Friday, July 30, 2010

Next Step; White Crane Spreads Her Wings

White Crane Spreads its Wings is the name of a Tai Chi move, and I'm getting ready to spread my wings.

I have a show coming up at the Community Care Center (assisted living and nursing home) in September and October. It's not a glamorous setting and not a lot of people go there, but it gives the people who live, work, and visit there a lot of joy.

How can I make the most of this opportunity?
I plan to show my silk Paintings and my previous work, my water color paintings and mono prints. New work and old work.

I can build recognition by teaching a class at the community art center. I've scheduled a silk painting class for September, which will be advertised in the newsletter.This goes out to most of the community and is available at the grocery store.

In addition, Wendy at the art center (The Blue Heron) said she might do an article on me for their newsletter.

With two events happening the same month, I bet the local paper would publish an article on my work as well.

Perhaps I can use some of this publicity to guide people to my etsy shop. I plan to have a grand opening the month of September.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Next Steps: Goals

Here is Jill, trying on one of my scarves, and here is Eugenia. Aren't they beautiful!

It took me a week to recover from Strawberry Festival. Now I'm ready to set some goals for the next phase. These are my goals:

*Finally get my website in place. Blogspot had enough options that I may use that as a platform. My brother and friend in China cannot access Google things like blogspot, so I may use Wordpress instead.

*Get ready for a show of my work at the Vashon Community Care Center in September and October. That means finishing the silk paintings I have started and doing 4 more.

*Go hiking in the mountains or to the Oregon Coast and Silver Creek Falls to collect landscapes suitable for silk paintings.

*Set up my Etsy Shop and get ready for a grand opening in September.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Strawberry Festival Learnings-3

One thing I really love about community festivals is the costumes! People love to dress up, in ways they would not dress for anything else.

Here are some more learnings and observations on having a booth at the Strawberry Festival:

*Our neighbors, who make little silver bells, did really well, but they didn't start out doing well. They've been doing Strawberry Festival and other fairs for almost 30 years, so they've built up their clientel over time. Now owning one of their bells has become a status symbol in this community. I'll be there some day!

*It seems important to have a good inventory, and not expect to sell out. People like to have lots of choices.

*Weather plays a big role. People didn't show as much interest when it was cool, and it was more difficult to engage them. They were too busy trying to keep warm (so was I!)! Sales and interest picked up as it got warmer.

*Some people LOVED my work, others were not at all attracted to my style. Having the give-away helped me to focus on those people who are attracted to my work.

* I thought it better not to give away one of the scarves, as people might avoid buying what they thought they might win for free. I gave away one of my smaller silk paintings, as the paintings are expensive, and I didn't expect to sell any. I had them at the booth more to draw attention to my prints and cards.I think it worked, too.

I would love to hear about other people's experiences with outdoor festivals.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Strawberry Festival-2: Saturday's learnings.

Here is our booth. The woman with the white hair is my magical mother.

My favorite sale of the day was to a young man of 5, who wandered by our booth late in the day. I showed him the silk painting of Boachu and the Golden Phoenix and the card with the story on the back. He loved it and asked his mother to buy it for him. I like the thought that this story has become part of this boy's interior landscape.

Saturday I learned not to depend on festival food or weather reports. By the time I got back from the parade at noon, my mom was nearly as blue as her coat. I sent her to walk around to warm up. By afternoon we took off all our extra layers and even shoes, and invited potential customers to come into the sparse shade of our booth to escape the sun.

The festival food was a disappointment. We didn't get around to eating until late in the day, and the vender was out of nearly everything; my "stir-fried vegetables" turned out to be a plate of noodles with a tablespoon of cooked cabbage.
*Dress in layers; a day can start out cold and turn out hot.
*Bring water and a thermos of hot tea. We could have used two thermoses of hot tea, as I ended up walking half a mile for a good cuppa.
*Bring light but nourishing food; our adrenaline was high, making heavy food indigestable, but we needed protien to keep us going.

more learnings next time.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Strawberry Festival-1

Strawberry Festival is over, and I'm still recovering.

This photo is of a small silk painting I gave away in a drawing at my booth. About 40 people entered the drawing. The woman who won was among several who REALLY, REALLY wanted to win it. so I know the names and addresses I collected were of people who really like my work. People who weren't interested in my work did not enter.

We made a profit! That is, if you don't include wages for all the hours we put in. We had fun. We learned a lot! would I do it again? yes. I have inventory left for other fairs, for my esty shop, for other venues, so I won't have to start from scratch for the next one.

