Thursday, January 15, 2015

Keeping the Wind In My Sails

Confidence is...
the wind 
in my sails. 

is silent...
are Loud.

I love being an artist...
but, being an artist requires having confidence and having thick skin. Over the years, I have learned to 'convince' myself that, when it comes to my art, I have confidence. But I have to be honest, it is a struggle sometimes. Especially when someone knocks the wind out of my sails a bit.

I think most artists, whether they want to admit it or not, can be a little insecure about their creations. Putting your art OUT THERE for others to see, can be a boost to your confidence, OR it can be a blow to your confidence. It can be as simple as getting accepted into an art show, getting a huge thank you from a happy customer, or the insecurity can come from news that you did NOT get into a show that you wanted to be in. Or it can be a off-handed remark from a family member, friend, or stranger, that says, 'I can do that' or 'why do you do that' or 'why didn't you do it the other way?

I received both a huge thank you from a customer this week, and from another customer, a negative response to a custom piece. And this blow to my confidence just happened to come on my birthday this week. I was having a good day, up until that email.  Being a people pleaser, it crushed me to know that my vision, was not my customers vision.  

Custom orders can be tricky. You never know if you have the same vision as what your customer wants. That is why so many artists do not do custom work. It is difficult work. More difficult than just creating your own vision of what you love and then selling it.  It may be too small, too big, the wrong color, or not the style they wanted.

So, as I pull myself back up and dust my confidence off, I reminded myself that I cannot please 100% of the people 100% of the time.
I will continue to create what I love and hope that people who love my work will find me and help to keep the wind in my sails.


Thursday, January 1, 2015

Looking Back at 2014 and Forward to 2015

2014 ~ Simplify
Last year I chose the word 'Simplify' as my word of the year. That was before we put our house up for sale and sold it within 5 weeks and moved within 2 months. By the middle of March, we had moved across the state.  I thought my word 'Simplify' was going out the door with many of the things that we let go to downsize. However, because of that downsize, we did start fresh with fewer 'things'. But it was definitely not Simple! There were days I wasn't sure we could do it.

Nine months later, I can say for sure, it was the right thing to do. Things have settled down and we, my husband and I, are still working to simplify our life. He has found a job that he loves and a new hobby that he enjoys.  I continue to work in my studio, at home, on my own schedule...
...Keeping It Simple.

2015 ~ Focus
I have been trying to decide what my word for 2015 would be.  I want to grow my business.  That means I need to focus on what will help me do that. In my post from last week, I wrote about focusing on Texture in my Artwork. That is my focus for my artwork. But for myself, I need to remind myself to Focus on my goals.

5 Things I Need to Focus on in 2015:

1.  Create Art that is fulfilling to my creative spirit.

2.  Find 2-3 More Venues to Sell My Art

3.  Improve Social Media Promotion

4.  Develop Relationships and Roots in our new Community

5.  Improve Business and Organizational Skills

Happy New Year! 
To 2015!


Saturday, December 27, 2014

New Focus on Texture

All about the Texture in 2015

I've been working with texture in my art for several years now. But next year in 2015, I plan to focus even more on texture in all of my art.

Texture in Clay
For example, I have been creating bowls and dishes with impressed textures. I've done this before, but in the past, I've been more focused on glazing designs onto smooth bowls and dishes. Here are some textured bowls that I created before Thanksgiving. All of these have already sold, so I think they were well received.  My goal is to get a larger kiln this year, so I can expand and create more of the larger pieces.

Texture in Mixed Media Painting
I love working with textures in paint. Using modeling paste helps with this when working with acrylic paint.

Here is a pair of paintings, that I created textures with modeling paste, a couple of years ago. I also used lots of layers of color to add to the depth. These paintings are hanging in our bedroom.

And a close up of the painting on the left.

Re-use and Re-purpose with Paint and collage.

This is an old book that was being given away at a school library. I used paint, texture, and collage all throughout the book to create a journal. It was a fun experiment.

I used torn paper, crinkled tissue paper, and acrylic paints.  I will be posting more about this book/journal, in a post in 2015.

 We'll see where this new focus takes me!


Sunday, November 30, 2014

Holiday Orders and Holiday Markets

I can't believe it's almost December already. Since War Eagle Fair was over, I have been busy filling orders and preparing for TWO holiday markets that I am going to be participating in this year. These are all new opportunities for me, since moving to Northwest Arkansas.

