More Spring Artwork to share

More Spring Artwork to share

Good Morning All,

My goodness, I have been having fun, painting fresh Spring flowers, iconic Easter images like bunnies, baby ducks and chicks. Creating mini art pieces that others can share is becoming a habit. I love the fact that they are mailable and hangable. My new tag line is “I make usable art”. As I’ve said before art is everywhere we turn so why not surround ourselves with art we love and art that makes us happy, and spreads a good feeling. We need more of that in our lives. The crazier the world seems, the more we need to spread the love.

Yesterday and today I put several of these new items on my CherylMcDonald-art and I even started a business page called Cheryl McDonald Creative! on Pinterest. This is the next step in becoming savvier about selling online.

I am learning that taking this task of online sales on in steps, sometimes even micro steps, makes it seem less daunting and much more manageable. Taking breaks to work in the garden or make art helps as well. It is exciting to see progress, in the form of sales and happy customers that I might never have met without this shop. Spreading the love as far as I can! One of the next steps will be figuring out global sales, not just United States sales.

Hope you are having a productive week, and I hope you are giving yourself time to recharge as well. Easy to forget to do when the world keeps throwing more and more at us.

Have a happy day!

Cheryl

Happy Vernal Equinox!

Happy Vernal Equinox!

Yesterday…

On this end of the planet, it is Spring, at least on the calendar. We have had such crazy weather, a few days of sunny and warm and then yesterday as if to say “I’m not finished with you yet!” Winter gave us thunder, lightning, hail and a sprinkle of rain.

I have decided I am just going to pretend it’s Spring and make it so! I love to garden and in the Spring every year I think about actually planting stuff. It grows till mid Summer and the 117F temps and high winds kill it off. So far it has not mattered what I try to do to keep things protected, I have not been successful. But I am a die-hard gardener, farming is in my blood, albeit not desert farming. It’s hard here. There are people who make it happen, and I have been getting tips and ideas and I am ready to give it a go again this year. This year I decided to plant seeds, and I will be planting in containers I can move if necessary. Yesterday just prior to the crazy storm, in the nice and sunny afternoon, I planted lettuce and radishes which I hope will have enough time produce before the heat. However, I think it’s kind of like washing your car, I tempted Mother Nature, and when the winds came up and others in the valley were shouting Hail!! I was moving my newly planted containers into the potting shed. I may be on to something here and we shall just have to wait and see how the season progresses.

I planted flowers too, I have been painting sweet peas from a photo I took a couple of years ago and it really made me want to plant my own. All I can say is we shall see. I am hopeful, Spring always brings that out in me, however, there seems to be lot’s of new possibilities in the air and some of it is also letting go of things that don’t work for me anymore. Less baggage, more room to grow. So I am planting seeds in my garden and seeds in my heart and soul. Hurray for Spring and new beginnings. The cycle of life continues.

Have a happy day.

Cheryl

Art Requires Evolutions and Revelations

Art Requires Evolutions and Revelations

I can’t believe it has been 10 days since my last post. The time has flown and it has been a challenge to keep up.

On the 5th I was given the opportunity to be part of a festival which was one of the few in this area that is actually made up of really creative people. It was coming up on the weekend of the 8-9th and was one I had wanted to get in on earlier. But I got the information on it too late and all the slots were filled. This event was the biannual High Desert Quilt Show and although it seems questionable that this would be a good fit for a painter, I have other artist friends in various mediums, sculptors, jewelry artists, and ceramic artists, who have sold there in the past and done fairly well. I had the money and I had the desire to give it a try.  I had 4 days to prepare. My head was spinning. I needed to paint cards and I really wanted to get my newest painting done and framed as it is an important evolution in the direction I am moving. I wanted to share it and I also wanted to do well.

I painted note cards with spools of thread and quilt patches and lot’s of spring flowers and I did finish my painting. I was excited. about the show and about the art. My style and my focus are evolving and I am actually thinking about who my audience is and what they would like. These are 2 different aspects of being a creator. Because considering your audience is not important to make good art, but it is important to make art that sells. Anyway, I was accomplishing 2 objectives and I could see that all this marketing education is finally paying off as is the acceptance that I as a creator need to make art that comes from my soul. And somehow it is possible for those two to come together if you find the right niche.

Well, the weekend came, I set up a beautiful booth and I did have a very successful weekend. And even though I came down with a nasty cold in the process, from which I will recover, I made headway, and I discovered more about my direction as an artist as well as more about being a more successful artist and finding that niche that narrows my marketing strategy. I don’t have to try to sell to everyone! Got it! Finally!

So where do I go from here? My mind is in the process of envisioning my next painting, as I work on deadline projects that I must finish. I am also thinking about what I need to create for the next show, next weekend. Mentally describing the audience I will be connecting with and figuring out how the things I make can bring them joy and entice them to want to own.  This is really the essence, I think, of being a selling artist.

So the evolution continues as do the revelations, there is always more to learn and more life to live. As the story unfolds is not just a title for my blog, it is my life and yours as well.

Have a Happy Day.

Cheryl

P.S. I did sell the painting to one of my favorite collectors and I did do well with all of the art cards I created. More evidence that I am going in the right direction!

 

 

A Day Off in the Mojave Desert

A Day Off in the Mojave Desert

I took Friday off.

When you work for yourself and love what you do, it is easy to work every day and burn yourself out. I have learned over the years that I need at least one day off a week and on work days, I manage to take time out to recharge throughout the day as well. I knew Saturday I would be working at the Farmers Market and Sunday I had a Real Estate photo shoot scheduled, so that would be a most of the day’s commitment for shooting and processing. So when a girlfriend invited me on a desert day trip for Friday, I said Yes!

