Wednesday, December 17, 2008

niches, and right paths

Recently I embarked on a new direction for my illustration. Licensing. As an art student in the 80's, I didn't have any coursework that dealt with the business opportunities of an illustrator. My college was sadly lacking in supporting Illustrators. Therefore I have spent the last 20 years trying different angles. I am not sure I have found my niche, but for now I am on a trajectory of creating work to license and I will continue until I hit my head against the wall a few too many times. How will I know when I have gone the wrong way? I don't really know. 

I read Seth Godin's blog and was happy to read his post several days ago. The main premise was that everyone who 'makes it big' has put in 10,000 hours of effort into their desired field. He debunks this theory with some good examples of people who had great ideas, great timing and generous amounts of good luck. However I am nearing my 10,000 hours so I am feeling pretty good right about now. Which brings me to how his post relates to my knowing when I have gone the right direction, his book, 'The Dip'.  This book delves into the mental science of quitting. Knowing when you hit a dead end, and when you just hit the 'dip' and need to keep on pushing to the promised land on the other side. Of course no book is the magic pill to success, except for maybe the author and publisher, but for most of us, they are tools to help us, nothing more. My hope as that this too will help me to decide if I am on the right track.

A great example of someone who I think has explored their art, and hit full stride, is Yulia Brodskaya. I think these beautiful paper sculptures are a great illustration of finding your path. If you look through the Graphic Design portfolio, or the Typographic, general and old stuff portfolio you can see the evolution of a niche.  

As we approach the new year, I find myself taking inventory. I am entering 2009 not unlike years past venturing into new territory, but each time I do, I evolve. I bring my newly acquired experience, my past knowledge and I take a deep breathe. Cheers to being able to reinvent, cheers to freedom to try, cheers to being blessed an artist.

Monday, December 15, 2008

cold weather and a sketchbook

Oh how I love it when we get our annual snow storm. Here in Portland we are lucky to get one a year. I have all sorts of detailed theories on what temperature and humidity conditions need to exist prior to the official call for snow flurries that will guarantee snow for more than an afternoon. Of course none of my theories are backed by science but that doesn't stop me from spouting them to anyone who will  listen. 

Since we in the NW are icebound, in the freezer for the week, I find that a hot cup of joe and my sketchbook on the sofa is a great combo. I am finding that the creative juices are flowing with all sorts of licensing doodles. Now that I have my handy chart created that details what work is in need of production, I just have to start producing! First out of the gate are some fun Christmas Tree images. I am anxious to post my sketches, but I will lead with this fun flickr picture, it sums up the spirit of Christmas trees that I want to create.  

Thursday, December 11, 2008

the value of old ideas

I just spent the last 4 hours pouring over my old sketchbooks. I save them as I guess most artists do, forever. I can't imagine throwing one out. In revisiting them I noticed that there is no rhyme or reason to how I sketch in a sketchbook. I tend to open it, look for a blank page, then draw. This is a pain as I go back through them looking for a particular sketch. Organization is not one of my strong suits. However, tonight was different. I post-it noted pages, I wrote on the post-its so that I could see what I had marked, and then when I was all done I categorized the items I liked and thought had potential. Then in my attempt to really out do myself, I made a big fat chart. A flow chart type of dealio. Well more like a site map really. But none the less a handy visual aid of all the items I liked, or wanted to work on. (See my crappy picture of the chart.)

What was the point of all this besides the exercise of organizing and daydreaming of new pictures to be made? The goal is this. I want to really expand my portfolio for licensing options and want to do it in a strategic manner. I know that in my sketchbooks are many fun ideas that singularly are just a fun idea, but together have real power. Going through my sketchbooks provided me an opportunity to revisit work that was never fully fleshed out, but with the right attention could be something worthwhile. Taking the time to organize the work by category will help me to analyze the depth and breadth of my artistic interests. I found that yes I do truly love to draw food, and no I do not love to draw nature. Do I feel compelled to work on that, no not really. But it does show me that I need to focus on promoting what I am deep in. And if I am so inclined it also shows me what areas I can add to and really expand my offerings. 

