I'm excited today. I've just hung my paintings in a new space - not a gallery, but a hairdressers whose building could easily work as a gallery space, and who, very generously, said I could put them up. It's Skullduggeri in Newcastle - feel free to pop by, get amazing hair and stunning beauty treatments, oh and check out the art, it's really good.
Why the excitement - well this is the first true test of the pictures as Art outside of my house. They can take on a life of their own and start to stand on their own two feet now. I get to find out what others think about them, which ones work and which don't, and you know, there's always the chance someone may want one? Already putting them in a new surrounding has brought out different paintings in different ways. Especially my earlier paintings that I tend to think of as perhaps less successful - because I have been around them for longer, and you always look to what is next; these seem to reassert themselves in a more public space - I think because the colours are more vibrant. I am pleased though, because it gives a new energy to what I was beginning to think of as failures.
And here we have it. As soon as I write that word 'excited', I know that My next heartbeat is of anxiety, or worry about the potential of failure; that in exposing my work, I am exposing who I am, my hopes and dreams and inviting others to comment, to mock, to ridicule. Of course I am now big enough and ugly enough to weather this threat, and know already that the work has been appreciated by those who have seen it, and I know that success does not come without risk, and smaller failures. Deep down though I know I want this to work, I want these to be paintings that people like, and want to be proved good, not just arrogant.
But to live is to risk, right? And maybe Marvell had a point about "Time's winged chariot hurrying near" - we are always under the pressure of a single life, and the need to make the most of the time that we have. Even though Marvell was using his phrase as an exceptionally eloquent piece of guilting someone into bed his solution is still apt: "though we cannot make our sun/Stand still, yet we will make him run". What time we have must be lived, must take our breath and strength, and joy.