I finally did it. I sold a painting. Two, actually. The first was an old, angsty piece from a long time ago:
And the other was specifically commissioned for by the customer:
I could hardly contain myself, I was so excited. Cloud nine. You’ll notice I say this in the past tense, as in, not anymore. Because I have the shittiest luck…
In a blur I went to the mail center to ship to my customer. I was so anxious, I had never shipped a painting before and it felt a little like I imagine parents feel when they take their kids to day care for the first time. I balked at the price — $50 to ship them to Illinois. But I didn’t ask questions, I just paid and said goodbye.
All week I thought about them. Would the package hold up? Would the customer like them as much in person?
Well, the paintings never showed up. Fedex says they were delivered but my customer does not have them. They have until Wednesday to recover them, and if they don’t I have to file a claim. I didn’t think to add signature service — they didn’t ask me and I’ve never done this before.
So two fragments of my heart are lost in the world…and I have to give the customer something. I am repainting them, which is a grueling process. It’s like trying to relive a moment in perfect clarity. I finished one:
It doesn’t look as good as my original, but the concept is there. I don’t know if I’m just so disappointed that I can’t be happy about replicating it…
Has this happened to anyone before? It’s a first for me…I didn’t even consider it as a possibility.
Whew! This project is bigger than I thought it was going to be! But I finally have all the greenery filled in, the next step will be the animals (parrots, monkeys and a tiger).
In other news, I see my doctor today and I’m going to ask him about something that has been bothering me a lot lately… my shaking hands (probably a side effect from the medication I’m on). Sometimes it’s so intense I have trouble gripping things, and it’s definitely embarrassing when I get nervous and my hands are shaking so hard it’s apparent to whoever is around me. It also makes painting fine details challenging. I googled what to do about shaking hands and everything said to stop being so anxious (I’m paraphrasing), which isn’t really an option for me. Unfortunately, anxiety is part of my life forever, I think…
So it’s been a while, but I’ve been busy! I started working with a new client on a mural – a jungle scene in his bathroom. Here are the first round of photos – still plenty of work to be done…
This was somewhat challenging as jungles are all about depth and layers, which is hard to portray on a flat surface…especially in a bathroom with varying heights and widths to the walls. But I enjoyed myself and I look forward to continuing to build and expand this vision! It’s also very nerve wracking as I paint things I’ve never attempted before – like tigers and parrots. But if you don’t explore, you’ll never discover, right?
I was super duper productive. The only creative endeavor I didn’t undertake was writing, which I guess I’m doing now, so yeah. But I do have a novel idea! One that doesn’t seem like hypomanic psychobabble, so yay me!
Okay, first of all I decorated Christmas cookies for the first time in a friend’s class. I love them so much — even the ones that suck! I was able to get out of my head and risk being imperfect, and I wasn’t socially awkward for once. Major successes! Plus, COOKIES. Come on!
I also started on my Christmas presents to everyone — these cute little Pinterest faceless elves made of polymer clay.
I shall paint them and name them Squishy and they shall be my Squishy. I was super stressed about an affordable, unique and homemade gift for the million people I know…and then these little dudes came along! Happy days.
I also did a weird doodle. Several, but this is the one that made the cut.
If you can’t tell, I like to either keep busy or sleep. There is almost no in between. But I am a person who can keep busy wondering about whether or not there’s a secret world in deep ocean water. Or maybe it leads to deep space, like a wormhole. Or heaven, since we are all made mostly of water and that seems to make some kind of spiritual sense.
I feel like I’ve been working on this wall mural for an e.t.e.r.n.i.t.y.. Of course, I could only handle it in small doses because it was very specific, detailed work which isn’t my strong suit…and on a textured wall, which is basically like shoving a middle finger in your painting while you work. But here it is! A film strip doing a twirly-do with a collection of film studio logos in the frames, beginning with Old Hollywood right on to today in no particular order.
This client has quite a few more requests from me, so I will be painting on these textured walls again…and again…and it will be much more intricate work. Whoopee. But I am kind of excited because, well, what a cool side job, right?
I have two pieces of art (one finished, one almost) that came to me very easily.
I’m not trying to brag, but I AM celebrating because it is soooooo rare that my art comes easily… It’s usually an all out war between my muse, my capabilities, and my mood. Then every once in a while all three meet in some kind of truce that results in something I’m proud of. And then whether or not my piece communicates to the casual observer comes to mind.
But it’s only really a concern for me in this first one because it’s a commission (so ideally the client should understand it.) This is charcoal and some weird crayon things I found in my stash. Looking at this, I feel that realistic portraits are my greatest strength, but I never “count” them. It’s so easy to copy what I see, or to embellish it. It’s much harder to pull an idea out of the aether and put it on canvas.
Also, I did this piece.
It was inspired immediately when I stupidly broke a necklace that belonged to a very dear friend of mine who has passed. I thought perhaps I could commemorate her better in this way rather than wearing the necklace anyway — my plan is to glue it to the canvas around the figure’s neck in a way. I’m also not quite settled on the black/white ratios…
On a side note, I went from gourmet soup to rice-a-roni tonight. Life, right?
So my employer challenged all of the employees to really pull together for our annual Breast Cancer Awareness fundraiser. I’m not one to go door to door asking for help or raffle items, but I did think I could paint something for the silent auction. It will be a good way to gauge how much the art actually ends up selling for too — be it $15 or $150, we will see. I’ll try not to be too affected by a poor showing…it is a moody painting.
