A Few Words about Pie

A Few Words about Pie

How many pieces in your pie?

How thin can you cut a slice and still savor the flavors?

Is Pie better shared or are you one of those that wants to keep it all for yourself?

Do you have conditions on which you are willing to share your pie? Who qualifies?

What if you run out of pie? Can you make more or is it a secret recipe that no one knows?

I want to consider myself unselfish and willing to share until I realize that I am not that willing. Is giving it away with no restrictions the same as that “doormat syndrome”?

I do want to share, however I do also want the last piece, just incase the recipe gets lost.

Silly me, there is a war going on between my brain and my heart or maybe it’s my inner child and the inner chef. I should know there is always more pie, if you are open to variety. Who wants to eat the same pie day in and day out. Not I!

So feed the child and keep making more pie and invite the others in for a bite. Pie is meant to be shared and that is all there is.

Have a Happy Day!

Cheryl

Cheryl McDonald is a full-time artist living in the high desert at the base of the Sierra Nevada Mountains, to see more of her work click here!

Am I a pebble on the beach?

Am I a pebble on the beach?

An existential crisis is easily ended
I leave footprints in the sand, and dirty dishes in the sink don’t just magically appear.
The notion of why am I here? 
who cares?

I am, and that cannot be denied. Our personal importance is of no matter in the Grand Scheme of things, it is our vanity that makes us think it is so.

The waves erase the footprints, the dishes are washed and returned to the cupboard, and the Grand Scheme drones on with or without me.

I read a blog the other day, I can’t remember exactly which one or on which day, but the message stuck with me, and that’s the important part.

The message was; it’s easy to want things to be different, to want to start on a new path because the one you are on is not working as well as you thought it would.

Then there is the figuring out, do you just need to do alterations or do you need a whole new path. I have a habit, I think of changing paths completely before I have done everything possible to make a plan work, I give up midstream or more appropriately mid Dip (Seth Godin, “The Dip”). I lose track of the goal, it changes mid-stream sometimes and I lose focus. I guess it’s hard to decide if I am beating my head against a wall or I’m just not doing the work I need to do to get to the next level. Mostly, I think it is the latter.

Am I still battling that fear of rejection? Searching for the right medium and message that will satisfy my longing to make “important” art, they say you should pick one and stay there. I have not been very good at that… Going through archives of all the art I have created over the last bajillion years, I see so many styles and messages that I am happy I made and it feels like now I am just going with the flow, following instead of leading as an artist.

This has been a transitional year for me, even an earth-shaking year for me. So many changes in my world and more to come. I guess it is only right that I am also questioning my creative path. Maybe what I need to ask myself is; How can I let the changes I am going through infiltrate my art? How can the madness be expressed? Why do I feel the need to remain calm in my art when my life is in earth-shaking upheaval? And maybe my frustration and confusion are really about the fact that I do need to make big changes, but I am resisting because it seems I am always making changes. Change is good, right?

And even a pebble on the beach causes things to change.

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!

 

 

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

We will figure it out

We will figure it out

It’s Saturday, it has been an illuminating week. It’s also been earth-shattering in the “now what?” category. The jobs I have been getting consistently the last couple of years are fading from existence which seems to be another sign that my renewed path to make art seems to be right. I don’t make as much per job in art yet, but I do make sales regularly. I am not depending on Etsy yet, but I do see the potential. And if I count it all up it is a decent wage, so even though losing a bigger job is scary on the outset, it also gives me the time and money I would have spent in preparation for it to use on other things. When transitions in my life happen, it always seems to take me a little time to think things through and to not panic. I have gotten all my chores done today and I plan to spend the rest of the day in the studio. And that is one sure way to make me happy.

It seems that many people are going through big life transitions these days. Finding our way through these times of economic, political, and planetary uncertainty really affects us all. We are all in this together and we will create a new world experience because we are adaptable and filled with creative energy.

I hope you have a happy day. I am planning on it.

Cheryl

 

If You Want Different Results, Guess What You Have to Do.

If You Want Different Results, Guess What You Have to Do.

I confess I am a serial entrepreneur. Not the kind that goes from one successful business to the next, but the kind that knows what I would like to do but just not being able to find the right combination of components to make it happen.

I am an artist and creator, and I have taught myself design, marketing and many other aspects of being in business either through taking classes, online webinars, coaches or just trial and error. I have had a brick and mortar stores/galleries, websites, been part of cooperatives and consignment stores and yet, finding the right combination has eluded me. One would think I should give up, but not me! I know my product is good I have just not found the perfect way to get it to enough people to make a living on it. Don’t get me wrong, I make sales, and over the years I have made lot’s of them, enough to stay afloat, just not enough to call myself a success.

This last year I decided that my missing pieces might be not having a big enough audience and also not having a product that was useful and renewable.  I have done a lot of thinking and observation about how and why people shop these days, and I realized that even though I have been on the right track, there are things I can do to change it up to get different results. Some of the changes I am making are creative and some of them are operational and even though it’s only February, I can see that these changes are making a difference.

First I expanded my greeting card lines. I have sold cards for many years created from my art and love the idea that my art gets sent across the world from one to another. It’s a way to share the love and each small sale spreads my work to audiences I could never reach on my own. I started noticing that cards were becoming more and more popular and that this trend was on the rise. This article I found in December backed up my observation. “Greeting Cards Aren’t Going Anywhere”

The second thing was that I needed an online store. We all do more and more of our shopping online and I decided I needed to take Etsy.com seriously. To learn to use it and to make my presence there a viable online art and stationery shop. So even though I have had a page there since 2014, I did not take the time to learn what works and to figure out how customers find me there. Let me tell you it is just as much work to have an online store as it is to have a shop in town!

The third thing I am doing is finding the right ways to reach the customers who will want what I make.

All of this takes a lot of research, trial, and error, and making tweaks here and there until suddenly it works. And I am seeing progress which makes me happy. It is important to have a mix of personal connection and digital connection, giving people options, finding ways to meet their needs. And making art that not only expresses me but art that inspires and is appreciated by my customers. I don’t have to please everyone and that makes expanding sales across the web makes it easier to find your tribe and build a broader base.

So my advice to you is, if you have a dream that just won’t let you go, please don’t give up. Keep searching. What’s right for one entrepreneur is not always right for everyone else. Follow your heart and your gut and never give up. The world needs what you do, just as I know the world needs what I do as well. So watch Youtube, read blogs, take classes and webinars, and talk to people who work in similar areas of practice. Most entrepreneurs are open to sharing. But the biggest thing is to keep working at it. You will get it and it will be a fulfilling and rewarding journey.

If you are looking for unique cards, custom stationery (soon to be added) or beautiful art in photography and watercolor, visit my shop on cherylmcdonald-art.com

Thanks for Reading

Cheryl