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Why do I feel like I’ve let the world down?

Yesterday when it was so gloriously sunny I went for a walk. A muddy walking boots over rolling fields sort of walk, as its always a good way of putting thoughts in order whilst I’m doing it, sometimes it may be thinking about a way of planning a new painting, or of how to tackle a particularly difficult type of a painting technique I want to work out, and sometimes its just a way of deciding on ways forward with promoting my art or just things in general through fresh air and healthy exercise. But when I got back from my walk in the beautifully bright herald of first spring day, I felt utterlydepressed and miserably sad. And this is not like me at all. I can’ t recall when I last felt so low, so despondent and down. There’s nothing in my life there to cause it, well, except one thing. And the more I thought about it, the more miserable I got. So when my fella came in later on, he found me in this  low state and immediately asked what was wrong, and I miserably explained my dilemma. He listened patiently as he always does, and said “Well, you’ve got to put an end to it” and I nodded and miserably agreed. He knows I don’t want to, and he knows how hard I’ve tried, but enough is enough. It’s time to call it a day.

And the minute the decision had been made, I felt better. Like a weight had been lifted.

And today, I put it into action, and have decided to stop doing my art classes. And the reason? It’s not because I don’t enjoy it, because I do, I really do love it. Its not because the people who go aren’t enjoying it, or learning from it, or benefitting from it. Because they are. Its not because the hall is too expensive. Its none of those things. Its because of the twenty or so people who have said that they are going to come along, since last July, and join the class, haven’t. Well, that’s not true, one was going to come “every other week” and he managed to come twice and was never heard from again. One was going to come every week and managed to come for 3 sessions over a 2 month span. One was going to come after her holiday, after the decorators had been, after she got better after an illness, and bring her friend along too, and neither came at all. One was going to come “every so often”, and came once. One was going to come “most weeks” and came half a dozen times but did her own thing and wasn’t interested in the slightest in any of the things I was demonstrating and just finished off  half done paintings of flowers that she could have done at home anyway. One was going to come 3 times out of  4 weeks but found anther art club to join that was nearer to where she lived. One was “most definitely going to come”, and bring her mother and father, and when I called to enquire when that would be, was told that she would ring me, and she never did. One was going to come “every other week” and bring “a car load of people” with her, and came just the once and rang (in all fairness) to tell me that she couldn’t commit to it as she had other things that were taking her time, so that has gone a long way to me having to make this decision. And I’m just getting more despondent as time goes on, wondering what I’m doing wrong. And actually……. don’t think its anything. Its just people, its just people making promises that they probably intend on keeping, and then they wander off doing other things. Its the way it is with art, I know that. I even rang an artist friend to ask how she rang her group and she said “It’s difficult setting up an art group,  and I’ve got a waiting list for it, but don’t want new people to join our group and alter the dynamic of it, we like it just how it is” so I asked her cheekily if she would be happy giving me the names of a few people on her waiting list who may be interested in joining my art group in the mean time, without taking anything away from her, and she happily gave me four names saying with a smile in her voice “I don’t know how old this list is, they may be dead!” . I rang each, apologising for “cold calling” them, and explained who I was and where I had got their name from – and one of them had never heard of the artist friend of mine who had given me her name! – and each had a reason why they weren’t interested – one ran her own art group, one wouldn’t even consider me without me doing a demo for her art club, etc etc. Dead ends again.

And you know what? I know “It’s time to call it a day” -  I’m just not getting anywhere, I’m not making any money from it, not enough people are interested in it,  I’m putting a lot of time and effort into it, for nothing. Well, for two regular attendees, and that’s just not enough.  So, its time to stop it, and move on. It doesn’t mean I can’t do art classes in the future, it doesn’t mean that I can’t go and do demos and workshops for other art groups, it doesn’t mean that I’ve failed. It just means that I couldn’t get enough people to go at this time. I was promised a “core of four or five” who were interested from day one and who I set up the classes for, and who I thought I could add to over the months, building up the numbers, and of that core, only one actually came!

Its been a great learning curve, and has taught me how much knowledge I have that I can pass on to others to help them with their skills.

I just felt a huge responsibility for the ones who had stuck by me, but they know how I’ve agonised over it, and how impractical its been.

So I shall stop getting depressed over it, I shall stop feeling that I’ve let people down, I shall stop beating myself up over it, and move on!

 Back to being in jolly positive mode again!