I have this little sign in a frame in my studio. It moves around a bit, but right now it is living atop my yarn shelves. When Eleanor said this, I don't think she ever meant it to apply to our going to the grocery store or the theatre or sending our kids to school or participating in a race. Our world itself is scarier that Eleanor's was, though it was a world at war, too.
Anyway, occasionally, I actually see it, and try to make myself step out of my comfort zone in my work. Recently, I made myself enter a couple of exhibits that I am not real sure about. With my tapestries, at least the large ones, I have become a bit cautious since having one stolen from a gallery wall. And that gallery was one I knew and was comfortable with! That tapestry was insured, fortunately, through the gallery. I now do not send my tapestries to exhibits or galleries that do not insure them while they are in their possession. And I only exhibit my large tapestries in places, or through organizations, that I know and trust. There is just too much of my time, my work, and my life in each of those pieces for me to be comfortable sending them to places who don't care enough to insure them while they have them. And I feel that, if they know they are not liable for them, they will not be as careful with them as they would be if they knew they were responsible for their safety.
However, I recently did enter two exhibits in places I know nothing about. I entered a painting and some small tapestries, so, though I took a risk, it is not a huge one for me. Hopefully.
I have already heard that the painting has been accepted. It will hang in a gallery in Laguna Beach, CA. I know nothing about the gallery. I have been to Laguna Beach, though. After teaching at Convergence last summer, I visited my brother and his family nearby, and we went to the Pageant of the Masters and the Festival of Arts in Laguna Beach. There is also a big Sawdust Arts Festival there all summer. It is a HUGE arts town. People go there to look at, and maybe to buy, art. So I decided to jump feet-first into that pool. Hope I don't belly flop! The painting that was accepted is my "Youngest Groomsman" painting.
So, today I will pack it up and will take it, along with two tapestries headed to the Coastal Fiberarts exhibit in Oregon, to UPS to ship. That will probably take me all day, as I have to go buy a mirror box for the painting, pack the two boxes, and then drive out to the far west end of town to UPS. (I don't ship through a UPS 'store' because I learned that they triple the insurance rate over what UPS itself charges! Yep, I said triple!)
I have not yet heard from the exhibit I entered with the small tapestries. These entries may not seem like very 'scary' or 'risky' things to you. But both of these exhibits are outside my area of control. And they are both ones that I have already sunk entry money into (and entry fees are not cheap, anymore.) But art is created to be seen, so I occasionally force myself to get it out from under my beds and off my closet shelves and my own studio walls. A whole new audience will see my painting, as well as the tapestries that are going to Oregon. And that is a good thing. I think Eleanor would be happy with me.