Last week I sold my art at a festival. Actually, I should probably say I displayed my art - there wasn't much buying or selling happening at my booth. I could blame that on a lot of things: it was mostly a family/children's festival so people were there for the free activities rather than the shopping, maybe my prices were too high or my booth was set up poorly or my art just wasn't good. And I can't say I didn't think about all those possibilities because I did. But more importantly than those thoughts was the thought that, I didn't mind. I didn't leave feeling crushed. I was really proud of myself and happy with the part of myself I put out there that day.
Lately I've been thinking about why all this is so important to me, why I care so much about making art. As always, it's a good creative outlet for me. One that makes me really happy to explore. On top of that, I found this great quote from Eric Carle (The Very Hungry Caterpillar, Brown Bear Brown Bear What Do You See?):
"We have eyes, and we're looking at stuff all the time, all day long. And I just think that whatever our eyes touch should be beautiful, tasteful, appealing, and important."
That struck a big, deep chord with me. I love choosing art to have in our home. I love that everything we have makes me feel something good. I want to make things that mean something, mean anything, to anyone.
Okay so that quote had been running through my head for a few weeks. Then that day at the festival a cute little boy came up to my booth and started looking at some of my paintings. He asked me, "Are these Eric Carle?" I thought I heard him wrong, but then his mom goes, "Oh, like The Very Hungry Caterpillar? No honey, these are *and she picked up one of my cards to read my name* Erin van de Graaff." And I could have burst into tears. I told him yes, these were my paintings, but I was so so happy they reminded him of Eric Carle! Like, what in the world!? I never would have seen any similarity - and I still don't, really. But for some reason that little boy did, and the whole thing just felt like the universe was giving me a little smile and a nod. You know those moments?
So often I'll get down on myself and think, "a million people are already out there making art. they've been doing it longer than I have and they're better than i am. why am I doing this?" Because there is literally an infinite amount of art to be made! The art that's out there being made by other people - it isn't mine. It could even look almost exactly like mine, but it still wouldn't be. So I have to remind myself of that a lot - that there is room out there for what I make, even if I have to make space for it on my own wall.
I'm really trying to stick with it this time. I've been giving it such a half effort. You know those quotes like, "a year from now you'll wish you started today" - that's how I feel. I dread thinking about where I could be right now if I had really stuck with my art the first time I started. I don't want to feel that anymore! This feeling that it's an important thing to do has been stuck with me far too long. I'm a firm believer that feelings like this one shouldn't be ignored, even if you don't totally understand them.
So I'm going to keep moving! If you want to see my most recent stuff, it's up in my Etsy shop! Click the link a the top of the page that says SHOP, or click RIGHT HERE. If you ever have suggestions, requests, ideas, advice, questions - I would love to hear it! You can always leave a comment or find my email address on my ABOUT page.