Thursday, July 29, 2010

Getting Set...

I finished almost two paintings for sale today.  That's a record for me!  This whole goal setting strategy really worked for me this week.  I got everything finished, and my Etsy shop ( opens tomorrow morning when I post my very first item.  I'm so incredibly excited!  Yes, I had a lot to get done this week in order to make tomorrow happen.  But I stayed organized, and it all came together.  My heart is flying along with the rest of me tonight as I get ready, exhausted, to go to bed.  This is my dream.  It's going to be a wild ride, because life is a journey and it is supposed to be!  For all of you out there reading, the first five people to respond will get 10% off of any item during tomorrow's grand opening!  I will post pictures in the morning!  See you all then!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Getting Ready...

Hey everyone!  Man, although there is not a lot to setting up your Etsy shop, at the same time there is!  There are so many decisions to be made.  I am trying to be smart and careful when it comes to my policies,  because I have never done this before.  I want to be fair to both my consumer and myself.  There are so many decisions to be made.  I am almost finished though.  The only things that I have left to do are to finish a couple of paintings and list my first item!  I am so excited!

But I am learning so much during this process.  Last night and today I have accomplished some huge steps when it comes to technology.  You see, I'm not much of a technological person.  My little sister usually helps me out when things get a little tough.  I don't usually try and find the answer, I just call up Amy (thanks Amy!).  However, I have done all of this almost entirely by myself.  Last night I figured out (all on my own) how to change the pixellations of a picture on my computer.  I had to do this in order to get my logo on my Etsy shop.  At first I was freaking out that the piece I had made to represent my logo would not work because the pixels were too big.  I was determined though.  Google became my best friend, and she and I together figured it out.  Yes, it took quite a while, but we did it!  Then today I printed my business cards.  My little sister did help me create them last night.  I knew what I wanted, but I couldn't figure out the templates.  She helped me with that.  But when I got home and tried to print them, it wouldn't work right.  The information would not work on the cards I had.  I called Amy, and she told me to look at the template number on the carton, and find that number within Microsoft.  So I tried.  But it wasn't there.  At this point I felt like the universe was against me and that my shop would not be able to open on time.  Then I noticed on the carton there was a website for free template downloads.  Got it!  But I still couldn't get them quite right.  After playing with it for a little while (not near as long as the pixels) I finally printed out my first good batch of cards!  Hooray!  I am overcoming my technical difficulties and growing in so many ways!

I told you all I would keep you updated on how well this was going.  So far, so good.  I haven't broken down, and I have learned so much!  I know that I am truly ready for this step.  The steps I am taking just seem natural.  Even when there is a snag, I still flow through it.  When have you experienced this type of natural flow with a project?  I'd love to hear!  Leave a comment and let me know!  Good day!

Take care!  I'll be back soon!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Music and News (Not music news)


Well, there has been quite a bit going on around here…we’ve been painting my sister’s new house so that she can move in, and I took my daughter to her first concert…that’s my excuse for not blogging lately. I need to be better at keeping up with that. Sometimes life just does get in the way. But it’s our life, so we determine how often it gets carried away with itself.  Anyway, this blog is an important one to me. Music during “working” (playing) time is a very crucial part of my process. It can affect how well I work, my process, or even the outcome of a piece. Being moved by all forms of creativity is important, but art, music, and writing are the components of my artistic being (we’ll get to the writing part in a later post).

Let me start by sharing an event with you. It was probably one of my favorite nights in my life thus far because I got to share something that I love with my daughter…music. On Friday night I took my daughter Ava, six, to her first concert. Now some parents may choose to take their children to a Disney, teeny-bopper concert for their first experience. However, I wanted Ava to be somewhere that was positive, and did not entice my child to wear risqué clothing and rebel against their parents. (By the way, if you are a fan of the programming or recording artists at Disney, please do not take offense. This is only my opinion, and I do not judge.) So the first concert she attended was Jack Johnson. His music is mellow and a great example of self-expression, and his values about the earth and his mission to preserve it are found everywhere at each venue. He provides material about water conservation, recycling, and taking care of our earth; water stations where you can fill up any ecologically sound water bottle that you bring in from home, and his concert memorabilia are made from organic materials. The proceeds from the merchandise and concert go to a charity. I don’t know many artists who are this devoted to a cause. So taking Ava to this concert was a no-brainer. My sisters joined us as well. Ava loved the concert! She said that she loved it so much more than she thought she would, and she would definitely like to see him again. That made me so excited!

Jack Johnson

Ava dancing at the Jack Johnson Concert - she is totally into it!

