Sunday, April 27, 2014


Just this past week, I suffered a two-day migraine. It's very frustrating when you can't do any of the things you normally would. I've had migraines since I was very young, and I have always just sort of accepted them, but this time I actually had plans and I saw how I had to back out and let others down because of it. I felt very guilty.

On the business side, I was all set to paint in the white rabbit on my Queen of Hearts painting:

I even took my picture with the canvas, just as pain was sneaking in behind my right eye, but I didn't know it was going to be a migraine:

About 20 minutes after that picture, I realized it was a migraine and took something. An hour later I was in my bedroom, miserable, and nothing I took helped. It was a weird one, lasting two days and nothing really knocking it. I lost time, progress on work, and let people down.

It finally let up yesterday morning, but I had a sort of migraine hangover. I couldn't focus right, even though my brain was clamoring for me to get working on my Queen as soon as possible. I didn't want to mess her up, though.

So, since it was the weekend anyway and I'm not supposed to be working-working, I decided to do some sketching-doodling fun instead! I used to doodle monsters, all sorts of monsters. I called them guardians, and I once had the idea that I'd make them out of clay (about 20 years ago.) They'd be the little gargoyle friend that you put next to or under your bed and they would chase all the other monsters away because they were special. I had all sorts of sketches, but they are long lost now. I probably threw them away!

Well, I started doodling again and thinking about them while I did. Drawing little monsters is easy and fun for me, and I decided I'll do a painting of some of the best ones (not all of them turn out to be red carpet worthy *ahem*) in oil or acrylic. Here is one from last night:

I am having people suggest CUTE animal body parts and I'm combining them into monsters. This one is Bird, Sloth, Cat, Rabbit, and Duck. My son didn't like her, and said she was creepy.  Me? I like her.

I'm going to do more today, and see what happens. Maybe I'll revisit my clay idea if I can figure out which clay to use, and more as a figurine than something to give a little kid (I had envisioned something about six inches tall and substantial, but now I'm imagining something smaller and shelf-worthy instead!) Hopefully, no more migraines will hit and I can work on my queen this coming week.

I have no news about whether we're moving. It all got messed up by human error, and now we're waiting on pins and needles to see if all is lost or not. We really want to move, so cross your fingers for us! We should know over the next two weeks (but then, they've been saying that for the past seven weeks and I've been going nuts!)

Friday, April 18, 2014


You'll be happy to know that the only person who got a stomach ache from my husband deciding to eat three-week-old-leftovers was me. I don't understand why men could eat the bark off a tree, lick a poison frog, and then roll in a barn without even causing the slightest quiver in their stomachs while the mere suggestion of any of those things turns me a quite unbecoming shade of green. While we're on the topic of men, I also don't understand why men can just consider losing weight and drop five pounds instantly while the same result requires a month of serious effort on my part. Just makes me want to slap the lot of you men. Love you, and all, but slap you just the same. *wink*

My ankle is still sprained, and my doctor floated the possibility that I actually fractured it, but since I was doing better I got to put off x-rays unless I fail to make reasonable progress. It's almost been a month (well, maybe just over three weeks, but it feels like a month) and I'm fair to going stir crazy not being able to go running as I normally do (and eating far too much, hence the five pounds commentary earlier.) I have been working, however.

I finished up a couple more pieces for the very shortly upcoming issue of Thrice Fiction Magazine (it's a free read digitally.) I wasn't able to participate in the last issue because I was overbooked with work, but I'm glad they gave me another shout this issue. As it involved snow, and we got a surprise four inches of the stuff after a lovely 80 degree day before that, it all sort of fit. I had a lot of fun changing how I do falling snow as well. I have done dots with the brush and a few other methods, but I think my favored one now is loading the brush with slightly watered down white, holding it about 6 inches from the surface, and then finger-flicking the brush with my other hand.

The first painting with the window is all flicked snow/stars, the cup is masking and flicking when I was undecided. Flicking it is, from here on out!

"The Window" 9x9 inches, watercolor and acrylic on 140lbs hot-pressed professional watercolor paper. Iridescent paint on moon and mirror/window frame. Available for purchase

"Fill It Up" 5x6 watercolor & acrylic on 140lbs hot-pressed professional watercolor paper.  Available for purchase.

Once I got those pieces done for the magazine, I needed to transition back over to my Alice painting (which is taking forever, and is entirely my own fault.) So, I did a quick (mostly quick) girl, another one for the "emotions" online open auction on facebook.

"Blue" 5x7 inches, watercolor & acrylic.Will be up for auction on Monday on Facebook at The Rabbit Hole Artist Collective

I was going with just black hair, but then it simply wasn't enough. So, I amped it up with blue and aqua highlights in iridescent paint, and it still wasn't enough. Finally I added the tattoos, and I liked it much better. One thing I really don't like about watercolors is that the skin features really wash out in a photograph. In person, it's a lot smoother and more even. The camera often picks up areas the eye simply doesn't see in reality and misses others. It's been very frustrating. At least it doesn't do that with acrylics and oils!

I haven't made much progress on my restructuring because we're still flailing about in the wind over whether we're moving or not. We've said yes to the offer, and yet it's been six weeks without any solid movement. I'm completely paralyzed personally and professionally, and that's been very difficult to work with. There has been some hope that we'll hear something on Monday, so I'm crossing my fingers. I can't exist in this stasis any longer.

I'm going to be focusing on my Queen, and trying to think about what my options are if I continue to be stuck. Making my current painting my priority will help, I hope!

Friday, April 11, 2014


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. 


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!