Thursday, August 15, 2013

Scratching Out A Living

These are little 2"x2" Ampersand Art Stampbords that I've turned into scratchboard using black Sumi ink. I packed a bunch of these into my suitcase before taking off for a 'vacation' in the Boston area. Really good friends needed a house/dog sitter and so they flew me out here (awesome!) to spend a week with Ruby (who one of many dogs in the Dog Scratchin' book) All I have to do is walk/feed/love on her and make sure the house stays intact. I'm staying an extra week to hang out and visit with them, such a bonus. I've been scratchin' away while watching my friend's most excellent collection of videos and TV shows...binge watching ho! I used to live in Boston so there's not that much that I haven't seen here--I'm just hunkered down in Revere, reading, scratchin' watching movies, walking the dog. It's a really nice getaway with no pressure to go anywhere or be anything. That's my idea of a perfect vacation.
I've got 28 of these laid out. I'll add color when I get back to the home studio.
Mostly what I've been doing is trying to figure out a better way to make a living doing what I love.  I used to love construction/plumbing and I made a pretty good living doing that. The past twelve years I've focused more on the art and while it has been extremely satisfying, the money part has always been a scramble with some years better than others. Last year was good, mostly because of the Dog Scratchin' book. I expect this year to be as good via the Cat Scratchin' book. Next year, there will be a new book, new art. And I hope to be doing it in a little Minnie Winnie or some other RV type vehicle. I'm ready to sell the house, release myself from some possessions and hit the road, while I can. I plan to keep a few home base cities, because, let's face it, I need a bank account and some kind of address. Plus there's the whole health care thing. I've got a good doctor and with the thyroid cancer history, I must be just a bit responsible. (and I need the damn meds)
Besides all that, I've got to make money, honey. These little 2"x2" original scratchboards will be made into pins or magnets or both. Fun little, inexpensive art pieces that I hope to sell at a few art shows and in my etsy shop. My friend here thinks more galleries is the answer. What do you think? I can't keep up with the two I'm in. What I've found is if you're not in the same city or area and don't make regular visits, your art isn't displayed or sold. So unless I can pop from one gallery to the next (and maybe I can once I get the RV) I must find a way to promote and market myself, which is something I really would rather not do. Oh damn it...

Monday, August 5, 2013

Happy To Say I'm Working Harder Than Ever!

These are just a few of the little tabletop sculptures I've been making to sell in my etsy shop, and at the Eye of the Dog Art Center Holiday Show in November, plus I just applied to The Little Craft Show here in Fayetteville. That one is in December and I sure hope I make the cut. They have a lot of folks applying and limited space for what I've heard is a fabulous show.
Big thanks to my pal Michelle M who bought two of the little birds from the etsy shop yesterday. It was a quick shot in the arm and bank account for me. I spent most of the day yesterday in the garage making lots of sawdust. Using up my pile of vintage wood makes me so happy. It's good, good therapy. It's a better day here in LindaLand.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

July Is The Cruelest Month

I've just come through what has been the darkest July I've ever had. (I'm sure there may have been darker times in my life, but this is the most recent, most painful one so let's leave it at that.) There wasn't any one thing that I can put my finger on and say, "This is it, that's what's causing all of this crap!"  No, just a general feeling of sadness, and failure, and even loss of faith in the path I'm on. Good god. Or maybe not good god. Art sales have been slow, and I haven't had any 'mailbox money' in a while. I'm not destitute yet, but have been feeling like something must change, and soon.  Last night I was even searching want ads to see if any jobs were out there for this 58 year old broke down woman contractor/artist without a college degree. Wah-- Poor me....right? Well, this morning I woke up and took a little ride on my bicycle and thought some things through. (it was a beautiful ride) I'm closer to having a plan of positive action now. I'm sure I'll keep all and any of you folks who read this blog posted, because I'm a sharing kind of gal. The last few months I had pretty much given up and had been feeling discouraged about my path. This is interesting because during that time I've also finished up the Cat Scratchin' book and sent it off to the designer, and had a successful little poster project fund on kickstarter. Go figure. None of that seemed to matter when I was feeling lowest. That's how it works I guess, the spiral down into that dimly lit cellar of hopelessness. Don't worry, I'm on my way back up now. I guess I had to fall down and get scuffed up a bit so I would figure out a different way to achieve the things I wish to do. Ultimately what I realized was that I could get a regular 'day job' (or two or three) and hate every minute of it, or do what it is I feel I'm meant to do and just love doing it, most of the time. I'm choosing love. It's going to be a little more work, but I'm pretty sure it's worth it. And I've been doing it for the past twelve years so why give up now?
The above photo is a fabulous mixed media sculpture (reflective traffic/construction materials etc...) hanging on the wall at the Hive restaurant at the 21C Museum Hotel in Bentonville, Arkansas. I went there last week and had lunch with a good friend and then we went on to Crystal Bridges to see the Angels and Tomboys exhibit. The food was good. The exhibit was ok, I wish there would've been more Tomboys, but that's just me. I thought it was kind of a weak show. (Great classical paintings, but give me 20th and 21st Century art any day of the week and I'm happy.)
Ok, here's my message for today; Don't give up...just don't.