Friday, April 4, 2014

Making more art: get on with it already

I thought a lot about this quote recently:
If you hear a voice within you say 'you cannot paint,' then by all means paint and that voice will be silenced.
-- Vincent van Gogh
Vincent van Gogh, Self-Portrait (1889),
via Wikimedia Commons
I've had a really hard time silencing that voice for the past three months, even while the rest of me kept thinking of new art to make. Instead of working, however, I've been wasting time -- yeah, I said it -- worrying. Fretting about the right venue in which to sell my art, and how to find collectors who will connect with what I do.
 Don't think about making art, just get it done. Let everyone else decide if it's good or bad, whether they love it or hate it. While they are deciding, make even more art.
-- Andy Warhol
Here's how I got over myself and started making again:
  • I chose to start working toward an exhibit deadline I know I can meet.
  • I painted while I let The Boy and TwoBoo watch TV. 
  • When the kids got bored, I told them, "find something to do that doesn't involve a screen." I then ignored the whining that followed. 
They found something to do.

Sometimes I do look for something creative for them to do alongside me, but not always. They can make their own magic. I can make my own, too. And yet I'm still forgetting and relearning this lesson, so clearly I have some work to do.
Inspiration is for amateurs. The rest of us just show up and get to work.
-- Chuck Close
Do you have a prompt/trick/method to help you get to work? Tell me in the comments or on Facebook.

Monday, February 3, 2014

New art: unconditional love for Valentine's Day

I've gotten to the point where giving a Valentine's Day gift feels better than receiving one. Not that I'll return the hand-crafted chocolate truffles you might send! but I'm grateful for the unconditional, quirky love I've been given.
When I met The Husband, I was a TV reporter and he was a photo editor for a popular film and TV site. And then I went and became an artist. 
In spite of the career changes, the Great Recession and the hell-raising child-raising, The Husband has proven over and over what I once told his mother: "He trusts me to be wonderful." 
So this altered book, "It's Complicated," is a valentine: both to whomever falls in love with it on Etsy, and to The Husband for not running for the hills when he discovered all my creaky bits and glued-together parts.
From my Pinterest board "Wish I'd Said That"
Before I met my husband, though, my father was the one who helped me believe in myself. 
This is the the guy who sent me chocolate and flowers on Valentine's Day during the MANY years I was unencumbered by Valentine's Day presents from anyone else. 
I see this image and think of him: the memory of my dad's face lighting up when I came to visit, and the warmth of his smile.
So for all the gift-givers who make Valentine's Day a genuine chance to express love, here's another altered book: "Daddy Loves Me." I know, probably should've kept this one under wraps until Father's Day. But I think unconditional love should be celebrated whenever possible.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

The last gift of 2013: time to plan 2014's art

Here's what I want for Christmas: I want Santa to convince everyone they can't live another day without a piece of my art. Failing that, I will be satisfied -- temporarily -- with sharing a train set with TwoBoo.
I'm truly grateful for the gifts I've already received from collectors I met in 2013, especially those at the Mill Creek Town Center Art Walk in August...
... and the collectors who braved the cold to visit the PNA Winter Festival.
What I'd also like would be more collectors buying from my Etsy shop, as well as those who want to see me again in person.
So the next few weeks (by which I mean "in my spare moments in the next few weeks") will be strategy/planning time for 2014. A few things to think about:
  • When to offer special discounts for collectors of my art
  • Deciding on the art fairs, art walks and exhibits to which I'll apply
  • New pins for the Artist Motherboard 
  • Inviting more friends to join my mailing list (are you on it?)
Evidently Santa's not the only one making a list and checking it twice. What are your art-related goals for 2014? Tell me in the comments or on Facebook.


Friday, December 13, 2013

PNA Winter Festival: Five tips for selling your work

Still in recovery mode from my first vendor experience at the PNA Winter Festival... but in a good way! From learning first-hand what catches a buyer's eye...
... to remembering to drink water at all times, I learned a lot. Here's your opportunity to learn in a few minutes what I discovered over the course of 48 hours.

