My heartbeat and my art career slowed down after the Help-a-Horse event in Ojai in June 2018… for a few months anyway.

Suddenly, everything leaped ahead.

Three shows lined up all at once:

  • One only a few blocks from my house
  • Downtown LA, at an event called “Art and Beer”, where they had art … and beer … and…
  • Beverly Hills.

Yeah, that Beverly Hills.

Only five shows in and I felt like I was hitting the big time.

Then HE sauntered in.

“He” was nobody I knew, but he knew people I knew… or at least we had mutual friends on Facebook.

He seemed friendly enough at the beginning, asking all sorts of questions.

Then he told me that it was a good thing I had a Day Job.

He called me “Poppet” … an endearing term if you’re a small child. He didn’t mean it that way.

He told me how I needed to accept that my work was “ordinary” and that even with practice I was never going to amount to much.

I asked him for his credentials (not that it would matter) but I was curious if he, himself, was more than an ordinary poppet.

His money was not where his mouth was.

In the past, this could’ve knocked me to my knees. With a childhood full of criticism, I’m sensitive to the triggers that once overwhelmed me.

But this was not then, and he was not them.

So, I politely (as one can) wrote back, “thank you for your input, but I really must focus on getting ready for my art show in Beverly Hills.”

(Flip hair… drop mic… walk off)

Obviously, this has stayed with me (or I wouldn’t be talking about it now) … but not as an insult … rather as a valuable lesson.

To just dismiss him and “focus on Beverly Hills” is really just my ego talking. Maybe (just maybe) despite his poor manners, he saw something that I hadn’t.

“Take the lesson.”

I looked at my latest work, and he was RIGHT. I had been experimenting with variations on my style, and the latest ones were missing something. They lacked the spontaneity and joy of my looser style (Style #2, and by this point I was up to Style #6).

This looser style was the one that was opening the doors to these shows, so this stranger actually gave me a valuable gift.

“It’s OK to go back and start from there.”

There’s a saying that states “when the student is ready, the teacher will appear”, but it’s the second part that is often forgotten, yet much more powerful:

“When the student is really ready, the teacher will disappear.”

He unfriended me on Facebook, and never spoke to me again.

It’s time to focus on London.

Thank you, Poppet.


Yes, that London. Please be a poppet and help make this dream come true. Every little bit helps.

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