Art and Love from Me to You

looking forward

I am over on the Inspiration Studio today with a post taking a look back in time to my first art show.

My second (and last) art fair in 2005

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how much of the time I have thought that other people appear to meet creative success quickly and easily.  This is, of course, always a story in my mind because I can never know what anyone else is going through.

I wrote a blog post years back about my early days as an artist- way before I ever called myself an artist.  I was freshly divorced, living alone in a small apartment, working as a teacher/counselor, and I had no idea where to begin.  So, I just decided to start somewhere and spent mad amounts of cash buying a tent and mesh-panel sides and signing up for a few art shows.

To say that the first art show was a total disaster is just not true enough.

My panels arrived late, so while all the other artists got to set the night before the show, I was still setting up LONG after people were walking around shopping.  It was close to 100 degrees outside and I began literally and figuratively melting down.   I needed an engineering degree (which I clearly did not have) to figure out how to set up the sides and hang my paintings- it took hours and hours of pouring through the directions with swears and frustration.  Hardly anyone showed up since it was way too hot for upstate New Yorkers who can barely breathe if goes above 80.  And NO ONE came into my tent (at least it seemed that way as I watched hoards of people cluster in mobs around the guy in front of me who made PCV pipe birds.)  I sold one painting to a girl who sort of new me, so it doesn’t even count.  And nothing else.  Oh, and I got so SICK on the first day- I can’t even discuss that here- just know that it was bad.

Then, as the artists were starting to pack up at the end of the weekend, A TORRENTIAL DOWNPOUR occurred.  I couldn’t figure out how to take my tent down quickly (since I didn’t have an engineering degree.)  The rain and winds soaked all of my prints, ruined the framing on my paintings, and drenched my art portfolio, of which I spent extraordinary amounts of time and money on that (of course) no one even looked at.

Not to mention the soaking, ruining and drenching of my overall self-esteem and emotional health.

The best thing I ever did after I took my defeated, exhausted and sorry-self  home was give myself 3 days to totally wallow in self-pity.  I called in “sick” to my “real” job (which wasn’t really a stretch.)  For 3 days I was horizontal on the couch, watching sad movies and eating as much chocolate as I wanted.  I had the biggest and most depressed Pity-Party Possible.  And I didn’t even judge myself for that.

After 3 days, I took a shower, laughed about it just a little bit, and started over.

Maybe I have come a long way.  Maybe it has taken me a long time to begin to find my creative path.  Maybe it hasn’t.

What I am finally beginning to learn is that it is all happening in absolutely perfect timing.

My artwork in Cazenovia Artisans Co-op, 2010


{ 14 comments… add one }
  • Megan Coyle February 23, 2011

    I remember reading this story on your blog a while ago. You’ve come a long way 🙂 and it’s moments like this from your past that make you so GRATEFUL for all the good that comes your way 🙂

    LOVE your site by the way, you’ve done a fabulous job of putting it together 🙂

  • Molly (OneKindWord) February 23, 2011

    Wow, that sounds like a scene from a movie! I’m glad you’re able to laugh about it now 🙂 Sometimes when everything goes wrong, it’s a great chance to start over fresh.

  • Lisa Gonzalez - Happy Mama February 23, 2011

    Wow, what a story! I can only imagine how devastating that must have been. It’s so wonderful that you gave yourself permission to be sad and wallow for a bit, but of course you picked yourself up and started over. You are a bright spirit, Lori and I just love getting to know you better 🙂

  • Lisa Gonzalez - Happy Mama February 23, 2011

    Wow, what a story! I can only imagine how devastating that must have been. It’s so wonderful that you gave yourself permission to be sad and wallow for a bit, but of course you picked yourself up and started over. You are a bright spirit, Lori and I just love getting to know you better 🙂

  • tricia February 23, 2011

    I haven’t blogged or visited art blogs for a long time now, until here recently, and I’m glad i (re) found your blog today! I recently quit my job (not after any long thought, just a really stressful week and a bad evening at work) and this week have been working on (my first ever) poster (that someone actually asked me to do for them…for money) I was feeling optimistic until today when the reality of life set in and I’ve been in tears all day (with hands too shaky to draw)
    I’ve always loved your art, even just the name of your blog usually makes me smile 😉 Reading your post here made me feel a little less alone, a maybe a bit optimistic again-thank you! I’m going to put the poster away for the day and grab my scrap paper and doodle…….after I catch up on what I’ve missed here

  • kathryn February 23, 2011

    what a terrible experience for your first art fair…i’m curious if you ever participated in another art fair again?!!

  • Alia February 23, 2011

    Lori, I wish I had been at that art fair. I would have let you know how much your art inspires me and just touches a part of my spirit that wants to laugh, twirl around, and be free. I am so happy that you rose above the challenges and persevered with strength and courage. Thank you for posting this for all of us today. There are times when I feel alone in my struggles and then I realize I am never alone, there are many people who do understand, and have risen above these things. I’m glad I stopped by your blog this morning!

  • Tara February 23, 2011

    Thank you for sharing this. The part about the PVC pipe birds cracked me up- how does that happen??? But the part about the rain ruining everything was horrible. Good for you for being able to pick up and just keep on going. That had to be a tough thing to go through. I think we could all do well to remember that “it is all happening in absolutely perfect timing”. I needed that reminder right now.

  • Mariel Proulx February 24, 2011

    Exhilarating and terrifying, all at once! lol – I’m planning to do the Syracuse Arts and Crafts Fair this summer… probably won’t even break even but I can hope! At least my work will be out there- not sure if I can take the step as an artist but at least I have my aprons to fall back on! Thank goodness they allow entry for different things in the same tent. 😉

    I hadn’t even thought of rain. Or getting a tent. Well, I mean- of course I’ll need one but wow- the cost associated with set up will easily be as much as the fee. My God- it’s all a little more terrifying now! I’m going to have to look through your blog a little better and muster up some courage about these things. lol

  • April Cole February 25, 2011

    What a wonderful story to share! Thank you.
    It is comforting to know, we are all faced with challenges.
    It’s not always an easy road, to live out our dreams… but when are time comes it was well worth it.
    Back yourself on the back. :]

  • Karla February 25, 2011

    you are such an inspiration, Lori … you write with full-on heart .. this really inspires me to keep on trying and moving even when it feels like i’m getting nowhere. thank you for perking up my day with a wonderful story — made me smile! 🙂

  • Justine February 25, 2011

    Lori, I just LoVe you! It was so awesome to speak to you all the way from Australia today. I feel like we have been friends forever. We share so much in common and I’m so GRATEFUL to have crossed your path … amazing how it all happens isn’t it. I love your website, your blogs, your ART … inspiring, fun, cheeky with depth and compassion …. that’s just a tip of the iceberg when I see YOU! Much LoVe my friend xx

  • jacqueline February 26, 2011

    Dearest sweet Lori, i remember reading that post too from your lovely space! Thanks so much for sharing it again here today! You are so inspiring and you gave me courage to look forward to my very first art market show in coming May. Have a lovely merry happy weekend and love to you!

  • emily March 14, 2011

    Hi Lori –

    I stumbled onto your site because of a twitter post from amanda a kind over matter. I smiled throughout this post, and then when I got to the end and read about Cazenovia, I had to write. My husband’s family had a house on Tuscarora lake (in Erieville) for over 20 years! We love it there. Do you sell at the Saturday open air market in town? e

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