Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Life is a Long and Twisting Road

We all start out our youngest days with dreams and plans.  My daughter dreamed of being both president and a cardiologist, simultaneously, possibly with a side job of mail delivery and working at McDonalds so that she could have all the hamburgers she wanted.  Over time, her dreams changed and her vision refined.  She still isn't certain what path she want to take but she is narrowing down the possibilities, marrying passion with practicality.

I remember my own childhood.  My dreams wandered from one vision to another.  Would I become a zoologist who worked on a game preserve in Africa  (if only!!)?  Would I grow up to star on Broadway?  Could I write the great American novel?

Alas, none of these things happened.  I fell into a major that I felt uncertain about, and then graduated equally undecided.  I took the classic nineties road of slacker graduate, not really focusing on anything long enough and not really wanting a "real job".

I fell in love and so started a career that allowed me time to homeschool my children and work from home.  All praise and gratitude to the internet!

 I bought and then sold vintage clothes.  Later, my focus shifted to handmade jewelry and graphic design.  For about 15 years, I managed a lucrative income on sites like ebay and etsy, but couldn't help but wonder what lay around the next twist in the road.

Katrina came through New Orleans and we left like so many other displaced refugees and found shelter in a small rural community just south of Baton Rouge.  My husband became ill and fought a long and valiant battle against cancer, passing away about two years ago.

The twist in the road was harsh and steep.  I was left with four children to raise and an income that never goes as far as we need it to.

I realized that only working from home was no longer enough.  I started selling jewelry at art markets and craft fairs and my success wavered between meh and so so.  Still, I was making my way back into the world.

My interest in jewelry making began to wain and my creativity leaned more and more to graphic design and then, as I felt braver, into digital art.  I realized that I had somehow stumbled into something I loved.  I had found a road that I desperately wanted to travel.

But how to make a living at it?

Good question!  I am just starting out but hope the road will go on and on and on!

I have my work at a few local galleries.  I am applying to art markets.  I have enrolled in a marketing class.  I am taking all the right steps and am hoping they will take me where I want to go!

What strange and crooked path have you followed to get where you are today?

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

New Graphic Design for Quoted Art

Now that I finally finished updating 
I have taken a little time and created 
some new quoted art pieces.

I felt that Walt Whitman truly 
deserved a little attention!

Look for these to be added to my 

As always, available as prints
or as jewelry pieces and magnets!

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Family Adventures of a rather limited sort

I live in southern Louisiana which usually means that the best time to plan out of door adventures is in the winter months of January and February.  Our average temperatures are usually in the mid-60s.

This year has been different.

I've always lived in the south and have a very difficult time envisioning daily snow and sleet.  I've never had to check for freezing temperatures and fear frozen pipes so many times in a single season.

That brings us to our rather lame adventures.  Last time, I brought you bowling.  This time, I present family games at a local pizza place.

The kids loved it, but it scarcely counts to me as an adventure.

There were games and tickets.  The pizza was greasy.  The noise level was off the charts.

But, they all had fun.  Ages 7 to 18, managed to interact at a single place and have a good time.

Being together and enjoying each other is really the point of a family 
so I'll take it as a win even if adventure was not to be found, at least,
not today....

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Family Adventures in the Glamor of Bowling

Ah, bowling, it's all about the glamor.  Well, the glamor and the shoes.

Also, the food.  The delicious, greasy, cardboard flavored pizza.  So really, the glamor, the shoes and the food.

Silly me.  I am forgetting the athletic challenge.  The panther like prowess with which one must approach the  lane while wearing the glamorous shoes of the bowling clown.

Also, competition, it's all about the sense of competition and the desire to achieve excellence.
Really, bowling is all about the excellence,.

Now that we've established how truly awesome bowling is, let me explain how it is a family adventure.  The weather channel predicted that the weather for the whole week would be either cold or rainy so instead of a truly epic outdoor adventure, we decided on an exciting indoor activity; thus, bowling.

Of course, as you can see from the clothing choices of the family, the weather ended up being about 70 degrees, but we went ahead with our initial plans.

The excitement begins with attention rapt on the scores of their competitors.

Again, and again, the fierce competitors chose their weapon and made their attack.

Each competitor is so focused, so determined.

Throw after mighty throw, never faltering...

 Finally, the glamor of final victory!

