Getting Brave

Mar 16, 2018

I don’t make New Year resolutions but I do try to set annual goals that sometimes take on an aspirational tone. This year’s theme leaned towards being brave and to be vulnerable. I certainly bit off a huge chunk to chew early on. You see, I took the plunge and mounted a solo exhibition.

Believe it or not I’m a quasi-government official, on a strictly volunteer basis…I’m an advocate for the arts here in my little town. I sit on a council whose charge is to distribute state money earmarked for arts and culture via a grant process. We also solicit shows that run in our local library.

When there was a rather large gap in our exhibition calendar I offered to put my paintings up for a month or two. The trick was that I had to pull it all together in a week. YIKES! This was my first time around this block and knew it would all be on me…the hanging, the labels, the whole enchilada. Double YIKES!

Lucky for me most of my pieces were framed and was able to expedite frames for the ones that weren’t. And I had a son nearby who was willing to help me schlep and hang the show. I pounded out an artist statement and tried to create a rationale for the pieces I selected. It was hard, but an excellent exercise.

I wanted the whole thing to be cohesive but interesting and accessible. I didn’t try to impress anybody because, quite frankly, I didn’t want to come off sounding stupid or highfalutin'.  I wouldn’t know for sure how many people wandered through to see my work, I just prayed that someone came to the reception!  Between the flu and the weather the turnout was small but hearty. My biggest fan by far was also my smallest.

When I first started showing my work I was a wreck having avoided it like the plague for so long prior. I’d rationalized that my work was for my own pleasure and not others which allowed me to avoid criticism. So when I finally did show, to my everlasting surprise and pleasure, I found people to be kind at the very worst and encouraging, even enthusiastic, at best.

I have found a wonderful community of artists who each have sat in an empty space hoping for others to join them for a glass of wine, a bit of camaraderie and appreciation of the work.

And I have found great reward in opening up myself, being vulnerable and being brave.

Photo: A very blurry image of the smallest art enthusiast. She moves around a lot.