 After sharing this moving experience with Ava, and having danced along with her to several songs, I am more of a believer that music enhances all of my memories, and completely inspires me. Whenever I am out in my art cottage working (pictures of my art cottage can be found to the right, included in the slide show), there is usually music playing. I’ve noticed that some music can inspire projects, some affect the methods or materials used in a project, and some can totally distract the original outcome of a piece. It is so essential to make sure that the music I am listening to fits the mood I am in, or need to be in. Music moves my hands as I work. The tempo and tone of the music determines what speed and what force I work at. I never thought about how much it affects me until I decided to study myself while I worked. When I played music that matched my mood, my paintings turned out nicer, and came from my hands much more easily than when I played music that did not match. Fast yet light music made my hands work quickly with light strokes. Fast music that was harder had the opposite effect. I am most comfortable and relaxed working with mellow music, fast or slow, playing. (This does not always work though if it does not match my mood.)

Music has always been important to me, and different songs trigger different moments in my life. I have nostalgic songs from my childhood (Blonde, Michael Jackson – sans nose job, Duran Duran, The Cars, etc.), adolescence (Billy Joel, Roxette, New Kids on the Block – never liked them, but my sister’s did, Meatloaf, etc.), my teenage years (The Fresh Prince – a.k.a. Will Smith, Shakespeare’s Sister, Martika, Heavy D., etc.), my college years (Phish, Dave Matthews Band, Alanis Morrisette, Milla Jojovich, etc.) to my adult years (Jack Johnson, Donovan Frankenreiter, Norah Jones, Linkin Park, etc.). Music has been there every step of my life. I can hear Blonde, which reminds me of a terry-cloth jumper I had when I was little, and warm summer days. If I am playing during this song, my project will tend to have more childlike qualities. When I hear Phish, I am reminded of some of the toughest moments in my life and my inner struggles. If I were to create during this type of music, the product would be more dark and serious. It’s all very complicated actually.

Almost every time I am in my art cottage, there is music playing. In my car, there is always music, and while I am cooking there is always music. Occasionally I need the music of nature. It’s there, but many people don’t take the time to listen to it. The music of nature heals me and helps unclog any creative blocks that have arisen. No matter what type of music, it’s always here in my life, and in my creativity, and it always will be. Check out the list to the side that shows some of the music I enjoy listening to.


Okay everyone! Since I have become motivated, I have decided to try goal setting more in depth. I made a plan for this week. The goal is to open my Etsy shop on Friday. I made my “To Do” list, and allotted each day its list of things to do. Blogging is part of this list. I would like to document my process in getting through the set up. First, I have begun the process of setting up shop. I have made my logo (pictured below), and need to install it. At the moment I am researching shop policies and trying to decide what my policies will be. At the same time, I am working on three projects that I have already begun in the hopes of having them ready for the shop opening on Friday. I am already confused by Paypal, but think I have it figured out. I think that I just list an item as I post it on Etsy. I just cannot figure out what my number is that I put into my Etsy account. That is on my agenda for figuring out on Wednesday. Any tips you all have for my grand opening would be greatly appreciated! Thanks! I will try to keep you all informed each day this week as I continue on my journey. Feel free to chime in with advice, thoughts, tips, or just a general hello. As always, may you have a magnificent day!

My New Logo - Please comment and let me know your opinion of it.  Thanks!

Thursday, July 15, 2010


Why is it that we forget the good things that we did as a kid that helped us to cope with the tough things in life? As a kid I used to draw and write. I would do both for hours. My mother never understood my ability to sit so long to do these things because I could never really sit still that long for anything else (except reading). But as I grew up, and once I got out of college, I just dropped the habit of journaling. I used to get all of my frustrations and feelings out on a page, or two, or three...well, sometimes many more than that. The point is that once I dropped that therapeutic habit, where did all of those feelings go? There was no place to get them out. Eventually they just began spinning in my head, a rotating mantra of negative energy that pretty soon paralyzed my creative flow. It's very important that people, artist-types especially, find an outlet for the negative energy that comes there way. Yes, practicing and creating art definitely helps to purge these hindrances, but it does not completely eliminate them. Neither does journaling. However, the act of practicing both gets the rollercoaster out of your head and makes way for the creative flow to come straight out. When there is a maze of negativity clogging your mind, you need that pen to find the way.

