Wednesday, 27 February 2013

My inner demon has reared it's ugly head! Time to look back over the month...

Well, it's coming up to the end of February which means that I have been working on this whole 'trying-to-make-a-living-from-my-art' thing properly for about a month and I think I need to stop and review what I have actually done. I've slept badly the last few nights (always do when Chris is away) and today the nasty little demon that sits on my shoulder whispering 'You can't do this' has reared it's ugly little head (I'm starting to feel like I've spent a lot of time in front of my computer but that I've not really achieved very much!) so instead of listening to it and having a wobble I'm going to stop and review what I've actually done! When I was at Uni I was taught the importance of reflection...of taking the time to review how you have spent your time, what that has achieved and what changes, if any, you are going to make to your behaviour/process going forward. So, given that I'm feeling a bit...., I thought I would do just that and actually write down what I have done so far (See, I do it may take me some time but I do get there eventually :-D). 

Right! I currently have five pictures in an exhibition, have received two commissions (I have not advertised my 'Family Home' and 'Family Tree' pictures officially yet so I am over the moon that I have secured two already), have worked out how I'm going to present my images, sourced proper ink and paper so I can make my own prints, have successfully made two prints (It was a bit trial and error but I got there), have done a ton of research which led to a change in my pricing and have started to update the listings I already have in my etsy shop. I have also been involved in running a creative workshop for people who have dementia and have written a report based on my experience of the workshop comparing it with the information I found when I undertook the literature review on arts & dementia. (It was the first time I've had the opportunity to combine my outreach work with my artwork and I loved every single second of it! The participants were working with clay and I watched them transform over the two hours we were there. As their confidence grew, they went from quiet and, in some cases, pretty withdrawn to laughing, joking and encouraging each other. It was fab and I learned a lot about running an art workshop from the experience which will definitely help me when it comes to planning and running my own).

I'm really glad I decided to write this cause reading that's actually quite a lot! (Ha, not so smug now are you Mr Nasty Demon?) (Note to blog readers: Yes, I am aware that I am now talking to my imaginary demon...please just ignore it and move on!). My goal was to have all the images on my etsy site up by now and because I'm not even close to that, as I said, I was feeling like I'd spent a lot of time in front of the computer but hadn't really much to show for it! Thinking about it can I run my shop if my pricing is wrong and I don't have the ability to produce what I'm selling? The answer to that is I can't! I have to recognise that the admin side of things is particularly heavy at the moment because I'm trying to sort out all the images. The downside of having a backlog of 70+ pictures is that I have a backlog of 70+ pictures!! Once they are up then I will be adding new art work as I go along and won't have to face such a mammoth task again but, like these things often do, it's taking me a lot longer to get it all done than I expected! But, you know what, that's ok...I am having to get to grips with new technology and software as well as having to frame each piece so it has a 'lifestyle' shot (Apparently people need to see a picture framed before they can imagine it on their wall at home). I just need to make sure that I balance my time going forward.

This has been a very good exercise for me...perhaps I should write regular monthly updates so I can follow my progress and evaluate whether I am actually making good use of my time or not!

Wow, a serious post! Don't worry...normal service will soon be resumed :-)

*goes off feeling sooooo much better than she did when she started writing this*

Monday, 25 February 2013

My Work Space

My Dad has just bought a house in Spain which I've not seen yet and last week he posted a picture of his office on Facebook. I LOVE seeing photo's of people's work spaces...I find them interesting, intriguing and inspiring. I like the fact that, when I think of that person at work, I have a mental image of where they are. So, with that in mind, I thought I would share a few pictures of my own.

Welcome to my humble, and slightly chaotic, abode. 

I am sat here right now

and all I need to do is turn my chair round and I can work at my drawing table :-)

No idea what my work space says about me but I thought I would share it anyway!

Friday, 22 February 2013

It worked!!

It worked!?

My cunning plan to be able to produce my own prints actually worked!!


I'm donating a couple of my pictures to a charity exhibition and the theme is 'Contrast'. I decided to try out my new technology and my snazzy new paper (It's all singing and all dancing...been developed for museum archives and is specifically designed for fine art prints dontcha know) then the plan was, if it all worked, to frame them for the exhibition. 

and it worked!!

Cloaked Woman


I am really pleased with how they turned out! I actually like them so much that I'm thinking of putting them up on my own wall!! (That NEVER happens!!)

Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Cowpit Yow

So I had a long, and very silly, conversation with my best mate the other day and when I told him I had drawn a pink sheep for my blog he immediately started laughing and asked 'Was it a cowpit yow?'. Now, those of you not from Scotland will have absolutely no idea what he just asked so I shall explain...

The word 'Cowpit' in Scotland means to fall over (You can also use 'Cowp' to mean throw away. e.g. 'I'm going to cowp that CD cause I don't like the band anymore'). As you all know a ewe is a female sheep but in parts of Scotland this is pronounced as 'Yow' (Sounds like Pow only with a Y). Soooo, a cowpit yow is literally a female sheep which has fallen over.

When we moved from Glasgow to the small village I spent most of my childhood in I learned of this concept and was absolutely fascinated by it! Every single landscape I drew...for years...had a cowpit yow in one of the fields! So just for is my updated version :-)

Thursday, 14 February 2013

Pink Sheep

It's been a long time since I participated in a bloggy 'Answer these questions' thing *grins* but my lovely blog friend Mel has sent me some questions...and I'm kinda looking forward to this one since it means I can display pink sheep...AND....because I like the idea of pink sheep I just HAD to have a go at drawing one! (I can resist everything except temptation!)

Here are the questions and my answers to them (and my pink sheep)...

How do you celebrate your favorite holiday?
I'm not entirely sure I have a 'favourite' (It's has a U in it!! *laughs*) holiday. I guess if I did it would probably be Christmas...not for the religious aspect (I'm not religious in the slightest) but because it means that I get to spend a few uninterrupted days with lovely hubby (I know...pass the nearest sick bucket!).

What unique tradition have you developed in your family (past or present)?
Hubby and I now spend Christmas on our driving for 7 hours (on a good day) up to Scotland to see the family, no running around trying to fit everyone in and no stress. We get up, have Bellini's with smoked salmon and cream cheese with a glass of champagne (would be rude not to!), open our presents, have another glass of champagne, then it's time for Chris's home made pea and ham soup (which is AMAZING), have a break from eating and perhaps a glass of wine, then we have our roast with all the trimmings, have a break from eating and perhaps another glass of wine (are you seeing a pattern forming?), have dessert which is usually individual pavlovas with hot, honey drizzled, plums, have a break from eating and then perhaps some wine, discuss having cheese course and end up laughing cause we always buy really nice cheese but never eat it on Christmas day cause we're always too full :-D. So I guess that's our lots of yummy cheese for Christmas dinner but NEVER eat it on Christmas Day.

What's on your nightstand by your side of the bed?
I have a jewelery stand that is made from bent forks which is covered in bracelets etc
A mini shoe where my rings live
A hand made, wooden, buck toothed rabbit with HUGE ears...just cause
A wee wooden head with a big nose that I put my glasses on when I go to sleep
A gorgeous acid etched metal picture of honesty that my best mate gave me
A couple of random books (these change)
and a lamp
(and sometimes an empty wine glass if we've decided to watch a movie in bed)

How many tries does it take you before you actually thread a needle?
*laughs* too many to count! I try the 'cut the end of the thread and try to put it through' method followed by the 'Suck the end of the thread into a point then try to put it through' method followed by  'fold it round the needle then try to thread the loop through' method followed by the "how the hell is this wee fiddly metal thing with the loop supposed to help you thread a needle" method usually followed by some swearing and then I repeat the process until needle is finally threaded!

One quirky thing you embrace as uniquely YOU?
Big chunky rings...I am drawn to them like a moth to a flame! I LOVE big chunky rings and wear one pretty much every day (seriously, they are often so big that I have to take them off to type!)

A worry that paralyzed you, then or now?
When I was younger I got into quite a lot of debt...well, when I say I, I really mean my boyfriend at the time got me into a lot of debt...but I let him do it so I have to accept my share of the responsibility. I used to lie in bed at night fretting and plotting about how I was going to get myself out of it and I used to be terrified of opening the post cause I knew it would be another bill that I wouldn't be able to pay. It got so bad that at one point I was making a tin of beans last me two days and was walking into work cause I couldn't afford the tube fare. In the end my Dad helped sort out the mess, we sold my flat and we were able to pay off everything that I owed...I was lucky! It was one of the most awful periods of my life but it was a lesson well learnt....I've never been in dept since.

