There comes a time when you must finally be who you really are.
It was long overdue. After more than 20 years of painting and being shy about showing my work, I went all in. The 2014 Lake Country ArtWalk on September 6th and 7th served as my coming-out-as-a-fine-artist party. But even though I worked very hard to prepare for this annual juried event—the largest of its kind in the British Columbia Interior—I have far more people than myself to thank for getting me there.
My beautiful, kind, encouraging wife is really the number one reason I’ve stopped hiding my work. Her emotional support has been huge. Without her, I fear I might have never walked through this door.
My incredible family and friends also deserve my sincerest gratitude. My mom, her partner, and my sister—the three other most important women in my life—came up from Colorado to be my minions and extra support. They made the weekend more special than I could have imagined.
Of course, the other artists were amazing. But I want to give an especially heartfelt thank you to the talented and delightful Nikki Balfour for her friendliness and generosity. Maud Besson, another gifted painter, was a true gem to meet. And I appreciated the warmth and genuine care from Noëlle Nadeau, Michael Sime, and Norbert Spyth.
Then there were all of the people who stopped by my booth. Many of them I knew—from kickass coworkers (both former and existing) to badass friends to loving family. Sharing my art with them in person lifted my soul. And the hundreds of other people I’d never met before—who viewed my work (sometimes three times!), gave me positive and thoughtful comments, or simply smiled or winked with enthusiasm—left me with an intense rush of confidence and newfound inspiration. (The sales I got didn’t hurt either.)
All in all, ArtWalk was an experience I won’t soon forget. From the tireless volunteers to the Okanagan artists to the thousands of energetic art lovers from all over BC and other places, it was the people which made this an exhibition that I look forward to participating in again.
Next up for me: A Night of a Thousand Lights at Kelowna’s Artisan House, September 25th, 26th, and 27th from 7pm to 11pm. Admission is only a $5 donation. Why not come say hi and see a bunch of colorful work from 40 artists under bright lights?
I also have a piece on display at the Lake Country Art Gallery until October 3, 2014 as part of the theme exhibition, A Step Forward. Many thanks to Katie Brennan.