British war-time Prime Minister Winston Churchill famously said:

"Courage is rightly esteemed the first of human qualities... because it is the quality which guarantees all others." 

It often takes a lot of courage to be an artist - not necessarily to put pen to paper or brush to canvas, but certainly to show our art to others.

We can be courageous in the subject matter we choose to portray, the materials we choose to use, the amount of exposure we give our art...

It often takes courage to show our art to friends and family in the first instance, to exhibit our art, to approach others seeking to sell our art...

As you know, The Art Colony turns 1 year old this month. I see the site as a very courageous idea, and I find it so exciting that others have come on board and supported it.

So to celebrate "our" first birthday, I invite you to share one courageous thing that you have done this year in regard to your art.

This challenge is one of 30 that is being posted during the month of June 2012 in honor of The Art Colony's 1st birthday!! We'll be posting a new challenge each day. To view all the challenges, please visit this thread:http://community.art-is-fun.com/forum/topics/join-us-for-a-month-of...

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For me, my courageous art move this year was to exhibit something that was totally unlike anything I had exhibited before: a pair of merino felt "Art Slippers" with an embroidered verse around the edges, and embellished with vintage gold studs, silk bullion stitch roses and rooster feathers (compliments of the now departed rooster of my mother's neighbour - that's what comes of crowing at 2am each morning!). I exhibited them in an embroidery and creative fibres exhibition at a gallery in the city near my home.

To me they were a bit of a "fun" thing, rather than "serious art", as they were almost doll-size, sprang from a quirky idea, and were made somewhat "last minute", even though I had carried the idea for them in my head since I put the concept down on the entry form a month before the exhibition. Given the talent, skill and experience of my fellow exhibitors, I felt like a bit of an "art cheat". But I knew from the image I had in my head that they had something a little special about them, even before they were made.

And to my delight, they sold before the exhibition opened to the woman who hung the exhibits. She told me that she fell in love with them while arranging the items, and she was scared that someone else might buy them before she did, so she bought them before the official opening. None of my other "serious" endeavours sold. So my braveness obviously paid off!

What did I learn from that experience? To go for it, even if you don't feel very brave. Often it is the courageous acts that pay off!

Meg, I know how you feel, putting something out there that you didn't really do a lot of work on.  My work tends to go that way, too.  The stuff I slap together in 30 minutes is more appreciated than the things that take hours.  This website, too, is absolutely wonderful!  I've built plenty, even my own, and I know the frustration and fears involved.  You have done a standup job and I applaud you for it!


As for me, I think the biggest fear I faced was painting a mural for the first time ever.  I hadn't been painting before then, and so many people were going to see this painting, and it was huge! (6x10 feet!)  When the question first came up, I was going to pass it off to an actual artist, but a friend of mine pushed me into doing it instead.  He and I did our own samples, and the restaurant owner picked mine.  4 days later, I had the painting finished, and now he wants me to paint some more!  I was so nervous the entire time, but it paid off.  Gave me some serious confidence, and more jobs, and now I'm not so terrified to try new things.

Hum, Courage...thats hard to come by to me in my new "artskin". Sometimes you just dont know. When i started out family just loved everything i did but it made me think...is it the art or just because they love me?? I started off just selling cards (way before i started to do any art) and i did ok. When i did my first oil ( Indian in gallery) i was scared to death. but i did it and gave it to my hubby for fathers day last year...he loved it. again, another family member. So my hubby (ever encouraging) said to me "you should try selling at craft shows" I about fell over. My first thought "what if no one buys?" and guess what?? not one item sold..I had handpainted birdhouses, ornaments and cards. So my husband said " lets give this one more try" so i did another show and walked away with $400 profit. I learned quickly that shows are so fickle and that i couldnt base my "talent" on that. Then i started adding acrylic and oil paintings to my shows...then i sold all of those...TO COMPLETE STRANGERS. I think thats when my courage started to appear. But little by little the more i try things the better i feel. I remember trying to make my first greeting card, i sat there with all my pretty new paper and supplies for a month..yes a month before i made one. Every time i try something new, a new technique, a new style a new medium i get more and more comfortable. My goal is to have an art show somewhere, somehow.