The first event is next weekend!
Community Creative Center
Holiday Bazaar

December 6th at the Community Creative Center in downtown Fayetteville.  It is the same day as The Little Craft Fair at the Fayetteville Town Center, I think both will be great events. I hope that both Holiday markets will be on your shopping schedule!  Hope to see you there!

In my next post, I will share where I will be selling December 17th - 21st! Watch this blog!  I'll give you a hint...Bentonville! 
**Edit: The Bentonville Market was held from December 10th - December 19th. Blog post to come! 

I just thought I would share a few photos of the things that I have been working on.

I have made a lot of Believe Trees! Here are a few.

And I've been making some textured bowls. 

And a few plates: 

Hope you had a good Thanksgiving! 

Sunday, November 2, 2014

New Art Festival Booth Display Part II

The evolution of my booth...
I'm pretty happy with how it turned out this year. I plan to keep it set up pretty much like this next year. I may add a box to display more ornaments, but other than that, it worked pretty well. We received many compliments on it at War Eagle. It has changed quite a bit since my first one in Georgia. My first Art Festival booth was pretty sad. You can see my first pitiful booth here.

Setting Up Process
Last week I wrote about surviving my first War Eagle (see that post here) and said that I would talk more about my booth set up this week.  I will share photos from the start of set up to finish. It was quite a chore to put up, but we had 2 days before the show to set it up.

Since this event was under a large tent (4 large tents actually), and our space was 8 x 13, we had to modify our set up. In outdoor shows we used an EZ-up tent and use the frame to hang things from.  But that wouldn't fit in this space, so we had to come up with something else for support of my backdrop.  My trusty Assistant, my Hubby, Asst. Sam, came up with the idea for the backdrop frame. (That's him on the ladder) He used electrical conduit to create the frame. We used that to hang the curtains for my backdrop.

Since we didn't have the EZup tent sides, I bought some white curtains to fill in and used the pink curtains that I bought last year, for the corners. I think it adds a pop of color and makes the booth stand out and easy to find! I used the turquoise curtains and table cloths last year, along with the white table skirts.

We added the white shadow box displays to the stair-step display this year.  That worked well to display my little houses in little groups to show customers examples of how they can be used.  We also added the tall white cabinet to display groups of houses, decorated plates, and larger houses.  It all came together, just as I had envisioned. Next year will be much simpler since we have all of the display worked out. I just need to concentrate on creating enough to sell over the four day show.

Thank You
Thanks to my Hubby for all of his work putting this together and sticking with me the entire show. I couldn't have done this without him!

Thanks also to my Mom for sewing the pennant flags for my bunting across the front of my booth and on the back wall. It added so much and many people commented on it also!

And thanks to my Dad for building my stair step display for my houses a few years ago. They work great!

I am so blessed to be surrounded by family that are supportive and talented. 

Click here for links to:
I Survived War Eagle ... Part I
Booth Changes 2010


Tuesday, October 28, 2014

War Eagle Fair 2014

I survived my first year selling at War Eagle Fair!  Part I

And I had a great time! I am exhausted! And I plan to do it again next year. Glutton for punishment, yes, I guess I am!  It was a lot of work getting ready for this show.  Most of the vendors have done this show for many years and they prepare all year for this show.  I started preparing in June! Yes, I already had some of my little houses made, but I knew that I needed much more inventory. So I created as much as I physically could. I do have to have some sleep.  So now that it is over, I have to plan for next year's show.

But I will do some things differently.  Since it was my first time, ever, to even go to War Eagle, I really didn't know what to expect.  I knew that the show had good crowd attendance.  But I had no idea what kinds of things sell to this type of crowd, at this type of show. I learned a lot.

What I learned:

1.  War Eagle has a dedicated crowd of customers. They return every year. They come to buy. I was pleased that so many of them decided to buy some of my creations, even though I was the newbie!

2.  A four day show requires A LOT of product to sell. If you don't have much to sell, you will not have much to offer the customers.

3.  Have a variety of items with a variety of price points for everyone.  From $4.00 magnets to $150 paintings...or higher! You never know what someone is looking for! Many of the attendees are shopping for Christmas gifts or decorations.

