I am excited, exhausted and exhilarated. I am literally awestruck by all that has happened in the year and a half since I quit my corporate gig. The most amazing thing is the way my paintings are being received by friends and strangers. I returned to the love of my life last October and I have had work in three exhibitions to date. Wow!
Three months after I started painting again I was sitting next to a young woman at services and we started talking about art. I, of course, whipped out my Android to show her my work. She not only was highly complementary, she suggested I submit my work for exhibition at Unity Temple on the Plaza. I spoke to my instructor, friend, and mentor, Michael Molick, and we jointly submitted our work. Unity kindly offered us their gallery for the month of July.
Do you have any idea how far away July sounds in January? Do you have any idea of how quickly July actually arrives? I don’t know if it’s normal for everyone, but Michael and I were rushing around the entire day of setting up the show. We kept looking at each other and reminding ourselves that we’d had six months to prepare.
Despite the last minute scrambling, the show is up and looks lovely. Michael and I are showing our individual and collaborative paintings in the gallery at Unity this month. Our official opening had so much energy it brought rain and tornadoes to the area. Despite that, a number of friends and family braved the weather to show their support. In what I can only attribute to an effort to talk over the storm, we were making so much noise we were shushed by a group having services in the chapel next to the gallery. No one will be surprised to know that this only led to more hilarity. I love my friends and family and I love that they had such a good time.
In April, halfway through the process of getting together a portfolio of work, Michael urged me to submit to a show where he was exhibiting. I submitted and I had a piece accepted into the UMKC Mental Health Gallery. It was a small show, but I loved the concept. Using art to help bring awareness to mental health issues is a wonderful concept. I love helping open the window to an illness and using my work to help the light of awareness shine in. It was a great way to ease into exhibiting because I only displayed one piece.
Also in April, my friend Stacie and I were having brunch one sunny Sunday at a local diner, The Corner Restaurant. The food is superb, but the square footage is small. Seated very closely next to us was a lovely young couple. We could not help but overhear each other’s conversations, so we all started talking. Julie and Aaron are lovely people and Aaron also writes a blog, http://chasingpesto.com/. He is a talented writer and his observations always make me think.
Aaron and I exchanged websites and became friends on Facebook. He suggested I submit work for an event his best friend was working on. I submitted my paintings to RAW Kansas City and was invited to have a display at the event on July 16th. I was over the moon.
As I was getting ready for the RAW Kansas City Glimpse event last night, I, not so jokingly, referred to the show as Hot, Young Kansas City and me. The show featured work by visual artists, performing artists, poets, fashion designers and anything else you can think of that takes a creative ability and the confidence to present it. There were a lot of young artists there of every genre and I’m sure you’ll become familiar with their work in the very near future.
In case you aren’t aware, my pieces are all fingerpainted in oil using only red, blue, yellow and white. In trying to engage more people in my work, I volunteered to have an interactive finger-painting in my booth. I was very proud when I had the (self-proclaimed,) brilliant idea of having a male bride in an elaborate wedding dress and invite everyone in attendance to finger-paint on his dress using the same colors I use to paint; red, blue and yellow. A friend’s boyfriend, Gabe Brison, volunteered and absolutely knocked it out of the park. There were lines of people most of the night that were eager to add their touch to his gown. He was a lovely bride and I will always be grateful to what he brought to the event. He has some great before and after pictures on his Instagram site.
It’s curious to me how often people think the only measurement of success is when the ledger shows a profit. In my world, the success comes from the act of doing what I love to do. I have been so fortunate to have two exhibitions in the last six days. I haven’t sold any work yet, but I’m confident it’s only a matter of time.
I love what I do. I still have good days and bad days, because that’s the human condition. I also believe it’s the intention that the human condition also includes reveling in your joy. Today I am reveling in the memories of the last week. My feet are sore, my brain is numb, but I have pure joy and gratitude in my heart. Thank you feels like too weak a word, but it’s the only word my numb brain can think of. For all of you who have encouraged and supported me, thank you.
PS 1: I am currently working on my website to feature my artwork. You can trust me when I tell you I will be broadcasting it loudly once the site is up and functioning. In the meantime, you can still check out a few of my pieces on the RAW Kansas City Website: www.rawartists.org/jeanmcmguire. You can see Michael Molick’s work on his website: Michael Molick Studio and Gallery.
PS2: I am in discussion with #ClothingHasNoGender to see if we can find a good home for the wedding dress from the RAW KC exhibit. I am hoping it can be used as a fundraiser that benefits the LGBTQ community.