It's a Win! [A win-win.]

Our Thompson Valley Art League had the opening reception for it’s Members Show last Friday evening.  It was a fun time.  Our Colorado county had lifted their mask mandate; Covid infections were dropping.  I think people finally felt like it might be reasonably safe to be out in public.

But the evening was especially fun for me. Of course, I checked out the awards when I arrived.  I had entered two paintings; neither one of them had taken first or second place in the watercolor division. That was perfectly fine with me.  One of our newer members won the blue ribbon.  Her painting was a nifty traditional watercolor of two pigeons.  Not your typical subject matter, but very well done.  I was so pleased for her.

Fast forward 30 minutes.  I was visiting with a woman at the back of the gallery when she congratulated me on my ribbon.  I said, “I didn’t win anything.”  It seems I did.  We walked over to my painting and there was that blue ribbon.  I was sure it was wrong.  I pulled it off the wall to see if the artist’s name had been written on the back.  It hadn’t.  I told the woman that it had probably fallen off of Cheryl’s painting above mine and someone stuck it back on the wall in the wrong place.  Just then the announcement of the awards started so I couldn’t ask the gallery director about it.

Turns out that I was standing next to Cheryl Gratias, the artist who had painted those charming pigeons.  She asked me which one of us won the award.  I had no idea; I was pretty sure it was a mistake.  She told me she had been so excited to see that ribbon on her painting; now she was feeling disappointed.  I felt terrible.  She said, “well, our paintings are both of birds.”  I cracked that we could be the bird brains of the gallery.  We waited.

Finally Jill, the gallery director, along with the videographer, got to the watercolor section.  Absolute last, wouldn’t you know it.  She announces that Vista, by Linda Renaud, won the blue ribbon.  Dang it.  She announces the second place painting. 

“And now, for Best of Show.  It goes to ‘Iridescence’ by Cheryl Gratias.” You guessed it, the pigeons took the prize!!  I whooped. Cheryl smiled. Best moment of the evening. It was a win-win. That sneaky gallery director was trying to surprise us.  She succeeded.

Here’s what I keep trying to reinforce in my soul: I am not diminished when someone else wins.  Jealousy is a soul-devouring plague.  Avoid it.  I’m not the only show in town.  Heck, I’m not the only show within 2 miles of my house.

There can be, and are, lots of winners.  Many people need affirmation, encouragement, and celebration of their successes.  There are plenty of hard knocks to go around. 

Multiply the joy, share the love, applaud the other,