This is one of those stories you don’t like to tell as an artist. It’s hard to admit when you screw up. When it happens, you should own it, learn from it, and move on. That is what I am trying to do.
Three years ago, I got the bright idea that I would make a full blown effort to enter art festivals and try to learn to work small. I did learn to work small, but I never learned to enjoy it on any meaningful scale. I also did not learn the patience and dedication required to be a successful festival artist.
Suffice it to say that I found the entire experience miserable. I am astounded and impressed by artists who make it work, but I am not one of them. Lesson learned.
The harder lesson I have learned from this is not to barter for help, because I don’t repay my debts in a timely fashion. It’s not intentional, but it’s still wrong.
I asked a good friend to help me with the groundwork for producing a large quantity of smalls. She helped cut stencils, gesso canvases, and lay out flag designs. Every week, I would drive to her house, lay a dropcloth across her dining room table and carry in boxes of work. We would start out with coffee and end up with lunch before heading out to grab our kids and get back to the job of being moms.
After a few months, she was able to realize her dream of moving west and getting a farm. At the end of the school year, she and her family packed up and moved to an old farmhouse in Wisconsin. Three years later, they are thriving. They have goats, chickens, cows and a remodeled farmhouse, but no custom art from that unreliable Georgia artist.
I have not intentionally slighted my friend. I really have been busy. The work we did together helped me figure out how to make small works in series and develop new mixed media projects. I have been increasing my commissions steadily ever since.
I’m not ungrateful, I’ve just dropped the ball. Clearly, I am not so good at project management.
This post is my line in the sand to myself. It’s my public shaming, to motivate a better work ethic and the completion of this project. I have taken the triptych panels down from the drying rack and laid them out on the table. This week, I will get back to work on them and follow up with my friend. Hopefully she doesn’t think I’m a huge jerk.
I will post the completed project when it is ready to ship.
#LibertasAmericanaArt #Americana #LibertyArt
Frances Byrd is a stay-at-home mom, community volunteer, and artist. She loves all things old, living in the country and keeping chickens.