The last brush stroke on the last painting headed for an exhibition of my newest work. 27 hours before the exhibition opens. The gallery hosting the exhibition is 390 km/235 miles from here. You can’t ask for finer cutting than that.
In January of this year I began an association with the Assiniboia Gallery in Regina, SK. I’m really happy with it. Late that month the gallery invited me to participate in an exhibition that will introduce three artists newly represented there, of which I’m one. Also happy. Welcoming BIGOUDI, MIKE KEEPNESS, and LAUREEN MARCHAND. New Artists, New Work. The exhibition invitation is lovely.
The first paintings were so slow. A new light, a new colour, a different look at my subject. Sometimes I’d spend three days painting a leaf. Eventually it got a little faster. I waited for easier to arrive as well. It didn’t.
This is an odd job. You’re your own boss. No one to report to. No one to tell you when you’re doing it right, either. Or wrong. Or how to do it better. You set your own hours. Lots of them. You conceptualize, produce, construct, manage, plan, promote, cook the meals and wash the bottles. You make things that never existed before, on deadline. You never for a minute feel like you know how.
Eventually, and maybe inevitably, given the long shifts you’re working and the isolation that goes with them, you lose perspective. Perhaps a little madness sets in. You feel alone in a strange land. Lost. Even frightened. Sometimes you feel as though you must be missing a layer of skin. You wish for understanding. Help. Something to make this end. You could stop, I guess. But you promised, and your word is all you are.
Then, all of a sudden, you’re done. The last brush stroke on the last painting, 27 hours before the exhibition opens. I can’t tell you how different I feel. It was immediate. I’m in love with the light on my dusty house, the stray cats in the street, everyone I know. The tiredness that’s been dragging along with me for three weeks? Gone. Uncertainty? Gone. Who was that crazy person? She’s gone too.
The sunny, sane person who has taken her place, even if just until next time, is going to a party. Friday, April 24, 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. at the Assiniboia Gallery in Regina, Saskatchewan. Won’t you join me there if you can?
New Artists, New Work, at the Assiniboia Gallery in Regina, Saskatchewan, opening April 24. I’ll be there for the reception. Please do drop by and say hello!
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