Last Saturday I forced myself to exit from my little Introvert Cave (aka “Studio”) and attended my first ever Colored Pencil Society meeting. For an introvert like me, it was like enduring my own self-made horror film.
Joining In (Ick!)
I’m not really a “joiner” (which is probably a long holdover from despising the cheerleaders in high school), but I know I need to network and since I have my doubts about the networking efficacy of social media, I need to do something to network with real people despite just wanting to sit in my cave and make art and write books.
So when, as part of my new membership with the Colored Pencil Society of America, I was given the opportunity join my local chapter I thought I ought to give it a try and sent in my application.
Along with the email of acceptance I received on Tuesday I got a notice about a meeting taking place on Saturday. I balked at the idea. People! Meeting! Meeting people! EEK!!! Add that horror to my scramble to finish artwork for my solo exhibition, the short-term notice, a long drive to the meeting, and I was quickly coming up with valid excuses to not attend (or not-so valid, anything to get out of it).
Did someone say free stuff?
Eventually, I talked myself into it. After all, I joined for a reason and that reason was to (gasp!) meet people and hopefully learn a few things about getting my work out there (wherever “there” might be). Plus, the meeting coordinator said there might be free stuff. Ooooh, Free stuff! That might lessen some of my pain.
I attended with the thought that, like any scary movie, if the terror got to be too much I could leave early. I showed up and was instantly greeted with, “You must be Tammie.” Ooh, I’m already popular…that’s a good start.
Turned out I wasn’t really as famous as I thought, I was simply the newest member. Thankfully, the woman (CJ Worlein, who does wonderful colored pencil work) took me under her wing and introduced me to some people (I do NOT do well at approaching strangers and forcing them to meet me). I garbled my way through some chit chat until the meeting started.
And then the horror began.
Apparently at the start of meetings, new members (if there are any) are introduced and supposedly these crazy people think new members want to give some sort of introductory speech. Um, no. I said “Hi” to the group and thought that was pretty good. Short and to the point, isn’t that what we all want from meetings? I mean, c’mon, if you want a speech at least give me some warning.
With that over with, it was time for free stuff. An art supply rep showed off plenty of cool things that are out of my price range, but of which I’m perfectly willing to take free samples. I also won a fancy schmancy sketchbook. Tallying up the goods, I ended up with about $35 worth of swag.
There was also an artist trading card exchange. These are little cards measuring about 2.5″ x 3.5″ with a bit of art on it that artists collect (sort of the art world’s baseball cards). The theme was “Absurdity.” With only a few days’ warning and tons of other projects on my plate, all I could think was that I needed extra time. I then laughed and thought, “Now THAT’S absurd!” Voila! I had my card idea. I actually ended up doing two cards because I am an overachiever and always will be.
Free stuff and more free stuff. I was feeling pretty good about this whole meeting thing. But, like any good horror flick, just when you’ve settled in and relaxed, the axe-wielding pyscho comes at you again.
The Final Act of Terror
The final part of the meeting was to show off what you were working on or a piece that you’d recently completed. I was suckered into this by CJ who, before the meeting started, told me to put out some of my art. She did NOT tell me I was going to have to talk about it like some school room show and tell. So, despite my dodging any speeches earlier, I was forced to talk about my work in front of everyone. Seriously, where is an axe-wielding psycho when you need one?
All in all though, it was a good experience. It’s good for me to get out of my comfort zone a bit and hopefully good for the career I’m trying to build. So, I will put on my brave face and attend the next meeting with hopes of free stuff and expectations that I will have to speak to people (ughhhhh).
Have any horrors recently? Go on, share your pain in a comment.
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TAMMIE PAINTER IS THE AUTHOR OF THE TRIALS OF HERCULES: BOOK ONE OF THE OSTERIA CHRONICLES AND AN ARTIST WHO DEDICATES HERSELF TO THE TEDIUM OF CREATING IMAGES WITH COLORED PENCIL. YOU CAN FIND HER WORK AT TAMMIE PAINTER’S BOOKSTORE & GALLERY.