Friday, December 29, 2006

2006: Part 3 - little celebrations


Encouraged by Alyson's ArtBiz blog, in order to acknowlege my artistic achievements in 2006, I have allowed myself some small gifts by way of celebration. The first one has already arrived in the form of this small, beautiful ceramic bowl by artist Diana Fayt. I've been drooling over her work since I first came across it. Susan's Artstream online gallery shop has a few of her pieces for sale, including these lovely small bowls that I could actually afford, so I snapped one up.

The second is by another artist I greatly admire, Andrea Pratt. While I was poking around the internet deciding what sort of treats I was going to get, she posted this wonderful drawing for Illustration Friday, and at her Etsy shop. I couldn't resist and bought it immediately. I can't wait to see it in person!

I'm thinking I might get one more treat. Maybe get a massage. I've never had one, but it sure sounds nice.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

2006: Part 2 - looking forward

Savannah cityscape, Nov. 2006

In this continuation from my 2006: Part 1 post, I'll actually be addressing 2007. I had intended to do this yesterday, but I had the opportunity to meet up with my dear friend Nicole so I did that instead. :)

Planning my art career always seems to involve a perilous balance for me. I know that goals need to be specific in order to be attainable, but when I get too specific, I tend to scare myself into frozen inaction. And I don't want that, so I'll keep this fairly simple.

January will be a month of laying groundwork. I need to get some of my newer works photographed, then I want to order some self-promotion postcards. I want to do at least 2 general mailings this year (mailings not for specific shows, just for self-promotion), and I'd like to get the first one started by the end of January or beginning of February. In the past I've usually treated these mailings as big one-time projects, mailing out as many as I can all at once, leaving me drained and distracted from my painting for at least a week, usually longer. I want to treat them more as an ongoing process this year, mailing out a few each week as I research and add to my mailing list. This might mean fewer sent out in the long run, but my hope is it will mean better contacts that I can better keep in touch with.

I also want to order new business cards that will include all of my web addresses - blog, etsy, etc. - not just my website. I find myself writing this information on the back of the cards I have, and it would be nice to simply have it there already. I'll also be making sure my resume, artist statement and website are fully updated. I've been pretty good about that this year, but it never hurts to polish them up a bit.

As a step in getting more organized, I've downloaded a shareware program that I learned about on the ArtBiz blog, to help me track my paintings and clients better. It's called Flick!. I've been playing with it a bit the past few days (it's pretty easy), and I think it's going to be a big help.

I'm also hoping to better organize my tiny studio space, and the time I spend there. Any suggestions? I'd love to see some of your creative spaces and hear about your favorite organizing solutions.

Then there's always the usual paint more, draw more, explore new media, expand my mailing list, get a gallery to represent me (that would be cool!), blog more, expand my Etsy shop, enter more competitions, do more art for church, etc. etc.

I've started celebrating my achievements for 2006! I'll post about them next time.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Christmas 2006 recap

Harlie

Marlowe

Here are our cats playing with their Christmas gifts, a small crinkle ball for Harlie, and a large "rat" for Marlowe. I "soaked" them in catnip for a couple of days prior to Christmas, and the cats went nuts! They were so entertaining we forgot to open our own presents for a while. :) Got some really good ones too! A couple of wonderful cookbooks, Astaire & Rogers DVDs, Japanese bowls with bunnies on them, and a new scarf, just to name a few.

It was a very good day - just us and the cats. This holiday season has been good overall. I resisted the usual urge to do too much and therefore wasn't too exhausted to enjoy any of it. Didn't make any cookies, but I did manage to make some gifts for people. And instead of making an all out traditional feast, I made a killer lasagna and salad. With all the goodies we'd gotten from people over the past few days, I didn't even have to make dessert.

Now my brain is returning to review of 2006 and plans for 2007. I'll post more of my thoughts on that tomorrow. I'm also getting antsy to get back into the studio. The holidays are great and all, but they do take my attention away from art. As I've noted in a previous post, there's really only so much of that I can take.

Monday, December 25, 2006

Peace, goodwill to men...

