Overcoming Challenges

There are a gazillion platitudes out there about how to stay positive, rise above the noise and push on to ultimate victory. It’s at your fingertips, they say. It’s all in your attitude, they say. Well, that’s all very inspiring but when you’re down in the trenches, scrambling to overcome obstacles, the platitudes are really not the first thing that comes to mind.

These past two months have been a testament to facing and overcoming challenges, both good and not so good. For instance, at the beginning of February, I installed a solo exhibit of my artwork at a gallery in Tarpon Springs. It took lots of man-hours to assemble the show, pack and transport about 40 paintings, hang and label each one, etc. I had help but it was still a lot of work. Then, I had the good fortune of being interviewed by a local TV station, Bay News 9, for their “On the Town” segment. That too was challenging, since I was super nervous, and they held the camera literally inches from my face the whole time. (“Ok, deep breaths, focus, act natural…don’t forget to smile”). That was fun in the end though and has actually been very rewarding.

If you’d like to see the interview, here’s the link:  https://www.baynews9.com/fl/tampa/news/2024/02/27/painter-fran-failla-tarpon-springs?cid=app_share

But then the unthinkable happened. Two days after the interview, I got the nastiest flu I’ve ever had. It was so bad that I couldn’t make it to the opening reception for my own solo exhibit! (“Ok, what do I do now? I have people coming to see the show just because I was on TV!”) Yes, panic set in, severely, and there were no platitudes to be had. But the solution presented itself without the platitudes when my husband volunteered to be my proxy at the opening. It went off without a hitch and was well attended. I even sold a painting that night! I think the platitude about “silver linings” fits well here. The not so good news is that it took almost three weeks for me to fully recover from the illness and return to the land of the living. That was just awful.

But then, in March, another challenge entered my already overly busy life. My sweet dog, who is my best buddy, fell and injured himself. After that he couldn’t walk, and he now needs surgery to repair a torn ligament in his knee. More panic, no platitudes to think of. So, the challenges continue. The good news is that, with the exception of the three weeks that I was sick as a dog, I managed to overcome the fear of painting the final painting for the Emerging Artist exhibit coming up. I finished that about ten days ago. And, I have also painted a few more really good pieces for another show that opens this week in Tampa.

So, I guess the moral to this story is that the platitudes are formed after the challenge has come and has been fully addressed and handled. Then the next chapter of our lives sets in, and we can make our own platitudes. Or we just learn from the challenge and make good or better decisions in the future.

FYI, the painting shown above is a recent piece that is on exhibit at the current Tampa show. It is titled “Prejudice and Segregation”, and is another metaphoric still life painting, like the paintings I’ve done for the Emerging Artist exhibit. Thanks!!!

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