Children have one common denominator: they LOVE stickers. A teacher who hinted that stickers could be handed out that day enjoyed well behaved students, at least for a little while...
I can still feel how my chest swelled with pride the day I was given TWO tiny stars beside my name. I was the BEST in my kindergarten class at marching while tapping a triangle in time to the music.
Stickers can also be glaring reminders of our personal faults. My cheeks still burn with shame when I see my record of attendance at Summer Bible School with the GREEN star. Sigh...Green for ENVY, which is what I felt when I looked at the GOLD star the little girl beside me had received. Many decades have passed, but I'm still held to account by that green star.
As artists, we are conditioned to watch for red dots on our work in galleries, meaning a piece has sold. Again, it's all about the stickers and I wonder why we equate our personal value with dots and stars. We forget what an honour it is to have our art viewed by the public and how many pieces failed before ONE piece was worthy of being shown to the world. If the public could only see how we sometimes struggle through creating a painting with sweaty palms, gritting teeth, sometimes even tears. If a painting sells, it means that part of my heart is wrapped up between the canvas and bubble wrap. It's about so much more than the hoped for red "sold" dot.
I am humbled by the fact that some of my paintings now reside on continents I've never visited with art lovers I've never met. I am honoured when entering a friend's home to see one of my paintings on the wall. It seems to greet me like an old friend. There are memories attached to every brush stroke.
Children aren't influenced by stickers when they view art in a gallery. They are pure and honest in their reactions, whether there is a red dot beside the piece or not. Any work of art is subject to a wrinkled nose or beaming smile.
When attending an opening at a gallery, I try to avoid wearing a sticker with "ARTIST" and my name on it. I am able to hear the true reactions when people see my work if I'm anonymous. A memorable moment for me happened a few years ago when a child put her clasped hands over her heart and said, "OH!" as she looked at one of my paintings. That day, I couldn't have cared less about red dots!
Thank you for spending this time with me,