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Posts Tagged ‘whimsical art’

I am just wrapping up a project I did with a good friend of mine whom I met when we were grad students in the Higher Education Administration program at NYU.  Our program was heavily focused on students of color and students of minority status (i.e. disabilities, sexual orientation, religion or other identity).  Liza was a year ahead of me (our program was small and focused heavily on the 2nd years mentoring the 1st years) and when I graduated, I ended up taking over her place as Area Coordinator of theme housing at Wesleyan University as she was leaving the position for a teaching position at another school.  Diversity is near and dear to our hearts and she is now the Director of Intercultural Affairs at Stonehill College.  Liza was also the source of inspiration for creating Brave Girl and you can read her courageous story here from a post I wrote a couple years back (she is also the person that first put me in contact with FORCE – facing our risk of cancer empowered, the non-profit organization with whom I have a dedicated partnership with).

So Liza recently contacted me for a little project; she was looking for bookmarks to give out to her students along the themes of diversity and together we collaborated on the following pieces:

Practice Inclusion everyday

Our differences make us stronger

Good words to live by and practice daily.

If you haven’t done so, please check out Liza’a amazing story!  (I’m sure you’ve all heard about Angelina Jolie’s decision to have a prophylactic surgery with her BRCA+ status; well Liza made the same difficult decision a few years back and FORCE is THE organization to help women become knowledgeable about their BRCA status and empowers women to make informed decisions and educate the larger community on this issue.  REALLY wish that all the media coverage about Angelina Jolie’s latest news would have included some props for FORCE!  They are a fantastic organization and deserve much more awareness.  You can check them out at http://facingourrisk.org

Thanks for allowing me to share with you all; if you are interested in prints or merchandise of the above images, they are available in my shop now.

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vintage inspired union jack flag j.c. spock

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.

collage - GEI

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.

honey abstract j.c.spock

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.

Vintage diptych

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.

sunset fields j.c. spock

sailor's delight abstract jc spock

 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:

collage - inspirational abstracts

Inspirational abstracts

collage - coffee and cocoa

Whimsical coffees and cocoas

Vintage inspired butterfly art

Vintage inspired butterfly art

collage - flowers

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:

mini's collage

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.

IA6

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.

daydream abstract

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Letting Go Girl

I mentioned in my previous post that I felt I needed some time away from the internet (save for my work) to clear my head, my psyche and so I wouldn’t compare myself to the success of others.  But the other reason is because I tend to get over-inspired by ideas on the internet and it can be so overwhelming that I become paralyzed to start!

So when I announced to my husband that I was going on an internet diet for a month, he kindly replied, “Why don’t you try it for a week?”  Though I wanted to do something drastic, I knew he was right and reasonable.  A week was a good start and I could always extend it out.

And so for a week I stayed away from Facebook (my personal page), Twitter, Pinterest, and other’s blogs.  I tried to stay off the Etsy forums (where I spend about an hour each day) but I was unsuccessful because it really does contain nuggets of information for micro-businesses and I learn something new nearly every day (though it can also be a major time suck so needs to be managed).  The only other time spent on the internet was to run my shops, promote my goods and purchase supplies for my business.  Nothing social, nothing recreational, nothing to waste time on.

And the results???  Major productivity!

projects

I made it a point to be at my painting table by 7pm every night, if not earlier, and found that I was able to create a lot of new material.  It was refreshing.

Knowledge girl

I created new pieces, actualized old ideas and even finished up previous pieces like these square blocks that were once butterfly pieces I wasn’t crazy about that I painted/decoupaged over and made into new tea pieces:

PicMonkey Collage

I only painted Mon.-Thur. as Friday was a date night for us and this past weekend we started working on house projects, but even in those 4 days I accomplished quite a bit.  We are hoping to put our house on the market in the spring, so there is lots to be done on that front to get it move-in ready and turn-key for the next residents so I won’t be able to earmark as much time for continual creating.  But the change in schedule has freed up a lot more time for me and I’m hoping to stick with it so I can tackle my to-do list and find time each week to create.

And you know what, as addictive as it can be, I’m going to stay off my personal FB page (the drama on my newsfeed just annoys me, so I’m staying off), I’ve unsubscribed from a lot of blogs and when I need inspiration, I’ll just refer to all my journals/sketchbooks which has tons of ideas waiting to be sprouted.

