This weekend was a true “paint-a-thon” at my house. I haven’t posted here since I was accepted to the UNplaza Art Fair (sorry for that, in case you missed me!) so I suppose I have a lot to catch you up on.
I love Kansas City. I’ve lived in the Greater KC area most of my life, and I honestly didn’t realize just how much I loved it until I moved away after college. I’m still close enough that I visit there often, but there’s nothing quite like living there. My favorite time of year in Kansas City is
fall festival season. I live for the local art fairs. My favorite is the UNplaza Art Fair, held the second to last weekend of September each year. Every year my family and I walk the church grounds where the fair is held and I tell my husband “Someday I’m going to be here. Not just shopping, but showcasing. I am going to be in the UNplaza Art Fair before I die.” Each year I’m really excited about it, and then I don’t think about it again until the following September.
This year has been hard. I have had more struggles than I’d like to remember and I’ve lost a number of friends. I’ve been through ups and downs and a lot of self discovery. Somewhere in there I mentioned to my hubby that I had been on the UNplaza website looking at their application requirements. We talked about it (I don’t think I was all that serious) and we moved on with our lives. Then the application deadline got closer. And closer. And closer. He would mention it and I would entertain his encouragement but knew deep down that they wouldn’t want me. I think that thought was comforting to me. I applied . I took a shot in the dark, banking on the fact that they would send me my rejection letter and I could show my husband that he’s the only one who thinks I’m that good after all. But they didn’t. One one of my very darkest days in July, my husband came home from work to find me still in my pajamas, sitting on the couch, the house a disaster and our son still half naked from his nap. He had grabbed the mail on his way in and held a large envelope addressed to me in his hands. He hesitated to hand it to me, but I think he assumed they would have sent a much smaller letter if they were rejecting me. I barely had the envelope torn open when I read the first line. I had been accepted. They wanted me there. THEY WANTED ME THERE. I bawled my eyes out. First because I was so happy that they had liked what they saw, and then because I was scared to death. That fear has never disappeared.
Fast forward to now. It’s been two months since I was accepted, and they have been an incredibly trying two months. I’ve been through a lot medically and even more emotionally. Now please don’t get me wrong. I am incredibly blessed, and all things considered, I am in a really good place. I’ve just been feeling a little more weak than usual. But this show makes my top-five-most-important-evens-in-my-life list. And I’ve been ignoring it because I’m so scared. Well, no more ignoring for me!
I talked to my brother on Friday. He’s always so encouraging to me. He is one of the greatest artists I’ve ever known. I was discussing my fears with him, and how I wasn’t sure I belonged at a true “art fair” because I have a hard time taking my art very seriously. I told him I thought I would be so much more comfortable at a craft-type fair. He then asked me, “what do you think the difference is between “art” and “craft”?” I hadn’t ever thought about it in the sense of defining them separately. I thought for a moment and he offered his take. He said that craft has more to do with an end product. You can find a project on Pinterest and head to the store, pick up the supplies, set to work, and have an end product. But art is different. In Keith’s words: art is exploration. Art isn’t so much about the end product as it is about how you got there.
So it clicked at about 4:00 this morning. I was finishing a painting and I realized that I didn’t really care so much about the painting as I did about how I felt at that moment. I took a step back and thought about where I was two months ago when I first received that letter. I thought about all the days I haven’t wanted to get out of bed since that day. I thought about all of the struggles I’ve been through this year, and I realized, while this year has truly been a tough one, it has been beautiful. I have made a great exploration and I am ever changing… as is the art all around us.