Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Post-Thanksgiving Thangs

Oh my gosh. Where do I even start? So as of last time, I had fallen off the wagon with my 40 Works in 40 Days project... due to stress, worries, self-doubt, blah blah blah. Life is a learning experience and I feel like sometimes we get this picture in our head about how certain things will go. Then when they don't go that way, we get upset. Angry. Disappointed. We dwell. We kick and scream. When I started that project, I envisioned 40 perfect days, creating a new original every day and all the while smiling and knowing that art is what I am meant to do in life. Well, then life happened. But instead of kicking and screaming and feeling like a failure, after many days of not following my plan, I simply started again. Expect the unexpected. When things don't go the way you thought, make it work the way they end up going. Getting mad and frustrated solves nothing. I sometimes babysit for two little girls; they are four and two. Last Saturday when I was watching them, they asked me, "Why don't you get mad?" So I asked them, "Does getting mad fix anything?" And at four years old and two years old, they both actually thought about it and both said, "No." So come on adults, let's remember that.

Anyway,  I rant a lot lately. So last Wednesday, the day before Thanksgiving, I started my project again. Here is Wednesday's (Day 19) piece:

After creating that, I drove home. To my parents' house. To the knowledge that I had to drop the bomb on them that I quit my job back on September 6th in order to pursue a career in art. It was honestly all I could think about. I didn't know when I would tell them, or how. So Wednesday night went by, then Thanksgiving morning, then the cooking of the amazing Thanksgiving dinner that my mom prepares (my mom is the best cook in the world... sorry other moms. she is unbeatable). Then we had dinner. 

Then after dinner, my dad and brothers started clearing dishes as my mom and I talked and the words just flew out of my mouth... "I quit my job." My mom blinked, looked shocked, and said, "What?" And I repeated, "I quit my job." And she said, "Oh... Like this week?" And I said, "No... like on September 6." She asked a couple questions, I gave a couple answers, and she kind of smiled and shook her head and said, "You know what I tell people about you? I tell them you are like the wind. That wherever life takes you, you will make something of it. I don't worry about you." And of course I cried. Like a lot. I don't know why I had all this fear and these doubts and horrible visions of being kicked out of the house on Thanksgiving day. Even though we are different in a lot of ways, my mom is my mom. She knows me in ways that no one else does, in ways that I probably don't even know myself. And she will always support me, no matter what. I love my mom. 

Yeah so I could ramble about that for about 20,000 words, but instead, let's jump to Day 20, which was the Saturday I came back home. Honestly, speaking, I was out of glue and had to improvise on what I was doing. Here is what I came up with:

If anyone is looking for some beautiful music to listen to, check out A Fine Frenzy. My two favorite songs (I am new to them so haven't heard everything) are You Picked Me and Ashes and Wine. Their music is so beautiful and haunting, and they just build and build and build. Great art-making music in my opinion. They are the inspiration for the text in Day 20's work.

Day 21 was Sunday, and after honestly kind of half-assedly drawing a henna-embellished earth, I got an idea for a new piece which I just finished tonight. Here is Day 21:

Okay, yes. I was still out of glue on Sunday. I have never paid such close attention to money and what I spend and what I need as of lately. It honestly makes me wonder what in the hell I used to waste my paychecks on when I was working the 9-5. Again, thing #3423423432 I have learned from quitting my job and doing this. So yeah, no glue. And I really like how little things like that force you to change your process. Because let's face it, I usually glue anything within reach to my work to make it as busy as possible. This was not possible on Sunday. After drawing the earth, little lightbulbs went off and sparked an idea for a new piece. I just finished that piece tonight and I'm not gonna lie... I love it. I don't hang my own art in my home because for some reason it seems weird to me. But I want to hang this print somewhere:

Simply put, most people walk outside to their cars, to the store, to the mailbox, wherever. And they don't notice anything. They just know they are going to the mailbox then going inside. They don't notice that on their way, the leaves on a tree have started to change, or there are baby birds in a nest, or there are particularly beautiful clouds in the sky. There are a countless number of little things that anyone could notice if they would just pay attention and look. The world is so beautiful and whatever I can do to help people to look closer is a win in my book :) 

