Thursday, June 30, 2011

Lessons Learned (Or the Saga of The Mermaid Huntress)

When last we met, I was preparing to take the Mermaid Huntress through the last stages; finishing up the layering of colors and refining lines overall, then adding a nice blue watercolor wash. Remember when I said that sometimes things don't work out, and if they didn't I would be philosophical and shrug and say "Oh well, I learned never to do that again"?

(Sigh) Things did not work out. I was not entirely philosophical.

At first, everything went well. The final layers of colors came together and I was pleased with the result. Next came the experimental part - the watercolor wash. I like watercolors. I like the fluidity and the effects that can be achieved with washes and letting a bit of the paper show through here and there. I love using pearlescent watercolors over ink in my fantasy work. But I've never mixed them with color pencil. So now, why would I take the chance when there was a deadline (all of the Team challenges have to be finished by midnight on Friday) and when I'd publicly (that would be you!) promised to display it?

Well, a challenge is about stepping outside of your comfort zone, expanding your horizons. Doing a Mermaid in color pencil is something "right up my alley". I've done lots of them, probably in the hundreds in my lifetime, so far. In fact, I added some to this blog  to add a bit of color and break up all the verbiage! (These particular Mermaids are either on my website now, or were recently sold. They are all small - only 3.5 x 2.5" - done as Artist Trading Cards.)

So, "Mermaids" not necessarily a challenge. To change things up I decided to do a 9 x 12' drawing, giving me space to do a full scene rather than a small vignette. The idea came to me almost immediately. I wanted to do something that showed a Mermaid, not striking a stylistically, beautiful pose, but doing something I imagine she might do to survive in the sea. I wanted an element of danger, as I imagined there would be in an ocean full of predators. And then I saw her quite clearly, pressed back against a rock, tensed for a fight (to the death if need be), a Mermaid Huntress following the shadow of a Great White overhead.

I drew it in pencil rather quickly, with the image fresh in my mind. As I began planning the colors, the idea popped into my head that a wash of blue water color in the background would give it the right look - after all it was an underwater scene. I could have left it at that, and just filled in the background with watercolor. Easy enough to do. But then I had the idea to wash the whole thing with blue watercolor. I thought it would be beautiful if the entire picture had a blue overlay so it would really look like it was underwater. (Sigh)

So there I was, with a nicely colored drawing - all the colors looked just right. Instead of coloring it solidly as I usually do, I left a little paper showing through here and there so the blue watercolor would soak in. Time for the wash. I did hesitate. After all, it looked nice the way it was. All I had to do was color the ocean with color pencil. I knew that would turn out fine - I'd done it countless times before. What if this wash messed it up? I wouldn't have time to start all over...

This was about challenges, right? I got out my watercolors. The pearlescent ones. Thought they'd add some shimmer and shine. Oh dear. The blue is looking grey. Well, I'll just add a little more to deepen it. Gasp! What's happening to the Mermaid's pale skin? It has grey spots all over it! Oh no - whatever makes the watercolor pearlescent is giving the Mermaid speckles! And there are grey streaks all over the picture. This isn't going well at all! Blot, blot, blot with paper towel! Try adding regular watercolor! Oh no, the paper is too wet - it's going to scrub up if I add more! Ugh! It's ruined!

I (literally) put my head in my hands and considered the consequences. It seems silly now, but I truly despaired. I felt all kinds of yucky emotions; sorrow that I'd ruined something beautiful, disbelief that I'd poured all of that energy and creativity into something only to have wasted it, shame that I'd felt so smug about doing a Mermaid challenge, embarrassed to publicly admit I'd made a mistake, and hopelessness. I gave up. I decided to go have a late lunch (somehow the day had slipped away and it was waaay past lunchtime) and think about it later.