The lesson to this is that old sketchbooks are invaluable. Not only are they historical references of our lives, and what we see and think, but they are chock full of potential. Not unlike ourselves.

Monday, December 8, 2008

bazaar art and crafts

This weekend I attended my local elementary school Christmas Bazaar. It is a funny concept, making a craft be it hats, coasters, paintings or one of the countless variations of creative product, then sitting in a school gymnasium selling your wares. I was struck by the variety, even amongst the many earring makers, scarf creators or greeting card producers. Everyone has their own hand, their own eye, their own sense of beauty. As they sit casually behind the tables each artist is a version of their own art. Kind of an inanimate version of themself. I don't think many of the crafts people who sell their work at small bazaars make any money, they are lucky to break even on costs to produce goods let alone make any money for the countless hours required to make the piece and then sit and wait in a dimly lit gym for sales. So why do it? I think it is the same reason that no matter how many rejection letters we get, we keep on making art. Because at our core we are the art. We can't help but make it. We can't help but be it. How is this different than Art?

When I was in college I remember the great divide between the 'commercial' artists and the 'fine' artists. We, the Illustrators and Designers were the sell outs. We did our art with a client in mind. But the fine artists they were the 'real' artists. Expression for the sake of expression. How would those same classmates feel about the craftsperson and their recycled-felted-sweaters-around-hot-water-bottles? Are they the real artists? They certainly don't have dreams of grandeur like many of my classmates, but every bit of what they make is relevant as an expression of self. I think they absolutely are artists. I don't think the medium or the education matters. So what makes it a craft and what makes it art? Can't the two be one? Where is that line? I think some would say Art serves a higher purpose as a social commentary. Well I think some Craft makers serve the same purpose. Maybe the line is blurrier in some artists that others. I would ask if Bob Ross and his big magic brush is an artist then. I think it is a very hard argument to make that Art is so much higher purposed, when some of that very art is a ball of string. How is that ball of string different than a ball of string on a wire that you put through your ear? Isn't it still about purpose? Isn't the earring maker still making a statement?

Thursday, December 4, 2008

sorting, sorting...

Ok, so the good news is yes I am going to start selling my work via  the PODgallery. The bad news is I have go through mountains of work and make selections of what I want to sell. Then of course make sure it prepped for high quality printing. Not that I am complaining, just realizing I have a lot of work to do. As a good seasoned Illustrator, I know better than to count on mega sales right out of the gate, however since the opportunity has presented itself I will work hard to promote it and help nudge it to success! Which means once the collection has launched I will be emailing the crap out of everyone! Be warned. 

Saturday, November 29, 2008

open edition art coming soon

Last week was an interesting week for a holiday. Historically I am slow right around Thanksgiving and Christmas (mostly due to my own desire for extra baking and fun). However I was contacted on Monday by a supplier of art to asking if I would like to sell open editions via and and Now the ink isn't dry (I haven't read the whole contract), but as long as I don't see anything that would prevent me from licensing my pieces for other products, my cupcakes will be available early next year on and I think lots of sugar-a-holics and baked-good-admirers will be happy to support my yummy art. I am also considering selling my fun kids imagery as well, specifically my airplane, and the toy doggie, as well as some bugs. After I read the contract and sign and send, I will post more.

Monday, November 24, 2008

new cupcake

I just finished another cupcake. Or mostly finished. I think it needs a few more touches but I am happy it is 96% done. The stripes caused me much grief but I knew I wanted all of them in the piece. Just getting them to play together nicely was the problem. Luckily I have a brilliant friend down the street who has a fantastic eye and all I had to do was send her the image and she was able to give me the fresh opinion I needed and the stripes became good friends. Aww such luck. Thank you Melanie! 

