Saturday, December 25, 2010

And so this is Christmas, and what have you done?

Another year over, and a new one just begun.* 
Soon it will be 2011.  The future is here. Or it will be! There will be lists, resolutions and promises.  For ourselves and others.  I haven't made a new year resolution for a long long time.  I've always felt my birthday was a more appropriate time to think about bettering myself.  But this year, being unemployed and without much of a plan, it seems like good time for lists and resolutions, plans and goals.  It's been a long time since I've sat down with myself to discuss such things.  I've been floating along, mostly letting things happen to me since my ridiculously late bloomer graduation from college.  I was 35 in 2005 when I graduated with my bachelors of Interior Architecture from the University of Oregon.  Just to clarify, this is my only degree.

I think it's a great time to make long term goals, that I haven't thought about for a long time.  The goal for a lot of interior designers and architects over the last 3 years has basically been to keep their jobs.  I made it pretty far. But now I need to step up and take control of my future.  I've been working toward being a full time artist my entire life, from what I can tell.  This seems like a good time to move forward with that plan.  If, and/or when, a "real" job presents it's self, there will be decisions to be made.  Until then I need to figure out how to pay my bills, save for retirement, travel and maybe even eat a little cheese along the way, all by creating art.  Oh, and selling it!

I'll be spending a few days with some family and friends over the next week but I'll be back in 2011, if not before!  Until we meet again I leave you with this haiku that is my anthem:

It's almost monday
Putting my hope into art
I get back freedom


*Happy Christmas (The War is Over)
Artist: John Lennon
Album: Shaved Fish or Imagine
Year: 1971
 
And so this is Christmas, and what have you done?
Another year over, and a new one just begun.
And so this is Christmas, I hope you have fun,
The near and the dear ones, the old and the young.

A very Merry Christmas,
And a Happy New Year.
Let’s hope it’s a good one,
Without any fear.

And so this is Christmas, for weak and for strong,
For rich and for poor ones, the road is so long.
And so happy Christmas, for black and for white,
For yellow and red ones, let’s stop all the fight.
A very Merry Christmas,
And a Happy New Year.
Let’s hope it’s a good one,
Without any fear.

So this is Christmas, and what have you done?
Another year over, and a new one just begun.
And so happy Christmas, I hope you have fun,
The near and the dear ones, the old and the young.

A very Merry Christmas,
And a Happy New Year.
Let’s hope it’s a good one,
Without any fear.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Time Flies When You're Having Fun!

Week 7 day 4. I'm starting to think I can't actually calculate time passed properly.

Soooo, remember when I said I was putting myself on a diet? A time diet?  Well, that hasn't exactly happened.  What has happened is, I'm spending 75% * of my day on marketing and research. Leaving me only 25% * for the creating and making of new art! Which is my actual goal. Well, my actual goal is to make enough money with my art to not have to work a "normal" 8 - 5 office job. and of course to not be on the unemployment dole.  In the mean time, between marketing, making art and filing unemployment claims, I am looking for a "real" job.

I sent out more resume's this week, multiple times.  Only to discover that I have a couple of really silly typos!  Even after having multiple people proof this thing!  Retail was missing it's a.  And Senior, as in older than 55, was spelled Senoir. Sounds like the Spanish word for men.  Which it is possible that I have done work in both the Retil fields and housing for Spanish men. EXCEPT it's actually spelled seƱor.  Those errors have since been corrected.  

It also turns out that the unemployment office pretty much told me I'd be stupid for taking any temporary contract jobs, as I would not qualify for their self employment programs and would loose all chances for future claims if needed. They then advised me that I could go to college, after which I advised them I already had 50K in student loan debt and that I didn't think it was actually a good idea to go back for more debt. "Oh! You've already been to college?" Why yes, yes I have.  And so have all the other laid off architects and interior designers! Grrrr.  

Back to making art!  I think while I'm trying to get my Etsy store off the ground making art 50% of the time and marketing the other 50% seems reasonable.  Although I'm not sure where my painting fits in here. But that's an entirely different battle.  Although, I don't think Etsy is the correct venue for portraits and nudes, but I could be wrong.  For now those paintings remain here!

