Today was a day like many others. After a few hours of painting, I was forced to stop due to pain and fatigue caused by Lyme’s Disease and a co-infection called Bartonella. But today I choose to reflect on how blessed I am to be completely passionate about being creative. In fact, a year ago my brain was in such a fog some days that it could hardly process just getting through the day, let alone an art project. If I didn’t have such a burning drive to create, then I am not sure what mental state I would be in. I am reluctant to leave my house as it has been embedded into my psyche that going out and interacting with humans will tire me out and cause pain.
But I actually love being home and listening to podcasts and talk shows and learning about the world around me. I am so grateful for social media because I can interact with other creatives, be inspired and sell my paintings and wall hangings without having to leave my home. I consider it a miracle that I still feel charged every morning to go into my studio and paint. I feel blessed that despite the tremor in my hands, I can still hold a paint brush. I feel gratitude that my brain is able to create goals and think about the “big ideas” in life. I feel such freedom to spend a few hours a day doing exactly what I have always dreamed of doing.
A year ago, my life was very different. I was like the walking dead. I had just enough energy to make meals, spend time with my children and lie in bed. I am so looking forward to a pain free life and a life where I don’t dread a day of being out and just doing simple errands. I look forward to being able to do something as simple as writing a blog post in the evening without such intense pain that forces me to end this post. But until that day, today was good day because I chose gratitude.
“Blessed is the season which engages the whole world in a conspiracy of love.” – Hamilton Wright Mable
November, 13th – January 3rd: Join us this holiday season at Noodle Gallery for a selection of unique, whimsical and imaginative gift giving.
A number of local participating artists, fine crafters and authors; Cheryll Collins Designs, Josephine Condotta, Melissa Mary Jenkins, kukucaju, John Leenders, Peyton Leung, Katie McLellan, Nicola Ross, Keri Rounding, and Stone Cottage Industry. Find inspiring gifts for all your loved ones and we bet you’ll even be tempted to pick out something for yourself!
For the last two months I have been actively researching how to sell my art online, by listening to pod casts and reading blog posts and articles. The most helpful site by far is the Abundant Artist. http://theabundantartist.com/
I have been listening to success stories from various artists while painting, and my mind has been fascinated, sometimes overwhelmed and yet, incredibly excited. These successful artists are experts at telling the story behind their art. Here is a quote from Lisa Baum in her post entitled “Selling the Experience: Telling the Story of Your Art”
“Whether we like it or not, we’re not rational creatures. We’re emotional, and when an artist touches our raw emotion, by bringing out our shared deeper experience through storytelling, that artist makes a lasting impression.”
October 20 I sat down to check my messages and the most thrilling message came in from Etsy. One of my paintings had been featured on the Etsy Finds newsletter! My shop literally exploded with views and purchases! I went from 300 views to my shop for the month of September, to over 8ooo views in the last seven days!!!
But even though that day was probably the most rewarding day in my artistic “career”, especially after the time and energy I poured into revamping my social media presence, even more meaningful was what my customers taught me. Two women, in particular took the time to tell me that the paintings they chose to buy “spoke” to them in powerful ways. With their permission I would like to share these lovely sentiments.
“Hi Melissa, I really love your art piece ice cream dreams and look forward to seeing it hang in my living room. My husband is dying now and it seems an affirmation of all he was and all our relationship was when it was good. Thank you for making this beautiful piece which resonates so close to my heart.”
This precious lady reminded me of the power that art has to describe emotions and experiences that go beyond words. My goal as an artist is to provide artwork that “touches the soul” and this message verified that I am on the right path.
“I often look for original art on Etsy, but have never purchased. This morning, I opened my e-mail from Etsy, saw your painting, and instantly loved it. Yes, it would be fair to say, ‘it spoke to me’! I always like to know what people ‘read’ in art. I like to know what people see, and how they interpret. Perhaps you’d like to know how your painting spoke to me…. I love water. I crave water. I love the color of water. I dream of someday (hopefully sooner than later at this point in my life!) living on a small quiet lake. When I looked at your painting, I felt as though I was *in* the water, floating underneath the surface and looking up. I saw flowers floating on the surface, and I saw hazy rays of sunshine coming through the water. Surely, it’s the view of a mermaid “.
Now the crazy thing is, Janet actually put into words exactly what I have been dreaming of capturing for years. It is no exaggeration for me to say that “Water” is my solace, my retreat and my “soul”. My favourite thing to do in the summer is to go under the water and look up at the sun, and I have always dreamed of being able to paint that experience. In fact, my daughters and I spend many a day taking underwater photos to try and capture the moment.
I had no idea that the “view of a mermaid” series (many thanks to Janet for the name) that Janet bought, which coincidentally are the paintings that I feel most “alive” painting, had in fact captured my vision of the sky underwater. When I paint the “views of a mermaid” series, it is like I have finally come “home”; like all the stars have aligned and I have found my “artistic voice”.
As I sink back into the reality that I would like to be selling more artwork, and diligently learning how to do that, I feel such gratitude to these two women who reminded me that this is all worth it.