While I've been staying a little quiet on this blog due to a slightly hectic schedule, I've been working to put myself out there a bit more. This is a risky proposition for even very self-assured people, which makes it that much more intimidating for sensitive introverts. In the last month I applied to four opportunities. The first was for an upcoming multi-artist show at a local venue that is a gallery within a tattoo parlor. The show had a Heroes and Villains theme and was looking for 40 artists to exhibit one piece each. Ultimately, it was determined by the gallery that my work didn't quite fit the theme and I wasn't selected as a participant. However, I did come away from that experience with two concepts that I will work on as personal projects, and the possibility of being considered for a future show in the spring. Then I applied to two open calls to exhibit art at local restaurants, to which I received no response. After that, I contacted a retail shop downtown that also exhibits artwork, and was directed to wait for one of their open calls later in the year and resubmit for consideration. I'm definitely starting to see a pattern of "it's who you know" emerging, and I came to the local scene late and have not thrown myself into network in a way that would lead to fostering strong connections with other local artists. That is definitely a weak point I recognize in myself that is an area of necessary work. Meanwhile, I've been working on small pieces in the little bit of free time life allows right now. I had some family members offer to purchase two of those pieces, and because they're family I discounted the prices. I also attempted to offer some paintings and illustrations for sale - also with discounts - but although there appeared to be some interest, there were no sales generated. People seem to prefer the smaller items with lower price-points, so I may stick with those for the time being. They are technically easier to finish in a shorter time frame (great for my short attention spa...squirrel!) and a LOT easier to store. In the meantime, I received a commission request from a friend for a couple of small watercolor paintings, and I'm putting together a pitch for a column on a lifestyle website, so I'm working on those as ways forward. Progress is slow, and rejection is hard. It takes a lot out of you. Which means I'll retreat inward to regroup, and then move on once I've processed what I'm feeling and how I think I should proceed.