Which parent can YOU hear when you say something today?
BOTH!! *laughs* I am doomed!!

When do you consider it 'late at night'?
Erm, I'm not sure to be honest! If left to my own devices I would be a sleep late - work until the wee small hours kinda gal but since the rest of the world doesn't operate like that I get up when Chris does and I try to stop work when he comes home. Soooo if operating on my time then 'late at night' would probably be about 1am but if operating on everyone elses time then 'late at night' would probably be about 11pm. I would never call someone at that time of night so I'll use that as my gauge!

How do you respond when someone hurts your feelings?
Depends. I will rarely say anything at the time but will wait and then talk to them about it when it's just us. I do it calmly (and usually quite casually) and I explain why what they said hurt...that then gives them an opportunity to explain what they meant. Sometimes it can be a case of a misunderstanding but usually it's unintentional and the person that hurt me didn't realise that it was a subject that I am sensitive about. Occasionally it will be because someone is hurting themselves and are lashing which case I suck it up....recognise it for what it is and let it go. If it is someone who is intentionally trying to hurt me then I walk is too short to be around people that make you feel like shit! As my Gran would say 'Stay away from people who trouble the soul'.

What are two staples you can't run out of? And (LORD help us all....) what happens if you DO run out of them?
Wine and chocolate *laughs* that would be a disaster!! There is not much that can't be solved with wine and chocolate...ok, so maybe not solved BUT they do make you feel a bit better and they are always good to have in case you have a friend in need!

And finally--WHO do you need to say "I love you" to, today.....go do that and report back!
Ha, I've already told my lovely Hubby that I love him today. I tell him every day! Today we were tickling each other in the kitchen before he left for work and were both laughing...I gave him a big hug and told him I loved him (Now where did I put that sick bucket? *goes off to look for it*)

Wednesday, 13 February 2013

I'm Back *waves*

Boy I needed that!! After a year of posting every day I needed a break...needed to NOT feel like I HAD to post something and now after, what?, a month and a half? I finally feel ready to face my lovely wee blog again. Cause it is just kinda had it's 'this is a chore' moments and I had to step away so that I could love it again!

Sooooo, I did it...I actually managed to create something every single day for an entire year. Am I proud of myself? Well, yes I am a bit, cause at times it really wasn't easy, but posting the last one on NYE was a bit of an anticlimax. It could have been because I had full blown flu (yep, snotters everywhere, hot and cold sweats, throat like broken glass....the whole kit and caboodle!) or it could have been cause I was left with a 'What next?' feeling. I'm not entirely sure I've worked out 'What next?' BUT

I have spent my month and a half making some big decisions and I've decided to take the bull by the horns and try and earn a living from my art! *gulps*. I've gone through all my pictures from the last year and have picked out the ones I thought were the best...then my friend gave me a slap (not an actual one) and added a whole load more that I'd rejected! Sheesh...she is rather bossy that friend of mine but she told me in no uncertain terms that I was in no position to make decisions on whether my work was 'good' or not! Then I scanned...and scanned...and scanned...did I mention that I did some scanning? Cause I did you know...lots of scanning! And then I had a meeting...a big scary one...where I took my work and showed it to an Art know...someone that didn't need to be nice about my work...AND she was nice! In fact she was nicer than nice...commented that if it wasn't just after Christmas she would have commissioned me to do a piece for her!! How exciting is that!?

So here's what I'm going to be doing

- Updating my Etsy shop to incorporate the best of last years pictures (Still working on getting all the images looking as good as I can...since it's all image based that's kinda important)
- Sorting out my pricing cause I've really not got that right
- Offering 'Family Tree' or 'Tree of Life' commissions (No-one else, that I have found, is offering anything similar which should be a good thing for me!)
- Creating three workshops based on my 'Family Tree' illustrations - one for a morning, one for a day and one for a weekend which I will be paid for delivering at a local (and prestigious) Art Centre
- Exhibiting 5 pieces at Npower for Charity
- Illustrating a book of short stories
- Visiting a local Care Home and working with another artist
- Exhibiting at the Art Centre's Christmas Fair

What I might be doing
- A 'Tree of Life' Commission for a 50th birthday
- A 'Tree of Life' workshop at a private school

Still waiting to hear about those! So, as you can see, I've been busy!

Oh, and I did this illustration for the lovely DJ