How Synchronicity Got Me On TV

by Shawn Dell Joyce

I’m a big proponent of the idea that there is a creative power in the universe that will move heaven and earth to help me on my artistic journey. This is evidenced by how three unique opportunities were recently woven together by cosmic hands to form a silver thread of events that ended up with me on three separate television stations on Monday and Tuesday of this week.

This is one of the studie
First, I was commissioned by a couple who collect my work to the largest-scale pastel painting I have ever made; 48”x72.” For pastel, that’s huge! The couple was not in a hurry, so we worked through the details together. I submitted many sketches and studies until they congealed into a scale model the couple was excited to have in their exquisite home. This alone would be very good fortune, but it is only one strand.
Second, Dunedin Fine Art Center has large spaces and is featuring a Student/Member/Faculty exhibit this month. My home studio is small, and my painting buddy is an 80 pound dog who sometimes adds her own unique marks to my work. I asked permission to use space at DFAC for the month to paint this large-scale work. They asked me to coincide it with the exhibit and to plug my classes to passers-by.
Third, I got the grant! This grant suggests an open studio component which made me think; “why not make this a live painting event that’s open to the public?” So I did, and made up a sign that the event was part of my grant activities (after asking permission from Creative Pinellas) and sent out a press release.

This is when it all came together. Synchronicity stepped in and blew life into the idea.
The press LOVED the idea (thanks to a slow news week) and several responded by sending photographers and live camera crews to interview me while I painted. I was able to talk about some technical aspects of painting large scale, advertise the DFAC and my classes, and hopefully inspire others. As soon as it aired, my social media blew up and people started calling and coming in just to see me!

I’m shocked by the outpouring of support from the public for this simple idea. People are coming in to ask me how I captured that light, and how do you use pastels on a sanded surface, what went into planning this large painting, and where do I get my inspiration. I advertised regular painting hours of 10am-noon (I work full-time as a teaching artist in addition to this) and all week there have been people waiting for me to arrive, visiting during the painting time in a steady stream, and some lingering after I’ve left for the day. I shoot photos of my visitors and post them to my social media.

The grant has given me the catalyst to make this a public event. By doing it, fresh people are coming into DFAC and taking classes with me. This helps me to develop a sustainable livelihood and enriches our cultural institutions at the same time.

I may not get much done on the painting during my scheduled painting times with all the visitors and questions, but its well-worth it for me. I believe art is more than just an end-product of creativity. It’s a new pair of glasses, a way of seeing the world as beautiful and worth preserving, a mindfulness of our footprint on the landscape and a record of our time here. Success for me is measure in lives touched more than dollars made.
I’m grateful for this opportunity and the synergistic way it all came together.
I hope if you get something from this blog it is to always take that chance and be open to these small moments of synchronicity. Follow them wherever they may lead, even if it’s uncomfortable and challenging.

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