On the importance of having a good support system, and confidence in your abilities and beliefs.
|Serious Sweets |
Acrylic on Canvas
100 x 76 cm
Mostly the reason for my re-assessment, was friends or family members 'advising' me that it was time now for a 'real' job, my paintings were nice and all, but maybe it was time to be realistic now..
I would often fall into serious self-doubt. My friends were moving up in the world, people my age were dressed like grown-ups, buying new cars, starting families, and here was I, painting in my bedroom at my parents' at 25.
I don't often publicly bring my faith into my art, I've never liked pushing my beliefs down others' throats. But one of the greatest things about being a Christian is being able to ask God a question, and actually getting a reply. Now I don't mean asking for a sign, or once every 7 years opening the Bible on a random page and reading the 21st line from the top and applying it literally to your situation! I mean meditating on God's word, really searching yourself, being honest and patient in seeking the truth, whether you like the answer or not.
I stopped being stubborn and selfish and just openly and honestly asked God whether I was chasing a hopeless dream, or working at my purpose. As embarrassing as it would be to find out I was wrong, I'd rather face that than figuring out I'd made a mistake 30 yrs down the line. And it probably was one of my more ballsy moments, I really didn't want to hear I'd been wrong, but at that moment I was so tired of fighting for what I hoped was the right thing, that I needed to know from the only authority, the only one I'd take 'no' from. I received a couple of answering verses, but the one that touched me most was this:
"That you aspire to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business, and to work with your hands, as we commanded you, that you may walk properly towards those who are outside, and that you may lack nothing." 1 Thess 4:11,12
I'm not going to go into different interpretations, or try to justify anything, or even explain myself really, if you don't believe, you don't. What you should understand is that this is what I believe, this is where I'm coming from. And my perspective is that if the Creator of the universe tells you something, you believe it.
I still have moments of self doubt, months that I don't sell, or negative feedback that gets to me, but never to that extreme. I might make wrong decisions on my path, but the path is the right one.
What is important now is my support group. My husband is my biggest fan, he was the first person to see my very first painting, and loved it. He helped me find and organise the venue for my solo exhibition in '08, and he was the person who showed up with a bottle of champagne when I heard the gallery had approved my work for the exhibition - and all that was before we had started dating. He bought me paints when I was broke, and he wanted to marry me even when I was (financially anyway!) a very poor choice, and has been supporting me all the way ever since, sometimes with pep talks, sometimes just with a hug, and sometimes by helping me strategize about marketing. Without him, things would have been much harder (and much less fun).
My family wasn't as quick to support, they were afraid for me, but a couple of years in I have so much love and support, that I am overwhelmed. Between them and my friends I really can't ask for more. One of the most touching things to me is the friends who have purchased paintings from me, who for the most part aren't in a place to afford fine art, but have just fallen in love with certain works, and had to have them. I don't expect sales from friends, but it really means so much to me when a friend is willing to pay it off over a couple of months, just so they can own it, and it pushes me to work harder and be better in return for the faith they have in my work.
Many of them probably don't realise just how much their support (emotional and financial) has meant to me, and has inspired me, this monologue is my ode to you guys! You rock my socks off!
There's so much more I want to say on this subject, but I'll leave it for another day, for now thanks to everyone who has been there for me, told a friend about me, shared a facebook page or 'liked' a painting, your support keeps the paints flowing.
These are some of my works that adorn my friends' walls:
|Vanitas with Meerkat Skull|
|Ek en Helene, Vida and Rouan en Anton|