Saturday, August 16, 2014

Open and Closed Doors

This is not about the drawing of the door, but I always like to use a visual. So, I decided to use my "Mysterious Door" in colored pencil drawing.

It's funny how doors (to change and opportunities) open and close and you don't understand why they close. Or if you should even take the open door. I truly believe that God has a plan for everyone and those doors open and close according to that plan. And even though I believe that, it is still hard to know which way to go and wonder if I'm doing the right thing.

I've had a lot of changes in my life over the last several years. Those changes have been, at times, a little scary too. I've had a lot of successes and a lot of disappointments, as does everyone. All of which I believe were part of 'the plan'.  I retired from teaching, two years ago, to pursue my art career. That has been a blessing for sure. Being able to work, at home, is perfect for me.  But being self-employed is a little scary too.

Recently the opportunity to move across the state came along.  We had been hoping to make that move for a couple of years now, but did not know if we would be able to. The door opened.  Every thing fell into place. So we moved. Even though it is what I/we wanted, I still wondered if it was the right thing to do. Was this in the plan?  I have to believe it is. But it is still scary.

Recently I applied for an Art Teaching job that is close by. I thought that maybe the plan was for me to teach for a year. So I applied. But the door closed and I didn't even get a call for an interview. Disappointed? Yes, but I'm sure that the door closed for a reason.  If I were teaching, I would be spread too thin. I would not be able to do what I on my own art.

Then today, I saw a video made by a very successful person. He was talking about why he is so successful. Although this video was created over 2 years ago, it spoke to me.  He said "he was successful Only by the Grace of God." Because of his faith, he worked hard at that 'one' thing that made him successful.  He said not to spread yourself thin.

"Focus on one thing, make it your priority and stick with it no matter what."

Yes, I am quoting Tyler Perry. (See the video below) I really don't know much about Tyler Perry, except that he created the character Madea. He is funny, famous, successful. But I found these words spoke to me and what I've been struggling with. I found him to be an inspiration. I need to water the seeds that I have. Not keep planting more. Yes, it is scary, but I have to have faith and believe. 

Gotta go water my seeds.

Here is the video. Enjoy.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Preparations for an Art Festival

My Art Festival booth has evolved quite a bit since the first event we participated in. The first show that we went to (see it here), our booth was pretty sad looking, looking back, it's pretty embarrassing. It was our first show and didn't really know if it was something we wanted to invest a lot of money in. I had no clue how my things would sell.
By the fourth show we did (see it here), I think the booth looked much better.  But it is still evolving. Our next show is going to be inside a large tent. So far, all of the shows that we have participated in were outdoor shows, in our own individual tent.  This fall we will be going to a new (to us) show, that is outdoors, but we will be under a large tent with other vendors.

We are reworking our booth some to fit in the space and changing up some of our display furniture. We are going with white and turquoise on the furniture displays, which matches the table cloths and curtains.  The tall cabinet was just a stained wood cabinet when my husband found it on Craigslist.  He painted it white and added the blue door knob.  It is perfect for my little bowls and houses to display, both in my art festival booth and in my art studio. It is doing double duty!

Thanks to my Assistant, new sign is turquoise with the black chalkboard. This is an old classroom/child's chalkboard easel that we found at a vintage store in Fayetteville. It was also just plain wood before my Assistant (hubby) took it apart and repainted it to match my color scheme.  I wanted one side of it to be a magnetic white board, but we haven't found a magnetic white board to fit. We painted it with a magnetic paint, but that did not work. (Save your money, don't use the magnetic paint!)  So, for now, it is going to be a chalkboard on both sides. I will draw or paint my sign on it for the show.

We are still trying to figure out a new way to hang our backdrop (curtains).  My trusty assistant (my hubby) has been working hard getting these new pieces ready for the show. I think when we get it all together, it will look good and hopefully be a good showcase to display all of my art...both clay and paintings.

More updates to come!


Monday, July 28, 2014

Monday Monday...A day in the Studio

Monday is not so bad any more, now that I work from home. I enjoy going to work. I must, because lately I have been working pretty much 7 days a week. I may not work 8 to 5, but I do work every day for at least 8 hours, and I enjoy it. Some days are longer, some days are shorter. Some of that work is on the computer, some of it in the studio. Of course, being a stay at home Artist, the money is not as good as teaching, but I do save on gas, clothes, and stress.  And most days my work 'uniform' is pretty much a t-shirt and jeans or my comfy knit pants.  Most days are pretty relaxed, which is the way I like to work. I do have a tendency to be easily distracted, which can be a problem when you have a lot going on. I am trying to work on that!
Mondays are for planning my work for the week and looking over the results of last weeks work.

