Survived the Show

my artwork at 2016 St. Paul Art CrawlSo, I survived the art crawl.  And I’m not crashing as expected, so that’s great.

Still, it’s another nail in the coffin, finance-wise.  Covered my show expenses, but that’s it.  Not a good show.  If I don’t get in the fall local outdoor show, this might be the last one.

I watched dozens of people stop across the room and point at my work, then come closer.  Or pull their companion over to look and comment on it.  Lots of smiles.  I gave out a pile of business cards and answered commission questions.  I think two of them may actually call to commission work.  Someone said they want to buy something “as soon as they’re employed again” — and boy, can I sympathize.  Another person said he “might come back for that painting … and maybe that one.”  (Of course, he didn’t.  Then again, the odd security guy I didn’t think would come back for two teeny watercolor seascapes did come back on the last day…)

My point is, I got great feedback from customers, passers-by, and other artists.  They like my work, think it’s very good, and unique enough.  Some responded to the nudes, a few to the dance-themed pieces, and many, many people to the animals.  My prices seem to be in-line with other painters.  (Or even a tad low, but I’m really trying to move some of these pieces!)  Unlike the fall crawl, this time I saw many people walking around with purchased art.  They just weren’t buying my art.

It’s such a tough nut to crack.  I’m trying very hard not to take it personally, or feel like a failure (“they say they like it, but why don’t they want it?!”).  If we had the luxury, I could do more market research, try a few more things… but we don’t.  Bad shows and a few sparse months have given me a beating.  And really, we need cash-in, and soon: hospital bills going to collections, a sprinkler line leak, a blown tire, less tax back than we thought we’d get, and oh, yeah, we’ve basically eaten through our safety net.  You’d think we were approaching thirty, not the mid-century mark. That plus our combined health issues means we just can’t mess around like this anymore.

So.  I’m trying to convince myself I was lucky to have an opportunity to try this experiment after I lost my long-term design job.  It’s true; not everybody gets that chance.   I’m trying to tell myself even if I can’t/won’t go back to the physical strain of a full-time high-stress (and discriminatory) corporate design job, I have other employable skills.  At least I hope so.  I hope I can convince someone else in an interview.

And in the meantime, I still have a few small commissions trickling in, so at least somebody wants my work, right?

Okay, picking myself up.  Again.

I ain’t strong yet, but I hope to fake it.


Tough Timing, but then you know, Poetry

I’m glad it’s Poetry Month, even if I can’t devote as much time as I would like to.

It’s been a rough few weeks — and I’m what the docs call an “under-reporter”, so by that, please read: very hard.  I’m depressed, and my confidence is shot to hell.  I’m half-nervous, half-apathetic about an upcoming art show, which is a terrible mindset to have going into it.  I’ve mostly kept my head above the depression, but I anticipate an even bigger crash once the show is done.  That’s the usual pattern.

That’s the problem with putting so much energy into masking the symptoms of mental illness.  I’m already short on energy, so I need to burn “borrowed” fuel to pull it off: to hold casual conversations, to remember to start the dishwasher, to keep from bursting into tears until I’m safely behind closed doors.  To pretend I’m not terrified about my pending (looming) job-search.  I’ll burn even more playing the “cheerful productive professional artist” at the art show, instead of feeling my art career to this point has been a waste.

(Remember: depression lies.)

But having the poetry to distract in measured doses has helped.  Reading what everybody’s coming up with. And the NaPoWriMo “prompts” give me a framework to muddle about in.  I’m not trying to push myself too much this time around — no scrambling to make up lost days — but even eight or ten poems this month is enough to make me feel I’ve done something productive with my time.

I’ll enjoy that while I can.  The crash will come later.

NaPoWriMo 2016

Hi, all!  I know I’m coming in late to National Poetry Writing Month (NaPoWriMo), and I probably won’t be able to do 30 poems in April this year. BUT. I’m really enjoying reading all of your poems (and trying to channel some of that inspiration into my painting)!

Na Po Wri Mo logoStill, I hope to post a few in honor of NaPoWriMo. And if you’re posting I promise to try to check out as many of your poems as I can.

If you’re new to NaPoWriMo, and are looking for ideas, or to participate, check out the website here. They highlight wonderful poems you may not know about, and have some great optional “prompts” to get your poetry gears going.

Happy writing, and happy reading!


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