My first art market

And yeah I had some stickers in the art fair back in June, but this is the first time I’ve set up a space of my own, had real wares that I’m vending, and actually am doing this for real for the first time. I also designed the website and all the branding, which you can see here.

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Here’s my space all set up! It’s in an old medical clinic that moved out and has been abandoned for over a year, so it’s a little surreal walking around – but very fun to see how everyone has set up their little rooms! Mine is the smallest one of them all, because I am cheap and broke, haha.

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I painted the backs of jackets so you can walk around like a cool biker person. I wish I had gotten a better photo of the bottom one, because it sold within the first hour of the mall opening! Crazy, right? I added a geometric pattern with black washi tape to liven up the space a bit.

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The main area. Ignore all the tools, we were still setting up! My original paintings are on the wall to the left, then I have prints, handbound books, cards, and stickers. My stickers were selling a fair amount – I’m sure some people will pocket a few because they’re so small, but ah well. That’s the way it goes sometimes – and honestly I’d rather people have the stickers if they want them! I made big stickers, small stickers, and Make Your Own Graveyard stickers!

After I got set up I added a few of my friend’s leather midori notebook covers! He’s a fantastic leather artist, and I wanted to help him out by having some of his art in my space! They’re a cheerful orange, and I hope he sells a lot of them.

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The one laying down is a watercolor notebook! Honestly I want to start making my own watercolor notebooks! I even make my own bookcloth and everything. Binding books is VERY soothing for me. I love doing it.

And at the front of the shop, I created a sign and we printed it out and hung it up!

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It was AMAZING to see my design work in real life. I’ve been running myself so ragged with this art mall – with making art, and doing all the design, and not to mention my day job on top of it all! It felt SO good and SO validating to see that sign hung and ready to go. I need to take a better photo at some point, but it’s so hard with the glare, since it faces south!

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Um. Needless to say, I was very happy to see the sign and have everything FINALLY finally come together!

What have you been up to lately? Any accomplishments, big or small? I’m always so hard on myself, I want to take some time to step back and really breathe and celebrate this! It’s open! I’m doing my first artist market! It feels awesome!

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I built a table!

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How was your Saturday? I spent my day not doing art – sometimes I like to work with my hands in a way that art doesn’t always allow for (at least, not in the way that I want). I wanted a little table for my living room but wasn’t satisfied with the look (or the cost!) of anything I found online so I just built my own.

Unfortunately my camera totally lost the photo I took of the parts! I got all of them from Home Depot – I got a round piece of wood (precut and with a nice edge to it, very handy!) for the tabletop, 4 legs that I had them cut to the size I wanted, and brackets.

The legs had screws already attached, which was handy! They could easily screw into the brackets, and then the brackets attach to the tabletop. Here are the legs all sanded and ready to go!
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The tabletop was a nice pine, but the color was a little yellowish, so I stained it with white stain. It was a gamble, honestly – I didn’t know they made white stain! It removed all the yellow perfectly, and left the wood a perfect blonde without diluting the details at all. So I got to keep the beautiful wood grain, but without the yellow! The kind I used was Varathane Antique White.

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The top half has no stain, and the bottom half is stained with Antique White. You can see that the top half is more yellow. It’s very subtle – I’m pretty much the only person who would care about it! But it worked out great and I’m so pleased.

I drilled holes and attached the brackets, pretty easy!

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After that, I just screwed the legs into the brackets, and then just used Varathane polyurethane on the top of the table. I actually tested out two polyurethanes on some scrap wood – Varathane and Minwax. Minwax was significantly darker! So I went with Varathane, which coated nicely and didn’t change the wood at all.

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Super happy with how this turned out! My living room is SO cozy now. The old table I had, I just moved into another room, and it works out better in there anyway! Augustus’ face in this picture cracks me up – he looks so accusing!

Hope everyone’s having a great weekend! Mine has already been super productive!

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Art dump – Submissions, sketches, and more

It’s about seriously time for another art dump! I have a couple paintings to share and some other work I’ve been preparing for my first REAL vending experience. I sold stickers at the register at an art popup shop back in June, but now I’ll have my own real space to sell artwork and other treasures I’ve been making for the past few years. I’m really excited and nervous -and, there’s the chance it doesn’t happen at all if there aren’t enough applications. So we’ll see! But I’m preparing in the meantime.

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I’ve been taking a painting class every week – it’s mostly self-guided but VERY relaxing to just go somewhere every Wednesday night and paint. I finished this over the summer – it’s called Lost & Beloved. I still kind of want to go back and add a ghost coming out of the grave. 🙂

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Another painting I finished – this one I did in just 4 days. I actually painted this specifically to enter into a show, but I didn’t make it in. The theme was “boxed” and I wanted to paint hands holding something, as a box. Around the edges I painted shiny gold, which I really love. Anyway, I’m still proud of it even though it didn’t make it into the show!

