They laughed when I sat down to paint.
My friends, bless them, have tracked me for years as a writer, tracked me through the ups and downs, submissions and rejections, small successes, equally small financial rewards.
When I told them I was turning back to my days as an art student to try my hand at what might have been, they laughed.
“So you’re giving up one creative pursuit that doesn’t pay much for another one that probably pays even less.”
They were kind. They were supportive. But they laughed when I sat down to paint.
I’m not here with an “I showed them!” success story. I’m still a fledgling and I’m not a kid. Whatever I accomplish in the visual arts will put me in a close second or maybe third with Grandma Moses. I am, for the record, still younger than she was when she started seriously painting. Maybe there’s hope.
I took a workshop at The Studio Door in San Diego in late spring with owner/instructor/artist Patric Stillman (which I wrote about here earlier), and I came away with three points for creative focus and six goals for the year. We wrote these down and gave them to Patric along with a self-addressed envelope. He mailed them back to us a few months later. Space check. Where were we with the focus and the goals?
My three areas of creative focus were:
–Grow as an artist through continuing education and discipline.
–Gain confidence and submit to juried shows.
–Begin to earn income through sales.
My actionable goals to support this were:
–Take a minimum of three workshops. (done)
–Respond to three calls for work.
–Learn what I need to know for submissions that are not local (how to prepare, mail, etc.). (done)
–Add information to my blog for people who might want to buy. (new art sales blog in the works)
–Earn $500 in sales for the year. (still dreaming)
–Spend at least fifteen hours a week creating new work. (no problem with this one)
I’ve been working hard on the Body of Work and it’s coming along. Fifteen hours a week is a joy, and sometimes I spend much more time than that. I have not been confident enough yet to submit to any shows, but the Body of Work comes first. I did contribute one piece to a fundraising event in October, and it went to a collector north of San Diego. I’m working through the steps as I can.
To my surprise the writing came back one night when I was inspired more or less out of the blue to start a new short story titled “Payne’s Gray” I fell in love with the color, and it shows up in everything now.
One of my art instructors in Maine told me years ago that my easel and my computer should go right next to each other.
“The art and the writing will feed each other.”
I begin to think he was right.