Friday, April 11, 2014

Risky

Last night, my husband (in the interest of "helping out") decided to bypass all the recent tubs of leftovers in the refrigerator from this week, and eat from a container way in the back. The three-week-old container of leftover pot roast. Why was it in there? Because I want to throw it out on trash-day, since we're on a septic system, rather than have it rot in the garage garbage bin.

My husband - the rocket scientist - felt that if it was in the fridge, it must be fine. Never mind that it was so long ago that he didn't even remember me cooking the roast to begin with.

I didn't find out until it was too late. Now, I'm on gastric-deathwatch 2014. He drank beer and contemplated whiskey to "counteract" any ill effects, all while trying to blame me (as if.) In his words, "it didn't really smell and nothing was green," so he's pretty sure it was fine.

Oh, for the love of all the pink-toed cross-eyed bullfrogs! Are you kidding me?!!!

Did I mention today is his birthday?

So far, he seems fine. I read an article that in some cases food poisoning can show up two weeks later. Hopefully, if he made it through the night, it's fine. 

Aaaaaanyway...

I finished this piece for the open online auction in two weeks on the Rabbit Hole Artist Collective:

"You Reap What You Sow" 9x12 inches, watercolor & acrylic on 140lbs hot-pressed watercolor paper 
The prompt was "emotions" and I was feeling down, so I went with melancholy... and then  she got more and more resentful looking. Now, when I look at her, I see a more of "Just you wait, I'm going to get even" sort of look in her eyes. So, I think the emotion I ended up with is resentment! I think being a bit frustrated in real life is leaking through.

More evidence of that is this little piece I completed yesterday for the upcoming issue of Thrice Fiction Magazine:

"In The Dark" 4x4 inches, watercolor & acrylic on 140lbs hot-pressed watercolor paper
I keep the surreal and abstract works on my other page for just that purpose, but it doesn't have a lot of movement until an issue is upcoming and I get assignments. It's interesting because I was talking about these pieces with someone and I realize that I am a slow painter when it comes to my fairy tale work, but a fast one when it comes to the surreal and abstract. I wonder if that means something? 

I still love my fairy tales though! 

Friday, April 4, 2014

Tightening Up

The business of art is a tricky proposition. Art is seriously undervalued in our society, and as an artist we not only have to work very hard at creating, we also have to market and sell and ship and manage all on our own. Are we chasing our dreams or working for our clientele? Isn't there some middle ground?

What's become more and more evident as I work my way through things, is that the phrase "Jack of all trades, master of none" has become a very real thing. I can do a lot. A LOT. I work in watercolor, acrylic, oil. I can use pastels, sculpt, and throw on a wheel. I'm good at all of those things, I've sold from all of those mediums. Then you have genres further widening what you can do (abstract, portrait, fantasy, fairy tale, still life, realistic, etc) and suddenly you realize you could completely populate a gallery with every medium and style all on your own. Which is really cool, except... Except it simply doesn't work as a business model.

I've had to come to grips with the reality that it doesn't matter that I can paint in the abstract and throw a set of dishes and sculpt a dancing lady for the front lawn while painting a dragon. It might matter to me, but when it comes to business... well, business is business. In business, your clientele NEEDS to know what you offer. They need you to be a master at what you do and know exactly what they're getting when they come to look at your work. They need some idea of expectations.

More, when you are branching out with all those other mediums and styles, you can find that you have stopped growing. Sure, you may get better at one aspect or another, but "good at" is not "mastering" anything. I have come to realize and accept that as a business I need to focus on a few mediums that all have something in common with one another (and this is easy for me: oil, acrylic and watercolor is my answer), and one style with a focused subject.

I thought that doing my Fairy Tale art would allow for me to just throw a random dragon or fairy down (aren't they all part of the fantasy realm after all?), but that turns out to not be the case. It's too broad a category. I realize that now, and I'm accepting it. I realize that my art business needs to be tightened up. I need to be the master in it, and you cannot be a master in anything if you keep moving on to new things.

This all sounds depressing, but I'm actually very excited! I realize that I derive a deep satisfaction from certain paintings, and next to nothing from others. I realize that when I work on my actual Fairy Tale paintings, I feel fulfilled. 

This painting took me months, but I'm beyond proud of it!



When I do a random dragon or Christmas tree or mouse, I realize... I'm playing. That's not business, but it's nice to understand that I AM still able to play. It's something I thought I had forgotten how to do, and now realize that I was actually doing too much of it. Yes, I've been selling my playful results, but I realize that may actually be a mistake business-wise. 

I did this painting for a special friend, but it only took one afternoon. I like it, but it's not something I'm going to look back on in 30 years and feel like my life's work was well spent. This, I realize, is me playing. Play is important, but it's not work.

I had a dream the other night, and in it I saw my business as it needed to be set up. I woke up feeling like "I've got it. I've really got it now. I understand!" I saw my art booth set up exactly as I plan to do it. I realized that my major originals (like the White Rabbit) are undervalued, and under and misrepresented in my offerings. But I know how to fix it. I've finally GOT IT.

So, my new focus is similar to what I've been saying, but... it isn't. My love is of Fairy Tales. I will continue to paint my Fairy Tales, but all my professional work will be directly related to that topic, with a deeper meaning and more going on within the paintings. My paintings need to be a story. The ones that have a story, a deeper process, those are the ones that make me feel like I am doing what I am here for. Maybe painting fairy tales isn't curing cancer, but it makes me feel like I have a place in this world, as silly as that may sound.

