Where’d April go? I think I know.

Hi again. Whoosh! April came and went, though I seem to remember it feeling like an eternity when experiencing it. My solo exhibition nearly doubled in size at the last minute and if I hadn’t been spending months organising things, the offer to suddenly take on the second gallery room space due to a cancellation would have floored me. As it was, I was able to tell the venue yes, no problem, easy-peasy and I went home and chose another 15 paintings to display, began updating inventory sheets, labels, pricing, etc.

I’m not typically good with curve balls in life; I derail, I get flustered, panic, get anxious. I had been planning my exhibition since November 2014 and so this time, I was ok. Granted, my planning was somewhat excessive, and not full-time, but nonetheless, I had promotional materials ordered way back then and the rest of the ducks forming an orderly queue from there. I’ve learned that despite my ADHD and depression issues, give me enough warning and – crucially – it must be a thing/task/job/whatever that I WANT to do, and I can plan and deliver with military levels of professionalism. Catch me off guard or trap me into saying yes to a thing I don’t want to do, and I’m back to last minute, procrastination blitz mode.

This exhibition of mine is still going for another handful of days and I’m pleased it’s nearly over. The response has been overwhelmingly positive and people are really loving my work. I’ve sold a few paintings, dozens of postcards, and a couple drawings. (Perhaps even more now, I can’t be certain, but I’ll check figures again tomorrow.) Saying that, I’m ready for the next thing. I’ll have a couple weeks between the close of the exhibition and the opening of my home studio to the public for Cornwall Open Studios 2015. OS will last for nine days straight and it’s going to be its own set of challenges. I have been casually planning it alongside the exhibition since last year.

April also saw a few deep, dark and desperate mood crashes. My housemate and I both suffer depression and attention issues. We’re both working through professional and personal frustrations grinding us down, and it’s been tough keeping on top of surviving, let alone the thriving in normal life. We’re both picking up our pieces and doing our best to be supportive to one another.

I’m several months late with a rebuild and launch of an online shop for my art. There is a simple reason for this: I can’t do it all, at least not all at the same time. I’m picking it up again now after too long away and I mean to have it live soon. I’ll be soft-launching with a range of works and adding to that catalogue regularly. I’m past the point of beating myself up over getting behind on things because it does me no good. I have had my first ever solo exhibition in a reputable venue and it has been a roaring success, however, it has been a fairly all-consuming event, despite one rather exciting distraction…

The Big Easel. I needed a project alongside the exhibition beast and I needed a personal win. I also needed a bigger easel for the work I want to do as an artist. Crowdfunding is a strange and wonderful thing and I managed to whip together an engaging campaign that people cared about and ultimately, I got funded for the purchase of a huge, new easel which will last my lifetime and then some. Grateful is too mild a word for what I feel. I’m astonished, humbled, and – if I were religious I’d say ‘blessed’ – that people supported me in my quest to get the right tool for my job. The Big Easel project became the success that helped keep me buoyant during the lead-up to the exhibition launch. It kept me sane. It helped me to remember that there is life – and CRUCIALLY – more art to make after the exhibition finishes. The psychological impact of the experience is still something I’m processing.

So, I’ve got until Thursday afternoon before the exhibition finishes and the prep for Open Studios gets its into full gear. I’m overlapping the new shop site into this time and will continue it during the OS, I’m sure. I’m not going to announce launch dates because of the volatile nature of my time and mood lately, but it’s coming. April in particular was about learning new ways to work with myself, not against, and overall it was a very positive month. Professional respect and acceptance is higher than ever for me as a self-employed artist and it feels genuinely possible that I can be successful at it.
Guess that’s a good place to end this post.