We’ve had unusually mild weather here and that’s been great! I got the green Christmas I asked Santa for and yet I’ve been kind of Frozen lately.
I finally saw it – a student let me borrow the video and I can completely understand its broad appeal. Boys and girls seem to like the message equally. I’m thinking just about everyone can in some way identify with Elsa.
We all have something that makes us feel both powerful and powerless depending on the way we handle outside influences. The song Let it Go is about the freedom of being okay with whatever that thing is. Elsa runs away and when she’s alone, she creates an amazing environment and in that moment, she feels extremely happy in isolation because no one is there to criticize her or make her feel like she is wrong, and she’s just not afraid anymore. She can be exactly who she is, good, bad, ugly or what have you, and be okay with it. It is such an empowering moment that transcends the boundaries of a cartoon character’s angst and becomes a theme song for everyone who has ever felt alone in this world.
I tend to feel happiest when I don’t let the outside world influence my decisions, but let’s face it – that is very difficult. 1997 was probably my most productive year as an artist or maybe I just feel that way because it was the year Jasper was born, the year I was finally solvent enough to be on my own again and the year I created a series of paintings that I called Messages From the Other Voice, in which I incorporated poetry infused with positive messages.
I have the above painting in my bedroom. The sentiment is still incredibly relevant to my life. It is a message for me to stay on the path I’m on and not give up on any dreams. Almost like another me telling me not to worry, which is something I pretty much need to remind myself when I have one of those weird days when nothing seems to be going my way.
I call those days comedy gold, of course, because I assure you, I always have time to laugh at all the stupid things I say and do. Maybe not right away, but eventually.
I’m not sure what to do next in regards to this art career, to tell you the truth. I guess just keep doing what I’m doing. I have a goal of having 3,000 Twitter followers by New Years Day. I have almost 2,800 now so that is not outside the realm of possibility. I know I need to upload more artwork to my Shopify site. Why I haven’t done that yet is to do with my inability to move forward.
The painting above is about a specific person, really. Someone I had a hard time letting go of and so, he was a hindrance, which is the title of the painting. It stopped me from moving forward and yet, whenever I look at this painting I’m reminded that it is okay to feel, whether it be love or loss…or love lost. I see my old self telling me she won’t let me down and that gives me the courage to just be that fearless person that I should be.
I have a lot in common with Frozen’s Elsa so that shouldn’t be a problem. At it’s core, the movie is a story about the love between sisters. Within a day of uploading those paintings to rebubble.com, my sister Sophie purchased a cell phone case decorated with one of my images. She is always right there with me. My first and best customer, and greatest supporter.
Since my recent website update, I have been experimenting with different themes. Lots of redecorating. I’m sure I’ll change it and change it back a few more times before the year ends! It’s fun. I ❤ wordpress.com! What do you think of the place?
I had a snow day today, which consisted mainly of snow-blowing the driveway (twice so far – I think I’ll go out there again in a couple hours). I also cleaned the house. I had every intention of doing more art career stuff but got sidetracked by a couple hours of pilates and sit-ups, as well as flopping around reading fashion magazines and perusing Facebook then finally uploading the last pictures of my students’ artwork for Scholastics.
The regional deadline for the Scholastic Art Awards is right around the beginning of Christmas vacation. Artwork is judged via JPEGs the first week of January. I’m entering ten pieces this year.
For me, winning those awards as a student was more or less the springboard into this art journey. I had been getting only packets for engineering colleges in the mail during my junior year in high school because I was in accelerated math classes. All of my classmates are now CEOs of major companies or prestigious doctors, but no matter. I still can’t tell you what an engineer does, lol. I won a blue ribbon for my senior portfolio and three awards for my three individual entries – two more blue ribbons and a gold key. And that sealed the deal for me. I thought it meant something, like a sign that art was the right direction for me.
I shouldn’t say it like that. I didn’t pick art on a whim or because of some dumb magical thinking scenario. I knew it was the right thing for me. I think we’ve had this conversation before.
My students’ art is way better than this stuff but they don’t always win. Competition these days has been taken to an otherworldly level and it will always be disappointing to at least one someone who is uber-talented. There’s no way around that. But the dreams are very much alive and the excitement is building!
When I was in college, my fashion design professor gave this bit of advice. Always start a conversation, whether it is in a cover letter, job interview or any networking opportunity, with the following statement:
My life is consumed with fashion.
The truth is that I am consumed with a lot of things – consumed, obsessed, whatever you what to call it – but what happens is I get an idea in my head and get all gung-ho/coo-coo-munga on it. The fashionista in me got into a lot of financial trouble this way, which happened the moment I found a kindred spirit in Trina Turk whose size 2s fit me to perfection.
With teaching, I would get an idea for an extra-curricular project and run with it to the point of extremes where it would usurp my personal life. There were many years where I would work 12-hour plus days in order to prep extra lessons that I technically did not need to do. As of recently, I’ve learned to figure out a better method of time management. Of course, that took me twenty years of trial and error, but now everything seems so manageable that I have time to pursue something else.
Which leads me to this blog – website and my art career.
I’m still working out details of selling art on-line, but yes, it is starting to happen. Shopify will wait a bit longer, as I pursue my friend Sheri D’Elia’s (ArtistShera.com) route – redbubble.
www.redbubble.com is a site that sells merchandise with artwork on it. I spent the better part of last night uploading some watercolor paintings and I’m just so excited by this endeavor. Even if I don’t sell a thing, I feel enormously successful, because I took the leap, finally, and put myself out there.
