Notice anything different? If you’ve been around for awhile, you may have a vague notion that things aren’t quite as… orange… as you remembered.
Yep, I spent this past weekend giving my site a remodel.
That wasn’t actually my original plan… I had lots of other things I planned to do with my weekend, and besides, I really loved my juicy orange site. But websites have a way of demanding remodels when you’re least expecting it.
Here’s what happened:
Thanks in no small part to the built-in accountability provided by my Get Sparked! 2 e-course, I’ve been painting pretty consistently — almost daily, even if sometimes only a few minutes a day.
I’ve been working on canvas, which is a relatively new substrate for me, and larger canvases at that (well, larger for me, which means, so far, 16 x 16 or 12 x 24 at the biggest, though I do have an 18 x 18 and a 15 x 30 leaning up against the wall, waiting to be pulled out of their wrappers…)
This is a challenge for me, and really pushing the edge of my comfort zone, because I’m used to working on paper with my ArtSparks, which gives me the freedom to crop a painting into multiple tiny pieces, in order to find pleasing compositions.
With stretched canvas, I have no such luxury. So it’s kind of scary.
Thankfully, though, I have my Creative Sandbox Rules — aka, my Keys to Creative Flow, which help me stay firmly in the Creative Sandbox, in the realm of play and experimentation and (most importantly) imperfectionism.
Not unlike a 4-year old presented with finger paints, I approach my canvas paintings as opportunities to “make messes” and see where they lead me.
And in fact, finger painting does frequently play a part, as in this video:
As I work, I shoot occasional videos like this with my iPhone, and lots of process pics, which I share on Instagram, which also feeds them out to Facebook, Twitter, and Flickr. Like these process pics documenting the evolution of the piece above:
And the current (final?) piece:
(And yes, if you’re thinking it looks like the canvas has been rotated, you’re right. It’s part of a diptych, and I turned it to better go with its sister painting, shown below. And oh, how the colors in the photo do not do the original justice…)
So that’s an example of what I’ve been doing, and hey, guess what — people have been responding! Sharing my process pics on social media has gotten me lots of likes, and new Instagram followers, and encouraging, positive comments.
Although I paint for me, in order to feed my own soul, let me tell you, there’s something very validating when other people express appreciation for what you do. Same thing when someone thanks me for my singing at a gig:
I do it because I love it, but if you get enjoyment out of it, too, it makes it extra wonderful for me.
It’s like the sprinkles on top of a sundae. Extra yummy, but not the main attraction.
I often preach the value of sharing our creative work, and those sprinkles? It’s really amazing how motivating they are!
But the positive feedback hasn’t stopped there: more than one person has asked to buy my work! In fact, that blue-green diptych above? It’s already spoken for.
Well, blow me over with a feather…
This is where I come back around to the reason behind the website remodel.
(I always do get to the point. I just enjoy making the journey there as colorful as possible. ;))
For a long time I’ve been wanting a better way to display and sell my artwork on my site. I have a beautifully functioning shopping cart over at my ketubah site, but for various reasons I didn’t want to use the same plugin here.*
I also wanted a cleaner, “gallery” feel for the art shop here at Living A Creative Life (read: not so much screaming ORANGE). Still, I wasn’t planning on doing a complete overhaul of the site last weekend.
Before I undertake all that work, I thought, why not do a stopgap measure, so I can get started building a shop right away, and then maybe overhaul the rest of the site down the road? So I decided to install WooCommerce, the (FREE) e-commerce plugin I’d been wanting to try, on my existing (orange) site.
Unfortunately, I didn’t realize that WooCommerce and the Nimble theme I was using from ElegantThemes (aff) do not play nice together.
In fact, WooCommerce broke my site, and “ate” my shop page where I showcased all my e-courses.
Ah, well, when life throws you lemons, make lemonade, right? I’d had my eye on ElegantThemes‘ ultra-flexible, new, Divi theme, which is designed to integrate with WooCommerce. It seemed to me that the Universe was giving me a pretty clear message that now was the time to make the switch.
So, two days of hair-pulling and teeth-gnashing later, I had a brand-new site design, which I’m utterly tickled and delighted by! And I did it myself! (With a little code-detective help from Miracle Man.)
Finally, my artwork is featured on just about every page, my ArtSpark gallery showcases my ArtSparks beautifully, and the back end will allow me to offer my paintings for sale in a clean, white-walled, fully e-commerce-capable shop! (Don’t hold your breath… The shop won’t be ready for awhile… One step at a time…)
Cue the flashback music…
All of this got me reflecting on the evolution of Living A Creative Life. If you could only see what it looked like when I started…
Well, in fact, you can! Not the first few iterations, but thanks to the Wayback Machine, you can see snapshots of what my site looked like…
…on October 15, 2010:
…and June 12, 2011:
…and October 3, 2012:
…and July 29, 2013:
…and January 4, 2014:
Pretty cool, huh?
And as you can see, I did not start out with the site I have now. I did not start out with the business I have now, or the Keys to Creative Flow that I have now, or the self-compassion and self-awareness that I have now, for that matter.
All of which is to say, take on the challenges that life presents you. Little by little, step by step, you’ll find yourself looking back down a much higher mountain than you ever expected you could climb.
Now go get creating!
PS — Pssst! Know someone who might benefit from seeing this today? Pass it on!
*For any techies who might be interested, over at Ketubahworks I use Cart66 + Gravity Forms, which integrate tightly with the theme I’m using there: Clip Cart child theme on the Genesis framework. This combination not only offers a design that I’m happy with, but also allows me to offer an infinite variety of options, which is important for selling ketubah prints. (And virtually all the links to external businesses above are affiliate links, which means I’ll make a commission if you click through and make a purchase.)