Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Colour Me Happy! - 3Muses Challenge

I thought it would be ideal to combine one of  my New Year project goals (a series of Louisiana based Major Arcana Tarot cards) with the Colour Me Happy!  theme from the Three Muses!

So this is my brilliantly colored Fool with some uniquely inspired Louisiana details!

Friday, December 27, 2013

Marketing 101

Last week, I attended a marketing seminar offered by my local arts council.  The seminar was taught by a successful, large scale, abstract painter and artist.  It gave me a lot to think about and, after some mulling over, I came away with a sort of battle plan.

Self-promotion is hard.  We are raised to be modest and self-effacing about our accomplishments, but success demands that we put ourselves forward.  Just sitting on the sidelines and waiting to be noticed could make for a very long wait.

I know that my work sells.  My work has done well enough to win awards.  Intellectually, I know that there is every reason to think that a market for my work exists and that I can be successful.  (even if I fear in the pit of my stomach that I am a pretentious fraud, but I'm going to carry on as if that nagging voice of self doubt doesn't exist.)

The artist who led the seminar deals with large scale abstracts which she sells by the inch.  A lot of what works for her clearly isn't going to work for me.  A lot of her advice left me uncertain, but I think a lot of it has a lot of value.

The most important thing is to appear professional.  Even if you are just starting out and have little success, be professional.

Have a website.

The website isn't about driving traffic or making money by itself.  It's about having that professional space available to anyone that wants to check you out.

(I actually did this!  I spent years not doing it because I was intimidated by my lack of knowledge, but in about 48 hours, I managed to set up my own website!)

I used Wix, but I know that there are a lot of simple, easy to use sites designed to help you set up your own website.

One of her basic bits of advice was to Narrow, Narrow, Narrow your focus.  I admit that I can't see that being useful to me at this time.  I  make my living primarily from my jewelry work.  I can't just toss everything aside to focus just on my digital art.  It's a thought to let float around perhaps, but I don't think I can realistically apply it to me at this time.

That said, I've always had a problem trying to organize my different areas into one whole.  I make jewelry.  I play with fabric and make primitive dolls and animals.  I work with digital art.

Last year, I set up the three areas into separate websites and blogs.  Each has its own facebook page.  Every time I applied for an art market, I wavered in how to define myself.  In struggling to set up my website, I realized I was going to have to create an umbrella and be all those things.  They are all valid forms of art and self expression.

I came up with a new name and set the site up around Fairy Surreal.  I designed new business cards and ordered a new banner for my craft booth set up.  I'm going to keep the divisions going:  Voodoo Goblin for my dolls; Calliope's Work for my jewelry; and ProjectBunnyArt for my digital art pieces, but I need to re-frame them all as divisions of Fairy Surreal.

So, now I am branded.  I am professional.  What do I do next?

Find venues, right?

I already sell at a local art market.  I have my work on display at two local galleries.   I am going to focus some energy this year on organizing my on line selling with an emphasis on my new "brand".

Tell your story.

That was another primary point of our speaker.  It makes a lot of sense, but where and how to tell your story?

I set up a tentative story on my website, but know I need to flesh it out, give it more interest and life.

I am tinkering with the idea of making up rack cards to include with all my prints that I have on display at the local galleries and in my prints.  I haven't decided if it's a good idea yet or not.

Still, I have a lot of plans and ideas in motion.  I love moving into a new year with new energy.  I wonder where 2014 will bring us?

The Year Rolls around again

These are the last two in my Four Seasons series.

It's less than a week until the new year begins and my studio space and my online spaces are still in a state of disarray.

I would love to start the new year with my space organized and my plans and ideas ready.

What do you have planned for the new year?

Monday, December 23, 2013

Winter and then Spring

I have been absent from this art blog and from art work for the past several weeks due to the increased work demands of the holiday season, BUT those are behind me now.

Things have quieted down and I was happy to eke out a little time last night to work on some new pieces.  I hope to start up again with the wonderful art blog challenges in the very near future.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Jarred Octopi - 3Muse Jar Challenge

I don't know what these two sinister octopi are up to, but it can't be good.

Don't ask me how we arrived here as I am not quite certain myself.

I started off with an image of a Victorian girl in a yellow floral field with a wide blue sky.  My intention was to give her a nice balloon, maybe a poodle head or an elephant head.  Harmless, easy fun.

After I cleaned up the black and white image and then painted in some pretty colors, I realized she wasn't right for my balloon girl so I saved the psd file and found another Victorian girl to walk my surreal balloons.

