Every first Friday of the month, Sulfur Studios opens both floors so people can wander by all the studios to see what the artists are up to. I had been psyching myself up to actually display some artwork - perhaps four paintings that I thought were officially done. While our studio manager and fellow artist, Jennifer Moss, gave me tips on hanging my pieces, I asked her about a few panels that weren't framed. She explained that when people came out for these first Fridays, they were interested in seeing ANY of the art. They'd probably love to see works in progress just as much. Apparently she helped break a mental dam of sorts, because when I went back into my little studio to reconsider what I had, I was suddenly excited to show almost everything I could get my hands on.
This felt like a big first step for me. What a novel feeling to simply be excited to share my stuff with other people. Maybe I had been so isolated after having kids, that any kind of interaction with the general world sounded good; maybe it was inspiring to be a part of something bigger. What felt really exciting was that people might truly be interested in simply the process, whatever stage it was at. My worries were banished momentarily, and I was excited to share those little discoveries and moments that had made it out on canvas so far. There was nothing to fear, and everything to show.
In fact this feeling is probably what's fueling me to even consider blogging. The prospect of acting like an expert about something is pretty frightening. But if I consider this simply a journal, I could provide someone with information or encouragement through my trials. And there could be some creative camaraderie* out there to be found where I never would have found it.
Anyway, I spent the next couple hours in a frenzy, figuring out how to hang sixteen paintings instead of four, while Brett watched the kids at home before coming out for the art walk.
Now that I had made that step forward, I immediately realized another challenge . . . I was super curious to see what people thought.
Of course that first novel feeling would give way to complication. Maybe I should have been introducing myself to people, telling them about my art, and getting to know their inclinations somehow. But I know *I* don't like the pressure of talking with someone in a booth at a fair or gallery when I'm checking out art. Even worse is when I know it's the actual artist . . . and then to flip that knowledge that evening, as I watched the occasional people approach my paintings.
It's as if all the excitement to show people my art compounded and reversed into sudden anxiety. I so badly wanted to know what they were thinking, but I felt my presence would affect their reaction. They might have well been little mysterious quantum particles** out for First Friday, strolling around having their private conversations - conversations that I would no doubt invade and contaminate, were I to go up and introduce myself as the artist.
Sprinkled on top was a little bit of that familiar feeling of wanting confirmation and hating that feeling at the same time - a very old inner battle. (I know this topic will come up again, so I'll just call this feeling the Demon. I'm sure a lot of people deal with this one in its many forms.)
So I basically floated around and by my hall of paintings and then fled to the other side of the building when anyone approached my stuff. I didn't actually run, which was good. As I pretended I had something pressing to do downstairs for the third time, however, a young lady told me she loved my blue, in-progress painting of Kaliko. That felt pretty delightful, because it was the painting I happened to be the most excited about doing more with.
Even with the social inhibition, it was a good experience. I can't deny it. I learned a bunch of stuff in one night - to think of titles and prices on the spot for practicality's sake, how to hang paintings quickly with a large leveler and small white nails (thanks Jennifer!) . . . and I experienced what will be a future puzzle - how to find out people's reactions and interact with them, without spazzing out. This may not be just an art-related problem. Ooh, a life-skill! Maybe I'll learn this in time to teach our kids.
"And what about Schrodinger's Cat??" you ask. Read below.
*All this time, I had been spelling camaraderie wrong! It doesn't come from "comrade". https://writingexplained.org/comradery-or-camaraderie
**The situation initially made me think of Schrodinger's Cat. But it turns out that was the idea that the cat inside the box was in both an alive and dead state at the same time until someone opened the box. The name of the one I really needed there is called the Observer Effect. Geeyash, already getting things wrong on my second post ever. Or . . . this is making me learn already . . ? Half-glass empty AND half-glass full!