Anything is Possible!

With Love, Hope, and Perseverance

My First Art Show


Tree lady  w 2 hearts

Last weekend I went to my first art show as a vendor. For set up, I got to follow the sign on the front door of the the old church venue saying,

“Artists enter by side door.”

I’ve been an artist since I was  10 years old, but this was the first time I’ve gone in the special door. It’s the first time I’ve put my visual art out there for sale.

“What if I don’t sell anything?” whispered the voice of self-doubt. “It will be so embarrassing!”

“Shut up! That’s no way to talk!” responded my critical parent voice.

“Be positive! What if you sell a lot of your work?” said the nurturing parent. “I’m proud of you for doing this, no matter what!”

“Okay, as long as something sells,” said self-doubt.

I put in a lot of time creating art, matting prints, and painting angels and mermaids on rocks and shells to be included with each purchase. I ended up selling a few pieces which covered the $75 for the space, plus art supplies. And I have plenty of leftovers for the next show or to go in a gallery!

The “Tree Lady” (above) and the healing angels (below) sold. But not the larger pieces.

IMG_0918    Comforting Angels

And the original of “Delivery,” a practice piece on scrap wood, sold.

Angels w baby


I learned a lot from this first art show, like art is subjective. Some of the prints I thought for sure would sell didn’t. Small pieces of original art sold best. People admired the three larger paintings, but didn’t want to spend that kind of money, which I can understand. So for next time, I’m making a few prints of the larger pieces.

Seeing other artists’ work provided a feast of delight and inspiration.

But the best part of all was not about what I sold.

The best part was about what I gave away.

I’d brought with me paper and plastic bags for the art I’d sell. One bag came from my mom’s bedroom, the bedroom my father hasn’t changed in the several years since she died. I go in there now and then to look for things I can convince Dad to donate or get rid of.  The bag from Mom’s room was a lavender paper bag with handles. While sitting at the art show, I rummaged through the tissue paper in the lavender bag. At the bottom, I found a little, pink, crocheted purse. Or so I thought it was a purse.


(It actually turned out to be a holder for those personal sized Kleenex packets.)

I put the little pink purse in the basket I’d brought the painted rocks in, and put it on the table thinking someone might like it.

A couple hours later, a little girl, who looked to be about 5 or 6, came by with her parents. She stopped to look at the painted shells, lingering on each one. Then she came to the little pink purse in the basket.

“What’s this?” she asked.

“I think it’s a little purse,” I said. I could tell she liked it by the way she admired it and worked to figure out the button clasp.

“That’s for you,” I said. “My mother wants you to have it.”

My words came out spontaneously.

The little girl smiled and thanked me politely as did her mother. They figured out it was a Kleenex purse, and said she always had trouble finding tissue at school, so it would come in handy.

The brief and powerful connection with the little girl and my mother’s pink Kleenex purse made my heart sing. It was as if my mother had been there all the time, watching quietly, waiting for the chance to be part of my first art show.

Author: JoAnna

An open minded, tree-hugging Jesus follower, former counselor, and life-long lover of animals, I'm returning to my creative roots and have published my first book: Trust the Timing, A Memoir of Finding Love Again as well as the short version: From Loneliness to Love.

27 thoughts on “My First Art Show

  1. I’ve no doubt your mother was there. I’m sure she was quite proud of you, too! Congratulations on your first show–of many!



    • Thank you! On a typically conscious level, I was not aware of my mother’s presence, but with a subtle shift in perception, of course she was there. Like in those pictures with the hidden shapes.

  2. I loved reading this! I imagined I was there at the art show, your experience proved to be wonderful. Never doubt youself. It sounds like you gave to the buyer as well as made a profit. I began as an art major, did the art shows, and juried for them. Being an artist won’t make a person rich (maybe) but it sure can be fulfilling. Keep up your artwork, it will give back to you far more than you could possibly receive.

  3. Thank you for this powerful encouragement! It gives me confidence in the process of becoming who I was always meant to be.

  4. Absolutely beautiful and many Congratulations 🙂 May more of such shows come your way. And the little pink purse with the little girl really warmed my heart. Your first show wasn’t just about success – you reached out and connected with people and your mother. That’s lovely.

  5. Thank you! This is becoming more and more clear to me since I’ve written about it and read comments like yours.

  6. Ah! JoAnne!! I have tears and little goosebumps! I’m so thrilled for you and your experience of your first art show. And I understand all of your emotions about it. I’m so happy you sold a few pieces, learned some things for your next show, and had that beautiful interaction with the little girl and your Mom!! Wow!! Much love…many blessings 🙂 ❤

  7. Congratulations! How exciting. Now you know you can do this. 🙂

  8. Thanks, Deborah. You know, I didn’t think much about whether I should do it. When I got the email from my friend about it, it just felt like it was time to venture out there. It does feel good that I CAN do it!

  9. Thanks for the re-blog, Osh!

  10. Congratulations JoAnne, your display is inspiring. After my stint with photography, I will try my hand at painting. Thanks and great posting.

  11. Thank you! Isn’t it grand that we get to finally do these things?! I’m not even “retired” yet, but I’m loving the possibilities of a retirement lifestyle.

  12. Great post and story JoAnne; I loved the insider take on the voices in your head. I know it’s difficult to put visual art out there (my daughter is an artist) and your pink purse story made my heart sing too!

  13. Thanks, Erika. It’s fun to look back on those voices now. The pink purse giveaway was the highlight of the whole weekend. I’m glad it made your heart sing 🙂

  14. Pingback: Pay Attention to Those Nudges! | Anything is Possible!

  15. This is a very touching post, JoAnne. You have displayed some beautiful paintings, and it’s nice to meet you. Ka

    • Thank you, Ka! I’m so glad you appreciate this post, which is dear to my heart. Thanks for the affirmation and finding me, so I could find you.

      • Hi JoAnne, I used to have a class mate in primary school who spelled her name with a capital ‘A.’ Also interestingly, a day or two ago, I posted a status message on my FB page that said, “Anything is Possible.” This is the second time that a phrase or special word came to my mind and into my experience before I met a new blogger. Life is brilliant, isn’t it?! Thank you so much for the follow, I will follow you, too! Aloha! I hope to get to know you more. Yes, your story here in this post, is precious! It resonates for me, too! Giving is a blessing, always… art & mothers… etc. Blessings, Ka

  16. Hi JoAnne,

    Congratulations on this show and the beautiful way you carried it all off… Your description sounds like a “coming out”, a reclaiming of the fullness of your own heart in embodied expression in the world– from entering through the side door to gifting the girl with the beautiful purse. It is all of one flowering, and beautiful to behold…! Inspiring, to be honest. It inspires me when we step forward like this…


  17. What a delightful anecdote regarding your dear mother’s tissue purse; thank you.

  18. Thanks for reading and affirming it!

  19. Pingback: Angel Art – Anything is Possible!

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