Thursday, February 7, 2013

Big Plans & Updates for 2013

Let's see if I can get this cranked out before the little pink thing wakes up.  

Do you want the good new or the bad first?  The bad?  Okay.

The Bad News

Okay, it's really not that bad, unless your cheap, in which case you probably never buy any of my cards anyway.   Effective February 15th, I will be raising the prices of all single cards in my shop by fifty cents, from $3.50 per card to an even $4.00.  Prices of all sets will be raised accordingly, though I have not determined exact pricing yet.  That said, sets will still be the most cost effective way to buy more than one card.  I already readjusted my shipping prices to reflect the USPS' recent postage increases, so my shipping rates will not be changing.  A little good news, though:  I will be reducing the cost of all my 8x10 block prints to $17.50.  Not a huge price drop, but hey, it's something, right?  

The Good News

I'm going to be focusing less on block printing and starting to move back toward illustration more.  My recent posting of my latest series of Art-O-mat illustrations on my Facebook page was met with much more response than I have gotten in a long time.  It has shown me where I need to be putting my efforts and I thank you all for the support I received for all those tiny little drawings.  

So what's the plan?  I am going to see how feasible it is to have some of my older illustrations printed from digital images I have (hopefully with the help of my lovely husband, color corrector extraordinaire and owner/operator over at Nightowl Pictures).  If successful, I will get some prints done and put them up for sale in my shop.  In the meantime, I will also be working on new illustrations and some new version of old ideas.  

And of course, I have an ultimate goal in mind.  If the sales of said prints go well, I intend to invest in a high quality printer and start doing them myself, hopefully making illustration my full time job, while producing art that's still affordable to you guys.  And this way, I can actually hold onto some of the originals.  I know there are certainly some paintings I regretted giving away over the years.  

If you'd like to be of assistance, I would love to hear which of my old artworks you loved the best and would like to own a print of.  Where to start?  Try right here and here.  Easiest way to let me know?  Comment on the pictures you like.  Thanks again!

Sunday, January 20, 2013

An Artist's Bucket List

Yup, I have a bucket list specifically for all things art-related.  Sure, I want to skydive and ride a horse down the beach like everyone else, but there are a few things the artist side of me has always wanted to do that are a little more specific.

1.  Visit the Met Costume Institute.
Actually, I've never even been to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, let alone New York, but if I could only visit one part of the Met, the Costume Institute would be it.  One of my favorite things to draw, strangely enough, has always been ladies in old-fashioned gowns, so I would love to see a few of those in person for some inspiration.  I stumbled across this House of Worth gown online, once upon a time, and it's been the catalyst of a few drawings in and of itself.   Anyone who says fashion isn't an art form is lying to themselves.

2.  Have more than a few completed works in my possession.
I love to draw, but I have--in the past-- had a bad habit of giving away paintings and illustrations almost as soon as I complete them.  I think I have never had more than four of five works lying around at one time.  Why?  Well, this leads into number three....

3.  Participate in a gallery show.
I draw because I love it, but have never truly pursued it as a career the way most artists do.  I would love, just once, to have a few pieces in a show. A group show is fine since, with my bad habit of giving art away, I'll probably never amass enough for a solo show.  Even better if the pieces sell, preferably to people I don't already know.

4. Take a pottery class.
Simple, I know, but I never seem to get around to it, find the time, or have the money.  Being a stay-at-home mom who doesn't drive doesn't really help.  Pottery has always looked like something that would be relaxing, sitting at that wheel, hands deep in cool clay.  I might end up being terrible at it, but I'd still like to try.

5.  Get a bachelor's degree in art.
I never went to college.  When I was younger, I always thought, if I went, the only things I would want to major in were art or English, and I had heard (and stupidly believed) both were useless degrees.  Here I am, a decade later, just discovering things like block printing and how to work in pastels, and I think about how much sooner I would have made these discoveries if I had went to college and majored in art, worthless degree or not.  And of course,  a decade later, I am finally smart enough to realize any degree is better than no degree.  So one of these days, when the kid is a little older, I think I'll go back to school.

And while I'm there, maybe I'll take a pottery class.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Five Things I Didn't Expect About Being A Mom

Being a mom (or dad), there are a lot of things you think about as the birth of your child comes closer.  You worry about whether they'll be born healthy, what they'll look like (I really wanted my baby to be born with hair).  You think about what the nursery will be like and how soon before they'll sleep through the night.  I was one of those people that read a lot--internet articles, books on baby's first year, parenting guidebooks.   But there are some things all the reading and preparation and decisions about nursery themes and diapers and feedings just can't prepare you for.  I'm sure this list is very different for every parent, but here's mine.

1.  I am obsessed with my baby's sleep. Other mom's are obsessed with how many ounces their baby eats at each feeding, or how many dirty and wet diapers they make.  Me, I want my baby to sleep.  My husband and I both have crappy sleep habits (watching TV in bed, staying up too late, hitting the snooze twenty times in the morning) and I am determined not to instill that on my kid.  I carefully note each little block of sleep and how she got there both on my smartphone and on a chart.  I'm like a scientist watching over an experiment.  Or maybe I just want to brag about how my baby sleeps 11 to 12 hours at night.  And complain about how short her naps are....

