Last year was a crazy year. Crazy good, but crazy nonetheless. Like a dog with a bone, I kept at a 200 mph pace like there was no tomorrow! When the last show of the season came and went in November, I was excited to have two months at home, catching up on commissions, working on my 2023 collections, and getting some much needed rest! Then a few things began to manifest.
Although my dad passed away in the fall, it wasn’t until I had the semi-stillness of those winter months to sit and grieve the loss. I also realized I was sighing a breath of relief at getting to actually unpack my bags after nearly two years of nonstop travel - even if it was only for eight weeks. But then, some unexpected things happened: a couple of big events that I have been part of over the last few years juried me out. I'll admit one closed door was unsettling, but all together they rocked me. Let me be frank here, my pride doesn’t like writing this because it feels like failure, but I honestly believe there was something bigger at work. Let me explain:
After the pandemic, in order to get back some of what was lost (financially, creatively, personally), I said YES to every opportunity. I had been exceedingly blessed with some incredible ones too! But that meant less time at home and in the studio and more time basically everywhere else. And you know what?..It worked!! Things were stable, work was flowing, everything was good…right?
I won’t bore you with the copious details involved with exhibiting at multiple events in the art and/or automotive spaces, but you usually start making these commitments 3-12 months in advance, complete with signed contracts, full payments, lodging, airfare, crating and shipping everything to arrive at the proper time… oh, and let’s not forget creating a collection of artwork for said events. LOL! This is another reason it’s been such a beautiful gift to have Rob as my partner in life and business! My lane is primarily creating and having the privilege of working with my clients. Rob takes care of pretty much everything else - he really needs to hire an assistant, but for now we’re making it work. So now that you have some background on the business of being a professional artist, multiply all that by 22 events…each year. Bonkers, right?!
Back in January of 2021, I wrote what I affectionately refer to as my manifesto. In it, I outline what I desire my life will look like in 2031. I was prayerful as I wrote my vision – that it would be balanced, beautiful and completely at the discretion of God’s timing and blessing. But let’s be fair, fully embracing and applying this concept is an ongoing work in progress and I realized that I had more work to do.
Remember when I said that being juried out rocked me? Well, it did. It wasn’t like God hadn’t given me fair warning that change was warranted. I knew I needed to slow down the pace, but there really is an adrenaline rush to doing what I do (and honestly, a part of me feared if I stopped being at all the events people would forget the work). Like an addict, I have a hard time saying no when offered opportunities. So God, in his infinite wisdom, started taking a few away. Ouch.
I’m changing things now.
When significant things happen, I always hope I’ll respond maturely and with grace. It didn’t happen right away, but I did eventually get there. It also prompted me to ask a few big "life" questions, like: are there additional adjustments I need to make? How healthy am I with this current schedule? How are my relationships with family and friends? When was the last time I had a proper conversation that didn’t center on work...even with my husband???
These were some tough questions to ask myself! And although I likely wouldn’t have voluntarily changed anything, I took a deep breath and leaned into making some further adjustments. I made the prayerful decision to eliminate several additional events. Currently I’m scheduled for 15 this year - that’s heading in the right direction! Rob laughed at me because I had it lower but I added three new ones, but one is Goodwood Revival in the UK, so seriously, how could I say no...especially now that I had time? LOL! In 2024, my goal is to reduce that number further to 10 or fewer.
Change is hard, and when changes are "made for you", it’s deeply unsettling - dare I say painful. However most opportunities for real growth although uncomfortable can also be beneficial. I decided I’m going to lean into that discomfort for a season and see how that goes. I’m not sure what to do with myself now that I’ll have what feels like extravagant time in my schedule (okay, that’s actually not true, I have ideas. LOL), but being creative with space to explore for the first time in ages is definitely on the agenda!
All the while, I feel like God is saying to me:
I’m right here.
I waited for you to get to this place.
You are good.
Be still and get some real balance.
I’ve got you.
I am so richly blessed by the incredible love and support of long-suffering family and friends who continue to cheer me on even during the season of my extended absence! I am also amazingly blessed by my awesome collectors who have supported me in this journey that started over a decade ago. Truly, you’ll never know how grateful I am for the beauty you’ve added to my life.
THANK YOU for hanging in there and reading all the way to the end…it feels good to get it all out there.
So now I’m gonna go take a walk, enjoy the spring weather (finally!) and have some fun in the studio.
Hope you have a beautiful day!