Of course all this stuff is available in my Etsy shop.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012


So, remember The Real World? On MTV? I'm not talking about nowadays, where it's full of, um, sexually focused early-20-somethings who look like they just stepped out of a modeling shoot and could really use a sandwich. I'm talking about the early years of The Real World. You know, when the people were... real. And they had that convenient little room where everyone could go and talk to a camera, spill their guts, free their mind: the confessional. I always loved the idea of the confessional, as I think a lot of artists do. For some artists, their work itself is their confessional. They can depict in-your-face pieces that practically scream the point that's trying to be made. Or, they can create a cryptic type of message that only they understand, and that art every art critic who analyzes their work will read a different way. Or perhaps they have art journals. Sketchbooks. Diaries. Places that they can really spill anything, everything, or nothing. And not have to worry about anyone seeing... ever.

I feel like my 40 Works in 40 Days project has been my confessional since I started it. My way on channeling my constant and relentless angst/doubt/worry about whatever the hell it is that I'm doing. I quit a job that had a comfortable salary, one that not only paid my bills but allowed me to have a decent-sized cushion to go out, have dinner, buy drinks, live life. I left that in order to pursue an art career that is still in its infancy with no guaranteed income whatsoever. I did it because it just felt right. It felt like something I was meant to do and I have never been one to question instinct, especially not when it's this strong.

Then last week, well, I fell off the wagon. After day 18, I just kind of stopped. Not because I was out of ideas or because I didn't feel like creating anything; in fact I believe the new prints I added to my Etsy shop over these past few days is as many as four? I can't explain it, but since my reasoning and feelings behind this project were all about perseverance and believing in your dreams, the fact that I was doubting mine created an instantaneous brick wall that stood between day 18 and day 19.... then just didn't budge.

And at first I felt guilty and like a quitter, but now I'm seeing this as just another bump in the road. I guarantee that if you interview any successful artist, their story will have pitfalls. Pitfalls that deserve to be recognized, learned from, and moved on from. If this stuff, going out on a limb and trying to live your dream, was easy then everyone would do it. So cliche, but so true. And not that I wouldn't appreciate the outcome of living my dream if the path in fact was easy, but the fact that it's been so damn hard will make that end results even more amazing.

Uhhh so yes I am being melodramatic. Fully aware. I think I've done more thinking in the past couple months than I have in the past couple years. In any case, I'm picking myself up and dusting off and I'm going to keep going. I'm going to create 40 works in 40 days, they just won't be consecutive! Tomorrow will be day 19. I am going to make some art, then drive home to my parents' house. At some point, I am going to tell them I quit my job to pursue an art career, which they will not be happy about. But it's time to face the music and come clean. This is my dream and I'm not going to be ashamed of it. Then I'm going to eat a lot of amazing food because my mother is arguably the best cook on the face of this planet. Don't even get me started on her gravy; it's to die for. Hopefully she is not too mad at me to let me help her make it like I usually do. Then I'm going to come back to my apartment and my studio and Friday is going to be day 20 and I'm going forward. Where the second half of this will take me? I honestly have no clue. Here's what I know:

1) I am participating in my very first arts festival on December 1; I have my own booth and am SO EXCITED. I even got one of those Squared credit card readers. The thought of mingling with other artists/members of the handmade movement?? Amazing.

2) I'm still looking for a bartending/serving job because the one I got called me Friday saying they overhired and did not need me anyone (example 342342342 of what caused my mental breakdown this past week). But things happen for a reason, and that reason will be revealed at some point.

3) On Sunday I'm meeting the kids of an awesome couple looking for a twice a week nanny. They have three boys, all under the age of three! I worked at a preschool during and after college, so the thought of potentially helping this family makes me crazy happy.

