The Festival

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This is Karen Stackow of Signs of Fire.

She’s a local artist who some time in February asked if I’d like to share a booth with her at the Narragansett Art Festival.

And so I did:

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I made the ceramic fish for the event and luckily I took photos because half of them sold!

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I had two that cracked during the firing process:

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Which means the cobbler gets to bring them home and stick them in her garden :)

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Well, long story short, I didn’t sell anything on day two.  Nor did anyone else. The festival is right on the water and as all the artists were sleeping rain and 40 mph winds were up to no good.  Many artists went home with nothing. Hours, weeks, months of work destroyed.  Investments in booths, collapsed.  It was a horrible sight.

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But that Karen Stackow, the universe was kind to her.

All of the tents on all 4 sides were destroyed but the orange tent-o-fire was left completely intact.  (Not to mention we emptied the tent before the storm.)

So, I guess that’s what they call a wash. <- horrible pun intended.

I did learn a lot.  I got a good feel for the events price point and I got to observe what people were buying.  Karen got me to sign up for SQUARE which now enables me to accept credit cards. And thanks to her, I didn’t have to sit in a booth alone for 8 hours.  Boy we had some good laughs!

Before it was all washed away, I also really appreciated the art talent.  It was great to see what everyone was creating.  It simply amazes me how different each and every artists vision can be.

I was honored to be among them :)

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Thank you. Plain and Simple. Thank you.

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Reporting from the art front, I am pretty sure I can officially declare myself –exhausted!

I am still trying to catch my breath from my amazing art show Saturday. As you can see, I am only now getting all of the photographs loaded and finding that quiet moment to reflect.

Gratitude.

That is the word. That is the emotion I am feeling, GRATITUDE.

Now of course there was the tremendous amount of art…

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And there was beautiful flowers and food….

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But really, what made the show beautiful, WERE THE PEOPLE!

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My gorgeous girlfriend Elisa Lucia, staged props throughout the entire venue from her home-staging business.  Pretty vignettes that look like the very things I love to paint, were interspersed throughout my work.

My Aunt & Uncle and cousins came to support me even thought they already showed their support at my New York show!

I had other cousins with newborn children who set the date and came to see my show. Even though that had to be quite difficult for them and quite a distance to travel.

Then there’s my local friends and family here in RI, that POWER BLASTED Facebook for me.  They invited their friends to come and join and spread the word in the most creative ways. I am so very lucky to have these people in my life.

My biggest thank you goes to my mother.  Her energy and boundless creativity put me to shame!  My mom framed, hung both shows and promoted her heart out with not one single complaint.  Hours and hours of work went into these art shows and she was with me every step of the way. To nurture me and also to push me out of the nest.  There are no words to describe how lucky I am to have her.

I had over a hundred people come visit Saturday.  Each person followed me through the entire journey, they watched day after day, night after night, cheering me on and letting me know that they were there.

What one might consider a lonely experience was actually anything but…

I know it sounds crazy, maybe even a bit cliché, but truly, what will I take from this entire 365 experience?

The people, the gathering, the community, the positivity, the nurturing, the enthusiasm, the support.

For if a tree falls in the forest, and there is no one to hear it, does it make a sound?

I can create and create and create, but if I have no one to share it with…

There’d simply be no joy.

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MY FIRST ART SHOW -BEYOND MY WILDEST DREAMS

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The soul wants what the soul wants.

My soul wants to be an artist.  I knew this as a child, but somewhere between the ages of 13 and 30 I stopped listening.  I still knew this to be true, but I didn’t act on it.

Now.  In my 40th year, I can say I am following my soul’s path.  This weekend I had my first art show.  I showed up. I stood in front of my work, and I shared it with the world.

…and it was awesome!

Of course there was the art.

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It took 365 days to create and 5 months to frame.

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There was my mother’s  Framing Gallery which turned 40 years old and has never looked prettier.

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But 100% for me, the day was all about the people.

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Oh man the amazing amount of people who came out to root me on!  I paused an extra 15 seconds to soak up each and every hug.  I have never felt as much love as I did when I looked around that room.  There were people who love art, people who love The Framing Gallery, and people who love me.

I felt it with all my heart.