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

staying on target

One of the hardest things for me as an artist with a family is staying on target. There is always something demanding attention. But that isn't all. With technology changing so quickly and new ways to connect ever evolving, it seems I am always adjusting my focus. The art is of course paramount, but along with doing the art, keeping the faith and being true to your muse, comes along family and technology. Sometimes I find I just need to take small bites. Don't look at every avenue, just like you can't look at your whole house when it seems as though it has thrown up on itself. No, instead you just take one thing at a time. And then build on it. If you have read my posts you know I am working on a collection of cupcakes. I have 5 done now, and am expanding to include design elements with each of the 5. Along with making the art, I have joined the Art Licensing Forum. Which has led me to a great luncheon meeting fellow artists in Portland that are working the licensing angle. That in turn led me to Twitter. Which no doubt will lead me to the next curve in the road. All along the way there are the holidays which demand personal time. Which is my salvation on many days. I won't wax poetic on being a mom, because it is a dirty job full of mess, mediation and madness, but it is the reason I get up every morning. Art has been just as selfish, just as thankless a job but never cuddles up and says I love you. But alas here I am deviating from my message, staying on target. Essentially what I struggle with is keeping the big picture out there, working on the small steps to get me closer without getting too sidetracked. Note to self as said in a monotonous tone in Star Wars (#4 for all you nerds) - Stay On Target.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

here we go again

Next week the Directory of Illustration should begin shipping around the country. I took an ad out this year and am anxious to see the final product. It is always a crap shoot whether the investment pays off when one chooses to advertise in the big books of art. Sometimes it feels like you just get lost in a sea of lines, colors and patterns. Other times it feels like a necessary part of promotion and the dividends are that the ad pays for itself and then some. The test in the 'year of the crappy economy' will be whether it really is good to advertise when no one else is. Not that no one else is advertising, but I am fairly certain that the book isn't as thick as when the money flows freely. Maybe that counts in my favor. Maybe not. Maybe the people who get the book and buy art won't be buying this year. Only time will tell. Thank God for itemized deductions!

Sunday, October 19, 2008


Ok, so I am digitally capable. Give me Photoshop, Illustrator, yes even Flash and I can handle it. I can make things, I can even talk you through a technical issue on the phone, without being near my computer! Yes, I have some skills. I started on Photoshop when it was version 3.0. And yes there really was a Photoshop 3.0! It was an exciting time in history, Photoshop got layers in 3.0. This post really isn't about my ability in Photoshop though. What I wanted to talk about is that I have been such the loner artist. Toiling away in my office/studio. Sketchpads by the dozens in the bookshelf always at the ready. I have a website obviously, am on Linkedin, do this blog, but alas I have never joined any professional forums. That all changed tonight. I am officially on an artist forum. I had never really thought about connecting with fellow illustrators that way. I don't know why I haven't thought of it. Makes perfect sense. I think as artists, especially those of us who have had the good fortune to work our trade full time, it is easy to become reclusive, save for the client contacts. It is easy to forget to talk to other artists. We get into our art, into our inspiration, our muses and our loves and don't think about connecting with other artists. I also think it is in our nature to be distrustful of other artists. We have to have such a healthy dose of ego, to put up with all the rejection, that we see other artists as threats. Even if that feeling is subconscious. We need to exert our dominance, to feel special and unique. It makes sense, we spend our lives trying to express our own voice, the last thing we want is to meet someone else who may be better than us, or God forbid more unique! Whether we want to admit it or not, we artists are insanely competitive. We have to be. Not that we can't be nice and supportive, but there is an inkling of competition always within most of us. I think it is our nature. 

I am putting aside my inflated sense of art self and publicly acknowledging that there are gazillions of other artists who are better than me, and do a better job of managing their careers. And to you I say 'Hell Yes' and hope that I can shut up and take notes and hopefully make some new friends that give me pause (and learn a thing or two). 

