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When Opportunity Knocks

October 20, 2010

Hello everyone!

I am so sorry that I have not written a post for a while but I have been away enjoying the sun and sea.  This little break was very relaxing and inspirational and a great preamble to this past weekend when some artist friends and myself hosted the 17th annual Studio Tour where we live.  What fun!!


Organizing a Studio Tour with twelve artists is a lot of work.  Our tour has a few veterans which is tremendous for the rest of us involved.  The format is a simple one with each of the twelve of us opening our studios to the public for one weekend in the fall of each year.  Publicizing the event is the greatest expense apart from the framing of the works for showing.

The Tour is weighted on the upside.  Although, with the economy in the shape it is in, the actual sales at the event this year were down slightly, the attendance was marvelous.  Welcoming 200 odd people into your working space is exciting and enjoyable.  The average, non-practicing participant is enthusiastic and discerning with appreciation for subjects chosen, skill level achieved and the emotional intent of the artist.  It is wonderful to share the musings of the past year and to connect with clients and friends.

Another upside is the chance for the artist to answer technical questions about their work and about art in general.  I find that people are genuinely interested in the process of making art and in the artist themselves. All of this interaction seems to help with focus and gathering of ideas for future work.

Amongst the very gracious and inspirational comments that I picked up on this year were a few overheard remarks like, “I wonder why she did that ?” and “these strokes are good (referring to the alla prima painting technique) but the rest of these are not (referring to the glazing technique)”.  In addition, “I think I could have done that better” and “I like brighter colours”.  Opportunity knocks once again…it is all in the way you receive the gifts from others.

Back in the day, these kind of comments would have sent my heart racing and put my stomach in a knot.  I thankfully, have largely, gotten over myself  (still have a bit of work to do thought, ha).  The opportunities to use the comments of others to help you develop as an artist are endless and irresistible.  The comment, “I wonder why she did that?”….what did make me do that, was it justified, necessary and effective?.  I wonder.  “these strokes are good but the rest of these are not”…says who?  A very personal choice and part of the exploration process.  Some work, some do not.  And, lastly and definitely the hardest to get over, ” I think I could have done that better”…debatable possibly, possibly correct but definitely worth a ponder.  Could there have been a better way to achieve what I was after?

Showing your work to others and baring your sole is hard for any artist in any discipline.  It is however, largely why we do what we do.  We live to effect the lives of the people around us.  The trick is not to let the opinions of  your audience dictate your accomplishments.  It is ok for them to support the development but not to hinder progress.  Persist.

In summary, use any opportunity available to get your work out there, even in ‘hard’ times.  Contributing to the joy and art appreciation of others is worth something even if it is not something that necessarily goes into the pocket book.

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