The Rabbit Hole of Unrealistic Deadlines

At the end of April, my ‘Bedtime Stories for Privileged Children’ quilt was awarded 2nd place at the St. Louis Artist Guild’s ‘Migration and Displacement’ exhibit. The fact that I had entered this quilt into two other exhibits and it was not accepted into either of those did not prevent my ego from becoming completely inflated. I was an AWARD-WINNING ARTIST, thank you very much.

About a month later, I sat at my desk reading an email. It was a call for an exhibit at Art St. Louis called “The Rabbit Hole”. The deadline was one week away. Seven days isn’t exactly a lot of time to complete new work, but I was up for the challenge. I was an award-winning artist after all.

The same day I read the email at work, I came home and began sawing apart old paneling in my basement. That night I sanded and primed the paneling pieces in order to prepare it for the next step of my artistic process.

Day two, I came home from work and adhered color printouts of three digital photo collages I had made in years prior to the prepared panels with gel medium. I let my acrylic transfers sit over night.

Saturday morning, day three, I woke up before the rest of my family and washed the paper from my transfers. I also cut more wood paneling to use as ‘frames’ for my pieces. I sanded these frame strips down, primed them, and then glued everything together allowing it all to sit overnight to dry.

Sunday, day four, I woke early again and the painting began. I didn’t get much done since I had to prepare for a class I was taking and I then later went out to dinner with my family.

Monday, day five, I was still optimistic. I continued painting; working on the decorative details of my frames. My downfall was that I left everything out so that I could return to it the following day. I was being efficient. . . so I thought. What actually happened was that my two-year-old decided to ‘help’ with the painting while I was cooking dinner. She managed to add her own flair to much of my detailed work on the frames.

Kids are cute for a reason. If my progeny wasn’t so adorable in that moment as she was irreparably altering my hard work, I might have gotten mad. Really all I could do was place blank paper in front of her and clean up my work as best I could.

Tuesday, day six, I was repainting my work. It was on this day that I began to realize that I might not make the deadline. Odd conversations played out in my head.

Voice #1 in Kate’s Head: Even if you don’t make the deadline, you should be proud of what you accomplished.

Voice #2 in Kate’s Head: Shut up. We will make the deadline.

Voice #1 in Kate’s Head: There is no shame in being a bit over ambitious.

Voice #2 in Kate’s Head: SHUT UP! I will make my unrealistic self-imposed deadline!

My work was not done when I went to bed that night.

Wednesday morning, the final day, I woke up early and painted until I went to work. I skipped my lunch so that I could come home early and paint. I finished the work with hours to spare. . . And it took a couple hours to fill out the online entry form to submit the work.

In the end, I made my deadline and my ego was once again inflated.


Then a few weeks went by and I got another email stating that my work was rejected and would not be included in the exhibit.

Humbled once again.

All well. At least I have some interesting wall hangings depicting a few of the young people in my life who make me a happier person.


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