i am an artist. or, i was an artist. or, somewhere inside me is an artist.
actually, i really was an artist at one point in time. that was the label i gave myself. one of the many. (interesting how we all label ourselves...but that's another topic for another day.) i used to draw, paint, color, sketch, create.
now i spend a whole lot of time talking about it. what do i do about it? a whole lot of nothing.
one of my proudest moments in my life pre-bebe came circa junior year of high school. it was a fine spring day, about 1oo degrees outside in the arizona heat, and i bounced my teenie bopper behind on over to the high school auditorium. it was the long awaited spring art show. you know, the one every high school puts on, where every art student is required to enter at least one thing. well. art shows were never a requirement for me. they were a privilege. a blessing. the week of the year that i looked forward to. this was it, the culmination of my year long (some may say time wasting) endeavors.
the moment in which my soul was to be judged.
every art show i have entered (many a show, i can tell you) i have looked forward to with excitement and fear. fear of rejection. fear of having my piece hidden in the back with the kids that are barely passing the class and taking it only because they have to in order to graduate. fear that my raw emotion that i have somewhat spewed onto a piece of paper will be looked at in disgust. "what was she thinking?" the judge will say. "ew, she calls this art?!" another responds. "i can't believe she thinks she has talent. ha. this....thing...isn't worthy of our high school art show." and a big, red, mark goes next to my name. No Award.
i shudder just thinking about it.
the truth is, in the few dozen art shows i have entered, i am positive things along this line have been mentioned. many, many times i have not received awards. many, many times i felt that the pieces chosen as winners did not hold a candle to my own sweat-blood-and-tear-stained piece of paper. but it is the few times that i have won that 3rd place, that honorable mention, the extremely rare 2nd or even 1st place awards that kept me going. (that and the love of spewing my guts in a visual way.)
so this particular sweltering spring day, as i was saying, i arrived at the art show. early, as usual. i couldn't stand the anticipation of seeing my ribbon-less paintings hung on the wall. and this day seemed about the same. of the five or so pieces i entered, i won two thirds. (i was pretty thrilled about this.) disappointed, but not upset, i wandered around. my meticulously clean and oh-so-perfect art teacher whose name escapes me approached. i was thinking, 'great, here she comes to tell me all the reasons why my art is not worthy of the illustrious blue ribbon...' when she used the term "good news." good news. as in, i have some good news and some bad news? or good news, the judges deemed your art worthy of the back wall instead of the back corner?
good news. hmmm.
my curiosity was piqued. i had noticed one of my pieces was not in view. (it was on display in the school's lobby, i later found out.) my teacher smiled. she handed me....yes....she handed me....a ribbon. but not just any ribbon. not just a plain old blue ribbon (which would have made me sob from sheer joy) but one of those big ribbons. that are actually three ribbons and a funky little rosette thing on the top.
huh? i was thinking. she must have made a mistake...
"Purchase Award," i heard her say. purchase award.
i nearly died.
i had sold my very first piece. my very, very, very first piece of artwork to make me a profit. the school, in all of its public high school glory, handed me a check for a whopping hundred bucks to buy a weaving i had created with my own two hands! my brain child, my art, my creative genius...they wanted to buy it? they wanted to keep it? seriously? SERIOUSLY?
so now, here it is, years later. and a little piece of me hangs on (okay bolted to) the wall of the high school auditorium lobby. with a shiny little gold plate on it. that has my name and the year engraved into it. engraved with love and respect, with admiration for this insecure little high school girl who put all of herself into her art. and in that rather smallish little gold plate, that very few high school students will actually stop to look at, is that girl's joy. and her pride. and her shock at learning that all of the effort, and thought, and emotion she put into that piece was worth something. and not just to her, or her mom, or her dad. but worth something to someone else.
sigh. how i love being an artist.
so. now that i've done a whole lot of talking about it (again), perhaps tomorrow i will actually pick up a brush. a pen. a pencil. a sketchpad. smear some paint on my elbow (which i inevitably do but never know how). and i will start spewing my guts on a piece of paper all over again.
who knows? maybe someday....it will be worth something.