May 23, 2017

New! $65 commissions! (For now.)

$65 commissions now available!

$65 commissions now available!
CLICK YONDER!

Go to SunnyGrrrl.club for more art/life stuff! Go to SunnylandStudio.com for handmade art! And go to Zazzle for merch!

Posted at 1:28 pm in: Art , Commissions , Zazzle
April 29, 2016

Hey, World!

Wow, I haven’t composed in WordPress in a while. I just updated it and some stuff is different, like apparently I can set my homepage to a static page instead of all my posts, for example, which is pretty cool. Maybe you could do that before and I just didn’t know about it. I was never a hand coder or anything like that, I was Dreamweaver all the way because they taught it to us in college, and by the time CSS became popular WYSIWYG editors faded into the ether and I lost track of web design completely. I’ve never actually tried to figure out WordPress on my own.

Anyway, why would I when there’s a perfectly good site out there called Patreon that suits almost every need I have, or will once they build the things the Patreon community has asked for? What is Patreon? Here’s a short video explaining:

So what’s over there? Lots & lots of creativity and art and blog posts about life. Patrons get these neat colouring pages I’ve been making, to download and colour at home as many times as they want and on whatever paper they want:

I started making two colouring pages per month for patrons since last June. Patreon is the ONLY way to get these colouring pages and any subsequent colouring pages I make. I am NOT actively seeking to make or publish a book. The colouring pages are just to supplement other creative projects, such as “Glitter is Cheaper Than Drugs” where I am hand-filling 5,000 empty gel capsules with various colours of glitter and filling gumball machines with them for an art show in the late fall that centers on mood disorders.

I am also currently working on a large Wizard of Oz commission and all progress on that is being documented on Patreon for patrons and followers (apparently there’s some way to follow and comment on Patreon posts without pledging but I’m not sure how) through both public and patron-only posts.

With the proceeds from my last commission, I invested in a button maker and I’ve been making hand-painted, one-of-a-kind buttons, which are available in my Etsy shop, along with a new painting called “Not All Fairies…“:

Here are some of the buttons:

So yeah, I’m alive. For more consistent updates and to always be the first to know, hit me up at Patreon!

PS. Here’s a timelapse video of me drawing one of these colouring pages that I posted on Patreon a while back. The audio we’ve dubbed “Fake Podcast”:

April 3, 2014

Reasons To Be Beautiful

I don’t know how I feel today.

I’m ridiculously, stupidly, unbelievably happy about this Hole reunion things that I almost can’t even think straight or even move. Like, I don’t even know what to do. I feel like I should call someone to tell them but A) I don’t think my mom would care and she’s the only person I would ever call for anything and B) I’ve already posted the Rolling Stone link everywhere I can think of.  Speaking of Rolling Stone, this is my current cam image:

This is Rolling Stone dated August 24th, 1995 and it’s very special to me for a few reasons. Mostly, Alex gave this to me and it is one of the best things anyone’s ever given me in my whole life and that is because Lollapalooza ’95 was my very first concert and my first time seeing Hole  and one of the best, weirdest days/nights of my life  and this issue is mostly about that. According to the cover anyway, because I’ve never actually opened it or read it  because I’m scared I’ll damage it. I did just acknowledge on Facebook that this was probably stupid and I should just read it because it’ll probably never be worth anything to anyone but me, but even after I posted that I still debated and decided to just put it back in its safe spot with the Juxtapoz magazine with the Mark Ryden cover that I’ve also never opened (I plan to frame both of these at some point if we ever overhaul my office…)

Hole getting back together might possibly be the best non-important news I’ve ever heard in my whole entire life and I mean that pretty literally in that I cannot think of anything I’ve ever heard that was any better and I can also say that the day they announced they were breaking up was one of the worst non-important things that has ever happened to me and I mean that pretty literally too because at this very moment, I cannot think of anything worse. And when I say “non-important” I mean, in my whole grand scheme of things. On a life level, they are seriously bipolar moments. It may seem silly but they get notable tickmarks on my life line, despite the fact I never remember the dates of anything so I don’t actually know when they broke up. I just know it sucked to be Blake that day.

It’s also a sunshiney day today, I had peanut butter and toast for breakfast even though it made me feel sick afterward (but was okay after cannabis) and I’m listening to my “Like a Hole in the Head” playlist which is all Hole, so it’s pretty much impossible for me to be in a bummer mood, but this is going to be sort of a bummer post maybe because yesterday was a good/bad day.

By good/bad I mean that it was a good food day:

There were a lot of tears before most of that food happened but it happened.
Wouldn’t have if Blake hadn’t have worked from home yesterday and drove me to Clover for a bag of chips and Flynn’s for a sandwich, of which I ate half, but it did.

