The Power of “Thank You”

So many people come in and go out of our lives over the years. Some stay a long while, others just pass through for a very brief moment but all have had some impact on our being. Could have been a teacher, classmate, employer or coworker, neighbor, client or pastor. Whoever they are they all leave indelible marks, some good, some bad. Most are memorable, some forgettable but their mark, however slight, remains.

I’m aware that I have touched some people in positive ways, but I never really think about it. I’m usually just being me or simply doing my job. I’m always surprised when I hear a voice from the past, get a note in the mail, or get friend requests on social media from someone who has not been in my life in many years. This was the case recently when I was contacted by Hope Porter, who sent me an innocent request for my email address which I sent. Shortly thereafter I received an invitation to her company’s 15th Anniversary Gala. I was quite honored that someone I haven’t seen or spoken with in over 10 years thought enough of me to invite me to such a prestigious event. And I was happy to accept.

It was a black-tie event and I haven’t been all gussied up in a while so this too added to my excitement. The evening was stunning, with about 100 or so beautiful people dressed to impress, great food and inviting friendly atmosphere. There were speeches and accolades and then the awards ceremony. Can you imagine my shock and awe when my name was called?

It turns out that in one of my former positions as Leasing Director of commercial office space I ran a small business incubator where start-ups came to nest and Hope Porter brought her precious dream there to grow. And grow it did. Those precarious first five years of starting and running a business were tedious and frightening as much as it was adventurous and exciting. Exit Cheryl. Fast forward another 10 years and Staffing Etc. is a multi-million-dollar company employing thousands and doing spectacular and honorable work throughout the nation. And Mr. and Mrs. Porter remembered me. Thanked me. How awesome is that?

Congratulations Staffing Etc. on your milestone and please allow me to THANK YOU! Wishing you so many more years of success and blessings.

What’s going on?

Can you believe that 2018 is almost halfway over? Do you remember your New Year’s resolutions? How has that been going for you? Or are you like me – instead of resolutions I set certain goals to accomplish throughout the year. And my goals usually revolve around creating a certain number of paintings each year (7-10) and of course have more showings and hopefully make a few sales. I am always trying to move my art forward and learn more about myself in the process.

Quick recap of 2018 thus far: In January I submitted to and was accepted to a juried show at Limner Gallery in Hudson, NY. The exhibit, Neoteric Abstract, ran from April 5-28, 2018 and my painting RAINFOREST was hung at the gallery entrance, the first piece to catch one’s eye. 😍

In February I answered the call to exhibit at Market View Arts in York, PA. I created a new painting specifically for this exhibit titled SPIN CYCLE (see my earlier blog post of the same title). The exhibit, Generations, ran from May 4–26, 2018.

I recently submitted to two other exhibits in York, PA. I just received word that I was not chosen for one but if accepted to the other, I will be exhibiting again August/September. I hope by year’s end I will have secured an exhibit space/event in Philadelphia. In the mean time I have just completed a commissioned painting that I hope my client will be thrilled about, I have 2 other paintings in varying stages of completion, and 1 brewing in my head.

Another goal for 2018 was to be more active with my social media. In that vein, I’ve uploaded a couple time-lapse videos to my new YouTube channel  Handy Concepts Arts with more to come, perhaps even a tutorial in the near future.

So, I’ve been keeping busy and working towards my goals. I hope you are also moving forward and making great progress. If not, be encouraged, there is still plenty of year left to make some things happen.

I’m Still Here

I hope you haven’t forgotten Handy Concepts because though we struggle, and despite 2014 being such a dismal year for me, we have yet to give up the ghost.

RECAP

Kerry’s Green closed unexpectedly on January 1, which meant the gallery also closed (way to start the year) and it took me two months of calling and writing to get the doors open so that I could collect all of the artwork and shop items I had there. All of which I moved and stored in my home studio until most of the artists could come and retrieve their art.

I then made a halfhearted attempt to generate sales and maintain a presence via my website with minimal results. Truthfully, I haven’t updated my website in over a year now. Can’t get much leverage that way…

I started quite a few paintings but finished only one. My annual goal is to complete new 6-8 paintings and I have achieved that goal every year until 2014. I started one painting FOUR times – I’ not talking start, stop, start, stop – I mean I started 4 different canvases, and worked them all to varying degrees of “complete” before deciding that my errors were too far gone to correct. I tried hard to get it done (again) before the New Year but alas, still working on it.

In the spring our house was put on the market as my husband and I struggled to keep afloat but the market being what it is, it’s almost impossible to get back what we’ve put into it. So we push on.

My biggest blow however came mid-year when I became caregiver to my mother, running her to doctor visits, cheering her on through several surgeries, daily visits during hospital stays and sometimes working my job remotely from the hospital. Despite the successes of the surgeries and the promise of recovery and rehab, mom lost her battle on October 2, 2014. I was fully expecting to have her around another 10-12 years, making me laugh, getting on my nerves, imparting words of wisdom, bossing me around. She was 78 years young. I never thought my heart could break into so many pieces.

NOT ALL BAD

The silver lining of 2014 shone through in late June with the birth of grandbaby no. 10. Thank God for the smallest of miracles.

MOVING FORWARD

2015? Who knows? Maybe it will turn into a banner year, maybe not. What I do know is that I have a lot to do, a lot I still want to accomplish and no one can make it happen but me. I’ve taken the last week of this year to plan and push myself to get up and get moving. I want to thank all of the artists who started with me in 2009 and hung in there during the lean years and a special thanks to those few who still hung around this past year even though I only managed to sell one painting.

I want to thank all of my clientele who still look forward to new art, who still inquire about my artists, who still encourage me to keep art alive in our community and continue to support our efforts. Thank you to those who have commissioned art and have waited patiently for your finished product.

I hope to see you all in 2015, online and in person. And I have so much more creativity in me that I promise it will blow you away in the coming year. Besides, Mom has been chiding me. I can hear her clearly – “Shouldn’t you be painting?” “What are you working on now?”

So even though you may not have heard from me all year, and just in case you were wondering – I’M STILL HERE.

Opposing Forces – unbreakable bonds

I am a thinker and a planner, an organizer. My husband is a man of action. I’m a saver, he’s a spender.  He’s very outspoken, I’m more reserved. He converses with strangers in the street like old friends; I mostly speak when spoken to.

 Sometimes though I think he acts too fast causing him to have to re-do some things, rephrase some things, or simply wipe the slate clean and start over again.  Conversely, I sometimes think on things so long that planning turns to procrastination, windows close and opportunities are missed.

The good news however, is that we complement each other.  I keep him grounded and he helps me soar. 

Like many artists I don’t always like the business of art. Show it, yes. Hope that others can appreciate it and buy it, sure. Talk about it – not so much. I just like to do what I do. But my husband sings my praises at the drop of a hat. He always introduces me as an artist. He carries my business cards with him and regularly comes back for more because he’s given them to everyone he meets. He is the greatest marketing director a girl can have.

For my part I keep him stocked with office supplies, design his business cards and website, help him keep his calendar, keep him focused, and force him to manage his finances. I am his spell-check and his dictionary, his adminstrative assistant.

On the surface it may seem that we are complete opposites but we both have the same goals and dreams. We both want the same things for our children and grandchildren. We enjoy the same activities. We like talking to each other and every now and again we finish each other’s thoughts. We may sometimes be on different paths but the destination is the same and in all probability we expect that we will reach that destination at the same time.

Opposing forces, absolutely – but together we are one force to be reckoned with.