One of the best aspects of being an exhibiting artist is meeting new people. I get a lot of questions. Here's a sample of the kind of questions I'm constantly answering in the form of an one act play. Please print this out and perform it with a close friend or relative. Funny voices are encouraged but not required.
Okay so maybe I'm not asked about my sleeping habits but here's question #1: What was the tipping point for you in becoming a full time oil painter?
The short answer: Finally having the faith to do so. Something we all strive for is security in life. A job that promises a paycheck every 2 weeks seems like a safe position. We often disregard the truth we all know. Life is unsafe. This world offers nothing that is certain.
Seth Godin says in his book Linchpin, it's not easy to navigate without a map. He says,
There is no map. No map to be a leader, no map to be an artist. I've read hundreds of books about art (in all it's forms) and how to to do it, and not one has a clue about the map, because there isn't one. Here's the truth that you have to wrestle with: the reason that art (writing, engaging, leading, all of it) is valuable is precisely why I can't tell you how to do it. If there were a map, there'd be no art, because art is the act of navigating without a map.
It is scary went there are only hints about how to go forward, nevertheless the moment came in August of 2013 when I was attending the Global Leadership Summit at a campus in Wichita, Kansas, for reasons entirely other than art. Life had given me many cues but I guess I needed 2 days of relentless badgering. It started with Bill Hybels speaking over Joshua 1:9,
Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.
Then Brene Brown talked a bit from her research that birthed the book, Daring Greatly. In it she quotes Teddy Roosevelt.
It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.
Probably everyone but me had already witnessed William Close and his earth harp in America's Got Talent, but I'm generally the last one to know about anything. I was completely taken with this man's performance at the Global Leadership Summit, his utilization of the auditorium as a giant resonance chamber. I thought, here is a man taking creation and manipulating the created order to make goodness and beauty. Here's the performance:
That was the tipping point. It was at this conference that I came to know my calling as an oil painter. I decided that I would grow in faith. I could now look back on my life and see a number of places where I could say, "It chose me." I was finally acknowledging it.