Three Muses posted a jar challenge last week so I opened up my older saved image to play with.  Sometimes I think we have a goal in mind and other times the very vaguest of ideas.

To begin with, I put her into a jar, thinking maybe Alice in Wonderland?  Maybe I should add a rabbit?  Then I thought that she could be one of many jars on a shelf....  I decided that instead she would going somewhere so I added a cart.  Where to go next?

I wasn't sure so I saved again and left the project for another day.

While scrolling through the huge piles of images I have on my pc, I noticed a particular vintage image of an octopus. ( If you follow me at all, you might notice that I seem to have a weakness for octopi.  There is just something so intriguingly alien about them).  I noticed that this particular octopus would be perfect for the top of the jar.

Now, I had a little girl in a jar, on a cart, with an octopus on top in the middle of a yellow floral field.  Clearly, the cart wasn't going anywhere and looked out of place in a floral meadow.

I changed out the ground to a more vintage cobblestone.  I added some columns to give it a sense of an urban landscape and decided that it needed a wall.  Finally, I realized that the octopus needed a sea to escape too and that the cart needed to be pulled by something so....

Here we are.

I really think that they are friendly octopi.  Really!  They are probably just bringing a misplaced child home to her family....

Sunday, October 13, 2013

I LOVE Halloween - TAW Challenge

Our challenge this week from Take a Word blogspot was Halloween.

I started with a photo that I had taken of Lafayette Cemetery in New Orleans.

I made up this piece but the more I looked at it, the more it felt like two separate pieces.

It seemed as if the two halves don't really belong together or that 
the Victorian bat girl is too far from the Halloween tomb.  
She seems so beautifully framed in the middle of the 
walkway so I hated to try to scoot her closer.

So I decided to break the first artwork into two pieces.

I left the bat girl intact in her walkway, ready to fly up and create Halloween havoc.

I added some elements to my Halloween tomb.

I went back and forth with my tomb poem, finally deciding on a quote from 
Samuel Coleridge's Kubla Khan.  It seemed suitably romantic and eerie.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Out Foxed

Catherine the Not so Bad - Digitalmania Banksy challenge

Our challenge this week at Digitalmania was Banksy.

I'm a little ambivalent on the subject of graffiti.  On the one hand I dislike 
the tagging sort that is little more than vandalism.

Yet, when you see a clever witty piece by someone like Banksy, 
I can't help but admire the artistry of it.

My take on the Banksy challenge took me back to my love of history.  
Even in medieval times, surely, there were young vandals making trouble 
and tagging the ever so majestic castle walls...

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Paris Stroll - 3Muse Umbrella Challenge

Maybe my Victorian Kitty Girl isn't actually in Paris.

Maybe she is actually sashaying down the street in a photo I took in New Orleans.

Certainly, it all seems to have a Parisian feel.

The challenge this week at Three Muses was a Rain / Umbrella challenge.

My Victorian Kitty Girl might actually be carrying a parasol to keep the sun from bronzing her perfect lily white complexion, but in New Orleans, an afternoon storm is just a few hours or minutes away!

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Blue Thylacine - TAW Australia Challenge

The challenge this week from Take a Word was Australia.

My first thought was of some of the amazing wildlife found only in Australia.

I've always thought how unfortunate that the intriguing Thylacine is gone from this world.

But perhaps they can still be found in Fairyland?

My sources are public domain images from Wikimedia Commons, all altered to suit my needs.  ;)

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

The Big Bad meets the Three - 3Muses Challenge

I admit that I am a little torn here.

On the one hand, I would really hate for anything
to happen to such adorable little girls.

On the other hand, it is three versus one.

I think our Big Bad might be
a little over-matched on this one.

(Also, wolves are endangered!)
Mr Lumberjack and his axe are NOT ok!

The Three Muses challenge this week was all about the power of Three.

As soon as I saw these little Victorian girls, I knew I had found my three.
The wolf is courtesy of the US Parks and Wildlife and the pretty treescape is a public domain image from Wikimedia Commons.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Something Blue - TAW challenge

Somewhere over the rainbow,
something blue and beautiful.....

I suppose it was inevitable that I went there some time or another....

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Gentleman Hellephant - New Digitalmania Challenge

Sometimes, it's the pieces that look the simplest that take the longest.

My Gentleman Hellephant took me an ungodly number of hours 
to clean up and make beautiful and ready for flight.

Yes, I know, he has an elephant head with only one ear.  
Alas, Mr Hellephant misplaced his ear and has yet to find it.  
When he does, I will happily re-attach it for him!

