Thursday, 30 May 2013

I've resisted posting anything about my submission to the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition because I wanted to see what the final outcome would be. I embarked on this venture with a lot of trepidation as I've never felt my drawing was good enough to enter competitions like this. This feeling was reinforced when the picture framer kept telling me I shouldn't expect to get selected.

I was therefore more than thrilled when I got the letter from the RA to say my drawings had been short-listed. It was the most amazing feeling and I still can't believe it happened. I then had to wait 3 weeks before hearing whether I had been successful. I must admit that although it was an anxious time it was also great to have 3 weeks in which to revel in my achievement of being short-listed. I still didn't think I would get selected but with friends telling me my drawings are great and I should be more positive I started to think that maybe I could be successful, and maybe my life was about to change forever.

I got the letter on 25 May, when I got back from meeting Jane at the RA where she was collecting her paintings. When I saw the letter in the postbox I somehow knew it was a rejection, and sure enough it was. I felt disappointed but not surprised, but by later in the day I had got really down about it. I had that glimmer of hope but it was taken away from me and I spent the evening getting even more down. By the next morning I wanted to find out what others have said about being in this situation and found a number of really helpful and positive blogs which helped turn me around.

I was able to focus again on the fact that I had been short-listed by the RA - an amazing achievement - and came to realise that there is a positive side to being rejected. By submitting my drawings I was taking a major step towards taking my drawing seriously. Artists everywhere get rejected many times and they would never achieve any form of recognition or success if they didn't submit to this and learn to accept it as part of the process.

I'm now feeling much more positive. I've completed a new drawing (of Reuben) and started one of Spike. I'm going to submit some drawings to one or two competitions coming up, knowing that next time rejection wont be such an issue. I'm so grateful to Jane for pushing me into submitting to the RA and determined not to let it stop there. It may be a bit of a cliche, but when Theodore Roosevelt said "It is hard to fail, but it is worse never to have tried", he got it right!

Sunday, 24 March 2013

Back from my trip to San Francisco where I had a great time at the St Patrick's Day Parade. The atmosphere was brilliant... all the music, marching bands, everyone having a fun time. San Francisco really knows how to do a parade. There were thousands of people taking part and tens of thousands lining the route. I've never seen so many floats and participants in a parade - it took over 2 hours for them all to get to the Civic Center Plaza. I went into the city to do one of the stairway walks but it was such a lovely warm sunny day and the road was closed to traffic so I decided to stay and see what the parade was like. Once it started I was hooked and never made it to Corona Heights for the walk - I did it on Sunday instead. It was tiring being at all the business meetings while I was at HQ but worth it for the opportunity to spend time in the city and be part of this special parade. Lots of photos to come!

Decided to abandon the daily "random act of kindness' - I'll stick with trying to do as many acts of kindness as I can without having the pressure of trying to do it every day. It's really hard when you lead a solitary life as I do. I work at home all day and only go out to the pool and to take the dogs for a walk in the morning so acts of kindness end up with me spending money.... I'll run out of money by the end of the year!

Finalised my "business cards" for red snapper bags. I'll give some to Becky at Ruby Reds so she can hand them out to her clients. I don't expect to get any sales but you never know. Etsy hasn't produced anything so I might as well try another route. I went for black background with different coloured buttons which I could include with any bags I sell and match the card to the colour of the bags.

Thursday, 21 February 2013

I got my drawings from the picture framer today. They look really nice but it was obvious from the way he spoke that he didn't think my drawings were good enough - he even said they weren't sharp enough. I'm not expecting to have either of them chosen, I just feel that if I'm going to keep drawing and want to improve I need to take it more seriously and do it more often. Entering them for the RA Summer Exhibition is my first attempt to shift into the more serious realms. But I have to say that his comments really knocked me back. It was a bit of a "wake-up call" that actually I'm not that good. I've always felt this myself, or at least felt that whilst I might be quite good at copying I don't have enough creative and technical skills to call myself an artist. Hearing someone with an artistic background keep stressing that you're unlikely to be chosen and criticise the quality of the drawing is hard to take. I'll submit both of them as I've paid the fee and the cost of the framing, but now I'm seriously thinking I should give up on the drawing and accept that I'm just mediocre.

Couldn't find any random act of kindness to do either, so bit of a miserable day all round. Not feeling much like making shortbread for the dustmen!

Wednesday, 20 February 2013

I heard an item on the radio on Saturday where a woman was talking about her experience of embarking on random acts of kindness and one of the things that stuck in my mind was that she said she found the first 2 weeks really difficult. So I'm not surprised to find that less than a week in I'm already struggling.

I spend a lot of time working in isolation which I know means it's going to be hard to carry out spontaneous and random acts of kindness, but yesterday I had to go into the office and thought this would create some good opportunities, but it didn't. I could have paid for the coffee for the person behind me in the queue in the restaurant but I know he is very right-wing so there was no way I was going to buy his coffee! So I went to bed with a feeling of failure. At this point I'm thinking that I could end up incurring lots of expenditure over the next 12 months, as the easiest way to find acts of kindness involve me spending money. I'm going to try and stay positive - it is, after all, meant to be a positive process. Maybe the fact that I got a 25 pound win on the premium bonds at the weekend is a sign that I'm on the right track.

Still not sure what to do today, but I think I might make some shortbread tomorrow night to give to the dustmen on Friday.

Thinking about Jane who had her eye surgery on Tuesday, and hoping she is coping OK.

Tuesday, 19 February 2013

I can't believe how long it's been since I wrote in my blog.... so much has happened over the years since that last post... all good!

I'm back because I want to record a new challenge I've set myself: to do random acts of kindness for as many days as I can over the coming year. I have a feeling I wont manage every day but I'm not going to let that stop me.

I started on Saturday, 16 February but only now decided to record the acts on my blog. Here's my first acts"

Tuesday, 19 February: bought a copy of "Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain from Amazon and had them ship it to Jane who is scheduled for eye surgery today.

Monday, 18 February: Sent a card with a photo of San Francisco fog to Jane Howard. I met Jane a few weeks ago when I was in Nevis. She's a friend of the person who let me sleep in her spare room while I was visiting Penny in the house opposite.... long and complex story! It turns out that Jane lives in Woodford Green, just a stone's throw from where I grew up; she has connections with San Francisco (through her son) and she did an art degree at Central St Martins. We got on really well and met up again on Saturday, 16 February at the National Portrait Gallery for the Man Ray exhibition. She's persuaded me to submit a couple of drawings to the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition. I'm not sure about it but have committed to doing it as long as she does the same. Hopefully she will be well enough after the eye surgery she has to have to produce something in time.

Sunday, 17 February: a jogger dropped a £5 note when he ran past me. I could have just picked it up but instead I shouted at him and kept shouting but he didn't respond. So I kept the £5 and gave a donation to an animal charity.

Saturday, 16 February: gave the guy selling Big Issue an additional 2.50 for the magazine. It was a really interesting edition so I got my payback straight away.