Eventually ( a little food and some time helps) I began to rally. I was sitting on the couch, watching some mindless TV show, determined not to think about my mistake, when little by little I started to climb out of the gloomy depths. A thought came to me - maybe I could still do something with it. Another thought - maybe it was still salvageable. Another thought - I owed it to the work to try. Another thought - it couldn't hurt - it was already too late to start over, so what could I lose but a little more time. It was as if the drawing was calling out to me, from the spot on my art desk where I'd (sob) abandoned it. I actually kept sneaking glances away from the TV and toward my desk where it lay. Finally my mind reached the tipping point - more thoughts collected on the artwork side of the scales and fewer remained on the TV. Click! Decision made - TV off. I went back to the desk, a little wary of what I would find there.

Well, it was bad, but not as bad now that it was dry. I looked at it as if it were a patient. Symptoms; grey speckles on the Mermaid's skin, drawing of shark obscured, overall color washed out, watercolor wash splotchy. Diagnosis: Original drawing sound but obscured by bad color. Treatment - fix the color. Prognosis - 50/50. :)

So I started in refreshed, even a little excited about the challenge! I was at peace with the thought that it still might not work out. I didn't mind admitting that I'd made a mistake. I no longer cared what anyone else might think. All that mattered is that I give it my best effort and if it worked - hooray! If not, I would take stock of what I had learned, and share that with others.

First order of business - the Mermaids skin. Now that the paper was dry, it turned out that a fresh application of color pencil took care of the speckles! Say, that meant I could do the same for any other object that was washed out! Here you go, Shark! A  little darkening of your original color and voila! You look marvelously menacing! Here you go plants! Let's brighten up your leafy parts and add a little definition - nice! Hey, rocks, lets' deepen that nice purpley color a bit, so you'll make a better backdrop for the Mermaid - let's make her pop! Oh, what fun! I get to re-do the swirls in the Mermaid's hair! Always a favorite thing to draw anyway. Gee, your hair actually looks better - terrific!

Yeah, but what about that awful splotchy watercolor background? Well, on closer inspection it's kinda cool, cuz it pools here and there, just like water. Dirty, muddy water. Hmmm. How about I take my good ol' trusty color pencils and enhance this effect? Let's see - dark blue in the pools, white swirls to highlight the eddies... Gasp! Look at the cool effects! This actually looks good! Much better than the wash I had envisioned.

The picture was saved! And, I had learned something after all. With art, it's not always just about the result. It's also about the process. Not everything works out - but everything you try tells you something about the materials and about yourself.

Without further ado, here is the final result: 

 Ok - that's done! What's next on the list?

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Creative Process for The Mermaid Hunter cont.

Let me start off with an apology. I promised to show you the stages of my creative process on The Mermaid Hunter sketch, but I seem to have jumped a couple of stages. I got carried away and forgot to stop and scan! So here we are (a couple stages later). I'll try to make up for it by explaining what was done.

First of all, here is the sketch as it looks at this moment:
Not so sketchy now!
Here is what I have done so far;
1. I decided to outline all of the lines I liked in dark blue colored pencil, because I want an overall hue of blue to run through the final picture. This is because it's an underwater scene. I plan to add a blue watercolor wash over the whole thing once the pencil work is done. I think this will work out the way I envision - we'll see! (Not everything does and I just have to be philosophical about it - shrug and say "Well, at least I learned never to do that again!"
2. I began to layer in light shades of the different colors I wanted throughout the picture. I added a layer of light greens to many of the objects (Mermaids tail, skin, hair and scales, plants, narwhal tusk). I used a variety of shades (apple, grass, spring, chartreuse, french green and true green). I added light shades of blue as well - to the mermaid skin, tail and scales, the shark, the rock, the water. Then touches of pinks - magenta, hot pink, mulberry - to the skin and sea anemones. I added a touch of lavender to the shark, rocks and tail. I finished off the colors for the shark by adding a layer of silver. I added a jade green to the rocks.
3. I considered the layering was done and began refining each object. At this stage I deepen the colors on each one, sometimes adding a little extra color here and there, and blend the layers together. I blend them by using the lightest shade on the object, or white, cream, or a colorless blender. In this case I used the lightest tones on the long seaweed plants and cream on the ones growing out of the rock. I don't want the color to be too solid as I am hoping (!) the watercolor wash will fill enough small uncolored space to give it an overall underwater effect.