2. Her cute little feet. I am not a foot person.  I will massage any part of my husband's body before I touch his feet, whether his feet are aching or fresh from a shower.  But Amelia?  I probably kiss the soles of her feet ten times a day.   More if it's making her smile at that particular moment. This is not even stopped by the fact she always tries to put those adorable feet in her poop whenever I change her diaper. (Don't worry! I clean them before I kiss them)!

See how cute they are?
3.  The habits of a crazy person are suddenly the most precious thing in the world if your child is doing them.   If you saw a man standing on a corner, trying to put a spoon in his mouth and missing over and over again, you'd probably back away slowly, right?  Well, yesterday, I watched my daughter try to put her pacifier in her mouth for five minutes straight, half the time not getting it near her mouth, the other half smashing it against her lips the wrong way.  It was hilarious.  I eventually went over and put it in for her when she started to cry.  

4.  I don't mind getting poop on me, nor do I honestly notice half the time.  The first week Amelia was home, she pooped explosively (yes, babies really do this) as I was changing her diaper, shooting it outward so it landed on my feet, arm and the bed.  I laughed and kept changing her.  I can't even count the number of times I've realized I have a poop smear on my hand when I haven't changed a diaper in at least an hour.  This may have something to do with being an artist and always having ink or paints on my hands and under my nails.  That said, I have become much more thorough about sanitizing my hands before cooking or eating. 

5.  I didn't know it until I had a kid, but I have ninja-mom-bat ears.  My husband and I can be sitting on the couch, in the living room, watching TV and eating dinner and if Amelia makes the slightest peep, we immediately have this conversation:
                               Me: What was that?
                               Him:  What was what?
                               Me: I thought I heard the baby. 
                               Him:  I didn't hear anything.
                               Baby:  Waaaaah!
                               Him:  Oh. 

I could list a few more things I didn't expect about being a mom, but I figure one thing on the list with poop is enough.  

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Naptime Worktime

The baby suddenly started taking normal naps again yesterday.  And, by normal, I mean more than fifteen to thirty minutes long.

A thirty minute nap is one of two things.   One, it's annoying in the sense that it takes almost as long to get the baby to go to sleep as she actually stays asleep.  Two, the baby stays asleep just long enough to get me really into whatever I'm doing before she starts stirring.

I'm one of those slow-build kind of people, so when the little bean falls asleep, I make a cup of coffee, have a snack, start doing dishes...then I get into the cleaning and I start doing laundry, and then I've got the vacuum out and the mop... then WHAM! She's awake and the floor is half mopped or the laundry is in a pile.  If I was working on my shop, maybe a listing is half-edited, or I was in the middle of a batch of photographs that needed to be tweaked.  Then, I hear that gurgling sound that means she's up and I think two things. One is too profane to post here and one is just too gushy.

Needless to say, I am very glad she is sleeping for one to two hours at a time.  But it now presents a new problem:  I have so much to do, that I haven't done in so long, I don't know what to do with myself or how to do it.  This morning, I finally photographed some new items for my shop which were designed and made mid-way through my pregnancy.  But I hadn't used my camera in so long, I couldn't remember the best settings and most of the photos turned out meh, so that's going to take a few tries to get right.

Mostly, though, I just sort of wander aimlessly from one chore or spot of work to the next (the same way I'm kind of rambling through this post).  The way my brain works now is this:  I see the bouncer needs to be moved back into the kitchen, so I do it and as I'm doing it, I see the dog bowl, so I feed the dog.  While I'm getting food, I see dirty dishes, so I go to do those, but I realize my brayer for rolling ink is drying in the rack, so I take it to my desk.  I see on my desk a half-finished design, so I sketch a few lines, look up and see a dirty get the point.  I get a little of everything done, but nothing really gets completed.

Maybe it's going to take a few naps to figure out the settings on my camera again and a few more to get that print design finished, but there is one bright spot:  that smile I get every time she wakes up.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

The Nursery

So the one artsy thing I managed to do while I was pregnant was decorate the nursery.   It was already painted green from when it was my studio (I like being surrounded by color).  I went with a forest/bird theme, and put everything together myself, from the birch tree decals on the walls to the goldfinch shadowboxes.  Have a look:
Wide view of the birch decals.

Opposite corner of the room.

Goldfinch shadowboxes I made. These were the inspiration for the room.

I got cheap art by cutting prints out of an old Audubon book I picked up for $2. 

Birdhouse mobile I made for less than 10$.

I still feel it isn't quite complete.  I plan to add some brightly colored birds among the birch trees to match the colors on the mobile.  Soon, if I have time, I'll do a tutorial on how I did the birch tree decals (which also cost less than ten dollars to do)!