America's X Factor
I feel like one of the America's X Factor tryouts, just walking onto the stage and Simon says, "What is your occupation?"
"I'm an artist."
"Oh, so, are you a full time artist?"
Simon. "How long have you been painting?"
"Over twenty years."
Simon. "Hum. I wonder why after all this time, why haven't you broken through?"
I shrug my shoulders.
Simon. "And how old are you now?"
I just look at him feeling as though my soul has suddenly been impaled three times.
Simon. "Alright, then. You have two minutes to impress the judges who could change your life forever."
I just stand there, looking at him. Then the daydream is over. I'm sitting alone in my house on a farm surrounded by fields of corn with no other house in site. I look at Facebook where my works get several likes. I flip through a couple of magazines and see their monthly artist interviews, an artist sitting on the floor with canvases and brush in hand, a photo of their paintings on the wall, with paragraphs explaining their artistic visions...reminding me of some of my mag interviews when I was younger - the American Van Gogh, one of America's top rising artists, etc. And here I sit. That's about how I've been feeling the last year and why I announced I was retiring. Picking up the brush no longer brought joy but depression. I couldn't fully stop art. I did small digital works. The last two months I started psyching myself up to paint again. Everyday I would post a painting I have already done looking for signs of encouragement and occasional sale.promised Karen reminds me regularly I had promised to do a portrait of her and have two dozen photos/photoshoots from people I have asked to model and yet not done their painting. Was it yesterday, I announced I was turning to painting and even put down a date for an exhibit? And tonight, I just look at the brush unable to pick it up.
Two years ago I was awarded several honors as an artist on national levels. Yet, nothing really came from it. I think that played a big part in my retiring. I always go back to the haunting of Stephen King's words when asked how do you know you are talented. His answer was that when you created something, presented it to the world, and you received a check you could deposit and pay your bills was a sign you had talent.
Because of illness and working on other projects, writing books, I wasn't pounding the streets, doing the art shows, but staying home, posting new paintings on Facebook to give four likes. On the verge of celebrity status, making great sales, drew attention and presented "opportunities" that created a very concerned wife who has an omnipresent eye over everything, especially with me getting people to model for my feminine figures for my paintings. With these dozen factors I became secluded, no personal appearances, no answering of phones, no face to face with friends or family, only brief communications through Facebook. I'd go months without a face to face with anyone but the people at my doctor appointments. I have been sleeping an average of 1 hr. 40 minutes a night, waking from post traumatic dreams so bad I can barely walk into an unlit room. They stopped my med because of my heart fibs, that helped me focus that I am sure attributes a little role in not painting. For over a year I've not been able to read a paragraph without it literally making me comatose. My book writing stopped. When I write now I can't reread or edit because my words get scrambled and mind goes dark.
My wife will roll her eyes seeing what I've written and posted. It makes me look weak and no one wants to buy anything from a loser, but a winner. But, no one really reads this stuff....maybe one or two people.... sigh. It is therapeutic to me, otherwise I would just be sitting mindless - exactly like the time right after my accident, wheelchaired, lost everything, told never walk again and would just sit and sit unable to focus on anything until the discovery with painting I could do that non-stop, giving me peace and making me unaware of the passage of time or the constant pain of my broken bones. Painting was my only solace.... it was my only place to escape...and when I started getting attention and recognition, and seeing the effect it had on people, my self esteem rose...And for over twenty years I made my living as an artist, with every year my sales and income grew more than the year before.....
Now I find myself literally in my wheelchair except now the recliner, sitting mindlessly for hours like I did back in my recovery days before I discovered art that gave me an identity and pride. I wish I could have some electric shock therapy or something to snap me back into painting......but ... it feels almost childish to have the dream...when you are my age and how sales have slowed. My blogging has become my Van Gogh letters.
I feel better now. Hopefully Saturday and Sunday I will begin the new paintings. I want to start some new marketing plans also and get the new works shown. All these new artists are popping up with very colorful paintings. I have to break through to new levels, produce regularly, and get myself out there.
If you stop dreaming you die. I have made my mark and achieved much in the art field. Now, the new phase is on with a push to break into the highest levels I can possibly go. That means....great, breathtaking, soul searching paintings.