Friday, October 10, 2008

crazy times

You would have to be dead to not know what is going on in the world right now. Holy crap what a mess we are in. Luckily I didn't have any money to lose in all this chaos. Between the hate mongering of the McCain/Palin campaign, to the abject failure of our current administration, to the overwhelming sense that we American's just don't participate nearly enough in our democracy, I feel like my head might explode soon. I heard a great story by Andrei Codrescu the poet the other day, I won't dare try to paraphrase. But go check it out. I blame our level of comfort for our lack of participation. We have Wii, food in easy to prepare plastic bags, 10,000 channels on cable, unimpeded internet, hell you name it we can get it. No wonder we don't take the time to pay attention to our politicians until it is too late. Now look where we are. And, I know that in spite of my progressive bubble I live in, there are millions of Americans that can't vote for Obama purely on his skin color. That is just how shallow and pathetic so many people are. So here I sit with my music cranked up, trying to get into a cupcake state of mind, but I can't block out the inner angst, the deep disappointment that we in this place. I want to be positive, I want to believe that things are going to be different, that maybe this type of disaster is what we need to have the social revolution that will turn things around. Make us more united, and better people. That maybe, just maybe we will pay attention and realize we can't just buy crap all the time as though it will make us feel better. People, get off your asses, ride a bike, walk to the store, read the news, write a letter to the editor, call your senator, put down that remote and step away from your 52" big screen.

Thursday, October 2, 2008


I LOVE Halloween. It is one of my favorite holidays. I love candy, and I love the thought that kids dress up in costumes, roam the neighborhoods and get to ask for candy. I mean how cool is that? A celebration of creativity, and of sugar. Two of my favorite things. If it was to knock on doors and ask for baked goods, it would be perfect! So in honor of this wonderful holiday I am trying to crank through my next cupcake, a halloween cupcake. It is stripey, and orange and shades of neutral black/chocolate. I just want to work on it all day long, but alas I have a family AND I have costumes to make. Because along with my love of Halloween comes a fanatical obsession with making kick ass costumes. And yes, my kids can request anything and I will labor for months to achieve the quality of costume that has become legend in our neighborhood. I have successfully created Godzilla and baby Godzilla, Optimus Prime and Bumblebee, The Thing, Daredevil, 4 jedi's, Yoda and this year I have Darth Maul and a Jawa. Complete with glowing red eyes. Yes I have some sewing to do. But this year is easy compared to Godzilla. 

All hail Halloween, sweet, sweet halloween.

Monday, September 22, 2008

why I love Photoshop and Rain

I really love Photoshop. Now that I am working exclusively digital having migrated my work from Caran D'Ache I am falling more in love with Photoshop. I have used Photoshop for years, since version 2.0. Which was quite awhile ago mind you. And as with any good relationship we have grown together, learned each others quirks, loved each other in spite of our shortcomings and in the years have brought more to the relationship. A true give and take. It shouldn't come as any surprise that PS is delivering the goods. But let me tell you tonight I just fell a little more in love than I was already, and I really didn't think I could fall any harder. Let me explain my devotion a little better. Long posting short, I was working on cupcake 4 because I wasn't quite pleased with the color balance. So I called my art advisor in for a quick review (my 10 year old son with a smoking great eye, and a mean palette too). He made some very astute observations and within 15 minutes the cupcake went from 'nice' to 'perfect'. Rain (my son) gets credit for seeing what I was struggling with, and PS gets credit for making the adjustment so stinking simple. It was a beautiful moment. Now without further ado, look and see the difference to the left.

Monday, September 15, 2008

one more

Phew. I have one more cupcake done. I am not certain that I am all done, but I think I am mostly done. Often after I 'finish' a piece, I have to step away and come back in a day or so and see if it is really done. Use the fresh eyes to adjust colors to get maximum happiness. 

Feel free to take a peek-a-loo to the left at my lemon-y goodness cupcake.

Monday, September 8, 2008

new inspiration

Ok I have got to get my cupcakes done because I have new inspiration. On my list are funky marine animals. My family went camping last weekend on the Oregon coast and for a day trip went to the Oregon Aquarium in Newport, Oregon ( They have a very fun exhibit called 'Oddwater'. The exhibit has on display a selection of sea creatures that are just so fun, seahorses, lion fish, puffer fish, clown fish, cool jelly fish.... Long story short, they colors and shapes were so stinking cool that I am ready to get to work on tropical fish and odd sea creatures!

More to follow.

Thursday, September 4, 2008


I know this is my art blog but I can't help but comment on politics due to the current state of affairs. 

