An Evolving Life. The Strength of No.
The Strength of No
Smack in the midst of the holiday season, we usually get caught up in the rush to get everything done. Of saying Yes to every task, every invitation, everything that comes our way.
There’s something about the brisk energy whirling around us—a kind of adrenaline injected into the air that sets us off and running. It feels good to be invited, included, involved. It can be exhilarating and exciting, but it can also be exhausting.
Recently I was invited to participate in the Venice Biennale 2019–one of the most prestigious art festivals in the world. Just before Thanksgiving, an email magically appeared in my inbox. For the first time, my work—from my SPLASH series—was being honored without applying, submitting, or reaching out in any way.
As you can imagine, I was dizzy with excitement. It felt like the ultimate reward for years of work, a veritable dream come true. The quintessential fantasy for artists that one day you will be discovered like magic. And I did bask in that fantasy for a while.
Slowly, however, as I gathered more details, the magic began to dissipate like morning dew. After writing to the foundation that invited me, I found out there was a hefty exhibition fee, that I would have to ‘pay to play’ or scramble to find sponsors and/or grants and that there wasn’t much time.
What had been and is still so thrilling, started to weigh me down—adding to all the energy required during the holidays. For a few weeks I scrambled, brainstormed with fellow photographers and artists, gallerists, colleagues, friends, even a new acquaintance sitting across from me at a holiday dinner who suggested a crowdfunding site.
Moreover, I started to question the entire notion of ‘paying to play’ in the Art World even though the non-profit organization is well respected. Did I want to head in that direction?
Then I had a ‘Break-thru’ like the SPLASH image displayed here. It occurred to me that I was expecting too much of myself, that I was already stressed out. That there were other options to just saying Yes. I could take it slower, see what develops at my own pace, defer the opportunity or maybe, just maybe, say No.
So if there is too much going on and you’re feeling overly stressed, take a breath, a break, a walk, a yoga class (of course) or even a day off. Then take a look at all your options, even the strength to just say No....
Please click the image to enlarge.
An Evolving Life Series
The Strength of No (This one)
I have had the good fortune of knowing Meryl Spiegel for many years. We met during my BNB days when she was referred to me as a resource for a specific type of photography I was searching for. I also knew her as a writer. Over the years, I have been impressed with Meryl’s talent and creativity, and the honesty of her work. When Meryl began to sketch, paint, work with pastels, she truly overlaid one talent on top of another. The layers were intriguing. I reached out to Meryl recently because I thought that the Hummingbird audience would appreciate her work, and value her process. They say that timing is everything, and in this case it was, because Meryl was thinking about not only “showing” her work, but writing about it too. In our new series, An Evolving Life, Meryl will share the stages, challenges, and meaning of her art, and the journey that coincides with the pieces she highlights. Sandra Novick
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