Sunday, February 9, 2014

Just Me

I'm outstanding in my field.

Jason Horejs, of  Xanadu Gallery in Scottsdale and the author of Red Dot blog, recently offered the opportunity to get in on the ground floor of an e-course he is developing for folks like me. Our participation would be free while he irons out the kinks of his new class. Being congenitally cheap I jumped on the opportunity to learn from someone whose blog I’ve enjoyed for several years. I appreciate that Jason has his feet firmly planted on the ground. He’s been in the gallery business for over 20 years  and shares his insight willingly.

Right off the bat I learned that free doesn’t mean easy.

Our first task was to describe ourselves in a couple of sentences. No sweat. I’ve known me pretty well for quite a long time. 

Then Jason asked: What is your greatest challenge? And the kicker - I must limit myself to one short paragraph.

The first thing that popped into my head was: Just one? Followed quickly by, "How many pages can one paragraph be?"

If you’re like me, you’ve got many challenges. Among those that popped into my head without any effort were: How to keep showing up; how to know whether I’m on the right path; how to price; how to find that perfect gallery relationship; how to get the lid off that blasted tube of blue paint; how to close the sale; how to get that blue paint off my elbow; whether juried shows are worth the effort, (how did that blue paint even get on my elbow?), what kind of frame is appropriate; how to talk intelligently about my artistic process; how much time should I spend marketing; do I have to send out a newsletter; should I give up and take that job at the grocery store?

And I was just getting warmed up.

Presumably Jason does not have all day. I get one short paragraph. I’ve got to distill all of those worries down to one single challenge. 

What’s is the crux of my concern?

In a word, isolation. 

I live miles from anything that could be considered an art hub. It's more than that though.
There is so much that no one else can do for me. Whatever decision gets made, ultimately I’m the one who has to make it. From what kind of computer to purchase to working through a style to buying supplies to how to get that blasted lid off, it’s all on me.  Handsome Husband is always there, that’s true. And yet, despite his kind dedication to cheering me on, I’m the one – the only one – whose name goes on the finished product.

I’m the one who picks me up when I’m down, challenges me when I don’t think I’m working hard enough, and pats me on the back when I’ve worked too hard. No wonder I’m pooped.

And despite the vastness of the world wide web, where friendships can be made from all over the universe, there’s something to be said for closeness, for sitting down over a cup of tea to have a conversation, or even just to sit in the same space and smile across a table or trade an understanding nod, or help an artist friend get that blue smear off her elbow. 


Karine Swenson said...

Great post, as always. It aptly describes one of the main challenges of being an artist. I find that even with nearby artist friends, the nature of being a visual artist is a solitary one.

I'd love to meet you in person for a cup of tea sometime, my friend.

Patty said...

I value our long distance friendship Karine! One day we'll have that tea.

Cathyann Burgess said...

Can I join you for tea too? What you wrote, so eloquently, is kinda scary, cause I am that person, too! Whether you are away from a hub or not, isolation is part of our territory. It is how we function. Embrace all that it offers and when you need to talk about any of this, I am your friend in Virginia. Put on the hot water and we can gab.
Keep these wonderful thoughts flowing along with your art.

Patty said...

I believe I've got the best art friends ever!
A tea conference is in order! Thanks Cathyann-