4) I am scared to death to tell my parents about quitting my job. No matter how independent and self-sufficient you are (I'm both to the extreme), you still want your parents to be proud of you. I just want them to understand that I'm trying to do something great.

5) I know that I appreciate the encouragement and support of the people I have met through Blogger, Etsy, Flickr, Instagram, and Facebook more than words could ever say. It makes me get all emotional to talk about it in depth, so just know that I appreciate you. It's an electric feeling that just cannot be described, aside from powerful and surreal. I'm just some crazy 29 year old from Ohio who has some crazy big dreams and an impulsive and intuitive nature... yet there are people who I have never met in person who support me. I'm smiling and shaking my head right now just thinking about it. Thank you.

6) I know it must be close to Thanksgiving because I'm more melodramatic than usual! Hope everyone has a beautiful Thanksgiving, please be safe if you are battling the Black Friday crowds (I will be doing so with a girl I used to babysit when her mom did Black Friday!!), and remember to be thankful for every silly little thing that you can possibly think of :)

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

These Days

Oh yes, that happy little print is the direct result of me feeding my Photoshop addiction for about three hours today. I have so many scraps of patterns and small illustrations that I have been working on lately (which is awesome... my studio is bursting with art) so why not combine a bunch to make a cute print with a good message? Prints available HERE.

So it's Wednesday. Usually in my mind, Wednesdays were good, especially Wednesday nights. More than halfway through the work week. You can see the light at the end of the tunnel. Now Wednesday is just Wednesday. It's another day, another opportunity, to make something beautiful. I love that.

But... speaking of jobs... I got one. Yes, I bit the bullet and interviewed for a bartending job at a fun Irish pub that's just about a ten minute walk from my apartment. It kind of annoyed me that the ad said that they were hiring bartenders, yet when I was interviewed I was told that everyone has to start as a server first, pretty much to prove themselves. I get that, but say that in the ad. In any case, I'm excited for a lot of reasons. Firstly of course because it will be nice to have a guaranteed source of income that comes from a (hopefully) non-stressful workplace. Secondly, it gets kind of lonely around here sometimes. I see my friends a lot in the evenings, and I love being able to hang out in my yoga pants and paint and draw all day, but I'm a social person and just miss having people to constantly chat with. Thirdly, I honestly miss working in the service industry. Sure it can be thankless work and you get the occasional people who treat you like you are the dirt on the bottom of their shoe, but after a while, that stuff doesn't bother you. So if anyone reading this happens to live in Columbus, you can come and find me at The Three Legged Mare in the Arena District :)

I'm starting to get nervous about Thanksgiving. That's when I'm planning on telling my parents about quitting my job. Maybe they already know; I'm not sure. I may have to tell them before that because I start work on Monday and don't know if I will have to work Wednesday night. Ugh. The fact that a handful of people who I know very well and are generally open-minded individuals have made a few backhanded comments to me about how I'm "not really working" makes me nervous. If they don't understand, how will my insanely conventional parents handle this?

Oh well. Can't worry about that now. All I want to be focusing on is success and doing what I have to do to make this work. 

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Days 17 & 18

Wow... it has been a busy weekend. I honestly have not yet started on today's work! It's 12:39am, to technically it's Day 20... whoops :)

BUT, lots of great things have happened. I joined a gym. My will to go running every day has been severely dampened by colder weather (although it was 65 today!!). I am an admitted fair-weather runner. Therefore if it's not early spring or late fall, chances that I actually make it on a run are pretty pitiful. If I am paying for a gym membership (which I probably can't afford, but the gym I joined is only $21 a month... check out Planet Fitness if you are looking for a cheap but non-ghetto gym) then that might be better motivation to actually go. Due to my ramen noodle 100% carbs all day every day diet, my pants have tightened up a bit. Sweet. Hopefully a few weeks at the gym can remedy that issue... since I also cannot afford new pants.

