09 Nov I am Enough from Stephanie Bolton
Aloha! Did you know that those little elations that dwell deep down in the depths of your heart (those dreams and aches that we so often ignore)… did you know that they exist for a reason? It is not always apparent. They often seem trivial, nonsensical, even (dare I say it) selfish and irresponsible. We ignore them because we wonder, “Who would ever understand/care/appreciate these little ideas that thrill only me?” …only me? I think that the bad in the world is always trying to make us think that we are all alone and believing in that gives bad power over us.
Because when we band together we see that we are not alone and that together we have much more power over the bad than the bad has over us.
I took an e-course from Kelly Rae Roberts called ‘Flying Lessons’. Honestly, I took it out of sheer curiosity rather than a sense of need. I have followed Kelly’s blog for I think around 6 years (?) now and I have been very impressed as I watched her go from a very unsure & insecure artist-on-the-side to a full time professional artist now giving others business advice. She always writes her feelings very candidly on her blog and I was curious how someone who continually appeared quite unsure of herself was able to navigate her way to such success all on her own (…of course she was not all on her own). But I never dreamed that this e-course would unearth something in me that I did not even realize I had buried away: bravery.
In Kelly’s e-course she opened up some question and answer sessions with the editor of my very favorite magazineand the editor of a leading publisher of Art Instructional books. Both women impressed upon us that they enjoy receiving submissions because it is much less work for them to not have to hunt for things to print. Sending in submissions is something welcome by publishers? I suppose I had some idea that unrequested submissions would be a nuisance to editors… not sure where I got that idea because the opposite makes so much more sense. After all, they might love what you are doing if they have the chance to see it – why make them hunt for it all on their own?
So I saw an artist call online for a book about bellydance(Ever since my first bellydance class eleven years ago, I have been in love with this art form- so much that now I teach several classes a week). I decided to answer the artist call with the kind of artwork I have always really wanted to do. Now something that you need to know about me, is that I am a third generation artist who went to college and studied Fine Art in Italy and received my BA, went on to teach high school Art at public and private schools, etc. but I whenever I created Art for profit, I was always creating custom orders that catered to the aesthetic of my client. Of course I had my way of creating art but I was always more concerned about pleasing someone else, rather than exploring what was in my heart.
Bellydance is in my heart… mixed media is in my heart… portraiture is in my heart… these three delighted little passions spilled together and had a party on the canvas I submitted to this artist call. You can imagine how thrilled I was when the publisher decided to use my artwork exclusively (they originally had intended to use the work of several artists for the book). It was decided that I would create a mixed media portrait of each dancer who was contributing an article to this book. I was so excited when I discovered that many of the authors would be living legends in contemporary bellydance. I would get to paint many of my bellydance heroes! (I interview them and show the progress on my blog).
If this wasn’t beyond cool several magazines (in three languages) have taken interest in my portraits and have published articles about my artwork. A few have even asked to do a series of articles. There is something very thrilling about seeing your artwork in print and something even more thrilling about being contacted by other artists who have read the article and enjoyed seeing your artwork… which is exactly what happened. I have made some new friends in different parts of the world who share a similar passion for the style of art that created or the subject matter … I discovered there are friendly others just like me.
Another really exciting thing that became of this project was that I was invited to Honolulu, Oahu to put on an art exhibit of my paintings in the very cool and edgy art district of Chinatown. This show was not only a lot of fun but it also made the papers and resulted in other publications contacting me for more interviews & articles.
Now I am not saying I am now rolling in dough or anything like that and many of these publications are not the kind that a vast majority of people are going to recognize (unless they bellydance or live in Hawaii) but the fact that my vulnerably resulted in acceptance rather than ridicule is what has given me a new found freedom and the courage to be myself a little more. To be a little more honest and a little more true and a little more bold to share the real heart in me.
It is interesting that I would say “I am Enough” because that really isn’t totally true… I am Enough because I am not alone. Most of my success is all due to other people believing in me or appreciating the work that I am doing- THANK YOU! If you are reading this and your heart ached with an excited hope that maybe your dreams aren’t so ridiculous or impossible after all… perhaps you are Enough too, and you need to go for it! (… and I know you know what it is!)
About Stephanie Bolton
Stephanie Bolton is an artist who was raised and resides on the Big Island of Hawai’i. She has three sons and the world’s most loving and adoring husband. She invites you to visit her online portfolios and participate in her blog, “I love to connect with people and make new friends- so if you drop by my blog- say HI- I would love to get to know you.”