The Plan! Monday Wed. and Fridays are mostly marketing days and the rest of the days will be for creating! Marketing includes photographing and posting new items.  I think this is a doable plan. Structure is good, it holds things up.  I learned that in college.  Said with a sarcastic tone directed at the University of Oregon's Architecture program.  But hey, I am the one that picked that program, so I can't blame them for everything.  I'll blame my mom for the rest! haha

Tomorrow is christmas eve, and although I have plenty of art and Japanese souvenirs to give, I still have to decide who's getting what and wrap them.

Curious Doodles Calander - Portland Oregon



Happy holidays everyone!  No matter what you believe or where you live I wish you a wondrous and happiness filled 2011!




* I like to make up/estimate percentages. They may or may not be quite accurate, apparently, much like my calculation of passing days.






Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Cigar Box Paintings: First Attempt!

Cigar Box Paintings: First Attempt!: "Set up - Getting Started I had paint left over from Tuesday night session so I used that. I'm not sure the kitchen table is the best ste..."

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Tactile

I've been thinking about the holiday party circa 1998 where the managers decorated paper plates that represented each of the employees.  I wish I had it.  My plate, as best as I can remember, was as follows:  barbed wire drawn around the outside, inside soft white fluffy cotton and inside was very nice red plush fabric. I do love a good piece of fabric!

Otherwise, I'm somewhat of a cold fish, as I self described to my friend the other day and represented by the barbed wire.  We were having a conversation about how different people express their love for others and how they feel loved.  But that's a completely different kind of conversation.  but so I don't leave you hanging the typical styles are:  words of affirmation, quality time, receiving gifts, acts of service, and physical touch.  Here's a quick quiz if you are not sure. It's meant for married couples but I think it applies to all relationships!

Now getting to the point of this!  In this world of the over stimulating internet, we sometimes forget how real things feel in our hands.  A gritty newspaper, and hand written letter on lovely paper, or a piece of clothing left behind by a lover or friend.   The internet is a cold fish.  It's flat. We can't touch the things on the screen, or smell them or understand their dimensionality.  Our eyes are full but our hands empty.  Except for the plastic of the keyboard.  Art that we can touch, smell, move from room to room is more important now then ever before.  Are we in danger of digitizing all of our friends and family too? Replacing actual conversations with wall posts?

I was recently reminded of the joy I find in creating art with others. Saturday was spent conducting a printmaking workshop teaching and creating with lovely people I enjoy.  Sunday morning I spent painting with two good friends, and while none of us walked out with a masterpiece, we all walked out with new information, with an added understanding and compassion for each other.  And most importantly with the happiness that only creating art with good friends can provide. 

Many of my friends value quality time as the ideal act of love/friendship.  The good news here, for the unemployed, is time is what we have to give!  For my other friends they get art!  Art that I made with love and happiness in my heart.

What's all this happiness talk I've been having?  It's slightly disturbing to me as well, but a great burden has been removed from my soul.  Like a square peg no longer being jammed in to a round hole.  I no longer go to a place that made me feel like a piece of cheap fabric left out in the sun too long. Faded and tired with nothing left to offer.

So, during this time of holiday cheer I give you the gift art! Art for the hands, for the eyes, and the soul! 
I'll make it for you, I'll make it with you, or best yet I'll teach you how to make it yourself!

Monday, December 20, 2010

We Put Birds on Things!

This quote is going to be over used in no time but for now, it's funnily stuck in my head! Someday it won't be funny.  If you don't what it's from you are either not living in Portland or don't have a Facebook account.  It's a 6 part short-based comedy series called Portlandia.  Created, written and starting Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein.  It debuts January 21st on IFC. "Each episode's character-based shorts draw viewers into "Portlandia," the creators' dreamy and absurd rendering of Portland, Oregon."

There are a couple of things about these trailers that have really hit home. 1. Portland is a place where young people go to retire.  2. The dream of the 90's is alive in Portland.   I like thinking I'm retired.  Though typically when people retire there is some form of retirement income slated.  I'm not sure my measly weakly unemployment checks count.  But the dream is totally alive, maybe not exactly how the writers intended. but since I was cheated out of actually living during the 90's this makes sense to me.  but enough about this.

