Introducing…(fanfare please)…a brand new venue for my Useable Art!

I am so pleased to announce a whole new venue for my Useable Art, a new platform, heck, a new ideology!! See, an odd little set of events over the last few weeks led me to a company I had never heard of before: CustomMade.com. Somebody in their marketing division came across my Facebook page, and sent me the email equivalent of a cold call, which I confess I very nearly ignored as spam–so glad I rethought that!

I looked into it, discovered that it is an actual company, is listed with the Better Business Bureau, and exists solely to be a matchmaker (their word) between “Makers” and…well…Those Who Want Things Made, I guess.

In other words, it’s a platform for custom crafted goods. Nothing pre-made, each and every project unique, one of a kind, with buyers who are already on board with the custom mind set. Right. Up. My. Alley.

This opens up so many possibilities…really, the sky’s the limit! So while I love and am keeping my Etsy shop, I also now have a newly-launched Custom Made profile. Let the fun begin.

Even BUSIER!

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This month has been a time of learning, of reflection, of meditation….NOT!! This month has been running-full-tilt-into-gale-force-winds busy. I’m operating at Defcon 5. I think. Not really sure I have a firm grasp of the defcons.

Anyway, said insane busy-ness actually has caused a little reflection, nonetheless; sort of a by-product, an accidental side effect, like radiation sickness only without the hair loss. Like…I have discovered that I have far less free time than I thought, time when I can focus on something other than my children and their various needs, wants, activities, and nuclear meltdowns, time when I can be utterly absorbed in my painting. Far, FAAAAAAR less. This is good to know.

This led to another discovery, which is that I can have several projects going and children clean, fed, and where they need to be, OR a clean house. (If any of you show up at my door, I’m telling you right now I won’t be home. Even if I am. Or I’ve been eaten by monster dust bunnies. In which case I’m still not home.) I should add blogging as another “OR.” Also, excellent information to have, which leads to the inevitable conclusion that I need a housekeeper. Clearly. (note to self: figure out how to pitch this to spouse)

Happily, this forced reevaluation of my time management has led me to develop, quite unintentionally, an skill that had eluded me till now: the ability to drop my paintbrush, go break up a fight/put on a band aid/make dinner, come back and pick up the brush, and slip right back into that same head space. It’s like guerrilla creativity tactics. Love. It. This would be the up side of radiation sickness…?

But today, I’m taking a break. I’m blogging (you may have noticed). I’m NOT putting on my painting jeans–cute skinny jeans instead. I just had the rare treat of delivering one of my pieces in person (client #2, below)–which means I got to witness the First Look, wallowed in it, can now remember it & replay it for days & days & derive unending joy from it. Totally worth coming out of my hole for! I get to do that again over the weekend (client #1)…major, major up sides.

So…in this momentary lull, I thought I’d show you what I’ve been up to.

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Client #2IMG_0469

Variation on the “Lulu”, with fewer ribbons, but added flowers and butterflies. Butterflies are super fun to paint! May have to incorporate more of these in the future.

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Client #3, work in progress!¬†Customized to client’s color scheme, and with all sorts of locale-specific items making an appearance–stuff that will have meaning for her grandkids!

 

 

 

There’s a client #4 and #5 waiting in the wings, and another possible (even bigger) project with one of the above clients…very exciting stuff! I think today may be the only break I get in a while. And I’m rather okay with that.

Don’t forget to check me out on Etsy, and on Facebook!

Meet the artist!

That would be me. The artist, I mean.

Really, you can come meet me. Soon, in fact. I’m doing silent (and largely stationary) cartwheels over this. Which is hard to do, so feel free to be impressed. Go ahead.

Now you’re probably wondering why……

………………………….

You are, right?

Excellent! Allow me to explain!

So you know how you make those resolutions at the New Year, about all the things you’re going to do, be, embody, apply, improve, eliminate, eschew, reconsider, reconnoiter…etc, etc? Big spoiler here: someone’s listening when you do that. I KNOW. I was shocked too.

Here’s how I know: I made one. And it happened. Like, the very next day. One day into the new year, and a message appears in my Etsy inbox from someone at an organization called “RAW: natural born artists”, inviting me to participate in an artist’s showcase. Okay, so it’s not like I specifically said “I resolve to be be invited to an artist’s showcase within 24 hours,” I was vague and non-specific and more about putting woo-woo good vibes out into the universe about my little corner of it, specifically as pertains to my art and business and life. And there you go, flies into my lap. I’m a believer. Once I checked to make sure this was legit, not a scam, and something that would genuinely be a good decision for me. I did: it is, it isn’t, and I think it will be. In that order. THEN I was a believer. Are. Am. Whatever.

Here’s the deal with these folks: they’re all about artists, and helping them in any way they can. That’s it. Seriously. Again, I KNOW! How can this be true, you say? Check them out for yourselves, I say! Honestly, their whole mission is, in an indie, underground sort of way, to give as much support and as many tools as possible to artists of every ilk. Apparently I’m one of the ilk. I didn’t even know I had an ilk!

So I’ll be there. I’m painting my fingers off (well, not right this second, since I need them for typing, but as soon as I post this the fingers are coming back off) to try and get as many pieces ready as possible–did I mention it’s in a matter of weeks? WEEKS? (Hang on, need a paper bag to breathe into for a sec…stand by…’kay, I’m good) Yeah. Weeks. 5 of them. Okay, painting and breathing, that’s all I’ll be doing. Maybe some light snacking. A couple of breaks to watch Downton Abbey. But that’s IT.

