Acrylic abstract triptych, 20" x 20" each.
20" x 60" on canvas.
My biggest project this month has been redoing and consolidating my website. You might be surprised to learn I have eleven different websites. This includes my blogs. And it's completely ridiculous.
So how in the heck do I even begin to consolidate?
First things first. I have slowly been building a new website to replace the one I have had for years on the iweb platform. Why? Because Apple dropped the iweb platform three years ago. I was pretty upset when they did it and can't believe it took me three years to make the change. I am almost ready to flip the switch to this website on a permanent basis. Yay!
So what about all of my other websites? I tend to do a lot of different things in the art world. I also love website design and I guess I thought I needed a different site for all of my projects. Hence I have sites for the 30 in 30, the Artists Helping Artists radio show, my online web building classes called webinARTs, my online classes, my Monday Open studio, etc. OMG.
So I am slowly bring all of these sites under the umbrella of this website. In some cases I will continue to use a separate website but put the links at the top of this site. In other cases I am painfully starting over and rebuilding the information here.
I also bought two more domains yesterday. They are abstractart.works and paletteknifeart.works. When you click on them they both redirect you to this site. It is a lot easier to tell someone to go to abstractart.works than trying to expect someone will remember how to spell my last name!
Are you thinking you need to create or update your art website? In a few weeks I will be launching my all new online website building class webinARTs. The webinARTs class is for artists wanted to build their own website and for all of you looking for a website face-lift. The class covers how to create a website from start to finish. Specifically it includes basic navigation, selecting or changing the theme, changing colors and fonts, adding a blog (or transferring one that you already have), building an online store, adding videos, adding html, adding followers and linking it with your domain name. You will be able to build a website using a beautiful template and I think you will be amazed how easy it is. It's all based on the "drag and drop" concept! The class includes more videos than you will ever need and you will have access to the class for at least two years. There is even an updates section to cover updates with the website builder software.
More info and specifics about webinARTs coming shortly. I promise!
Acrylic diptych, 20" x 24" each.
I have been sending out a newsletter for years. And it is a fact that every newsletter I have sent out has resulted in a sale. I have sold paintings, workshops, calendars and lots of other great things. I am batting 100% when it comes to results from my newsletter. So then that leads me to my #1 dilemma. Why the heck have I not managed to send out a newsletter every month?
I know it makes no sense. And it's really dumb. To make it worse, in the months when I do send out a newsletter I often find myself sending it out on the last day of the month. Pathetic.
I think they call it procrastination. Although in my defense I am pretty busy and don't have a lot of free time to sit down and actually write a newsletter. But still, that's no excuse.
So I have a a new goal. I am going to send out not one but two newsletters. (Yes, I know this makes no sense. I can barely send out one newsletter a month so now I am going to try to send out two. Hmmm.) The first will be sent out to all of my subscribers who are on my newsletter list. And that newsletter will be sent out on or near the 15th of the month. The second newsletter will be tailored to interior designers (and others who are in this same client category). This newsletter will focus on my abstract paintings (and commissions) and will be uniquely created for a different audience. This one will go out by the 20th of the month.
There will be no exceptions. I mean it. Wish me luck. Although tomorrow is already the 15th. OMG.
And if you aren't sending out a newsletter you should seriously consider starting now.
** I wanted to let you know I found my chair and ottoman today! I opened up craig's list and found the perfect antique chair and ottoman for $30. The best part? The seller was less than 3 miles away. Now I just need to make a slipcover ...
Yep, that's me. I am definitely a canvas hoarder. Prior to building the storage system above, my canvases were all over my studio, our house and the attic. Painting abstracts really brought massive disorganization to the Carriage House. And I desperately needed a solution to my problem.
My canvas hoarding problem started with the great sale prices at Jerry's Artarama and Michael's. Once I figured out the high quality canvases at Michaels were frequently on sale for 50% off and there was often another 20% off sale prices coupon that could also be used ... well, I was in trouble. 70% off was too good to pass up. Especially on the 48" x 48" and other really big canvases. If you add in the need for thirty large canvases during the Thirty Paintings in 30 Days Challenge then you will understand my need for lots of canvases. Well, kind of.
So that's my story. Canvas hoarder I am.
Little did I know how important the two inch clearance off the floor would be in the flood last week! We will pretend I planned it that way.