This is the Christmas altarpiece I designed for our church and was revealed at last night's Christmas Eve service.
A truly joyful event!


Glory to God in the highest,
And on earth peace,
goodwill toward men!
Luke 2: 14


To see more photos, please visit our church's Flickr album.


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Sunday, December 24, 2006

Merry Christmas!

Wishing all of you a very merry Christmas!

As part of our attempt to make Christmas more spiritual and less secular this year, we followed the church year and waited until last night to decorate our tree. The cats are fascinated!

Today marks the end of Advent, and tonight is Christmas Eve. We'll be heading over to the church later for carols beginning at 8:30 and the Christmas Festival Eucharist beginning at 9:00. It promises to be a beautiful and joyful evening, with great music and art, and all are welcome. If you're in the area, please come celebrate with us at Church of the Redeemer in Kenmore.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

2006: Part 1

Early morning on Hilton Head Island, November 23, 2006 - the beach is always a good place for contemplation

Just upgraded to the new Blogger. So far, so good. My blog didn't explode, and I appear to have all of my links, though I'll have to explore more to be sure.

So, 2006 is drawing to a close and 2007 is peaking around the corner. Seemed like a good time to talk about accomplishments from the year, and plans for the future. I'm going to break it down into parts (2 or 3, not sure yet), and in today's post I'll be focusing on some of my artistic accomplishments for 2006. It seems inevitable to be thinking about these things at this time of year, and I've seen a few posts on the subject. One great one to check out is over at ArtBizCoach.com. Alyson points out how important it is to recognize our achievements - and to celebrate them - or you'll just keep thinking about all you haven't done yet. I am so guilty of this, and wish to change, so here are some highlights from my art career this year:

  • My art was shown in 6 galleries, including 2 solo shows
  • Sold 15 pieces, including 2 commissions, 6 through Etsy, and my largest gallery sale to date
  • Used my artistic talents in a meaningful way in my church - I gave of my gifts back to God
  • Have been signed on with MFI, Inc, corporate art consultants in New York City
  • Was interviewed and written up in two newspapers and 1 art blog for my show at the VU Gallery in Bellingham - all positive too
  • My art paid for itself this year, with a little left over
  • I'm also very proud of completing 1 1/2 drawing sketchbooks this year
My next post(s) on this topic will include how I plan to celebrate these accomplishments (any suggestions?) and some thoughts on what I'd like to do in 2007.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

wind and art

So last week's wind storm... we lost power at our place around midnight Thursday. Our apartment's power is entirely electric so it was cold and dark. No hot water. No hot food. On Friday we found out we were just a drop in the bucket. Over a million people in the area were without power (and some still are). Trees and lines were down everywhere. Roads and businesses closed. Many tranformers had blown. We were lucky in that we have a friend whose parents live close by, and they had power, so we got a respite from the cold and had hot food and lights before we had to return to our very dark, very cold little apartment. We piled on the comforters and blankets (and cats) and awoke on Saturday to another dark day.

Headed out to the church about 9am to work on the Christmas art pieces, and were met by this felled 70' tree in the parking lot. Thankfully, it had fallen where it did no damage (rather than onto the houses next to it).



The church was still without electricity, so we worked by the pale light coming through the clouds and into the windows of the undercroft. We worked until the daylight started to disappear somewhere between 3 and 4 that afternoon.



We did finish the Christmas altarpiece though! (I'll post a photo of it installed after Christmas).

Even though it was cold and dark, the arts committee had a pretty good time. We laughed and created and relaxed into the comfort of a safe place and family.

Thankfully, the power was restored to our apartment later that day, then cable and internet access followed. On Sunday, power was back on at the church too, though Fr. John pointed out that we were never without power, just electricity. :) In fact, the whole experience brought another level to his sermon about Advent, being in darkness and waiting for the light.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Illustration Friday: Mask

Kamen/Mask, digital/mixed media, ©1998

This week's challenge for Illustration Friday is "mask". Masks imply magic and mystery to me, and I'd hoped to have time to create a new image of this evocative theme, but I find myself pulled in other directions this week, so I dug up this piece I created while I was in art school. As I think about it, I realize it is appropriate to this theme in more ways than just the obvious.

