Saturday, May 31, 2008

Layers of Color store opening June 1st

It's almost time, so I want to give a shout-out to my blog buddy Laura who is opening her brand new shop on June 1st.....she draws fantastic detailed designs that are now being offered as clear stamps.  She's such a doll she sent me a set of the architectural ones.  They are so cool!  I've never used clear stamps before (geez, I don't get out much) but you just stick them to a hunk of lucite and shazam, you have a stamp.  The architectural ones are absolutely gorgeous and right up my alley.  I can't believe how clean they stamp with all that detail!  The straight edges in combination with the clear stamp allow you to easily line things up so you can create larger images.  Click on over to Laura's store and take a look for yourself.  Check out her samples and her cards.  She has great color and design sense - her creations are lovely.
I wish her absolutely the *best* of luck with the store! 

Friday, May 30, 2008

Louis Armstrong, who knew??I

Thanks to my friend Jeff for this link regarding Louis Armstrong's collage work.  No, you didn't read wrong,  Satchmo made collages in his spare time.  Click here to read the article and see some examples.  Of course now I want the whole issue of Paris Match so I can see the rest of the article and pictures.  Looking at Louis' work allows me a brief glimpse inside his head.  I love the image of him cutting and taping (that old yellowed tape is divine!) these works together.  
So sweet.  

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Through new eyes

On Friday I took my 6 year old grandson to the St. Louis Art Museum.  It was his first time; he's been talking about it for awhile, wanting to go, so I was thrilled to be his guide.  One of the great things about St. Louis is that so many of the museums are free.  Yes.  As in No money required.  I just love that.    

Anyhoo, back to Aidan.  We rambled somewhat aimlessly and checked out art in several areas.  He is particularly drawn to paintings that depict nature so we looked at a range of styles, from very traditional to more folk art and modern.  We saw Monet and Seurat and I talked about fuzzy pictures (that's what his Papa calls them) and all the dots/points of paint in the Seurat.  I had to pick him up to view this close and then we backed away so he could see the full effect.  He loved one of my favorite pieces which is a tree sculpture by Roxy Paine, you can see it by clicking here.  

He was also intrigued to see artists sketching in the galleries and perhaps he and I will do that when he is a bit older.  One of my defining experiences (when I was a child) was at the Cincinnati Art Museum.  I was taking an art class and they set us up in the middle of a gallery, right on the floor.  We were each given a huge piece of paper - in my mind I'm thinking it was bigger than my body, but I suspect it was just a 24x30 or some such thing.  At any rate, I had never even seen paper that large and I couldn't believe I was allowed to draw on the entire page.   

After the museum, I took Aidan to Artmart, our locally owned art store.  He had never been there either and his eyes were saucers when he spotted the 5 and 6 foot tall canvasses.  He said that he would paint the ocean on one of them. He looked at all the paints and markers - his tools of choice - and when I saw the desire in his eyes, I knew this urge for cool supplies must be innate.  He navigated right over to the mongo set of Copic markers (this kid has good taste!) that were waaaayyyyy out of my price range at $400+.  

We ended our day at Sonic where we ordered Lime-aides.  It was pretty perfect.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Alyson Stanfield Blog Tour & Free Book give-away

Today I am honored to be hosting Alyson Stanfield, author of I'd rather be in the studio! The Artist's No-Excuse Guide to Self Promotion.  I've been an Alyson groupie for years.  In fact, (and I'm sure Alyson doesn't even know this, tee hee) if you open my filing cabinet you will find her Visual Artist Kit plus class notes from  Shameless Self Promotion and Double Your Audience.  I value all of my "Alyson resources" so much and don't know how I could ever have written my first Artist Statement without an Alyson guide by my side.   

I am thrilled she has now written and published this amazing reference for the professional artist.  This book is a must-have!!  So, without further ado, I am pleased to extend a warm welcome to Alyson Stanfield - here today as part of the blog tour to help promote the book.  She is also giving away a free (did you'll hear that!?!?! ) copy of her book - more on that later.   