4.  Talk to other vendors and ask lots of questions! Many are very helpful and willing to offer tips and advice!  It is great to make new friends with similar interests too.

5.  Price to sell, but do not undersell. I would not feel good about my work if I marked it so low that I didn't make money! The reason for doing a show like this, is to make money.  Why would I work my tail off all year and not make money?  Another good reason for #3.  Have something to sell that can be priced low and make some money. $10 - $50 is a good price range for many people. Have a lot of stock in that range.

6. Have a booth that draws the customer in. Next week I will blog about my booth and how we set up.  Stay tuned.

War Eagle Mill is a beautiful place. I took many pictures of the scenery around the mill. I plan to go back soon for fall foliage photos. The leaves are looking very pretty this week. Shown in the photos is the War Eagle Mill and the one lane bridge over the river, the week of the Fair.  Isn't it beautiful? 


Saturday, September 27, 2014

My Talented Mom

Sewing is not one of my skills. Probably because my Mom holds the title for excellence in sewing in our family. Anytime I have an idea for something that needs to be sewn...pillows, dresses, shirts, wall decor, curtains...whatever I can think of, she can sew it...and paint on it, if needed.  I consider her the source for my inherited artistic/creative talent.

A few months ago, I decided I wanted a cute pennant style decoration for my Art Festival booth.  I already had some fabric that I purchased 2 years ago (so I could sew something...ha), but I decided these were perfect for my flags for the booth.  I asked my Mom if she would want to make them for me.  As she always does, she said yes. So I printed out a pattern for her and explained what I wanted. Sometimes delegating is difficult, but I knew this project was in good hands and I would be pleased.

Fast forward a month and Mom delivers these beauties. All I had to do was string them up. They are perfect and I can't wait to hang them in my art booth!

Thanks Mom!

Monday, September 22, 2014

Excited and Nervous

So much to do in such a short time! War Eagle is October 16th - 19th!  Do you have it on your calendar yet?  Be sure and come by War Eagle Fair. I will be under the big white tent...#2 to be exact. If you are there, stop by and say Hi!

I have been very busy working to get as much ready as physically possible for this show. I haven't blogged for a couple of weeks because I've been trying to stay focused on creating.  Which also means limiting my time on the biggest distraction.
So, for now, I will post a collage of a small sampling of clay items, plus the little painting that sneaked in there. I will have these items, plus a lot more at the show.  I will post more photos as more things get completed.


Sunday, September 7, 2014

Reminder to Self...Simplify

At the beginning of the year I decided that my theme or goal for this year was to simplify. Not realizing what this year would bring, that has been a little challenging for me, but I am trying.  Lately, I have been falling into that trap of trying to do too many different things, going in too many different directions.  So this is my 'Note to Self' ...


This means that I will pick and choose, more carefully, what I decide to put on my calendar. Right now, I am pulling into the home stretch of getting ready for War Eagle Fair in October! It is a 4 day show and I have never done this fair, much less a 4 day fair.  So needless to say, I am f.r.e.a.k.i.n.g. OUT!  I feel guilty when I'm not working and feel guilty when I work all the time. I am trying to keep that balanced, so I don't get burned out.  I spoke with another blogger at the conference this weekend about this very subject. We both agreed that it is so much better to create what you enjoy. Creating work for this show is just that! I am creating what I love and hope that others feel the same about my work.  I hope that this turns out well, because this show is only 30 minutes from home.  If it does go well, I hope to return next year, with an entire year to prepare for the show. Not just 4 months!

I had an awesome day at the Arkansas Women Bloggers Conference, in Rogers. I participated in the Marketplace Saturday afternoon, where I sold a few things and was interviewed by a local TV reporter, ON CAMERA! And yes, I was surprised to see that they showed part of my interview! I thought they would cut me out. Even though I hate seeing and hearing myself on camera, it is exciting, none the less! After seeing this, I see that I need a hair cut desperately! So next photo of me that you see, you may see bangs! If I don't chicken out!

Here is the link, in case you want to see the story about the Women Blogger's Conference. Click here: Ch. 5 Story about Arkansas Women's Blogger Conference

From now until after War Eagle Fair, I will probably just be posting pictures of things I am working on. Things that will be going with me to the Art Show and maybe a few little things that my husband and I are working on for his Vintage/Antiques Booth.  More about that later.

Have a great week!

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.

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