As I recover and get my thoughts together, I will share some of what I learned, and some of the juciest moments.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Teaching Artist--thinking it through part 1

Surrounded on all sides by an un-juried show of island artists of all ages and abilities, Beverly Nadius facilitated a discussion on art and community at the Valise Gallery on Vashon. It got me thinking about art education and what that means to me. I looked up some art organizations sites, like ArtEd, Artists Trust, Art Alliance, and Americans for the Arts.

When I applied to be on the Washinton State Arts Commission Teaching Artist Roster, I was struck by how structured art education has become. I am so concerned that art, like every other discipline taught in public schools, will have the sponteniety sucked out of it, that it will become simply teaching technical skills that can be tested and measured. I was encouraged when I read this on the ARTed Washington website:

"We believe that the goal of education should not be to teach our children a series of simple, repeatable skills.

Education should light a fire under them, inspire them to unearth new truths, challenge them with huge, seemingly unanswerable questions, and dazzle them with the possibilities that today’s world offers them. Incorporating the arts into daily teaching accomplishes all of these things."

When I read further that as part of their mission : "To accomplish this, we:
• raise public awareness of the importance of creativity and imagination in school and in life " (and 6 other bullet points)

I decided to join.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Healing Grief, Sharing the Grace We Have Been Given

Today I was feeling such grief for the destruction of the earth and for the people being destroyed by our oil hungry lifestyle and by our dependence on military solutions to problems! What right have I to the joy of creating art, using yet more resources, when the earth is in such pain?

Then my Tai Chi teacher, Joan Hanna, did a wonderful opening and closing to class. She opened by centering us in the peaceful place inside, in relaxed awareness. She closed by having us breathe in all the pain and anguish of the world, and then breathe out beauty, compassion, and all the healing grace we have been given.

I still feel raw and vulnerable, so I came home to create art, to create the beauty that can transform grief into healing. We need beauty to help us transcend the hurt.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Displaying the silks

How delightful to see my friends' smiles on the table, their shoulders wrapped in my scarves! I painted some heads to model the scarves as well, but the photos work much better.

Today I created labels for the scarves, and gave them names like Hibiscus Romance, Summer by the Sea, Rising Mist, and Bright Water--Oh, and Dragon's Breath!

Monday, July 12, 2010

dragon image step 2

The shadows and darks are underpainted in indigo blue; the splashes of sunlight in New Gambouge yellow. One can get a nice gray by mixing indigo and burnt sienna. Later I will paint over these colors with varying shades of greens, reds, blues, etc. I haven't even decided yet what color the dragon will be!

This image is inspired by a Qi Gong movement called Dragon Emerging from the Sea. The sea is the dantien, the cauldron of power we hold in our bellies, and in this movement, our fists are bring the energy, the Chi, out from the dantien.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Watercolor Painting Preparation

As usual, I have umpteen projects going at once. I'm working hard to get ready for the Strawberry festival, but in the meantime, two images have been nagging at me for days.

I finally stretched some watercolor paper yesterday so that I can work on them in pauses between other projects. I would like to get them done in time to put on cards for the Strawberry Festival.

To stretch watercolor paper--I usually use 140#--I wet the paper on both sides with a wide brush, while it sits on a peice of plywood I have painted with Gesso. When the paper lies flat, I tape it down with acid free tape, the kind that needs to be wet on the back. Sometimes, before I tape it down, the paper wants to buckle in places, so I wet the back again.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Selling at the Festival

Being part mystic and part artist used to make the whole idea of selling very difficult for me. Being an Introvert didn't help. But I'm changing. As I open more fully to Spirit, I also open more fully to people, and my ideas about art and selling are changing.

I'm beginning to see art and even selling art as part of my spiritual journey. It's all about relationship, reaching out to people, sharing what light I have been given and rejoicing in the light in others. The art I create is not just a commodity to sell, but a key to interaction which may or may not result in a sale. What is important is the interaction.

At least, that is I how I choose to approach my booth at the Strawberry Festival on Vashon, July 17th and 18th. I will have lots of beautiful silk scarves to delight passers by, and cards with lots of beautiful and interesting images. I hope to have lots of wonderful conversations and that people will be delighted enough by what I have to offer that they will want to take some home in exchange for some blessed lucre.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Ripples of silk

Ripples of silk, waiting to be steamed to set the dyes, adorn my dining room chairs. My next challenge is figuring out how to display them.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Sea Change: From Sailing to Silks

This photo is of my boat Sea Change, which I sailed from Bud Inlet, Olympia, WA to Nanaimo Harbor, VAncouver Island B.C.

I sold the boat, but the reflections of sun and clouds on the waters are still in my mind and in my soul. Perhaps that is why I so love painting on silk and the Japanese system of tie dye called Shibari. The waves of color on the silk scarves I am dying remind me of the waves in the water, and the way the dye flows across the silk is so like the way water flows. This one is called Tidal Waters.