1. Did I get my goals for last week accomplished? What am I wasting time doing? What is working and what is not working. I'm constantly trying to re-evaluate what I should be doing with my art.

2. What do I need to do this week? What needs to be worked on first?  I set priorities for jobs that need to be done before moving on to the next order.  I also have several projects going on at the same time. I can work on one project while another is drying, etc.

3. List some new marketing ideas to implement. I'm always trying to find new ways to get my work out in the public.  I can't sell my work to the same people, over and over. So I have to look into the future and keep up with the latest.

4. Research new marketing ideas. New technology means new opportunities to try.  I've been on Instagram for a couple of years now, but really haven't used it for marketing much. I've been trying to use it more regularly by posting picture of my work in progress, in the studio.  Now I need to figure out how to get those pictures seen by more people. Getting followers, for me, seems a little bit too pushy, but I do need to learn to sell myself better.

If you are on Instagram, you can follow me here:
Beth Macre on Instagram 

If you are on Pinterest, you can follow me here: 
Beth Macre on Pinterest

If you want to follow on Facebook, my Art page is here:
Beth Macre on Facebook

And of course, I am on Etsy. You can see that here:
Beth Macre on Etsy 

How is that for promoting myself? Well, it really is hard for me to put myself out there like this. In real life, I am not an extrovert.  I wouldn't call myself 'SHY'...anymore, (I'll leave that explanation for another day), but I am not outgoing. But I do enjoy interacting with people, especially other artists, craftsmen, and bloggers.

5. Write, or plan, a blog post. I have been trying to be more active on my blog by posting more often. I tend to go in spurts. When I am in the middle of a bigger project, I hate to take too much time away from it. But I know it is important to post regularly. So I am working on that too. (My list of improvements!) I am also trying to make my posts more informative, rather than be just about myself and my art. Maybe it will be easier, since I really do not like to talk about myself anyway! My goal is to blog 2 to 3 times a week. It may take me awhile to get into that habit, but it is a goal.

6. Work on creating for at least 3-4 hours, hopefully more.  After I spend half my day, going through my list (above), then I try to work on one of my projects, sometimes more, for at least 3 or 4 hours. Sometimes more.

So, I will end it with that and a picture of a small colored pencil drawing that I created this weekend. The little bird drawing above, is a a small colored pencil piece that will be traded with another artist.  I really hate to let go of this one because I love the colors so much! I may just have to do another one for myself...when I have time.

Until next time...


Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Bloom Where You're Planted

Getting ready for the Art Fair in October is keeping me very busy. I want to have both clay items and acrylic paintings to sell. I also have custom work to complete, so between all of those things, I am happily staying busy! October will be here too quickly.

This painting is an example of some of the work that I will be taking to the Art Fair, unless it sells before then! This painting idea came easy to me. After painting it, it seemed to need some words and "Bloom Where You're Planted" just seemed to fit.  After moving recently, it also hit home for me. Moving to another town is a big adjustment! So I must make sure that I put down some roots and bloom! 



Sunday, July 13, 2014

The Hard Truths about Being an Artist

First I want to say that I love doing what I'm doing! But I also want people, and future artists, to understand what the reality of being an Artist is. What we go through while pursuing our dream. Some of this applies to me and some of it applies to other artists on their own journey.  But most of this, is my own opinion. If you are an artist and would like to add to my list, please feel free to leave a message! I love to hear from you!

Things to think about when thinking about buying handmade original art/craft.

10 Truths about being an artist:  
    (20 would probably be more truthful)
1. Artists create art because it's their means of expression, but often it is their livelihood.
   1b. If an artist works at home, it is still a job.
2. It takes a lifetime of experimenting and exploring. We never stop learning and changing.
3. Many artist undersell themselves just to get a sale.
4. Artists have bills to pay...hence the reason for #3.
   4b. ...waiting for a sale to get regular paycheck.
5. Creating artwork involves purchasing supplies.
   5b. Selling artwork involves even more expenses.
6. Many artists work late nights (after their day jobs to pay the bills and buy supplies).
   6b. Most artwork takes many hours to is not just slapping some paint on a canvas.
7. 99% (my guest-imate) of artists are not independently wealthy.
8. Artists must pay taxes, license fees, etc. for doing business.
9. Artists do not have factories in China or India to churn out thousands of reproductions...well some do and you can buy their art at discount stores, usually cheaply made...not original.
10. Custom artwork should be paid what it is worth...the artist's time, expense, and expertise.
     10b. Would you bargain with your plumber, electrician, carpenter? Don't ask for a life-size mural on a mini budget!