After I did the plants I realized I had jumped a couple stages of the process, made myself STOP (it's hard to do when I'm into the flow!) and scanned in what was done so far. So now I'm off to finish this stage, which is to fully color all objects. I'll be back (I promise!) when that is done, so we can all look at the picture before I hopefully don't ruin it with the wash!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

The Creative Process

I'm always interested in other artists' creative process, so I thought maybe someone would like to see what steps I take in creating a piece of art. If you are an artist and would like to share what you do here, I would be very happy to make some space for you.

Here are sketches for two works in progress. Both are in pencil, smudges and all! I did them this morning, but had been thinking about them since yesterday. A little information about each follows:

Mermaid Hunter - I am doing this in response to a team challenge on Etsy. Etsy has hundreds (maybe thousands?) of artists in every type of media and style. In the Etsy Community it is helpful to join a Team of like-minded Artists. These are folks you can engage with in a give and take of ideas. One of the teams I belong to is Doodlers Doing Doodles. Perfect for me - if you know me from my coloring pages website (shameless plug ) you know I have created hundreds of doodles for others to print for free. The Doodle team issues a weekly doodle challenge based on a theme. This week it's Mermaids. The idea below came to me yesterday. I mulled it over off and on and tried to think of something else that would interest me more, but it stuck, so it's the one. Here is the initial sketch. I need to google Great White Shark silhouettes to make sure I have drawn it correctly - may have to make a correction there.

The second sketch is for a piece of original art for my kids Etsy shop (another shameless plug) Little Dragon Dreams. I'm pretty satisfied with it and don't foresee too many changes.

That's all for now. Tomorrow I'll refine whatever needs refining and then draw over the lines I want to keep in color pencil. Hopefully by Thursday I will add all of the color using a combination of color pencil and watercolor.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Identity Crisis!

Don't know if anybody noticed, but I've been a bit absent of late. I had to take some time out to weather a "Shop Identity Crisis".

I have this shop on Etsy, you see. For anyone who doesn't know what that is, it's an online marketplace for Artists and sellers of Vintage goods. DO NOT GO THERE NOW - you'll never come back! It's HUGE. There must be thousands of shops offering millions of handmade and vintage items (stop drooling and continue reading). Yes, it's the stuff dreams are made of - or nightmares if you're a shopaholic or married to one!

I've had a shop there for years - since late 09 I believe. For most of that time it was mostly just an outlet for me; a place I could put my artwork for others to view and (once in a very blue moon) buy. It was certainly NOT a reliable source of income. On the other hand, I didn't spend much time on it. I was working full-time, raising a son, writing a book, and dreaming of that golden ship sailing into the harbor (you know the one - it has your name on it and your bust hanging off the front end).

My business plan could be summed up in this manner;
1. Create some art whenever I have time.
2. Throw it up on the online gallery wall and see if anyone likes it.
3. Sit back and wait for the orders (and offers of fame and fortune) to roll in.
4. In the event that #3 took too long, sigh and comment about how hard it is to make it as an artist.
5. Grumble.
6. Repeat #1.

Surprise, surprise - not a rocket ride to Success!

Well, as you know I have realized the error of my ways (well not all of them - I'm saving some for later) and have finally come to the conclusion that Promotion is Important. (Maybe that should be in caps.) So, I've been working very hard on promoting. (It may not seem like work sitting on my *** tapping away on the keyboard, lifting nothing heavier than a cup of coffee - but my aching back, squinty old bloodshot eyes and stiff fingers say it is. Good thing I built up a cushy backside. It's as if I've been preparing for this for years!)

