Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Why I love creating Etsy Treauries

Ultimately I want to drive traffic to my Etsy Shops and but with the Esty Treasury's the idea is not to showcase your own items, so why do I like posting treasuries on Etsy when my own work isn't on the menu?

Well it's one ways I get to be all arty and creative. Each treasury is like a tiny little art show which I've been the curator of. It's ind of a rush. I also like to see items I really love get looked at and possible sold . When I post an Etsy treasury I keep track of the number of clicks each of my chosen artworks receives and if one of those items gets sold I feel pretty excited about that.

I have a treasury up right now. Its called gray skies a comin' and it's full of stormy imagery in honour of the electric series I've posted in (did you see how I've tied my own work into the mix there?)

Go visit this link and check it out.

Ecology Centre

Yesterday we went to the Lynn Valley Ecology Centre with our Sweet Pea group. The last time I'd been there was right after we'd moved here from Alberta. The park had changed a lot since. There's a snack bar/restaurant there now and we had lunch before heading over to the centre for some good ol' fashioned education.

I had visions of being able to take some excellent photographs that would be Etsy-worthy but with one thing and another I had few opportunities and all of them were filled with making sure The Peanut hadn't jumped off a cliff.

I did get the shot above for which I'm very grateful. I got lucky with the light and was at the right place at the right time. I'd like to go back and try for another when there's a sunny day.

As the program is geared to children 3 and up Miranda was one of the 5 who got to stay in the play area during the presentation. They had a lot of fun playing with animal toys, puppets, and other educational gew gaws and doo dads. Afterwards we went across the suspension bridge and I was able to take a few photographs.

Monday, October 27, 2008

It soothes a savage beast

One of my all time favourite books is Nick Hornby's Song Book, in it he writes about how music affects his life, how the different songs evoke certain feelings and thoughts. He writes like an old friend telling you what's been going on for them. In one portion of the book he writes about how pop songs work as a puzzle that we have to listen to over and over in order to solve it before we can move on to another song.

With some bands the whole album becomes a puzzle; which is what's happening with Keane's new album right now. I've been playing it on repeat for two days and there seems to be no sign of flagging interest. With a new Depeche Mode album being released soon I would normally be playing old favourites in anticipation, and I'm sure that I will be soon.

Party Time

Party craft

Ladybug shirt

Saturday, October 25, 2008

last minute prep

With the big toddler bash tomorrow we are as always feeling the crush. We started decorating last weekend much to The Peanut's joy. She likes to say hi to the Skelet (her word for skeleton) in the hallway and the Centerpeed in the kitchen doorway.

Her costume is all ready to go and we have the beverages ready to go. We cleaned house today and we'll be doing some extra baby-proofing for the really little ghouls who are coming. I've got apples ready for slicing, berries ready for hulling, rice crispies all squared and the ingredients ready for chocolate dipping sauce fortified with avocado and carrot purees.

Truly I am a domestic Goddess.
For the most part I've managed homemade costumes for The Peanut:

2006 we dressed her as a city mouse. We put her in jeans and her Depeche Mode hoodie and hooked her ears into a little skull cap. We celebrated by visiting Memphis Blues, the local BBQ place down the street.

2007 we made a cowboy fairy costume. We went to a few parties, one at out friend Olivia's and one at the community centre. Afterwards we went to Memphis Blues for dinner. (do you see a trend here?)

This year we picked up some red t-shirts and black felt and I'll be sewing polka dots onto the backs of them to make Ladybugs. I picked up some ladybug wings at the dollar store and we're all set. We're hosting the Hallowe'en party this year and we plan to do a little trick or treating this year, followed by a little BBQ.

I'll post pictures soon

Thursday, October 23, 2008

down in the dumps? Make art

Recent work

Last Friday night I went out to my first gallery opening in what feels like forever. I haven't left the north shore on my own since the Spiral Dance last October and it was a great night to get out with the camera, (another thing I feel like I haven't done forever as well). All in all a full night in more ways than one.

The gallery opening was a good one, it was held at Exposure on Broadway in Vancouver and was choc-full of brilliant images, my friend Geoff's included. I always enjoy his work, beautiful with a dark edge.

