Looking Forward, Looking Back

Ooh, doesn’t that sound like an introspective blog title!? Don’t worry, I haven’t started taking myself too seriously (NEVER!), but over the past few weeks I have been having a good think about how things have been going and how I want to proceed based on that thinking.

Geez, that does sound introspective doesn’t it? I better throw in a funny meme now and then just so you don’t start thinking I’m going all maudlin or anything.

There. Better? Now, on with the thought processes, or as I call it…

The Art Vs. Writing Relationship Smackdown!!

When I first started working on my art as a second job to my writing, I was super frustrated with writing. This was back when I was trapped in The Maze (who knew that title would be so appropriate) and drafting had hit a major roadblock. A road block as in, you would have thought I’d never read a book before and wouldn’t know a plot line if someone threw one at me.

At the same time, I was feeling all super confident with my art skills and said, “Well, at least with painting, I’ll have only wasted a few weeks on something no one will buy, as opposed to a spending a year on a book no one will buy.”

With that cynical view on the creative world, I turned writing into a part time (VERY part time) job and focused on my art. I really enjoyed it and since everyone oohed and ahhed over my art, I thought surely I could sell some of these things. I got a few quick confidence boosts straight out of the gate with a couple art show awards and an acceptance for a solo show.

Yeah, it was kind of like that!

As those who have been with me a while know, I played around with Etsy shops and Fine Art America and even eBay. All of which resulted in a grand total of zero sales (granted, I’ve been horribly inconsistent in my marketing efforts). This year I’ve had five art shows with only one, count ’em, ONE sale…of my least expensive piece.

To put that in perspective, every couple months, the royalties from my books bring in about as much as that one piece of art. So, to say I’m starting to feel my art time is a bit wasted is putting it mildly. Speaking of, time to lighten things up…

Now don’t get me wrong. I didn’t switch over to spending my work days mostly doing art with the thought that I would become an instant success and sell every single painting. But this is two years in, my work has been in about ten venues, and I’ve sold one thing. One.

On the flip side. Once I got The Maze untangled, the story fell together quite well. I won’t say it’s my best book because as I’ve been giving it the final couple read overs, I can detect some odd passages from Before the Meltdown (BM? ew), but I’m quite proud of the parts that were written in the drafts After the Meltdown (AM?) and I think (hope) the good AM bits outweigh the less-than-stellar BMs. But more on that in a different post….or with your proctologist.

During my downtime between drafts of The Maze, I’ve also been writing some short stories and as I’ve been doing these, I’ve discovered (okay, re-discovered) how much I really really really enjoy writing. I love getting completely lost in a story as I’m creating it, I love having my brain go so fast with ideas that my pen can’t keep up and having to jot down notes in the margin of my paper just to keep track of it all, I love playing with dialogue (my favorite part), I love having just a single sentence of an idea and watching it turn into several pages of story.

In other words, I’m getting back together with Writing. I’m bursting (not literally) with ideas for new books, new series, and short stories. The only trouble is finding time for them all.

Which means it’s time to “have a little talk” with Art.

Don’t worry (since I know you were really sweating over this), I’m not giving up on Art entirely, but I am going to limit our time together so I can work on my relationship with Writing. Right now, I’m considering giving one work day over to Art and the rest to Writing. Lately things have been too crazy busy to set out any real schedule, but after I return from a little vacation in late September, I’ll be back to work and back to a more regular schedule.

Finn (hoping for a new book or two) is ready to schedule my writing time for the rest of the year!

Phew, that was a long-winded break up letter, but it’s always good to know where you stand in a relationship and to understand why things just aren’t working out, right? Right.

Any thoughts on this? Any big decisions in your world lately? As always, I’d love to hear from you! I’ll be back Saturday with another of Finn McSpool’s close-to-home adventures. See you then!!



Time for You to Help the Wonky Windmill

Sometimes you get an idea in your head for a project and it turns out super spectacular. Other times, you need to call in the troops for a bit of assistance. The latter is the case with my latest collage whose current name is “Wonky Windmill.” I’m hoping my fabulous readers can help de-wonkify this bit of Dutch engineering. Continue reading

Come See Me On Broadway!

Okay, maybe it’s more like “in” Broadway, as in The Broadway Gallery where my latest art show just started a couple days ago.

If you’ve been keeping track (and even I can’t keep track on most days), this is my fourth show this year: two showings with the Clackamas County Arts Alliance (one of which ends in a few days), my Spring Show at Clackamas Community College, and my display at the West Linn Lutheran Church (which is still going on).

However, this latest show is a little special since 1) it’s in a “real” gallery, as in a commercial gallery, rather than simply decorating the walls of a public space, and 2) is my first show outside of Clackamas County…and out of the state of Oregon as well! So let’s just take a quick look at how it all came together.

Getting the Call and Getting Ready

Continue reading

One Man’s Junk Is My “Tray” Bien Treasure

Normally when I hear the phrase “One man’s junk is another man’s treasure” I think, nope, it’s all junk and perhaps Mr. Another Man needs some intervention for his hoarding issues. However, while strolling the neighborhood the other day, I came across a piece of someone’s junk that I knew had a bit of treasure potential.

The poor discarded thing that had been left by the side of the road with a free sign on it like an ugly child  had once been a serving tray. From the amount of dirt crusted into its corners, I think its previous owner had been serving up mud pies to someone. With a bit of scrubbing, the dirt was washed away to reveal that the tray was in really good shape. It just need a bit of Tammie Treatment.

“You’ve got potential, kid!”

I scoured through my acrylic craft paints (most of them discards from some project my mom had attempted) and found a big bottle of glossy royal blue that would make a perfect background for what I had in mind: a colorful tray with a collage in the base. Continue reading

Just Like Michelangelo

That’s right, just like Michelangelo, my art now decorates the interior of a church. Okay, maybe not just like Michelangelo since I didn’t have to build my own scaffolding to install it or risk a major kink in the neck to create it. And I doubt tourists from all over the world are going to flock to gaze up at it.

Still, even though it’s not the Sistine Chapel, my latest art show is up and running at the Creative Spirits Gallery from now through the end of August. Yes, it’s a little strange to have my work hanging in a church since I’m a rather secular kind of girl, but a venue is a venue, right? Right.

Unlike my other shows, this one is a three-woman ensemble so it wasn’t entirely up to me to fill the vast wall spaces like last time (HUGE sigh of relief). The other artists are Kathy Sandell who brought some fantastic collages and acrylic paintings, and Dorothy Moore who made me jealous with her watercolor skills. You can read all about us on the church’s website. Continue reading