In other news!  My Kristie portrait was accepted into a show!  It opens on January 7th 2011 6 -9 at the CODA gallery. Mark your callenders now!  You can also FB like them if you are so inclined and can rsvp to the opening!





Printmaking was successful this weekend too!  Although I am remiss for not taking photos of the art or the fun!  Also had a great painting session with two dear painting friends, gift exchange and holiday pizza!  I received the above lovely framed linocut and a very adorable cigar box painting set up! 

And speaking of unemployment, I just had the most unpleasant convo with a representative that was less then helpful explaining just how contract work affects unemployment benefits.

And now some holiday lunch with a lovely dog loving tile rep!


Thursday, December 16, 2010

Where the Streets Have No Names





Chief Collaborator and kitty friend - Thai!
I know all the neighboorhood kitties by name.  They use my garden path aka the Kitty Cat Highway.  They go to and fro, sometimes acknowledging me, sometimes not.  I often threaten them with a toll.  But, as they have pointed out, kitties don't have pockets for change.

I've set up shop in my kitchen next to the large window that looks directly out at the Kitty Cat Highway, my driveway and front door.  I love my kitchen with it's robin egg blue cabinets and red accent pieces.  It's cozy and comforting.  But it's not a studio and it's small.  I need to relocate to the guest room, which is were I am keeping everything i'm not currently working on or using.  But it seems so far away from the action of the neighborhood.  I also really like having the sink near by as I'm a bit messy!

Disaster area? Guest Room? Printmaking Studio?
One of the things I loved about my loaned-out time to SERA was the business of the office, the street life, and the MAX line, and of course, the collaboration.  It made me feel like I was part of something bigger, part of the action of the city!   So I'm afraid moving to the back of the house will make me feel isolated and alone.  Even though it really isn't any different.  I'll still have my computer and the internet is enough interaction for me most of the time.  The house cats are mobile and the chickens are pretty lively in the back yard.  I'd probably get more actual work done back there and spend less time moving things from room to room!  Certainly something I need to work out soon!

In the mean time i'm designing a new linocut.  E is for Escher!  It's a commissioned piece too!  Though the details are a bit fuzzy.  That's ok, i'm having fun making it! and really if it's not fun what's the point?  Life is too short to spend it doing hours of things that you don't like!  Of course that's easy to say when you are newly unemployed!  hehe

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

I've Seen Better Days...

berkley illustration Etsy
I hate it when bad songs get lodged into my little pee brain!  Today wasn't really a bad day, and it's only noon, but it was frustrating.  But really it just reminded me how much I hate it when things don't go my way.  I don't think i'm a control freak, or even a type A personality, and i'm certainly not a perfectionist.  BUT when other people can't do their jobs properly and that has a negative impact on me I get really frustrated. Today had not one, but two of those. One rather minute and the other one almost, and i mean almost brought me to tears.  But i'll spare those details as none of it relates to art in any shape or form.

The sun is sort of out but it's cold, which makes me feel less guilty about staying in and photographing stuff for etsy.  It's a constant struggle to get good photos.  especially of 2 dimensional items! I have to wonder how some etsy people get such awesome shots!  while others like myself need much improvement! 
Black Bird Letter Press - Etsy
the black apple - etsy
These are some good examples!

And now i'm going to try to get some good shots of owls and C is for Cat!

Ps. to follow i'm sure!
Just because i promised a ps.  here it is!  A couple photos I took today. I think they came out pretty good! 

Monday, December 13, 2010

I broke out into song. again.

I've been singing out loud a lot. and if you know me, you know that is not only funny but disturbing to the ears.  I'm not quite sure why.  i think i'm happy.  and excited.  and that's great!  even with the dark winter knocking on my door, i'm cheery!  sure, i still get irritated at things but only briefly and in general i'm honestly pretty excited about starting this new chapter in my life.  Almost Monday has been evolving for some time now.  Earrings,  necklaces, paintings etc. but it really wants to be a printmaking studio.  My co-founder, who is only with me in spirit is also a printmaker. a fantastic one!  it would be great if he and his lovely wife returned to Portland someday and we could actually open a public printmaking studio!  but for now i have my kitchen and various studios to attend.

