The mental mess

The mental mess

I wanted to share my experience of planning for my first show with you. Well my first show in a long time.
A show that I have booked only a small wall space in. Thankfully there will be 4 other artists sharing the space with me and one artist in the main room.  I literally have not done a show since I was at art college in London when I was in my mid 20’s, so this is huge for me. 

I really just thought, if not now when if not me who? I was chatting to Mandy Dollery from The Space Gallery in Geelong back in June, and I mentioned I might be interested in having a show later in the year. Mandy then let me know The Space was all booked out for 2022, and if I did want to get in she had just had a cancellation so I was in luck and if I didn’t book the space now I would have to wait until late 2023. Not one to sit on my laurels, I thought, it is now or never. I have to just jump in and commit, otther-wise I will spend another year thinking and saying, ‘maybe shows are not for me’.

Do you have the courage to bring fourth the treasurers that are hidden within you?
— Elizabeth Gilbert, Big Magic


When I booked the space, I had ages. It was months away. I started working out my pieces, the size, the content and was almost laughing at my premature planning. It was so far in the future, that it was ridiculous to start planning now. 

And then, so much happened in between, work, family, illnesses, holidays and then all of a sudden it was August and I knew September was going to be difficult time wise because work was going to be extremely busy, and it was my daughters Birthday, which was definitely going to be a week of celebrations. I became struck down with fear. Nothing I had planned to paint was right, my style was changing, but my skills were not living up to my expectations. Nothing was working. I was literally freaking out so much I could not paint. It didn’t matter what I tried nothing turned out how I wanted it to, I couldn’t even paint in a straight line, my colours were all wrong, the subject matter was silly. I had stressed myself out so much about the work I wanted to put up and the work I was producing I just thought I was going to have to pull out. 

To get myself through this period I had to reach into my mindset toolkit and try everything I had available to me. I had meetings with my life coach, Marissa I started doing my morning pilates again, and I had some time out from painting (which was really hard to do when there was so much work to do), I drank more water and went to bed early instead of painting into the night. Once I had a week out from painting I actually just decided ‘you need to paint through it’ so i grabbed some paper and all different mediums, paint, pens, poscas, crayons etc and I just went for it on paper. Once I had some rough drawings and colours sorted I began to draw up all my canvases and one by one put layers down. 

The show has started coming together, finally. I kept to smaller pieces so I could complete them quicker and only have a couple of larger pieces. All the while I was thanking the universe that I had only said yes to a small space. 

Besides all of the mental mess I had to get through to arrive where I am now, it is all worth it. I still have a fair bit of work ahead of me, but I am so close to completion, it makes me happy to know that I worked through all the difficulties in my head, because that is all it is, is in my head. At the end of the day, I love creating art, I love sharing it with people and I need to get it out there if I am one day going to make this my full time gig.

Back to blog