Monday, November 22, 2010

Keep on pluggin'

There's something to be said for consistency.....

"Scituate Harbor"
5"x7" watercolor & colored pencil
This art "career" of mine, it's like a swing. When I finished Open Studios, lugging all my stuff back into the freight elevator, well, it's just kind of depressing when you don't sell anything. All kinds of questions start going through your head. As in:
"Why do I do this?"
"What can I do different to make people notice my work?"
"Why don't you just take up guitar?"
and you go home and all your pieces are still in the big tupperware bin that you just through your back out lugging up to your 3rd floor condo..... sigh.......
then this happened:
I went to the reception for the New England Arts for Animals show. I had a hair appointment right after work so I was only able to get there for the later half of the reception (but I looked freakin' fabulous!) So while wondering around looking at the art work and sipping on wine I struck up a conversation with a woman who was by herself as well. * So we started chatting.. turns out she was a friend of Jill, the organizer of NEAFA. Told her that I was one of the artists exhibiting and when I told her my name, well, her eyes lit up with excitement and said,
"Oh, You're Christine??? You're work is beautiful! I love everything you do!" and went on to mention specific piece that she had seen of mine. And all I'm thinking is "woah! I have an actual fan!!" We ended up chatting some more telling her how I got started and all that. She was very nice and wants me to do a portrait of her caramel colored poodle once the holidays are over.
Needless to say I walked out of that reception feeling Pretty Damn Good. Doesn't take much, really. But I needed that. I follow Seth Godin's blog. If you're in marketing you should too. But one thing he said recently really hit home:
"Does your project depend on a miracle, a bolt of lightning, on being chosen by some arbiter of who will succeed? I think your work is too important for you to depend on a lottery ticket. In some ways, this is the work of the Resistance, an insurance policy that gives you deniability if the project doesn't succeed. 'Oh, it didn't work because it didn't get featured in that blog, didn't get distribution in the right store, didn't get the right endorsement........'
There's nothing wrong with leverage, no problem at all with an unexpected lift that changes everything. But why would you build that as the foundation for your plan?
The magic of the tribe is that you can build it incrementally, that day by day you can earn the asset that will allow you to bring your work to people who want it. Or you can skip that and wait to get picked. Picked to be on Oprah or American Idol or at the cash register at Border's.
Getting picked is great, but building a tribe is reliable. It's hard work and it's worth doing."
So I will keep plugging and building my tribe.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Allston Open Studios - Recap

It's like Christmas or a wedding day ... you get yourself so worked up, there's so much to do and then it happens *flash* and then.. it's over? Huh. Allston Open Studios felt like that to me. I did a lot of press releases and online marketing to get people out and about and come down. Not to mention get my stuff in order, hung and set up in a timely manner. There was some definite highs and lows to this show.

5" x 7" watercolor and colored pencil
The Highs:
The Allston Brighton TAB ran the press release that I sent them. I had also attached 4 images of different artists to run as well. Of course I sent one of my pieces but left it to them which one they wanted to feature, if any. Well, they chose my Luna piece to go in! I was very excited that my Tuna made the Tab! (she also caught and killed a mouse in my kitchen Saturday night - Best. Cat. in the World.)

And I had some friends come down and visit me on Saturday which was very nice. I was able to bring some work with me as well, (the great thing about watercolor, can be so very portable) so I think that got people interested in my art. I did have one woman talk to me about doing a portrait of her mother. I hesitated but told her to send me the picture anyway. WTF, right?

I attended the small reception for artists on Saturday night and Marilyn gave me a nod in her speech of thanks for the press work that I did. And it was very nice to meet the other artists in this space as well.

The amount of space given to me prompted me to go home and get more art that was framed to fill up the wall. I brought my acrylics too, which were all done plein air, and more of me just playing around. But I'm thinking it's open studios, sure why not?

Allston Open Studios.... the Right end of my set up

The lows:

Not a whole lot of traffic. At. All.

I sold 5 calendars for NEAFA and one magnet.

No one said anything about my acrylics.

The woman who I shared the space with was nice but she had her doggie with her. Don't get me wrong - you know I love dogs but he would bark constantly and aggressively when he saw another dog. It didn't make for a pleasant afternoon when this happened. And kept those pet owners out of our room. *grumble grumble*

And it makes me think that maybe I should branch out from doing animal art. Oh I'm sure if you know me or follow this blog at all this is a constant battle I have with myself. I'm selling, but painting pictures of kitty cats. I love to do it. But somewhere something inside of me says paint your feelings, your dreams, your bugs! ( I brought that up to one woman who then said, "Yeah, but I don't think that would sell!") I paint, I love to create - even if it is a painting of your dog.... Can you see that? 'Cause my vision is getting foggy.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

2 more days til the Allston Open Studios!

Don't forget! 119 Braintree Street, Allston MA 02134 I'm in suite 417!!! I really hope you come and visit me!!

Quinn dogs
8"x10" watercolor and colored pencil

I was able to finish the Quinn dogs on Tuesday! Seems everything is right on schedule. AND I was able to get back "in" the Allston Library show. *phew*. I had emailed the guy who I blew up at on Saturday ... well, not really blew up but anyway... I apologized for my behavior that I realized I had missed the date it wasn't his fault etc. So he emailed me back saying that the new director would be willing to take my pieces and would make sure that they got hung in the show! Back in!! :)

Monday, November 8, 2010

Crunch Time!

Yes, it's crunch time! It's this time of year when I wish I could just take the time off from now til Christmas to get all my art and art related things in order. Alas, I can't do it, so sometimes things have to suffer:

For example (Heaving a big sigh here). The deadline to drop off my 2 artworks for the Honan Allston library show was the same as Halloween weekend. With Allston Open Studios (I had volunteered my time for media work), orders coming in, calendars going out... Not to mention my costume, which was awesome by the way..... Well, honestly I could sit here all day spewing a gazillion excuses but the fact is that I missed it. And when I went to email the contact that I would drop off my pieces the following week, well I never gave it a second thought why he didn't email me back. So I went to the library last Saturday to drop off my pieces... *buzz* no can do. You missed the deadline. I said, "But But , I emailed Michael on Wednesday that I would be here today!!" "oh" they said, "Michael's last day was yesterday" So to make a long story short, I will not be exhibiting my work there. I was so mad at myself and I think that's the worst feeling.

BUT Allston Open Studios is still going on and YES I will be there both Saturday and Sunday.

I will be located in Suite 417 at 119 Braintree Street in Allston. Plenty of parking!! Come visit me!

16"x20" watercolor

Finished KC last weekend and it went into the mail today! My client says that her and her husband are already arguing as to where to hang it! I never wanted to cause any trouble :) On to the next project:

Quinn dogs
first layer still in the works

The photos that she supplied are great and she wanted both dogs in the same frame. I think collies, shelties and horses are challenging because of those long noses. But I will keep you updated and let you know how it goes! Back to work!!