Holiday fair

I’m now preparing for an upcoming holiday fair on Saturday, Nov. 14, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at First Parish Church in Dorchester, Mass. I participated last year and got a great response from those who came. I love the comments about my work more than anything else. I’ve been making lots of new cards as part of my continued effort to be creative every day.

Revamping Web site

DSCN0573I’m working on revamping my current Web site. I added this image tonight. I found a Web site for artist (otherpeoplespixels.com) that was created by artists who understand what we are looking for. Ironically, it was a very nice artist who designs Web sites who told me about  it. I was considering hiring her and she told me about this site in case I wanted to save money. What a very nice artist!

There is a 14-day free trial with this Web site so I’m quickly putting up some images and trying it out. The format is smaller than my other Web site, which I currently hate because the template doesn’t really allow a gallery of artwork to be created and viewed in pleasing way. This new Web site comes with templates, too, but they are perfect for my purposes. This may not be THE solution, but it is A solution for now. Right now I don’t want to pay a lot of money for a designer to create a site for me.

Going to Open Studios this weekend just reminded me of all the things I have to do to try to make my art business a successful one and move it from just being a “hobby.” Of course, it will always be more than that even if I don’t make a penny because it is part of me, just as much as breathing is. I don’t stop breathing because I don’t get paid to do it, do I? Now there is a thought. Wouldn’t it be great if we got paid for each breath we took? OK. I’m getting off track. I was saying that I have so many things to do.

Here is my list:

  • create a better Web site
  • create a store on etsy.com
  • photograph more than 300 pieces of jewelry and upload images to the new Web site
  • scan in more than 500 cards and up load them to the Web site
  • create a coding system for everything so that I can track what sells and is popular
  • measure more than 80 pieces of art to be able to put them on etsy.com to sell
  • write an imaginative artist statement
  • send entries and be successful in getting into at least one show in 2010
  • take jewelry classes to improve my technique
  • redesign my Open Studios presentation to make it stronger
  • figure out why wordpress puts a time stamp on my posts that is one day ahead of me as if I’m living ahead of myself
  • cook dinner
  • do homework with my son
  • do the laundry
  • do the dishes
  • clean up the house
  • work full time
  • exercise
  • fret over weight gain
  • fret over what mother will say when she sees my weight gain
  • envy those with perfect lives and no lists
  • sleep
  • breathe.

Connecting at Open Studios

Glass and gray pearl necklaceWell, I’ve just wrapped up another weekend at the Dorchester Open Studios. This is my fifth year doing it, and I must say that the best part is connecting with other artists. I love seeing the work of other artists and seeing how their creative process and presentation changes over the years. I learn a lot in watching. And other artists get to see how I’m coming along as well. One told me that I’ve come a long way since she first saw me in this space five years ago. And it is true. My presentation is much stronger and my work has grown significantly. Each year I add more to my jewelry and card inventory and I create new works just for this event.

There were decent crowds for the two day event, but I think the economy prevented people from buying a lot. It was great just to have people come, look at my work and comment. I never know how to conduct myself at these open studios. I am an artist. I make work for people to look at. But at these events I don’t know what to say or do. Do I look at them when they come to my booth? Do I pretend I don’t see them and let them look and, hopefully, shop in peace. Do I scream, “hey, why didn’t you at least try on one of the necklaces!” when they walk pass  with only a glance at what I’ve spent all year working on? It’s so hard to put yourself out there as an artist. You never know what people are thinking. You want them to love everything and tell you so. My dream is to have someone be so enthusiastic about what I’ve created that they pass out from excitement. Won’t happen. But a girl can dream, can’t she?  I have friends who never really appreciate my art the way I want them to. Strangers seem much more enthusiastic. Why is that? I had people tell me that my cards are beautiful, which made me feel really good. Several people spent time really looking at the technique I put into my collage work and discussing it with me, which was great. All and all I feel really good about the event. I need the validation. I need to know what I’m doing means something to someone. Don’t we all?

Preparing for Open Studios

MovementI’m down to the wire preparing for Dorchester Open Studios. Tonight I’m packaging my cards—my one last task before loading everything in the car tomorrow. As I go through these, I’m falling in love with what I’ve done all over again—if I do say so myself. I love the diversity of the work that comes when I sit at the table each day and process through, letting one piece of scrap paper spark one idea after the other. There is something about cutting and tearing paper that I find very soothing. I’m not sure what that something is. Is it the simplicity of being able to tear or cut away what I do not want, which is not easily done in life away from the art table? Is it feeling the materials, handling them in a way that I don’t really do when I’m painting or drawing? Perhaps it is that  I just like transforming things into something all together different. I love  letting the colors and textures of various papers push my imagination and inspire shapes. Three of the cards below were inspired by—and feature—the work of my 10 year old son.

Racing the clock

Time is racing by as I get my artwork, beaded jewelry and handmade cards ready for the Dorchester Open Studios that take place this Saturday and Sunday in Dorchester. You would think that since I have a year to prepare for this every year that I would be ready. But, sadly, nada. I just keep getting distracted. I wanted to see if my new scanner could scan my jewelry to save me expensive photography work getting the job done. It does an OK job. Here are some of my pieces. What do you think? Suggestions welcomed.