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Showbiz - Take a Word Challenge

This weeks challenge over at Take a Word was Showbiz.

I've always had a weakness for the original Vamp, Theda Bara.

Checking my posting list, I can't believe that it's been fifteen days since I responded to a challenged or posted.  My schedule has been unusually packed but I missed this so much.

I'm glad to have had time to fit a piece in!
Creativity is always a joy.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Week in Review 8-25-2013

Last Week was spent preparing for three days of vending at Mechacon.

We left early on Friday morning so I could stop by the Coq Rouge Gallery in New Orleans with a fresh batch of Voodoo Goblins.  

About 11 am, we made it to the Hilton and checked in.  The view from the room was the best we've had in our three years of attending and vending at Mechacon.

By one, I had my table set up and ready for the convention goers.  My set up is very simple as I knew I would have to break it down and set it up three times over the next three days.

I know I definitely need a backdrop or other point of vertical visual interest.  Maybe next year.  I can put up a background piece once and not worry about it for three days, anyway.

The buttons sold well so I am definitely bringing them again next year.  The mirrors seemed to only confuse passersby and they didn't sell at all so I don't think they will be coming back.  :(

My daughter had a table next to mine and sold well on ears and bags!  This was her first solo venture into vending so I think she was pleased with her success.

This is my daughter, looking fab in her formal wear and cosplay.

As always, Mechacon was a lot of fun.  The attendees put so much work and passion into their cosplay that it is a delight to see them having fun and enjoying the fruits of their labors.

By Sunday afternoon, I was exhausted and happy to be packing up and on my way home.

Still, I hope to go back next year.  I love you, Mechacon!

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Week in Review 8-18-2013

Getting ready for a convention.

This is the only weekend selling event I have scheduled this year.

I was fine about it all year until about the past two weeks.  
I have stuff made, but, somehow, panic starts to gather in the back of my mind.
I have one six foot long table to fill and I could easily fill two or three standard size booths but 
I always feel the need to over prepare.

It's a compulsion that I can't seem to control.

The art association had their montly art market this past Saturday but my children have been wanting to go for Science Saturday at Ligo.  With the holiday months looming, I realized that this would be our best last chance.  Some weather threatened a bit in the Gulf so we opted for Science and education.

I feel a little guilty about it, but I never was much good at rebelling.

I did attend our art association meeting on Sunday.  We had a speaker on 
sales techniques which left me with some things to mull over. 
 I know that selling myself is one of my weak point.
I fear that if I push past my natural reticence, I will come across as falsely friendly 
and I personally dislike pushy salespeople so I certainly don't want to become one.  

Our art association has a lot of activities planned over the next few months.  
We'll be having an official opening of the art gallery.
They sponsor a Scarecrow competition as well as organizing the children's activities at a fall festival.
I signed up to help with the fall festival (1000s of children, what was I thinking?)

So, I have been busy making lots and lots of things.  I'm sure I'm making
 more than I need but I have a few events coming up after the convention.

I've made about two hundred pin back buttons as well as
about twenty hand mirrors (in the velvet bags).

 I found the perfect use for the vintage suitcase I bought
at a thrift store a few months ago!

I plan at hanging some pieces at Stabbed in the Art, the first Friday of September
and my application was approved for selling at the Freret Street Market
but I don't know if I will be selling in September or not.
They notify all the lucky vendors the Sunday before 
so I must wait patiently.

Week in Review 8-11-2013

No, your blogger notifications are not off.  I am way behind in updating my blog.

My excuse is that I have been juggling a lot of balls of late and I dropped the blog ball.

So, here I am, trying to play catch up.

On the 7th of August, I took some of my work over to the Depot Gallery in Gonzalez, LA 
on Hwy 30 and hung up my pieces on my designated wall.

We're supposed to be getting bins for prints but they aren't ready yet 
so the bottom of my space looks a little empty.

I put my pieces up and then took them down about twenty times.

It is surprisingly hard to space stuff with your eyeballs and stay within your lines.

I also waited too long to start organizing everything for school.

I homeschool my seven year old and my nine year old son so I started going 
through the books that I already owned and figuring out what I needed.

I order most of my curriculum via Amazon so a lot of it I received 
in two days (prime shipping is the best thing ever!)   
I need our workbooks to be new, but everything else I will generally 
buy a good used copy (it saves a lot of money!)
Unfortunately, most of the used books need to be mailed 
via media mail so it adds a few weeks to the delivery time.

So, lesson here is that procrastination means that your children will only 
have their subjects when you start school in the fall....