I signed myself up for an art show. Yes, I did. It's not a juried show, there aren't any criteria to submit a piece (just has to be art, yo), there's no fees, no prizes. It's a community effort that has developed a really good reputation over the years. But--I SIGNED MYSELF UP FOR AN ART SHOW HOLY SHIT!
This was at Kevin's recommendation/behest/push, which made me realize that he sees what I do as art. That's a level of recognition on his part that gratified me very much. Usually when I show him something I've finished, he says "That's nice, honey," or some variation thereon, which leaves me feeling like a kindergartner showing Daddy a stick figure drawing. His insistence that I get something in the show For Reals really surprised me.
Now all I have to do is get myself to see my work as Art For Reals.
I re-realized this when I posted the pic of the finished face of my wood doll. I looked at her and thought, "This is nothing special. It's just crafts, it's not art. All my drawn faces look the same. I don't know why I thought I could make it look good. I should just delete this post before anyone sees it and forget about it."
Now, I know that all artists and artisans do this to themselves, but that can't trivialize that *I* felt it, and felt it deep. When people tell me I'm talented, I always shrug it off as mere politeness. Every time I write my occupation as "artist" I cringe inside. WTF do I think I'm doing?!? ("Author" or "writer" don't make me feel like I'm an impostor-- after three or four successful novels, I've internalized that one confidently).
The hell of it is that I can actually see that there are things I do very well. If you catch me in the right mood, I'll tell you that I'm one of the best hand embroiderers in the country. My penmanship is not only clearly legible but also aesthetically pleasing. I can eyeball small measurements accurately. I read really fast with superior comprehension. I can write an essay an hour before it's due and it will, in fact, be quite good. For that matter, I can teach a good class as a substitute with only a few minutes' notification. I have a recognizable style and "hand": my faces don't in fact all look alike, but they are clearly my work.
But that's all technical stuff, or just "I've been doing this for 40 years so of course I'm skilled" stuff. But artist? Nah. Never thought of myself as a no-shit ARTIST.
Today I took a deep breath, got my mojo in place, leapt before looking, and signed myself up for an art show. You know what that means?
It means I'm an artist. For Reals.