Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Visit US on Black Friday

Landscape Study #300, 5"x7", Oil on Cradled Panel, 2010

I am an equal opportunity shopper so I am not going to tell anyone here not to spend your money during this shopping season at a mall or at a big box store because sometimes ya just need a big bag of socks and there is nowhere else to find one, even though I am currently boycotting Target, hate Walmart and only go there if I am ABSOLUTELY desperate and there is not even a Kmart within an hour of here either.

Oops, I digress.

But I do hope that you will at least spread your money around and help support artists and craftspeople who pour their hearts into making things while often barely making a living wage at it. Electronics are nice, and I like a good new gizmo almost as much as the next person, but ultimately my most cherished gifts have been the crazy little ceramic pots/sculptures/collages/picture frames/other not quite identifiable objects that my kids have made for me, the earrings that a friend made for me, a necklace made by another friend. My husband has given me wonderful gifts over the years such as a beautiful woodcut by an artist friend of ours from Utah, a painting by an illustrator that I idolized when I was in college. Even though the computer Doug gave me one year was awesome! amazing! useful! and crashed within 2 years! I would ultimately prefer my art collection if I had to choose between the two.

So please visit my little gathering of artist friends at The Fine Art Department and also at the Small Art Showcase; between the two collections you are bound to find something beautiful and creative to give your loved ones, your friends, coworkers, and/or yourself!

I would also like to pass along more links to some other sites:

My old friend (and I mean that literally, we were co-barflies back in Philly in the late 80's, which now makes us old friends) Charlie has gained quite a following on Facebook and Twitter with his unique observations on life and has now put them on shirts, bags, etc at Shot of Wry.

I have never met Sarah in person, but she is a very good friend of Charlie and his wife Cecily who was also my co-barfly and best friend back in the 80's. One of Sarah's photographs hangs in my living room and I often spend some time with it, soaking in the sadness and beauty.

Lately I have been wearing more wood shavings from the hen house than jewelry and in fact I went so long without even putting on a pair of earrings that I had to recently "re pierce" the holes in my ears that I have had since I was thirteen, but that hasn't stopped me from drooling over quite a few items on this Etsy page. I may just have to forward this page to my husband so that he will be able to more easily do HIS holiday shopping this year, heh.

Two of my very good friends in real life make wonderful one of kind, "upcycled" jewelry and clothing, although lately I am seeing way more jewelry at Quirky Works than clothing. If you come to visit our town, you will see that EVERYONE is wearing their creations! Oh and you can like them on Facebook to receive updates.

Julie worked at the gallery in NYC that represented me for about a year and a half before they closed (STILL devastated about that, btw) however I was lucky enough to have made two lasting friendships (the other being the gallery owner) during that time and Julie might currently be my leading collector of small format paintings. Anyway, she has an Etsy page and makes the most wonderful cross stitched ornaments. Go see.....

And the other day I asked for links on my public facebook page and believe you me, there is a TON of shopping to do in the comments section of that post!

Ok, that should be enough to get you started. And please, PLEASE, if you make handmade arts/crafts and have a sales site or know someone who does, post the link in the comment section here. Now don't be shy about it, I WANT you to be able to show your work and now's the time to be flaunting it posting it......

So have a good turkey day in between all this shopping! I will be taking a vacation form my blog, BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

I'll Miss You, Tom Butter;)

Magenta Pool, 18"x18" Oil on Wood Panel, 2010

Sadly, I have finally decided that I just really can't go to the Vermont Studio Center this January. It truly pains me because one of the visiting artists that month is Tom Butter, who was also one of my teachers about 25 years ago at the Philadelphia College of Art. I was thrilled when I noticed that he was scheduled to be at VSC during January which is about the only month out of the whole year that I can actually get away from here to go there and was SO looking forward to seeing him and also getting his feedback on my work these days. He was one of my favorite teachers mostly because even though I was an interloper in the painting department (an illustrator crossing over) he took me seriously unlike some of the other painting instructors who shall remain nameless. Well, mostly because I can't recall their names anymore, but whatever. However, at least Tom and I can be Facebook friends, there is always Facebook, I guess.......

Anyway, besides Tom being there, I also wanted to go because I have some plans for some new work in mind and being at a residency is such a good place to focus on new ideas. Or get really confused about what to do. Either is fine; as both are valuable processes. I will just have to settle for trying to get started on those new things here at home and hopefully will have made some progress before January 2012 which is when I have rescheduled my residency.

So I will stay home and paint. I will also prove how grown up I have become by using my residency funds for upcoming expenses, including two crowns I need and that our dental insurance probably won't pay for, and also by staying home with the kids while Doug does some traveling for his business. Evidently. we aren't supposed to leave kids home alone even if two of them would really enjoy that, heh.

