Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Optimism Abounds

3 things to tell you about today, and they all relate to optimism.

1.) In a matter of a couple weeknights last week, Paul took out the carpet in half the art room and replaced it with laminate flooring!  Here's the before (taken in 2009) and after (tonight):

It is a huge improvement! That area, even when covered with art project components, is a major thoroughfare to our back yard.  I am optimistic about this change because now I don't have to worry about keeping the white carpet from getting so dirty and stained, and because it is the first art studio-improvement project that I've been dreaming of.  Next, there will be a little sink installed where the white bookshelf on the right side is.  (You can already see the pipes coming out of the wall....)

2.) Today, I sent this calendar to the editor of the Crafts Department at Martha Stewart Living Magazine!!!!  It will be a completely unexpected package in her world, but I couldn't fathom just trying to send her a photo.  My work is best seen/interacted with in person, and I hope she will respond in a way that will get more people interested in visiting my website, blog, and Etsy shop. (I made one modification before sending it: changed the green hangars to red ones.)

3.) Is this: 

This evening I attended the "unveiling" of AIR: Arts Incubator of the Rockies.  It is such a cool initiative, one that pulls together artists and their community, that helps provide professional development to "creatives," and that has some unbelievable momentum going for it.  In just one year they have collaborated with tons of people and created a 10-state region that AIR will serve.  Tonight they outlined a 6-month professional development curriculum for artists, and yet emphasized that this is not just about making artists better but fostering a shift in overall culture, so that more people who are not creatives are interested in supporting creative and artistic ventures in a variety of ways.  Check out the website for sure to learn more.  It is very exciting and inspiring, and built on optimism and a strong belief that "Creativity helps humanity thrive."

I am feeling full of optimism and grateful that my personality lends itself to that characteristic anyway.  To feel this extra boost gives me a rush, and I am alive with hope today.  :)

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

The Art of the Marketing Photograph

Not being a photographer, I have spent all morning so far (about 5 hours) making beautiful photos of 8 things.  I wanted to put some new stuff in my online shop.  Yes, fine art takes time, and since I'm out of my element, I found it challenging.  However, I do have a new camera, which is awesome and has made it easier.  It has a nice long-life battery, too, considering the time I've had to spend making the photos just so.  Even then, I know my sister would have done so much of a better job!

What goes into this process, you ask?  First, you take about 20 photos of each thing.  This takes patience because you should do more than one click of the same exact photo.  Who knows whether one will be out of focus or have glare or whatever you might not notice till it gets on a bigger screen.

Next, after downloading them onto the computer, you sort through them using your picture viewer on a nice big (not camera-sized) screen.  Delete all the bad/out-of-focus/glarey/faded/messy-background ones.

Then (for me) open two Photoshop-like programs.  Photoshop is expensive so I use the free (Photoshop-made) tool, GIMP, and the Microsoft Office Paint program.  The first one can rotate photos by hundredths of degrees, I can adjust color balance, fix little details of the photo like dust specks or an out-of-place thread, and save it as about a million different kinds of files.  Paint does easy cropping and re-sizing.

Finally, I load them up into Etsy! Etsy's posting process has gotten easier over the last couple years, I'm glad to say, or maybe it is just that I've taken the right amount of time to finally get the hang of it so it doesn't take forever.  I'm exited to have 6 new items in my shop as of today.  Come on by to see more photos!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

The Business

Before rushing out the door to deliver these cards to The Eyes Have It, I snapped this photo at the last minute. 

I love how they turned out!  This is an example of a topic I'd like to make a video tutorial of. :)

The business has been keeping me busy lately!  I'm planning to send off one of my advent calendars to the crafts editor at Martha Stewart Living magazine (why not?) so last week's art day was busy getting decent photos of these most recent creations (for baby's arrival) and updating my website with more photos of it.  Plus, The Eyes Have It wants more cards already (which is awesome, but shoot, I've got to make them!)

(Please visit my online shop or my website for more photos of these fine pieces.) 

Something I've learned about my card sales at the eyeglasses shop is that the more mainstream stuff sells.  Holidays, birthdays, thinking of you.  Nothing whimsical, like the ones posted here (except those birthday ones--they disappeared like free food!) My super cool Father's Day card flew off the rack, even though it was only in the shop for about 10 days!

Today, I did something fun: I worked on my card swap cards!  Can't wait to show you the final designs (I'm doing two different ones)!!