Art Journal Every Day: A "Do Over"

This draft post has been sitting in my folder for a few days now and not even the Memorial Day Weekend got it to print.  Sometimes, even blogging which comes naturally in my head, isn’t quite as spontaneous when it requires logging on, or even typing away on the blackberry or other device.  Here goes..

I had thought I’d do a hodge podge collection of flower doodles with my watercolor pencils, but I didn’t get too far with that.  What to do?

The mistake:

I was almost resigned to having to “paste” together the two pages, when this bright idea hit me to try to do “cover” it up.  I browsed the local newspaper (preferring the absorbent material to the glossy finish of magazines) and voila!  See below.

The “Do Over”:

I wish I had the energy or the time to get on to finishing this layout, but the very thing that inspired me to create it has kept me preoccupied. “COPING”

I’m in the midst of another change at work which has me 30% preoccupied.  The 70% has me just going on with what continues in my life.

Pink flowers.  Hope comes to mind.  Optimism.  Life goes on.  Indeed.

The good news is that although I have been stumped on the creative side, I’ve taken up my pliers again and have started working on pieces.  I look at my mountain of supplies and realize that having them sit in their bins is not doing my bottomline any good.  The sooner I get more goods finished and posted, the faster I can realize a profit.

So many things happening at the same time.  I am hoping for some breathing space by taking a moment to blog.

Busy but not busy

Do you ever have those days when you have a ton of time to do things but you end up just coasting by and taking things easy?  The past couple of days have been that way for me.. Today, though, I have made my mind up to get going and get shaking so that I can get things done.  Posted two items in GothamChick Shop and I finally finished two layouts in my Art Journal Every Day project.  It doesn’t make me current (still have Angelo’s birthday layout hanging in mid-air) and it puts the pressure on me to go and create new layouts again.

I am trying to create more pieces for the shop even if I know I have a ton of stuff yet to be photographed and posted.  No pressure.  I know it’s not good for sales, but creativity is not something you can force.

Reading-wise, I’m doing okay.  Still on American Gods but slowly but surely making progress.  I also have Betty White’s If You Ask Me: (And of Course You Won’t) which I managed to read to Chapter V when I got it.  (It’s a much lighter read than Neil Gaiman’s book so that one should be a breeze.)

I have been remiss with the blogging, though, not for lack of time, but simply because I have just wanted to take it easy.  There are times when creating a post like this can take more effort beyond writing and prying the words from my brain to type them and create an entry.

This even if I know that writing is probably going to help give me clarity and keep me grounded.

Change.  As I wrote in my Art journal, it is constant and keeps the world turning.  Some changes take us by surprise and some, even when expected, are still not quite as easy to cope with.  One thing I know is that going through the same thing a second time makes me better equipped to deal with it all.

I try to remain positive and filter out the worries which I cannot solve nor do anything about at the present time.  I used to have people tell me I make mountains out of molehills.. so as I grew older, I tried to pick my battles and just let go of what I cannot control — at least until I can control it.

Like the sun which will always shine — there is always another beginning somewhere in the horizon even if it is not visible at the moment.  It’s there.

Just before hitting the sack

I am tapping away here on the company ipad in the dark as I try to take the tyke to lala land. I have not been too good enforcing bedtime curfews, but I try. Father and son usually get one over me sneaking in some last minute sword fighting which means double the effort to get them out of bed the next morning. Time to put my foot down.

So I gamely said yes when the boy said he preferred to be tucked in by me. Forget that I had meant to sit down and work on modifying a design I’ve been toying around with for this bracelet I am dying to put up for sale in the shop… I kind of like the way I keep finding new ways and means to improve it, so I am not trying to rush the creative process.

My days have been rather eventful the past couple of weeks, and I have tried to seek solace in the things I find pleasure in. I am trying to keep going with Neil Gaiman’s “American Gods” which is progressing rather well. My art journal is a constant companion even if it means sneaking in a few pen strokes here and there. I have resisted the urge to abandon layouts but I have succumbed at least twice now. I am trying to be more forgiving of my own mistakes, reminding myself that I am not really an artist. I am just trying to express myself, so who cares if my work looks so childlike?

Art Journal Every Day: Today, The Journey Begins…

It was not easy to start again but here is my first finished layout (finally photographed!) as I begin my Art Journal Every Day journey in an ACTUAL journal.  I know I had long resisted the idea to do it, but here it is.  I am excitedly working on three layouts right now — and while it would be great to finish one and move on to the next, I’ve come to discover that it isn’t quite that easy when you cannot be art journaling full time.  Besides, it helps to have the journal to whip out in a busy hotel lobby as I wait for Alan to get off work.  Or when the inspiration hits me during my lunch break, I can just open it and close it discreetly when it’s time to work again.  So it can be done indeed!

I feel as though I’m doing more mistakes than I’m doing things right, but I think that that is all part of the process.  The frustration and the creativity required to work around mistakes is good therapy for artist-wannabes like me, and I am already excitedly thinking about future layouts.

I am also learning about the surface/texture I work with, and want to experiment with other methods or ways besides collage or just plain and simple scrapbooking.  I’ve put gesso on one layout but find that raw paper might be better for me since I work a lot with pens and markers.

