Self-Serving or Serving Others

Update on progress for the Daily Reader for Compulsive Debtors and Spenders: 262 days written!


When my Higher Power speaks, it is almost always with a sharp wit. As I’ve written in previous posts, I went down a financial rabbit hole trying to start an art business. Life became infinitely easier when I stopped short of spending any of my savings on this venture and decided enough was enough.

However, my art was still in the gallery since I had paid for three months. In fact, my husband had even contributed a bit of money when we were told we could have the prime spot in the front of the store. This was my opportunity.

So since January, I’ve sold… (Drumroll please)

Exactly nothing.

The Cloak of Invisibility

But what happened last weekend was actually comical. We had a huge street painting festival that went right by the gallery. Thousands and thousands of people walked past. My husband and I were among them.

When we walked in the shop, it was filled with people milling around. And there was my art, proudly displayed on a five tier shelf for all the world to see.

Except, and this was when I actually burst out laughing, it seemed like there was a cloak of invisibility around my art. People were everywhere EXCEPT in front of my shelf.

And that’s when I knew for sure that even with a PRG, even with the best intentions, even with prayer and meditation, even with friends, family, and strangers urging me on, selling art is not my path.

A Meeting the Voice of Reason

I do read blogs about marketing art, just because I’m $2200 in. There’s this blog I really like called “The Abundant Artist.” Cory Huff, the owner, offers a free consultation. I figured I had nothing to lose by speaking with him.

Aside from suggesting (strongly) that I not pay to be in a gallery again, he also said that I invested in this very expensive piece of machinery without knowing whether anyone actually wanted prints or cards … without even knowing who my audience was. Ugh. Yeah, sure, it’s all so obvious to me NOW.

The Crucial Question

But the best gift he gave me was to remind me that my life can no longer afford to be self-serving, that, in fact, being self-serving has NEVER served me. He asked me why I wanted to sell my art, why I wanted to present it to the world. And my response was, “to make money?” Yes, it came out as a question because that is why everyone has urged me to proceed, but even as as the words came out of my mouth, it rang false. I don’t make art to make money. I make art to soothe my soul

And in recovery, I know that, for me, money alone is not a good reason to do anything that is not for survival.

As we spoke, it became clear that art is about creating relationships. Maybe it is that way with anything. But the key was that I realized that I don’t want to sell art. I love creating the art. It is extremely healing for my body and spirit. Trying to sell the art is just agonizing and demoralizing. Not fun at all.

So I put the printer up for sale and breathed a huge sigh of relief.

For today, I have enough money. Hopefully, I’ll have a bit more if that monstrosity of a printer sells!

Helping people see the healing power of doodling is more in line with the service-oriented life I now live. I knew this for sure when yesterday, I spent all day doodling because I was on day eight of a wicked migraine and could do nothing else to soothe the pain. Today I know that the finished art is ancillary to the process.

I’m grateful for the support so freely given by so many artists whose work I adore (Teesha Moore and Pia Diem come to mind!). So maybe, down the road, I’ll write another blog that guides and supports chronically ill people who may find comfort through art. But for today, it’s enough that I have found a creative and healing outlet for myself.

How grateful I am to Cory Huff for showing me the truth that was staring me in the face all along.

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