My major concern was that I meant to do this pretty, PG piece that would do well with the vibe that we put off for this event…and instead I got something a little bit more raw and emotional. I’m getting feedback that it is a nice change, which I can personally validate as I tend to get numb to the fervor this particular brand instigates…
I have a friend who had breast cancer at a very young age (she’s barely 30). I remember bringing the event up to her, and she was hesitant to go or even discuss too much about her story. I realized suddenly what I should have all along — that people all respond to grief and pain differently, and my friend didn’t want to “Think Pink,” nor for that whole mentality to define her. She wanted to be normal and live her life…something that I think she absolutely deserved after her battle.
I’m not saying our fundraiser or the whole awareness movement are bad things. They’re FANTASTIC things. But there is more than one point of view on this terrible disease and how to cope…and I guess I might be (accidentally) trying to seek out that minority wth my piece. We will see what the masses have to say!
This has been a weekend of art, junk food, Pokemon, sleep, sex (gasp!) and vodka. So basically I’m living the dream over here. I have a few half baked writing ideas and a painting that I’m over complicating, but some other noteworthy things have indeed emerged.
On Friday I attended another painting class, this one was a stained glass horse theme. True to fashion, I couldn’t paint a horse knowing full well everyone else was. It’s not about breaking the rules, it’s about individuality. It’s not really an attractive or charming quality of mine (see also being 10 years old and throwing a tantrum at Baskin Robbins because my brother and sister wanted the same ice cream flavor as me and that wasn’t FAIR because they were COPYING me and I will NOT be COPIED, MOM!), but I followed the instinct nonetheless and had to paint a lady. For about 75% of this painting I was stuck between feeling I was never going to finish it or that I should just paint over it and start something else. But wine and good conversation with Mr. Mojo and the lady I want to be when I grow up guided me through this potential meltdown and out came one of my favorite pieces to date!
Also, it feels like I have been talking and plotting about this other project for a year, and it is finally coming together. Today I put my big girl pants on, marched over to my client’s home and started the last phase of this little theater room we have been scheming. I sketched my concept onto his wall in chalk and then slapped on an acrylic winding film strip, with painted sketchy lines. I LOVE sketchy lines! They sort of make everything better. Like that blur filter on Snapchat. It’s like, “Oh, did I fuck that up? Here’s a sketchy line or five and…voila! Masterpiece!” I swear every failure is just a few sketchy lines away from success. This is probably only something an artist can understand, or is it just me…?
Anyway, here are the photos I took of the process. More to come…
I always resented people’s assumption that because I’m an artist, I must know how to do _______. I considered myself an illustrator and little else, so when I was asked to do things like…design a business card or a logo, for example, I would bristle. That’s not what I did. That wasn’t my craft, my specialty. Nothing in color and on nothing but white paper — that was the old philosophy. And so I shied away from any project that didn’t fit that criteria, and then the assumption became that I was being modest. The truth was that I was frustrated. Afraid. I’m constantly terrified of not meeting expectations, especially my own. Unfortunately I also have a neurotic desire to be liked by everyone, so I’d eventually break down and do whatever it was they wanted.
And you know what? I really am kind of good at just about everything artsy fartsy. Really good, even. It may not come as easily as sketching Sailor Moon, but it DOES come.
I can’t say exactly when it happened, but somewhere along the way I started trusting that fact. If someone needed an artist for a project and it was something I didn’t know how to do or have never done before, I just Googled the shit out of it and practiced enough to feel confident, then I’d go out and do it (and ideally make money). It’s been working for me thus far, case in point…the door.
I was asked to paint a decorative door. After a bit of brainstorming, the client and I both decided it would be really cool to have the door look like a panel of tile in the same room.
Even as we were talking about it I began to worry. I had a feeling Google might not have the greatest recommendations to the search query of, “how to paint a door to look like marble but not really marble more like cloudy, colored tile.” But I smiled and nodded and tried to trust that I would figure it out.
Thanks to my resourceful husband, I got a door to practice on. With the help of a coworker who worked for Sherwin Williams for years, I got some paint color suggestions to try out. And then Google scraped up a few different tutorials involving cheesecloth and feathers, so I was good to go.
I quickly found out that cheesecloth and feathers were a waste of time and a MESS to work with. I was very pleased with this first result that ultimately came from me just manhandling my trusty paint brush. But the color was off… Very cool but not quite what I was going for. Now I was actually excited for round two, inspired by my own happy accident. The next rehearsal happened far too late in the evening and with much wine, so I have no great pictures, but it was enough to prove to myself that I (kind of) knew what I was doing. Then it was show time…
I’m pretty fucking pleased. I don’t know how much it looks like the tile, but it’s super cool anyway. And now I’m going to do all the doors in his house the same way, different colors. Then I’ll have to move on to the doors in my house because it was quick, WAY fun, unique and attractive. So the moral of the story…fake it til you make it. Then make the shit out of it!!!
Can I say without ego that I’m totally awesome? You’re right, I need to provide the context first. My sister came over last night with a bundle of old photos from our childhood and in the midst of it we found some old drawings of mine. Actually, not just drawings — pieces that I was commissioned to create and paid for before I ever considered doing it for a living. These types of conversations used to go like this:
Family/Friends: Draw me a picture!
Me: Still no.
Family/Friends: I’ll pay you.
Me: =D What can I do for you, kind sir/madam?
The critic in me wants to remind you that these are from my late teen years and I’ve honed my craft since then. But I’m still gonna show off.
The top is a friend who wanted a special gift for her boyfriend…and what says ‘love’ better than a nude selfie facilitated by a third party? The blurry dogs belonged to my sister and her ex.
I used to hate seeing old artwork of mine, but this was fun! It has inspired me to get this site up and functioning as a place where people can commission these types of drawings from me again, 10 years later! Funny how things work out…