(We played two games.  I won the first and my daughter won the second, but I was most thrilled to have broken 100 in the second game.  Overall, we are not impressive bowlers, at all!)

Monday, January 20, 2014

Gallery Shuffle! Weekend at the Depot Gallery!

It's brand new year and time for the annual shuffling of the wall spaces at the Depot Gallery in Gonzales, Louisiana.

The Depot Gallery just recently opened in September so it was sort of exciting to go in and hope to get a lucky number!

In September, I drew the number 14 and this is what my wall space looked like on the day I moved in.

I opted for smaller pieces with rather unusual framing.  

So, this time I decided to try something different.  With my efficient daughter in tow, we went over to the gallery on the first day of the shuffle.  My daughter drew my number for the coming year (number 14, AGAIN!).

Still, I pulled down my old display and we completely re-hung.

We've got the whole covered and moved my bin box of prints back in.  To give an idea of the state of the gallery mid-shuffle, I did a 360 shoot.

The first corner section is nicely filled with paintings by LJ Myers, Kathy Boudreaux has some amazing fabric art, Betty Marks has beautiful painted pieces and one of our photographers has some spectacular pieces.

The next corner is looking a little empty, but hopefully our artists will come in with their pieces soon!

Here is our final stretch of wall.  Still some empty spaces but it is coming along nicely!

Friday, December 27, 2013

Marketing 101

Last week, I attended a marketing seminar offered by my local arts council.  The seminar was taught by a successful, large scale, abstract painter and artist.  It gave me a lot to think about and, after some mulling over, I came away with a sort of battle plan.

Self-promotion is hard.  We are raised to be modest and self-effacing about our accomplishments, but success demands that we put ourselves forward.  Just sitting on the sidelines and waiting to be noticed could make for a very long wait.

I know that my work sells.  My work has done well enough to win awards.  Intellectually, I know that there is every reason to think that a market for my work exists and that I can be successful.  (even if I fear in the pit of my stomach that I am a pretentious fraud, but I'm going to carry on as if that nagging voice of self doubt doesn't exist.)

The artist who led the seminar deals with large scale abstracts which she sells by the inch.  A lot of what works for her clearly isn't going to work for me.  A lot of her advice left me uncertain, but I think a lot of it has a lot of value.

The most important thing is to appear professional.  Even if you are just starting out and have little success, be professional.

Have a website.

The website isn't about driving traffic or making money by itself.  It's about having that professional space available to anyone that wants to check you out.

(I actually did this!  I spent years not doing it because I was intimidated by my lack of knowledge, but in about 48 hours, I managed to set up my own website!)

I used Wix, but I know that there are a lot of simple, easy to use sites designed to help you set up your own website.

One of her basic bits of advice was to Narrow, Narrow, Narrow your focus.  I admit that I can't see that being useful to me at this time.  I  make my living primarily from my jewelry work.  I can't just toss everything aside to focus just on my digital art.  It's a thought to let float around perhaps, but I don't think I can realistically apply it to me at this time.

That said, I've always had a problem trying to organize my different areas into one whole.  I make jewelry.  I play with fabric and make primitive dolls and animals.  I work with digital art.

Last year, I set up the three areas into separate websites and blogs.  Each has its own facebook page.  Every time I applied for an art market, I wavered in how to define myself.  In struggling to set up my website, I realized I was going to have to create an umbrella and be all those things.  They are all valid forms of art and self expression.

I came up with a new name and set the site up around Fairy Surreal.  I designed new business cards and ordered a new banner for my craft booth set up.  I'm going to keep the divisions going:  Voodoo Goblin for my dolls; Calliope's Work for my jewelry; and ProjectBunnyArt for my digital art pieces, but I need to re-frame them all as divisions of Fairy Surreal.

So, now I am branded.  I am professional.  What do I do next?

Find venues, right?

I already sell at a local art market.  I have my work on display at two local galleries.   I am going to focus some energy this year on organizing my on line selling with an emphasis on my new "brand".

Tell your story.

That was another primary point of our speaker.  It makes a lot of sense, but where and how to tell your story?

I set up a tentative story on my website, but know I need to flesh it out, give it more interest and life.

I am tinkering with the idea of making up rack cards to include with all my prints that I have on display at the local galleries and in my prints.  I haven't decided if it's a good idea yet or not.

Still, I have a lot of plans and ideas in motion.  I love moving into a new year with new energy.  I wonder where 2014 will bring us?