The unfortunate thing though, is that a food day like yesterday cannot be duplicated for a while because the chips are bad for my pancreas, despite taking enzymes, and are just bad in general and I rarely eat them and their kind of Havarti cheese is sliced sort of thick and it’s spiced so I can’t really have that very often either because it tends to make me feel sick, as does the mayo (I like mayo a lot but if there’s too much on something I can’t eat it; often wiping some of it off isn’t good enough either, it’s either made right the first time or I don’t want it which sounds bitchy but the problem is that if it DOES gross me out too much to eat because there’s half a jar of mayo on something, there goes ALL my eating for that day because any time I think about food, until I fall asleep and forget it, all I can think about is the thing that grossed me out). I drank the ginger ale with my sandwich to help me keep it down and I figured the extra calories would make the dietitian happy even though they’re shitty calories. Ginger ale is pretty much okay any time, but I don’t drink pop with sugar and I think diet ginger ale is disgusting so it’s basically only used as a medicine to me. There’s probably not even enough ginger in it to be beneficial, it’s probably just the carbonation that makes me feel better (as diet Coke also makes me feel better but sometimes not as well as ginger ale) but sometimes it works so I just go with it.

So yesterday was a good food day AND a mostly sunshiney day but it was also mostly a bummer day because, to put it simply, there is no joy in my life. Even until today I hadn’t listened to music since Florida because I am so sick of everything that I’d prefer silence. And that makes me sad because that is a first in my life, my life has never been without soundtrack. Normally, as long as I’m awake and as long as we’re not watching TV, there is music playing because silence traditionally drives me insane because it’s never really silent and I can hear every little goddamn thing. The neighbours are having their roof done starting today and all morning I didn’t even have music on to drown them out (they’re on a 2nd story roof, but only feet from my office) because until the Hole thing I just didn’t give a single fuck about anything auditory.

I have no art and that makes me sad. My whole life every teacher and my mom and just about every adult I encountered have all remarked on my so-called creative “talent” and I have been conditioned since I was wee to feel like that’s all I’ve got. That’s the only thing that makes me worth a damn. And it’s gone.

Sick of paint.

Sick of paper.

No interest in canvas – front OR back.

Even glitter has lost its lustre.

Polymer clay didn’t really work out although I haven’t given up on it completely. Actually I have a $48 gift certificate for Amazon.com and all I can order from there is books so if anyone has any recomendations on a couple of good books on polymer clay, I’d definitely be open to them. Right now I have this one and this one in my cart but I’m scared to waste the gift certificate on something I won’t like or use so if anyone has any opinions on those books specifically, I’d like to hear those as well. Amazon reviews are terrible and I don’t count on them for much. I chose those two books because they looked the most comprehensive and had the nicest covers out of the others I found when I searched. The others were very specific like, “how to make X with polymer clay”, which I don’t really want either I don’t think so that’s why I passed over those. I’m just scared that polymer clay will just be another dead end and I’ll have wasted the gift certificate on something I’ll end up donating to the library in the end anyway.

I have no interest in photography. Part of the reason photography was fun was because the people I was taking pictures of liked to see themselves through my lens. But then Madison started getting self-conscious I think and didn’t want me to take pictures of her anymore and I love Wes to the end of the Earth and back but he is the WORST model. He likes the idea of taking pictures and he likes seeing them afterward, but he is such a massive pain in the ass that unless we’re doing something specific, forget it. I took a couple of classes and got okay at taking pictures of my family. And now I think I’m done. This is not my thing. If I need to document my life, I have my phone and my iPod and both will upload to the internet immediately which is usually what I’m going to do with them anyway. Like, I see pictures EVERYWHERE – EVERYWHERE! – but I feel too self-conscious carrying the big camera around with me and most of the stuff I want to take pictures of you either probably aren’t supposed to and/or you’d have to ask permission and I’m not down with either of those potentials. I want to be the girl who carries a camera and a Swiss army knife but I just don’t think that’s me. I don’t know how to be that person.

And like, throughout all of this, as I’m writing this, I’m thinking, “did I ever really give it a fair try?” and the answer, I feel, is “no”. So there’s that bit of fucking guilt laying in the pit of my stomach now. A couple thousand dollars worth of camera equipment and no…whatever ingredient it is I need to be that person.