The paintings look incredible on those cell phone cover things. Makes me want to go out and get a cell phone. Yes, that’s right. I am so last century when it comes to personal technology that I seriously am in danger of becoming an anachronism. I’m planning to get an I-phone soon, mainly to extend my social media take-over (lol) to include Instagram, where I have read many artists have launched their careers into the stratosphere of financial success.
I’m working on having 2,000 twitter followers by midnight. I’m at 1,959 right now and that seems an achievement in itself since I started tweeting only about six weeks ago, something like that. People have been so generous with the re-tweeting and so on. I feel incredibly lucky/blessed/grateful – whatever you want to call it, that this stuff is all happening now. I almost feel like I wasn’t ready before, if that makes any sense.
I can’t stop drinking coffee nor do I want to. I like Green Mountain Dark Magic Keurig cups (w/two Sweet and Lows). I try to get two cups out of one but the second cup is blech in comparison to the first and so, as of recently, I have been going through a lot. I don’t know why the sudden obsession. I go through phases like this where I like something so much that it becomes the be all and end all of my world.
If you want to buy me something for Christmas, I’ll take one of those giant 48-packs of the stuff that you can get at Bed, Bath & Beyond. We don’t exchange expensive gifts at Christmas anymore. It’s silly when we can buy stuff for ourselves. I bought two gifts for myself already. The first is the Dan Brown novel Inferno – the illustrated copy. I really wanted it, wanted to read it then give it an illustrious place of honor alongside the other two of his picture books sitting on top of my grandfather’s cedar armoire in my dining room.
The second gift? I upgraded this website to business grade status, which means a new facade and the ability to sell artwork from here and/or from an off-site venue like Shopify, if only I could figure out how to do that. (If you have any tips to share, by all means help a girl out). I believe it will take more money to operate, as money seems to be the only way to make money these days.
I will then try to curb my spending and start saving (easier said than done). Someday I’m going to go to Paris – climb to the top of the Eiffel tower (or take an elevator depending on how old I am when I get there), stare at the Parisian city-scape and think, been there, done that. No, I’m sure it will be phenomenal enough to elicit a better response than that.
I have 194 pins of the Eiffel Tower on a board on Pinterest.com.
We had our first bout with cold weather here in Syracuse, NY, enough to constitute school delays for some – minor flurries and icy conditions. We usually win the trophy for the most inches of snowfall in New York State, but I will be more than happy to concede to Buffalo this year because the alternative of catching up to them is something I don’t even want to fathom. Nothing here really even stuck and I’m hearing a weather forecast that I’m liking for Monday – sixties! So it was like a Braxton-Hicks.
This false holiday weather tricked me into a desire to decorate my home for the holidays.
Yes, you heard. I put my Christmas tree up. In my defense, I will probably trim the tree at my parents’ house again this year and it’s kind of like putting the oxygen mask on yourself first, so that you can calm down and breathe your way through the chaos of it all. Or in this case – me. So I can breathe.
My house always looks messier at first until I decide where to put everything. I rearranged furniture then put it back and so it pretty much ended up looking like it did last year with minor adjustments. This took all day for some reason, a lot longer than I remember taking in previous years, but maybe that’s because it is like a pregnancy. Labor intensive then you (not me – I’m just guessing the analogy fits) tend to forget all the annoying parts and all that’s left is an aesthetically beautiful thing.
I love the way the house looks with this extra bit of decor. I am partial to reds and greens in here anyhow so it all looks as harmonious as a Christmas song (I played the Sarah McLachlan Wintersong CD about a dozen times during the process – I ❤ her voice). The trick now will be to try to prevent the kit-cats from climbing it.
The above picture was taken in 2011, their first year with me. They were launching themselves off my great-grandmother’s chair and hurling into the tree despite my protests.
For about fifteen years or so (give or take), I’ve donated a Christmas tree to the Everson Museum of Art for their annual Festival of Trees event. It’s a fundraiser for the museum. They used to give the donors free tickets to the patron party and so that was the best part. Create an artistic tree that pretty much cost well over $200 to put together and enjoy the glamour of sipping champagne and eating little roast beef sandwiches and slices of sage-infused cheddar while traipsing through the galleries until you found your creation then hovering around it waiting to eavesdrop on someone saying something complimentary, allowing you the permission to think they like me, they really like me!
Of course, the point of the thing is that someone buys your tree. Many corporations simply do it for the publicity – here’s a tree from blah, blah and now they will buy it back insuring the Everson actually makes money instead of the hoping way that I used. I’m not sure how many of my trees were actually purchased and enjoyed, and how many ended up in the museum’s archives collecting dust (or thrown away?).
They don’t give artists the golden ticket anymore. They offer one for 1/2 off the hundred dollar fee, which is still too expensive for me. This year the Everson Museum Festival of Trees runs from December 5th- December 14th, 2014.
I’ve done many trees with my students throughout my teaching career as well, the most recent was last year when we created a card tree based on George Rodrigue’s Blue Dog paintings. A few of my students and I had interacted with his wife Wendy on his Facebook like page after I had posted student artwork on his website based on his beloved blue dogs. He died last year, coincidentally, on the final day of the festival. I still don’t know if that tree sold or not and to whom. I hope it found a good home.