Saturday, April 26, 2008

Not My Usual Self......

Wow! Can't believe it has been so long since my last post. Where oh where does the time go. I wish I had something wonderful to share, but sadly I do not. I have been working on house the last several days---we are going to try and sell it this summer. I have so many things I want to accomplish, I have to admit to feeling a little overwhelmed. I decided I need to take my own advice and get back to those "baby steps". I have not been able to pick up a paint brush since my return. That is not a good thing and I need to get myself back on track. Tomorrow I'm off to visit my son, but come Monday morning I'm going to set some short term goals and get myself organized. I know I can't paint everyday, but I need to allow myself to paint at least 3 times a week. I say "allow myself" because I do feel a little guilty taking time to paint when the house needs so much work. On the other hand, I "need" to paint---to lose myself in my creative spirit---it is good for my soul and my heart. Can you tell I'm feeling a little "down" tonight? It happens to the best of us. Tomorrow will be a better day...........

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Part 3 Artistic Journey

As promised, here are some of my "What ifs" and my approach to answering them.

What if, I make an effort to "grow" as an artist and explore fine art? This is probably my biggest "What if" I had grown to comfortable at my current skill level. It was time to "move out" of my comfort zone, but how? I turned to the internet, time to do a little research. I knew I had an interest in pursuing wild life art and pet portraits---so that is where I started. I was so lucky to fine Greywaren Art's blogspot. She is truly inspirational and a real joy to read. Through her site I found WetCanvas. WetCanvas is an artist forum, with a multitude of information. In my short association with them, I have grown as an artist and learned many new techniques. I have been painting and putting into practice the things I have been learning. For the first time in a long time, I feel like an "artist" again. Maybe more so than I have in a long time.

What if, I actually try selling what I create in a professional manner? This is another biggie for me. I have sold my work before, but never made a direct effort to market it with an actual plan of attack! Once again, Greywaren Art to the rescue. Check out her blog on Marketing your art. I'm not going to repeat it all here, but I am following her advice as closely as possible and I am seeing results. This takes time and it is easy to get discouraged, but don't give into the temptation to quit. Keep promoting, keep producing, good things come to those who persist! This leads to my next What if.......

What if, I set goals? I have never been good at goal setting, but once again I turned to the internet and did a little research. I found that to make goals work you need to first WRITE THEM DOWN. Once that is accomplished you need to break them down into "baby steps" and create a time line to complete each one of those baby steps. I now keep a journal. I document all my "baby steps" and accomplishments. My goals are now obtainable and, I might add, changing. That's OK. I have found as I grow and change, my goals need to change. Sometimes a new idea needs to be acted on immediately and that makes a change in a time line or a goal. I found being flexible in your goal setting is important to keep you moving forward, it allows you to take steps in a new direction if needed. I can't stress enough the importance of those "baby steps". Those small steps are confidence builders and enable you to see progress and success right away. Anytime you have a goal you are having trouble achieving......break it down. You will be amazed at how easily it becomes "achievable"!

Well, that is where you find me now. Working on improving my art and taking those "baby steps" toward by goals. Writing this blog, writing in my journal, both things help to keep me focused and moving forward. As always, comments and questions are always welcome. You may post your questions in the comments section and I'll answer them here.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Part 2 Artistic Journey

From the moment I finished that oil painting, I knew I had to continue to pursue my "art" journey. I was totally hooked! I was so lucky to have the Artistry Art Shop practically in my backyard. The owners provided classes on a weekly basis and also brought in accomplished artist from outside the area. I continued to take the oil classes, but I was also being drawn into the world of acrylics. Decorative painting was very popular at the time and I decided to try my hand at painting on wood. Once again I was hooked! I took a few class from the decorative art teacher at the Artistry, but I also found a multitude of "how to" books. I love to read and I love to experiment with different techniques and styles. I would encourage anyone striving to learn or improve their painting technique to look into the world of "how to" books. To this day, I love going to the bookstore and can spend hours checking out all the great art books and magazines. A word of caution here--- You can read and look at the pretty pictures all day, but without "practice" (that dreaded "p" word) you will never improve and certainly never achieve your own "style" of painting. I try to do something "artistic" everyday. Sometimes all I can do is a quick sketch or take a photo of a "project to be", but that keeps me in tune with my artistic side. It is so easy to "postpone" your art........ but I digress, let's save that for another day. Decorative painting became my focus for several years. I did a few good shows, but I mostly painted murals for private and public places. Believe it or not I actually ended up teaching decorative art at the very place it all started--that's right the Artistry Art Shop. I loved teaching and I do miss it. The Artistry closed a few years ago, when the owners retired. Decorative painting was on the decline at that point and my life took on a new direction. I did continue to paint for clients from time to time, but not as much as I would have liked. I finally reached a point where I felt I was no longer growing as an artist. I won't bore you with all the directions my life took me, but that paint brush was always nagging at me. I was full of "what ifs". I turned fifty last year, my husband and I both retired. I decided it was now or never and I'm in the process of trying to find answers to some of those "What ifs". I'm determined to "grow" as an artist. I want to get back to the "canvas" and pursue "fine art" or at least my definition of it. Next time, I'll share some of those "what ifs" and what I'm doing to find the answers. By the by, we are back in Indiana. I have much to do to get our home ready to sell, but I promise I'll be posting more on the pups soon. Comments and questions are always welcome---just post your questions in the comment section.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Journey to Indiana

Sorry nothing "artsy" to post as of yet. We are still making our way to Indiana. We stopped and spent 4 wonderful days at Joe Wheeler State Park in Alabama. Now, we are currently in Cave City, Kentucky. We should reach Lafayette, Indiana sometime late this afternoon. I'm sure it will take a couple of days to get settled before I can re-claim my easel. I'm just "itching" to paint again. I have so many wonderful photos from our journey. I also thought I would start sharing the story of "how I became an artist". I do not have an art degree, but I was lucky enough to have a great local art shop in my community. I was always interested in art, but never encouraged to pursue that interest. My parents wanted me to direct my life in a direction whereby I could actually "earn a living". I'm sure many of you have heard that growing up. I was very fortunate to have married a man who wanted me to pursue my dreams----whatever they were. It was not till after the birth of my son in 1983, when I had my first opportunity to take an art class at the local art shop. A friend of mine had just recently had a baby and she decided we both needed a "mom's day out". She called and convinced me to sigh up for the class with her. I didn't know what to expect. I have no art supplies and no idea of how to paint. Fortunately, the art shop allowed me to "rent" the supplies I needed for the day. The teacher was wonderful and the painting was a simple landscape entitled "Misty Forest", the medium was oil. It was taught in a step by step manner with lots of attention paid to technique and color mixing. The teacher came around to us individually and helped us when needed---I was definitely needy. It was a long day, 9am to 5pm, but at the end I had a "nice" painting to show my husband. I wish I had a photo of it to share with you. It was far from a masterpiece, but even I could see the potential and I felt there was hope for me as an artist. My husband was very excited and encouraged me to continue with the classes. Next post I'll share more of my "art journey" and how I became exposed to the world of acrylics.