Sooooo….you can come too! The skinny is that there are 40 artists in different categories–photography, fashion, music, my kind of stuff, other kind of stuff, many kinds of stuff–at a cool, hip venue called the Shark Club in Costa Mesa, you get to dress up, you get to listen to music and feel all cultured as you peruse the booths, one of which will be mine. Mine!!

Oh, oh, I almost forgot the other kharmic, divine, woo-woo element here: I’m 98% certain that the Shark Club is the same same exact building where my husband and I had our first date. After he cyber-stalked me and tracked me down and was somehow not an axe-murderer…I’ll tell you that story sometime. But…first date! First showcase! Same piece of architecture! Could that BE more woo-woo-y?? See???

So you’ll come, right? I’m slightly worried that I’m not quite cool enough for these people, and that they’ll figure it out…but if you’re there you can nudge me if I start to geek out or sound too mom-ish or fail to use the most current lingo, or something. The tickets are only $15 if you buy them ahead of time, $20 at the door–and did I mention that buying tickets through my profile directly helps reduce my costs? Just sayin.’Kay.

Click here to check out the event!

This is super-duper-mega exciting people!

Let’s all do silent stationary cartwheels together!!

A whole new direction–100% personalized chair

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I think I’ve just stumbled onto a brand new direction for my useable art. This feels like it could be kind of huge, and possibly fairly exciting. See, a few months ago, I was contacted through my Etsy shop (I do love me some Etsy) by the nicest lady, who loved what she saw on my site, but was looking for something a little different. Unique. Personal. I accepted the challenge.

You should have seen the lengthy emails flying back and forth between us, as we explored what kinds of elements she wanted on her chair–which evolved over time from initially including aspects of her career to being a direct reflection of her personal interests and loves–and how I could link all of those together into a cohesive whole. That was the real challenge for me, and made me realize a few things about myself.

I’m an actor, a singer, a writer, and an artist, and I found that all of these things need to come together for me in my art in order to truly express my vision. Ergo, I must tell a story, or set a scene. I may have one or two pieces I’ve painted over the years that don’t have one, but the vast majority have a whole backstory that doesn’t exist anywhere but in my head, yet provides the guiding context, the parameters within which my art functions. Which all sounds very brainy and thought out, but really isn’t. It’s just how I’m happiest working, and coincidentally where I feel I do my best work.

So back to this particular chair: my client had a bazillion ideas about what she’d like to see in her chair (she’d been looking for one for years, by the way), and that spawned a bazillion questions from me, narrowing down, coaxing out details (for instance, she’s a coffee drinker, and I then had to ask how she took it, as that would dictate the color of what’s in the cup), and stretching my brain to come up with the context in which as many of those details as possible would make sense. Everyone in her family is an avid Iowa State Cyclone fan….her daughter loves powdered donuts….she loves to read…she has a little black mini schnauzer…how was I going to make this all work?

It felt like a lightening stroke when it finally came together: her family has been sitting on the lawn at their beloved Iowa State University, watching their dog chase the famous swans (I am now highly knowledgeable about those swans and their provenance; go ahead, quiz me), with the equally famous campanile in the background. There on the grass is the blanket they were sitting on–in the school colors of cardinal and gold, of course–with two books left behind, a couple of nibbled-on donuts, and the necessary cup of coffee. The large tree on the left support has a heart carved in it, containing the names of my client and her husband, with each child’s name added below as they were born (I’m excluding a picture of this for privacy reasons). Nestled in the tangle of greenery at the foot of the tree is a little red cardinal–look closely, that’s Cy, the Iowa State mascot, and I like to think he looks like a bird you don’t wanna mess with. On the back of the chair, the daytime sky darkens into night, and the moon and stars make an appearance over the entrance of the Jack Trice Stadium, which is all lit up for the big game.

The end result is one of which I am pretty darn proud, and is a one-of-a-kind, intensely personal reflection of my client’s life. Every detail has meaning. It’s her story.

See what I mean? Game changer here. I want to paint more like this. What’s your story?

Featured pick–Tommy’s Sunset, handpainted accent chair

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This one is really one my favorites–extremely vivid, more serious and less whimsical than some of my other designs, but it was such a process of growth for me (I’d never really tried to paint water before, let alone light on water), and the result just does something for my soul. Plus I just loved the idea of writing a name in the sand.

The whole idea was to treat the side supports & first slats of the chair back as the worn, jutting pilings of an old dock, so to  support the illusion there are barnacles crusting the supports in the back. The sun is setting over the water as a gentle wave washes up onto the beach where the name has been scratched in the sand with a stick, while a lanky red sea star wraps itself around the front chair leg.

It was quite challenging to try to convey the reflected sunset in three broken up sections instead of one uninterrupted expanse. I painted it once, then I sanded the whole thing off and started over before I was satisfied. Like I said, learning process!

I was painting this for a specific child, so I had him in mind while creating it–he’s sensitive, artistic, and a little more quiet than his siblings. This seemed, at least to me, such a good fit for him.

So here’s Tommy…see what you think.