I experimented with texture in crazy new ways.I just piled on paint with brushes and palette knives. I scraped, added sand resins, built ridges with texture gel. All in bright almost gaudy colours. Had the most fun doing it. And guess what? People loved those paintings. I'm on my way now to the restaurant/gallery where my show is to substitute another painting for one that's sold and being shipped to New Brunswick.

Courage:  Sometimes just being in public takes courage for me.  Being in my 50's and taking a step to do something fun for myself without feeling guilty took courage.  The first time I drew something and it had to be critiqued in front of the class, continually stepping out of my comfort zone each time I try a new medium, joining The Art Colony thinking my art would just be laughed at...or not allowed to join because it wasn't good enough.  It has taken a lot of courage for me to take each of these steps.  I am glad I did, I'm glad I was allowed to be a part of TAC and that noone has laughed at my attempts at something new and fun.  :)  Thank You!

Wow, congratulations on breaking through that barrier, Marcia. You are so right about gaining confidence from doing courageous things. That mural sounds like an amazing step to take. 

And yes, perhaps it's the relaxed, inspired and insightful self that creates the speedy but wonderful art, rather than the thinking and analytical self, but often it's those artworks that seem to come so easily that also appear the most inspired to others. Obviously something just clicks. 

Thank you so much for sharing your courageous art moment - and also for your lovely comments about The Art Colony. Obviously it takes people to put the thing together, but there's no way it would be the wonderful, friendly, inspirational place it is without our lovely members, Marcia!

Marcia Campbell said:

Meg, I know how you feel, putting something out there that you didn't really do a lot of work on.  My work tends to go that way, too.  The stuff I slap together in 30 minutes is more appreciated than the things that take hours.  This website, too, is absolutely wonderful!  I've built plenty, even my own, and I know the frustration and fears involved.  You have done a standup job and I applaud you for it!


As for me, I think the biggest fear I faced was painting a mural for the first time ever.  I hadn't been painting before then, and so many people were going to see this painting, and it was huge! (6x10 feet!)  When the question first came up, I was going to pass it off to an actual artist, but a friend of mine pushed me into doing it instead.  He and I did our own samples, and the restaurant owner picked mine.  4 days later, I had the painting finished, and now he wants me to paint some more!  I was so nervous the entire time, but it paid off.  Gave me some serious confidence, and more jobs, and now I'm not so terrified to try new things.

Christina, what I gather from your great story is that courage breeds courage. Thank you for sharing it with us. I love the way you narrate your courageous art path. It's very inspiring. So often we can stop at the first hurdle, because we are all too ready to believe that we are less than talented. It is often much easier to believe that others are more talented than we are, or that others think our art is wonderful because they love us, as you say. And yet there are many talented people who have never sold a stick of their artwork, because they haven't taken the courageous step you have of putting their art out there for the public to look at and love and buy. I am so glad that you have grown in confidence, Christina. Selling one's art to complete strangers can be very affirming! 

When you do have your own art show (I am sure you will make it happen if you want it enough), make sure you alert us to it on the "Strut Your Stuff" Group. That way, you might get a little more coverage - and certainly some more encouragement! 


