Dancing in my studio.....

“Opportunity dances with those who are already on the dance floor.” H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

An artist friend sent the above quote by email, and it made me smile. But wait - was she trying to tell me something? As Queen of the 11th Hour, I recognize that I’ve missed many opportunities because I was not on the dance floor. Likely my dress still needed to be ironed and I probably didn’t even have my shoes on.

One of my goals has been to keep my work before the public more than on my own studio walls. That has worked pretty well.  And I’ve managed to stay somewhat fit by moving my paintings from one venue to another to keep it visible. (Do I really need to pay for gym time?) The bare walls in my studio, normally lined with paintings and crowded to capacity, are all but naked. It fairly echoes in there, and I realize I could easily use at least twice or even three times as much finished work as I currently have available. I’m not on the dance floor.

So when a new opportunity presents itself, one choice open to me is to create new work. Where is my Queen of the 11th Hour Tiara when I need it!

If that is not possible, I may need to retrieve a painting I have displayed in one of three galleries where I show my work.  Which is better? Spend my time painting or driving?

The number of opportunities for artists at all levels is impressive. Taking advantage of every one of them is not for the faint hearted. To have a body of strong, consistent work on hand is a challenge. Most juried shows require that the work submitted be finished within the last two years.

Meshing the submission deadlines, notification and delivery dates, and the different length of shows is daunting. I resort to the use of various colored markers on an extra calendar to plot which combination of shows and competitions are possible for specific paintings.

This last summer two friends and I collaborated to hang 54 paintings in a 5-week show at an area gallery. When we removed our work, my paintings went directly into a month-long show with another artist friend. Then I distributed the remaining work between the galleries showing my work on an ongoing basis.

Since then I’ve submitted work to four different juried shows. It remains to be seen if my work will make  the cut, but it often does. If so, my paintings must be shipped or delivered to arrive at specific times, and plans must be made to retrieve the work or prepay return shipping when the show is finished.

Today I submitted images and text in hopes of having my work included in an upcoming book. This exciting possibility is the result of an email contact on my website, suggesting I apply.  

What is the point? Well, I find that I am at least slightly competitive. When I anticipate entering paintings in juried shows and competitions, I feel the drive to be more creative. That results in better paintings. Simply having a painting selected from a field of entries and displayed in a show is satisfying and gives an artist visibility, often before a new audience.  Having a juror single out your work for special notice is instructive and gratifying. Even an “Honorable Mention” lets me know I’m on the right track.  And, of course, winning a cash prize is the ultimate affirmation.

And now I’m going to Rhumba in my studio for the entire day. the next time an opportunity comes my way, I plan to be on the dance floor before the music begins.