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STICKERS. As you know I love making stickers. This is the new batch I’ll be selling at the art mall – succulents, eyes, teeth (I love and hate teeth – they weird me out so much), bell jars, and Staff of Asclepius. More to come! I just did another batch of stickers that I can’t wait to post.

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A painting that I’m so proud of – just playing with watercolors. We went camping in Connecticut and the trees were just beautiful. It was breathtaking. I’m so happy with how far I’ve come with watercolors – still more to go!

Well, that’s it for now. I’ll definitely be posting more here and on my Instagram (so follow me there!) about the art mall as it hopefully happens. What have you been creating lately?

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Finding my motivation again

I have a confession to make.

I haven’t been making all that much art lately.

In January I made an unspoken (even to myself) resolution that I would draw every day. I’ve always, ALWAYS wanted to be an artist, but from a very young age never thought it was possible. And I mean young. While other eight year olds still held onto their dreams of being astronauts or fire chiefs or artists, I quickly discarded my dream of being an artist and moved on to my much more realistic, more practical dream of being… an engineer. And like many of us, I started making websites when I was 12, and loved the act of creating and making pixel art and beautiful graphics so much that I went to college and majored in… computer science!

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Cute animal break! Here’s my adorable albino hedgehog, Mabel!

So yeah, not very good at actually embracing that artistic side. I think many of us wash out because of society’s expectations of us, and as women it’s hard to push past the idea that you’re supposed to be creative but only in “crafts”, never in the arts or corporate world (trust me, the art and design worlds are just as sexist as everywhere else), and also battling with impostor syndrome, and also I’ve just come to the realization that artists and designers are all just VERY good at pretending like they are perfectly creative and fine and nothing is wrong.

And I re-started this blog so I could provide a new and different perspective for people who are struggling with their creativity and how to make it work. So I’m going to tell you what’s going on with me even if it’s not the happiest (not sad, either! it just is).

So yeah, I haven’t been making all that much art. I’ve done a few big paintings and work for a gallery show that’s going on right now, that I want to share very soon. And I’ve been freelance designing. But I haven’t been drawing every day. And my new job isn’t a design job, it’s a day job to enable my art and design.

And I think it’s so important to talk about that, because I’m struggling with it too. I think there are problems with the tech industry that nobody’s talking about in terms of generalizing and specializing and switching careers and all sorts of junk, but I won’t talk about that right now. What I want to talk about is that I’ve been beating myself up for a long time for having a day job instead of quitting my job and devoting my life to my art.

See, everyone I know who is An Artist with a capital A or A Designer does it for a living. And everyone I read about does it for a living too. There’s an unspoken implication that if you don’t do it for a living, you’re not a Real Artist or Real Designer or Real Writer or Real Web Developer or whatever else. The implication is that if you’re not doing it for a living, you’re clearly not good enough. I thought I was past that mentality and yet I’m realizing I’m just not. I still wake up in a cold sweat thinking that I’m almost 30 and still not a designer or artist, and time is running out for me.

In between all these pep talks and “you can be anything if you just dream it!” and “everyone is creative!”, nobody’s talking about the fact that there ARE creative gatekeepers and there ARE people who shut you down and it DOES affect you, no matter how much you wish it wouldn’t. And I’m going to tell you, through my own insecurities and doubts, that you’re not crazy, it does happen, it makes you feel like crap and want to give up, but the world still needs what you have anyway. I’ve seen how incredibly talented and amazing everyone is who has commented on this blog – every single one of you. And maybe you’re more confident than me and don’t need a pep talk! But here’s one anyway.

So yeah, I’m re-finding my motivation, and putting energy into blogging and doing stuff on the side and my art and making this all work, while having a day job, instead of spending all my time and energy beating myself up over the fact that I don’t have “design” or “art” or “creative” in my job title.

I want to hear from you guys – do you ever have these kinds of doubts about your creativity? Have you pushed through it? Let’s have a conversation!

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Let’s do something fun today

So remember how I said I’d be posting like crazy! Following my creative process! Okay, well, last week I created 4 (that’s FOUR) new pieces – one painting and three shadowboxes. I also iterated through 20 logo designs for a friend and designed a poster/flyer for my NEW JOB. So this morning I woke up early, watched the sunset, and sat around doing nothing – no screens, just me and my coffee and my cats. It was really nice, I have to say.

Anyway pretty soon I will make a post about all of this, but for now, let’s do something fun! Let’s find out what Enneagram we are!

Take the test here and choose the Classical Enneagram Test (the one on top). Then comment with what number you got! You can read better summaries of the numbers at the Enneagram Institute. The thing I like about it is that it tells you how you act in times of stress and in health.

I’m a Four with a Five wing, which is labeled as the “Bohemian.” Fours are concerned with self-discovery and identity, and often feel huge emotions and self-blame. They feel like there is something missing from them that everyone else has, and they’d be happy if only they could find that thing. Though obviously these tests have a fair amount of confirmation bias, I’m enjoying reading about it, because it fits me to an uncanny T.

So what number are you? Let’s do something fun today and find out!

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