Be You

Today I spent a good deal of time working and playing with my friend He-kyung. We were making a video my life as an artist, and my working methods.  She is a film and photography major, and like me is emerging into the art world in midlife. She came to my house last night, and we stayed up late solving everyone's and the world's problems. I'm sure by the time we were done, half of what is wrong in the world could have been fixed. Or at least we by then knew how to dictate actions to make things right, don't you know!
 
In addition to a beer, a glass of wine, a comfy couch and a blanket, and a cat to stroke on ones lap, a good friend is all you need to make everything right. And my art life is getting more exciting!  Wonderful friends and art appreciators attended the opening of my show, Impressions of Shenandoah &Beyond.  And better, they bought several paintings!  Add that to a couple commissions, and a few sales before the show, and wow, there's a lot of red "sold" labels on my work now!  But that's not all. Shortly after the show, I received word that my painting 81 was accepted into a competitive, juried show. And the juror was the exhibition manager of The Phillips Collection in Washington DC!  Wow! There are less doubts in my mind now that what I am doing is on the right track. Or at least it's on a "worthy enough" track to keep going. I see where the path is leading and have just a bit more confidence.  (Always a good thing!)
 
But things have been a little crazy. All of the sudden I'm ccataloging work, printing out invoices, writing thank-you notes, updating my website, ordering more business cards, researching galleries, establishing contacts in the art world, etc. etc. There hasn't been time to paint all week!  But finally, today He-Kyung filmed me working on a commission, and it was good to play with gobs of paint again.
 
This time spent with my friend just felt right. It was my time.  As many people, usually women slightly older than me, have said....finally, it's your time.  So often, women like me decide to wait 50 years to do what they want and pursue their desires and careers.  It's ok. I am so lucky to be able to do this, and really should have/could have done it earlier if not for fears and false beliefs.
 
I am so happy and filled with satisfaction to have made these recent achievements. But before them, I studied, studied, and studied. In the past year, I took a workshop by artist Casey Klahn, and completed two intense, three month long master classes with artists Mary Bentz Gilkerson and Nicholas Wilton, and working on a third. I even took a class on the business of art by Crista Coultier, and rounded it off with a class on Self Compassion by Brene Brown.  (An art practice is multi-faceted!)  Add to that, countless hours reading about art and artists, galleries and exhibitions, artists views and the views of art writers.  I'll continue to enter competitions and contact galleries, but the crowning act will be if I get the residency I applied for at the Vermont Studio Center. Hoping that a month of solitary art making is in my future next year!
 
Many thanks in gratitude for reading this post. As a thank you, I'd like to leave off with a poem that I wrote towards the beginning of this year. The writing of this poem marks the embarkation of my dedication to My Art and My Time. It was written in the middle of the night, after a slow realization that the story of my life was not written yet.
 
Be You
 
Enjoy thoughts at midnight
      to touch on
            the essence of you.
 
Not him
      whose presence looms large.
 
Your Self
      is waiting to be found.
 

Sally Veach