I’ve written before about the climbing wall at our local Y: CLIMBING THE WALLS In that entry, I was exhilarated by the notion that you cannot fall when wall climbing. I mean, it’s almost impossible.
The freedom that comes from realizing that was astonishing. I began to take chances I never dreamed of–trying a tricky foot hold, leaping for a just-out-of-reach hand hold, using my shoe directly on the flat wall to scamper to the next hold. Me! Scampering! Leaping!
Yesterday, while tackling a new wall, I was struck by another notion:
There’s more than one way up a wall.
You can go straight up. But that’s not necessarily the “best” way. You can also veer off to the left or right, if you can find a better hand hold or foot hold there.
If you get stuck, you can even double back and try another way. It just doesn’t matter.
In fact, any way you can get up a wall, is a good climb.
Later that day, I realized how true this is of our professional paths in art, too.
We get so stuck on the “right way” to move our art forward into the world. Should I do the show circuit? What are the good shows? How do I get into them?
Should I sell to stores instead? What’s the best way to approach them? Or should I sell on-line? Should I even try to sell my work?
What about exhibits? Do they really help get my name out there?
We constantly strive for validation of our work. Is it good enough? Then why haven’t I ever won an award? And why does so-and-so always win?? Their work isn’t any better than mine!
Climbing the wall reminded me of all these questions that used to hound me about my artwork (and sometimes still do!)
In reality, whatever gets you up the wall is good. Whatever gets your work out there, and works for you, is good.
It’s okay to want to make money from your art. It’s okay to not sell your art. It’s okay if you are successful. It’s okay if you don’t pursue success. It’s even okay if your definition of success is different than my definition.
Your art is probably “good enough” right now. Sure, it could be better. Sure, there are many, many other people whose work is better than yours.
But this is your art. And this is your life. No one else can tell you what it means to you, or what to do with it, or how you should do it.
Each “climb” in our life gives us the opportunity to think about how it went. To find the good in it, whether we reached the top or not. We get to think about how we could do it better next time. Or, if not better, perhaps how we could do it differently.
But in the end, what makes any climb a good climb is simply getting to the top.
And then, coming back down. So we can do it all over again.
Because the best thing about any climb, is simply the thrill of doing it.