When 2017 began, I purchased a goal-setting journal and spent a good deal of time mapping out my big picture for the year. My goals included mundane things like eat better (which I have done), lose 30 pounds and keep it off (which I have failed to do), and learn to let go of what I cannot change (which I’m still working on). My goal list also included making time to create and moving my business forward with an over arching theme: The year I become an artist.
At the time, it seemed like I was dreaming big with the idea of becoming an artist, as if some magical event would transpire in the wee hours of the morning, and I would wake up to birds chirping, the sun shining, and a bright “Artist” badge waiting in my jewelry box. Instead, over the last nine months I have struggled every day to call myself an artist.
One day when I was staring at myself in the mirror trying to decide if I looked like an artist (as if there is some specific way I should appear) and (of course) finding the image woefully lacking, my Lochinvar worked to reassure me by taping some affirmations inside the medicine cabinet door. Now, every morning I read (yes, out loud) four small messages that remind me to be keep trying. (Once more into the breach!)
I try to replay those messages in my head when confronted with frustrations and failures from snarky comments like, “Huh, I could draw that,” to my inability to create a website with a functional shopping cart. And, overall, I think I’m making progress thanks to some recent successes.
A few weeks ago I was juried into the Fountain Festival, a large arts fair in Fountain Hills (AZ) scheduled for Veteran’s Weekend (Nov. 10-12). The organizers required me to submit multiple photos of my pieces and explain my materials, process, etc. When I received the e-mail accepting my work in the drawing category, I felt a sense of vindication. Funny how one email that referred to me as an “artist” and had information about displaying my “work” can make such a difference. I’m still waiting for similar messages from organizers of a couple more large art fairs, but acceptance at the first one certainly gives me hope.
In addition, Lochinvar has worked diligently to straighten out the website situation. He has our site up and running (HOORAY!), so someone besides friends and family can actually see what I’ve been doing in my studio. (Check it out here.)
Finally, last week I was accepted as a full member of the San Tan Artist’s Guild (S.T.A.G.) which is made up of about 60 artists in a wide variety of mediums. As part of the application process I was asked to bring a few pieces of work to show members of the guild at the September meeting, which was pretty nerve wracking. However, by the end of the night, I left feeling like the people I met took it for granted that I was an artist. They talked to me as if I were an artist; they looked at my pieces as if they were art. (I guess that badge was lying around somewhere after all.)
Because of these recent events, I am starting to see myself as an artist, but I’m not sure that I will succeed by the end of the year. After all, the voice in my head is perpetually critical, and my seeming inability to defend myself against naysayers is troublesome for the warrior woman I think I should be. Fall is upon us, and I can feel the days growing weary after the scorching heat of summer. With only a few months left to accomplish my goal, I keep reminding myself that it’s all a matter of perspective. That moving forward, moving the needle, just moving is sometimes enough.