Joys of being an artist:
1. Creating unique, one of kind art that people enjoy!
2. Working when inspiration hits (if you are lucky not to have to work another job...or two)!
3. The enjoyment of experimenting and exploring!
4. Buying new art supplies! (it really feels like Christmas to get new supplies!)
5. Freedom of expression through art!
6. Having artsy fartsy friends that understand you!
7. Making a sale!
8. Getting paid for that sale!
9. Making enough to pay your expenses and bills!
10. Being your own boss!

If you can relate, then you must be an artist, craftsmen, or other creative individual trying to make your dreams come true.  My advice to you is to keep going! It may take time. I taught high school art for 29 years before I could even dream about quitting my day job! But I still need to work and I enjoy working. I work 7 days a week, sometimes 8-12 hours, but I can take breaks to play with my Sophie or run to the art supply store, if I need to!

If you are still reading...
...please think about buying from an artist this year. Go to galleries and art festivals and find ones that you like and enjoy. They make great gifts too!

Thank you to those of you who already support handmade craftsmen/craftswomen!!!


Friday, July 11, 2014

William S. Paley Collection at Crystal Bridges

In a post from a few days ago (found here), I talked about my visit to Crystal Bridges. I took some photos of the amazing grounds and architecture. I love taking photos there because they look different each time I go. Different light, different seasons, and different art displays.

In this post, I would like to show some photos of the some art that was on display in a special exhibition(the show ended July , the William S. Paley Collection.  Some of my favorite works shown in this show. I took several, but I seem to have been drawn to the Picasso paintings and the other cubism style paintings. Many people do not understand cubism. I used to be one of those, until I taught my high school students about cubism and made several cubist style examples. I think it is more about the design and the composition, which is a challenge.  Creating cubism art is not a simple as it looks, which makes these paintings by Picasso so interesting to me.  Although my art is not so abstract, I do like to incorporate some cubist elements into some of my art.

I look forward to sharing more, in the future, about more trips to Crystal Bridges.

Here is a link to my trip when the Norman Rockwell exhibit was there. Although no photos of the traveling exhibit was allowed, I did get some photos of some of the permanent exhibit.


Sunday, July 6, 2014

Trip to Crystal Bridges

Now that I am in Northwest Arkansas, I am within a 20 minute drive of the new Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville, Arkansas. Before moving here, I had visited the museum twice before.  But since moving here 3 months ago, I had not been there. Thursday I finally took the afternoon to go for a visit.  I met up with some hometown classmates to have lunch there, so that was the perfect time to take in the current exhibit.

I love the scenery around the museum as much as I enjoy seeing the exhibits. Here are a few of the scenes from my walk around the museum.

From the Silver Tree outside the museum to the gold heart hanging over the restaurant in the museum.

I did take some photos of the art on exhibit, but I will leave that for another post. It was a beautiful day for a stroll through the exhibit and the grounds.

For more information on this destination, click on here:
Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art

Edit: For more photos of the actual exhibit click here:
William S. Paley Collection at Crystal Bridges

Monday, June 30, 2014

Writing and Art

I consider myself more of a visual artist rather than a writer, but I do enjoy writing and photography.

I've always tried to keep a diary or journal, although sporadic at times. When I was very young, I had a diary, once. It was the 'thing' to do back then. I have no idea what I wrote in there, as it is long gone. I am quite sure that it was so important and secret that I had to hide the key, so no one would try to sneak in and read my important memoirs!  Makes me laugh now. But I do wish I had that old diary.

When my kids were young, I wrote in notebooks about their milestones, accomplishments, and even my frustrations with being a mother. I also have calendars where I kept notes about important dates and events.  I have managed to keep those because I'm sure that one day someone I, will want to read them again! They help me to remember things that I have forgotten about. That is my reasoning, anyway.

Later I began to keep a journal about my art. Then I discovered blogs..on the internet.  I was amazed that there were so many people out there that were willing to share their thoughts, feelings, and even their the world! I'm not comfortable writing about my secrets, but the idea of writing about my art on the internet was something I had to try!  I could post photos and write about my art! At first I was not even going to make it public. Only I could read it. But I decided I would publish it because I was sure that no one would read it, so I was safe. That was back in 2007!   Some people did actually find my blog and read it! Some people actually posted comments along the way too. I've enjoyed meeting other artists and other bloggers along the way.  I just missed my 7 year anniversary of the beginning of my blog. I hope to continue for many more.
Some of my old journals

My first blog post:  
May 2007 : 
Starting a new Path

A lot has changed in my life since then. I really do enjoy going back and reading my old posts and seeing how far I have come. If someone else happens to come across my blog and enjoys reading a post or two, then that makes me happy. I am not a great writer. I am just an artist who wants to write. I want to share my thoughts and art with anyone who is interested. If you are still reading this...thank you for your time. I appreciate it!

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