Art Business Blogs: Do they Help?

Planes of Gold 40 x 40 $1040 mixed media on canvas

Planes of Gold 40 x 40 $1040 mixed media on canvas

I have frequently visited and learned a great deal from Art Blogs.

Other artists teach me much about defining what it is I am doing

in terms of the business of art. However,I still feel like it is an

up hill battle. Most of the Art Biz is about being brass balls as far

as I can see.

There are those I know who have a depth of talent

that makes me gasp in wonder. The technical ability is stunning.

They have a committment to a vision. The work ethic is in place.

They do not cycle in and out of creating but are caught up in

the passion. What stands in the way of taking that talent

out and showing it off is frequently just shyness, an

interest in not taking the focus off of others and a feeling

that if they promote themselves too loudly,

they are being unduly unkind or competitive.

So when does being an artist shade into being an

aggressive, self-promoting salesperson? When does

selling start to become the focus ahead of working on

oneself and one’s skills? When does being a salesperson

start to erode being an artist? It is an interesting question

and finally, one has to ask oneself what the goal is.

When the exploration of self, technique and expression

become secondary to standing in the market place ringing

a bell and yelling,” Art for sale. Come and get your art for sale.”

is actually taking the time and energy away from inspiration

it is a creativity killer.

I was listening to Lips and his bass player from ANVIL the

Canadian heavy metal due who were the first and best in

the metal scene. They inspired all of the major “successful”

metal bands. But they missed out on success.

They have mundane jobs and have garnered little

notice until the documentary ANVIL: the documentary

on ANVIL was produced. In the interview Lips said

something that really resonated with me.

He said that if you are depending on your art to

make you money, you have to give up being an artist.

If you make your money in another form, the art

can have a life of its own.

It reminded me of the advice that I had read when

I was taking a M.F.A in creative writing poetry at

Western Washington. If you want to write, don’t

get a job teaching writing. It just sucks the soul

out of your own writing.

How do those with amazing talent such

as the musiciansin ANVIL get overlooked

and others with repetitive,bubble gum

music make it big? The question is about

walking the thin line. Staying in the “light” and

operating from a deep, soul driven place. Yet

somehow being able to capture moments when

a profit can be made from the beauty

that you have been given the blessing to produce.

Stepping back and looking over the landscape

of marketing and being an artist, the final words

is about staying focused on the act of creativity.

Staying active and being willing to constantly

learn from life and from others while at the

same time believing in that which you are called

to create.

Make sure that you know

what success means for you and that you are not using

your art to fill a hole in your self-esteem. That is

like making love to a ghost. Very little fulfillment

in the romance can ever be achieved.

50 x 38 $1235 mixed media, brilliant experience on canvas

50 x 38 $1235 mixed media, brilliant experience on canvas

For me, the main work is always internal.

Knowing what I want to say and why is the

main focus. Feeling the security of being

alright in myself as I work my way

through a competitive world is the major difficulty.

How big is yours? Ego, sales, voice, bell ringing.

The struggle is internal as I recognize that my sense of self

cannot rely on what others reflect back to me.

It is not a competition as my husband

so often reminds me, “Life is an exposition.”

As we live, we expose more and more

of who we are. To ourselves and to others.

Now I have to go do a mail out publizing my

writing workshops for UBC-O Continuing Studies.

After all, the bills have to be paid.

Kevin Craig wins Kelowna By election

With a whopping 11% of Kelowna’s residents who are eligible to vote pushing their way off of the couch to go out the door, Kevin Craig has carried the by-election. The 19 years old UBC student who came within 38 votes of winning in the last election cannot be said to have “cleaned up.” So close at under 400 votes.

The questions as to when the residents of Kelowna lost interest in the electoral process, springs to mind. Is there a gradual decline or a eschewing of voting suddenly? What does the refusal to vote mean in terms of the future of the city? How can the relationship between the electorate, the citizens and the city be revitalized? We constantly talk about revitalization of the downtown core, the big structures we are putting in in the name of “progress” but what about the vitality of citizens who feel a part of the social structure of a city.

I am really curious as to what is going wrong. One thing that is happening is that because of the exodus of young people, we do not have the army of volunteers that keep most organization going. Many neighbourhood associations are dying. Many long term groups in the city are hungry for those who have time to keep the board vital. Will it become a place where people live separate from one another, isolate and uninvolved?

