Nov 5, 2008

Unfolding wings . . .

(November 12 edit to post - I've changed the playlist since this post so the music doesn't fit anymore. Sorry about that! Drops of Jupiter and Calling All Angels are by Train if you want to look them up on playlist - two of my favorite songs.)

Okay, hope you have the music up as you read this - either of the first two songs on the playlist. I'm listening as I write this. In fact, I think I'll loop it so it keeps playing over and over for a day or two. Drops of Jupiter brings so many images to me, so many "looking for myself out there" feelings I wish I could recreate in my art or in these words I'm writing, ya know? And in Calling All Angels, I know all about the sign thing. I've needed more signs than anyone should ever ask for. These songs are kind of celebratory, kind of encouraging to me.

So, I'm fighting back some serious tears of joy today (cue emotional lyrics to music). Those of you who know me will chalk it up to my haywire 42 year old premenopausal hormones. But this is real, genuine, true blue. Those of you who don't know me will probably think I am downright crazy and overemotional. I'm not really - it's just that I've been trying to take things in stride and focus on reality and not hope too much. But you know how things pile up, little things suddenly add up to something bigger than you planned on? Just one more little success today has melted me, has made me realize it may just be my time, MY time to unfold these old wings and fly with 'em.

If you've read my blog much or you know me as a friend, you already know I don't have a lot of confidence in anything. I do at times, but then I revert to being the queen of self doubt and pessimism. I fold the wings back up and crawl back in the coccoon - keep it safe, don't dream too much, just get on with the boring details of life and be happy with that. Well, if you have followed and continue to follow this blog, you will see a dream unfold - an old one, one taken out and dusted off and put back on the shelf in the coccoon a million times. It's unfolding today right now right before your eyes. My husband has taken that dream off the shelf and dusted it off for me so many times when I couldn't muster the guts to do it myself. My dream is unfolding one little bit at a time and for the first time in my life I am determined to keep it off the shelf and out of the coccoon - okay maybe hanging on a nail on the outside, nearby, but no more dusting it off. "I won't give up". I won't this time. (cue husband tears when he reads this)

So, what's this all about? Well, it won't be a big deal to you but here it is . . . I met my husband when I was getting my BFA in graphic design. He fell in love with me but he fell in love with the idea of me being an artist too. I let him down there for most of our 20 years together. I just never tried. I just never believed I could do anything more than regurgitate art history now and then, appreciate some pieces in a museum or gallery we wandered into, or slap together a good layout should a job or situation arise for me to do so. Every now and then, Kent (my husband) would bring out that dream and say "look, you can do this, you did this once, you can do this, I belive you can, I know you can" - FOR 20 YEARS HE HAS DONE THIS FOR ME always followd up with me putting it neatly back on the shelf because "I can't possibly do this now, I have to do this or this or this or this mundane chore in life". I finally found a safe compromise, teaching art. I did that for a long time and I was good enough at it that I was approached to publish my lessons, but I put that dream on the shelf next to the other one, the one about me making my own art. Scoff! Publish my work, who would want to do that, you silly silly people? Now, two dreams neatly lined up on the shelf. Then a crazy thing called life suddenly created an opportunity for me to ONLY make art, an opportunity I had no excuse to get out of. GASP! And this time, my husband recruited our teenage children and his mom to help him take this now very big heavy dream off the shelf and place it neatly in my preverbial lap. This happened about 3 months ago. "Okay, I'll prove to you I CAN'T do this, this dream I thought I had once and you have carried for me for so long for no good reason. I'll give it my best shot and you will see I'm not good enough to make it ever come true."

Several weeks ago a very lovely and talented lady that I respected and admired a great deal took the time to comment me and then regularly encouraged me. Was she in my husband's army? Was this real? I was so thrilled and then so "well, that's just one person out there that happens to be very gracious and generous".

Then, three weeks ago, I found out I had a couple of pieces (which I honestly consider very lame) published in Somerset Studio. These were calligraphy pieces I did just as an exercise in learning the ropes of submitting work. Never in a million years did I think they would get published. I used to teach beginning calligraphy and was the Governor of South Dakota's Calligrapher while I was still in high school but I haven't used calligraphy in nearly 20 years either - I was rusty and I think my work stunk. But, it was a goal that I committed to that I would get something published this year. And if dang if it didn't happen. It was the ONLY goal I had. Okay, when the magazine arrived it was the first time we cried, my husband and I together, jumping up and down. The first sign that maybe this is where I am supposed to be and what I'm supposed to be doing. "I'll keep trying then . . ."

An old college friend of my husband's stopped by the next day, husband takes dream off of shelf and shows it off to old college friend, and old college friend loves my fairies. Who'd a thought? Wow. A real potential customer. He wants me to use pictures of his daughters and make some for him. Okay, that's a good thing. "I'll keep trying then . . ." Next, in Las Vegas I showed the rest of my family my work to date. Very scarey and intimidating. I had an idea going in how it would be recieved and I was right, queen of pessimism wins. A few "uhuh's", "very nice's", and "who would buy this though". At virtually the same time, just last week, "gracious lady" gives me quite a commercial on her blog - a big woohoo for me! She has a big audience and is so inspiring to me in her writing and eye that sees all things beautiful. This is real. It's happening despite the rest of my family trying to put dream firmly back on shelf. "Gracious lady" hands dream back to me. But again, queen of pessimism returns again all too soon when I realize gracious commerical generated one comment (one that I am so glad I got cuz I met another cool friend Miss Cha Cha) on her blog and one comment on mine. "I guess there just isn't much of an audience for this kind of work" "Ahah! I was right, I can't do this, no one's into this" I think.