And it helps me to stick to my new year’s theme of decluttering; just getting rid of a lot negative space, negative energy and negativity in my life and that’s always a good thing.

Deserving girl

Hope you take more time to take care of your needs, block out the negatives and spend more time on what you want to be doing (instead of wasting time on the time-sucks and energy-sucks of the world!).  Wishing you all a good week.

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So recently I’ve added some new prints and originals of newer girls to my shop, including…

Unconditional girl

 

Messenger Girl

And a collection of cakes reusing backgrounds of other artwork that I decided not to sell…recycled art!

And coming soon, I have some holiday art that I’ll be adding, including these holiday cupcakes I made last year after the holidays (per a request from my then licensing agent) but were never added to my shop:

And ornaments…

And I also have some more snowmen like the one above but want to add some wording to them still.

It snowed the last two days, so I’m officially ready to wrap up Halloween and move onto the Holidays!  How ’bout you?

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As I’ve been alluding to on my Facebook page and mentioning here, I’m in a serious mood for fall and Halloween.  My friend is not having her Halloween party this year, we get no trick-or-treaters out in our rural parts and we are too introverted (and also know no one in Denver) to attend a Halloween Ball “down the hill”.

For these reasons, I have to get my Halloween mojo through the creation of art, which I am happy to do.  Actually, I’m having trouble stopping.  I’ve created 6 pieces, have 2 more sketched up and a bunch of more ideas on the brain.  Part of me says that not everyone appreciates Halloween like I do, but the other part of me is trying to not get so focused on what sells, but also what I like to create.  Plus Halloween art fits perfectly into my quirky, whimsical style.

Here are the 6 pieces I’ve created this past week…

Bat Girl, Halloween Bee, Halloween Dracula, Halloween Ladybug, Owl Girl, Pumpkin Girl

And here are two from last year that I never shared because of my (then) licensing agreement:

Halloween Good Witch / Halloween Kitty

I’ll be making merchandise with all these images, but I’ve started to list some of these originals in my shop.

Bring on the candy corn, fake spider webs and cooler weather!!

 

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Earlier this week I mentioned that I sat down last Sunday and spent the day making a bunch of girls; they follow two themes so I’m grouping them as two sets of four.

Here’s the first set:

Clockwise from top left: receiving girl, faithful girl, worry girl, perceptive girl

Prints available in my shop now; I’ll share my other girls next week once I get my act together and get them listed for my shop.

Hope you all had a nice 4th of July; enjoy the upcoming weekend!

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Created in January and forgot to post! Have a couple of these, will post more in the near future...

Typically I can only fit in painting sessions on Saturdays, (something I’m fixing with a new change to my schedule that is working great) but this past Saturday, there was no painting to be had.  I had to wrap up inventory and business taxes.  What a P.I.T.A. (personal taxes are a BREEZE compared to business taxes) and each year I swear we won’t wait until the last minute.  But when you’re married to a procrastinator who likes to do this kind of stuff at the very last second, well, what can you do?  (love ya hon, mean it!)

However, I was able to sneak in a quick painting session on Sunday night to finish up this the mother daughter piece I started last week:

And I created a set of simple hearts, this being one of them:


I started a couple more sketches, but just finished the last bit of inventory/taxes piece tonight (we have to literally go through hundreds of receipts and calculate the cost of every last thing, to the last piece of cardstock, the last inch of twine, the last few drops of paint…oh it’s brutal I tell you!) so I’m hoping I can dedicate a lot more time to creating in the next couple of weeks.

Meantime, I have convinced David to have standing dates each month so we can sit down, reconcile sales/purchases/receipts/cost of goods and do away with this stress next year.  Time will tell…

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One thing I’ve learned about licensing is that you have to push beyond your creative boundaries and try new styles, new techniques, new looks.

So during the summer when I was doing marathon paint-a-palooza’s, I created 8 quirky girls, the first set being “princess girls” as they take a lighter, more whimsical, youthful appearance as my regular girls.

I also created a set of “poppy girls” as well…

They are definitely a little bit different from my regular style, but I still find them fun in their own right.

I’m finally at the point where my inventory of artwork is twice that of what I have in my shop so I’m ancy to get new material in my shop.  And because I’ve decided, for a myriad of reasons and after much thought and consideration, not to license my girls after all, I’m going to start releasing them all!