I am an artist. I am a liberal, go figure. I went to art school where we learned the rules so we could break them. I had gay friends, I saw drug use, I protested. I live in Portland, mecca of environmentalism. I have been recycling since 1984. I buy organics, I pick my own fruit and have a garden. I think you get the picture. 

What the heck is going on here? Where has everyone been the last 8 years? My income is down, jobs have been shipped overseas, (including animation/art-not just manufacturing jobs). Our environment is not doing well. The war in Iraq, do I even need to go there? Really and truly we need a revolution. Not a violent one, but a revolution of the spirit. 

Is it really so crazy to want to protect our environment, plan for future generations, innovate new fuel alternatives, waste less, take care of those who cannot care for themselves, educate the masses and be empathetic? I won't name names, but when I listen to certain parties talk they seem to paint the above ideals as somehow simple minded, and crazy. I beg to differ. I believe that our gluttonous ways and ignorant and self-righteous attitude are very contrary to the very book that these people hold so dear. Why is it that many of the very religious are less Christian than their non-religious counterparts?

As an artist, I believe in protection of rights, the right to express oneself, the right to marry whomever I want, the right to speak my mind. It is a slippery slope when rights are slowly chipped away. If McCain and Palin are elected, we can be assured that our rights to be individuals will not be defended unless we want to carry a gun and believe in very conservative Christian ideals. 

Monday, September 1, 2008

yippee and darn

Yippee school starts tomorrow. And darn, school starts tomorrow. Somewhat bittersweet. I am happy for the quiet focus I will now return to, but I am sad that summer is over and that our sweet sunshine will turn to liquid love. Drats. On the bright side I will bake more, and make more art. Locked in my studio at night. I started working on my lovely cupcakes again and am oh so excited to be back at it. Had to get through the wistful freewheeling summery days of the last few weeks. But alas, I am jonesing for some serious art time and need to get back to it. 

Sunday, August 24, 2008


As a parent I am often encouraging my kids in their endeavors. I was raised by very supportive parents who believed in me as an artist and supported every crazy idea I ever had. Including trying to house train a goat once (my dad wanted to try too). My husband by contrast had a different experience. He was told to be safe, that being a professional cyclist or a writer was too hard and unrealistic. In retrospect he has a lot of resentment of what 'wasn't'. He never really tried to do either pursuit and instead has been safe, reliable and overall unsatisfied in his career. I did follow my dreams. And continue to follow them. However, by my own measurement of success, I don't feel that I have truly accomplished that which I set out to do. He feels quite the opposite. His perspective is that I am very successful. Having been self-employed for nearly 6 years, and spending my time drawing or working creatively. Not going to work every day to a cubicle for 'the man'. This difference of opinions has caused some strife. Not that we are angry about the difference of opinion, more that it is hard for one to empathetic to another's problem when they don't see it as a problem. This brings me to the point of success. How do we measure it? Why do I feel that I am NOT successful as an artist? For me it is because the art I make, that I LOVE is not being bought or requested regularly. I do get illustration jobs, sure, but they aren't calling all the time, I still have to send off my creations and hope and pray that someone out there who buys this crap will actually want to buy mine. So in my mind, the fact that I work from home isn't enough. That I have a nice house, eat good food, have happy kids, isn't success in my mind. How messed up is that? I mean really. I find that I am not as encouraging as he is with our children. He sounds like my parents and I sound like his. This realization, has caused me to seriously reconsider my expectations. I do not want to tell anyone to play it safe, to not follow their dreams. Heck I am still following my dreams and will be chasing them to my grave. If anything I realize that I am successful. My problem is that I am not relishing the journey, participating in the experience of living my dream. That sadly I have singularly focused at some endpoint that doesn't really exist. It is a constantly moving target and that instead of aiming at that point I need to embrace the moment, and be thankful. From now on, I will be my parents to my children, I will tell them the mantra I heard through my entire childhood 'You can do anything you set your mind to". Only now I will not only believe that to be true, I will know that in spite of disappointment along the way, having a dream, chasing that dream, is far better than not having one. If you aim for the top, even if you don't get there, you will get much farther than if you just aim a nudge above the bottom. 

