another new thing I’m learning…

My last studio newsletter was a number of months ago- and I like to put out a couple a year. Because my list is nearing 200, and I’d rather not deal with composing in a Word document- which makes the file wayyyyy too large. I’ve decided it’s time to buckle down and learn how to use Mail Chimp.

Which gives me way more functionality
and easier ways for people to opt in or out.(plus did I mention it’s free for a nice small business like mine)

Wow- they provide so much support and tutorial help, I’ll be swinging through the email trees in no time.

But- on a larger note:  it’s challenges like this to the brain that keep us mentally sharp as well!  So, I may never get around to learning Spanish like I probably should- (or maybe that should be Mandarin Chinese?) …  but my little synapses are getting exercised by all the tasks I do to try and generate interest in the work.    So.   Be looking for my latest newsletter soon….

plus, ya gotta love the Firefox cupcake header on my browser!

the end of this beginning…

Many artists around the country have had the distinct opportunity to participate in a Creative Capital Professional Development Weekend.  And this last weekend was my chance. (big shout-out to Beet Street for bringing in a second annual one)

The presenters, Maureen Huskey, Colleen Keegan, Aaron Landsman, Jackie Battenfield, and Byron Au Yong, were all incredibly generous and helpful- I think everyone felt like they took away quite a bit that was not only useful, but truly personal and meaningful to each participant.

At the wrap-up, Colleen used the expression the “end of the beginning” to refer to our impending activities- filtering all this good stuff, starting to address issues unique to our own practice and moving forward, armed with clearer intentions (can you say “strategic planning?”) and optimism.

As it happens, I have been following “Communicatrix”,  Colleen Wainright’s blog for a while  (although it is much more than that) and today, something arrived in my mailbox with her last in a series of “embracing the tiny” observations.  Coincidence?   I think not.

For my part, I left the two days, filled with new energy to lead myself back to work that was more personal and meaningful to me- something that made me excited to keep moving forward, not something that I assumed would be embraced by a too-specific audience.

I (re) learned that I need to make the work that matters, and then move it out into the world, so the right audience can find it.  I will feel blessed, and I think those finding it will feel fortunate when they do.

ideas (and other things) fermenting…

Now that I am painting a bit more, I find myself being pulled towards a change in the subject matter and destination in the paintings.   I was realizing that when I made a rather abrupt shift a few years ago, it was in part driven by what I wanted to investigate, but also the sense that my earlier paintings were not….. here it comes….. “marketable” – at least not in these parts or wherever there were galleries that had taken on the work for brief periods of time.  Hence, I have a lot of compelling, award-winning, critically acknowledged paintings that are still in my basement.

I think I got off-track –  trying to anticipate what would be agreeable in certain venues- ie: health care/hospitality/ etc.  Rather than just doing my true work.  Sometimes they blended with one another- but I have often found myself in this odd territory between traditional landscape/representational painting and contemporary/non-objective/conceptual work.   Perhaps this comes from my strong inclination to manufacture spatially convincing, believable worlds that are beautiful, fictional and technically challenging, and hopefully a bit unsettling or mysterious. Whatever it is, there is bound to be a shift in the work when you move, even if it’s just a couple miles to a studio at home.  Once I am finished with the busyness of summer, and other commitments, I am looking forward to more consistent time, buried in the basement, seeing where all this will lead.

Oh yeah, and there’s a gallon or so of sauerkraut for Reuben sandwiches later!

ruh roh….

Does this ever happen to you… you bring some piece of work home and it gets stored, and then you bring it out, and it gets the thrashing it deserves?

I think I’ve been mulling over the work that I did this past year or so, and feeling like it lacked some kind of courage or freedom… like everything was too controlled and contrived.  Starting a new painting in a new environment (see previous post) ie: my basement…. I am probably now being influenced by the fact that I have more physical space to move around in.  Maybe before, I was thinking about being “tasteful” or something equally insidious…

Can’t quite put my finger on it, but I either need to start over, and get a new direction, or give this one a bit more ooomph!    So I went and started painting into it again…. not a new phenomenon- I am historically someone who reworks things … alot.

I think I miss the sinister, moody and seductive qualities of my earlier industrial paintings.

And maybe there’s a way to find that but with vines/botanical instruments, we’ll see.

I want to try and get back to just painting what interests me, not what I think will appeal to anyone else.  Now that I have a stretch of the summer with no commitments, it could happen.


working in/up a storm

we are having the first thunderstorm of the season… (usually afternoon/evening storms are common in the late spring around here) and we really need the rain…

I’m working on things that need taking care of, and there’s no way round it, and I’ve been forcing myself to sit down and deal. It helps to have a head cold- don’t feel like going to run or ride a bike-

Working on stuff like sorting through years of art files/documents- changing the last remnant of Appleworks to Word / images- seeing what I have and what I need to capture-

Doing inventory – making things up-to-date and better organized- leaner and not meaner, but cleaner!

lap top screen

I am not a great one for being sedentary- in a chair or on the floor – for hours, so I took frequent breaks today to finish transplanting strawberries, and use the rowing machine.  Talk about attention deficit! Anyway, it makes me glad for laptops and wireless connections, no worries about lightening striking the house and wiping out the computer.
I’m planning a marketing blitz soon, but want to get all my images and information up to date on a couple places, including this blog, before I charge out there asking for attention. People make their first impressions in about 7 seconds.

What is a studio…. are we there yet?

yes there's crap everywhere.... but it's getting better

I was discussing the notion of “re-invention” with some friends… and it seems that’s what going on here.  At one point in the not so distant past, I was in more of a funk…

well, you put out  a thought, and all of a sudden you have company. My “perhaps it’s time to quit painting” thought brought a response from a grad school friend, and two other local artists…  we all seem to be in a quandary- either feeling the life and art sucked out from teaching demands, or, what…. questioning the point because there’s no audience for what you do,  questioning how professional you can be if you hardly ever sell what you do, finding yourself tempted to pander to folks wanting very “affordable” prices

Then, I finally realized that I don’t want to stop making art, I just want to shake things up a bit.

First week without a space I’m renting outside of my house.  No more retreat from the domestic environment. No more being gone for hours each day.    Now I get up and don’t have to plan on leaving to go downtown- I just wander down the stairs!  Still putting things away and getting organized… I am one of those people who has a hard time working in chaos…. but looking forward to drawing more, getting reacquainted with my etching press, spending more time reaching out to new audiences for the completed work and generally mucking around with all sorts of things.

best Christmas present everrrrr / expanding the painting racks