Well, one way this year that I have stayed put is physically. But perhaps more importantly, I’ve leaned to prioritize my time and energy. At least I’m working on it. In the past, I’ve signed on to several art related activities that seemed like a good idea, only to realize that the time and energy they took away from my own studio work and ideas was not worth it. (‘been reading Gifts from the Sea by Anne Morrow Lindbergh after first getting the book about 30 years ago! and she describes this feeling very well)
This year, I have declined or ignored several calls for response. There are other ways I give back in the communal sense. In fact, my community service for the past four plus years has been as a patient care hospice volunteer.
So, having turned my attention to my own work and questions has meant: absorbing a lot of new information via: Creative Capital, submitting work to juried shows in Denver, signing up for the 2-day studio tour, getting an exhibition slot at a local theater, even submitting again to New American Painting (was in 2 previous editions), trying to meet and network with more arts professionals and most importantly, gaining traction again in the studio.
One of the things that was repeated in the earlier mentioned workshop, was that if you weren’t getting any “no’s” then you weren’t trying enough things. Basically, that your chances of success at something are diminished to Zero, if you are not in the mix.
Considering I was in a bit of a funk a few months ago about where to proceed, and even if it made sense to keep making paintings, this is progress.
It’s a truism that most artists can bounce back with even the most meager of encouragement. You get a show, and suddenly, your work IS good enough…. you sell a drawing and there IS an audience.
And I’ve done this long enough to know that there are slumps, and also periods where it seems like everything is going your way. Currently, I’m feeling a bit of the latter, but not dwelling on it, since I know how ephemeral these things are. In fact, working with hospice patients has taught me a great deal about how silly we are in worrying about lots of the things that are rolling around in our heads. My last patient- still going strong, was 104 years old. She taught me, among other things, that there is no sense is being afraid of anything. Really, she had seen and done a lot, and just felt- what’s the point. We can prepare, but we shouldn’t waste our time being afraid.