How does an artist determine success? Sales? Critical acclaim? Or is it something deeper.
Americans are taught to believe that success is measured in monetary terms. If finance is the scale by which we measure, my exhibit was not a great success. I sold a painting during the show and one before the exhibit opened. A disappointment surely, but much better than not selling.
I received a fair amount of media coverage. There was a nice mention in the Providence Journal with a photograph of one of my favorite paintings, Summer Shadows. There was a wonderful quote in the Providence Business News – they called my paintings psychotropic – a word never before used to describe my work. I also had coverage in the RISD XYZ alumni online news and lots of great feedback from friends and colleagues.
And yet, the aftermath of an exhibit is always a letdown, a depression seeking missile that follows me around for weeks. Until I come up for air, breathe deeply and realize I am proud of my paintings. I spent 4 years making those paintings and each and everyone represents a part of me. I paint for myself, as so many others do. If I never achieve painting stardom, so be it.
When I am in my studio in front of my paintings, I am both content and challenged, happy and energized. I work for myself and I work to make both myself and my paintings better. If at the end of the day, things are indeed better, then I have succeeded.