Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Artist Cards, Editions and Originals (aka ACEOs)

I am getting back into making ACEOs, trading card size art for the masses! What fun. I especially enjoy the small format for some subjects and feel that this is a way to reach a much broader artistic market at a lower price point. The piece below is a scenic image from Bryce Canyon and Rainbow Point.

On the same road trip, I passed a lovely group of four horses enjoying a hot afternoon graze next to a rest stop in Iowa. I captured my favorite of those horses here in this simple composition, Munch a Bunch. Both of these pieces (or perhaps new pieces if you're looking after November 6) are currently up for auction on eBay...so get your bids in now!

Monday, October 29, 2007

Getting Back to Basics

I did mention previously that my eBay experience has been a positive one. This morning, I spent a few minutes putting the finishing touches on sending out 6 packages of items that are getting re-cycled to others who will find more use for them than I have. Sadly, this does include all of my Winsor Pilates DVDs. No, I'm not sad for sending them off to a new home...but sad that I brought them into my home in the first place. Granted, I did have good intentions...but they were not realistic ones. I have never been a good candidate for Pilates or Aerobics or any other event that seems like an exercise version of cheerleading...actually it's not the activity itself, but rather the fact that you need to have a group mentality "buy in" to get into these kinds of activities. I don't mind being an active player on a volleyball or softball team, which involves chasing around some kind of ball and includes scoring (and winning), but am the least likely to go to an exercise class, and even think that trying to do the home exercise class is too much of a stretch. What's missing in my psyche? Is this something that the rest of you also feel--or is the best part of an exercise class for you part of taking part as a member of the group?

Thank goodness that the fall/winter volleyball season has started up again, and that I have a lovely German Shepherd with boundless energy that encourages me to stay active in other ways! How can I refuse this guy's mug when he wants something--he's gorgeous!

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Square and loving it!

Today in southern Wisconsin is an absolutely gorgeous fall day. A day filled with brilliant golden orange reds amid a group of trees that remain stubbornly full in green. Amazingly, at the end of October, there are still a few swarms of gnats and a blooming thistle outside, and a pesky housefly that seems to adore my computer screen. I love the fall, but it's not been a "normal" fall this year. And, so, this lovely maple tree in full transition is my way of making fall "just right" again. Transition and change, as I've stated often, is good!

Saturday, October 27, 2007

On Being Square

I've been working on a series of 8" square pastels on canvas. This panda is the first that I'm sharing on this blog.

For now, I have to admit that canvas is my favorite surface for pastels. There is this ethereal softness that you can achieve as the pigment becomes enmeshed into the fibers of the canvas itself that I have not been able to achieve with any of the paper surfaces that I've tried. I like that the weave of the fabric remains an integral part of the composition, even though it makes some of the finer details more difficult to achieve (at least at this small a scale).

I've not signed this piece yet (digitally yes, for this presentation, but not on the original piece). What that means is that I've also not settled in on a title for the work, but I'm leaning toward Tree Hugger. I generally don't take them, but if you're reading and have a good suggestion, please add it as a comment.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Writing and the Analytical Side of Me

This is the year of self-discovery for me, and there are some very valuable lessons I've learned, and some others that have just re-iterated what I've known about myself for what seems like FOREVER.

  1. I am an introvert. Don't get me wrong...I can be extremely extroverted in situations where I feel very comfortable...and actually love being the occasional center of attention. But my recovery and re-centering process requires regenerative alone time.

  2. I love things that change. Technology. Life. People. Interests. I'm not so fond of stagnation. Old-school and old-boys networks. Some people.

  3. There are days for mindless, days for intensive thought, and days for absolute creativity. It seems difficult for me to shift between these three modes without an overnight sleep.

  4. Respect is something that I no longer give freely--it is only offered to those who earn it through their actions, including those who treat me well as a human being. Lies and deceit do not sit well with me, and I perceive those who "tell me what they think I want to hear" as folks who are not honest. Those who break my trust are going to have to work really hard to regain it. Does that mean I'm tough? Yup. Does that mean I'm unforgiving? Yes and no. Does that mean I don't like people? Certainly not.

