This summer has been filled with some really great moments and a few really bad moments, but it is all part of life, right? I have spent most of my summer vacation making art and getting ready for the SCBWI summer conference. Then life threw in something unexpected and that was being part of a group art show.
I have been fortunate to have grown up with an extremely supportive family; people who have supported and nurtured my artistic career; people who believe in my and my abilities. But sometimes it is difficult to truly accept their opinions about my art and talents because they love me unconditionally. I have always known what I am capable of, but it wasn't until the past few years that I believed I could do more...even create art professionally. Within my pursuit of illustrating children's books, mostly my own, I have challenged myself and can see growth in my work. I think if I was presented with the opportunity to show my work 4 years ago, I would have turned them down. I wouldn't have believed I could truly be successful.
This summer has been about getting more exposure as an artist and networking. When RAWartist approached me about being a part of their show, I, honestly, had some reservations about participating. In the past, I have never pictured my artwork in a gallery setting. But I believe that life presents us with opportunities that we are meant for us to experience, whether they are good or bad. I decided to just go with it because in the end there is nothing to loose. So, the past 2 weeks, I have been preparing for the show. I had to
figure out lighting, how to display my art, and what to display. Part
of my art was my Mizzle dolls. I went into intense Mizzle production
only to break my sewing machine. (I don't really have much experience
with sewing machines and didn't know I needed to oil my machine after
long bought of sewing.) I managed to make 27 Mizzles in 4 days...not
including the days my machine was out of commission.
I became extremely nervous the day before the show, beginning to fear that my work would look too crafty. I began doubting what I really knew about presenting my artwork. I think the real source of my fear came from not knowing where the show would lead me to. I've allowed myself to accept and trust the journey that my art has taken me on. I just wasn't quite sure how this art show was going to alter that journey. Luckily, I am fortunate to have friends who are capable of talking me out of my mini freak outs. When I arrived to set up the show, there was no time for any freak outs. I immediately went into problem-solving mode and within an hour, I managed to organize and create a beautiful Mizzle Shrine!
Victoria Burnett, a professional storyteller, was my biggest promoter of the night. She was so proud of me that she talked me up to every person who would listen to her. People were drawn to the Mizzles. Everyone commented on their faces and the personalities they exuded. Many were delightfully surprised to find that each doll was named. They also loved my illustrations.
But the magical moment of the night was when I was talking to a woman about the Mizzles and my journey from doll making to my goal of writing and illustrating my story about them. She asked what my story was about, then told me she worked for a very large children's book publishing company and that I should submit my manuscript to her when I finished it. This just shows how important it is to network and to take advantage of opportunities that are presented to you. I had feared that being a part of this art show would take me away from my children's book journey, but it only encouraged me more. I have never felt so confident about my abilities and my path.
It seems like the planets are aligning just right. Next week, I begin Mira Reisberg's Picture Book Academy, where I plan to work out the problems of my Mizzle story. Then I'll have something to finally submit. I can't wait to see what opportunities will arise next. This art journey is becoming very exciting.
Here is a link with photos of the show! http://encore.orangecounty.com/2012/08/19/slideshow-art-music-fashion-and-more-at-raw-orange-county/