Since it was beautiful outside today, the decision was made to finally pull up all my flowers. This year was a little different though... because last year after my flowers were pulled out, I created this art journal page spread:

It's kind of hard to read, but in the green part at the bottom it says, "I always get so sad when the time comes to pull out my flowers for the season... But today all I could think about was where I'll be when I plant next seasons!" At this time last year, I was already planning on quitting my day job. Wasn't exactly sure how it was going to happen, but I knew that art would make a way. June 1 was the date I had initially made my cutoff date. A summer off sounded lovely :) Of course then life happened, things got delayed, and when I was planting my flowers in May I kept telling myself, "When these babies come out of the ground, my job will no longer be sitting behind a desk for 8 hours a day, fielding complaints, getting bitched at, feeling unsuccessful and stuck... but my job would be sitting in my studio, flourishing. 

So I got a bit emotional today, and did a lot of random smiling too, while I got my garden ready for the winter. While the money definitely is far from flourishing, the art is. I'm going to another interview tomorrow, this time at a really cool Irish pub that is a ten minute walk from my house and in a very safe and nice part of downtown Columbus. My fingers are crossed about this one, something feels right about it. 

Anyway, enough rambling. I need to wrap this up so I can get to work. Here are days 17 and 18....

Day 17

Day 18

Again with the fanciful/embellished/pretty stuff. People can say what they want. I love it all. Give me flowers and lace and jewels any day; that stuff will never disappear from my artwork. Tonight's work will probably look fairly similar, as I have a pile of "leftovers" from the past few days that are begging to be brought to life. Hope everyone had a beautiful weekend, happy Veterans Day to those who have served, and here is to another amazing week of doing our thing, whatever that may be :)

Saturday, November 10, 2012

40 Works in 40 Days - Days 14-16

Heeeeere we go....

Day 14. I've been really into portraits lately. When you start exploring the different ways to embellish them, there really are an endless number of possibilities. I've been doing work like this since college; I'm not too sure what it is I love about making them. Perhaps simply a love for fancy things :)

Day 15. I honestly just let this one create itself. Sometimes it's funny to see what the mind comes up with when you just don't think and start working. I wasn't too sure how I felt about it at first, especially after gluing the circles... but then decided to just go with it and that whatever manifests will be beautiful because it was borne from the subconscious. Looking at it now, it seems kind of sad, gloomy, rainy... or maybe calming? Not too sure. Pretty sure tonight's work is going to follow this same idea... just start working and see what happens.

Day 16. This was Thursday, and for whatever reason, that was one of those days where my mind is just all over the place. I took a long, nighttime walk and thought about a lot of things. Then I went out with a friend and partied like a 21 year old. When I was little, I was pretty fascinated with the idea of the phoenix. I was a cheerleader (sshhh... don't tell anyone) and one of the teams from a nearby town (Phoenix, NY) was called "The Firebirds." Their uniforms were orange and black and I remember being sooo jealous of their name because it just sounded really cool. In college, I babysat for a family with two kids who were waaaaay above average when it came to intelligence and both were insanely artistic, especially the older child, Rebecca. I have a drawing from when she was maybe 5 that you wouldn't believe. I should share it sometime. But she was also fascinated with the idea of the phoenix... a bird that burst into flames and then is reborn from its own ashes. It's a cool idea, right? Maybe I'm just a huge dork. But when I sat looking at the fiery colors I had laid down as the background of this page, the subject of the drawing seemed obvious. 

Today is Day 18. Hard to believe I am almost halfway through, and even harder to believe the growing pile of crazy art I have sitting on my table. And even harder to believe that soon it will have doubled in size! 

I love art.

Kitties & Wine

Constantly keeping the creative flow going has my head filled with a million things I want to get down on paper. I have always loved art nouveau/art deco vintage prints, like those of Alphonse Mucha, Leonetto Cappiello, and Henri de Toulouse Lautrec... So I decided to create one of my own featuring two of my favorite things: kitties & wine :)

8 x 10 prints available for $18 HERE

11 x 14 prints available for $25 HERE.