Discoveries

Life CyclesAs part of the Creative Every Day Challenge that I’m participating in, working with the theme of “connect,” I’ve been looking at my artwork a lot more lately. I’m trying to figure out what I’m doing. What am I trying to say? I need to know so that some day I can have that all important, career defining, don’t-know-how-I’m-going-to-write-it ARTIST STATEMENT. In looking at this piece tonight, I notice that many of these ladies that I keep painting have these open arms. They are waiting for something, seeking, hoping, wanting, needing something. What do they want? Judging from the circles that I’ve been incorporating, that something is unending. Is it elusive? It is ever changing? Is that what the circles mean? I settled on a title for this one tonight: Life Cycles. I think that makes sense.

One good thing

PurpleEver have one of those days when it seems like the entire world is conspiring against you and every single thing goes wrong? Well, I had that weekend. I had big plans for preparing for the Dorchester Open Studios which is coming up this week. I was supposed to scan in about 100 new greeting cards, create a coding system, wire the backs of 14 paintings, price and label all of my new beaded jewelry, pick up a piece of artwork from an exhibition that just closed and have plenty of time to spare. Now that I type this list I see that it was too ambitious to begin with. None of this got done. I became overwhelmed at the idea of trying to scan and document more than 100 cards in such a short time. My mind drifted with the thought that I should revamp the Web site I’ve been meaning to revamp for years–right then and there. So I set up a new trial membership for another Web site, got bogged down in trying to figure it out, decided that I should just move to something easier like wiring the backs of my paintings. Then discovered that I need to drill holes in the wooden frames to get the eye screws in. But I needed a drill to do that. Surprise, surprise: Mine wasn’t really working right! I abandoned that project and zoned out on TV for a bit. Come Sunday, nothing was done. That afternoon I drove for nearly two hours in a surprise snowstorm (love surprises, NOT!) to arrive at the destination where I was supposed to pick up my artwork from a show that closed on Sunday. They were supposed to be there until 6 p.m. I arrived at 6 p.m. They were not there. So I had the delightful privilege of turning right back around and driving two hours home–make that three because I encountered a traffic jam. Conspiracy I tell you! Here’s the one good thing that came out of the weekend. I made this card, which seems to be a new direction for me because of the material involved. I bought a new drill today,  and I’m happy to say that my paintings are wired. And now….card scanning here I come. My husband says that my problem is that I’m a perfectionist. Frankly I don’t see anything wrong with wanting things to go right….ALL THE TIME. 🙂

Found

mapcard1Success tonight as I have found the greeting cards that I made this summer that I had lost in, of all places, my art supply cabinet! I am so happy to find these cards. Nothing can drive me crazier than losing something in my own house. I spent another hour in the basement tonight searching through boxes that I thought these might have been in. And I finally returned to the cabinet and began to empty it one item at a time. Just shows me that I need to be better organized. It is so hard to keep all the balls juggling in the air at the same time—making the art, packaging the art, storing the art, creating marketing materials, finding places to sell the art. It’s a full time job—and I already have one of those that actually pays me.

Finding these cards again is wonderful in another way. They reconnect me to the wonderful vacation that my husband and son had this summer in June in Ogunquit, Maine. We had never been there, but had heard a lot about it. So we just decided to go for it. I just looked up some places to stay on the Web, was drawn to a lovely inn because of its bright yellow color (no surprise there), and just booked the trip. We were only there for three days, but it was fabulous. We strolled the cute little downtown, ate ice cream, found a delicious thai restaurant, bought my son his first ever lobster dinner (he’s still asking for more) and spent the day on the beach. The greatest joy was watching how much fun my son had in the water with his father—in 58 degree water! He would have stayed there all night had we let him. He was so free and happy. I wish that kind of day for him every day of his life. On the way back home, we  stopped at several antique shops. I did what I usually do in such shops—I looked for old maps and handwritten letters. I love finding these things. They inspire me.  I’m drawn to the patterns of the maps and the mystery of letters from people I don’t know. And handwriting has its own individual pattern that is intriguing. So I made these cards using the materials I found. I love them!

New cards

I was inspired by the changing leaves outside of my studio this week. Here are my latest handmade greeting cards.

Playing around

The last two evenings I’ve been connecting to a sense of play, which I need more of in my approach to art. It began the other night when I was too tired to plan what type of handmade card I wanted to create. I’m still trying to quickly build up my supply before the Dorchester Open Studios. So I just decided to take out a large sheet of paper and just paint on it. I had nothing in mind but squirting liquid acrylic around on the paper and seeing what would happen. The results were wonderful. I have three sheets with various colors. They are so beautiful. I’ve used the red to create cards from. I notice after the fact that I glued the angel a little off center. But I’ve decided that I like that because is something a little different about this spicy angle. I need to play more often.

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