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

the end of summer

I know summer isn't technically over, and depending on where you live it may seem farther or nearer from ending. However here in the NW we have received our first 2 full days of rain and grey sky. Which doesn't mean summer is over, but it could mean that those glorious days of open windows, blue skies, and dry lawns are nearing an end sooner than usual. Heck it is mid August. With the end of summer comes one of my favorite things, the return of school. Don't get me wrong I love my kids, and love having them around during the summer to make me laugh. But when school starts I can get back to work. I miss it. I miss the quiet. I realize we illustrators are a lonesome sort who work from our studios, with no one to talk to for hours on end. And I like it! I like the quiet. I miss it. With summer coming to an end, I can have quiet time, and drawing time. Yes I miss the sunshine and inspiration that it brings, but I get silence which begets productivity! I can listen to music without interruption, or I can focus on that one little section of my painting that isn't quite right. I can sit and stare at the texture of the background the relationship of the colors and shapes without someone asking for something. Oh yes, summer ending is bittersweet. Our happy little ball of fire in the sky may move on to warm other parts of the earth, but as it moves it it leaves a wake of quiet that I am so excited to embrace. I can feel the rush of creation gurgling just below the surface right now!

Thursday, August 7, 2008

ode to a good friend

Before I knew that being a professional artist was wrought with righteous opinions I knew a generous soul who tutored me during High School. He was in college, and I was a Jr or Sr. I can't recall now. I know I had a crush on him, not because he was really good looking, but because he was an artist, and he believed in art, and in me. I practiced water colors with him, and we would talk about art, about Cezanne, about Van Gogh, and Bob Dylan. That was 25 plus years ago. Recently I decided to look Ronnie up, see what ever became of him. I found a newspaper article that said he had died in 2005. It broke my heart. I missed him. I missed keeping in touch, I missed telling him that I finished college, that I was surviving as an artist. So many conversations that never got said. Experiences I never got to share, (like seeing real Cezanne paintings in NY and Paris). I found a message board today, dedicated to Ronnie. I still don't know what happened to him. I just know I am sad. 

Friday, August 1, 2008

cupcake love

Well another submission has been sent to an art publisher. I have finished 3 of the 12 cupcake paintings and sent them off to the one interested party. Today was the deadline for submissions for their annual new collections review. I am trying NOT to get my hopes up, but as you can imagine even after this many years of submissions, and rejections, when there is even the slightest nibble, it is really difficult not to be hopeful. Worse case scenario, I have three really cute cupcake images, and I can keep working on the other 9. There is always room in the world for more fun art. I am posting the three finished pieces and will be adding them to my current illustration site. 

Fingers crossed.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Cupcakes keep falling on my head

Well not really. But I am cranking away on my cupcake illustrations. I like them. I would eat them. But mostly I like painting them. All the cupcakes I am painting are all digital. I eschewed the Caran D'ache, and am working in Photoshop via Wacom tablet. Transitioning from traditional mediums into painting digital feels very natural to me. The style seems to translate, the colors are a non-issue. Heck I think I like it. The upside, I have a 'no-need-to-scan' piece of art in my computer, the downside, I don't have a tangible piece of art (God forbid I don't back up my hard drive and all that dog hair starts a fire in my tower). I do love that I can try different shading and painting, without messing up my original. I also like adding and deleting elements. It really does offer a lot more flexibility. I can dig it. Check one of my finished cupcakes to the right.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

cupcakes yippee!

I recently received my second rejection, but it was more like a 'Please send us more when you create it because we really like your work'. Which is not exactly a rejection, although it isn't a 'sign the dotted line here please'. But considering the world of rejection letters, I will take it as a positive sign. 