Hopefully having a young person on council will help to move the city to creating a more tech and boho friendly city where those under 35 will find employment and enjoyment. It will be interesting to watch.

this gorgeous piece is $1,135 for 50 by 34

this gorgeous piece is $1,135 for 50 by 34

Christmas is coming rapidly with no snow. Tonight I saw 20 Canadian Geese flying against a pink autumnal sky. We have neither low winter temperature nor do we have snow. Between seasons, we are sitting on shoulder season even while the rest of B.C. is headed to winter. The flu, the Olympics are discussed frequently. Many arts groups are creating pre-Christmas sales with beautifully made hand crafted gifts but it doesn’t really feel like Christmas yet.

I will wrap the gifts for my family and ship them off next week because recovery from surgery will keep me quietly at home for the next month or so. The last vestiges of my brush with death will be gone. The long, deep scar from cancer surgery is to be excised and a newer more elegant scar will replace it. I look on it as a new beginning. Setting out in January with my stomach muscle reattached and the extra skin and scarring removed, I intend to concentrate on becoming stronger and less focused on work. Follow along to see if that actually happens.

Beautiful moments blossom in each day. Sitting and drinking tea. Sharing a laugh with my husband. Chatting with friends on facebook. These are what makes life such a gift.

All Candidates Kelowna By-Election: Who Cares?

Because I was hearing nothing about the by-election arriving on November 28th, I was concerned about the heavy pall of apathy. The sound of silence was like that after a heavy snow fall.  Some of my neighbourhood association members suggested that we might garner more members to our small, hearty band if we made an event of it. Bingo. Two solutions with one meeting.

detail from Peace inspirational door stop

detail from Peace inspirational door stop

After notifying all of the neighbourhood associations in the city that they could make their presence known by asking a question of one of the fifteen candidates, I sent out an invitation to the candidates. Anyone who has ever organized an event knows that this part of the structuring is always needful of minding. Plant the seed, water the seed, replant the seed, water the seed… Well, you get it.

Now we have, I believe, all of the candidates confirmed. Six of the ten groups invited have prepared a question. But most happily of all, we have an event. It is an event that is in the media. Radio, internet, newspaper reporters are… well reporting. It looks as if there will be six media representatives in attendance, if not more.

10 door stop prosperity inspiration

10 inch door stop prosperity inspiration

Now comes the part where I take my husband away from his work as an electrician and ask him sweetly to spend the day setting up the sound. Thankfully, he is a skilled sound technition. KSAN has said they would do all the niceties, coffee and cookies. How wonderful when neighbourhood groups help one another out and contribute to building community strength.

I got my cards to city hall in a timely fashion, saw the plastic surgeon who is going to reattach my stomach muscle in December and cleaned the house. Once the forum is done, I will take cards and door stops around the various Christmas shops to see if I can get some sales over Christmas.

hand made each drawn into archival cards

hand made each drawn into archival cards

Judith Jurica of Gallery Vertigo has hung my art work at the Kalamalka campus of Okanagan College so some works are “out there.” I now have to go into the Authentech home and move a few pieces around as well as rethinking the work I have up in the Bohemian Cafe on Bernard so they show better.

The opportunity to just lay down in bed and heal will mean that I can upload some ETSY items and read. Wind in the Willows always impressed me with the wonderful winter scenes. All of the animals in an underground cave, looking at the fire and reading.

So, the adventure begins. How many people in Kelowna will leave their houses to vote? How many people will be looking to buy locally made gifts? When will it snow? So many questions to see answered over time. It is why life is so interesting.

Iridian Night of the Stars Charity for Bridges Programme

Two of my pieces Zephyr Moon, copper and Green/gold were donations for the charity that Charlie Hodge has helped to organize for the Bridges Programme.

Corey Doak sang his Scruffy the Elf song

Corey Doak sang his Scruffy the Elf song

So many great musicians and bands donated their time that I felt that there was compunction on my part to attend. I have been less than healthy for over 7 weeks but kept chugging along. However, I do have only a few items to complete and my list can rest until the new years.

Corey entrances the audience

Corey entrances the audience

Some of the images that I took of the bands I worked with Paint Shop Pro to reflect the sound of the music. I really enjoy recreating the feel of an original situation and keeping the energy in my final piece. Nixie is a band I have been following for several years now. Moving to Vancouver, B.C. from Kelowna, they have now stepped up to move their career to a higher point.

