In September, another piece of mine was accepted into the “Home and Harvest” show at the Ashton Gallery.
And you know what!? I’m very proud of myself! I can say that, right??
But for realsies, I thought the show’s theme highlighted what I’ve been learning about lately: how to truly rest, embrace stillness, hibernate when needed, be patient in the regrowth, how to harvest the ripe fruit in my life - literally (looking at you heirloom tom toms) and spiritually.
The title of my piece, “Holding the Universe Together” is pulled from a line out of a novel by J.D. Salinger, A Girl I Knew:
She wasn't doing a thing that I could see, except standing there leaning on the balcony railing, holding the universe together.
It sang to me because the piece is both carnal and ethereal. There’s calm but also a lot going on in the layers and scratching. It’s dark but there’s beauty. There’s movement but areas of rest.
I’ll be frank with you though: I did not expect to even enter this show, let alone get accepted. After all, I’m just learning about this new abstract style! When my teacher Kate thought it was a strong piece, I just decided to enter. It was as simple as that!
It made me realize I’ve often thought *too* much about entering shows.
Basically, if what I’m working on is not the most brilliantly beautiful piece I’ve ever created and there’s not this deep dark concept behind it, I just don’t feel comfortable showing it anywhere. However, at Art on 30th , they encourage all their artists to enter shows as it’s just a part of the rhythm of being an artist. They explain that it’s good to put ourselves out there as it helps us create more work. I couldn’t agree more and now I’m actually living out their advice.
I really loved my painting, but was it the best thing I’ve ever done? Probably not because that is incredibly suggestive! It was a different style to what I consider “my style” (see this post). But, as an artist, I get to smash those invisible barriers that hold me back from trying new things. Hurrah!
I invited my friends to come along, but I feared the questioning looks and thoughts of “I like her other stuff better”. In all honesty, some of my friends were confused by the piece as abstract doesn’t speak to them like representational art does. Others loved it. You know what’s even better? All those reactions don’t actually even matter in the end.
My job as an artist isn’t to please every single person or to perform for people. What sad, pathetic and limited art that would be!! What mattered that night was providing a space for people to show up, appreciating all kinds of art and having conversations about it. I was able to explain how I created this piece, what the process was like, why I chose this color pallete and then some. That was a real highlight for me.
What a joy it was (especially in this day and age where a majority of the art we see happens over a screen) that the art show gave us all something to talk about and react to IRL!! What spoke to us? What do we like? What don’t we like? What’s this painting about? How does this make us feel? Art is so much about community, conversation, beauty, sadness, and the complexity of being human. And for that reason, I’ll keep putting myself out there.
I’m grateful for art, in the of simplest ways. To create it, to show it, to talk about it. I love celebrating the creativity in one another. This show’s opening was a way for my friends to celebrate with me! My friend Carly - one of the biggest celebrators I know - bought a confetti popper which I think captures the night - and my painting - fairly well.
And yes, my outfits continue to match my paintings serendipitously. 🤷♀️ That’s another story for another time.