Struggles & Rewards • Cotton Candy Dreams

Sep 10, 2018

I want to share this special story with you as it relates to the struggles and rewards of “art".

This weekend at ArtWalk, 3 of my paintings sold, one of which (the one above), Cotton Candy Dreams, is only 3 weeks old and a painting that was the last in my summer series painting spree for ArtWalk. This painting,… I had struggled and struggled with for weeks. It kept ending up being very landscape oriented. And while I was the one making it become that way, I didn’t want it like that. I wanted more. More, more, more. It was taking a lot of time, a lot of paint, and causing a lot of frustration. And I was running out of time. 

Then I stopped. And asked myself, what do you “really” want… to do/be?

This is the painting that emerged.

I had thrown caution and my timetable to the wind, and started to paint from the heart. I was loving what was showing up on the canvas. Areas of the previous painting were allowed to remain. I loved those parts too. But there was something else that I wanted and I kept forging forward to find it. I kept taking risks. Risk after risk, the painting came into the present. I was in love. Cotton Candy Dreams. I knew right away. This one definitely needed to be with my new series in the show.

Now here’s where things get really interesting,…

The last day of ArtWalk, I took a few moments near the last half hour of the show and did a brief meditation, acknowledging my truth that I felt a little disappointed in only selling 2 paintings after seeing lots of red dots elsewhere. I was grateful for the sales and wanted my peace back. I also acknowledged I’d love another sale but would be ok just as is, as long as I could have peace again. “This or something better” was my last powerful thought.

In the last 10 minutes of the show, my husband and I were talking and I’d just told him that 95% of the feedback I received from guests was how amazing my colours were and then a woman walked in and with a very slow but strong, distinct accent said, “ohhhhh, ohhhh, I reeeeeally love these,… I lovvvve your colours, ohhhh wow!” She looked at each painting very carefully cooing at almost all of them and said I’d like them allllll. (I joked and said she could most certainly have them all.)  It took her a few more minutes of circling the booth when she settled on Cotton Candy Dreams.

It gets even more intriguing yet.

As I was taking the painting down I complimented her on her beautiful accent (which sounded rather Texan) and asked where she was from. She said she was born in Saskatchewan. As I handed the painting to her she finished her answer just as I noticed the massive scar on her chest. “I survived open heart surgery 5 years ago, then got cancer and half of my tongue had to be removed. I spent the last year teaching myself to speak again.”  Which is when I gently took the painting from her hands asking my husband to hold it for a moment and then, with her permission, gave her the biggest hug.

What an incredible woman. I couldn’t imagine a more wonderful person to have this painting I truly loved because of my own struggle making it ♥️. 

How serendipitous is that? And how rewarding! I couldn’t believe the sheer beauty of the moment. I truly felt blessed that this woman chose this very painting. I wanted to keep it myself before she found it. I thought it such a beautiful reminder of working through difficult times to get to the other side. And something magical could be there.

This happens in painting. And it has happened to several of my pieces that I have “arguments” with. The painting always wins! If I let it.

Earlier that same day an art therapist was in my booth chatting with me. It was a nice conversation. Until she psychoanalyzed my work, specifically three paintings, one of which was Cotton Candy Dreams. I wasn’t offended, yet I felt myself shut down and I remember thinking “I hope her analysis doesn’t ruin my feelings and appreciation for Cotton Candy Dreams. I didn’t give it another thought all day (because it was so busy) until last night after the show, lying in bed, awake in the middle of the night. (It had become a habit the last few weeks to wake up and think about things, organize, fret,… before the show) 

Now the show was over. That’s when I remembered what she said and how her assessment made me feel. But I had not engaged the thought and before I could feel bad about anything regarding my precious painting, it was purchased by this beautiful woman who loved and related to it (and to my process making it - knowingly or not).

I feel tremendously blessed around this painting, even more so now. I’m blown away how much I learn being an artist, about people, about me, about making art, and the purpose of art. ♥️

PJC Studio Notes: