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