Sunday, April 24, 2016

Red Dot(s)

I have a show up right now and I sold a painting. Scratch that. I sold three paintings. At the risk of tooting my horn or sounding immodest or any other thing we're taught as good girls to not do, I am freaking happy, proud, elated and actually did a dance, and it was happy, in my kitchen. These paintings are hanging in a beautiful venue, South Stage Cellars, for 6 weeks and they have honest to goodness red dots beside the price.

Selling my art is one part of the artistic arc of living a creative life. It's the one not many people talk about, they mumble, they ask polite questions, but we really want to know, do you make a living? Can you pay your bills? How does it all….work exactly? Because as working artists, small business owners, the road not taken path followers, we are, I am, still a little surprised that this gig is working out. There has not been one single Monday in three years that I have not woken up astounded, grateful and a little bit surprised, like forgetting you're not at home when you're traveling, that this Monday, this work week, is my play to direct.

But how exactly does it work? I am not kidding, it works on faith. I can only speak from my experience but based on the countless essays and books and ted talks and e-courses and and and….from what some pretty smart and experienced authors and artists are telling me, I'm not alone. It's faith and action. Or action and faith. This is how it works for me. There is a whole lot of boring sitting, puttering, painting, prepping and doing before there is an art show. Or a card order. Or a gift fair. The one constant variable that leads to a sale or to any monetization of art, is doing the work. It has taken me several years to really believe as this philosophy can also feel like watching paint dry, really, ordering business cards is the only thing I need to do all day? Yup. It's action. Do another thing the next day. More action. In one week you'll have seven action steps that all together are kind of big. It might even be a whole painting or essay or business plan or art show application. I'm not the one who invented this. I'm just saying, it works.

Back to art. And selling. And red dots. And those questions. Can I pay my bills? Do you make a living? How does it all…work exactly? Yes (With some debt. Not lying. Working on improving that.) Yes, in a creative manner. Day to day. Week to week. It works by swinging arm to arm on the monkey bars. Card orders, paintings, commissions. It's all momentum. Maybe there will come a day when I'll re-read this post and think ah, that's so sweet that I am so earnestly trying to make a go of this thing. I hope so. It will be worth it. I want to always know that happy dance red dot joy. I think maybe because it's the joy behind the action that makes it work. Exactly. xo

"Still Life with Louis Sherry" 8x10" SOLD

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Keep On

I am very excited to announce that I have a show up at South Stage Cellars in Jacksonville, Oregon. It is a perfect venue, a turn of the century original building, all exposed brick and wobbly barn wood and gorgeous imperfection everywhere. I hung 27 paintings…but who's counting? I know this number because when I was asked if I could fill this time slot, April 7-May 19th, it was short notice. I didn't have 27 paintings. I didn't have 7 paintings!! Ok, maybe I had seven but for the most part I dug deep, cleared the decks, completely immersed myself in creating a collection and got to work.

It reminds me of Edison's famous quote, "We often miss opportunity because it's dressed in overalls and looks like work." Ha!! I love that. I live that. My practical Canadian roots are alive and well when it comes to plodding along, showing up, keep going, one foot in front of the other. It still amazes me that if you keep going, even if you can only see an inch ahead of you….you WILL get there. It might take a while, you might know where "there" is, but action has immense rewards. Keep painting. Keep writing. Keep making things that make you happy. Keep on keeping on. xoxo

"La Vie Parisienne" 24x36" available at South Stage Cellars, Jacksonville, Oregon

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Greetings from Ashland

Greetings from Ashland. Literally. Hello from the Rogue Valley, Ashland Oregon, the Mythical State of Jefferson. I love this little town full of art and hippies and shakespeare and tourists and Priuses and healing modalities and raw food and kombucha. I love the optimistic spirit here, the supportive vibe (yup, vibes) for artists and entrepreneurs and the lack of…competition? Pressure? Never-ending drive? All of the above. There is a peacefulness here that I didn't know I lacked until I lived with such gentle pace in my life that I actually know my neighbors, I have coffee with friends spontaneously, I occasionally drop of jars of soup for friends…this is community and I never in a million years predicted that it would form around me in this unlikely place. But it did. And as an artist and small business owner, I can't recommend it enough. This cozy kind supportive way of living and working is a road I have taken. And that has made all the difference. xo

"Greetings from Ashland" 16x20" SOLD

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Home Sweet Home

I love these funny fancy parlours. I love that they are lopsided, imperfect and a hodge podge of my imagination and reality. Objects from my living room, my childhood mixed together with my wouldn't it be great list. In reality, do I live with aqua walls and kelly green velvet couches? No. But I would! If I could! And I should!

I also love doing them because they rarely (never) go the way I plan or want and take on a wily life of their own and challenge me in a way no other pieces do. Explaining and expressing the artistic process is a bit like writing down a recipe you've made a thousand times from your head…it just "is" but if I could, I'd say that capturing these rooms is a combination of herding cats and following breadcrumbs.  Not the kind of assignment I volunteer for but somehow the kind that I'm hardwired to receive. Here Mindy, this will be like wrestling an alligator. But you'll love it! Really!

Because I am self-taught, that is where the alligator comes in. I have no background in theory or depth or scale or any other technical painting processes that gives artists skill or recognizable work. I go in. That is my method. And I figure it out as I go. What does a chair look like sideways? Well, certainly not like the four times I painted it before the one you see here. Painting is a great reminder that most of us come with an artistic visual library of house, square, sun, circle, roof, triangle, bodies, stick, two stick, two more sticks and maybe some squiggles for hair. And by painting, I must unlearn this knowledge. Suns are not yellow, they are a million shades of orange and red and brown. People are not sticks, houses have angles and contours and rooms have depth and scale. And every single time, every time, I relearn and am astounded how little I know, how much I have to learn, how much I want to learn and how much I love the whole damn process. And best of all, how much I'm ok with being lopsided and imperfect. In life and in painting. Our wobbly edges are the fanciest parts. xo