Don’t Stop

If things went as planned I would have a variety of paintings hanging in a quaint cafe in the scenic and touristy hills of Litchfield, Connecticut at this very moment.  But how often do things go as planned? From the smallest task at home to the family vacation, things change constantly. When they do you need to be able to roll with the changes. Don’t take them to much to heart or too personally. Often they have nothing to do with you but with the world at large.

I went to this cafe a few weeks ago.  I went with a camera, a notebook and tape measure to take a closer look at the space and see what paintings I might be able to hang where. I talked to some of the women I knew who worked at the cafe and asked some general questions about hanging the work and how other artists had promoted themselves.

I sat down later that day and began the planning of the show. I would need to do a few new things but I had time. An idea that had been rolling around in my head became more clear. I envisioned a pair of dual paintings sharing the space on opposite sides of a window that overlooked the small stream and waterfall below. It was all new and was starting to feel real. I sent the owner an email ( she was not at the cafe when I stopped in) explaining how many pieces I thought I could show and asking what time of day I should hang the show. I sent off my email and got to work.

I want to say almost a week passed before I heard back from her. It didn’t concern me because my questions were simple and there was more than a week until the first of May. I was working among three different paintings and had all the prep work done for the dual paintings I wanted to do next. I got up that Thursday morning and found this in my inbox:

I’m sorry, plans have changed.  My daughter is taking over (the cafe) and she does not want to continue with what I have done with the art work.  I will keep your name and number should she change her mind.  Again, I’m sorry and wish you  well with your work.


That was April 25th. Six days before I was supposed to hang the show. I was stunned. Stunned to the point where I literally sat in front of my computer for a good ten minutes unable to fully process what had happened. The fog lifted and I wrote her back thanking her for the opportunity and that I would be in the area coming up anyway and drop off some business cards in case her daughter changed her mind. I had another connection I planned to see after this show had been set so I contacted them trying to keep some kind of momentum going. As it turned out that connection wasn’t going to work out either. It was  business and not personal, it was changes in venues and businesses practices not a reflection on my work.

The one thing I did let happen was I let it stop me from continuing on the work I had been so excited about. The painting sat on the easel untouched, the dual painting idea became an afterthought and I let disappointment disrupt my momentum.

I’ve learned since that point letting something  like that happen is a terrible habit to fall into. Less than a week later I had other people contact me about future opportunities of the “sooner rather than later” variety.  The very first venue that agreed to show my work had a wait of over a year and even this cancelled show was a wait of several months meanwhile new opportunities could be weeks away.

So I have tried to learn to look at the bigger picture. If something falls through don’t let it  stop you from continuing to pursue your passions and ideas. This is the ultimate definition of  “Luck is the combination of preparation and opportunity”. The opportunities were presenting themselves I just need to be better prepared for them.

Lesson Learned. Don’t Stop. and when you wake up in the morning get dressed, even if you don’t plan on leaving the house. Sitting around in your pajamas doesn’t bode well for conquering the day.



About asskickinjim

Painter, Illustrator and cartoonist on a journey to find out how art fits into his life
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2 Responses to Don’t Stop

  1. Thank you for posting this.

    I can’t tell you how many projects I have started but never finished, and I can only wonder how much more I could put out if I finished everything to my satisfaction.

  2. dougcondon says:

    Don’t let a minor setback get you down AKJ! Keep painting and everything else will work itself out!

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