But first, she has kindly invited me to pick her brain for advice, so here goes.....

mb:  How can an artist transition into a different distribution area without losing income?  For instance, breaking into a wholesale business is an all-consuming venture that may require an artist to cut back on art fairs or other shows.  How is this best managed?

as:  Oh boy.  There is no easy answer to this one, Mary Beth.  It's kind of like the artist who is transitioning from a "safe" job that comes with a steady income to the "real" job of being an artist.  Both are, as you put it, all consuming.  

mb:  Well leave it to me to try the impossible :-)

as:  Before starting any new venture, I would encourage you to dig deep and make sure it's really what you want.  Because you have to want it badly enough in order to succeed.  And are you willing to give it 110%?  If the answer if Yes, you might need to decide what you're willing to give up.  Sleep?  Free time?  Time with family?  Money?  Then figure out what your limits are for each sacrifice.

To make the transition, start your new venture while you still have steady income.  You must realize that you will be overloaded.  You will basically be performing two jobs at once and you can't neglect either.  Commit to researching and taking classes that contribute to the knowledge you need for your challenging path.  Meet and talk to people who are involved in the direction you're headed.  This stuff is legwork.  With the results, you can create a business plan and put everything on paper.  

1.  Write down everything you need for your new business.  This would include people to hire ad help, training, equipment, materials, marketing matter, a Web site and so forth.  Estimate costs and a timeline for each.  Be realistic and question your assumptions.  

2.  Make a list of everything you do that someone else could do.  Whether it's priming a canvas, mowing the lawn, or cleaning the house, there are certain things you don't need to be spending your time on.  Estimate what it costs you to continue doing it and what it would cost you to hire someone else.  Prioritize these tasks (which you would release first, second, third, etc) and write a detailed description of the type of person you might hire to do each job.

3.  Plan to cut back on your other commitments.  What's bringing in the least amount of income?  Drop it first!  As you're cutting back......

4.  Start building your other business.  You can do it by task ("I'll research wholesale shows this month") or by time ("I'll spend two hours a day, five days a week wearing my wholesaling hat").

While you'll be working harder than ever, your transition doesn't have to be all-consuming . Balance and self discipline are required for any new venture.  But don't forget what is putting food on the table.  And don't forget about your well-being.  Take care of yourself--financially, emotionally, and physically--throughout the process.

mb:  Gosh, thanks so much, Alyson, what a terrific answer! 

Interested in winning a copy of I'd rather be in the studio! The Artist's Guide To No-Excuse Self Promotion?  All you need to do is CLICK HERE and follow the instructions.  You can visit other blog tour stops as well and read more questions/answers from Alyson.  And get the book.  Seriously.  If you strive for success with your art career, you need this book.

Thanks so much to Alsyon for sharing her expertise with us.   

Thursday, May 15, 2008

57th Street here I come....

My first Chicago show, 57th Street, is coming up in just a few weeks.  As you might imagine, I have been working on lots of new inventory.  I am thrilled to finally be participating.  Since this show has a street jury each year, they only accept about 10% new artists and I've been trying for a few years to get in.  Woo hoo am I excited!  It will be nice because my friend Mary V. Smith also got into the show and our booths our next to each other.  
Check out the website to see some of the other artists who will be there; some great Mixed Media for sure and I look forward to catching up with folks I haven't seen yet this year.  

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Check out Artsmiths to see how our members define themselves with ONE WORD. The art is fantastic and I love learning more about each person. It is quite interesting. Bet you'll never guess what word I use to describe myself?

Here is the art that I made. It started out as a piece from several years ago that I digitally altered. I have been reading this book, Scrapbooking Digitally. And yeah, yeah, it may look rudimentary, but it took me forever to figure this out. I am such a Photoshop novice I swear. This is a pretty cool book by the way, it uses Photoshop Elements and comes with a trial version plus some cool scrapbooking doodads. I have learned a lot with the examples shown.

