I’ve been giving a lot of thought to what I want to do with my time these days. For over three years I was secretly planning on illustrating children’s books and in between being a Mama I tried to create lots of child themed artwork for my agent’s portfolio. It was always in the back of my mind that this was a Big Thing I was aiming towards and that it could happen at any minute and totally transform my life.
Alas, as those of you who read a recent post of mine will know, my agent and I have gone our separate ways; the financial climate has made it a tricksy time for getting book deals, and with less books being published and more artists clamouring for the same few jobs it was always going to be competitive. My agent is a lovely woman who tried her absolute best and Im really grateful for the opportunity she gave to me when she took me on.
I’d be telling and enormous lie if I said that I wasn’t upset when I first heard. I felt deep disappointment and the dream I’d focused on for so long dissolved before my eyes. It wasn’t long either before those inner critics bubbled up to the surface with their negative thoughts ~ was it my work that wasn’t good enough? Was it my style? Had I not produced enough work? Am I just not good enough?? Of course, this was a knee jerk reaction to a Big Change. I soon calmed down and was able to focus more clearly on the positive aspects:
I knew that the publishers who had seen my work loved it (a HUGE boost to morale) and I’d been ‘discussed’ on a couple of occasions for working on books. For different reasons, and not for lack of trying (on both sides) the elusive book contract just never materialised. Maybe I could have produced more work, maybe I could have studied the market in more depth – I could have done a whole heap of things, but I know I did my best at the time and gave it my best shot. That, in itself, was good enough for me.
The other morning I was doing something rather ordinary (drinking coffee and watching the squirrel mucking about on the shed roof) when I was hit with a thought:
I’d invested a whole load of energy into something that I thought I really wanted to happen. The very fact that illustrating children’s books was a real possibility became a huge thing in my life. Suddenly, that opportunity wasn’t there any longer – there would be nobody taking my work to show prospective clients, nobody batting on my behalf anymore.
And right then I realised I felt space. A big wide space which had been taken up with yearning and hoping and aching. Right then there was space to think about What Happens Next? And I began to wonder which direction I wanted to take my life in.
In theory, I could do anything I wanted to.
When something like this happens to us, it’s easy to immediately blame ourselves, feel angry or negative about the situation and let it eat away at us – but sometimes, the truth is we’ve got to travel our path and these lessons are sent to take us to the next level.
I’m a firm believer that where one door closes, another door opens.
A week later, a gallery contacted me and asked if I’d be able to exhibit some coastal themed work at their up and coming exhibition in July called ‘By the Seaside’. I’m now preparing my paintings, having them framed and ready to deliver up to Leeds in a couple of weeks.
Having this new space in my life to play with has allowed me to look at what I really want to do – do I really want to illustrate children’s books? Maybe one day yes. Right now? I’m sitting with the thought that appeared as I sat quietly in the garden the other day listening to the river gurgling over the stones.
It’s as simple as that. So that’s what I’m doing. That’s what I love to do best.
Have you ever had a disappointing situation that has turned your life into something for the better? Please share your stories in the comments, it’s always lovely to hear from you.
PS ~ Just before I go, I want to let you know that my Blog has made an appearance in a fabulous one off publication called Simply Crochet! It’s on sale from Thursday 14th June in all good newsagents *excited face*
Look – here I am (at the bottom, in the middle) – lovely write up too!
See you next time x