12x16 oil on stretched canvas
8x10 oil on canvas panel
Usually I'm giddy with joy at being here at the gallery and painting. Today's been hard. The changes in my life at home had me explaining "allergies" when visitors came in to find me sniffling. This afternoon a fellow came in saying he was on a scavenger hunt and needed to find someone to "paint his picture". (Meaning, 'free'.) Huh? I said I'd like to help but I was under lots of deadlines to get portraits done by Christmas. He persisted. He wheedled. I kept declining. He insisted. I finally said, quietly, "I said no." He turned on me then , leaving the gallery, half-shouting, "I'm telling everyone about you!" Huh?
Then an artist from another gallery came in and started critiquing the portrait I was working on. I didn't agree with her suggestion, but was polite and kept doing what I was doing. Then a visitor walked in and she asked, "Can I tell you another thing you should do?" I said, "No." Not taking no, she said, "It'd be a quick fix..." At that point, I told her not to do that in front of my customers and that I'd talk to her later, but "bah-bye now." It's wise that she left at that point.
Two people in a row who felt they could force me to do something I didn't want to do? What is it, my hair? Do curls indicate malleablity? My 60's African dashiki shirt? My initial politeness?
But then, soon afterward, two artists from the gallery next door came in and made me laugh and shared art stories and left me reassured that the world hadn't gone completely rude or hostile. Shortly following, someone bought one of my paintings to give as a gift. Nice.
Life is good. I've got lots of work, a home, family. A promising president elect. And most days aren't so hard.
by Susan Carlin on 11/14/2008