Feb 23, 2011

looking forward

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 had no idea where to begin.  So I decided just 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 the first show was a total disaster is just not true enough.  

My panels arrived late, so while all the other artists got set up the night before the show, I was still setting up LONG after people were all 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 it 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 PVC pipe birds.)  I sold one small painting to a girl who sort of knew 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 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 down my tent 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 money and time 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 soggy-self home was give myself 3 days to totally wallow in self-pity.  I called in "sick" to my "real" job (which was really wasn't 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 on the wall in Cazenovia Artisans Co-op, 2010


Roberta said...

I had almost the same thing happen to me years ago. I tried to do those outdoor shows but, as you say, between the rain, the major expense of the tent etc, it was so NOT worth it.

I am always amazed at the folks who can do it regularly. I guess after a while you figure out how to get it up and down fast if need be. But it wasn't for me either.

Although I have had my fair share of problems with galleries, I wish you the best on your gallery affiliation and hope you sell a lot of art!

Anna said...

Thanks for sharing your story! The artists that I know that have continued with their work are a determined lot. I guess we have to be, as there always seem to be many obstacles! But, continue we must - to create is part of our very being. It's who we are and what makes us happy!!!

Kim Klassen said...

i love this real life story... thank you for sharing a piece of your beginnings with us. :)

you are amazing... and yay... Cazenovia :)

xxo, Kim

freebird said...

Your first and last show was worse than mine! I didn't sell anything and had someone actually sketching my work to copy it at home later but I was inside a mall so had no weather or shelter problems. You deserved your pity party!

Jamie said...

Thanks for sharing a great lesson with us - it is nice knowing that even though we see as super successful struggled to get there.

Brooke said...

It is just too amazing how much we want to show ourselves what we are made of! I am falling in serious love with divine timing. I am realizing that sometimes it is a huge gift not to get what I want right when I want it--but follow it toward my readiness. Thank you for showing your process. XO

Anita @ GoingALittleCoastal said...

Thanks for sharing your story. You are a strong person. I would have been on that couch at least a week! It's great to know that success might not come easy but when it does it sure is sweet.

Prairie Girl Studio said...

oh man ... this was tough to read!
i mean it is tough to think you went through that ...
not our lori! ... *hugs*
i am sorry you had to go through that, but i am happy you shared ... sometimes things do happen for a reason ... pivotal points that come in guises ... your amazing strength and deep rooted happiness prevails ... you go, girl!

Roxanne said...

I have visited the Cazenovia gallery on several occasions and failed to make the connection that you exhibited there! I love your bright and beautiful paintings.

Lori said...

Roxanne, really? You are a neighbor? That is wonderful :)

kelly@thebluemuse said...

Oh my, yes, I have been there several times now, this past year for four of our shows it rained all day on Sunday...one was torrential, etc....outdoor shows can really get crazy. but i tend to believe that things happen for a reason...and yay! for you now, that is so wonderful.
thanks for sharing your story...

A Box of Chocolates said...

good on you for persevering you have guts and it paid off. i love a good pity party ice cream is my salve of choice

dbalyoz said...

oh lori, thanks so much for sharing this touching, funny (now!), inspiring story with us. The road is never smooth, is it?? I'm so glad that you ARE now and artist and ARE now successful and CAN look back and laugh. :) xxo Denise