LESSON #1: SETTING UP & BREAKING DOWN
Sure, I'm smiling in this photo from the second day of the festival, but that's because I finally got my booth set up the way I would've liked to have it on the first day. I can't emphasize this enough: Get. Help. A volunteer pair of hands is invaluable for set-up and breakdown, which always takes longer than expected.
LESSON #2: POWER
Whether you sell jewelry, like my booth neighbor, or collages and assemblages like me, you can do so much more if you bring a power strip (and your charger cords). Thank goodness I thought of that ahead of time. My booth neighbor shared the power strip (hey, no bloodshed from fighting over the electrical socket!). And I didn't worry about running out of juice for my smartphone while ringing up a sale on a Square card reader. Plus, no worries about my video display cutting out suddenly.
LESSON #3: FRIENDS
It seems like a no-brainer, but I'll say it anyway: tell your friends when and where you're going to sell your art! Satira drove down from Bellingham to cheer me on. Sarah and Darrell spread the word on Facebook for me. Just ask. Really. ASK. They're your friends. They want to help. And everyone likes a little reward, like a freebie or a shout-out on your Facebook page after the event.

LESSON #4: POCKET CHANGE
By "pocket change" I'm referring to two things: having enough cash on hand to make change, as well as offering items in the one-dollar or two-dollar range. On day two of the festival, nearly every new collector paid me in cash (for some reason, most people paid by credit card on the first day). And everyone from eight to eighty can dig up a dollar or two for a small piece of art.
LESSON #5: GET OUT OF YOUR OWN WAY
The women above represent three generations who decided it was more important to buy one of my prints than to know exactly who'd be gifted with said print. I think they discussed five or six people who might like the artwork... and through it all, I smiled and said NOTHING. I let them convince themselves to buy. And besides, it was charming to watch.

Explore these ideas on your own
Video display: My dear friend Alicia Harvey volunteered to create my art portfolio video, which shows people what else I can do beyond the work in my booth. I used a Surface tablet to play my art portfolio video. But if you don't have access to a tablet, use a photo flip deck.
Blog posts on craft fair prep: I leaned on my Pinterest board of art display ideas for other resources, such as articles on applying to a fair, setting up indoors or outdoors and thoughts about other venues.

What have you learned from selling your work? No matter what the venue, I'd like to know -- why not learn by example? Tell me in the comments or on Facebook.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

PNA Winter Festival: inspirations and distractions

I'm getting off to a slow but promising start getting ready for the PNA Winter Festival in December. Take a look at my inspiration for a pair of collage portraits brewing in my mind:
Trouble is, this is also the time of year for lots of get-togethers I'm going to have to bow out of: kids' birthday parties, grown-people hang time... it's not fair! I need a clone! (And as soon as I finish getting ready for the PNA show I'll get right on the cloning plans...)
How do you handle the distractions and demands for your attention when you're getting ready for a show? Let me know in the comments below or on Facebook.

Friday, September 20, 2013

PNA Winter Festival: Be careful what you wish for...

I can barely believe what a wonderful week I'm having: is this payback for a timely bribe I paid or something? Because I found out I've been chosen as an artist vendor for this year's PNA Winter Festival & Crafts Fair!
Tons of people shop for holiday gifts over a two-day period, so this juried festival and fair are kind of a big deal... more than 100 art and craft vendors, plus live entertainment...
Sales help support several neighborhood projects, including an art gallery, food programs for the underserved, and pre-school child care. The event is big enough for the organizers to sell temporary sales licenses for out-of-town vendors who travel to the Phinney Ridge neighborhood of Seattle from Portland and elsewhere.
I learned a lot just from observing the event in 2012. More to come about this year's festival... but in the meantime, if you'll be in Seattle save these dates on your calendar:

Saturday, December 7th
Sunday, December 8th

Gotta go... this art inventory won't build itself!

Friday, September 6, 2013

First day of school, latest day of letting go

Every new beginning comes from some other beginning's end. 
-- "Closing Time," Semisonic

And so ends The Boy's first (half-) week of fourth grade.
He rolled his eyes, but humored me when I demanded asked begged for a first-day photo. This year, The Boy is going to a new elementary school, the one that offers accelerated-learning classes. Fourth grade was the year I made the same transition, so yeah... having a bit of a hard time letting go. Fortunately, I do have something to look forward to: this weekend's artist reception for the Onyx Fine Arts Collective fall show.
(Are you going to meet me there? RSVP on my Facebook page, if you would.)
I'm also working on a couple of other shows, one which might happen in December and one sometime next year. And of course, new listings and Treasuries in the Etsy shop. But even so... le sigh.
Do you ever get used to your kids walking away from you into the first day of school, without feeling wistful?