Wildlife painter extraordinaire Dustin VanWechel wrote recently on his new blog about the pressures faced by artists when preparing for a new exhibit. The focus becomes laser hot, and the weight of what, just months ago, seemed fun and exciting now feels like a load of lead.
It's not that the opportunity to share our work isn't appreciated. It is, trust me on that. It's that we, as artists, know deeply in our hearts and minds what we hoped for when we reached for the brush, or the clay or the knife, to make known that thought or idea that resided in our minds. Only we knew the inspiration, the seed for our idea. An exhibit demands a deadline, a definite stopping point when our inspiration must, must be determined visually. We no longer have the luxury of thinking about the idea. Does it match up to the inspiration? It must. It's time.Pondering and wondering and mulling over no longer have a place in the deadline of mailings and framing and expectations. It's "make the mark and move on", which is not a comfortable place to be for those of us who like to make the mark and then think about it a bit.
However, there's another side to this. Sometimes, when there is no deadline, we dither and piddle and fiddle and all the other -iddles instead of making that mark count. I know I do.
I have an exhibit opening soon at the Minden Opera House in Minden Nebraska. I've known about it for a year. Even with that generous amount of time to prepare, I've been in a sweat for the last month getting the finishing toucheson the oil and pastel paintings I want to share. I've noticed that with this looming deadline my focus is more acute, my habit of piddling around has been overtaken with an ability to make decisions quickly and confidently. I'd like to think I'm making good decisions. I'll know soon enough.
I guess the point is that artists should set goals, especially public and spoken-out-loud-so- somebody-can-hear goals. Saying out loud "I'm going to..." lets the world know that something good is going to happen. Setting dates that can't be changed forces creative individuals to make good on their desires to improve or create or share or whatever their goals are.
So...I have an exhibit opening at the MOH March 2nd through April 15th. Opening reception is scheduled for Saturday March 7th from 10 am - 12:00 noon. This coincides with all the other great events scheduled that day in Minden. Come and see what I've been focused on lately. Have I made good decisions? Are my goals clear? Did I do what I set out to do? You tell me.
What are your goals, and when will you reach them?