Christina Mcclintock said:

Hum, Courage...thats hard to come by to me in my new "artskin". Sometimes you just dont know. When i started out family just loved everything i did but it made me think...is it the art or just because they love me?? I started off just selling cards (way before i started to do any art) and i did ok. When i did my first oil ( Indian in gallery) i was scared to death. but i did it and gave it to my hubby for fathers day last year...he loved it. again, another family member. So my hubby (ever encouraging) said to me "you should try selling at craft shows" I about fell over. My first thought "what if no one buys?" and guess what?? not one item sold..I had handpainted birdhouses, ornaments and cards. So my husband said " lets give this one more try" so i did another show and walked away with $400 profit. I learned quickly that shows are so fickle and that i couldnt base my "talent" on that. Then i started adding acrylic and oil paintings to my shows...then i sold all of those...TO COMPLETE STRANGERS. I think thats when my courage started to appear. But little by little the more i try things the better i feel. I remember trying to make my first greeting card, i sat there with all my pretty new paper and supplies for a month..yes a month before i made one. Every time i try something new, a new technique, a new style a new medium i get more and more comfortable. My goal is to have an art show somewhere, somehow.

Ev, having read about your art being exhibited in the restaurant in the Strut Your Stuff group, I am delighted that you see exhibiting there as a courageous move that has gone well for you. The art you are hanging there is obviously being well received. Congratulations on your art sales, and for making such creative and courageous art - how interesting it is that when we are brave an extend ourselves we can reap such amazing rewards. Thanks so much for sharing your courageous art story here. I am so very excited for you!

So what is your courageous art move going to be for this next art year, do you think? 

Ev McTaggart said:

I experimented with texture in crazy new ways.I just piled on paint with brushes and palette knives. I scraped, added sand resins, built ridges with texture gel. All in bright almost gaudy colours. Had the most fun doing it. And guess what? People loved those paintings. I'm on my way now to the restaurant/gallery where my show is to substitute another painting for one that's sold and being shipped to New Brunswick.

Gosh, Rose, I am so glad that The Art Colony has been part of your courageous art actions this year! I know the feeling about feeling guilty doing something for oneself. Luckily I don't feel that way too often, because I have a very supportive husband who values the happy calm place that is created when I make art or do other things that make me happy. And I have learnt that there is a time for doing dishes or housework and a time for making art or "playing" in my garden. But it wasn't an easy barrier to break through. 

It really sounds like you are breaking through that barrier, though. Having one's art critiqued in front of a class can indeed by very confronting. I am so pleased that you were brave enough to stand it - it can be incredibly rewarding! Did you learn a lot from the process?

And I am genuinely pleased that you felt the courage to share your artwork on The Art Colony. As you have experienced, we're a friendly and sharing bunch. Not only has no-one laughed at your art (we're not like that here), but I see that people have made some genuine comments about your artworks. I am so delighted that your courage has led you along this path. And thank you so much for sharing your courageous art story here. I am really so inspired to hear how you have come to be with us!

Rose Harrell said:

Courage:  Sometimes just being in public takes courage for me.  Being in my 50's and taking a step to do something fun for myself without feeling guilty took courage.  The first time I drew something and it had to be critiqued in front of the class, continually stepping out of my comfort zone each time I try a new medium, joining The Art Colony thinking my art would just be laughed at...or not allowed to join because it wasn't good enough.  It has taken a lot of courage for me to take each of these steps.  I am glad I did, I'm glad I was allowed to be a part of TAC and that noone has laughed at my attempts at something new and fun.  :)  Thank You!

Hi all, Alice Sawicki from Northern Ontario, I am replying to "Courageous" thing I have done this year.

I have been painting for quite a few years and I have had numerous solo and group exhibitions but this year I am taking the plunge; I have decided to have a touring exhibition and to date I have 8 confirmed bookings. Man there is a lot to think about doing that to make sure you don't double book and prepare your own advertisement, plan for opening receptions, invites, cut my own mats, frame my own work and somewhere in all that create the work for the exhibition. Wow, tired just writing about it. My show will be all New Works and I titled it "Remember When". My first one is opening in August in Englehart Ontario and I am getting a bit nervous about it all. Pretty big step for me. I decided not to bother with Grant assistance another brave step, it is all coming out of my own pocket. (my pension monies) I also thought perhaps to look for Sponsors to help out but I decided it is touch enough for folks to get by as it is why bother them with my money problems. Besides it is my dream and so to date I have twenty some pieces ready.

