How NOT to Throw a Pity Party

I attempted to throw a party yesterday.

It was a pity party.

I don’t know why. Maybe it was because my husband was out of town. Maybe it’s because my 4 year-old has a lying problem. Maybe it it was the fact that by the time I got both kids to school I felt like I’d put in a full day’s work and I didn’t want to do anything.

Maybe it was all those things, but the final straw were the violas.

Poor violas!

I bought violas the other day with the intention of potting them and making a pretty little display for next to my front door. Yet, almost a week later there they sit in their disposable plastic cups from the nursery, dying. So when I pulled back in the driveway after dropping my little one off at school and saw these poor wilted violas, my pity party festivities began.

Have any of you ever thrown a pity party? They’re very easy. You don’t have to decorate, in fact, decorations may ruin your pity party, and you don’t ever ever clean up. They happen mostly in your own head. You can try to invite other people to your pity party, but the guests usually just pop in for a moment and don’t stick around. The most important part is the playlist. The playlist consists of hits like, “Why can’t I get it together?” “I’ll never be a success,” and the ever popular, “It’s not really my fault.”

Perhaps the most important element for a successful pity party is at least some degree of melodrama. So, with that in mind, I picked up one of the little cups of violas, the one that, in my opinion, would have been the prettiest had it lived, and carried it inside. My intention? To paint a portrait of my failure.

How annoyed are you with me right now? Are you rolling your eyes? You absolutely should be. Sidenote: I had other work I needed to be doing. Other paintings on my easel, etc., but when you have a party to plan…

So, here I sat with my mostly dead violas in front of me, watercolor sketchbook out, fully intending to not only paint a portrait of my failure, but then to blog about it! (Good Lord, that melodrama was turned up high!) There was one little flower that was still alive…a symbol of what could have been had I not failed them (Can’t you just hear the cello music?).

See the one live bloom? I was going to pose the question, “Does that one flower make me a success or a failure?” Oh the drama! *eye roll*

However, something went wrong. I started painting and sort of lost my party theme. Instead of listing how I had failed, I got lost in doodling the details. The dead blooms changed from something to lament to just something to observe…something to depict. Instead of something to fix and change they became something that simply are what they are.

By the time I finished my watercolor sketch, my pity party had really petered out. So, I left the party and got to work. Successful parties need engaged guests and a pity party is no exception.

Oh, and a weird thing happened. A couple hours later I noticed my violas had perked up. Maybe they were just chilly outside. Or maybe they were playing dead for attention and suffered from their own share of melodrama. Who knows?

Well this is embarrassing…

I started writing a few blog posts (and many many months) ago that I was working on the business side of art. I told you about trying to convert my website to WordPress, about picking a platform, etc. And then I just stopped. Stopped communicating, stopped working on it, just stopped.

Partly because, well, 2020.

And partly because I changed gears.


And partly because, to be honest, I was embarrassed. Embarrassed that I said I would give you information and I didn’t have any myself. So I sort of abandoned ship for a while on the whole website endeavor.

Not because I’m wishy washy. I’m actually absurdly stubborn when it comes to sticking with things. Instead it’s because I was spending so much time and energy trying to sort things out and learn how to speak computer code, trying to fix problems, etc. that I wasn’t painting! If improving my art website was keeping me from MAKING art…well, that seems to defeat the purpose.

So, I’m trying something new. FASO. FASO makes websites specifically for artists. For some weird reason I tend to be suspicious of anything that makes things too easy, however, I think I’m going to like it. As your personal guinea pig, I’ll try it out and let you know. In the meantime, head on over to my website and let me know what you think.

Now, back to our regularly scheduled programming: The art.

The Dilemma by Erin Hardin 16″x11″ Oil on panel

This painting is entitled “The Dilemma” and it seemed suitable to today’s post and that feeling of being stuck. So often I feel, as I’m sure many of you do, bound in some way. Sometimes there legitimately are outside forces at play, but most of the time if I’m really honest with myself, I realize that I’m the one holding myself back. Sometimes it’s inertia, sometimes disorganization, sometimes fear. It’s frustrating- this tangled, tied up feeling. It makes me grumpy, moody, mean, definitely not creative. I can usually find something or someone to blame…at least ostensibly, and that might work for a minute. But in truth, no one’s going to untie those strings but me. Sure they might try. And it might even work. However, the interesting thing about human beings is that if I haven’t figured out how to untangle myself, I’m likely just going to pick those ropes back up again. Maybe that’s because we’re SUPPOSED to figure out how to untangle ourselves. Like one of those metal puzzles that are next to impossible to put down we humans just keep picking up the same dilemmas until one day, finally disgusted with the tangled mess we’re in, we think to ourselves, “I’ve been here before. I’ve tried this and I’ve tried that. Now it’s time to try something new.”

And so, we do.

Good luck today my friends.