  5. I don't like everybody. There are certain values that need to be in place before I find myself truly liking a person. I certainly prefer depth of character to superficialities. I prefer a dry, witty, and sarcastic sense of humor to the prankster, jokester, and purveyor of silliness. I don't aspire to the mantra of "can't we all just get along?" but prefer something more like "can't we tolerate our differences and recognize and accept that there are differences?"

  6. I am not a joiner. Hanging out in packs sharing one thread of commonality is not exactly my cup of tea. I'm not a party girl. Even personality profiles make that statement about me. I can be in a party mood from time to time, but it's based on mood and not on who invited me to the event. It can, however, be related to who will be at the party...

  7. I like to write. I prefer writing and consolidating information to editing the words of others. When put in the position of editing the words of others, I actually want to retain the voice and sentiment of the original author. I believe that there are some grammar conventions that should almost always be followed...yet the violation of some of these is also what makes writing interesting and styled after the author.

  8. Despite the fact that I have a strong analytical side and the ability to understand logic, I don't want to always be placed in the analytical, responsible role. I've worked in environments where others were given leeway because they were considered "creative types." Since I'm only considered a mildly creative type (despite volumes of artwork and compositions) because of my career choices, I have been expected to behave more professionally. I do wish I had been tagged a creative type earlier in my life...but, then again, my personality would have forced me to learn to compensate for my weaknessses to survive in whatever career I would have chosen.

  9. There are a number of theories, practices, and things that people get away with that I think are pure bull-excrement. I try not to laugh in the face of those who believe these things, but when they try to apply them to me, I resist. Vehemently. They're not right for me.

  10. As I get older, there are words that escape me, especially nouns when I'm speaking with some sleep deprivation. I will search and search for the right word, and if pressured to respond immediately, will find that sometimes the brain database returns the wrong result. At least, for now, I know that it's the wrong result. Others, of course, have been less forgiving of the incorrect word choice. Thank goodness that this is almost non-existent when I'm writing!

Some may classify me as a difficult person. I think I'm really no more difficult than many others who have crossed my path, and actually less difficult than those who either don't know themselves or work so hard to portray a kind of personna that is considered far more acceptable...or more feminine. I've had to work hard for everything that I have, every accomplishment that I've made, and I'm proud that includes a certain sense of competitiveness, a demand for excellence, the ability to know when things are good enough, and the sense to recognize some of the red and yellow flags that get raised along the way. It's been a journey to learn to pay attention to (and not ignore) the instincts that I possess. This acceptance has been life saving and affirming.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

ebaY fun

I now have a few items up for sale on ebaY. I've decided to give ebaY a shot for selling some things that I no longer need...and for trying to sell some of my artistic creations. For now, I will continue to list items on CafePress, Etsy, and Mintd, but am planning on making the transition so that my work will primarily be available online in only one venue.

I find that listing items on ebaY is quite simple and intuitive, and offers more complex listing options if you want more details in your listings. I've found this to be a welcome change from some of the other venues, and don't mind the listing fees, which run in accordance to the items you're selling and the options that you choose. The best part, which is missing on several other sites, is the shipping calculator...which definitely helps quickly evaluate the costs of shipping! The first artistic item that I'm listing at ebaY is Looking Westward into the Sun, a fine photographic archival print on canvas with artist-designed frame. This shot is from a drive out West to La Jolla Cove and a tour from Miss G. You can almost smell the ocean, feel the wind in your face, and hear the gulls and pelicans!

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Holiday Craft Boutique

Last night I dropped pieces off at the 28th Annual Holiday Craft Boutique, a home show out in Sun Prairie, Wisconsin that my good friend Stephanie Funck alerted me about several years ago.

Jan Dorner opens her home for three successive weekends to a group of artists who provide a broad range of art and craft items for the holidays and gift-giving throughout the year.

Snowmen. Reindeer. Dried and pressed flowers. Dolls. Wreaths. Soaps. Glass work. Hand painted wood. Ornaments. Purses. Handwoven Baskets. Baked sweets and treats. Quilted pieces. Garden stones. AND much, much more.