I have added a few samples, perhaps you could let me know your thoughts. Any ways, before I write a book, that is my courageous thing I am doing. Have a great summer and keep those brushes wet and flying.

Thank you Meg for all your kind words.  And yes I found the class critiques very encouraging.  Adult classes don't seem to be critical like school kids.  With every wrong I learned a right and was encouraged in all the things I did correctly also.  Sometimes in being courageous we have to brake the mold our parents help to mold us with.  My dad was "always prepare for your future and work...no time to play" type person.  He was a wonderful father...I don't mean any bad and I am proud he taught me all I know.  But I believe health issues wouldn't be so bad if a form of stress release was ever taught too.   
 
Meg Mackenzie said:

Gosh, Rose, I am so glad that The Art Colony has been part of your courageous art actions this year! I know the feeling about feeling guilty doing something for oneself. Luckily I don't feel that way too often, because I have a very supportive husband who values the happy calm place that is created when I make art or do other things that make me happy. And I have learnt that there is a time for doing dishes or housework and a time for making art or "playing" in my garden. But it wasn't an easy barrier to break through. 

It really sounds like you are breaking through that barrier, though. Having one's art critiqued in front of a class can indeed by very confronting. I am so pleased that you were brave enough to stand it - it can be incredibly rewarding! Did you learn a lot from the process?

And I am genuinely pleased that you felt the courage to share your artwork on The Art Colony. As you have experienced, we're a friendly and sharing bunch. Not only has no-one laughed at your art (we're not like that here), but I see that people have made some genuine comments about your artworks. I am so delighted that your courage has led you along this path. And thank you so much for sharing your courageous art story here. I am really so inspired to hear how you have come to be with us!

Rose Harrell said:

Courage:  Sometimes just being in public takes courage for me.  Being in my 50's and taking a step to do something fun for myself without feeling guilty took courage.  The first time I drew something and it had to be critiqued in front of the class, continually stepping out of my comfort zone each time I try a new medium, joining The Art Colony thinking my art would just be laughed at...or not allowed to join because it wasn't good enough.  It has taken a lot of courage for me to take each of these steps.  I am glad I did, I'm glad I was allowed to be a part of TAC and that noone has laughed at my attempts at something new and fun.  :)  Thank You!

Wow, how exciting, Alice. Thank you so much for sharing this with us. What a lot of work to do, and yes, it sure is a courageous move in all ways. I will be interested to hear how you get on!

The artworks you shared all have such different styles and are delightful, so you should have something to suit different audiences. I am quite blown away by the amount of work you are doing for this and all without funding - good on you for making such a brave move!

Alice Y. Seguin Sawicki said:

Hi all, Alice Sawicki from Northern Ontario, I am replying to "Courageous" thing I have done this year.

I have been painting for quite a few years and I have had numerous solo and group exhibitions but this year I am taking the plunge; I have decided to have a touring exhibition and to date I have 8 confirmed bookings. Man there is a lot to think about doing that to make sure you don't double book and prepare your own advertisement, plan for opening receptions, invites, cut my own mats, frame my own work and somewhere in all that create the work for the exhibition. Wow, tired just writing about it. My show will be all New Works and I titled it "Remember When". My first one is opening in August in Englehart Ontario and I am getting a bit nervous about it all. Pretty big step for me. I decided not to bother with Grant assistance another brave step, it is all coming out of my own pocket. (my pension monies) I also thought perhaps to look for Sponsors to help out but I decided it is touch enough for folks to get by as it is why bother them with my money problems. Besides it is my dream and so to date I have twenty some pieces ready.

I have added a few samples, perhaps you could let me know your thoughts. Any ways, before I write a book, that is my courageous thing I am doing. Have a great summer and keep those brushes wet and flying.

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