winging it!

So I promised you guys an update ~

Last year  (Dec 20th-ish), right after I finished working at the cafe, I took a three-week retreat.  I didn’t know I was headed into a retreat! I just knew I was committing myself to silence to change my life for a few day–that turned into three weeks.  I could not have told you then how much my life would actually change! Nor could I imagine that it would be almost 3 months before I could speak again.  I’m a very vocal person, so if I’m not writing about everything that’s going on in my life it’s because I can’t.

I remember walking on Christmas Eve, alone in Ithaca, and so scared.  What would I do if my plan failed?  I decided not to go home for Christmas because I didn’t know when I was getting paid again, and I only had enough money to get me through January 15th if I didn’t travel.  I would get a small job somewhere. Anywhere.  I just needed a little bit of money to pay my small bills, but mostly, I needed fresh air to breathe.  I thought I would bartend somewhere, and applied at several places I thought I’d like to work at.  I got no answer. 

When I’m right smack in the middle of something scary, the last thing I want to do is let on how scared I am! I do the opposite instead–I just reassure everybody about how fine I am and how great things are.  I remember the quotes from You Can Heal Your Life: “In the infinity of life where I am, all is perfect, whole and complete”.  Yeah, Gab, keep telling yourself that!  I will be fine! I will be fine! I will be fine!

Holy shit.

So in one of my small art shows last year, I met Allison DeDominick, the curator that now helps me with my shows and other areas of my artist life.  She asked me if I wanted to do a show at Damiani Wine Cellars for February, 7 – March 21st.  Hell yeah! In middle of my scary moment or not, if a show at a nice venue is offered, I’m on it.

I still didn’t have a job, my bills instead of being less are higher!  I am committed, that’s what it is.  I am committed at a level that I have never been committed in my life!  I jumped into the deep end of the ocean with no safety net, and with no signs that there were friendly sailors at sea.  It was me the sharks & whales, letting be whatever was going to be.

Miracles don’t come unless you really, really, really fucking need them.  You can’t fool the Universe, and you can’t twist God’s arm.  If it’s do-or-die, and you’re ready to die, you get to a point when you realize that the great web of life is super-magical and help appears at every corner.  It’s like being fed by the birds.

Preparing for the art show has been difficult because it was a big show by my standards, and it was my first time exhibiting solo. I was already emotionally extended past the point of expression for missing my family and not knowing how I was going to pay the following week’s bills.  And to push myself even farther was breaking me! Every little thing made me cry, including the hooks that needed to go on the back of my paintings, which where pushing me over the edge! Then the artist statement, which had to include some sort of explanation why I chose to call my show Renacimiento.  Was I being pretentious? Did I not think about what happened to Mexico during the Renaissance years?  Nothing I could write was good enough! My three tries were torn to shreds by well meaning people. Then my collapsing moment happened.  I was in bathroom at Barnes and Noble and had a complete and total meltdown.  I texted my sisters: I need a miracle and I need it now! 

As I’m blogging this, I’m going to write a complaint and send it to the gods.  It’s enough for people to do their first solo art show.  Don’t make them face joblessness and almost homelessness at the same time! Don’t make roommates have giant family emergencies (which makes them not pay their share of rent on time), either!

Little miracles came, one after the other.  The exact help I needed showed up when I least expected it, and my most awesome and solid friends were there like always.  They bought the cheese and crackers and made sure I had everything I needed.  They called me a few hours before to see if I was OK.  I was! Finally! I had everything ready, the statement finally written, and I just had to decide what to wear.  I didn’t know who was coming to my show past a few r.s.v.p’s, and was expecting about 6 or 7 people to be there, tops.  People showed up that I had no idea were going to go!  And, believe me, it was all an exciting surprise!  Some part of me couldn’t believe so many people were there to look at my art!! I got comments, compliments and a couple of purchases.  Everyone thought my show was a giant success and that now I was a “successful artist”.  It’s crazy how you can go from almost-bum to successful artist in one day!  But what does “successful artist” mean? Putting on a show? Or is it that you are financially free and living on the sell of your art?  My storms are not 100% past yet, so I can’t accept the title. Gotta keep it legit.

So for now, I still don’t have a job and I’m still sailing clear! I know that if I were required to show up every day and work in some other person’s business, there is no way that I would be able to do what I am doing now. No way.  I think the only reason why this is working is because I had committed my life to art some time ago. And when I commit, I don’t bullshit. I commit to walking through these storms on behalf of that which wants to be created and birthed through my own soul.  There’s no ego in it.  You can’t call me a success, because the only thing I’m a success at is jumping directly into the sea without a plan.  Magic happened, and it’s continuing to happen–and I’m getting much more used to it! Staying alive, getting used to the magic, and being brave is the only thing I can take credit for! That’s where I am at now.


7 thoughts on “winging it!”

  1. I also find this hugely inspiring Gabriela. I wrote a post a few days ago about how I’ll be ramping up the creation of art in my life: http://artfn.wordpress.com/2014/03/06/whats-stopping-me/. By your standards what I’m doing is pretty mundane – I’m not giving up my day job to devote myself to art. Instead I’m addressing how I can make art my life focus, but without too much disruption to the status quo. I’m not the type to jump into the sea without a plan!! Your post is an excellent reminder of the lengths that truly driven artists go to.


    1. Hi Tim! This was not my idea! I had no intentions of going so far away from my safe shores. But, one step at a time, it all fell together this way and this is what’s happening and now I’m glad for it. But yes, at the same time, at one point or another in your artistic development, you do have to walk away from that which is comfortable because they inevitably become the chains around you. Having said that, only you would know when that time is, and your art has to be what you want the MOST in life. Make sense?


      1. That makes total sense. Currently my art is something relatively new in my life – new but I’ve come to realise just how important it is for me. So far I’ve been treating it as a hobby, but after the consideration I’ve given it over the last couple of weeks, I’ve seen that view has the severe potential of holding me back, locking me into how I currently treat my art.

        Fortunately, as you’ve seen in my post, I’ve identified what I can do to change this situation, and have begun working on it! I’m more positive about my art than I’ve ever been! 🙂


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