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You Flayed my Thin Skin, but I Still Won’t be Your Pumpkin Doll

by Kelly Shoemaker in Miscellaneous

I realize this title is pretty wild. I’ll get to that part soon, I promise! I recently participated in a big art fair. I was skeptical about doing so. Large events are not part of my comfort zone. However, the producer of the show, and a few friends of mine assured me I should do the show. So, I went for it.  I was pleasantly surprised by the number of people who had wonderful positive comments about my work. Let’s face it, this is not  mainstream stuff.
As pleased as I was about the positive comments, I was even more discouraged and hurt by several rude, negative comments. Whenever I do a show, I expect some of this. But, no matter how prepared I am, the negative stuff still hurts. A lot. I will never forget some of them. As we drove home from the show, exhausted and depressed, I told my husband I would not do any more fairs. Ever. In fact, I considered giving up my weird style of Art altogether. I toyed with the idea of painting landscapes or puppies. (Or Pumpkins with Raggedy Andy Dolls.)
That was on Saturday night. On Tuesday, I painted the piece shown here. I had a stack of old garage sale paintings in my studio, gifted to me by a friend for the purpose of re-using the canvas. I selected one that was perfect for this project, and got to work, angry and defiant. Why should I let a few rude people determine how I should express myself? I shouldn’t. I wouldn’t.
I have to admit the finished piece is not one of my favorites, but I found that when I lined up the progression photos of the process, the image was quite interesting. In this case, allowing the process to be a part of the Art made the work stronger.
Maybe I should take a lesson from my artwork. Maybe I should let negative comments make me stronger, instead of letting them defeat me. That’s something for me to think about. I am confident that my choice to keep my “weird” style, is the right one. But, I don’t think I’ll be doing any more large art shows. At least not for a while.

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