Hmmm, writing a blog pretty well to myself. Now that is an interesting turn. Have you ever caught a look at yourself in a mirror and thought, holy catfish! what happened when I wasn't looking?? Well, I have been having enough of those 'events' to question the wisdom of having said mirrors in my home. At some point there is the realization that, no, you are not 'just tired', dammit, you LOOK like that. Thank goodness my dogs love me...or is it simply because of my skill with the can opener? Live is truly grand...and, supposedly, much better than the alternative.
Fall is here and the colour in the trees this year is just beautiful We had a couple of days of early frost which did the trick, Now it is cool and wet - a real west coast fall. Closing fast on fall is winter and with it come some wonderful art and craft events. So many artists and artisans work all year to serve the holiday markets and it is a time when buyers can find some fine hand crafts, sculpture and paintings at affordable prices. If you are able, I encourage you to get out to some local events and support your arts community.
I am trying to do a nearly daily blog at the above address. It is popular with artists and as I am presently a member of "Daily Paintworks", they can pull images of paintings directly from Blogger. It is really quite a cool site (Daily Paintworks, that is). I was house and dog-sitting for the past week for a friend on Gabriola Island. I took one of my dogs (Cooper, the puppy) and we spent the week plying with three boxers, getting drooled on and licked, and looking at the ocean each morning. All in all a good week and it was a huge help for my friends who needed to get away. I did daily painting so that was a bonus. Here are some of my recent small works.
I have created a new blog that will be solely for art work and art-related post...or almost 'solely', as I don't want to set myself up for failure when I get side tracked. I have yet to figure out how to put the link into this site, but will, soon. Meanwhile, enjoy the new art which will continue to be posted to my web-site.
Aha! I knew I had a web site and blog set up! Neglect is so pathetic. I have been painting and travelling this year; sometimes simultaneously. England, France, Red Deer, Alberta (a second class with the wonderful Carol Marine), Whidbey Island, Washington (a class with Mitch Albala), and soon off to Gabriola Island to dog-sit three boxers, and speaking of dogs, I have a new subject to paint...Cooper joined the pack a month ago.
But, back to art...the East Side Culture Crawl is coming up in November and I am working to get paintings ready for that, as well I have joined Daily Paintworks and am working on figuring out URLs, widgets, Paypal buttons, etc. now the easy part seems to pick up on my 'blogging'. So, here I am...pledging to blog more regularly!
Marketing is another word for 'sales'. This weekend I am in a three day art show and sale in community centre in the heart of downtown Vancouver, in one of the most densely populated neighbourhoods in North America. I spent a number of years attending such shows, but, after a considerable break, I had forgotten just how exhausting it can be when the crowds (and, hence, sales) are slow. One never knows what to expect at a new venue. This one opened last night with a catered wine and cheese reception, and the talk that 'tonight people come to look and tomorrow they will come back to buy"...uh huh. I am so grateful for my friends who came by to see me and even purchase some paintings! The long and the short of it is that I have always been challenged with "selling myself"...or my work, but what can you do with stacks of paintings (or bins of dolls)? As well as donate and gift...you try to sell. The secret (and the 'art'), is to never let sales affect your sense of self-worth.
I get a bi-weekly artists' 'letter' (Google Robert GENN). It gives artists from all over the world an opportunity to comment on Mr. Genn's short essays (which are always thoughtful, informative, and very often entertaining). The subject too often turns to marketing, sales, the lack of sales, the poopie market, and all the other administrative details of being a commercially viable artist. There is really a lot of angst out there...and all I want to do is paint!
I recently had business cards printed up. Not my first, by any means, but for the first time, for non 'work' purposes, I gave myself a 'title'...Artist. It was not done without much thought and no small amount of angst. That little voice inside my head asking me who did I think I was, calling myself "Artist"...indeed, who do I think I am? Just that the question came up to myself made me really think about the concept of a 'title'. I know people for whom the 'title' is everything. I worked for a large organization (which will remain un-named but it had a lot of lawyers) and I recall a long, drawn-out negotiation with an individual over the title of the position. Now, it was not the work itself that was the topic of discussion, but the title on the organization chart and business cards. Then there are those people with three employees who sign letters over the title of "President", or "Senior Executive Officer". It's all very personal. So, here, in my small empire, I chose to call myself "Artist". It seemed much more appropriate than my first choice - "Queen of the Universe", which wouldn't fit on the cards, anyway...
Well, I am certainly a long way from being a daily blogger(!) but it was never intended that it become "a job" (ee-yuck). Two weeks ago I visited Palm Springs area for the first time in more than 20 years. I caught the week in between all the hot-weather weeks (of course), but it was pleasant and I'm not a great fan of hot weather anyway. I spent many hours simply walking and looking ( two of my favourite things to do, by the way). I loved the hard-edged purple shadows on the mountains as the sun dropped in the west, the gold of the sand, the gray-green of the native desert plants, the architecture, the lizards, the food (thank you "Sherman's"!) and I really loved the many galleries along El Paseo in Palm Desert. As well as the diversity and quality of the art, I was so pleased at the generosity and courtesy of so many of the gallery owners and staff, even though it was pretty clear that I was just looking. Do check out this street if you visit the area.
The evening news is just showing film on a destructive earthquake that has struck north eastern Japan. Another reminder that every day is a gift. We are so fortunate.
I look at the paintings I have stacking up around my home and my studio space and sometimes wonder what on earth I am doing?!
As with my other ventures, I love the creating part...and loathe any aspect of marketing. I do admire those artists I know who dedicate the time and effort to reach out to prospective clients, whether through a web-site, eBay, Etsy, Craigslist or whatever. Me, I seem to be somewhat more skilled at stacking....and fine-looking stacks they are!
This is a painting of my mother from a small black and white photo taken in 1952 when she was 16. In the photo i am a baby propped on
The painting is in oil and is 24" x 24". When I came across the old photo last week I knew I had to paint it. My mom died when I was 11 and painting her was like examining her soul. Mine, too. I hope I've done her justice.
I describe myself as a seeker. I try to always be growing and learning, and to be making contributions - to give back. I believe strongly in the 'pay it forward' approach to life. Every smile, every kind act, is a ripple that carries forward and affects others. If nothing else, be kind.