I promised to share lots of tips in my blog. So you will see this graphic when it's time for me to share some of my favorite apps. I use apps on my iphone and macbook computer all of the time! Recently I have discovered two new apps that I love!!!
The first is called trello. Trello is the free, flexible, and visual way to organize anything with anyone. You can drop the lengthly email threads, out of date spreadsheets, no-longer-sticky-notes, and clunky software for managing your projects. Trello lets you see everything about your project in a single glance. It also synchs between your phone and ipad and computer automaticallly. I know what you are thinking - "what, doesn't she use a memo book"? I do but trello is working quite well. If it works as well in two months as it does after one week then I just might have to make a big switch.
The other new app that I love is called MILEIQ. It's a fabulous app that tracks your mileage business expenses. It does it automatically every time you ride in a car. All you have to do is swipe the mileage summary one way for personal or the other way for business and that's it! My accountant told me I needed more business expenses and this is going to make it so easy. This is an app every artist needs! It's free up to a certain number of trips otherwise you can buy it for one year. I am pretty sure this app will pay for itself in one week.
I am not sure if you walk really fast if it will track that too. I will let you know.
Sometime unexpected things happen that cause you to "reorganize" your studio. I had a flood this week and after frantically moving everything out of harms way, today was the day to put it all back together again. We flew home from Salt Lake City early this morning and I spent the entire day organizing and cleaning and throwing stuff away. It sure is a great feeling to be done. Well, almost ...
My studio was in need of an overhaul and there were quite a few things that needed to be "relocated" to our attic upstairs. So I made some plans and went at it! No need to hit the treadmill today.
One thing I have wanted for quite some time in my studio is a cozy chair and ottoman. I have wanted a spot to relax and enjoy creative thinking, brainstorming and reading. I have hesitated to put a chair in my studio because I teach a lot of workshops and a lot of space is taken up with easels and other teaching accessories. But I came up with a hanging solution for the easels and now I have lots more floor space! If anybody in Southern California has a slipcovered chair and ottoman, please let me know!
I also went through all of my drawers and reorganized and "thinned" a few things. Old paintings and items not needed in the last year are now gone. Thank heavens.
I replaced a few light bulbs and added some new extension chords (ruined by the rain water) and switched all of my computers around. The desktop (which was in my studio) is now in my office and one of my laptops is in the studio to take it's place. The printer is hooked up and working (the wireless never worked) and the the old tubes of paint have been properly been disposed of. I even have lights for all of my easels!
The other big project I have been working on is setting up a VPN (virtual private network) so that all my computers can communicate and share documents. I also uploaded over 50,000 photos to icloud and the new Apple Photos program. Soon all of my computers will be able to access my photos via the cloud. The reason why I say "soon" is because it has taken a week to upload 25,000 photos. I only have 25,000 more to go. (But I did fee up 250 gigs of storage on my laptop which now works a lot faster.)
I still have a few more things to tackle but I have to get back to painting or else I will have nothing to post for the 30 in 30. And yes, the photo up top is from the first day I moved in to the Carriage House five years ago. It was too dark to take a photo tonight.
I would love to hear about any of your studio makeovers!
I cannot believe it was a year ago this week that I painted my first abstract painting. I actually painted thirty abstracts last January in the 30 in 30 Paintings Challenge. I was even scared. What if I failed? What if I embarrassed myself? I struggled and created some pretty pathetic abstracts in early January of 2015. I kind of laugh about it now. My failures pushed me to paint and practice more. Being scared can be a good thing. I think it keeps you motivated and helps you stay on track.
The good news is that in less than a year I have made a lot of progress! I fine tuned my painting process, established a fun way to paint abstract commissions and developed a great client base of interior designers and clients. I am also offering online abstract classes and three day abstract painting workshops. I can't believe how lucky I am. And truly ... what a difference a year makes.
When was the last time you tried something new? The new year might be a good time to branch out and try something new. I talked for years about painting abstracts and finally took the plunge. What is it that you would like to try that's new and different with your art?
Acrylic, 36" x 36"
The number one question I am asked time and time again is "how do you get so many things done and stay so calm?". It's easy. I write everything down.
First, I want to clarify that I don't get that much done. Ok, maybe more than most but it often feels like I should do more. I have so many ideas and plans for my life that I don't want to miss out. And I don't think I will as long as I write it all down.
