Tag Archives: michael nobbs

art on a schedule

Yesterday, an artist friend of mine posted a fetching link on her fb page.  It was from some folks across the pond who’ve created Not Another Bill, a subscription service which offers a monthly dose of hand made art.


It’s a lovely site filled with beautiful pictures of past postal presents they’ve sent to intrepid collectors.  I am smitten.  And I began to wonder, how many of these situations are out there in the world?  How many artists, writers, etc. are offering these sort of beer-of-the-month type of access to their work?  A little googling, as well as a look to some of the folks I follow in the interweb sphere, gave me my answer, and I have a few here to share with you.

First off, there is Sylvia at the Indigo Vat.


I first discovered her fiber work on etsy and really have coveted her felted head scarves forever.  But then I found out that she also is a wonderful writer and storyteller.  You can check out her blog to get a taste of her style and day to day artistic process.  If you like what you see, she has a subscription offering to receive, in the mail, her Grey Fox Epistles.  I’ll leave the describing to Sylvia, as only she can put it best.  But my guess is, subscribing to her fairy-tale letters would be a bit like getting magic delivered to your post box on a regular basis.  And who couldn’t use more magic and whimsy in their life?

Next up is an option I found via the google search, but I like their approach.

newlogoAt Art in a Box it’s a little less CSA (Community Supported Articulture: you basically get a box of art, but you never know what’s coming exactly) in that there is some semblance of personal input.  You tell them three words that describe your taste in art, and they send your subscription based on your taste.  A little less of a crap shoot, though honestly, none of these subscription options I’m showcasing here seem to be sending anything crappy out into the world.

If you have plenty of art in your life, but lack, say, inspiration, look no further than the musings and drawings of Michael Nobbs.  At his site, Sustainably Creative, Michael candidly shares how he manages to make a living at art making, while grappling with debilitating Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.  What I love about Michael’s work is that he approaches art and career making much like I do – with Micromovements – little bite sized bits of What’s Possible, that eventually add up to Real Tangible Work. (For example, Michael has written BOOKS!!!)  Michael has a website where you can get plenty of inspiration to get started on your own artistic pursuits, but he also has a subscription to his more in depth work regarding creativity and right work that you might find useful if you are looking to ramp up your own work in some way.  Do pay him a virtual visit or drop him a line and say hello!


I’ve written before about how much I love letters and letter writing and fun post in any form.  I’m going to dig around these subscription options and maybe look into purchasing one.  What art subscriptions are you aware of? How do you utilize the postal service to distribute or share your work?  I’d love to hear about it, as well as suggestions for how you might like to see work from me be distributed in this fashion.  It’s a tempting notion indeed….


We’ve been working a bit on the 2010 household tax returns in recent weeks.  Last night it was time to add up all of my receipts and measure them up to my earnings from the year.  It was a dismal year to say the least, at least monetarily.  Even with the mural work early last year, the loss of two of my jobs has changed my earning landscape quite a bit.  I feel a tremendous, albeit slow, shift in my work life and the growing pains are difficult.  Last month’s trip to the Arts Enterprise Summit really opened my eyes to where I am along the journey of making a name for myself in the business of art-making.  I am by no means a newbie.  I have an established blog with a distinct voice to it and a loyal, though quiet, following (‘fans’ of my work are more prone to emailing than commenting).  The work I do in my Drawing Down the Vision partnership with Adam has further opened me up to the idea that what I bring to the table with my creative skill-set is of value and could provide me with some income.

Money and art-making are a tricky partnership psychologically and I have worked hard in recent years to come to grips with the issues.  I have come across many artists who have turned their art work or their blog or other creative skills into a living and I look to them as guiding lights on my own career path.  Remember yesterday’s fellow smoothie drinker from Wales, Michael Nobbs?   He has done extensive research on creativity and how to foster it and sustain it.  He has recently come out with a subscription to his thoughts and writings for a mere $2 a month.  Today I subscribed to his newsletter, figuring it’s about the cost of a cup of coffee, only once a month.  I really love what I have read on his blog thus far, I appreciate his rather no-non-sense approach to art making (like the idea of just making it a habit, like coffee) and frankly, I am willing to pay this small price to get more in depth into his take on creating and sustaining an artful life.  I highly recommend you check out the work he is doing and support it if you are ready to move your own work along a little further down it’s distinct path.  After all….

Today you are you, that is truer than true.  There is no one alive who is youer than you!”  ~Dr. Suess

Another artist who has a blog so juicy you could pay for it is Rima Staines.  I’ve linked to her website here before so you already know, I am a fan.  Recently Rima added a ‘donate’ button to her site encouraging readers to contribute if her ‘Hermitage has rung bells in your spirit’.  I am here to tell you that when I am once more gainfully employed again (new part time job starting soon…) I will be throwing a coin (or two) into her hat to keep her ‘in teabags and ink’.  I am contemplating going the same route with this blog and would love to hear some thoughts from readers about this idea.

While I have been fortunate to be able to take my career one tiny baby step at a time, many artists have had to make tough financial decisions around their art work just to pay the rent and keep the wolves from the door.  My long time friend Michelle Ann Miller, an artist living and working in Sheboygan, Wisconsin is one of these artists.  Michelle created the Nothing New Project a number of years ago and set about documenting a year where she did not purchase anything new that she could not otherwise obtain used, or create herself.  This practice served her well by keeping her expenses down and giving her a platform and structure from which to create some interesting work.  She is still blogging and still finding creative ways to make a living and documents them in the newer version of her blog, {almost}nothing new.

So these are just a few of my thoughts on the proverbial ‘elephant in the room’ that is Making a Living as an Artist.  But it’s not all seriousness all the time around here.  There is always time for puppy play time and a doodle or two…


Iris and I took a walk today in our local favorite woodsy place.  While most of what you’ll see in the woods right now is grey and brown (think mud…)

There are hints of green here and there and signs that our area might be trending toward spring.  This makes us very happy.  Especially when the sun is shining.

And so we explored the creek bed to see what recent torrential rains had rearranged.

We discovered what some site specific local sculptors had been up to.

All of this exploration lead to a really tuckered pup.

And a hungry me.  Thanks to a wonderful new friend (via another dear one – I am blessed with the best people in my life!), I have been on a bit of a smoothie kick lately.  The craving for green this time of year is more than in the woods or the cold frame.  It is in our very own bodies.  And it’s not just me, or Julie, or my family.  This trend is also alive and well across the pond where it is possibly grayer in winter than it is here.  I have been admiring the work of artist Michael Nobbs recently whose blog I discovered online.  His thoughts on creativity and working within one’s limits and boundaries are worth reading.  Wouldn’t you know, that as I was doodling the smoothie recipe below, a twitter post comes across that his blog for today is up…. and it’s about smoothies among other things.  Well Michael, I’m right there with you.  Here is the Jakk’s Magic Beans Recipe that is now in my sketchbook…

This all goes in a blender and get’s good and juicy.  The New York Times Style Magazine out last weekend showcased a place that sells this sort of green goodness to New Yorkers called the Juice Press.  People line up around the block to get one!  Yes, the trend toward green is definitely in fashion.

And so is watercolor…. This article from the Tate in the UK introduces us to a British man who painted watercolor paintings of the natural world around him.  These were shown only to close friends and never sold. Only recently have they become available for viewing.  According to broadcaster, naturalist and the article’s author, David Attenborough, these paintings were made for only one reason, and that is LOVE.  Love of the garden, love of painting.  Just love.  What a great reason to do anything.

Wishing you more green and sunshine in days to come.  (and some watercoloring should you be so inclined.)