Corey Doak award winning song writer

Corey Doak award winning song writer

Corey Doak is a musician that Cameron has played bass for on some of his CD’s and his sound is creative and full of his personality. He stood alone on stage and held the audience. His fan base is large. Playing Christian music at his church, he has garnered a big following.

Nixie singing their set

Nixie singing their set

Currently, I am completing 110 Christmas Cards which will be used by the City of Kelowna. Each is unique because I have drawn into them with metallic ink and Indian ink pens.

over lay of picture of Nixie

over lay of picture of Nixie

It was a laborious, time consuming task but it means they are NOT the type of works that are churned out by a factory like process. I cannot by my very nature ever work that way.

Nixie playing in Kelowna

Nixie playing in Kelowna

Loading to my web sites, attending to my on line galleries is the next task for the business.

final image that I really like

final image that I really like

Next week I will finish a very large committment to my community with the all candidates forum that I have organized. And not least, hopefully not last, is the wrapping and mailing presents.

paint shop pro layers

paint shop pro layers

Since I will be a hermit for a while after some surgery, I want to have things all complete.

Cameron is working full out on the electrical jobs he is getting.

electronica, rock

electronica, rock

He finished working on two houses in the last two weeks and is completing a garage. He must also replace the service to our house in the next two weeks to comply with the insurance companies proviso.

bright sound, big sound

bright sound, big sound

Hopefully, there will be time to knit, to read and to enjoy the “cave” existence of winter. For every season….

Looking forward to cinnamon spice tea, naps and dreaming.

What to do when you are Tired?

Today is the day after a three day art show. The day after two weeks of preparing small art pieces for sale in the show. It is a day that requires much of me. I would rather be resting but instead have a show to hang. I have 110 Christmas Cards to prepare and I have a student.

My task is to listen to the whimpering sound in my head and to not ignore it. My task is to hear the whimpering sound in my head and comfort the ego-child that is wingeing and cringing. My body is giving me signals to slow down. The ankles, hands, neck, stomach are all threatening me with action if I am too active.

this piece is 36 x 27 inches on canvas for sale

this piece is 36 x 27 inches on canvas for sale

Today will be an opportunity to practice staying on the path. I set my intention to be gentle with myself and kind to others as I move through the day. Previous patterns would call for me to push, to push hard, to shut down messages from my body and to use the situation to re-victimize myself. It would be a lovely little drama about how much is required of me by life and how little others care about “poor me.”

setting intention to see the world

setting intention to see the world

Driving to Vernon with my art in the car, I will enjoy the lake and the chance to see the stretch of seasons touching the edge of the hillsides. I will see things which will please me. Perhaps a family will be stopped by the road and enjoying one another. Perhaps the Gatsky’s stand will have the wonderful mannikins primping in their dresses which blow in the wind. Judith will meet me at the College and her presence is always delightful.

Perhaps I can find ways to live in a new manner which makes me feel safe, calm and aware. I am tired and I have much to do. But I am surrounded by love. And I know how to show love to an already stressed body. I set my intention to enjoy both the day and the sense that I can learn as I move through it.

Does Kelowna care? By election and arts community

Recently the CBC held a forum on support for the arts in Kelowna on the Day Break Show. It amazed me how optimistic the program sang in tone. We were told that 200,00 people were in the Rotary Centre in the past year. The issue of how the community supports the arts was totally by passed because there was no discussion of what “supports” means.

from photo up knox mountain

from photo up knox mountain

If by support, you mean they attended a musical event or play that had an ’80s rocker or a play that was popular in other cities in the 90’s, then yes. I guess that is support. But what of the local artists, musicians and performers. The real question is what is happening to make sure that we keep these people alive (as in fed), give them an audience (as in inspired) and build a fan base (as in future security). Is that happening? Most artists and musicians that I know are working on their art at a cost. It is financial with the need to find other sources of income to feed the fire. It is emotional in the attempts to garner a respectfully paying gig, or customers who will buy enough to keep them in paint.

the bridge is the answer to all problems

the bridge is the answer to all problems

Why were there 50 fewer artists in booths at Propera this year? The economy is down. But it has always been “down.” We rely so heavily on outsiders to support and appreciate our local talent that most artists end by feeling like creative buskers in a tourist town.

