Door’s Open to Adventure

Evening Time

Door's Open © 2012 Bo Mackison

Art is alive. It puts energy into the world…as an artist, respect your art and think not only of success but of your mission to provide opportunities for your art to grow and expand and touch the hearts of others. ~ Lisa Jill Allison from “Art from the Heart


I’ve been doing art fairs and festivals on a frequent basis since June, 2010.

In 2010, I did about 10 shows. All of the shows were small shows in the Wisconsin/Illinois. Sherpa accompanied me to all the shows and did most of the work in the earliest shows. I have painful memories of my first show – an non-juried show at a smaller university in Wisconsin. I was in such a state of panic that I sat about 50 feet behind the booth, perhaps whimpering a bit, while Sherpa stayed in the booth and talked to the few customers that wandered in. The show did not have much fine art, but it did have stenciled skeleton tee shirts and crocheted Barbie clothes and anthropomorphic ceramic turtles wearing ballet costumes, firemen outfits and such. Even though the mark was not high, I could not quite reach it — I was out of my league, even at this level. I wondered how I would ever be successful in the art show business.

The rest of the 2010 shows were not quite so disastrous, though I never really was comfortable in the booth by myself. If Sherpa was not available, one of my kids who were in college would help me out. We made it through the first full year, and decided we had learned a lot in a year and we would continue.

And so I continued my on the job training in 2011. I also moved up in the art fair world and applied to many shows that were well-juried and had a national reputation.And I even got accepted into some of these top notch art festivals.

I did a couple of shows in Spring 2011 in Arizona, but I still had a fair amount of trepidation and depended on Sherpa for set up and company. In the summer we did 12 shows, including four area shows, but mostly I did shows in the Chicago/Michigan area. By August, I had mostly conquered my fear of “being an artist” and talking about my photography with strangers.

I could, and did, do artist talks about my photography and what it was like being an artist on the art fair circuit. I had stuck my head of my introverted shell and found the world to be a rather nice place.

My two Holiday shows in 2011 were my best shows ever, and I did much of the set up and some of the booth time solo. Sherpa or one of my kids never left me on my own for long, though, which was fine with me.

And so I began the 2012 season with two big shows scheduled in Arizona. No problem. Sherpa and I drove the car and art trailer to the Tucson area in November and flew home after getting settled in our new condo. I flew back to Arizona after the winter holidays. Sherpa planned to fly out a few weeks later for the first show.

These plans were carved in stone as far as I was concerned. Carved deeply in stone.

And then Sherpa became involved in a difficult problem at work. The figuring-out-a-solution job quickly took precedence over Sherpa’s visit to Tucson.

Here I was, 1,000 miles from any family members who I could call on for an art fair fill-in. The only solution at this end was for me to do the show on my own. I would have to drive to the show, set-up of the booth, and do at least the first two days of the five day show by myself. Sherpa thought he could come in for the long weekend, but there were no promises.

I’d already plunked down my booth fee, I had my art in Tucson, and I was in Tucson. There really were no other alternatives. I needed to set up my booth for the festival and do the show by myself.

This was new territory. Scary territory. I wasn’t sure I could manage. I was, in fact, quite certain I could NOT manage. But even in the art show business the motto is “the show must go on” and so I started planning in small steps.

How would I make the transition from Bo doing weekend art shows with Sherpa’s support to Bo doing weekend art shows solo?

Tune in tomorrow for Part II for the next part of the story.


Bo Mackison is a photographer and owner of Seeded Earth Studio LLC. Bo is discovering that every day provides opportunities to learn new and amazing things.

About Bo Mackison

I'm a photographer, book-artist, traveler, naturalist, and creator of the Contemplative Creatives Journey, An Online Workshop and Community and Desert Wisdom Cards and Workshops. Though often not well known, I find the desert a welcoming place - a healing space. Its mysteries and gifts transformed me several years ago. Since that first encounter, I return again and again to fill my well in what most people think of as a desolate region. I'd love to share my desert discoveries and wisdom with you. Please subscribe to receive my five part mini email course The Gifts of the Desert. It's my gift to you.


  1. I’m both intrigued and impressed!!! What a wonderful journey..and with each step – you grow just 1″ taller. Looking forward to Part II. And – what wonderful..beautiful…gorgeous adobe colors!

    • Bo Mackison says:

      I was drawn to the mix of blue woodvand adobe. Sooo Southwestern. I’m taking baby steps, Marcie, but even baby steps get you some place! 🙂

  2. I bow in your general direction, sweetie! You are one amazing artist, brave and true and living Life fully, authentically. Follow your path, Bo. Looking forward to the next installment of Bo Goes Solo… XO!

    • Bo Mackison says:

      Ah Debi, you are kind. We all have our work to do in this crazy world. I think my work may be art. Who would have ever guessed! 🙂

  3. Love the blue doors opening for you on your way to adventure! What makes adventure worthwhile is overcoming the difficulties. That’s the part we tell as stories. And look at the stories you have to tell!

    • Bo Mackison says:

      Having an adventure, even with it’s ups and downs, is surely more exciting than staying home, cautious and filled with yearning for what might have been. Thanks, Quinn.

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