Since having taken that 2 month break from social media I was able to spend a lot of time creating and expanding.
I reopened my Green Earth Images shop on Etsy with a different feel this time; it features my mixed media photography, digital postcard collages and vintage-inspired images as that is more of where my heart is these days instead of just nature photography.
I also opened my 6th, yes, 6th shop on Etsy (and hopefully my final one!). It’s called Green Earth Destash and is pretty much my bargain center – where I sell supplies I no longer need or want and overstock/clearance items from my other 5 shops. I have way too much inventory from things I wanted to try out that either didn’t work out, that no longer hold my interest or no longer fit with the themes of my current shops, so this is a way for me to get rid of things on the cheap (and people love bargains!).
I’ve also been creating like a fiend (more so in the last couple of weeks) and my style is changing. Though I’ll always be fond of whimsical artwork, I can feel my style maturing a bit. I haven’t created a girl in months (and to be honest, not sure how many I have left in me) and while I still like to create the occasional heart, cupcake or coffee, I have found myself drawn to more abstract work.
I’ve actually been taken to just “making my typical backgrounds” – that is layers of collage and paint and leaving it at that (of course making that my focal point means a lot more time and effort focused on those backgrounds). But I’m incorporating even more vintage ephemera than before, including real pieces of vintage postcards, photos and receipts (something I’ve only done with copies before) and now it lends to a more authentic, vintage-esque look.
And I’m going BIG…size, that is. Previously, my largest piece was a 16×20 but now I’m working on sizes like 24×36, 30×40 and even a 36×48 piece for our home. I enjoy this new phase so much that I am having a hard time falling asleep at night because as soon as I close my eyes, I see different colors, formats and collages on canvas. I can’t stop thinking about creating, so it’s an exciting time and I’m riding the wave while it’s here as I know I tend to have either insane amounts of inspiration or long creative blocks.
And because I’m going big, I had to order an easel, something I’ve been working all these years without; it’s on its way and I’m seriously excited!
Here are some of the different pieces I’ve completed recently:
Whimsical coffees and cocoas
Vintage inspired butterfly art
More vintage inspired flowers
In addition to going big, I also went super small and cranked out about 50 new mini canvases, like these which include a mix of my newer abstracts along with my older whimsical style:
Yeah, about 100 new pieces in all (so many more I didn’t share!); as you can imagine, it will take me some time to get them all in my shop, so if you see something you like or want to learn more about a piece, give me a shout!
While I was gone I was also asked to write my story of art licensing and how it just didn’t work for me. Since nearly a year has passed since that disappointing experience left me in such a funk for so long, I finally felt ready to open up and share why art licensing (and my agent) just weren’t a good fit for me. You can read the blog post here at the well known art licensing blog, The Moon From My Attic. Once it was published, I had a major moment of anxiety, thoughts that perhaps I shouldn’t have been so candid and that maybe it would seal my fate as an artist. But the response was huge on the blog, on the blog’s facebook and I also received a ton of emails from artists thanking me for my honesty (since so many artists are afraid to tell the truth about their experiences out of fear of lost opportunities; I, on the other hand said “hell with it!”)
And wouldn’t you know with all that buzz, I got several inquiries from people wanting me to reconsider, including a consultant, an agent and a greeting card manufacturer. I politely thanked but turned down the consultant and manufacturer but only after the agent insisted I give her a chance to explain her story and process. Long story short, even though I was flattered and confused for the moment (was it my experience with my agent or was it truly art licensing that wasn’t a good fit?), my reasons for not wanting to license my art were validated all over again. It wasn’t just about the agent, it was about the entire art licensing process and now I feel like I can truly put the whole art licensing thing behind me. As I said in that blog post, it can be a great opportunity for some artists, but not the right move for everyone, and that. is. okay.
Walking away from another art licensing opportunity felt like being offered a promotion and saying, “nah, I’m good.” It takes courage not to let your ego get in the way of well thought out decisions. And now with a bit more wisdom and experience on my side, I consider every move, decision or opportunity by the way in which it affects my quality of life. I’ve stopped chasing the dream to make it big, to make a lot of money or to become well-known because as an old boss used to say, “you are what you are at the cost of what you are not.” Typically my life lessons have been after I’ve gone with my ego, took that promotion or opportunity (and money), then was miserable after seeing all that I had to give up (my personal priorities). It felt really empowering this time to say no from the get go and know I was making the right decision for me.
Thing is, my currency is different now. It’s quality time with loved ones, it’s life experiences as well as the simple moments in life, it’s flexibility in my schedule and life, it’s fulfilled relationships, it’s time outside in nature, it’s time for creating. Simply put, it is quality of life. Not money. Not notoriety. Not climbing a social ladder. I’m returning back to my voluntary simplicity roots and life has expanded ten-fold.
It’s all about priorities and knowing which are yours (nothing wrong in being highly successful or rich if that it your top priority in life). But when faced with an “opportunity” remember that with every pro is a con. If that con means sacrificing your personal priorities in lieu of a bigger paycheck or a better title, take a moment to reconsider. Choosing heart over ego wins every time.