There’s nothing like lots of sales to happy art buyers to inspire an artist to get back in her studio to make stuff!
Seriously, it’s been months (months!) since I’ve been jazzed to make my paper ArtSparks, but then I went to Patti Digh’s Design Your Life Camp over the first weekend of October and everything changed.
When I found out, weeks before camp, that there’d be an opportunity on Friday night for campers to sell our wares, I hemmed and hawed for days about whether to register.
Signing up for the Thursday night reading and the Saturday night talent show were no-brainers. But the Friday night Marketspace? My experience with art shows has been mixed, at best. Did I want to subject myself to possible disappointment again?
At the last minute, though, I decided to take a gamble, and ponied up $10 to reserve a “quilt space.” I didn’t need a table and chairs ($45 extra), so for only $10, why not give it a try?
The night before hopping on the plane to Georgia, I stuffed an old, king-sized black sheet into my carryon, along with a 9×12 portfolio crammed (carefully) with my small calligraphy artworks. Then on Friday night, I spread out my wares.
As you can see, my “booth” was anything but fancy. But it was pretty cool to see so many of my ArtSparks spread out in one place, instead of tucked in a drawer! (The open space in the middle of the sheet, btw, is for people to step into my “shop” and look around. 😉 There are also a few packs of greeting cards at the lower left, and some CDs of my music at the lower right.)
Well, that $10 gamble paid off in spades! I priced my work on a sliding scale basis, to give campers the opportunity to pay what felt right to them, and to my delight, people snapped it up!
Here are just a few pics of happy ArtSpark buyers:
The lovely lady at the top left, makeup artist Ren Allen, sparked a trend when she propositioned me: “Here’s what I want to pay,” she said, “but instead of choosing a piece myself, I want you to pick one out for me.”
“I don’t want you to try and pick a piece that you think I’ll like, because I like all of them,” she said, “I want you to use your intuition.” So I did, and that purple ArtSpark told me it wanted to go home with her. Then several other people had me do the same — they named their price, and had me pick their pieces.
That was fun, but also a tiny bit nerve wracking! But thankfully everybody seemed happy with the pieces they got.
I even sent one of my “Yes” pieces home with Ms. Patti Digh:
Back in the Studio
When I came home, I couldn’t wait to get started making more ArtSparks! So I stretched a full sheet of Arches 140# cold press, and got to
work play, starting out with absolutely no agenda, no idea of what the outcome might be.
First, I just made a big mess. This time I chose colors that I normally wouldn’t: yellow and orange:
At this point, I was not impressed. (Blech!) But also wasn’t worried, because I knew the piece was still in its infancy.
To tone down the excessive brightness, I scraped a layer of Daniel Smith Watercolor Ground over the entire sheet, using an old credit card:
Much less shocking, but still nothing compelling yet. So back I went with some brush strokes of red and orange watercolor:
NOW we’re starting to get somewhere interesting!
I could have added several more layers — and often that’s exactly what I do — but in keeping with my Creative Sandbox intention of not getting stuck in preciousness, but instead thinking quantity not quality (Creative Sandbox rule #2), I decided to tear apart what I had and see where it led me.
That sheet of watercolor paper gave me nineteen+ pieces to respond to with more marks, calligraphic or otherwise:
Except that here is the place I often find myself stalled. All these lovely little backgrounds, waiting to be completed.
Oh, the pressure!
Despite my Creative Sandbox rules — especially rule #7, take the riskier path (ie, when you’re afraid to move forward because you’re afraid you’re going to “ruin” the piece, go ahead and ruin it, baby!) — it’s still easy to succumb to paralysis.
This is where rule #2, think tiny and daily, comes in really handy!
To get myself doing something with these “backgrounds-in-progress,” I grabbed a piece of scrap, less than an inch and a half square, and played with that:
It’s amazing how working teeny-tiny can shush the gremlins!
Then I found two other “scraps” to turn into little, “low-risk” finished pieces:
The one below I popped into an envelope and mailed with a card to my new friend, Kyeli (shh! don’t tell her!)
If I find myself feeling too “precious” about some of the larger pieces in that set of nineteen above, unwilling to touch them for fear I’ll ruin them, I may just tear some of them into “scraps,” just to silence the gremlins! My general philosophy for these things is as follows:
Whatever works, baby!
Meanwhile, I’m happy to say that I have started working on some of the larger pieces in this series. Watch for them to appear in my ArtSpark gallery sometime soon…
Oh, and if you have any suggestions for themes you’d especially love to see covered in this series of yellow-y, orange-y, pink-y ArtSparks, leave a comment below. You never know, something you post might show up as a finished piece one of these days!
PS — Pssst! Know someone who might benefit from seeing this today? Pass it on!