work, it is not selling and we need the wall space for other artists." I was confused because only a few weeks ago, the gallery owner was asking for more work. The e-mail came from one of her employees. I went in to pick up the paintings today and another woman who works in the gallery said she knew nothing about this and was very surprised. She was very kind and told me that she loved my work. I next went to bring some cards to another gallery I have work in and the first thing this gallery owner said was "I have wonderful news. We just sold three of your pieces!" After my initial disappointment with the e-mail, came the realization that I create because I love the process. I am not creating in order to sell my work or to gain recognition. If it sells that is wonderful. If not, I am okay. The past month has been challenging because of personal crises in my life and making art has been therapeutic and gratifying. Whatever you love to do, do it because it nurtures and expands you. With that intention, whatever your endeavors are, you will be successful. Do what you enjoy for you, not for what you think you will receive from the outside world.
I'm on to a new series. I love designing collaged dresses. Here are a few:
I am having a great time with a new endeavor - teaching collage workshops. Life presents new opportunities all the time and as Babe Ruth declared, "If there is a fork in the road, take it." So I did. This summer, I was asked to teach a class about how to make my collage blocks and I decided to plunge in. My take away from the first class I ran was that I could impart the information and process effectively and was able to look at what people were doing and make helpful suggestions that moved them along. I've run this workshop several times in several galleries and have been asked to create new classes. How fun and how unexpected. I challenged myself to try something new and it worked. It does not always, yet I have never regretted venturing out into new territory. Years ago, I decided I wanted to do a particular type of training and I actually put ads in the yellow pages about my new specialty before even starting the training. There was a deadline and I was sure this was my new path. Well, it did not work out that way. I did not like the training, it was not a good fit for me. I received a lot of calls from the ads and had to refer people out. I tried something new, it didn't pan out, so I moved on and never had to think "I wish I had...". What is it you wish you had done and didn't? Maybe now is the time.
This has been a time of upheaval and change. We sold our house in Maine and it was quite an ordeal on every level. It's an old house, an 1866 victorian. We put our hearts and souls into this "project". When we bought it, it was in terrible disrepair and we made it our mission to take care of, nourish and update it. We loved this house and poured time, energy and money into it. We enjoyed the process of seeing it evolve and become beautiful once again. However, if you have ever owned an old house, its needs never end and after fourteen years, it was becoming a burden. There was so much more to be done, driving back and forth became exhausting with all the traffic, we wanted to spend weekends with our grandchildren. It was time to let go. This was not easy to do. It was like letting go of a precious love and I cried a lot. We had moving sales and had to let go of what we had brought into our lives. We had to let go of people we had become attached to. I let go of being able to be at the beach all the time. The house has an interesting history. It was built by a wealthy industrialist to house his groomsman and to stable his horse. Harriet Beecher Stowe's son lived in the house for several years and she often visited him here. I would walk up the curved staircase and touch the banister and think that Harriet walked these stairs and touched this banister. My friends lost their experiences here as well. Several came by to say goodbye to the house. For the first few weeks after we sold the Horace Woodman House I was very sad and would picture the new owner walking through the rooms. As time went on, I began to relax and realize that I had more time in my life. I was not spending half the week there, half the week at home. Everything was in one place. I have been enjoying weekends going places I have not been to in years because we were always in Maine. I see my grandchildren on most weekends. I see my friends more. I've also had to let go of a volunteer job that I've loved and so there is a lot of change going on in my life. I've needed down time to recover and I've taken it. Today, I sat down and finished a piece I began many months ago. I'm letting go and moving on. I'm excited about what lies ahead. Another new beginning.
It's been quite a while since my last post. I was away for a month and it was spectacular. I was not sure what it would be like to just relax and have no deadlines, no structure, no demands on my time. Well, I have to say, I loved it! My husband loved it too and that was a huge surprise. He is such a workaholic but found he liked to sleep in, read, take our dog for many walks a day, go to the beach and just hang out with me. I did bring my paints and did some work. Then back to reality, which isn't all that bad, just busy again. The first week home I was so disoriented that I really could not fully function. It's nice to just let go and float for a while. It's pleasant to not feel guilty because you are not being productive. It's satisfying to just be. I will admit there were a few times when I was a bit bored but mostly, I just felt free. I still am feeling some of this and have given myself permission to have days to myself to do whatever suits me. I began working on a series of cityscapes just before leaving and have thoroughly enjoyed this new endeavor. They are kind of funky and folk artsy. I am working in different sizes and using many color palettes. Here is one of them:
The past several weeks are a blur and I have been at loose ends for a number of reasons. Rather than push myself, I decided to let go and take care of myself. We all have our ways of processing and for me, it's joining with my emotions at the deepest level and letting myself be. Eventually I come to terms with the dilemma, come back up for air. and move on. So here I am. Is everything in perfect order? No. Do I still have things to deal with? Yes. I am not, however, stuck in that dark place. I am painting, listening to my music, seeing my friends, getting ready to go to a warm, sunny place for a month (I can't wait!), seeing my grandchildren and living my life. I have decisions to make and ideas to process and as long as I keep myself connected and grounded, I will be fine. The most fun thing that happened is that I got an e-mail from one of the galleries I have my work in telling me that four of my pieces sold. This really was a clear message that I am on the right track. Very exciting. As I just mentioned, I will be away for a month and I am not sure I will be posting. This was kind of a bucket list thing - to go away for a month during the winter. It was my husband's suggestion and was quite surprising coming from him, the man who doesn't even like to take a week off from work. Of course he will work remotely but who cares? I am taking my paints and am hoping to be able to sit outside in the sunshine and create. Here is an old piece that I love. The girl is a transfer, the background is painted.
I am making every effort to do something creative each day. As a friend reminded me, it doesn't have to be a big thing. Cooking is a creative endeavor as is writing in a journal. I enjoy finger painting with my grandson. Not only are we creating a piece of art, but we are also creating connection and memories. Just one little creative act a day helps me to feel that I have expressed myself in some way and it feels great. I am not one to make New Years resolutions, yet I think this is one I would like to make and keep. Actually, last year I resolved to keep this blog up for one year and here I am, still at it. If I fall off the wagon and get too caught up in other life events, then I will just have to find a way to begin again. I had a client who really struggled with her weight and she finally was able to stay on a diet and lost weight. Then she went to a party and overdid it. When she came in to see me she was so upset with herself and declared that she had blown the diet and all was lost. No it wasn't. I told her to just start again and to stop beating herself up. It's not fair to yourself to think in terms of black and white, either or, all or nothing. Life happens, we mess up and then we need to forgive ourselves for whatever we think our infractions are and move on. We need to stop tripping over our "shoulds" (we should do this, be that, etc.) and do what feels good to us inside.
What a busy few months. I took an art class at the Concord Art Association. It was fun and inspired me to try new things. It's always a challenge to figure out what I am doing in a class, to get my bearings. I am better working in my studio. This class set things in motion and I came home with new ideas and energy each week that I followed through on. I also participated in the Acton Farmer's Market Holiday Fair. I keep telling myself that I am going to take time off and relax. Then I am presented with an opportunity and can't resist taking it on. Today though, I promise to take a nap!!! Here is what I was selling at the fair. Collage boxes and blocks. In the background, what I made as a result of the class, playing with cardboard. Something I've never tried before.