It is so inspiring, though, to work on paper that’s been laid out with a watercolor background like the layout I am trying to finish below.  While there were some mistakes like when I made watercolor circles and then I tried to dilute them by brushing over them — resulting instead in almost totally blotting them out.  Still, I can live with the finished product and have pasted snippets of actual photos I took, a jorunaling entry, and of course, zentangled borders.  (I just can’t help it!)

Work in Progrss

However, between gesso-prepped paper and plain paper that’s been pasted onto my composition notebook, I’m finding that the plain paper that’s been watercolored on is easier for me to work with.  I guess it might also be part of my learning process.

I am excitedly trying to figure out how best to use watercolor pencils, my pastel (craypass) pens and a very elementary set of acrylics — and I am enjoying myself immensely in the process.  For now I think I’ll be doing more watercolor backgrounds.  Indeed, the journey has begun…

Rob Lowe in the Flesh

I haven’t quite gotten to reading his book just yet, but already, I’m getting oohs and ahhs over the photos that I got from this mini-encounter with Rob Lowe.  See for yourself!

So the wait in line wasn’t all that bad.  I hied down to Barnes & Noble at 12nn and waited until just past 1pm to get my books signed.  This is not my first book signing but Rob gets many thumbs up for personalizing which other authors will NOT do.  Also, the staff of the Fifth Avenue branch were very organized and had actually had one staff member on hand to take your camera and take your picture while he was signing the book.

Of course it helps that the book seems to be getting very good reviews.   I’ll give you my own as soon as I finish the current read I have on my kindle.

Craft Fair Exploits: Lessons Learned

It was on April 16th that I had participated at this craft fair at a private school upon the invitation of a co-worker of mine which was a very good learning experience for me as a small business owner.  I consider it a fair success considering I did earn the fee back, and there were a couple of  sales which made the effort worth it.  But after all was said and done, I chalked it up to experience  and am now seriously thinking about participating in another craft fair.

Here goes my list of lessons learned from my first ever craft fair:

1.  Items for sale should be packaged and more importantly, PRICED, way ahead of the event date. I had 4 trays of earrings already strung up and ready to hang.  My first dilemma was although I had spent hours putting them on the display tray, I failed to price them.  Also, I failed to plan the placement of my display trays, so I ended up displaying only 2 trays at a time.  I know… that was a loss… but the alternative was to display everything, and price them uniformly on the low end.

2.  You need to plan the placement of your display before the event date. While a 3 feet by 6 feet space can seem big, it actually wasn’t and I needed to crowd things together to make them fit.  I didn’t purchase any special sales paraphernalia except for one bust which I hope to “duplicate” using paper mache before the next event.

3.  Packaging and other sales paraphernalia should be organized in one box to make it easy and faster once a sale is made. Although I had managed to create my own paper bags, there were times when successive sales made it difficult and I ended up panicking.  Buyers were in a hurry, too, so it didn’t help when I was scrounging around for the correct-sized envelope or sticker.

4.  Calling cards must be designed and cut ahead of time. I had designed the calling cards, but cutting them proved to be quite a struggle so I ended up not using them. (I know, not good.)  I am hoping, though, that I will be able to do them in time for the next event.

5.  What you think will sell will not always be the hot items on your rack. So I thought (mistakenly,) that my domino pendants would sell like hotcakes.  Not.  Alan made a point of ribbing me about this no end, so I think I will concentrate more on the bracelets which sold better, as well as creating displays for my necklaces.  (Only the ones that were actually displayed hanging instead of laying flat on the table really sold.)

6.  You should hand-make what you can instead of spending for the display trays. I actually created around 3 of them using heavy-duty shoe box tops and unused large picture frames.  (I will post how-to’s) next.  This saved me a lot of money and allowed me to concentrate my expenditures on materials for more wares to sell.

7.  Do not ignore browsers, but do not be overly solicitous either. In this instance, I try to place myself as a shopper and try to accord the browser the same kind of attention I can tolerate without being intimidated.  It is good to say hello but not good to be too pushy.  I know I hate being ignored when I walk into a stall, so I try to be welcoming without being too cheesy.

All in all, it was a fun experience.  I did not exactly get anywhere close to selling out, but I think the sales for the day made it worth it.  They certainly exceeded any one-day sales I’ve had online, and seeing people actually purchasing what I made really made it worthwhile.

Although I did not feel confident enough even closer to the date of the actual fair that I had what it took to actually put up a store, having been able to do just that now gives me confidence about doing it again and trying to do it better this time around.

Monday.. and hoping to see Rob Lowe

Rob Lowe is doing a book signing at the Barnes & Noble on Fifth Avenue today as part of his book tour for his book, Stories I Only Tell My Friends: An Autobiography.  I am writing this before I walk down to 47th street, and I’m keeping my fingers crossed that there is not too huge a crowd to hussle and tussle with to get this book signed.

Rob Lowe is very much a part of my generation’s coming of age, and (1) I would love to see him in person, (2) I have a small collection of autographed first editions, and (3) I have heard good reviews about the book.

I always try to catch the events in the nearby bookstores although I haven’t paid that much attention to this in recent months.  On Wednesday, there’s Shania Twain, but I’d take Rob Lowe over Shania anytime.  More later…