But, I digress (another big surprise). This is about my identity crisis, not another rant about promoting! As I was filling up my Etsy shop with new and wonderful works of art (I got all the way up to 80 btw!) I began to notice something odd. The things in my gallery didn't "hang" well together. And that leads to a problem I've had all my life; I tend to go off in too many directions all at once.

(Flashback to me as a little girl. My arms are loaded with stuff; some of which is trying to escape. My mother, an exasperated how-many-times-do-I have-to-tell-you look on her face saying crossly:"Sheryl, stop trying to do everything all at once! Just do one thing at a time!")

As an artist and writer I tend to get a little - hmm, enthusiastic is a nice word. Spastic, dispersed, frenetic, are other words (not-so-nice). I'd think of an idea, or s/one would suggest s/g to me, and I'd get all excited & be totally convinced it was the thing to do - but b4 I'd even get started I'd immediately start thinking of another way to do it and another style it would work with and another thing to add, and another, and another... Then, if in the middle of this, I get an idea about an entirely different thing, or someone happens to mention s/g else they would like me to do or thinks I should try, I'd head off in that direction, and then if -  Well, you get the idea. At times, it resulted in inertia. It was like I was in the eye of a hurricane of ideas - suspended in midair, unable to move in any one direction. That was bad. Sometimes, it resulted in a lot of projects going at once, but none really taken to fruition. That was bad too.

Eventually I learned a trick to handle my little problem.
Yes, lists. Lots of lists. Ask my husband and my son about my lists. (Guaranteed eye-roll in case you're fond of those.)

I learned to pick just one thing, and narrow my focus on that, while keeping a notebook (or scrap of paper, or corner of the utility bill, or a gum wrapper...) nearby to jot down the incoming onslaught of ideas. I work like a madwoman on just that one thing till I feel I've exhausted it (all the while noting things down here and there). Now, I may never get to all of those things I noted down, but my mind, silly thing, is tricked into thinking I will! It leaves me alone long enough to get something fully accomplished. Then I look up and say (sometimes out loud, but just because my dogs like the sound of my voice) "What's next on the list?"

It works! I finished a full 10 piece set of illustrated Math workbooks, a 400+ page novel, wrote & illustrated several little storybooks for kids, and finished many pieces of artwork in this manner. However, it does result in some funny themes in my creative life. For example, I would get interested in creating beautiful Art Nouveau-style illustrations and would spend a week or so (sometimes more - whatever it took to satiate the artistic beast inside) just doing that. (Meanwhile I'm bombarded with new Coloring Storybook ideas, Abstract designs catch my eye and try to woo me away, interesting product ideas pop up and screech "Make me! Make me!"  "I will, I promise!" Note, note, jot, jot, quick sketch.) Then, suddenly, one day I'm done with it - I feel like I've taken it as far as I want to go. I look over my lists (gum wrappers, scraps of paper, etc) and whatever is screaming the loudest (let's say it's digital Abstract designs) gets my full attention.

If you're not totally lost by now, you may recall this had s/g to do with my Etsy shop? Yes! Because, you see, my poor Etsy shop reflected all of these various stages! When I started it, I was very much into Fantasy Art. So the banner had this rosy-fading-into-lavender background with a Celtic knot border, and a lovely somewhat blurry white owl (did you know that Guinevere is another name for owl?) hanging in midair under a softly, glowing moon and a single star. Awwwww. Too late! It's gone! You can't see it anymore - it is outta there! Why? It didn't play well with my (later stage) digital Abstract designs in bright, bold colors or the glowing Pop Art kids prints, or the black and white Kids Coloring Storybooks, or the retro look" Puppy and Kitty in the Garden" prints. Here, see what I mean? Be forewarned - it makes me queasy just looking at these next to each other!

