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Skip the Drama, Meet Your Gallery Deadlines

Skip the Drama, Meet Your Gallery Deadlines

"The Persistance of Memory"

Eric Maisel

Let’s turn these observations into a checklist for meeting deadlines:

1. Accept the nature of the situation. You are committing to showing your work, both to yourself and to others. Internally agree to that. Don’t try to dodge that reality.

2. Accept the reality of the deadline. It is a real date. Even if there is some wiggle room available—even if the gallery owner said, “I need those four paintings by July 1st but July 15th might be okay”—don’t opt to wiggle. Put July 1st on that special calendar where you keep track of your heroic acts and mature struggles. Embrace the word “deadline.”

3. Watch your language. Get out of the bad habit of using catastrophic language: “This is the worst painting I’ve ever done!”; “I’m such a no-talent idiot!”; “I can’t draw, I have no color sense, and I have nothing to say!” Completely extinguish that way of talking to yourself and about yourself. Err on the side of advocating for yourself, befriending yourself, and applauding your efforts.

4. Ceremonially show up. Make it your practice to show up every day and work on one of the paintings. This is your practice — this is the way you manifest your potential and stay true to yourself. You aren’t showing up just to paint — you are showing up to honor your commitments and to make yourself feel proud.

5. Finish. Do what’s necessary and finish each of the four paintings.

6. Judge them. Yes, you must. Leave a given painting in or take it out. You must judge and decide. You finished it. You looked at it. You slept on it. You looked at it again. You wrestled with your reactions. Now you need to say, “In” or “Out.” Try to err on the side of “In.” But if you genuinely can’t let it in, if in your judgment it must not be shown, then you have a new painting to produce. You don’t have to exclaim, “Oh, my God, now I have a whole new painting to do and not enough time! Oh my God! What will I ever do! It’s impossible! I should shoot myself right now!” Skip all that drama. Just get to work on the replacement painting.

If you decided to live the life of an artist, you opened the door to endless judgments. You make some of those judgments; others make the majority of them, by buying, by making a face, by turning away indifferently. If you harbor even the slightest hope that you can somehow avoid being judged, that will only increase your anxiety. Are deadlines days of reckoning? Yes, indeed. Be easy with reckoning. You have asked for this life and judgment is a part of it.

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