Between Anna and Annette, what could be more humiliating than to have your open studio space between the two best painters in this art school. If I avoided my studio one more week, I might fail. And so it was money, not courage, that brought me back.
Annette was there painting and I was standing there paralyzed by the master. I told her of my state and so she smiled and pulled up a chair to tell me of her summer in Scotland.
She envisioned it would be like a painting vacation with travel until her first day of class. These were not the typical art students that she knew. They were serious and painted in their studio for 12 hours a day (or something like that). She felt like a kindergardener in a high school when it came to artistic skill. She had to face the same challenge that I faced: can I handle being an inferior artist in front of the professionals. With nowhere else to go and nobody to talk to about it, she decided to push through and do what she could do. After spending hours and days and months with these artists, watching them work, her technique and style began to emerge. It was the day to day observation that helped her.
I knew Annette's artistic work before Scotland and that gave me hope. She was where I was at. After Scotland she became known as "cutting edge", in other words, a forerunner in an artistic style according to my artistic community.
That conversation helped me through the first few weeks of struggling until I came to a place in the middle where I had confidence. I would have guessed that the pressure would break me, but it actually helped me.
So now, I sit among the Wheaties Eaters in the prophetic world. My stance is one of extreme discomfort among the extremely discerning. Thoughts like "Why bother, with my tiny word." as I compare it to the phrases and insights of my spirit-led prayer group. But I still show up, surprised that I can even contribute sometimes. I tell God "I'm any oyster. There may be a pearl inside, but you're going to have to pry it open." Then the atmosphere opens up and I let the pearl float out. I learn to watch and listen and am picking up things much better than in a book or lecture. A wise woman told me "Look, God keeps using those who risk." That may be why He's still using me, because sometimes I fail miserably, but I try. Someone said "That guy, he used to be rough around the edges." I think "Really, good to know. You wouldn't have guessed."
So there I sit in a room with those who walk and talk in the spirit. I'm much farther along than I've ever been. Still, I feel alittle Junior Highish compared to those around me. I'm glad I somehow graduated from being a toddler. But it's the memory of art school that keeps me going. I think I can push through this kind of challenge. I did it before. Well, I'm going to try.
Very descriptive; I almost had to get Kleenex and a Tylenol and join you, I didn't just read your article. I lived it with you. Other than a couple of typos, it was heart felt. The "telling, not teaching" style is so refreshing. Keep writing.