I moved to a new community in 2019, just in time for a pandemic. While this was good for my introverted productivity (reading! painting! sleeping!) it’s meant that I have very few social connections in my new hometown, certainly not what I’d expect in my 2nd year. So when the opportunity to participate in the 2021 Art Walk in the Park this August 29th arose, I leapt on it.
Then I panicked. I had piles of paintings from the past 6 months of high production at various degrees of finished, but only a few felt show-ready. And then there’s my vow from 10 years ago: never, ever again will I do outdoor art fairs. My work is too…. expensive, it’s the kind of work you need to fall in love with, and that takes time. Add to that my increasing disability ala arthritis. I cannot really haul & schlep stuff like I once did. and I certainly cant enjoy it. (I never liked that part!)
At the time, one of my biggest issues was finishing these new types of paintings. No more “one & done” that was the norm for plein aire painting. these were developed over weeks, some of them months, and many many layers and phases of change. Just how do I determine when they are done? You can put 100 layers on an acrylic painting and still keep going!
Signing up for the show pushed me toward a new edge: a kind of courageous discernment. THIS ONE is “good enough” (such a loaded phrase for me!) This one needs a few more shifts — so mix the paint, get it on there, glaze, sand, trowel –whatever was called for to get it varnished, framed and labeled.
I have been known to be crippled by anxiety. But the right amount of it can put things in very clear focus. this is done, this is do-able, this is not at all ready for prime time. Because of the looming deadline, my decisions became crisp and sure.
Today I’m enjoying the post show afterglow. I made a sale to a new art friend. He of course chose the very best picture. I’m thrilled it went to a Good Home. And oh, so many wonderful conversations!!! I guess after a year and a half of social isolation, talking to real people was an amazing treat. And talking about art, nature, color, my community, history, culture, dogs and babies. It shines a light on how much is lost when we can’t be together as a community.
I got useful feedback and responses to my work. I was visible as an artist in the community on an appropriate scale. No more was my work piling up in my studio, at risk of becoming dust-covered trash that my heirs have to wade through.
Thank you to all the organizers, volunteers and participants. THANK YOU to my friends, fellow artists, and helpers.