I created it using Photoshop during a time when almost all my work was put together digitally and was still convincing myself I wanted to become an illustrator, not a fine artist, because being a fine artist just wasn't a realistic goal. It's a sample of a stage in my evolution as an artist. Even then I painted images and textures, and used found objects and papers, primarily treating Photoshop as a glue to put the compositions together. After graduation, eventually I left the computer completely in favor of making messes and working directly on a support. With that step, I removed the mask I'd been holding onto of what I thought of as being realistic and practical, what I thought I should do with my art to make it commercially viable, and allowed my true voice as an artist to show in my work. I am so much happier, and I've grown so much as an artist.


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Monday, December 11, 2006

Christmas wrapping


Woke up out of sorts this morning. With all holiday hub-bub, I haven't been able to really get back to painting for a few weeks now. At first, it was kind of nice to have a break, but now it's starting to get to me. All I really wanted to do today was paint, but I knew that wasn't going to happen because of all the errands I needed to run. So I spent an hour or so snarling at the cats and various inanimate objects which dared to be where I had put them. Then I managed to calm down enough to face going out with a relatively friendly attitude, and it went pretty smoothly.

Christmas shopping is pretty much done (except for whatever it is I'm going to get my husband) and I've just finished packing up the gifts that we have to ship. Now I need to sit down and start writing our cards. Every year I say I'm going to make cards, but I have yet to do it.

Tomorrow I need to get to the post office and mail the gifts (and a couple more pieces I sold on Etsy!), then I think I'll be able to get in some concentrated studio time. I can't wait!

Speaking of wrapping, check out Furoshiki, a clever and environmentally friendly Japanese method of wrapping and carrying gifts that my husband found at Lifehacker. I'm going to try to use this a lot.

Hope all your holiday plans are going smoothly, and that you can take the time to breathe a little.


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Friday, December 08, 2006

Favorite Books of 2006

As I've mentioned before, I am a bit of a book-a-holic and read contstantly. This year I've actually managed to write them all down - it helps me remember favorite authors and series. Since I love books, I often give books as gifts. While making out my Christmas list of gifts to buy for others, I went back over the list of all the books I've read this year to get gift ideas. It was a really good year, and I read a lot of wonderful books and discovered some excellent writers. I thought I'd take a moment and list some of my favorites here.

Fiction

Novels
The Time Traveller's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger
The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova
The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield
The Stolen Child by Keith Donohue

Mystery/Suspense series
Jack Reacher books by Lee Child - they each stand alone, so I haven't been reading them in order. My favorite so far is One Shot.
Clare Fergusson & Russ Van Alstyne mysteries by Julia Spencer-Fleming beginning with In the Bleak Midwinter
And there were new installments by long standing favorites Laurie R. King and Martha Grimes

Paranormal fiction series(vampires, ghosts, etc.)
New installments in:
Tanya Huff's "Smoke and ..." series
Kim Harrison's Rachel Morgan series
Jim Butcher's Harry Dresden Files

Non-Fiction

Art Inspiration
The Creative License by Danny Gregory
One Continuous Mistake by Gail Sher
Coaching the Artist Within by Eric Maisel

Spiritual Inspiration
The New Seeds of Contemplation by Thomas Merton

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

More on Etsy

"Strength", acrylics/collage on 9" x 12" canvas board.
SOLD!

I just finished listing 5 more pieces at my Etsy shop, all still under $40 with free shipping in the US, and $5 to elsewhere.

For those of you who have been following my blog for a while, you might recognize some more of my Illustration Friday entries, like the image above.

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Monday, December 04, 2006

Advent begins

Advent altarpiece installed.


A closer look.


My art along the wall of the nave.

I'm still processing the experience of having my art decorate God's house. I think I'll take another day to think about it before I try to put it into words, but I wanted to post these pictures so those of you who have been following the creation of the altarpiece can see what it looks like installed. It's pretty cool, if I do say so myself. :)

I also thought it would be an appropriate post for this week's Illustration Friday theme - Might, as in "Holy, holy, holy Lord. God of power and might."

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