Ramblings

New Year, First Post

I wrapped up last year in Joshua Tree and New Mexico. After looking back on that post, I thought about the listed goals for 2014. To my surprise, only one had not been completed (not finishing my children's book). That's alright, there's always this year. It made me think that it works to type it up like this so here it goes again.  

View from our  Airbnb  spot in Frigiliana, Spain. A very magical place.

View from our Airbnb spot in Frigiliana, Spain. A very magical place.

There were many new things this year and I felt I really broadened my horizons, especially in the last few months of the year. I'm a perfectionist and have high expectations of myself, so it's easy to forget the things I've done and spend more time focusing on what I need to fix. When I took the time to think about it I found these highlights for 2014:

  • Won 2nd place for Best Local Handmade Goods in Metro's Best of Silicon Valley 2014 in San Jose, CA.
  • Opened my own web shop outside of Etsy.
  • I'm selling my art on juried sites as well.
  • I learned to sail, something that has been on my list since childhood.
  • Participated in the SubZERO Festival and it was a huge success!
  • Sold art at West Elm in Emeryville
  • Found the best camping spot in Northern California with river swimming (not telling where!).
  • Taught an Craft Entrepreneurship class for Etsy in Santa Cruz.
  • I attempted to climb Half Dome. I actually won the lottery to hike it, but some backpackers didn't put their fire out properly and left us in the valley of Yosemite. Still, a real good time hiking to the top of Glacier Point.
  • Designed a coffee bag for the Chromatic Coffee Artist Series.
  • I did my first daily art project in October. Although it only lasted a little over 3 weeks, I really got a lot out of it. 
  • Spent a month in Spain for an art residency. Stay tuned for more blog posts about that trip.
  • First international exhibit! Showed my art at ECCO, a gorgeous marble-filled museum, where my residency was located.
  • Spent another couple of weeks traveling in Spain and Morocco. That means I went to Africa! A whole new continent for me. 
  • Held a studio sale before leaving for Spain. It went great! I'm low on inventory now.  
  • Cooked A LOT. I was way more experimental and enthusiastic about cooking this year. 
  • Donated or sold clothes, housewares, art supplies and more throughout the year. I finally feel like I only have things I love.
  • Read three whole books in the month of December! Sure, they were pretty short, but pretty good nonetheless.
  • Sold art online ON Christmas day. Wow, thank you sweet customer, that was unexpected.
  • Redesigned my website (HA! Just did this on 12/28!).
  • Started editing images of custom portraits I have done to add to my portfolio (again, did this in the last few days of the year).
  • Sold out of art prints on Scoutmob (Just did this on 12/31/14!).
  • Sold art online on New Year's Day. What a way to start the year.

After getting back from being away all of November and half of December, I fell right into holiday chaos. I had a few portraits to finish with Christmas deadlines. Then there were the holiday themselves. Still, I managed to stay super productive in the last few weeks of 2014 by painting, photo editing, planning, reorganizing and all around completing things I had been meaning to do.

As for 2015, I will list out some things I would like to do, since writing them down seems to help make them happen. Here we go:

  • Get my finances in order.
  • Make more art than I did last year. Experiment, take risks, try new things.
  • Spend more time with friends and family, since I tend to isolate myself and work.
  • Start working on the final draft of my children's book.
  • Work on developing surface pattern design skills.
  • Do things besides art: more sailing lessons, hiking, reading, survivalist backpacking (doesn't that sound fun?!).
  • Be fluent in Spanish (I speak it but want to improve on it) and French (know a handful of phrases).
  • Grow more food than last year.
  • Do another art residency. There are two I am especially interested in applying for.
  • Apply for the Half Dome permits again (fingers crossed).
  • Visit Joshua Tree at the end of the year... or maybe NY? 
  • Camp more, maybe even monthly (wishful thinking).

Keeping the list not all art-related this year. If you made it this far in this long and self-involved post, well, thanks for reading it. I recommend writing down what you want to get done this year. It's pretty amazing to see what you did when you look back on it.

Happy New Year. 

Making Art Here and There

In about a month and a half, I will be in Cadiz, Spain for an art residency. I am excited, thrilled and also have some anxiety about it since there's a lot of preparation to do. I'm awaiting my passport, figuring out what supplies to ship or bring, figuring out what to take in my bag(s), thinking about the project I will be working on while out there and the list goes on. All the while, I am continuing to make new work.

