We had our Third Friday Art Walk and it couldn't have come at a better time for me. I was trapped in the PMPP Syndrome ( Poor Me Pity Party ~ coined by my career coach, Alyson B. Stanfield) and I needed a Swift Kick back into reality. (Actually, Alyson calls it the PMWP - Poor Me Whining Phenomenon...I could blame my memory lapse on breathing too many solvents in the studio, but it's more like LMS - Lazy Memory Syndrome. My apologies to A...she was a good sport about it!)
But, on with the story... First, I was taking to heart some advice Alyson gave and instead of standing shyly in the middle of the room answering the easy questions, I began to really talk to people about my art. I put aside my self-consciousness, recognizing it as the excuse I had been using to remain in my comfort zone. And other than the drunk who almost put his foot through my newest -- and best so far -- painting -- it worked!
All kidding aside, for me, and I suspect for others, too, I easily slip into automatic behaviors that keep me in my comfort zone, where I can't do what I need to be doing to sell my work. Triggers that send me running back into self-consciousness ( dictionary definition: excessively aware of being observed by others) fall into several categories, but the BIG one is spending too much time attending my own pity party, or associating with other artists who are celebrating in the same manner. And that's the thing ~ fear loves to feed off of fear, and while we might come together seeking reassurance, what we end up doing is just magnifying the insecurities. Often, the demoralization is so subtle that I don't even notice it at first, and only later become aware of a feeling of sadness or loneliness...
What I discovered at this past Friday Art Walk is that people are genuinely positive about art and artists in general, and more than I ever imagined were willing to honestly tell me what impressed them about the paintings they were looking at.
I learned that I was truly living the creative life.
I was creating work that other people regarded as "art."
I was connecting to people on an existential level as they felt an emotional response to a motif.
The work would continue to sell and that the first few times weren't a "fluke"
If I were still attending my PMPP, (and no doubt I shall slip up and return there on and off in the future) I would probably have interpreted the above positives as negatives, glass half full sort of thing.
As the evening slowly wound down, I began straightening up and came across a flier I had created several months ago and had "sort -of" forgotten about. On the front cover I had written:
"All I really know are my own experiences, what I see and perceive, beauty that presents itself to me in a flash, and then is gone. But when I read a poem, or see a painting, or hear a melody filled with recognition of the familiar, I am knocked breathless with the awareness that I am not alone in my experience.
This is why I paint."
I think I will replace my old, tired "academic" artist statement with this one. What do you think?
"River Walk" 30 x 40 oil on canvas
This image is too small to see that there is a railing along the path that runs through the middle ground, just above the large gray rocks. (Click on it and a large view shows everything. ) We are blessed to have a truly magnificent river canyon within 20 minutes of my home, and this location is one of my favorite landscape spots. This is the painting that the drunk was trying to put his foot through...the perils of placing large paintings on easels low to the floor, and then offering too much free wine in the open gallery area.