The show is open from 10 am to 5 pm
• Friday, October 19 and Saturday, October 20
• Friday, October 26 and Saturday, October 27
• Friday, November 2
and from 10 am to 3 pm
• Saturday, November 3

Map your way to 829 Davis Street in Sun Prairie.

Some of the proceeds from the show go to The Empty Stocking Club.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

And now, introducing the...

Quadrivet! "What's that?," you say. It's a combination set of 4 marble coasters stacked in a convenient tray that also serves as a "trivet." Ingenious! I doubt that you'll want to hide this in a drawer when it's not in use, but it's small enough to conveniently tuck into a kitchen drawer. I would instead keep it displayed on a table in my living room or den--so that the coasters might actually get used. Think of it as a multi-purpose surface protector!
There are versions that use relatively smooth tumbled marble tiles for the abstract coasters as shown in the blue-green version, but I have to admit a fondness for the decidedly pockmarked tiles. With the dying process that I use, the crevices take on a variety of colors in a faux geode appearance. It's a pleasure to integrate multi-dimensional colors into these tiles, albeit quite a messy process as the ink seeps through all the pores! Needless to say, I've got some tabletops here that have been inadvertently dyed, and I'm often seen with dyed fingernails (no, it is most definitely NOT nail polish).

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Designing for the holidays...

Today was the day to design holiday cards, so I pulled out a design that I've been noodling with for about 7 years or so. It was great to see the piece grow from a sketch into a final product, which is now available from my CafePress shop as regular size greeting cards and notecards. Notecards are also available locally from Indigo Coffee and Tea and at the 28th Annual Holiday Craft Boutique.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Leggy Study

Last week, the weather remained quite warm here in South Central Wisconsin. As I finished my pastel demonstration at the Verona Public Library and began my very short drive home, I noticed this Great Egret among the gaggles of geese resting at Silent Street Pond. This pond has definitely helped me reconnect with the natural elements of the neighborhood and appreciate the local wildlife.

I grew up in a rural area of Pennsylvania with a pond on our property. The biggest wildlife in the pond seemed to be the muskrats, and only occasional visits from a pair of ducks. Here in Wisconsin, we seem to be in some major flight patterns, and with all of the lakes in the Madison area, the waterfowl are plentiful.

The adjoining cemetery had been home for a pair of nesting owls and their offspring. Despite a number of photographic attempts, I was able to only capture a few fuzzy silhouettes of the adult pair, and some underexposed shots of a fledgling, all at dusk. I haven't heard their hoo-hoo-hoos in over a month, so I hope they're settled somewhere else for the cooler season. It's been a great year for birdwatching!

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Slow Day in the Studio...

Today was the first day of Madison Area Open Art Studios. As usual, I've been frantically working at cleaning and organizing the home studio so that it's a welcoming environment for the outside world. As a self-proclaimed cleaning-challenged individual, these kinds of events place a lot of stress on the system...and rearranging the dust particles just wreaks havoc on the sinuses.

As somewhat of a starving artist, I had high hopes that this weekend would bring a bunch of people out to Verona to check out the new works of art. I believe that everyone MUST be waiting until Sunday. I'm hoping that today was slow because it was an unusually warm October Saturday--and all were off doing whatever pleasing outside fun they could muster.

On the flip side, I loved seeing old friend Elaine and her daughter, Christine. It is fun to get together with college chums--there is something revitalizing about it--must be the great field hockey experiences we shared. And it was good to spend time talking about some art ideas with Stephanie and Kara. After brainstorming for a few minutes about a new trivet idea I have in the works, the suggestion of using the wonder-tool known as Velcro came into play, and, by George, I think it's an absolutely WONDERFUL solution! Now it's back to the prototype drawing board to produce the item. No doubt that I'll be back with examples of the finished product sometime soon.

The day did end on a high note with some real customers looking to stock up on small gifts for friends and family. Thanks Lois and Tom!
There was an error in this gadget