Spring arrived over the weekend here in Ridgecrest. This side of the Sierra Nevada is popping wildflowers like crazy. Most are just beginning to bloom. I have quite a crop of wild mustard and belly* flowers in my own backyard!
I have not had much time to get out in the desert yet as projects and a nasty cold have kept me tethered to home so far. One of the projects is preparing for a new selling event called the Home Show here in the Valley. I will have a booth this weekend and so I am painting cards. Right now I am painting wildflower cards, duh!
The 3 in the photo above are in process and they are taken from photos I have of our local flowers in the past. These are some of my favorites. The top one is called the Desert 5 Spot and is typically found in Death Valley, Bottom left is called a Mariposa Lily and it likes to hang out in a little higher elevations on the mountain slopes and tends to be a little more elusive, and the third is a Thistle Sage which is a little more common. Can’t wait to see them finished. Very fun!
This year I am hearing stories of fields of Evening Snow and Phacelia and many other things. It’s time to get out. Wildflower season is always exciting here. Every year brings a different mix of species. My daily walks will move a little farther out of the city so I can commune with the flowers. Yesterday the Painted Butterfly migration was in my neighborhood. The puppies and I got to be in the midst of them as they flew on. It was magical.
Have a Happy Day!
*Belly flowers are not really a species of wildflowers. They come in all kinds. The reason we call them belly flowers is because you have to get down on your belly to see them 🙂
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.
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!
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.
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!
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!
I wasn’t going to write today, but I got excited about my finished painting and just had to share it. My first watercolor painting in 2 years, using layered washes and in a 9″x12″ size (bigger than a notecard). It seems after a drought of this kind in my creative process what I want to paint are flowers.
I took this photo of these sunflowers probably a year ago, printed it several months ago, and started dreaming about painting it at least a month ago. I finally did it this week.
Since it had been so long since I had done any real watercolors I wasn’t sure how the process would go. I did a lot of testing colors on scratch paper to find the right combo for the transparent layers. I had forgotten that watercolors are not a hurry-up thing, well I knew it, but I didn’t remember just how long one can wait between layers. Each layer needs to dry before you add another layer and so there is lots of time to work on other projects while I wait. I tried using a blow dryer in the past, however, you run the risk of spreading paint where you don’t want it and it’s not worth the risk. So patience is a virtue when it comes to this process. And I am willing to wait because the layering of color with transparent watercolors is magical and I love creating this way.
So I finished it yesterday and I am pretty happy with it. It reminds me of Spring and warmer days, and a friend said it looks like the flowers are dancing. I love that! So I have called it Dancing Sunflowers. I think I will stick with flowers for a while, they make me happy and people enjoy them. Spreading some cheer is a good niche to fall into.
Have a Happy Day