Buggering On

In a week we will begin our first real exhibition here in Mexico and the third joint show we’ve had together. We’ve busied ourselves over the past month with putting together all the promotional materials … postcards, posters, an article for the Atencion as well as an ad. We found a caterer to pour the wine and refrescas we’ve ordered to be delivered to the gallery from one of the local liquor stores, and we attached labels to our postcards with translations of their copy so that their message is appropriately bilingual. Did I mention we’ve also been painting since we got here in May?

It’s a different story doing the art thing on a full time basis. The show is just one of several balls we have in the air right now. We’re in the midst of applying to about 8 different art fairs in Florida for the months of February and March 2006. That has required us to make slides for most of our new paintings as well as slides and duplicates of our tent and displays of our art. Because we’d never taken slides of the tent with everything displayed, it meant that we had to put up the tent and some of our art work to take slides of both Dave’s and my work separately when we were in McAllen in late August. Texas summer heat made for an early morning start on the task and bucking a not-so-gentle breeze that started up soon after we got things in place. Our to-do lists have expanded and shrunk depending on what next big project has loomed on the horizon.

I don’t mind juggling multiple “balls.” All my past professional life has served me well in that regard. One learns to simultaneously manage a dazzling array of tasks as a nurse, that is if you’re to stay effective. But ferreting out the shows, designing promotional strategies, seeking grant funding all must happen alongside the act of inspiration, the thing that makes and keeps us doing the art in the first place.

I admitted to Dave not so long ago that I had come to realize I hadn’t anticipated that part of being an artist full time. The part that requires that in spite of show rejections, gallery rejections, grant rejections, and low sales I still need to find inspiration. Painting is a breeze when things are coming your way. All that positive feedback by way of sales, acceptance into shows, and other accolades serves as a magical lubricant to the creative juices. I’ve not had the happy experience of this phenomena regularly, but the sporadic sales and elation of getting into a show have always tantalized me with their heady possibilities. But when “no” is the more common phrase one hears it’s easy to get caught up in the questions that buzz around your brain attacking your intensions, your efforts, and finally the work itself. Is it good enough? Will it ever be? Am I up to this? Do I have what it takes?

Being successful as an artist is usually equated with regular sales and consistent acceptance into shows, and most times gallery representation on top of all that. While there may still be rejections from time to time they are fewer and less frequent. For now we’re still struggling to achieve that height. So until then, we keep buggering on, as Churchill and his fellow Englishman are famous for saying. Keeping up the good fight with faith that what we have is more than enough, and that with effort we’ll finally get to that happy place of recognition and all that it entails.

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