Part of this is also accepting that I am not a fast painter. The reason my bigger fairy tale paintings take longer is because I spend a lot of time thinking them through.


This video is of Tea Time, but it took me months and months to paint it. The physical act? Probably 120 hours, maybe more... but the thinking through it? More. Even though it was all mapped out, it took more. Plus, I was also doing what I have been doing - extra little side art that doesn't mean as much to me, but I thought was all a part of my larger business. 

I feel good. My business has a focus. More, I know that if I want to play, I need to NOT do it during business hours. Those hours need to be focused on my bigger paintings, and I feel that with that focus will actually come more productivity even though my process is a slow one. I still plan on writing my own fairy tale and painting a series to go with it, because that's all still part of the correct path.

The little art, the playing, the "daily art" will stop and find it's correct place - my play time. I'll still sell it, but it won't be the backbone of my business anymore and it won't be the bulk of my offerings. I had inadvertently set the balance there, and I'm realizing my mistake and fixing it. 

So, I'm excited. A bit frustrated that it took this long for me to get what I pretty much already knew, but excited nonetheless.

My Queen of Hearts is on my easel, and I'm working my way through her. I don't know if I'll be done with Alice after her, or start working on a new Fairy Tale. I haven't decided yet, but I think I want to move on to something new. I can always come back and add to the series if something gets stuck in my head that simply must be painted!


Working out the garden area, inching closer to the rabbit behind her.


And a tree with wisteria! I love purple! I hope we move somewhere that I can grow these in my yard in reality!

So that's where I am at. Tightening up my focus and buckling down. It actually feels really good to not be casting about and wondering what to do! 

Monday, March 31, 2014

Giveaway

I forgot to post that I'm having a giveaway! Want a free 5x7 print of your choice?

Tomorrow is the last day to enter the raffle to win a free print! So, if you'd like a free 5x7 of your choice, just enter here:http://tinyurl.com/qcpsbvn or click the "Giveaway" blue button at the top of the page. It's open to everyone, not just new likes to my page!


Sorry I didn't mention it earlier! Hopefully if you'd like a free print, you'll be in time to enter!

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Ouch.

Remember how I told you all that I have no grace?

Yeah.

Well, this morning I went down to exercise with my husband. It turned out the routine was going to involve a bunch of up and down movements (like down into a sprawl and then up-up into the air!) These movements make me very ill, as I cannot even garden without getting motion sick. I wish I was exaggerating that last comment, but it's the honest truth. I get carsick in my own car when I am the driver.

Anyway, I shifted to the treadmill as soon as I realized this was a danger zone workout for me. Running, running is perfectly acceptable! Yes!

So, I geared up. Shoes on, Check. Music and headphones on/in, check. Treadmill on, check. I walked about two minutes, and then I thought "A tissue! I need a tissue! I forgot a tissue!" (Side note: I'm like an allergy commercial when I run. It's like my sinuses are competing with my feet for who has the fastest time.)

I stopped the treadmill. I unhooked myself from the safety shut-off. I turned. I stepped down...

And I have NO IDEA what happened. I don't know if I stepped on the side of my power stand (pull-up stand), or if there was something else on the floor, but my right ankle rolled while I was in mid-air as I came down with my full body weight and momentum. My ankle gave what seemed like a loud POP! I'm not sure if it was as audible as I felt it was, because my husband didn't say he heard it. I sure as heck felt it though.

I was lucky to not fall head first into the weight bench. I hit the floor and started howling. I actually couldn't even remember any curse words at that point, or I would have started an impressive exhibition of my extensive vocabulary guaranteed to get me thrown out of any bar. Have you ever been hurt so bad you couldn't actually remember how to cuss?

I cried. I hate that, but I'm a crier. Actually, the tears were warranted. I still hate that I cried, though.

With help, I made it out of the basement and began RICEing my foot (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation, and Advil... buy stock in Advil, I'm sure it's going up today.) I can't even paint, because I can't stand or sit at the table. Yes, there is a remote possibility that I may have broken something given the pop I heard/felt and the fact that the pain is centered on the actual bone and not the soft tissue, but I'm watching it. If it's not better in a day or two, I'll go see someone. I think it's just a bad sprain though.

I set myself up on the couch, and all I can do is draw. Fortunately, I discovered my pastels last night before all of this. I stopped using them just after high school 20+ years ago, and I have no idea. I LOVE these things! I decided to test them out doing a drawing of where I think all my spoons have gone. Spoons have to be my favorite utensil, and they simply vanish around here. I have double the amount of knives and forks, but almost NO spoons! What the heck?!

"Spoon Thief" 6x8 inches, pastel on professional pastel paper


I LOVE pastels! Why did I stop? I'm working on more today, with prompts from my facebook art page. A space octopus is on deck. Seems like a challenge! I imagine I'll be stuck like this for a few days at least. *grumble*

I want you all to know that while I would love to drown my hurt and sorrows in chocolate and wine over this, I haven't at all. Oh sure, you could say it's only because I can't get up and get them... but I prefer to think of it as impressive choice management on my part. *wink*