Out of My Comfort Zone
Recently, I sold a couple of paintings to a collector in California. She wanted to hang one of the paintings over her couch but found that she needed to fill the space with two more paintings. She asked me if she could commission me to paint two more pieces that would match. Wow! What a great opportunity for an artist and I felt grateful for the opportunity.
As excited as I was, I was also scared to death. I’d never taken a commission and truth be told, I was nervous about whether or not I would be able to match the first painting and I was worried that I would paint something she didn’t like.
Fear can easily stop us from stepping out of our comfort zones. I could have easily said “no” to this opportunity and saved myself potential disappointment or failure to please my client. Not only would I have missed out on a financial benefit, but I also would have missed an opportunity to grow as an artist.
In doing the commission I encountered new inspiration and painted two paintings that I am really happy with. I also formed a new relationship with a wonderful client that I really like. And finally, I proved to myself that I can do more than I think. I’m ready to take on new challenges and expand as an artist.
"Watching" by Shelby McQuilkin
She sits resting, watching the other dancers, waiting for her next part. She’s enjoying a moment to breathe, to think about what comes next. She’s a seasoned dancer, not a young impatient beginner. She still gets nervous before a performance, but she’s mature enough to handle her emotions. She’s performed many times and still has many performances left in her. She watches the other dancers knowing her hard work and determination has brought her to where she always dreamed she would be.
"Waiting" by Shelby McQuilkin
This abstract, figurative, oil painting is called “Waiting” and it speaks to a place that my family is in as I write this. We’re all waiting for something: a promotion, a soul-mate, a check in the mail, a hope, a dream. I’m not a patient person, I don’t like to wait, but there are times in life when waiting is not an option.
Waiting can feel like you’re out in the middle of nowhere, nothing is happening, no excitement, no one to talk to, it’s just nothing. You’re looking into the distance trying to see if the thing you’re waiting for is on it’s way, trying to judge how long it’s going to take to arrive and frustrated with the whole process.
But, when I take the time to just relax and breathe, I realize that “waiting” can be a beautiful process and not just a frustrating one. Waiting gives me time to ponder, to reflect, to be grateful. Waiting can be full of anticipation, excitement and wonder. Waiting makes you slow down and think about your priorities and figure out what it is that really want.
For me, this painting is about the beauty of waiting, longing, and hoping.
The Grand Budapest Hotel
Wes Anderson is constantly giving us some of the most joyful cinematic experiences in recent years. His work always brings a smile to my face. ”The Grand Budapest Hotel” is quite possibly his best film, and is certainly the first truly great film of 2014.
The film opens wide this weekend. I highly suggest you see it on the big screen. You’ll be glad you did.
- Joshua McQuilkin
"Urban Structures" by Shelby McQuilkin
We’re in the process of getting pre-qualified for a home with the possibility of buying the townhouse that we’re currently renting. There’s a home shortage in Denver which is causing the rents to skyrocket, so, we’ve decided we’re better off buying than renting.
I’ve moved over 50 times in my life and I hate not knowing where I’m going to live. I feel this unsettling even in my art work, one day I’m painting flowers and the next day an urban scene. I’m just kinda all over the place.
I think I was drawn to this image because, to me, it represents stability. This is an old part of town, strong brick buildings…solid, grounded. The structures comfort me in a strange way. I want to feel grounded too. I want to be settled and established and not wondering where I’m going to be living.
I’ve already started another urban landscape, hopefully I can gain some security as I lean into these strong, sturdy structures, reminding myself that soon I’ll be settled and everything is going to be okay.