And the sliver of the bright side here (besides new crowns) is that it may be better for me to skip a year anyway. As much as I enjoy those residencies, they are also kind of intense, and so I think I should take a bit more time in between.

But still, bleh. I am kinda bummed out about this today......

Monday, November 8, 2010

Golden Oldies

Pink Tree Up Front, 2007, Oil on Wood Panel, 16"x20"

I have spent the last few days sorting through my inventory and my studio is still a mess with bubble wrap strewn around and piles of oddball paintings everywhere. But it is a huge relief to have reorganized my inventory cabinet even if I did miss out on a beautiful weekend outside and all the raking and gardening too. Heh.

It took me several hours to go through all the paintings, recording them, rewrapping and reorganizing them so they would be all neat and orderly in the cabinet and I was heading towards a funk when I started to see just how much unsold work I have on hand. Yikes! It was only a few years ago almost everything I painted was selling and even though I have been painting far fewer landscapes in the last 2+ years, evidently I am still too prolific for the current economy.

But as each group of paintings were spread out on the table, I realized that I was looking at work that was so colorful and expressive and well, accomplished. So my potential funk turned into pride that I could have created such things and now I am now feeling even more determined to find their people.

I ended up adding almost 40 pieces to my 'Available Work' page on my website and alas, that does not include everything that I have on hand. It also does not include any of the 'People You Know' paintings, none of which have sold, but I have some different ideas in mind for that series. Anyway, I am not planning to sell this available work directly (the prices listed are gallery prices), mostly I think this page will be a good resource for the galleries that represent me.

However, this does bring me to a question for those of you who have gallery representation. What do YOU do with older work that hasn't sold? I am firm in not selling around my galleries (particularly at lower prices, which is a real no-no) but then I end up with so much work on hand. It would be very helpful for all of us, I think, to hear how others have handled this situation.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Tracyland is Back

Landscape Study #281, 5"x3" Oil on Cradled Panel, 2010

And so all of a sudden I am feeling a renewed energy and enthusiasm about everything; painting, marketing my work, reading, knitting, cleaning the house and even weeding and clearing out the dumb stupid messy gardens for the winter (which I have been very UNinterested in, lately). This enthusiasm is also extending to wanting to be a better blogger. Still not sure that I have as much to say as I used to, but I am going to keep trying. Just don't expect too much depth here for awhile, k??

It's no secret here that I have been struggling a bit with various things in the last year or two; a normal part of growing up, I think. Heh. Some of that has had to do with the crappy economy and the closing of several galleries that had been representing my work. However, I am not entirely blaming the economy for the slow down in sales, which has been even worse for me during this last year, because I have also neglected opportunities to be getting my work out there too. And part of THAT has been due to my being somewhat burned out on painting landscapes (which is what sells) and pursuing other subject matter such as the 'People You Know' series (which DON'T sell) and well, just being in flux as far as which directions to take, in life as well as in painting.

However, reality has helped to shake me out of this flux. We need more income what with looming college tuition (x3), various camps and programs that Doug and I really feel that our kids need right now in order to balance out living in this very small and sheltered environment, not to mention just keeping up with the money pit (our house and the barn is becoming very needy too). Doug's company is doing ok, but since they sell stuff, it is also vulnerable to the whims of the economy. Mostly though, I seem to be the weak link around here lately. With some additional effort I can earn more as an artist than I can in either of the two available jobs that I am not even qualified for in our little town, so more painting and much more marketing it is!

I am currently in the process of sorting through all my available inventory and have begun posting those works on my website. I have made a proposal to a local company (which I will not talk about again in order to NOT jinx it). I have been compiling a list of galleries and museums to stalk pursue and am in the midst of putting together my info to send out to them. I have also made a rather reluctant decision to publicize my sales blog, just a little bit. In normal times I probably wouldn't do that because I have preferred keeping that low key so as not to interfere with my gallery work. However, the sales of the small format paintings have been paying the bills lately so for the time being, I am going to be a painting pusher. heh.

I am starting to feel the same excitement that I did seven years ago when I began painting again and was trying to get something going. I am thankful that have so much more experience (and collectors!) this time though and I hope that will help balance out the whole crappy economy thing, just a little bit at least. However, even though I have pursued some things recently that I have declined to do before, such as selling my work myself and having a booth at a local Harvest Festival, I am still being very careful about my decisions and am continuing to stay firm on my long range goals.

So that means no Tracyland reality art show, folks. Although, now that I think about it, that would be a good name for one. hmmmm........