I had a goal for this year: to be in as many art festivals as I could. So far I’ve been in ten festivals in three months (yikes, that’s quite a bit of shows) some of them lasted two or three days, some just five or six hours.
I actually flew to Costa Rica, my home country, for a weekend show in May that takes place in a cute shopping center. I’ve done this show since 2008 :). Here’s a picture of that show, it was a good one for me.
I started worrying a little bit last week realizing that some weeks I had spent three days out at art shows and then two days out doing my part time job (rental homes cleaning on Saturdays and Sundays), meaning that I was only being left with two full days to actually paint.
I recently took some drastic measures to ensure that I could continue to produce new work to be in all of these festivals and for my solo show this coming September. I no longer have to clean houses on Sundays (yeyy!) and I got my neighbor to help me on Saturdays, which means that I come home now, after cleaning, and I still have energy to paint. Next year I will stop Saturday cleaning all together. The owner of the houses is such a nice lady (and art supporter, she’s bought a couple of my paintings and is constantly checking what new pieces I’ve produced) that I don’t want to leave her hanging now, in the middle of the high season, plus, let’s face it, it’s nice to know that there’s at least a tiny bit of my income that I can count on every month.
From all these ten shows I’ve done so far this year, some have been ok, some have been great and one was definitely no good, you can read about that one here. I’m a pretty positive person and I love what I do …yet, what can I say, this year I’ve attended a couple of shows that have made me question my work. It sounds a little “bumming”, but I guess questioning is a good thing. It may cause some uncertainty, but what would be of us if we never did question what we’re doing creatively? I guess questioning yourself, or “reviewing” -that might be a better word for it?- your creative work, allows it to stay fresh and truth to yourself.
This weekend I headed for yet another art festival, I was invited last minute to attend, after they’ve had a cancellation, and I actually almost said no (I was starting to feel overwhelmed about the amount of shows I’ve done in a few months and the bunch I have coming up!). I’m so glad I didn’t. This show ended up being the best so far for me and I sold a big original, that had me a little bit in that “questioning” mode. I loved this painting and it got a lot of comments when I first posted it on my Facebook page, many people loved it and “platonically” wanted it, yet, it was so big and colorful that after a year of carrying it around for shows, I wondered, “who is ever going to want to buy this big ol’ colorful piece?? it’s too much!”.
Well, this weekend was that “ever” . This really great couple came day one to the show -I did not have this painting with me- saw the picture of this painting in my portfolio, fell in love with it, I brought it next day to the show, they came to see it and also saw a bunch of originals they had not seen the day before, went back and forth several times between the “big ol'” colorful piece and other originals that they liked, and yet, that was the one they wanted and they got it. These customers made my week I gotta tell you. The way they showed such interest in my work and the way they couldn’t decide between one or the other, it just made me feel really good about my art. Any doubts that I might have had last week about my work just dissipated and it made me think: all the work that it takes to make every one of these pieces, all the time that it takes to set up for these shows, all the times you end up questioning yourself because you were maybe at a show where the crowd was just not “your crowd”; it is all worth it when you have a show like I had last week, where people were just grabbing small originals off the tent walls without much thinking because they knew the price was right and the piece was beautiful, or when a couple takes their time to decide among several large originals, because they just “love them all” -as they said- and then just take the biggest, most colorful one, that one that you love but that sure-it’s-taking-a-lot-of-space-in-the-guest-bedroom-oh-lord-please-make-them-want-that-one-pretty-please-…it makes it all so worth it.
The following day I went to clean my Sunday house for the last time. Oh, so worth it…
The Windmill and other pieces on display in my booth at Stockley Gardens Art Festival last May: (Click on the link to see yet another picture of me next to the the Big Ol’ Colorful Piece at Stockley Gardens and some highlights of the show :))