See? And thus, we come (finally) to my Shop Identity Crisis. My shop is deeply personal. After all, it is a reflection of what I do as an artist. I tell ya, I agonized over this for days. I didn't want to get rid of anything - I love them all! Eventually, I knew what I had to do. The shop had too many personalities to fly under one banner. And so, I came to the painful decision to split them up. A new shop to hold all of the Kids Art. A new banner for the first shop that could accommodate varied art styles. And that's what I have been working on since we last "spoke". It took a lot of focus because even just the thought of a new shop dedicated to Kids Art got my wheels spinning and my gears grinding! (Focus, focus, note, note, jot, jot, sketch, sketch)

Aaaand, I'm done! New shop, new banners (altho the kids' banner needs some tweaking). I'm so happy! I feel whole again! And I have LOTS of new ideas for both! Look, look! You can go to Etsy now!
Original shop;
New Kids shop!!!

But you will come back, won't you? :)

Friday, June 17, 2011

Slo-o-o-wly venturing out of my Social Media Shell

Hahahaha! Now that I see it (the picture) on the web, it looks pretty funny! It's just a sketch I did to illustrate how I feel about venturing into the World of Social Media. Please don't judge it (or me) too harshly. It's smudgy and not well-thought-out; a little like myself today! Let me point out THIS IS NOT FOR SALE! A timeless treasure like this is something my family will want when I'm gone. I'm sure it's destined for the scrap book (or scrap heap - sometimes I get those mixed up).

Ok, now that I got that out of my system, maybe I can get some work done. I finally figured out how to find and follow directions on creating a blog, and did a little tweaking to this page. By "a little tweaking" I mean I fooled around with it for a couple of hours, instead of working on my art.

I hope the tweaks are an improvement. I played with the colors of the "page" behind the text to (hopefully) make reading this a little easier on the eyes. I stayed with the exploding, psychedelic cosmos background scheme, though. It's the only one in colors I like, so unless I figure out how to make my own (not likely to happen any time soon) we're stuck with this one. Please let me know what you think - and pass on any tips to make it better.

So, yes, this week has been pretty much spent on confronting my Social Media fears. My kids (who know their way around this strange, new landscape) are very busy with lives (and jobs) of their own and it's hard to schedule a little "hold Mom's hand and walk her through the scary Facebook set-up" time. (Kids, if you're reading this, it's ok to feel guilty! Too bad it's not still Mother's Day, cuz I would totally milk it!)

Oh! I did have time to do a piece of artwork with one of the teams on Etsy. The team's name is "Doodlers Doing Doodles" and (since I consider myself a "Professional Doodler" :) it seemed like the perfect fit for me. Right after I joined one of the members suggested a Doodling Contest. We all voted on the "prompt" (a word or phrase to define the theme) and then we had a few days to turn in our doodles. What fun! The prompt was "Flight of the Bumblebee". Right away I had a funny sketch in mind (something about a thief in a black ski-mask, wearing a black and yellow striped turtleneck shirt and black pants running away from police with a stolen honey-pot - huh?). For a couple of days I thought about it off and on, and then finally sat down to do it.

Well, Doodles don't always behave. They do have a mind of their own (which is just barely connected to your control center). My Doodle directed me to put down the pencil and turn to the computer drawing program. What? I didn't intend to do that! Next it made me choose the curved line drawing tool and create loop-de-loops all over the page. What was going on? Not part of the plan! Then I went; "Hmmm, I see where this is going!" And my Doodle did the rest! Here it is in black and white and then fully colored;

I liked it so much I made it into an art print and put it in my shop! And that's what comes of a little interaction with your fellow artists! It's funny, I've actually had a shop on Etsy since late 09, but never got involved in the community. I think there are probably thousands of artists using Etsy to create online shops. I'm just now starting to interact with a few, and I must say I've found them to be generous in spirit. I knew there were groups called Teams, but didn't know their purpose, or how to join one (did you have to be invited?) or even why one would want to. While having a full-time job, I had a limited time to work on my art and writing, so I just ignored anything else that might require a bit of my attention. But now that I have a little time to pull my head out of the sand and look around, I can see there many wonderful and like-minded folks with whom to interact.

