SOFTLY - come behind the scenes of opening week

SOFTLY - come behind the scenes of opening week

As I write this there are 2 sleeps until 'SOFTLY' - my bokeh-ful solo show at Gallery De Novo - opens.

Yes, I'm counting down like a kid before Christmas.

I've been working on these bokeh oil paintings - and little else - for months now. It does feel a little like life got put on hold, so forgive me if the anticipation is bubbling over... so many hours/days/weeks/month of work come to a head on Friday night. It might be emotional. I might be emotional.

Cue all the feelings

Picture a cauldron of nerves, excitement, curiosity (to see how the art is received), a dose of pinch-me-is-this-real, pride in the work and anxiousness (What if no one comes? What if nothing sells?)... that's me in this moment.

A little reading into nervousness reveals the physiologic reaction in the body is more or less the same as that of excitement - the difference comes down to the way the mind interprets the physical feelings. If you are focused on the ways things could go well, you perceive excitement. If you focus on the things that could go wrong, your emotional state becomes fearful and anxious.

This makes complete sense and I'm definitely feeling both sides of this emotional coin. It seems the choice is mine to make.

Choosing to feel excitement

All the ways this art exhibition could go well:

One of the bokeh oil paintings in the SOFTLY exhibition at Gallery De Novo
  • The bokeh paintings look great on the wall & I'm proud of what I've created
  • The opening night is well attended & feels celebratory
  • Feedback is generally positive; viewers are genuinely curious about the work & some have an emotional response
  • Paintings sell 🔴🔴🔴
  • I get to meet some great people, including collectors & fellow artists
  • The experience helps me grow my profile & confidence as an artist

Bokeh also provides a solution for handling nerves.

We feel anxious in the face of uncertainty. To me, a lack of clarity sounds like a way of describing bokeh - not entirely being sure what I'm dealing with. The bokeh-ful response is to let go of any need to control the outcomes - to soften, surrender and be present in the moment.

Mindset aside, what I'm actually doing

There's been little for me to physically do this week - luckily, as I've had a sick kid keeping me company most of the week. The works were all delivered a week or so ago - although I'm adding 2 more pieces, at the Gallery's request, and will be delivering those on the day of opening!

I've checked my blog post reviewing last year's B Exhibition, and am grateful to 2023-me for compiling this list of must-do's.

According to the list, outsourcing photography is essential. I've booked a great photographer for the opening night - which is itself a source of excitement; knowing I'm going to have a reliable collection of photos to re-experience the event through and to share with those who can't make it.

Lots of bokeh as seen in Dunedin by night in these oil paintings

On Friday, I'll be travelling to Dunedin, connecting with extended family and -hopefully - seeing you at the opening!

Afterwards, the Dunedin Midwinter Carnival is on, just a stone's throw from Gallery De Novo, and looks like it'll be an absolute bokeh-feast!!

x Mel


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