40 Works in 40 Days - Days 11-13

-Power went out last night in the middle of this post... thank the lord for autosave!!-

One would think that since I no longer have a day job, I would be better about blog posts! I have had so much stuff to work on lately, which is tricky for me... due to my scattered and indecisive nature. I'm the type of person that will start working on Thing 1, then get an idea bout Thing 2 that cannot be ignored, start on that, then see Thing 3 and Thing 4 in a pile on the floor and instantly feel the need to make progress on them, then agree to begin a project involving Thing 5... and I digress.

However, through my frantic working on multiple things at once, I have kept up with my 40 Works in 40 Days promise/project :) Without further adieu, here are days 11-13:

Day 11. I was feeling pretty angsty this day if I remember correctly. For me, nothing cures angst/anger/frustration like some good old-fashioned paint flinging. To create this work, I opened my junk drawer and started randomly pulling things out and frantically gluing them to the paper. After I had created the amount of layers I was after, I took out a spray bottle filled with water and soaked the entire page. Next, I started flinging watercolor, acrylic paint, and alcohol ink. Lastly, I poured salt over the entire mess. Adding salt to watercolor and/or acrylic can create a crystalized look. Definitely try experimenting with that; all you need is good old Morton salt. Lastly, I drew some flowers with a black pigment marker, then added highlights with a white paint marker. This was a fun piece to make and simply reminds me of joy :)

Day 12. I have always been in love with the idea of creating a realistic-esque portrait, then just going to town with as many details and embellishments and decorative elements as possible. That's where I went with Day 12's work. I opened a pencil case that hadn't been opened since I was in college, took out the most amazing fat 2B pencil I could find, and drew a portrait. Then it got a little crazy, with watercolor flowers, leaves, and a beautiful mess of doodles :)

Day 13. More experimenting with this one. First I did a watercolor wash in sunset-inspired colors. We have been having some of the most amazing sunsets lately here in Columbus. Next, I stood on a chair and dripped alcohol ink onto the paper. I wanted to see if dripping from high up did anything different... and it did. It's hard to see in the scan, but there are teeny tiny confetti-like splashes all over the place. It looks really cool in person. 

Cannot wait to post the next three days!! Thankfully the power is back this morning with no sign of a storm in sight. It was so weird to have a thunderstorm last night... in the middle of November! 

Oh, and about the job interview. I am guessing they went with someone else, because I never got a phone call. However, I was actually at the place I applied at on Thursday for their Columbus-famous Ladies 80's night. Somewhere in the artificial smoke, loud music, flashing strobe lights, and creepy drunk men, I decided that it's for the best that I visit that bar only as a patron and not a drink-slinger. 

Going to take a break from art right now and actually join a gym. I have found that a steady diet of Ramen noodles does not agree with my figure... I tried to put on some pants on Thursday night (it's weird for me to stray from my usual attire of yoga pants and t-shirts lately) and they were TIGHT. I about died. Again, since I'm not spending upwards of 9 hours a day working/commuting to work, I can spend an hour or two (or three might be necessary...) at the gym. 

Looking forward to scanning in and posting more work later :)

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Days 9 and 10 - 40 Works In 40 Days Project

Have I mentioned how much I have learned from doing this project? So today was day 11, but I fell behind earlier this week and wanted to post day 8 by itself (it meant a lot to me). Days 9 and 10 just so happen to go together, so they are being posted now. Doing this has made me want to experiment with different techniques and ideas, something I probably wouldn't normally do. Especially not on a daily basis. 

I am an admitted cat lady, so on day 9 I felt like I wanted to make a kind of boho kitty. It's hard for me sometimes to find a stopping point when it comes to art; I just want to keep adding and adding and adding. This got me in hot water many-a-times in college, because many of my professors would berate me for having work that was too "busy." While I could have easily been adding stuff to boho kitty, I decided to stop. And you know what? I like it! So the next day (day 10... I really need to be better about posting on the actual day), I took that idea further and stopped waaaaaaaaaay before I normally would, just to see what would happen. And what happened? I liked it!