And I guess that's why I am slo-o-o-wly coming out of my Social Media Shell and inching toward being a fan. There are literally millions of folks out there with valuable advice and encouragement, as just as many who need both. The Social Media lets us reach out with both hands - to help on one and receive help on the other.

It's Cosmic! (Now the background colors I chose are beginning to make sense... :)

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Discovering What Works

Things are looking up since my last post! My artwork is starting to sell! Funny - it's the same style of art I did before that sat on a shelf by its sad old self.

So, what changed?

Me! I changed! I decided I was going to do whatever it takes to make it as an artist and get on with doing what I'm supposed to be doing - creating things that brighten others' days, inspire and encourage and nourish the soul just by looking at them! That's what I like to do and this is the way I do it. Other folks have their ways - through music and song, teaching, creating products that improve lives, fixing things that are broken, fixing people that are broken, performing medical miracles that save lives, being an awesome parent and home-maker, being a tireless supporter of one's family, etc. I can't list them all here because the list is as endless as individuals. Anyway, I decided it was time!

Once I made the decision, I couldn't just sit back and wait. I did (and still very much do) have to follow through with action. Quitting my day job was just one step to give me the time to do what I needed to do. I still have to DO those things!

 And one of the hardest things I had to do, am starting to do, is just put myself out there any way I can. That's why I started this blog. That's why I did the street fairs. That's why I'm trying to wrap my mind around how to use Facebook and Twitter even though I don't understand some of the terms they in the directions! These are the things I have to force myself to do - the creating end has always been fun and relatively easy.

So now I've got my Facebook page set up as an artist and my online store is well-stocked with over 70 items! I also joined some teams on Etsy so I would become part of the community and not just one lone shop-owner trying to make a go of it on their own. That has turned out to be an eye-opener. I've always just gone off on my own to do my own thing - never really became a part of a community of artists. I dunno - thought it would take up too much of my time that I could better spend creating artwork or writing. I found out it's actually a very good thing to "hang out" with other artists. We share ideas on promoting our shops, tips and techniques for making things, encourage and inspire each other. Isn't that what it's all about, anyway?

Alright, this has gotten a bit long - lotsa words and no pictures - enough to put you to sleep! So here's some new pics to brighten your day! Some of my Abstract Art from a series called "Patty-Cake". It celebrates sisters and friendship.

Don't forget to come visit me! Best Wishes,

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Am I Crazy? Continued...

Well, in my quest to make it as an artist (by which I mean actually be able to pay bills through sales of my art as opposed tojust siphoning off the grocery money to buy more art supplies!) I tried a couple of Street Fairs.

1. The first one was a cute little event sponsored by the local Humane Society. It featured lots of pet related activities. I thought this would be a good venue for my little Coloring Storybooks as each features a cute animal character. As an extra "draw" I put up a poster advertising $2 Cartoon Pet Portraits. I also set out a table with free coloring pages and crayons for kids to sit and color. Sounds good, right?

WRONG! I did end up doing a bunch of Pet Portraits, but only sold a few books. Turned out people mostly came for all the free pet related give-aways and activities. And the crayons started to melt in the sun, so I had to take them off the table. There went my cute little display. Oh well. At least my booth fee went to a good cause...

2. The next one was an Arts and Crafts Fair. I put a lot of preparation into this one. I bought the neatest display items for my paintings from a Dollar Store. They are little easel type stands made of wrought iron with the words "DREAM" cut out in metal on the fronts. They were perfect for my "Dream Horses" (see pic). And only $1 each! I also got a couple of heavier and larger tabletop display easels (in black wrought iron) from a local discount home decor store. I had visions of huge crowds of people and was worried I wouldn't have enough merchandise so I created a lot of new pieces. I made paperweights from recycled glass - they were cool once I figured out how to get my artwork to stick to the back - that was an exercise in trial and error! I made Art Nouveau-style bookmarks, painstakingly cutting out each design so that, once laminated, the text would peek out thro the drawing. (See pic). I made high res Xerox copies of some artwork so there would be cheaper versions of the originals. I digitally colored, printed and cut out my paper Qt-z dolls and packaged them with a couple of outfits. Plus my coloring storybooks, all of which I bound myself. I was ready!