Further to the issue of passivity and apathy, is the up coming by-election. I am really curious as to what percent of individuals here will bother to go out and vote. The last major election it was under 20%. What are you guesses as the interest of Kelowna residents in their future?

The all candidates forum is on Wednesday, November 25th. How many care? How many will come to the forum? Which individuals will have the energy and commitment to the future of the city to go to a polling booth? We will have to watch and see.

where are the dolphins

where are the dolphins

Meanwhile, I am tired and happily in bed after the Potters and Artisans Show at the Rotary Centre which has just one more day. Hope to see you there Sunday and at local voting station November 28th. We deserve the kind of government we get.

Should we buy Christmas gifts?

The anxiety over the economy and the falling of a pox upon all of our heads both literally (H1N1) and figuratively has many people contemplating the end of life as we know it. The demise of the earth through the catastrophe of climate change is almost a pleasant alternative to suddenly coughing and then dying in a “Love Story” type movie scenario painted by media. Distrust is growing of  leaders in the areas of food production and other societal concerns such as, “Where the hell is my job?”

handmade black crochet and macrame purse

handmade black crochet and macrame purse

So with those issues firmly in mind, we head out to our cars to purchase some nice articles made in China that (we are recently told) are lowering our male’s sperm counts, poisoning our babies and altering us in ways not even capable of being analyzed as yet. Credit card? Who is going to use a credit card when it is for many people the rubber raft on a possibly sinking ship. Perhaps tug boat would be a more appropriate metaphor. If all else fails, shove off in your mastercard or climb into your visa to keep you from going under immediately. To live to regret another day, is always an option.

embossed black and blue roses

embossed black and blue roses

We have discovered that our Christmas present will be the replacement of the electrical service to the house because we have to meet new stipulations…. and we weren’t informed until our insurance was four days from the deadline for renewal. Such a nice surprise in our Christmas socks. But you know what? It would have had to be done one day. We can winge and wring our brows, our hands, our lips. What does that do? So our Christmas is pretty much decided.

even the sewers of Paris have Art Deco beauty

even the sewers of Paris have Art Deco beauty

Others are looking around for something more meaningful than the recently traditional experience. A suggestion that I can offer is now is the time to buy experience.

Kelowna is full of artists and artisans and crafter who can make a beautiful hand-made gift that is special. Most of us who work in the arts are willing to do commissions for our clients.

How about buying a class for someone? The Potters Addict in the Rotary Centre has classes for children.

I offer classes through UBC-O and private classes in my studio.

Instead of spending money on a cheaply made mass manufactured one of thousands item, you can buy something very special this year. Because your money matters and has to go a long way, buying local contributes to the economy, saves the environment and gives the recipient something very personal.

Think about it. This Christmas can be special. And you can keep your credit card as the rope ladder to throw out the window, should the need arise. We all need insurance, hey?

What Gifts are Best for Christmas? Buy original art

Penticton Art Gallery now has two pieces of mine for their pre-Christmas sale, I will be in a show at the Rotary Centre for the Arts for three days November 12th on, then the next week Gallery Vertigo is letting me have a show at the Kalamalka Campus. Summerland Art Gallery is holding a pre-Christmas sale of art cards and books which has motivated me to get producing again.

photograph of my hand shadow on a scrap book page

photograph of my hand shadow on a scrap book page

Hand made books are a real pleasure to create and I want to have three or four more ready for Gallery Vertigo’s book store.

This thursday I will be in the Rotary Centre for our First Thursday Open house. Last month 30 students from UBC attended and it was lovely to have a chance to meet the up and coming art teachers that will be inspiring students in the high schools and elmentary schools.

texture abounds in this piece for a CD cover

texture abounds in this piece for a CD cover

I am a featured artist in Homes for the Holidays and will be putting up the pieces that I created next week in the show home. All of those great photos I took one day last winter after a heavy snow fall should look great in this old fashioned christmas themed open house.

star gazer lily in my neighbours yard

star gazer lily in my neighbours yard

Meanwhile, I am organizing an all candidates meeting to get more interest in the election. Only 22% of citizens turned out at the last election and there seems to be a more prevasive kind of negative inertia in our town. People are quick to complain and critize but don’t go out to the cities open houses or respond to on line surveys. I guess it is human nature to have everything be alright until it seems to be all wrong. What about the place between?

Sutherland park after fresh snow

Sutherland park after fresh snow

Cold weather, art, politics. That is my life right now. Happy November.