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We were headed to Randsburg which is a little abandoned mining town which is now an off-road Mecca on the weekends as well as a stopover for many on their way to Death Valley. I used to have a gallery there, which only didn’t really work out because most of the traffic was on 2 wheels instead of 4 so they could not take a painting or photograph on the back of their bike!

We took a less traveled road to get there and since I have photographed so much of this area before, I concentrated my photos on new views.

We have had so much rain this year and it is still continuing, very unusual for our desert, and because of all the rain, our desert is getting nice and green. There will be wildflowers in abundance very soon, and then I will share wildflowers of the Mojave with you.

Today I have some beautiful vistas and some found object art to share. We have a lot of old junk left over from the miners, the sheepherder camps, as well as just junk that city people bring out and leave because they think the desert is a waste land. NOT!

We have many quirky artistic types out here and why not use what is around to create something fun and visually interesting. Sometimes they are memorials, and sometimes it’s just fun.

So I hope you enjoy these images and maybe they inspire you to come out and visit our desert and at the very least I hope they give you some inspiration to take a day off.

A big Shout Out to the RandsburgGeneralStore.com for the best patty melt and chocolate malts in the whole world!

How Does One Connect with Customers in the Online World?

How Does One Connect with Customers in the Online World?

I spent most of the day painting yesterday. I was working on more Spring cards and I started a larger painting as well. The nice thing about watercolor, at least for me, is that you have lots of time between layers to get other things done. It’s not like acrylic where you can just pile color after color on top of each other. Watercolor has to dry or the colors mix and you get that color called mud. So I did feel like I had a very productive day.

I will have a booth at our local farmers market on Saturday and I will take these new cards to sell. Right now it is my only outlet to connect with my customers. This is one of the things I miss most about not having a gallery or being part of a cooperative gallery. We don’t have these things here. I would love to start one but I am not a director type person, I have figured that much out about myself. So I go to the farmers market fairly often and I get to greet and chat with the people who stop by my booth. To me, this is the best way to build long lasting relationships with my customers. We become friends, and they look forward to seeing all the new things I am up to.

Facebook is sort of like that. If I post regularly I build relationships with those who comment on my work and sometimes people who are on Facebook come to my booth and I get to meet them in person.

I am wondering how one builds those relationships on a website or like my Etsy shop, is it being pushy to reach out and thank the people who have come and liked my shop or items? I don’t know.

How do you build relationships when your main outlet is online? Would love to hear your techniques.

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Here are some of the new cards I made this week, they are $12 each and they are not on my website. If you’re interested let me know before Saturday and we will make a plan to get it to you. I may put them on Etsy, and if these sell I can do one that is similar. Because they are hand painted, each one will be different.

Thanks for reading and have a happy day!

Let the Story Unfold and What does that Mean?

Let the Story Unfold and What does that Mean?

I have been going through my archives of paintings and drawings, some I have sold and only have digital files of, and some I have the originals still. Some of them I see daily as they hang on the wall of my home and I love them still. It is interesting all the changes I have gone through over the years. I have no clear style or medium. I go through periods of idealistic and imaginative art and periods of more commercial ventures. For example, painting architectural watercolors for location sales or for commercial clients and then painting detailed dreams or visions that come from emotions or ideas. Almost no one could look at my work over the years and say these all come from the same artist. As I have said before, I am adaptable. And I am so passionate about creating that I may just create a whole new style simply because it might sell better than what I am doing at the moment. Or it’s easier, less time consuming or simpler.

This year feels like a year to rededicate myself to uncovering who I am, not what I would like to be, or who others see me as. I would like to find something that goes beyond marketing and sales and making a difference for others to include making a difference for me.

I have heard it said that making art is more of an inner journey than any other endeavor, and when we start out to make art, we don’t start out to make it a profession, just to let the exploration of medium and emotion come together. However, once the decision gets made to turn it into a profession the message and the exploration may get lost. We think more about trends and input from those that want to guide us and less about the story we ourselves need to tell.

I am not suggesting that these aspects of making art for sale are bad, I am just speculating that maybe there is a way to combine them. Especially now when our market to make sales is no longer limited to where we live. Our market is global and our audience is broad enough to include my voice and yours and it doesn’t have to be a competition.

Maybe we can tell our own story, make our personal statements and still find an audience with whom it resonates. That is what the internet should do and to me, that is an incredible and amazing thing.

So I am going to continue making art and I am going to do some searching to find what really resonates with me. Maybe it’s a style or medium I have used in the past and maybe it will be something new. I don’t know. This feels like that time in my life when it’s time to delve into what my story really wants to be about.

Hence the name of this blog. Let your story unfold.

Have a Happy Day

Cheryl

Is it Spring Yet?

Is it Spring Yet?

Here in the desert, it is feeling like Spring. It’s still only 50 degrees, but that’s warmer than it has been and the sun is shining. So it makes us all very happy. Soon there will be wildflowers and that will be the only topic of conversation for most desert rats.  We get very excited to see what shows up because it’s different every year. I was out for a walk amongst the Creosote and cactus on Saturday and there are lots of new leaves popping up everywhere. Once we get some blooms I will post some shots. But today I am working in the office on a website for a client and later I will be doing more painting. Besides another larger painting, I will be working on cards as well.

I have started painting cards for Spring, So far I have 3 and they are Easter related, however, I was sketching ideas this morning and there will be lot’s of Spring oriented images I think. These cards are approx. 4″x6″ single sided with colorful paper on the back. They make people smile. Seems like it has been an especially brutal Winter, I’m ready for Spring how about you?

Have a Happy Day!

Cheryl