I have new ideas for prints.  Print of the month, finishing the alphabet, and some fantastical animals.  I will actually be reading tips on small business and etsy.  Networking and promoting.  and, i'm just excited!

But for now, i must run! Friend with out car is buying me meatballs to take her to Ikea!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Sunday's Child

Sunday's child is bonny and blithe and good and gay. Thank the kitties I was born on a Friday.

This was an interesting week. At least for me.
BikeCraft ended pretty well, but Monday I woke up feeling a little funky. Sore throat and some nasty sinus crapola hanging around. Wednesday was the After Hours Mixed Media sale AKA interior designer craft sale. It wasn't as busy as I would have liked but all in all I made-out ok.
I was slightly depressed after it was over since I don't have anymore sales to attend this year. and plenty of stuff to sell.

I'm really trying to make etsy work for me, but I'm struggling to make it take off. I've revamped rephotoed, facebooked and tweeted. maybe not enough. I'm going to start reading more etsy tips.

Today I went to Crafty Wonderland. More as a reconnaissance mission than to shop. Though I bought this lovely hat from Wollie Originals with an owl on it! Please check her out! Awesome stuff and she's really nice too! www.woolieoriginals.com

Wow, inserting photos and having them make sense is a bit of a challenge tonight!

Back to discussing Crafty Wonderland. I was SHOCKED that vendors for other cities were there. I guess I shouldn't have been but I was. and i have mixed feelings about it.

I also went crazy collecting cards and checking out other peoples booths. Very inspiring. My favorite booth was actually an old camp trailer. Plus I really like the name of the booth. Wanderlust. One of my ailments. Or talents. There were some really nice cards there, and some really bad ones. So bad I can't read the font. Some were bad but get the information across and that's ok too. One of the best cards was from, and there will be no surprises here, Emily Winfield Martin of the Black Apple fame. Yes, I am jealous of her success, but am also really happy to see a local gal doing so well!!
I also liked Ladymade and Yellowcake Crafts cards. I think they seemed like successful cards because I knew by looking at the imagery what shop they had belonged to, reminding me of the specific items I saw of theirs. My current cards for AlmostMonday have my paintings on them. I still don't know why.

Which brings me to another problem I'm struggling with. My seemingly identity crisis between being a print maker and an oil painter. Feed back appreciated.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Hump day

this post didn't get finished. and blogger didn't save my draft. sad.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Just another Manic Monday

apparently the most creative part of my blog are the titles. some some lyric or play on words. maybe that's not creative at all. I'm groggy even though it's after 10am. i'm trying to get the tea in me and some motivation as well. the one thing i do have to do today is walk to the bank. depositing money is always good, but a pain.

This is day one of week 6 for my full time unemployment. Which reminds me, i need to file for last week. Time goes by so fast these days, i can't believe it. and it's true the older i get that fast it goes!

my brain is still not firing to quickly this morning. I am making a list when i hang up from here and getting dressed! Starting my actual day about 3 hours later then I would have liked!

Happy Monday! as if any day of the week holds more value then any other. Sort of like people, i honestly believe that we shouldn't put more value on a person because of their status or position. So get up and be the awesome person you are! and the next time someone asks you "what are you going to do?!?!?!" simply answer "i'm gonna be awesome!"

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Sunday Night, and It's Not A Work Night!

exhausted after making stuff all week and trying to sell it all weekend at BikeCraft 6. I did ok. Have more then a weeks worth of unemployemnt in my pocket. tho that's not much since i dont get the maximum amount. i figure all my time to make the stuff, the cost of the booth and my time manning the booth, i'm at about 75 cents per hour. but that's ok. i love it. and i'm the only one telling me what to do!

I also met some awesome people! others, like my self, struggling with the unemployment woes, figuring out who they are if they aren't at work and how to feel like the matter in the world. we are not our jobs, we our not our careers, we are not just what we eat, we are humans with needs and wishes and dreams. With families and friends that should love us even if we dont have jobs and can't pay our mortgages. and if we don't' have those kinds of friends and families then we should be getting new ones! :) I think having some form of support is important. so far i'm very fortunate!
if you are reading this and don't have a support system, try and find one. or send me a note! i'll listen!

and now, some sleep!