When practicing the rituals of Walking in this World, morning pages are put into place specifically for opening the flow of creativity. As a practitioner, I have found these pages to do wonders! By getting things off of my chest first thing in the morning, I have found that my brain is completely open for the many ideas that are hiding up there. Plus, my day begins in a much less stressful way. I have taken the hamster out of its wheel, and my brain is not droning away on topics. It's completely pleasant. However, by the end of the day I have also found that the hamster has usually jumped back on its exercise wheel and is driving me completely nuts! Sometimes it even keeps me awake at night. So, in addition to my morning pages, I have recently also begun writing evening pages. At night, after I have put Ava to bed, I go somewhere quiet. Lately that quiet place has been on my front steps or on a bench in my backyard. Either way, I take my journal and completely work out things that I didn't even know were up there. One night I thought about how I neglect my husband's hobby (hunting) because I don't agree with the killing of animals. Yet, I still expected him to respect, and even listen to me go on and on about my projects. I even ended up giving this entry to him. It has helped me to be a better friend to my husband. I do listen to his hunting stories now. I may not enjoy the gruesome parts, but he needs to share that with his best friend (Me!). I have also journaled about my lack of motivation lately and have discovered that I need to get myself a routine and a schedule. Lists have begun to be my best friend (except when I don't follow them - then they are my worst enemy!). When you journal at both times of the day, you definitely get to know yourself - especially the parts that you don't normally acknowledge.

Journaling is an amazing creative tool. I have also gotten the itch to make some creative journals. I have included sketches and doodles in my morning/evening pages journal, but I would like to do more. So why haven't I you may ask? Well, that's where that fear thing comes into play that I talked about last time. Fear is such a horrible feeling, but once you learn how to work with it, you can do anything. I just haven't quite learned that completely yet. I know I can do these things, it's just that sometimes I freak myself out and let my head get the better of me. Jumping in with both feet would be the best thing for me to do. I have definitely been stalling for the past couple of weeks. Bad! Bad! Bad! I have let fear grab hold and take me for a ride. It's time for this wild bronco to start kicking until I throw it off! Do you guys have any ideas on how to get that fear monster to shut up and stay quiet? If you do, please respond in the comments. I would love to hear your ideas and maybe try some of them out.

As always, thanks for listening - or reading. It's always a pleasure. Have a beautifully blessed day! I got my creativity - now go out and get yours!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Watercolors! I did it!

I've always been afraid of watercolors.  I know, it's an irrational fear.  I mean, even when we are very young, the very first encounters that many kids have with paint are with watercolors.  We get paint books that already have the paint on the page; we just need to add the water.  Finger paints, and paints that you are given as gifts are usually watercolors.  It's like the first basic art supply (paint wise) that there is.  I grew up with these forays into juvenile art.  For many years I am sure I dabbled in this frightening media - without knowing its dangers.  What are those dangers you may ask?  No clue.  I have absolutely no clue.  I have been afraid of this media since I can remember.  Crazy, right?  I bought myself a set of watercolors years ago.  I even got them out a couple of times and dabbled - but did not really paint with them - only to quickly put them away.  I could not figure out how to work them, mold them to my visions.  I could not tame these paints.  That is, until...

My friend Laura - beautiful soul - is a watercolorist.  She is an all around artist, but most of the art that I have seen of hers are these absolutely fabulous and breath-taking watercolor portraits.  She was over at my house last night, along with Jan (we missed you Jordan!) for our Monday night ladies meeting (or fun fest).  Laura actually came over earlier so that we could work on art together.  We have discovered that it is nice to be sitting with someone while we create.  She was making a gift of a portrait for someone she knows.  While watching her, I decided that I would like to try it as well.  So I asked my dear friend if she would be willing to teach me how to paint portraits.  I watched as she explained each step of what she was doing.  Then I got out one of my favorite pictures of Ava.  Sketching it was tough as it has been so long since I have drawn a face.  By the time I finished drawing, there was not really time to actually lay the painting.  So I was supposed to go to Laura's house tonight to learn how to do that.

Well, after overheating while mowing the lawn, I post poned our art time.  I was completely exhausted.  Man, who knew water could help you not get quite so knocked out by heat.  I'll have to try that next time it's ninety degrees while I am mowing.  :)  Anyway.  After taking a nap I finally decided that I would not work on the sketch I began last night, but sketch another picture and try painting that.  Now folks, why do you think I chose to do a different picture?  Well, when trying something new I am not always the confident glowing woman you see before you now.  I know, I hate to shatter anyone's perception of me :).  So I tried a different picture.  Let me just say that I think Laura is a darn good teacher!  Now, I'm not saying that my portrait is perfect, but I think it is pretty good for a first painting with watercolors (at least since I was, like, 5).  But don't take my word for it.  Please, by all means give me feedback!  What do you think?  Tips?  Pointers?  I am actually thinking that I am going to do a study of watercolor portraits now.  Hooray!  I know, one more thing to add to my list of things I want to do!

What is something that you, dear reader, have tried after many years of being afraid of it?  Please do share!  I'd love to know.  Stories are the sustenance of life!  Share!

Also, stay tuned for progress on my Etsy shop.  Hopefully it will be opening within the next week!  Just a sneak tip - those who leave comments may be in for a discount!  :)

See you all in a few days!  May your life be as happy as is humanly possible!  Love!