To make this, I scanned my original art first and opened it in Photoshop. Then I dropped the background out of the photo of me (the little girl image) and added it to the previously made art. I got the swirl and the stars from the DVD with the book. Adjusted some color and I was done. Just that easy, about 3 hours is all. LOL.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Blog Tour

On May 20th, I will host Alyson Stanfield on the Blog Tour introducing her new book, I'd rather be in the studio! The Artist's No-Excuse Guide to Self Promotion.
The book is a must have for every artist's library. I haven't finished reading all of it, but suffice to say it's embarrassing how much I can relate (blush).

The book is organized, not by chapters, but by excuses, tee, hee, hee....I mean does Alyson know artists or what!?!?! And she not only anticipates, but then answers every single excuse you can think of, from "My art speaks for itself" to I'm an introvert" and "I don't know where to begin." So, no matter what your experience level, you will find loads of useful information in this excellent reference.

You can order it by clicking over to Alyson's site where you will see a link. Sign up for her newsletter while you're at it and be sure and stop back right here on May 20th! If you have any questions for Alyson, just let me know (via a comment) and I will make sure we get them answered.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

New art

It strikes me that I haven't posted very many pictures lately, boo on me, bad artist!

Here is a pic of a piece I made for a friend who went through her Bat Mitzvah last week (as an adult, geez, that would be soooo hard, the Hebrew and all!!!). Thought you might enjoy seeing it. She is a dancer - hence the image - which is her(!) by the way.
I went wild with some doodling on the piece, as the spirit moved me and I felt like dancing with my pen.

Monday, May 05, 2008

John bought me amazing flowers at TJ's and I added lilacs from the yard to make this lush arrangement. For some reason I've been a little blue - borderline tearful, that sort of thing, like a sappy commercial could set me off. But seeing these flowers and my one-eyed boy (Gilligan) cheered me up immensely. I am hopeful I will make some art this week, but I just couldn't summon the energy these past few days. We did manage to restore the house to its pre-rehab condition, so that is nice. Pics soon....

In the meantime, check out my contest below.

Saturday, May 03, 2008

Contest news

Looking for a good read this morning? Head on over to Artsmiths and read Deb Trotter's Artist of the Month interview with Tiffini Electra X. It is oh so interesting; what a wildly talented gal she is! Her work is so amazing. Being a Photoshop wannabee, I cannot even fathom this level of digital expertise. I applaud Tex's accomplishments.

And keep checking in with Artsmiths over the next 2 weeks as our members post their response to the "One Word" challenge. Lelainia has already posted hers on the Home page. It is not only interesting and informative, but Gorgeous to boot - geez, nothing like really raising the bar, L!?!? I am still working on mine, but will post it soon. Anyone want to make a guess as to what my "One Word" will be???? If you get it right, I will send you a prize (my fellow Smithereens are excluded from this since I already told them). It will be a really good prize too cause it's gonna be tough. You have till May 10th to guess, multiple guesses encouraged.

And, just to keep you interested, if no one guesses right, I will pick my favorite "wish it were my word" word and that person will get a prize. I can't wait to hear what you'll say.....

Friday, May 02, 2008


I don't usually talk about this kind of stuff, but I've been thinking about the law of attraction lately. It's gotten a lot of play with the success of The Secret and, if you've studied this sort of thing, you know it's nothing new. In fact, I have been doing it (largely unintentionally) for years until I finally educated myself about 8-10 years ago.


After I sold that diptych that I loved so much (this one) I immediately wanted to paint another, a diptych that is, made up of 2 squares. I wanted to do 24x24 or above, I was thinking big. In fact, on the drive home, I thought about it a lot, trying to remember whether I had any more 24x24's in my storage area, concluded that I didn't and figured I would have to order some more.

So imagine my surprise when the very next morning, my friend Heather emails me about a local artist who is moving and selling a bunch of canvasses. I contacted the artist and wouldn't you know it, squares and more squares. BIG ONES. 54x54; 40x40 and my beloved 24x24. Plus some other assorted sizes. We struck a deal and I picked them up this week; nearly filled the truck there were so many.

I am in canvas heaven.......