Things changed as the week progressed.
I had been told before last weekend that my watercolor class didn't have enough enrollment to run, but over the weekend several additional people had signed up and Monday morning my supervisor called asking if I was still available to teach. Of course I was!
On Tuesday I received an email from one of the instructors I had while I was in graduate school, asking me if I was available to come in and teach several workshops from lesson plans I had written. She specifically asked if I could share and demonstrate these lessons. Things were definitely turning around for me.
Wednesday I was able to enjoy these recently acquired positive vibes and started to feel like maybe being a "professional" artist wasn't so hopeless after all. I decided to finish working on an encaustic painting using various shades of blue, inspired by the show prospectus for BLUE this October, an open regional show at the Cambridge Art Association.
"Fly Me to the Moon", encaustic painting
Thursday I picked up a copy of our local, weekly paper only to discover that the reporter for the arts and entertainment section did use the information and painting image I sent her, announcing the introduction of my newest body of work at the upcoming Columbus Day weekend show (you can never get enough PR and it definitely helps to be a big fish in a little sea!)
That evening I taught the first watercolor class of the fall session and I have a wonderful group of new students. I look forward to the next class when I can get into greater depth teaching watercolor painting and techniques. Then one last boost, on Friday morning I received an email from the president of the Swampscott Arts Association telling me I had won 2nd prize in the fall show. She proceeded to tell me that my encaustic piece won the award although the judges also loved my watercolor painting but did not want to award the same artist 2 ribbons in one show.
"Tall Trees", encaustic image transfer and 2nd place at the SAA show
Yesterday I had to spend the day taking the MTEL tests, communication and literacy written and reading tests in the morning, and the visual arts test in the afternoon. Massachusetts requires all public school teachers to be certified and passing these tests is mandatory. I had been warned that it's not unusual to fail and that there is no limit to how many times you can retake the tests. I felt like I did OK in the morning but I was totally shocked at how difficult the visual arts test was for me! Fortunately, I am not holding a job that requires me to be certified and the college level position I am seeking out does not require I take these tests. I admit I think I signed up for the tests because I am a glutton for punishment (results won't be in until end of October and if I didn't pass it will be humbling but a non-issue).
What a week that started off down and depressing... became action packed, exciting, and exhausting. I seem to have this ongoing pattern in my life that I should try to remember... right when I reach a point where I want to give up and find an entirely new career, it is only then when good, positive things come back to haunt me and encourage me to continue. I also need to remember to acknowledge that the economy and current job market trends are effecting everyone, especially us "starving artists". I need to remind myself and everyone else too, that we all just need to keep the faith.