But for some dang reason, I kept working anyway. I worked with an enormous can't-think-of-a-thing-creative wall in front of me. I kept working mainly because of husband wrestling dream out of my hands and refusing to let me put it on shelf again. I would ask him over and over "if you didn't love me or know me and you saw my work would you REALLY at least go up and take a closer look?" "Yes, I would. I promise. Keep working."

Then TODAY happened! Today, another gracious lady commented, emailed and linked me! This lady is an artist who created the first altered art blog (really the first blog of any kind) I ever looked at. She doesn't know any of this. I never had the guts to comment or contact her. She was the first real working altered art artist that drew me in - made me want to take a long hard look at art again, what was happening in art now, art I wanted to do for me, not just research for art lesson material. I bookmarked her and went back to visit again and again over the last year. Then I started looking at the blogs she looked at, the ones linked in her blog links. I started devouring everything and just kept opening the lid on that dream on the shelf and stuffing more things in. Today, I (ME!) am in her blog links! This means more to me than the Somerset publication, this little nod, this little acknowledgement unfolded wings today. Who gets to do this? And the best part, she had no idea. That little random act of kindness to take a moment and comment and then email left a big impact on someone "looking for a sign".

A call to husband, more tears together. (wait til he reads this . . .)

"Look honey, I am flying! I AM FLYING!"

Thank you, my Kentboy, for keeping the dream alive and dusted off for 20 long years. This is for you. Finally, I can give back to you what you've given me over and over . . . dreams do come true.

So, now you know why there are almost always wings in my work. I want to fly and I want the people (long gone from this earth in some cases) in my art, the people that once had a dream that may have stayed on the shelf to fly too.

Do you want to know the honest true dream I have at this point? If can make the art that I want to make and bring in $3 to $4,000.00 a year, I will be happy. I will have unfolded my dream all the way. I used to say I just want to break even, but I am learning to dream bigger! Thank you, Kent, Linda, and Linda.


stampsalot87 said...

See, you are finally realizing what we all knew. You have talent!

Tumble Fish Studio said...

Thank you, Stamps, really. It means a lot, more than you know.

Linda M. Cain said...

You made me cry! Check out my blog.

Linda Summerfield said...

Dear Marsha,
If I had a kernel of your talent I would be the most confident, successful artist!
We can't all be wrong about your talent, it's time to accept what you've got. You've got a wonderful husband too.

Jill said...

It's all about what the energy you send out into the universe, isn't it?? The good Karma stuff helps too (lol)....

I love your playlist...had it on loud last night and DS told me to turn it down.

Anonymous said...

you are F.A.B.U.L.O.U.S!!!! i LOVE your style! thank you for sharing your talent with us!

Tumble Fish Studio said...

I am truly overwhelmed tonight. Linda Cr., you have far more talent than me and I admire you every day. Linda Ca., you made my hubby cry again, even after reading my post. You left a mark on the world. Jill, you were the first approachable artist for me - you were so sweet and giving and I've told you before that you turned things around for me - you were a real example. Anonymous, I wish I knew who you were, but I love you anyway!

Linda Ca., I am so curious to find out how you found me. Care to share? I thought I had about 5 visitors including my dear husband.

Have a great night everyone! Thanks for being part of my little dream!

Tace said...

Ms.Tumble Fish Studios, Doubt is a funny thing, I for one have NO doubt how talented you are as I see the evidence everywhere. Your art, your humor and your written words. That's Multi-talented, even better than talented!
I actually can relate to some of the things you wrote about, especially when you said you asked your husband if he didn't know you would he still look at your stuff. Oh my, how many times have I said something similar to my own. Usually mine is a variation of "Does this look weird? Is it too weird? I was going for weird, but not weeeeird, okie if it's not weird am I going to make a fool of myself if I show it to any one but you? Are you sure? For real? For reaaalllllly real?" and then usually we laugh because I realize what I'm doing, It's like I'm trying to verbally trip my husband up and gain some bit of truth that doesn't exist. Crafty people can get a little wacky, it's what makes us art-tastic I think.
I wish you super duper congratulations with sprinkles on top. It sounds like you are doing amazing, publications, blog buzz, linkage etc. Very cool.
Sometimes if I get a little doubtful of what I'm doing I go back to the beginnings, which is even if I weren't selling would doing it make me happy? Dang right it would. So if I'm making me happy, and my husband happy everything else is gravvvvvvvvy.
I hope you're enjoying your gravy. :)

Linda Summerfield said...

P.S. I just reread your post and I have to let you know that the number of comments left for you on my blog is not a reflection on you or your work. I have noticed people leave messages only if I show food!

Oz said...

Wish I was better at this blogging thing. We are so very proud of you. And like others have said. You are just now realizing what we have known since we met you. Keep it up and just have fun. The rest will come. Love you

di from di-did-it said...

Just "met" you a little over two weeks ago and am soooo glad I did. May you see what we see in you and gain confidence from it. Enjoy!

Becky Brown said...

Oh, dear friend. This post brought tears to my eyes. Sometimes there's nothing scarier than having everything you ever dared dream of within your reach.

You are never a disappointment to the people who love you, even if they have to help you dust off that dream a gazillion and one times. Everyone wants to see you happy, and everyone wants you to succeed. Have faith in the universe taking care of you, and have faith in you. Everyone else does.

Take care!

Tumble Fish Studio said...

Thank you Di, Cha Cha and Oz! You are too good to me!

just Patty Anne said...

I wasn't going to leave ANY comments on any of this until AFTER everything... but darn it. I'm all teared up here. I've got Train playing on the stereo... but I swear I hear the Rocky theme playing in there too... and there you are running up those steps with 2 fish gripped in your hands - Triumphantly Flying High! So, I'm a year and a half late cheering you on, better late than... what? Gonna fly nooowww.... fllyyyyyyyyyyy...