That was my biggest wish, that people would come, and they did.  Thank you, I am so eternally grateful!

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But there’s more…

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I ACTUALLY SOLD ART!!! WAHOO!!!

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If you don’t mind, I just wanted to take this moment to thank my mother (and my Aunt Mary and Aunt Judy – they are all woven from the same cloth!)

She always believes in me unconditionally.

She is my biggest cheerleader.

She buys the first ticket to whatever cockamamie adventure I have dreamt up (and signs her two sisters up too!)

She will be honest with me when I really need to hear the truth.

and she does everything with a smile.

Thank you Mom.

Spending the last couple weeks with you, working our tails off, laughing and enjoying this entire venture made this experience absolutely worthwhile.

I am so thankful to have such an amazing force in my life. truly.

Thank you again everyone, for reading, following, showing up, supporting and pushing me forward.  It took many hands to make this dream come true!

Thank you.

Be Creative Mary

 

THE FINAL COUNTDOWN

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I cannot believe my first art show in my entire life is one week away.

I am so excited, so happy, so greatful…and at the same time, I’m a nervous wreck.

 I feel like I’m going to puke!

At age 39 I decided to let go of my fear, anxiety & perfectionism and walk through the fire.  I’ve always wanted to declare myself to be an artist, but I was truly afraid of criticism, failure and good old-fashioned not being liked.

17 months ago it got to the point that not living my dreams felt way worse than any fear I could ever imagine.

It was enough to get me to jump off the cliff and into the unknown.  I guess you would call it a “coming out” of sorts.

My personality is not one to be subtle.  I am sure I could have dabbled for a year in my basement. Locked the door and not let any one know my thoughts and feelings. But, if you are going to jump, you should JUMP BIG. right?  Why not make a public decree that you are going to create a creative work every day for a year and share all of your creative angst about it at the same time?  You know,  share my imperfections, my mistakes, my lessons, my triumphs, my successes…

But through it all, I still kept wondering… why?

I know now. Why would I share this?

It’s because I know I’m not alone and I wanted to shed light on this.

I know there are many of us out there afraid to tell our inner most secrets.  Who we are and what we truly want to be.

My husband sent me this quote:

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.
Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.
It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.
We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant,
gorgeous, talented, fabulous?
Actually, who are you not to be?
You are a child of God.
Your playing small does not serve the world.
There is nothing enlightened about shrinking
so that other people won’t feel insecure around you.
We are all meant to shine, as children do.
We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us.
It is not just in some of us; it is in everyone.
And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously
give other people permission to do the same.
As we are liberated from our own fear,
our presence automatically liberates others.
A return to love
– Marianne Williamson
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Now that I’ve done it, I can give you some words of wisdom.  It’s not as scary as we, ourselves, make it out to be.  Admitting our dreams to ourself is way harder  than declaring it to the world.
Action is tough too.  It takes every morsel of your soul.  Comfort & safety does feel easier, until it doesn’t…. and then you have a choice; act on it or ignore it.
  Listen. Pay attention. Is something inside calling you to action?  It may simply be the time to start asking yourself this question.  The awareness, the very fact that you may not have even thought to ask what you really want, is big.  When we make-do, we sometimes forget what are choices we really have.
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So, I am facing my final fear of this entire endeavor on May 4th at 2pm.
It’s the owning of my own declaration.  It is standing in front of my work, sharing  it, allowing the analysis,  allowing the criticism,  exposing my inner self to the world and my peers.
It is in so many ways more difficult than the physical manifestation of the work itself.
But I’m ready.  I feel the catharsis.  When I look around the gallery, It  feels really good.
Everything on the walls is already a part of my past.  It is an experience that has come and it has gone.  It made me richer & stronger as a person.
 I am coming to understand that this is all I truly need to carry with me into the present moment.  The knowledge that I am strong and I am am brave enough to follow my heart.  This is the take-away.
However, I am one to face my fears. I have a fear of not being perfect. It is time to shine the light on it and in doing so hopefully shed it.
I will walk through my mental fire, embrace my journey, be thankful for such a fabulous experience and own it.
Who-wee.  If I get through this exhibition part, its smooth sailing…
because then I will be freed up to embark on a new adventure. Hot diggity dog!