First feeling: elation
I woke up with an email from a buyer wanting to buy my painting “The Yearning for You is Endless”. It is a piece I have a deep connection with, so I got emotional, kind of like you get emotional at a wedding, or your kid’s graduating high school or something. I start to think about all that went into making it. This particular one took years from start to finish, I had shelved it and given up a few times. I steered it toward a direction that was related to a song that I wrote many years prior, and so it is one that I have directly linked to a song written by me.
Then I started reflecting on the song and singing it at Canal Street Tavern in Dayton so many years ago. I remember saying to the audience that I could retire from songwriting because I had written the only song that mattered. I was so proud of it, and so excited to play it at that time. Most of the time I am filled with self doubt, so this was a rare change of pace. I remember talking to many people about the lyrics, and generally feeling the full effect of being a satisfied creative. Such great memories of playing regular concerts, being in the full swing of making music with lifelong true friends.
I remember having this painting selected to be in the window of Cole Gallery in Edmonds, which was such a thrill. So many people talked to me in person about it, and I really started missing the times when we could go see art in person.
So then I started preparing to ship it out. I hand wrote the lyrics and artist statement on nice paper that would accompany it, printed a certificate of authenticity, checked the varnish and wires for any defects I would need to address (there were none, but I always check). I daydreamed of some new brushes I had been eyeing and now able to go buy. After all that practical stuff I felt like I should give it like a proper send off, so I started relistening to my song “The Yearning” and contemplating how I could do a video recording one last time of playing the song (which I honestly hadn’t practiced in a long time). At this point I was happy to let it go, but also sad to see it go. Also hoping the next owner would appreciate it since this person was a stranger to me. I am a full grown adult, so I know that they won’t have all the memories associated with it, and they will value it in their own way. I’ve sold enough art to know that this is part of the process of having my creations live outside myself.
This is what it looks like, and here is the link to the painting. And here is a blog post about it written a few years ago.
Then I moved on to writing and publishing a blog post about a different painting called “The Source of My Intent”. Here's a link to the blog post. It is one that I finished recently and still feeling excited about it in general.
Here's a picture of it and also a link to the painting.
I published the blog post and then got a message that someone wanted to buy that painting as well! I felt on a roll and feeling really good! Feeling like I’m reaching people, man this is so easy, how great is life, all that and more. It is not a simple emotion, because it is also tinged with, "oh hey I just finished painting that and now it’s gone and I won’t see it again. I don’t know who this person is, and what they think of it and why they’re buying it. I need to make sure I package and send it without it getting damaged in the mail." It is very much like the feelings I get from parenting. Like you’re happy to see your kids go, but worry about them, and know that you’ll miss them.
Second feeling: dread
Then all of the sudden I realize that the person who wanted to buy my painting “The Source of My Intent” was a scammer, trying to side step my site and buy directly from me. They drew me in long enough for me to get freaked out about it, and honestly really rattled. I felt like an idiot for falling for them (nothing actually happened, luckily, but the feeling was there). Then the self deprecation started like a tape recorder in my brain. I am a trusting person, but in this situation it did a real disservice. After a little while of reveling in that I shook it off and tried to move on. Afterall, I did sell the other painting in the morning, so I needed to refocus on that one.
Third feeling: dread mixed with elation
I decided to practice and relearn the song “The Yearning”, and as I warmed up and listened to the recording, I actually had a full blown stress cry. I had not only managed my first sale of the day, edited photos and wrote a blog post, and all that stuff for my art, I had also managed my 3 kids with online schooling, cleaned house, gone grocery shopping, made dinner, gave the dog her medicine, read the !news! and the list goes on. So some of that stress cry is exactly that. I have a ton on my plate and I have grown accustomed to feeling overwhelmed most days. (Thank God for meditation, right!)
Fourth feeling: dread and defeat
So I get a handle on my sensitive self and settle in to practice guitar, warm up, and ultimately relearn the chords for the song. Then I see an email from another artist who is on the Edmonds Studio Tour I am doing at the end of the month and she is warning all of us about an email scam. I am shocked that this is the person who wanted to buy “The Yearning for You is Endless”. I was duped twice in one day! And later I find out it was actually the same stupid duper!
I mean, yes, I was saved by nothing actually happening but at this point I am really exhausted from the roller coaster of emotions tied to how I feel about my art. Here’s a taste of the back and forths I feel today: I am happy that the dam scammers never got their claws on my paintings, sad that I didn’t make a sale, happy that I got to keep the art that I love, sad that I was so stupid to fall for their tricks, happy that nothing happened with money that would put me out, and really sad that criminals are out there targeting artists! And maybe that last “sad” is actually transitioning into “mad”.
SO if you are an artist reading this, be careful about your transactions and personal info especially if you run an ecommerce site like I do. And if you are not an artist, be kind to us artist types that are mostly touchy feely types that need a lot of nurturing. We are all offering you (the world) our vulnerability in some way. It is hard to wear multiple hats and have to switch back and forth between creating from the heart and then letting it go. It’s really hard to live on such a roller coaster of emotion. On a regular day you could just be made to “feel stupid” and on a bad day you could just be made to “feel like giving up”.
Fifth feeling: I’m over it
As I’m writing this, it is only the “day after”. I feel better writing about it, for whatever that is worth. I am over it to a certain extent. I was just moving toward trying to connect with people more through my art, and now I feel a little more of my recluse stepping up. Over the years I have undulated between wanting to be reclusive and wanting to connect with people more. I am never sure how what I make is going to resonate with people, but that is just one part of this whole crazy process of being a working artist these days.