It always feels a little awkward putting your work on display in a public space. I am working on it, and Instagram and my blog have been a really warm and supportive place to do this - but to be honest I still find it difficult.
Putting your work on display in any form does invite opinions, and not everyone is going to like it. That's expected, but that doesn't make it easy. People not loving your work is kind of like someone telling you that they don't like your hairstyle. Mostly when someone tells you this, you want to tell them a thing or two about opinions - but at the end of the day there's not a lot you can do about it. There is probably not a lot you should do about it. If you like your hair style, what else matters? Some day you might look back and wish that you'd never grown back your fringe for those few years but you were trying something new right? Good on you.
So I went a little overboard with my hair analogy, but the point I was originally trying to make is that putting your work up on display makes you feel vulnerable.
Sometimes my insecurities around this get so extreme that when people tell me they like my work I assume they're lying. Or perhaps they don't hate it but they're only telling me they like it to be nice. I admitted this to a friend recently and she promptly told me I was an idiot and if she didn't like my work she'd talk to me about the weather, not blow smoke up my ass. It was a refreshing conversation. It probably takes a lot of effort to be bothered lying to someone and when I think about it none of my friends or family would sit on their true feelings- about my artwork or my hair. Me privately second guessing them on this seems pretty bloody rude in that light.
Last week I sold a few pieces, and this means a lot to me for a few reasons. Firstly; I use these small sales to buy supplies. This means I can keep buying the materials I need to make my bigger pieces. My oil paintings take me months to finish and if I'm waiting to put them all together in one show, sometimes this means going all year without an income.
It also means I get to donate some money to a charity. Yey !
So, today I want to say a big thank you. To every person who has told me that they like my work, every person who came along to a show, liked an Instagram post, and especially those who have bought my work. I appreciate it, I am not second guessing it and it genuinely means the world to me.