Success or Failure? Afterthoughts of an Art Exhibit

Last week I had the privilege of exhibiting my work along with 54 other artists in a local art event for the second time. This is an annual event, so it was my second year to experience old and new things. Here is one of many lessons I learned:

– Have an open mindset

I’ll be honest, last year’s first exhibit went well. I remember being extremely nervous as I hung the paintings, wrote out the title cards and went back and forth to Home Depot trying to figure out exactly what kind of bulb to use. ‘If just one paintings sells, that’s enough for me,’ I thought as the viewers came in over the next three days. Besides selling several pieces, I also made connections with people who impact me to this day.

Huge success.

This year, however, I exhibited in the hopes of going beyond what I financially made in last year’s show. In my mind, success meant making more than I did the first time. This was an unwise expectation, as I had been told by professional artists that some years are better than others, there are lean and fruitful time periods, and that I should plan accordingly. Because I had an unrealistic mindset, I was sorely disappointed by the event’s results. Even with the new connections I made, it took a whole day for me to mentally come to terms with my damaged pride and accept the humble facts. I did not make as much.

Was this a failure?

Perhaps so, but it’s because I chose a limiting mindset. If I had exhibited with last year’s perspective, I would’ve been very encouraged and inspired by what happened. I met new artists whose lives and works blew me away! Being in company with such people should have been a huge boost. Instead, I focused on the money instead of the people, and that choice invited a stream of negative thoughts and feelings to supersede as I packed up my belongings and headed home.

Please learn from my mistake.

Don’t limit yourself.

Do anticipate the unexpected, the unknown, and the miraculous. Come what may.

Here’s to your success.