Is it an artist’s prerogative to be late to her own artist opening reception? Or is it just that the sun finally came out an hour before the soiree began and the artist just couldn’t tear herself away from the back yard?
But I didn’t have to shove my way into a crowded reception, after all. Sunny, warm weather after a long, cold winter makes people want to squeeze every bit of the last few hours of sunlight and mild temperatures into their day. I couldn’t blame them.
A steady stream of people passed through the gallery throughout the two and a half hours. I saw a lot of my friends. At one point, nearly my entire book club was there. Thank you, ladies, thank you dear friends!
In keeping with the true introvert I am, not once did I walk up to a stranger and say, “So, what are your views about transparent versus opaque watercolor?” Or, “What’s in your palette?” Or, “Have you tried the salmon and dill spread canapés?”
No, I didn’t approach strangers. But when they were introduced to me by the much more extroverted and skilled gallery owner, I managed to eek out a conversation, sprinkled with many a “thank you,” genuinely expressed.
I smiled a lot throughout the reception. It wasn’t forced or awkward. I didn’t get drunk. I didn’t hover over the buffet like a feral cat. I’ll admit this, however, and only another introvert could empathize: At one or two points during the evening I really, really wanted to be home with my dogs, in my pajamas, watching TV.
Putting one’s art out there for the world (okay, not the world, but a teeny tiny land mass) to see takes some courage. My first art show there at the Basement Gallery brought about such different responses. During my bitter phase (Picasso had his Blue Period, I had my Bitter Phase), I produced a large series of pieces based on my experiences with online dating. Most of the paintings were funny—funny with a side of vinegar and salt. I remember standing in that crowded gallery and hearing laughter, but also seeing some stunned looks on faces.
Fast forward a few years later, and I’ve dealt with those issues, got them out of my system and now, very few viewers of my art would think there’s the slightest bit of bitterness coming through. I still deal with the same subject matter, but in a less hostile way.
Most artists grow and go through phases. An artist rarely gets stuck in a phase unless his product proves to be incredibly lucrative and he’s a glib and frivolous talent. (Hear my words, Thomas Kinkade.)
I sold one piece and several greeting cards that evening. The woman who purchased the piece was profuse with compliments and I could see that she had a difficult time choosing the one she wanted. That felt good.
The show is up until May 12. The next milestone is April’s First Thursday event, which always packs the galleries. This event is open to all. And, I’ll be there, with a smile on, wearing comfortable, sensible shoes. You’ll find me over at the buffet.
My Bitter Phase