Somewhere between last May and last August I decided that I'd like to become better at portraits, and here I am in January with an exhibition of my portraits ahead of me and I'm wondering how I got here.
Because goals are a funny thing. Aren't they? Goodness knows, I say often enough that I'd like to exercise more and eat better, but that never seems to happen. So how did I make this one work?
Today I have been reflecting and feeling grateful for all of the factors that made it work, because when I sit down to analyse it, it wasn't all me. Some of it was me, but let me tell you about how you helped me get here too...
I announced it - last May was "Ink" Week at the 52-week Illustration Challenge and I had an idea to paint someone with tattoos, so I put a call out on my personal Facebook page, and got a few lovely offers and loads of suggestions. You, my friends, encouraged me - you were excited for me, and so I aimed to deliver. Perhaps I did and perhaps I didn't, but thanks Jeremy Dryden for being my guinea pig that week, and to his wife Leah Dryden for being so enthusiastic about my first attempt;
I made time for it and I allowed myself to make mistakes and to learn as I went - because usually I'm a bit of a self-defeating perfectionist. I am, let's be honest. But you, my art-loving friends have drilled into me over three years now how experimenting can be a goal in itself, and somehow I was able to internalise that, and it has worked;
I created mini-goals and deadlines for myself - I'm trying to be braver. Sometimes its so easy just to be happy with things the way they are, but I have been lucky enough to surround myself with role models, whose art practice sees them putting themselves "out there", entering competitions and awards. And so I did too. I entered three major art competitions last year. As it happens those entries didn't actually get selected as finalists, but it was exciting, there was potential, and there was a goal and a deadline to spur me on to improve and create something award-worthy;
And most of all, I had my huge band of encouragers around me, egging me on - afterall I think its one of the best feelings in the world to be appreciated. To be creating art that not only stirs your own heart but is loved and admired by others, and perhaps connects with them strongly enough that they even want to take it home. Thank you all for your encouragement, because each positive vibe you send my way strengthens that spark within me, and keeps me creating.
Well that's just one story - my one story about the way that one thing came to be, surprisingly and unexpectedly. And I am grateful for it, and I am grateful for you.
I will have five portraits and one painting in the exhibition "Ngaya-gal Gimubi-li - Our Mob Creates" which opens at 6pm next Tuesday 24 January, as part of the Tamworth Country Music Festival, at the Inland Cafe, 407 Peel Street, Tamworth. Space will be limited on opening night so tee up a cuppa with me and drop in to see the show sometime over the next month, I'd love to see you.
I'm busy working on my blog posts. Watch this space!