I want to post a few cupcake sketches that I am working on. I have one colored but I don't have it saved small enough to post right now and I am too lazy to open Photoshop. So, without further ado, here are a few sketches.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

and a one and a two and a three

Several weeks ago I sent 6 or so inquiries for representation to licensing agents. So far I have 3 for 6 'no'. And surprisingly I don't feel sad. No, no I don't. After this many years, and this many no's, I sort of just feel like 'oh yeah, saw that coming'. Now don't get me wrong, I don't think that I deserve the no's. In actuality I think I deserve at least one yes. And I know that given the right product my art would sell nicely. I know that this is about business, not art. This is about making money plain and simple. And people want sure things. They want easy money. One of my rejections even told me to read a book about licensing, that he wrote. So, I bought it, (yes I gave money to one of those that say 'No'), started reading through it. This is what I thought when I started reading it: 'Man they should've used a good designer to lay this thing out'. The fonts were terrible and outdated and it looks blah. What struck me as very funny, is for a book about licensing, they used crappy art examples. Heck they couldn't even pony up to buy the rights for something decent. It was the quality of clip art from someplace like ''. Essentially the few nuggets of good information that I have gleaned, are weighted against the lack of credibility for a poorly designed book.

Long story short. To all you fellow aspiring artists, don't let the people who say No get you down. They don't define you, they don't define your art, they are just doing a job, and well, their job is to say No to most of us. And even if they said Yes, that doesn't mean they will license one piece of art that makes anyone a penny. And with that realization, I am going to scan my oh so cute 12 cupcake sketches and start working on my next group of art to be rejected. Why? Because this is for me, and I refuse to let 'the business of art'  make me stop enjoying the gift of creating pretty things. 

Tuesday, June 17, 2008


I love farmers market. I love spring with its bright colors, the fresh green and the flowers that preview summer. And now we are about to leap into summer. Thank God. I live in the Pacific Northwest and we have had a very long, very wet fall, winter and spring. I mean really wet. And did I mention cool? Snow in June up in the mountains. T-ball games snowed out in May. This week has been sunny every day and seems to be the front end of summer, and hopefully the full on grey days of the last 8 months will be behind us for at least 60 days. We can hope. With this sun I am finding my inspiration again. I seem to have misplaced it in the last 4 months. Couldn't find it anywhere. I looked in the closet, I looked under the stairs, looked in the shade garden, I even looked under the bed in that old box of stuff I save for special occasions. But alas, no inspiration. Then, while walking through farmers market with the glorious sun beaming onto our necks, I found it. sitting under one of the tarps with a fancy little sign saying 'Cupcakes'. Yes, there with the pink tulle and rainbow colored sugar sprinkles sat my inspiration. Arranged on a plain white plate, topped in mountains of icing, dotted with sugar dust. I can feel the inspiration nagging at me as I finish projects that have to be done first, and I can feel it swirling around in my stomach as I type this posting. To hell with sending that follow up email, I think I need to go sit in the sun, sketch book in my lap, and reconnect with the muse of all muses.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Keep on keeping on

I am back from New York. Of course New York was fantastic, it is such a great city. Great art, and great food, who could ask for more? 

Prior to leaving for Surtex, I launched my new illustration site. Go check it out at It is very pretty! My husband coded it and did a fantastic job making it very light weight using CSS and other acronyms that mean little to me. I do know, that it has pretty code for those who care. Now, with the site launched fresh and new. I am going to start knocking on doors, sending postcards or emails to publishers, essentially marketing. Wow, marketing my own art, what a thought. 

Surtex was full of a lot of the same stuff, same agents, and same artists. But I saw that technology is having an impact. Lots of crisp vector work, and obviously computer generated patterns, designs. Still a good dose of traditional painting, but more of the flat colors, stylized, contemporary work. I saw the same broad trend in the National Stationery Show. Lots of minimalist, 2D, flat shapes and embellishments. Not a lot of painterly work in the Stationery Show, by far less than Surtex. The painterly work I saw was not traditional, lots of bright palette work. So, this can be good for those of us who work with a painterly quality, or it can be bad because the market wants Ikea, stylized design!

Next steps. Send submissions, find new markets, knock on doors. 

Monday, April 21, 2008

finding time

As an artist and mom, one of the hardest things to get is time. I seem to always be pushing up against a deadline. Be it personal or business. I find now I like to look through my own old sketch books for inspiration. Sometimes because I just don't have time to look elsewhere. Other times, because I have so many unrealized images yet to be created. But how do I find more time for art, for new ideas? I don't really know. Or even to create the ones I already have?