Ok, I know I should probably say “does well,” but it’s just so good!!!!!! I don’t mean to be obscure here, so here’s the scoop, Aleah Chapin, who grew up on Whidbey Island, in a very modest house right at the top of First street, just won the 1st prize in the British Portrait international competition. More than 2000 really, really, really good artists from all over the world entered this competition and we were all very proud when Aleah was named to the shortlist of 4 artists. To have her win is very exciting.
I would be lying if I told you that, along with my pride at one of our own winning such a prestigious art world prize, I wasn’t in the least envious. Because I am completely green with envy. Now, I’m not exactly a slouch at making art, but the truth is, that I don’t travel in those circles. Sometimes I think about how we move about the world depends on what we were brought up to expect out of the world. The lessons I learned in childhood were, ‘keep your head down, don’t expect too much or you’ll be disappointed. Fly beneath the radar.” These are not the lessons that take you to the top prizes. Still, I managed to still the inner and outer critics of my childhood enough to become a painter and to make my living from it for the last 25 years. It is hard not to wonder what might have been possible had I had the courage to throw my hat into that ring.
Aleah is young and at the beginning of her artistic journey, and despite the early encouragement, great talent, and hard work that has brought her to this well deserved success, she will have her own hurdles to conquer. One of my former art dealers used to say, “You’re only as good as your last show.” The burden of great potential and early success and promise is not for the faint of heart. This award will open doors to be sure. But it’s what she does once she enters the room that will matter in the long run. She’s worked hard to get to this point, so I feel reasonably sure that she will be up to the task. But it’s easy to get distracted, especially when everyone is telling you how wonderful you are, and there are all the parties and celebrations, and your envious friends who have worked just as hard as you have. So keep your head up, keep those brushes full of paint, and take advantage of all the doors that are going to open for you you right now. They won’t stay open indefinitely.