I get stressed when I worry that I won't remember to do something. I am always afraid I may forget one Thursday morning that I have to host the AHA show. But since I have not forgotten yet (in five and a half years) that system seems to be working ok.
So where do I write everything down? I use two different "things". The majority of my to do's are in my memo book. The others are in my phone in my "Notes" app. I also set appointments in my phone with alarms for things like the AHA show and any appointments or online marketing consultations. They are set to remind me an hour in advance just in case ...
At night, the last thing I do is pull out my memo book and add anything that is on my mind, whether it is a crazy idea or something I need to accomplish on my to do list. Once is it written in the book then I am guaranteed a restful night's sleep. Of course I usually don't need more than six hours sleep which technically gives me two extra hours every day!
It's time to end this blog post as I have got to go and find my memo book. That's occasionally an issue around here. The good news is it's got to be in my office or my studio or my bedroom. So I know it can't be too hard to find.
Acrylic Abstract, 36" x 48"
My to-do list this week isn't quite as bad as last week. However, there are a few "carryovers" on the list. And yes, you figured it out. Carry-overs and things from last week that I am now going to finish this week. It happens all of the time.
So here is the list:
1. Paint everyday and try really hard to get ahead in the 30 in 30.
2. De-Stanford my house (from the new years rose bowl celebrations).
3. Paint my 9th, 10th and 11th 30 in 30 paintings in advance. Dave and I are heading to Salt Lake City this weekend to watch our son play volleyball. I don't think it would be possible to paint abstracts in our hotel so I must get these paintings done in advance.
4. Write the AHA show notes. Post and publicize show.
5. Host the AHA show on Thursday morning.
6. Finish my webinARTs online web building course.
7. Finish filming my January online abstract painting class. Launch on Monday (1/4) by noon.
8. Organize my studio. (It's a total disaster after yesterday's flood!!!)
9. Update all of my online abstract sales sites with new paintings.
Wish me luck.
I am always on the lookout for fun items that can enhance my art business. Earlier this year I designed a handpainted canvas bag. I know what you are thinking ... "Why on earth did she do that?" I promise I had a good reason! I applied earlier this year to be a vendor at the 2016 Pasadena Showcase house and they encouraged me to have a wide variety of merchandise available, i.e. not just paintings. They emphasized different price points (which really means lesser priced items). So I hand-painted canvas fabric. I used stencils for the design on some of the bags and painted the canvas with a brush and fabric paint. I purchased the stencils on Amazon but really wished I had been able to paint my own designs. I hand sewed the canvas and made these bags with zippers, lining, embroidered tags and a piece of seaglass on the zipper pull.
The biggest issue with the bags was sewing them. I am a very good seamstress (in my previous life, which is referred to as BA (before art), I made my own wedding dress and used to regularly sew coats and complete outfits on a regular basis.) So a canvas bag shouldn't be that hard, right? It wasn't that hard, but very time consuming. It took me forever! I made 20 sample bags and really like how they came out but the labor was crazy. Fortunately my cost of goods to make the bags is low (other than the sewing labor!!!) so if I decide to pursue them I will head to the LA garment district and find someone to sew them for me. There is no possible way I can sew all of these myself.
I did some research about designing my own stencils and came across a really cool product called a Silhouette Cameo. Here is where I found it on Amazon Silhouette Cameo -- Starter Bundle. It's basically a printer that cuts (and prints). It makes perfect stencils and was exactly what I needed. I put it on my Christmas list and am happy to say that I must have been good this year because I got one!
(At this time I should probably come clean and say that I had already taken all of the tutorials on the internet to learn the software and ordered (and received) a few accessories for the machine even before it appeared under the tree on Christmas morning.)
I made ten 12" x 12" stencils yesterday and I can't wait to paint some of the fabric. I am thrilled the designs are my own now that I have the new stencils cut with my new Silhouette machine. And the reason for the stencils instead of hand painting each bag? So that eventually someone else can help paint/stencil my designs on the canvas. (Please note, this is a very important thing. As artists we can rarely delegate. Anytime you can figure out a way to delegate, then do it.)
Offering merchandise that enhances your art (especially at different price points) makes a lot of sense. Anytime you can expand your client base you are creating potential buyers long term for your art. Be thinking about offering prints, calendars and all of the "print on demand" options that don't require you to do more than upload a photo. Because using a sewing machine should be out of the question. Trust me.
