Three years ago in May 2008 I signed a 3 year lease at Bay Street Village for a 1200 square foot gallery studio space. My intent was to teach art to elementary age children and paint in the space. That first summer I did just that and at the same time moved my family into a new home. Lots of turbulence that summer. And before I had settled down and gotten a handle on the whole running my own business thing, the economy slid into this never ending recession. I don’t think I ever stopped redefining my business after that. But I stuck it out until March of this year when my good friend Kat launched her own studio/gallery in the space.
I owe loads of gratitude to Wade Marlow, the 30 year owner of Blue Horse Gallery, for ever encouraging me and sharing his wisdom. I thank the wonderful local artists for adopting my business plan and “buying” my walls so that I could keep the gallery going and continue to have a work space. I treasure the friendships of the fellow tenants and artists at Bay Street Village and the laughter they brought into my days–when we were all trying to make sense of the new state of the economy. My elementary art students and their parents inspired me to be a better teacher–and kept the space alive with energy. And most of all, I thank those fabulous art patrons–many of them art walk attendees–who watched my development, offered me support and shared their responses to my work–and bought my paintings. In the nearly three years I was in the space, I sold over 80 pieces of original artwork.
As I wind down my tenure in the space–I have 2 more First Fridays to exhibit in the loft area at 301 W Holly–I recognize what a fabulous experience it was for me despite the angst I had over making a go of it and then the really hard decision of determining whether I wanted to continue with the venture. The takeaway is that this experience and the financial commitment were instrumental in helping me develop a dedicated practice. I painted 5 days a week consistently. I exhibited and defended my work continuously. It was this stretching and putting myself out there–even in my embryonic state–that accelerated my understanding of who I am as an artist. I do believe my work developed in both depth and breadth–meaning and method–because of it all.
This month I have my first exhibit in Seattle. As one door closed, another did open. We must all continue to have faith that opportunities will present themselves–and if prepared, one can grasp the offerings.
From Rilke’s Letters to a Young Poet
Seek the inner depth of things, and when they lead you to the edge of a great discovery, discern whether it arises from a necessity of your being. Either this discovery will strike you as superficial and you will shed it, or it will reveal itself as intrinsic to you and grow into a strong and honest tool of your art.