In past relationships my art has been a hinder and a sore subject. My need to stay up late, or my constant sketching or working has been a problem. Running an art business, or a business of any type takes a lot of work, time and energy.
I told Sterling as we were going into our first months of dating, "I work a lot... it might be a problem. It might make you hate me. It's happened before.."
His response was, "I fell in love with you because of your art."
And since then he has been the greatest support system I've ever had.
I'm used to shrugging off my little victories, or mentioning them casually to friends or family.
Knowing that I was my own greatest supporter. So, why bother trying to get anyone else excited?
We are all too busy with our own victories.
But my sweet Sterling has taken my victories as his as well.
There have been depressing times when I would say, "Maybe I should just quit." and hang my head down low.
He response, "Over my dead body."
Or there are times I say, "I've got to run to the post office to ship a print." Or, "I need to get supplies for an order that just came in." Almost dreading the response I was used to.
Sterling gets so excited for me, he addresses the recipient by name, stares intently at the package and says, "We love you.. Tell your friends about us." Then gently slips it into the box.
I was not used to the "we" and the "us". But, I liked it.
Today we got all my paintings ready to be put up in the Timeless Image Tattoo & Art Gallery in Provo.
We had about 25 ready to be hung up, but went back to check for more. I found a few small ones and asked Sterling if he thought I should put them up. His eyes got wide and said, "Where have these been?!"
We spent about 20 minutes going through my old art that had been stashed away. From when I first opened my shop. Paintings that my ex said were no good. Paintings that I was told I should stop doing..
Sterling had a pile and kept telling me how fantastic they were, asking if I had more "gold" hidden in the house.
I'm not entirely sure I even believe his words. But since he is a long time follower of this blog, he is probably reading this. I must say, my doubt is not in him. It's in me. After being unsupported for so long, having support is actually scary. After hearing, "Don't paint stuff like that anymore.." Or " No one is going to buy that.." the words, "That is amazing! That's going to sell so fast!" are uneasy to hear.
But, Sterling is actually proud of me and he tells me so every day. He encourages me and helps me.
Something I've never had.
Tonight we labeled, arranged and hung around 45 paintings. It took hours. We went and got take out, and sat down at the kitchen table. We discussed writing a book together. And how we make good business partners.
We are a we. And I finally feel safe in doing the art that I love.
At this point I'm just gushing.. but I really am just so thankful to have support. And from someone I love and admire so much.
I'm still learning how to accept it.