Cultivating Self-Worth: A Lesson Learned
Starting my art career a few years ago, I quickly discovered the frustration of not progressing as fast as I'd hoped. Building my business hasn’t been a rapid ascent, and I'm beginning to realize the importance of being patient with myself.
This past weekend, at my first outdoor show of the season, a moment of clarity reshaped how I view self-worth in relation to my work. The event wasn't huge in terms of foot traffic, but it marked a promising beginning with room to grow over the coming years.
I had the chance to connect with fellow artists during the weekend, and one artist made a lasting impression. She's an oil painter with a beautiful collection of small panel paintings. Her booth showcased two larger pieces, including a captivating portrait of a contemplative young woman. When I complimented her, she shared the story of how she painted it plein air in France a few years back. Her story moved me, and her art showcased years of skill.
On the show's last day, a gentleman visited our booths. After a brief chat at my booth, he spent a considerable amount of time at the oil painter's booth. To my surprise, he left but returned just before the show ended, nonchalantly flinging the canvas over his shoulder like a backpack and cycling away. I was genuinely happy for her, knowing her beautiful creation had touched someone enough to buy it.
However, my joy turned to dismay when I learned he'd haggled the price down to a mere fraction of its initial value. This situation bothered not only me but also the artist next to me. Curious, I spoke with the artist who had sold the painting, and she seemed more relieved than thrilled, clearly unhappy with the price she received. However, it was her decision to accept it and I truly hope it was not made in desperation.
The incident stayed with me on my way home and throughout the night. It made me reflect on how it relates to my own work. I questioned if I truly value my work and it’s worth If I don't hold my work in high regard, how can I expect others to recognize its value?
This experience drove home the importance of understanding and appreciating my own self-worth, not just as an artist, but life in general. Only when we recognize our value can we convey it to the world and expect others to acknowledge it. It's a lesson that I will carry moving forward in my journey, reminding me to value my work and myself, and to never settle for less than what they are truly worth.