Category Archives: Gratitude

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

 

Happy St. Patrick’s Day! A good percentage of my genetic makeup is Irish. My husband has some Irish in him too. Yep, that probably explains a few things going on around here. He’s got the Irish charm and hot temper. I’m the one making all of the jokes about the problems we face laughing off adversity at every chance I get. He’s a bit stubborn. I’m a bit stubborn. Our daughter is very, very stubborn. She’s like an Irish poster child.

 

Not only has she developed many personality traits associated with the Irish, but she even looks Irish. My mom said she was watching a documentary about Ireland and all of the kids looked like they were related to our Miss Tiny-Small. She’s tough and she’s not even two yet. People make jokes about the Irish being full of “piss and vinegar” and about how we can sure hold our liquor. What you don’t always hear about is our resilience, our hard working natures, or our stubborn devotion to overcoming any and all obstacles. Don’t step on our toes or we’ll find a way to “fix you’re little red wagon” and don’t ever tell us we can’t do something because then we will spend the rest of our days (and yours too) proving to you just how very wrong you are about us. We take a lot of pride in suffering, our accomplishments, and of course in winning when the odds are stacked against us. They don’t call us fighter’s on a whim. We are ready to fight to the death over anything we think is important whether it is as serious as winning a war or as inconsequential as whether the kitchen wall should be painted white or off white. Yes, we are sometimes that bad.

 

Our little Miss Tiny Small is no exception. She’s determined to do everything herself. She carries the firewood up and down the stairs with us. She stacks it in the log bin. She’d even try to light the fire if we let her play with matches. Of course we don’t, I mean, parents have to draw the line somewhere. We don’t let her use knives, cleaners, or any other dangerous objects, but that doesn’t mean she doesn’t already know how to use them (her brain is a sponge) or that she doesn’t ask to use them (more like demand to) every chance she gets. She lives by the motto “If I can’t do it myself then it’s not worth doing.”  How many times a day does she dive bomb the ground just because one of us dared to attempt to “show” her how to do something? Countless…and if she can’t do it she keeps trying, grumbling and complaining the entire time because she NEVER gives up. Not even once, at least not without a fight.

 

Tiny Small has been called “high strung” and “spirited” by people who know her best. We just call her Irish. It’s a little frustrating for us now, as her parents, to keep her in line. I mean seriously, she never gives up, she’s willing and eager to take on activities way beyond her skill level, and she wants to do it all by herself. That spells out T-R-O-U-B-L-E squared, then multiplied by infinity. I’m not much into math, but you catch my drift. I hope. Anyway, we have many battles of the will and on the days I am tired she is definitely winning. She keeps score better than I do too because her memory is long and vast and mine is dried up and shrinking at what seems a very hectic pace. She’s also got the luck of the Irish on her side. So far, with all the trouble she’s caused, she has come out relatively unscathed.

 

The weird part is I’m kind of proud of her for all of the trouble she gets into. When she grows up she won’t waste her life whining about what someone else did or didn’t do. She won’t depend on other people to support her or wait around for things to happen. She’ll be out in the world doing what needs to be done. She’ll be actively making decisions and setting a path for herself to follow. She won’t let anyone stop her. She’s too strong willed and tough for that. Yeah, she might be like me and hate to ask people for help. She might find herself in way over her head a few times. She might even push herself too hard and not know when to stop, but she won’t be soft. She won’t be a crybaby and she won’t just give up and stop trying because someone tells her what she is doing is impossible, or stupid, or boring. She won’t do any of those things because she is Irish and she is way too stubborn to ever admit defeat. I hope you all get to enjoy being Irish for a day and remember there is a lot more to it than drinking green beer and eating corned beef, cabbage and potatoes. This is also the day to “suck it up” and get on with things. Pull yourself up by your bootstraps and say, “Watch out world because here I come and I refuse to take no for an answer!” Happy St. Patrick’s Day everyone. Make it a good one!

Celebrating My First Sale

 

There is a dance party going on right now. Yes, it’s only in my head, but I have good reason to celebrate today. I sold my first painting! I’ve finally been paid for my creativity and hard work. All of my blood, sweat, and tears have finally been recognized monetarily. Ok, so it wasn’t really that miserable. I didn’t actually sweat or bleed, but I must confess, there were a few moments of serious crying. That is all behind me now. Today I have become a REAL artist, much like the day Pinocchio became a real boy. When I tell people that I paint there is always one person in the group that asks, “Have you ever sold anything?” Now, now I can answer quite smugly with one small, yet happy, word: Yes! “Why, yes, I have sold a painting” I’ll say with a sly smile and wait for the applause. I won’t mention that I have only sold one painting. I won’t mention the little voice deep inside me that is quietly announcing, “It may be the only one you ever sell.”

For some reason, actually selling artwork validates you in the eyes of others. It means you have arrived, but arrived where I’m not entirely certain. I am sure it has something to do with something I should have learned in economics class (if I had been able to pay attention for more than five minutes at a time). In short, when someone wants something other people want it too. It’s the only explanation for why cabbage patch kids became such a big money-making machine. If I get lucky one sale will lead to other sales and I will become Little Miss Popularity like the Chihuahua’s were after starring in Taco Bell commercials. If I’m not so lucky I’ll be a one-hit-wonder like Sir Mix-A-Lot with his song, “Baby Got Back.” There seems to be a fine line in the art world between being a sellout, which is described as “painting what sells” and being a fine artist which is described as “painting only what matters to you” or maybe “painting what doesn’t sell.” Being an artist is like being a mom. If you let the baby cry you are a bad mom, but if you don’t let the baby cry you are still a bad mom. If you don’t sell your work you are not a “real” artist, but if you do sell it you are not a “real” artist either because then you are a sellout, which is apparently worse than starving to death.

I think maybe this is why I am happily an art outsider. I’m an outsider artist. I’m not quite formally trained. I don’t belong to any exclusive clubs. I’m not high up on the totem pole so to speak. I don’t have any papers documenting my art pedigree. Maybe that is a blessing in disguise because I also don’t have any preconceived notions about how to make art or how to sell art. I don’t have any rules to follow. I’m not worried about making mistakes and I’m not ruled by the words “should” and supposed to.”

 

However, today I AM a working artist. I’ve been acknowledged.  I have moved up one ladder rung towards my imagined artistic greatness and have arrived somewhere even though I don’t know where exactly. An artist friend recently encouraged me to put more effort and enthusiasm into the process of selling my work. She said I had a good chance of selling my pieces because most people just want something pretty to put on their wall. Most fine artists, no doubt, would have found this comment offensive. Not me though. The lifestyle associated with working artist seems much more enjoyable in comparison to the one associated with starving artist. I took it as a compliment because it meant someday I might make enough money to keep me in art supplies. It meant someday I might not have to starve (metaphorically of course because I’m not actually starving) to do the thing I love to do. I’m content with that. I like to paint pretty things and I am painting what matters to me. I’m a practical person. I have a bit of a business mind that was likely handed down to me genetically and through no scholarship of my own. It’s smart to make money. It’s even smarter to make money doing something you enjoy doing. So, today, I celebrate my success. Today is my proud moment. If my customer had paid in cash I’d staple the first dollar to the wall, but instead I’ll settle for attending the dance party in my mind. It’s free at least because we all know selling one painting doesn’t make you a millionaire or even a hundredaire. That is ok though because today I am so happy I feel like attempting to do the moon walk and that happy feeling is enough for me. I’m going to enjoy it while it lasts!