Wednesday, November 14, 2007


The Backrush (fabric interpretation of Winslow Homer painting), 12x15" '99?

A client we'll call Sarah found herself anxious, sailing into choppy seas, when a new opportunity opened up. She'd been invited to be the featured artist at a show. Her usual approach to showing was to bring lots of extra work and let the curator pick and choose, but circumstances prevented this, and she was feeling a building of frantic pressure around the decision-making she faced.

What was the advantage of the way she usually did it?

"That way I know I'm enough; I bring plenty and the curator can decide what's worth including--it's up to her."

The strategy had worked to manage a Not-Enough gremlin who was now stretching and snicking its nasty claws in a threatening manner.

"I have to prove to them that I'm worthy," Sarah said.

Any reason to believe they already thought she was worthy?

"Well, they did ask me to be the featured artist of the whole show...."

Could be a clue.

I asked Sarah if she could see a way that she might know she was enough even without her usual approach. Yes! She suddenly saw herself, not as the inadequate lackey-artist bringing not-enough for the surplus needed to cover for her, but as the authority on the value of her own work. As she chose what to include, she was becoming the curator, too.

So what about pricing?

"Ooooo, head in sand! I haven't even thought about it. See, the show will be after the master-class I'm teaching, so people will already know what simple materials I use and how it's all put together. It's like they will have already seen those pieces in their underwear, so how can I act like they're worth a lot? I'm not Picasso!"

Not-Picasso (or fill-in-the-blank of a favored "great") is a familiar archetype in most artists' waking dreams. To Sarah, Picasso represents one whose work is of undisputed value. "He's anointed, applauded and hallowed," she said, and went on to describe a film she saw of Picasso drawing a bird, how beautifully he made the image in a few seconds.

"Can you find any truth in the statement, 'I am Picasso'?" I asked.

"Well, yes. More and more I am aware that at the spiritual level, we are all one. And I also believe that if you can appreciate something, that's because it's in some sense a part of you also. So in that way, I am Picasso."

"What moves your hand is the same as what moved Picasso's hand."

"Yes, that's true."


"God loves to give....manifesting his superabundant wealth, which is more than enough for as many as wish to profit from it. He shows this in nature as well. For when he sends rain on the ocean, and causes springs to gush in the most desolate wastelands, and makes sterile soil blossom with grass and flowers, what is he showing but the extravagance of his wealth and goodness? That is why every soul he created has the seed of goodness in it." --Philo (c. 20 B.C.E.-c.50 C.E.) in The Enlightened Mind by Stephen Mitchell