I also had a chance to see a few other people I haven't had face time with in a while. The outcome of the night was a mixed bag. Loved getting out, loved seeing friends, loved being able to get my camera out, loved seeing the art. Sad that I've been away from that scene for so long, glum that I'm not out more, blue that I've got so much catching up to do.....

It's a little known fact that I suffer from a very mild depression that catches up with me in waves. It became really apparent to me that this was a long term affliction while I was being treated for Post Partum Depression. I had an epiphany during my treatment and realized that I had been depressed during my pregnancy and that depression had just continued on post partum. In general I'm pretty good at pretending it isn't there, but it catches up with me sometimes. Personally I think it's a good entryway into getting creative. I work through my issues by making art, whether that's bu wielding a paintbrush, pencil or pointing a cameral lens in your general direction, it all helps. Not to mention I become a happier person when I'vd got a big mess on my worktable.

And my work table is a big mess right now (so I'm a happy camper). I'm just plugging along working on some mixed media stuff and rolling the idea of entering some work into the next Exposure Show.... or maybe the one after that:) Not to mention planning on more night time outings with the camera. I'm excited to try out TTV photographs. It's been awhile since I've been really excited about photography and this just may give me a good kick in the pants, shot in the arm, rush to the system.......

Now to do something with the shots I got on Friday

Friday, October 17, 2008

My current workspace.

If there's one thing I struggled with during my stint in art school it was the idea of doing hundreds of sketches in a sketchbook of an idea before executing the final work.

I'm not saying that I disagree with the practice, because I don't, I was just never able to keep it up. I liked the idea of keeping a sketchbook and filling it with a bazillion ideas. In fact I loved the idea. in theory. For this practicing artist at least, it's a wonderful thing and one I wish I was able to execute.

I have exact images in mind of what I want to make or I just wing it see what comes out. It's the getting the idea down onto paper in the form of a sketch that always puts a snag in my process. I guess that's why I like working in photography. The sketch pad is wrapped up in the photographic process. I point the lens and open the shutter and the image either works or it doesn't and for every 50 shots that don't quite do it there's always one or two that fit the bill.

With my paintings and drawings, I do make preliminary sketches; but not too many. If I fill up lots of pages with different versions of a painting I get bored and the painting isn't fresh to me anymore. This was the case with the painting I did for my daughter's bedroom: Wynkin Blynkin and Nodd. One or two pencil sketches to get the angle of the shoe just right, a few to get the feel for the waves and some colour sketches to get the palette right. And then I spent 4 weeks painting the actual canvas.

So what do I use my sketch books for? As well as being a visual person I'm also a word person. I jot down ideas, poetry, to do lists, Grocery lists, and notes about things I need to learn about or keep track of like shipping costs for my Etsy shops, and plans for birthday, hallowe'en and holiday parties. And I also scrawl the odd little bit here and there to get my ideas down for future reference.

Do you keep a sketchbook? Let me know how!

Monday, October 13, 2008

There's a bird on your head

The Peanut's third thanksgiving, playing dinosaur and There's a bird on your head!

The Peanut's second Thanksgiving at the Hatchery

The Peanut's first Thanksgiving at the Hatchery

Today was spent doing one long stint of cooking and topped off with a bout of serious eating. It was a great thanksgiving. The only thing missing was our annual trip to the Salmon Hatchery up on Capilano Road.

We've gone there every year since The Peanut was born (two) and missed going this year because of a major nap-time melt down and some very moist weather. Autumn has settled in and the rain pants are coming out of the closet. This was a busy weekend, I officially started promoting my baby portrait business with two contacts so far from the 2008 Breast Feeding Challenge, plus my name on a poster listing me as a sponsor. We had a double celebration birthday party on Sunday for two friends. and turkey feast today.

Our friends David and Cheri came over to help us out with our groaning table. The Peanut had a blast with her Auntie Cheri and Uncle David, pleased to have a new person around to play There's A Bird on your Head.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

S U C C E S S that's the way you spell success!

A while back I took a running leap into art as a full time vocation. I'd been toying with the idea for some time but never quite got past the toying stage. What was stopping me? You may well ask that question, it's one that I started to ask myself as well.

Was I scared? Not as such, not about what immediately pops into your head when people start talking about doing something that they really care about; failure, not being good enough, zombies...

