Two Disjointed Days as an Artist
Most of my blogs describe somewhat idyllic moments in nature and time-stopping creative sessions at my easel. I'm a happy gal. Inspiring you pleases me as much as throwing caution to the wind and saying "yes" to the option of whipped cream on my grande cafe mocha.
But just in case you are considering quitting your day job to become an artist, here's a synopsis of a couple of my days, days when the coffee was cold as the West Texas wind in January. Some names have been changed to protect the guilty.
I live in the boondocks by choice, but Ramon (real name) my beloved framer is 3 1/2 hrs away. He recently relocated from Midland to Odessa. Driving in Midland traffic is scary, but driving in oil boom Odessa traffic is an exercise I terror I am, as yet, unwilling to undertake. Relocating my feisty 91-year-old mother has further conflicted with my once regular visits to this frame god. (You can't haul much original art when your truck is repeatedly loaded with a dog, a parrot, dubiously valuable family heirlooms and tattered childhood treasures.)
Reluctantly, I finally had to order a very large, expensive frame online. This from YPIWFI (You Paint It We Frame It), a highly respectable company I've done business with for three decades. But my time is better spent painting, so I usually only frame miniatures. In this case, I willingly paid extra for expedited construction and oversized shipping. Better than seven hours roundtrip and fighting Odessa traffic, I assured myself.
Said frame, transported by Drop X, that carrier who promises to get it there on time yet doesn't keep a calendar, arrived a day late in a week where a day mattered very much. We were having a small dinner party that evening. I had originally planned to frame the painting the day before.
Even though the shipping box was, for once, intact, Husband Jim, ever the wise one, said, Better open it and make sure its okay.
(1) The richly carved five-inch wide moulding was not only flawed, the liner (I paid extra for that liner) was inserted backwards. In frustration, I called YPIWFI customer service. Concerned and contrite, they offered to ship me a replacement frame pronto. When they learned where I lived, pronto became a distant dream.
Instead, they cheerfully credited my account.
(2) You cannot surround a work of art with an account credit, and my deadline for delivery to a prestigious exhibit/sale (piece above with the flawed frame included) was the following day. I'd previously emailed the curator the specs and images for my artwork. (In the mountains, I never know when I'll have internet and when I won't. I plan ahead.)
(3) Did I mention we had Hungry Folk coming for dinner?
(4) As my pasta was refusing to boil at altitude, I received an email from a VIP Collector indicating interest in one of my exhibit pieces, potentially a gift for his wife's imminent bday. VIP C is a high profile lawyer, and my (immediate) email responses explaining that yes, the desired art could be his, assuming he acted immediately, before I committed them to the museum, were repeatedly blocked by his server.
(4) The Hungry Folk we were entertaining at the gallery (first dinner ever at the gallery--a little stressful for the cook, as I was working in our RV kitchen, then transporting it downhill aways) called saying they'd be arriving 30 minutes early. Okay...
(5) Dinner was good. Wine, even better. But Husband Jim (real name) lay awake half the night wondering how the hell he was going to be able to mount my masterpiece in a large, heavy frame with a chipped corner and the liner inserted backwards. Protein bars and extra coffee with breakfast seemed appropriate.
(6) I called VIP C's secretary and explained my emails were being sent to junk, and I needed him to open them or call me, pronto. Phones really do still work for communicating.
(7) My wonderful left-brained, former jet pilot Husband Jim sort of cheerfully dealt with the liner issue as I puttied the corners with the same artistic tenderness Ramon would've given them. (This is a common fix for ornate moldings, just not one I usually do myself.) Husband Jim then rigged my art into the reconstructed 45 pound frame with the hardware provided, Held it up for me to inspect. Cursed as the wire broke, sending art and frame crashing face down into my easel supports and several sharp objects.
Bad language. Skipping heartbeats.
But no damage.
There IS a God.
(8) Did I mention this was our 44th anniversary?
(9) I scrambled in my junk box for heavier cable (among Ramon's DIY gifts) and my mate rewired the painting successfully, only muttering that this was a job for a professional a few times.
(10) Many hours later, the framed presentation was stunningly lovely, we were speaking once more, and I promised Husband Jim I'd never do this again.
(11) As we were packing the painting into the truck for imminent delivery, I received an urgent email from VIP C saying he offered his apologies to the museum, but he really needed that painting for his wife's bday. Hoping my email got thru, I assured him it was his.
(12) I rushed home from my studio with my frazzled hubbie and sent a revised exhibit registration, entry inventory and photos to the curator, explaining I was substituting a larger piece for one of my original entries. This was fair: all my paperwork was in before the deadline, and I added much praise for the curator's understanding. She loved the replacement painting, which, if it sells, will bring the exhibit more money than the one VIP C acquired.
(13) My hastily emailed photo image of the exhibit replacement painting had to be sent to the curator a second time when a concurrent thank you text from VIP C (who had apparently now discarded emails in favor of texting) was followed immediately by a text from my webstore confirming the sale. This interrupted my fragile mountain wifi and temporarily skewed my email.
(14) We repacked, then delivered the revised painting collection for the exhibit; I ordered a shipping box for VIP C's art and included a prayer that Drop Ex wouldn't drop it too many times; We drove to Marfa and enjoyed an anniversary dinner at La Venture at the Hotel Saint George (real name), where our only worries stemmed from whether to eat the dessert and drink the complimentary port or not.
We did both.
I constantly encourage the energy of the Universe to work with me so I can share my art with you. It answers, just not always in the way I might plan it.
Thanks for being there, all of you! We're a team. All of us.
Even, I suppose, Drop X.
To see what I've created on more blissful days in the studio, explore my website! And if you really want to see what goes on behind the easel, subscribe to my emailed monthly newsletter. (That's also where you can see new work before it is publicized. Which is how VIP C knew he wanted that yet-undisplayed painting!)