I have a lot of great workshops scheduled in 2016. I will be teaching in Cape Cod, Richmond, Atlanta, South Pasadena and Ventura. Click here for more information!
I am also offering Online Studio painting classes every month. Join me each month as we paint traditional oil paintings and abstract paintings with a palette knife. Click here to sign up.
45" x 30"
Learn how to paint this painting in my 2016 January online abstract class!
In case you missed it, three years ago I decided that I needed to paint more. So I decided to challenge myself to paint thirty paintings in 30 days in January of 2013. I happened to mention that I was going to do this on my weekly radio show Artists Helping Artists. The next thing I know there were hundreds of artists doing the challenge with me. Which, by the way, is really cool.
Since this is my seventh 30 in 30 Challenge (I host it every January and September) I thought I would pass on a few tips about how one can manage to paint thirty paintings in thirty days and still remain sane, in a relationship and happy.
First off, you need to know the challenge changed my painting career. I learn more during these months than any other time of the year. It forces you to become organized, focused, driven and productive. It's hard but it's the best thing I have ever done. And here are my survival tips.
1. Pick a theme. The reason you want a theme is it keeps you more focused. My best theme by far was "Thirty Things You Don't Know About Me". That year I had every painting planned out before the month even started. I even had ten of my blog posts written before the Challenge started.
2. Get organized. You need supplies and you need to know what you are going to paint, at least a week in advance. If you walk in to your studio with no clue on day one then you will be in trouble. Make sure you have canvas, paint, wet wipes, brushes, palette knives, paper towels, etc.
3. Cheat. I know you are thinking, WHAT???? The purpose of the Challenge is to paint. That doesn't mean you can only paint one painting a day from the 1st to the 30th day of the month. Life gets in the way. So if you have to start early or paint more than one painting a day then do it. It doesn't matter. And if you miss a day it is not the end of the challenge. No one cares. (And you are the only one who will even notice.) Last September my teaching schedule required that I would be home only five days in the entire month. Since I was painting large abstracts the entire time I painted at least half of my paintings the last 15 days in August. I had no choice and it worked out just fine. (I did paint the rest of my paintings while traveling in what I referred to as my "traveling studios". The most interesting location was painting in the alleyway behind my son's apartment in Washington DC.)
4. Don't completely ignore your loved ones. You are going to be really busy for the entire month. And a few things will have to suffer. The first things are usually cleaning and cooking dinner. I get emails all month long about this. But the good news? I can't tell you how many artists have written me that the 30 in 30 changed their lives because their spouses started cooking dinner and helping pick up the slack. One artist in particular mentioned that her husband had finally learned how to load the dishwasher. So this could be a really good thing.
5. Don't give up. I think the first few days are tough for those who have trouble uploading their photos on my blog. Sadly a few quit the challenge at that point. It drives me crazy because the challenge is about painting and not uploading. You will get the hang of it within the first few days so hang in there. The Challenge gets hardest at about Day 17. The novelty has worn off, you are tired and you start to ask yourself why in the heck you are doing this. The good news is that you have already developed a lot of great habits, you have become more focused and painting everyday is a lot easier. I think the biggest reason people don't stay with the challenge is when unexpected things get in the way. If you miss a day then just paint the next day. If you know in advance you are going to miss a day then paint ahead. Just hang with it because you will be very glad you did on January 31st.
6. Be realistic. Don't take on paintings that are too complicated or too large. Keep it simple. Paint thirty studies. Paint thirty really small paintings.
7. Hang in there. Remind yourself everyday that this is a great thing you are doing. And realize that things like frustration, lack of confidence and doubt are totally normal.
8. Try something new. This is a perfect time to try new things. Try a new medium or new subject matter or pick up a new tool (like a palette knife). Then try something else a few days later.
9. Tell the world what you are doing. Painting thirty paintings in 30 days is cool. So you need to talk about it on social media and your blog (if you have one). Post your paintings everyday. Create some hype. You will be happy with the results.
10. Have fun. This challenge is all about having fun. So don't forget to laugh and enjoy the journey. That's what art is all about!
Mom. Wife. Artist. Marketer. Teacher. Radio Show Host.
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