Just over one year ago, I started this blog, shortly after I took a class with Lynne Perella at the Artist's Nook. After the class, I resolved that it was time to truly start taking myself seriously as an artist. I gave myself a deadline to work with: 5 years to see if I can get where I want to be. Make art a priority in my life, envision and work toward what it is I want out of this journey, eventually have a studio where I can exhibit and teach, have a website, sell stuff. Over the last year, I've talked more about art and created more art than I ever have. And since returning from Europe, I have to say that I've felt a real shift in myself and attitude. I feel that I've come a long way in my first year. I've committed to this blog and felt a responsibility to work that I've never felt before. Not obligation, just responsibility. I've held myself accountable, and I've trusted that every bit is an important part of the journey. And I've learned so much, just by pushing myself to try new things, and practice, and be patient, and not be lazy!
Today was my first "art day." That is, September marks my first month working at my day job 80%, so that I can have a day a week devoted to creating. Just getting to the point of having such a day seems like such a triumph in this last year! Being in an work environment where I could even ask for such a thing, let alone being in a financial position to cut my wages in exchange for time makes me so grateful. This week, I came up with a great way to frame the whole thing: in exchange for getting paid less, I'm receiving approximately 52 days more off a year!
And today, I relished every single minute. I woke up early but without the alarm, and after a bowl of cereal, plopped myself down in my room, switched on public radio (great music during the day!), and got to work. I painted and cut and glued and colored with my Prismacolors. I can't post what I worked on for most of the day quite yet, because of technical hiccups with our scanner and new computer set-up, but I hope to soon. And after I completed that piece, I decided I had a couple more hours in me and figured I'd finish a project I started in concept over three years ago. Here it is!
This is a wall hanging that measures about 3x2 feet. I was inspired by a couple of quilt shows I attended, and motivated to make something for some friends who'd recently been married. I found the purple-blends-to-orange fabric at the fabric store one day and was so inspired I got right to work on the quilt design. I knew it had to be properly quilted to have the effect I was after, so instead of laboring through that myself and probably not getting it right (it's never been my favorite part of the process), I bartered with a friend's mom who owns a quilting machine. I exchanged 10 handmade cards for her excellent quilting. She and I worked collaboratively on the quilting design and thread colors, and she also suggested that I use the orangey-pinky-purple batik as a background. I hadn't thought at all about that. Her quilting made the piece, and by the time I got it back, I knew I would have to keep this one. I had to think of something else for my married friends! This piece has been hanging unfinished on my wall for a year, and so today I trimmed up the edges and sewed on the binding, and now it is beautiful and finally complete.
At the risk of babbling on and losing your interest in reading this overly-long post, I wanted to let you know that I've been working on brainstorming a name for myself other than Art by HLM. I think that if I want to have customers, I need a brand of sorts, something that is a little catchier and not as abstract (which is then hopefully easier to remember). I've thought and thought and recently I came up with Follow Studio. I'm sitting on it for a little while, but so far I like it. Follow your heart, follow your bliss, follow me on this exciting journey of art! What do you think about it? I'd love your opinion, for better or for worse. Please vote in my poll to the right, and if you don't like it, leave a comment to let me know what you think.
Lastly, I just want to thank you for being such loyal friends and family to me through this. That you read this blog at all and support me in your various different ways means a lot to me. I don't think I'd have made it this far without your love and encouragement.
Here's to another fun year of art and moving forward toward the dream!