This experimentation is so important to me. It's something that maybe every artist should do. That's why I believe art journals are so important; just try stuff out. What's the worst that could happen? You don't like something, and no one will ever see or know? From personal experience, I know that I ended up being so happy with some of my art journal pages that I wished they had been done on canvas... and they were ALL created almost subconsciously, with ZERO worry about the end product. 

For the one millionth time, today has been one of those days where I am grateful beyond words to be a creatively driven person.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Day 8 - 40 Works In 40 Days

Oh lord, I've gotten behind with my posting. Today is Day 10 of my 40 Works In 40 Days project, but I still haven't posted days 8 or 9. I actually wanted to post day 8 by itself because it was pretty significant to me. So this is about day 8, which was Wednesday October 31. Halloween. 

I have mentioned lately about my worries about my job-quitting-decision/situation/money a million times over. It has been something I have not been able to shake. I wake up in the middle of the night thinking about how if I had just toughed it out at my day job, I would have all this money to pay all my bills and buy things and put money in savings and life would be great. But then I think about the person that that job was turning me into and it helps ease the thoughts about money. My worrying has obstructed my creative process in a HUGE way. How can creative thoughts flow freely when a thousand worries are flying around your head at warp speed? They just can't. 

So on Halloween, way late into the night, I started making a list. I made a list first (and most important by far) of things I was grateful for. Even stupid things, like finding a quarter on the ground that allowed me to complete a full cycle of laundry. Life is about the little things. Then I made a list of things I did not miss about my day job and about the bitchy (sorry, don't mean to offend anyone) person it had turned me into. 

Then I decided to start on my day 8 art. So for the past few weeks or so, I have been working on multiple logos for people who have contacted me saying they like my work and want me to design a logo for them. Maybe one of the most flattering things ever. So I said yes to all of them. First thing I've learned: take a deposit. Because some not-so-awesome people just take your design and disappear. Neat! Too bad for them I have a close friend who is an attorney and emails count as a contract. Second thing I learned: I don't think logos are for me. While I try to have thick skin, when someone returns your design to you upwards of 20 times asking for changes/alterations/remove this/add that... it really makes you doubt your abilities. I don't like it. I work like an explosion and don't like anyone telling me what to do and not do.

Aaaanyway, back to day 8. After making "the list," I flung paint and ink EVERYWHERE because I was so frustrated about EVERYTHING. And by everywhere I mean I'm pretty sure I lost the security deposit I put down on this apartment, if I ever decide to move. After that, I decided to use some of the inspiration/sketches from various logo projects. Just glue them down and make marks and paint stuff and not worry about what people think. It felt amazing. 

Random sidenote: if anyone recognizes the face in this work, it's from a sketch from a clothing line project I've been working on whose owner is amazing and exempt from my rants :)

So if you are still reading (yes I know I'm long-winded), after I went to sleep on day 8 and woke up on day 9, I decided to stop worrying about EVERYTHING. No matter what happens, I will be fine. The purpose of this project was to make me think and make me realize that I want this SO BADLY. So yesterday and today, the floodgates have opened and I cannot create art fast enough. It's almost 1am and I am already excited to wake up tomorrow and start on the things that I won't have time to finish today. 

Here are a couple works that were borne once I removed my negative thoughts:

Both of course available in my Etsy shop. But the ideas I have are pouring out like a dam is breaking, like what happened when I very first quit my job, before all the worrying set in. It's like I'm renewing my faith in why I know this will work. 

Sometimes I feel like I'm the crappiest most wannabe blogger ever because so much stuff goes on in my head and I try to talk about it and people just must think, "What the hell?" But I guess that's just me. I'm the idiot who quit my job with the comfortable salary to live a zero-guarantee life of making and selling things that I create. 

I know that I'm not an idiot. But everyone has inner battles. This project (and also the job-quitting experience) has taught me more since September 7 than I have learned in my entire 29 years of existence.