What was I thinking?

 

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School’s out for the summer, my shop to-do list is a mile long, and I’m a little overwhelmed! I’m endlessly surprised by the discrepancy between how long I think something will take to get accomplished, and how long it actually takes. I mean, I’m off by an astronimically high margin!

Tuesday was my day to finally redo the photography on almost 60 pieces. I know that photography time can get quickly eaten up by perfecting lighting, fiddling with props, and trying out different angles, so I made sure to have everything perfectly ready to go. Weeks ago I had worked out my new photography set-up, experimented with lighting until it was just right, made lists of each type of listing photos I needed to get, and what props I would need. I ordered some of the props I needed, gathered all of the peices to photograph and organised them. I was SO ready. So Tuesday afternoon I popped a movie in for the kids and went for it. Of the 60 items to photograph I managed to get shots of 4. In one and a half hours. I’m sure you are wondering how that’s even possible, and if I didn’t experience it first hand I’d be wondering too… I guess there are endless ways to tweak and adjust during photo shoots that just end up being so time consuming! My point is, though, why did I think I could bang out 60 of these in one afternoon, and be so wrong?

I think it may be a matter of perception- through research, a number of online sellers of similar items have become my standard that I am judging my own shop against. The pictures are Amazon- perfect, the branding is flawless, the media use is thorough, and they do a high volume business. So though I know what I’m working towards, I think I forget that as a one-woman-show I’m on for every aspect of:

product photography

communications

social media upkeep

shop listings

packaging design

advertising

shipping

creative design

And not to mention, of course, actually painting!

I’ve jokingly said to friends that I could spend 24 hours a day working on my handmade business and still complain that there wasn’t enough time, but honestly, it’s actually true! So unless I move into a condo without kids, husband, and animals, and allow for a SERIOUS lapse in personal hygiene, it just ain’t gonna happen.

It is actually kind of a relief to acknowledge that reality; that no matter how much time I was given, I could fill it up and still want more. I have no choice, really, but to be OK with what I can get done in the time I have, and allow myself to enjoy the time off with my kids. That is, after all, why I want to work from home! So please pardon this one-woman-show’s occational intermissions…

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What’s in a word

 

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Sitting in my studio the other day, from the corner of my thoughts, a little word floated up to meet me. Stubborn. That’s strange, I thought. I’m not thinking of any stubborn people, my kids are nowhere to be seen, why does my wandering brain want me to consider this word? There it floated, stubbornly. It was a little moment in my day that changed my perspective. I’m stubborn. What? No, no, no- I’m sweet and mild mannered, I don’t send food back at restaurants, or even return things that break, in fact I spend most of my day doing exactly what other people ask me to do.

Yet here I am, after a year of creating, developing, and researching this handmade business,  inching toward my dream with such sloooow progress, and I don’t give up. No one in my life would describe me as stubborn, but I’m proving to myself everyday that I am. And I’m kind of liking it!  It’s probably the strongest word I’ve ever used to describe myself, and I feel like wearing it like a badge of honor. I can’t let this dream go, and I know that I’ll never back down on this. It might change form a bit as I struggle to make a creative living happen, but I just know that I’m going to work at it, pour more into it, sometimes rage and rail at it, until it works. And that makes me both fiercely proud and kind of scared.

———- Brief intermission———–

So of course I got interrupted while writing this (I’m also making dinner, hanging laundry, and managing siblings), and it gave me a chance to think about what I’d written. As I stirred the macaroni, I realized: There’s another word to describe what I was writing about. Passionate. I like that one, too. I think I’ll wear both.

Meanwhile, on my other continent…

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So I’m finally getting around to sharing my Brazil trip with you… man, time sure zips by around here! There are so many things I want to share about Brazil, I know I can’t pack them all into a post, so I’m going to be setting up a new page soon with our travel gallery. This felt like such a special trip to me, somehow a little different then all the past visits. When did it happen that touching down in Sao Paulo felt more like coming home than arriving at an exotic vacation destination? When did looking at my sister-in-law’s face start to feel like looking into a mirror?

I’ve been traveling to Brazil on a regular basis for 13 years, and I feel like the balance has quietly shifted from “that far away place” to a place where memories have taken root in all the regular places we visit: From the family owned Padaria (bakery) where we have our morning coffee, to the everchanging landscape of bustling downtown Hortolandia, and finally to my in-law’s home on the deeply sloped street of tighly packed houses like two sides of a zipper, that hardly changes at all.

I always say that Brazil is beautiful, but the truth is, where we go, I don’t think most people would agree. There is alot of ugly- the red earth seems to kick up a constant dust that hangs in the scorched air. It is a relatively new city, so homes are always in some state of construction, staying that way for years. On my first visit I assumed that it was an old city that was crumbling apart, when in fact it was only 10 years old at the time. But it’s a beautiful kind of ugly, you know? Like crudely rendered outsider art, you either see the beautiful, or you don’t. Of course, we also travel to the beach, and the mountains, where the beauty redefines the term “breathtaking”.

So, anyway, we had a great trip (yes, we went the hospital- this time for an ear infection, and no, I didn’t get to use my art supplies that I had packed), and we missed it before we even left the ground. But, we are home again, and for me- back to artwork! I’ll post soon with some fun new stuff.

Clever post title goes here…

So I’m new at blogging, (hi mom!) but seems to me from reading other blogs that posting regularly is what helps most in building readership other than my mom. But what do bloggers find to write about every day? Let’s see what did I do today… I just came back from having my eyes dilated.  Should I write about that? That doesn’t seem very blog-worthy. From what I understand blog posts are supposed to be beautifully written tutorials about how to make your own shelves from tofu and pottery shards, accompanied by a well lit, perfectly filtered picture of said shelves.

You’ll have to settle for retina dilation today. Maybe I can assign it some deep meaning… Continue reading

Finally!!! New art to share…

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I finally came up for air on Friday from a week of snow days, and commitments that kept me out of the studio.  I think I may have actually “squee-ed” when my husband took the kids to school that morning! I’ve got a list a mile long for studio work, so I had to choose just one or two things to work on, but here they are!!

I’ve have fallen in love with block printing, the process of carving designs into a slab of linoleum or other carving material and printing with them on paper or fabric. Even though it’s a huge departure from my usual oil paintings, I LOVE the graphic quality block printing achieves!

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My grand plan is to do the whole alphabet (um, could take a while, don’t hold your breath) and offer them as children’s room, or classroom decor! I’m not going in order, because I’m enjoying visualizing an illustration first, then pairing it with a letter…

I’m absolutely taking suggestions for other letter-inspired designs, so chime in with your ideas! I’m thinking about “Orca” for O…

I will be listing “M” and “H” on my Etsy shop by the end of the day today, so if you want a closer look, click on the link under my profile on the right!

The chickens are judging me again.

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This past holiday, my mother came for a visit and God love her, did the dishes for me one evening. (Ok, she did the dishes the whole time she stayed. And the cooking. And all the menu planning. What? She wants to. And I want her to want to. See? Everyone wins.)   Continue reading