OK there was a little of those things in my thinking but when I started to analyze my thinking I soon realized that being scared of zombies was just silly, I mean they're either going to eat your brains or you're going to set them on fire. The first prospect would mean a little rest (as a mother of a small child rest is a very seductive option), the second option offers a chance for roasting yummy marshmallows and singing Kumbaya; either one of these is not such a bad thing. But I digress.

Fear of failing wasn't really my problem. It was the fear of not failing. that would mean change and change is scary. Change means having to figure things out like child care and business licenses and on and on. I began to realize that when I started to think about getting started as a professional I was bogging myself down with plans and small details of plans and bigger plans each getting more and more complex and all of them focusing on aspects of a career I hadn't even started yet. I needed to zoom out and look at the big picture and take it as they say one step at a time.

As it happens not all of those grandiose plans were unhelpful. A few years ago; when My daughter Miranda was still in the infant stage and breastfeeding was her favourite form of entertainment (now it's watching the Wiggles and telling me that I have a bird on my head while holding a stuffed bird on my head); I attended the North Vancouver Breast Feeding Challenge. And as I looked around that the large number of women with babies and toddlers I thought to myself; this is an ideal place to get my name out.

I could hand out business cards to people. I could offer a door prize, I could give coupons for free photographs. The plan began to grow, as my ideas seem to. But I was still on Maternity leave and suffering from Post-Partum Depression, and I was getting caught up in the little details and the concept of starting out was overwhelming. So I tucked the idea away and brought it out now and again to see if it still made sense.

As I mentioned above, I took the plunge this year. I set up two shops on Etsy, one for photography, one for other arty things, and I used my desktop publishing skills to make up a coupon to promote myself as a portrait photographer. Then I contacted Vancouver Coastal Health who put on the event every year and offered sponsorship for the North Vancouver event.

I figured I would get at least one phone call; from the door prize winner, and I would call that a success. If I got any further calls that would be a landslide victory!

The challenge took place yesterday, so far the results are participation of 5119 babies from 196 sites in 16 countries with further results from 157 sites on their way. Looks like a success to me, and I'm proud to have sponsored of North Vancouver's part in it.

As for the results of my participation? One phone call from an interested mother who liked the photo's on my coupon. I'm still waiting to hear from the door prize winner. Landslide!

Friday, October 10, 2008

What got me started was...

For years now my parents and siblings have been urging me to sell my photographs. So now I've started, not that I've sold anything yet, but I'm optimistic.

After I graduated from
Emily Carr, I wanted to be able to pay off my student loans, and I took the first job which had a tie to visual arts that came my way. The only problem was working a full-time job didn't leave a lot of time to devote to my art and other than small spurts of creative output I spent most of my spare time with my husband or in front of the television, not such a bad thing considering that my husband is great company.

As for television:ditto. From the time that I learned to read, story has been a very important part of how I live my life. I'm always reading at least two different books at any given time and I have a list of television shows that I follow because plots are entertaining, I like the premise behind the show, they are well written and/or I like the characters. For the longest time I've felt vaguely guilty and embarrassed about this. I mean I think that I watch way too much tv, really too much, but I've come to accept it and even embrace my love for television, but I digress and perhaps I'll expand on my guilty love affair with television and it's link to my love of the story some other time.

So where was I? After working a 40 hour week I'd be burnt out and have very little desire to create. All through school I
worked 80 hour weeks on art projects and school work plus I worked part time to help put food on the table, you'd think I'd have been burnt out from that schedule, but it was as one or two of my friends put it "working for the man that dragged me down"

The decision to make art my full time (or secondary vocation after raising a toddler) came after number crunching for daycare. If I was going to go back to work it would be doing something that I absolutely loved, and that I could fit into my schedule of playgroups, story-times and trips to the liberly (my daughter's name for the library)

Enter Yoyomama
One of their emails was promoting a local artisan who had a shop on Etsy,
an online marketplace for buying & selling all things handmade. I clicked on the link and then waited for a few weeks to jump in.

The rest is the present. I'm displaying my art for the whole world to see. It's not an art gallery but It gets more world wide exposure. Eventually I'll get out from behind the computer screen and hang in real space. When that happens you'll be the first to find out
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