Yesterday, with temps in the single digits, a sketchy friend and I decided to move our studios to the warmer climes of the Krohn Conservatory for a bit to draw plant forms and soak up the juicy green-ness and humidity there. As always, this beautiful jewel in the crown of the Queen City did not disappoint. We spent an hour or so drawing in the cactus room with thoughts of our upcoming trip to Taos…
Upon leaving, I commented on the gorgeous citrus trees, heavy with oranges and lemons, wishing out loud that I might be able to try one of them. The ladies in the front office overheard and handed me this Ponderosa Lemon to take home saying it had been laying around for a few days and I was welcome to it! What a lovely gift! We then got to chatting about some beautiful terrariums on display at the conservatory. They gave me some tips on getting my own terrarium to grow more successfully. I have plans to stock up on some charcoal and a new fern or two in the coming days. Meanwhile I have this fabulous lemon to draw…. (Iris is fairly certain this is a large tennis ball destined to be her play thing.)
In other news, my ice box of a studio space is featured today in Terri Windling‘s lovely blog The Drawing Board as part of her “On My Desk” series. A number of bloggers have showcased the work spaces of fellow artist/writer bloggers over the years and it’s a fun way to get a peek into each other’s spaces, if only virtually. Terri is part of a village of artists who live and work in the town of Devon, England. She and another web-fave of mine, Rima Staines embody the notion of Storyteller for me. I feel a tremendous kinship with these artists half a world away. They seem to write about the same concepts that interest and fascinate me… the blessings of an artistic community, the blissful presence of traditional music, the inherent wisdom of dogs. Although their work is quite different from mine, the notions that drive it run along the same veins that seek truth and mystery in the day to day human experience.
Tomorrow this single-digit cold snap is supposed to break and I will again have the wax pots on…. hopefully to pop a few more works up on the new Etsy Site. I will, of course, keep you posted.
Years ago, before I went to art school, I made stuff. Being naturally artistic, this stuff was well crafted and made with a tremendous sense of play. I made mobiles with broken stained glass that was wrapped with wire – like jewels. I made painted paper flowers which I still see here and there at the houses of friends and family members who delighted in these whimsical things. My husband happened upon a junk yard whose owner/operator wound up teaching me to cut and weld steel. I painted metal cutouts and gave them as gifts and sold a few too. I had a few years of decent sales making these things and even paid for a workshop in Colorado, where I decided to Go Back To School for an Art Degree.
While in school, and since then to a certain degree, I have been creating large scale projects that are not necessarily fit for sale to the average buyer. Smaller things were now laying around more as ‘studies’ for larger work, but not for sale. Friends and family began to ask how they could acquire smallish work of mine. “When’s your next show?” they would ask. I signed up for – and backed out of – numerous coffee shop gallery shows over recent years, hemming and hawing at the simple act of making things to sell. I am not entirely sure why this is. I like making money when I can, especially now that I have lost most of my paying jobs. (that will be changing in the coming weeks… more on that soon…) But for some reason, I was stalled in the sales department.
Anyway, instead of worrying too much about it, I decided that it’s a new year and time for some new challenges. Plenty of people, varied in skill, style and wares, have thrown their hat into the virtual sales ring of Etsy and maybe it’s high time I gave it a shot. I am still applying to higher level art shows and opportunities where I can, but along the way, if someone likes something I am making, they can now buy it on Etsy. Working on small works of art keeps me primed for the larger scale projects. Etsy is a place for these small works and exercises to realize new life with a buyer. This is an exciting prospect.
In the spirit of starting small, I listed 3 new paintings today, all of them encaustic, 5″x5″, heart themed in time for Valentine’s Day. Please stop by the new Micromovements, Dream Nest Etsy shop today to check out these new works. Just for good measure, I’ll share images below as well. It is my plan to update as often as new jobs and travels allow. So stay tuned…. as always, I’ll keep you posted. In the meantime, let me know what you think of the new work!!
Today I went to the gym for some exercise. It felt great to get a good solid run in and some stretching too. I spend so much time bundled up in layers of wool underwear, hats, scarves and down – it was just nice to be all warmed up for an hour. There is a track at the gym that I like to run around and around…. and around. Unlike a treadmill, the track provides me with plenty to look at, people to watch and wonder about, and a window well to keep a notebook where I can stash ideas.
Did you ever have one of those play-doh machines when you were a kid? The one that pushes the play-doh through templates to create cool shapes? During my visit to Mammoth Cave, the ranger guides would often compare the formation of gypsum crystals to the play-doh machine process. Depending on the shape of the limestone void, various gypsum shapes would appear. My own artistic practice has a play-doh machine quality to it. When I run, ideas and notions seem to seep through my pores, almost as if being pushed out by the effort of a hard run. This is good and happens more often than not. I am grateful for it.
Currently I’m developing ideas for a finished Mammoth Cave related work that for now feels just slightly out of reach. So I’m running and drawing and continuing to view things through what my friend Elizabeth calls, my “artist’s gaze”. This beau regard (french, loose translation can be beautiful gaze, or beautiful eye) is what artists are known and ideally valued for. Their unique perspective on the world is why we visit their blogs, purchase their art and music and writing. It is a rare day that my world is not made more open or brighter because of the work of a fellow artist.
Nudges have been coming from various directions for some time for me to get some work made to sell on Etsy. I have been dragging my heals, as is my nature. Somehow I haven’t felt cool enough, or productive enough, or…. I don’t know. I have just avoided it. But when my dear friend (and French medievalist) Anna made the play on my name as beau regard, it occurred to me that maybe I could make a go of it on the Etsy site with a cool name like that. (insert a chuckle here at my sheer silliness.) So we’ll see where it goes. I’d love to get back to the wax table once I improve the venting in my studio. Above are collages wrapped up for an artist trade thing I participated in this week. They are pretty packages. Things that might work nicely in the Etsy realm. Baby steps. The dip of a toe into this new realm. This all will hopefully coincide with some updates on my website which is such a wonderful extension of my artist self. I will, as always, keep y’all posted.
Meantime, I am trying to insert little glimpses of magic into my daily life. I picked up these sweet flower faery lites at High Street here in town. With our trip south over the holiday, we had used a honeysuckle branch with colored lights as a makeshift Christmas tree. It was time for the color lights to go away until next year, but I really like the lights-on-a-stick idea… these should take us into spring time….