I’m still very much moving forward (and excited about) licensing my coffee, cupcakes, trees, hearts, etc. but I needed to follow my heart, take a moment to listen to my gut and make the decision to keep my girls just to my shop.  I think while it’s important to be flexible when running your own business, it’s just as important (if not more) to stay true to yourself.

Still learning…

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Sorry all – I’m trying to get over a miserable, long-lasting cold and holiday traffic has picked up quite a bit, so I’m utilizing all my energy to work on orders then going to bed at 7 or 8pm at night.

The silver lining in this all is that I’ve had some of the best sleep in months.  Ever since our older dog developed Cushing’s disease in the spring, I’ve been woken up every night, several times a night to let her out which led to pretty bad insomnia for months.  Luckily we found some great herbal and homeopathic drops for her and she sleeps until 5am.  I am thrilled to get up at 5am with her because it means I get a solid 6-7 hours of sleep a night.  With my latest cold, my dear hubby has been kind enough to let her out up until he leaves for work (3rd shift) and I’ve been able to sleep a whopping 10-12 hours a night in some cases.  It feels great to sleep so much.

In addition to my art shop, I still run my supplies shop where, among other things, I make and sell blank, folded cards (white and Kraft colored) for people to make their own greetings with, so this time of year is busy as a lot of DIY’ers are hitting me up for supplies for their holiday card making.  I’m very appreciative of the business!

My parents are also due in today for their annual trip to our home.  This time it’s a 9 day visit so I’ve also been been spending free time cleaning up, getting things organized and prepping lots of food.  I’m also in the final crunch of organizing my portfolio and getting my images that I’m licensing ready for the Atlanta gift show in January.  It’s been a busy, tiresome, stressful couple of weeks!

I do have some new material I want to share with you.  First the tree you see up at the top; trees make me happy…I have another one similar to this as well and hope to create more down the road.  I also have created some vintage ladies, like the one above, using the 100 y.o. french postcards I procured from France…love those girls.  I also created a collection of whimsical birds, like the one below:

I’m working out some kinks with my “girls” right now but hope to have some to share with you in the near future, so stay tuned!

As for my art shop, I’ve added new options like matted ACEO’s for those who like to collect mini art but don’t have a great way to store/show them.  These double mats fit perfectly into a 5×7 frame:

I’m also in the process of creating mounted wood blocks…that is, taking a print and adhering it to a wood block so that it has the feel of an original but is much, much cheaper to do so as it is a reproduction (though still handmade by me!).  I’ve been wanting to do this for a while and when a buyer recently contacted me about replicating some originals to give out to her staff, I knew this would be the perfect option.  I was in a hurry to get them out to her so I forgot to snap a picture, but will let you know when those options are listed in my shop!  (Of course, let me know if you’re interested in anything in particular meantime!).

I’m also ramping up my options of journals, sketchbooks and planners for the new year which is just around the corner!  I’ve always had these but didn’t necessarily show a lot of options.  If this is of interest to you, don’t forget that I have Pick Any options which allow you to pick any image to go on any piece of merchandise.

Finally, in honor of Small Business Saturday, which occurs every year on the Saturday after Thanksgiving and promotes small and local businesses, I’m offering 20% in my shop for a full week, starting today 11/22 through the end of next Monday 11/28 (shipping excluded).  Just use the coupon code SBS2011 when checking out (click on link that says Add on Coupon Code, next to the Paypal icons).  My mom is all excited to help me out with orders this we and I’m grateful to have the extra hands!

Thanks for waiting on me during my hiatus; sending you and your family love during this holiday week! ♥

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Okay, breaking the silence!

Well, just a lil’ bit…I decided to create some artwork the other night that would be exclusively for my shop because waiting until January to share the pieces I’ve been working on for my new portfolio is just too long to keep new, fresh pieces out of my shop.  And because I worked on 4×4 wood blocks, it was easy to create a bunch in a relatively short amount of time (3 hours).

 

 


After my trip to New Mexico, I’ve got sacred hearts on the mind, so I set out to create some of my own with inspirational words centered around courage.  Because it takes great courage to push past your fears, to keep going when things feel uncertain and it also takes great courage to go into uncharted territory to chase after your dreams.

I’ve got four more inspirational (not sacred) hearts to share that I also created…but I’ll save that for next week, so come back ‘kay?  ;)

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