The Positives of Negative Thinking, available in my Etsy shop

The Positives of Negative Thinking, available in my Etsy shop

While I am in a very focused state to accomplish a ton of things before I leave, I am trying to stay out of a negative mindset. Where am I going with my art? What if my art residency project doesn't turn out the way I want it to? Why am I taking off on a residency during one of my busiest times of the year? Oh yeah, and how rusty is my Spanish? Overall, I have been just going with the flow, so these questions are only sneaking up on me now and again.

A Guide to Not Doing What You Said You Were Not Going to Do,  available in my  Etsy shop

A Guide to Not Doing What You Said You Were Not Going to Do, available in my Etsy shop

This post isn't all about my residency, but also about what I am trying to accomplish in my art practice before and after the residency. I am trying to get all my ducks in a row with my website portfolio, wholesale and online shops. I am also trying to figure out some new directions for 2015. The book above reminds me to learn from past experiences and to not repeat them. When I started working for myself, this happened a lot. It feels good to be figuring things out. 

Art-wise, I have worked quite a bit smaller over the last few years. I have moved from working on canvas to wood to paper and from oil to acrylic to gouache/watercolor. I have also worked with many different mediums over the years from clay to textiles. What I am finding is that I feel very good about my current direction over the last year. I also feel there's a chance my work may be getting larger again. These last few months have gotten me thinking a lot about where I'm headed. Regardless, I am embracing the unknown and trying to not let myself get stuck on any of it.

Travel Paintings, now available in my  Etsy shop

Travel Paintings, now available in my Etsy shop

All in a Weekend - New Website and Trying Something New: Sailing

So yeah, this past weekend was a crazy one. I've been learning the multitasking I've been doing for years is not actually very productive, so doing one thing at a time felt great. Well, maybe there was a little multitasking.

Friday - Photographed more art and redesigned my website. Again

I shot and edited more photos of my art prints. This is always way more time-consuming than I think it will be. I'm well on my way to getting it done though! This means that my wholesale line sheet will be done soon and my prints will look a lot prettier in the various online shops they will be featured in.

Okay, so I didn't design my website from scratch, but I do make various creative and layout decisions about the template that I use. This is what I did with my Friday night. I got super excited to change my site again since I wanted it to be super easy to navigate and I wanted to set it up for some things that are happening this year. I also wanted to be able to feature a few events or new things on the home page. I think it's just what I need. I'm officially letting my website be!

Saturday - I sailed!

Ever since watching the Swallows and Amazons BBC series as a kid and reading Maiden Voyage by Tania Aebi as a teenager, I've wanted to sail. Last Christmas, my boyfriend got me sailing lessons at Spinnaker Sailing in Redwood City. I always dreamed of it being relaxing and a way to escape land and all the normalcy of daily life. With lessons, you aren't relaxing so much, but watching, doing and learning.

I thought I would spend my lunch breaks from class sketching and painting the boats. I only got this one done on the first day since I spent the rest of my lunches studying. There's a lot to know when it comes to sailing terminology between the materials, tools, boat parts, lingo and sailing directions.

Someday I'd like to get one of these. Love the name, like  The Creation  song.

Someday I'd like to get one of these. Love the name, like The Creation song.

The cloudy skies cleared up for day one of sailing.

The cloudy skies cleared up for day one of sailing.

The view from below deck.

The view from below deck.

Sunday - more sailing!

Sailing was amazing. Not just in the glorified, storybook way, but it made me really think about things. You have to focus on the wind, where it's coming from and think of the logistics from class, which feel different when you're actually out there. I learned to sail, tie knots, motor and dock a boat, rescue passengers overboard and more. I was also thinking about how hard it was to grasp at first, between the coordination and classroom knowledge. It made me think of how good it feels to push myself, how much more I should push myself and how long it had been since I had tried something new. Pushing through when you aren't sure of what you're doing or doubting yourself is something that happens when you do something new. It made me realize I can't keep doing the same things forever.

Sailing reminded me of how learning or doing things well takes focus. Being on the water you have just the boat, lines, tiller, motor and wind (and a good instructor) to sail. I need to remember this kind of razor-sharp focus with art too.

View from the boat day two.

View from the boat day two.

Wrapping up the day with our awesome instructor.

Wrapping up the day with our awesome instructor.