It went better than the first one, but not exactly as I had envisioned. The canopy I bought on sale was broken so I had to set up under a tree to get out of the sun. A low-hanging branch seemed to have it in for my forehead. The wind kept blowing over my cute little display, so I ended up taking them all down and laying things out flat. Thank goodness I had the paperweights to hold them down. There weren't many kids so the coloring table I had struggled to bring and set up went unused. Everyone kept saying the fair wasn't as well-attended as the last one. My viewpoint of it was it was mostly a large group of friends (most seemed to know each other) who came to hang out for a few hours - it was more like a party. However, I did make some sales (most of the paperweights, some bookmarks, a few books, an original painting and a print) - although not enough to balance out what I had spent on displays, a table, chairs, and the art materials themselves.

On the upside, getting ready for the fair gave me a goal to work towards and helped me hone my skills as an artist. I also had a lot of inventory for my Etsy store! In fact it took me a couple of days to get it all uploaded. And I put myself out there, which is always a plus!

So, what have I learned? Street fairs can be unpredictable and it's best NOT to spend too much time and money on displays - cuz they may not work out at all. Also not a good idea to expect too much going in - look at it as an opportunity to put yourself out there and show your artwork Use it as a driving force to get a lot done by a deadline.

Will I do another one? Yes! Why? Well, I may be tipping the scales toward crazy....
Till next time,
Sheri McClure-Pitler

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Hello, Anybody out there?

I feel like I'm standing on a hilltop, shouting into the wind. I'm finding it's a challenge to make myself be seen and heard above all of the other voices out there. I picture all of us, as individuals, shouting to be heard, each one drowning out the other, all becoming lost in a sea of sound. Maybe we could each take turns listening.

Some days I'm very sure my work has value, and that I have something unique to offer. Other days, not so much. I've always been better at creating my work (writing drawing, painting) than promoting it. The days I spend the majority of time working on promotion - those days I tend to end up in a corner of the couch with a dark grumpy cloud over my head. Occasional bolts of lightning shoot out of it - targeting me with doubts. Sometimes, anyone who gets near (husband, son) gets zapped too. Sorry!

The days I spend actually working on creating something, I'm in my own happy little universe for hours on end, and by the end of the day I think I can do anything, be anything... Need to bottle that - for the grumpy days.

I'm sure I'm missing something, in the way I go about promoting. I kinda missed the Facebook and Twitter boats. I have a Twitter account but don't really get how to use it. Does anyone really care if I'm on my 3rd cup of coffee? When I get an email that someone's following me, I always think - why? Don't they have their own stuff to do? And I closed my Facebook account almost as soon as I opened it. I just wanted to tell people about my artwork and invite them to my website and my etsy shop - what's all this about parties and events and someone went to the zoo and here's a zillion pictures of my new cat...

Wow! What an old codger! (What the heck is a codger, anyway?) Guess I need an attitude adjustment. Maybe I'll try following somebody back - see where that leads me. And my daughter says she'll help me with Facebook...

Anyway, as to whether I'm crazy or not (for quitting my job to follow my dreams) - it's still up in the air. Some days (the "promotion" days - like today, in fact) the scales tip towards crazy. That's why tomorrow I'm going to make some new artwork! I have a couple pencil drawings - a pouty little princess, a couple of Wizard faces - that I did while sitting at an arts and crafts fair waiting for that gallery owner to drop by and be floored by my offerings... I think I'll flesh them out - give em life. And then maybe I'll put some time in on my 2nd Fantasy Book. It will probably be done before the first one ever sees the light of day!

Oh - and here's a few pictures, in case anyone is out there....
And here's my websites too. See, I can promote!