Instantaneous change

“Northern Virginia Sunrise,” 9X12, pastel, Carol L. Douglas

“Northern Virginia Sunrise,” 9X12, pastel, Carol L. Douglas

There is a lot of good advice on the internet about the studio visit. Most of it is just a variation on hosting meetings in general. Make sure your space is inviting. Make sure the relevant pieces are there to be seen. Be prepared to say something about your work. Know your subject. Don’t whine. Listen. Turn down the stereo and stop looking at your phone. Offer coffee or another beverage.

Coincidentally, that includes cleaning out the corners. An intelligent gallery owner or critic often wants to look at what you have turned face against the wall. I’m always a little fearful of what I’ll find in those hidden spaces, since I share my workspace with a Jack Russell Terrier.

“A FitzHugh Lane Day at Camden,” 12X9, Carol L. Douglas

“A FitzHugh Lane Day at Camden,” 12X9, Carol L. Douglas

Most studios get a little ratty as the artist nears the end of projects. Mine is no exception. I finished two pieces in two different media. While they’re now packaged neatly for delivery, there was also debris thrown all over the floor, and every level surface was a mishmash of tools and paints.

In addition, I’m fasting for some routine medical tests. I can’t take aspirin or NSAIDs, and my old joints are creaking. After teaching today I head directly to Rochester, NY for those tests. I have been concerned about driving ten hours with a fasting headache, and concerned about getting everything ready.

"Sunset at Marshall's Point,”  8X6,  Carol L. Douglas

“Sunset at Marshall’s Point,” 8X6, Carol L. Douglas

Yesterday morning a gallery owner called me to arrange a studio visit for that afternoon. That required some quick stepping. We met and I have a new show coming up featuring work I’m very excited about—my shipyard series. Somehow—and this is truly a miracle—my work schedule is such that I can come home from New York and finish it. And my daughter’s schedule suddenly changed so that she can go to Rochester with me and I won’t be driving alone.

I often muse that we old people have the advantage because we have experienced the cyclical nature of life. We know that happiness can be shattered in an instant, but so can despair. “Faith is like a bird that feels dawn breaking and sings while it is still dark,” says the proverb. What started as a day of cranky discomfort ended up being absolutely perfect.

The secret of happiness, if you will, is to bank those days in our memories, and when things start going wrong, savor them as a reminder that life is, indeed, wonderful.

Carol Douglas

About Carol Douglas

Carol L. Douglas is a painter who lives, works and teaches in Rockport, ME. Her annual workshop will again be held on the Schoodic Peninsula in beautiful Acadia National Park, from August 6-11, 2017. Visit for more information.