My girls. My beautiful girls. I decided that what’s on sale on Etsy is what’s for sale and once they’re gone, they’re gone and there will be no more for sale. I will only make boys and girls as gifts and this was pretty much decided when one of our friends the other night told Blake that he was expecting his first child and I realized…holy shit man, so many of our friends either have babies right now or are having babies right now or are soon to have babies right now that I’m pretty sure I’m only going to paint them for girls and boys I know from now on and not until the bun’s out of the oven, hopefully starting with our friend’s son Apollo. The only worry I have with that is I’ll feel pressured to make them for everyone, like maybe people who think they’re better friends with me than they really are, or that someone might feel offended that I didn’t make one for their kid. Realistically that already happens though, so I guess I shouldn’t worry about it too much. I haven’t decided on commissions yet. We all know how I feel about them and we all know that if I’m low-balled I’m going to be seriously pissed off, so it’s probably just best if I didn’t. Zazzle shop is staying. Truthfully, I find the Zazzle stuff more interesting than the originals and so far I’m my own biggest customer. I don’t understand why more people don’t utilize that when I’ve been hearing for years and years that people wished they had a more inexpensive way to procure my work. Originals are work, man. I can’t afford to buy the world a Coke. I’m still interested in the colouring book idea although I’m sure that by the time it’s actually finished, you won’t be.

All I have right now, creatively, what I’m clinging to, are these two writing projects I’m sort of not working on at the moment simultaneously. I loved writing at Froth but Froth has shitty hours (only open until 6pm/4pm on Sundays and it takes half an hour for us to get there; even with Blake working from home, the earliest we can get there is like, 5 and by the time we get set up with food and drink and are ready to work, they’ll be almost ready to close) and Froth is really expensive. We’ve scouted out Wasaga Beach and a few other places for nice, independently-run coffee shops that don’t care if you’re there all day/night and have wifi. And aren’t full of annoying kids. All. The. Time. And actually now that I think about it, we didn’t try the Starbuck’s that’s inside the Chapters bookstore in Barrie which is tiny tiny but most people get their shit and go browse the store so if they have tables at the back that I haven’t seen because I haven’t been back there, I’m betting that might be a more adult place to write that’s open relatively late and isn’t super expensive. Sucks that it’s Starbuck’s* and the music (among other things) is terrible but Blake swears to me that he thinks that’s the best we can do. I’d love to just write at Tim Hortons but they don’t have Coke products and I don’t drink coffee. I’d love to write at the Coffee Time down the street that’s SUPPOSED to be open 24 hours but really closes between 8pm-9pm, depending on how busy it is, but I don’t think Blake ended up liking it there. Can’t remember why. That place would be good because I could maybe go there during the day if I got comfortable enough there with Blake and write without him and they have Coke products BUT! I asked Blake if he would buy me a patio table with an umbrella for our front porch this spring BECAUSE, and I DECREE:

If I am going to plant the fuck out of my front yard this summer and put in all that effort, I am NOT going to hide in my house like a little fucking mouse like I have every other year, only scuttling out at 7am when no one’s around to take pictures. NO! I will sit at my patio table on my front porch and I will drink my own Coke products and eat my own free food (or not, as the case may be) and I will write there! Whenever I fucking feel like it! Have laptop, have wifi, have diet Coke, have bong – the only potential problem here is me. And rain.

This is what I’ve got going for me right now: flowers, two stories to work on and a patio table. And I have to wait for half those things at the moment so basically until then it’s Bummersville, population: me. Apologies in advance.

I am getting more and more excited about the garden the more sunshiney days we have, though. I can’t plant anything until next month but I’ve already sent Rugg my Keep Off The Lawn 2014 flower wishlist and we’ll see what happens I guess. I’m hoping for a lot of things on it, but mostly the lily of the valley “pips” which I think are like bulbs except they’re not dormant when you plant them like the ones you plant in the fall are? Anyway, these you plant in the spring and I specifically wanted them because they are the flower of May, which is the birth month of both my grama and her mother, my great grama, the latter of whom used to lay in bed with me at night and we’d list all the flowers we could think of. Then we’d list all the birds and she’d do all of their calls (poorly). Then I’d fall asleep. She had lily of the valley in her garden and because it was both her and my grama’s birth flower, it was just around a lot growing up and it’s an important plant to my family. I don’t have any and they also happen to grow well in shade, which is exactly where I need them because so far I can’t find anything else I like that will. If I recall correctly, lily of the valley likes to spread itself around if it’s happy, I feel like my gramas were constantly giving some away, so instead of digging up the daffodils and hyacinths in the front bed in front of our living room window and relocating them for something a lot bigger like peonies (which won’t grow in shade), I want to plant the lily of the valley all around them so they’ll fill in the whole bed and it’ll look full the whole growing season, unlike now when the daffodils and hyacinths peter out by May and then the bed lays empty or full of weeds for the rest of the season because nothing else will grow there. (Speaking of daffodils and hyacinths, I just checked and they’re both up and out of the ground about an inch and a half so far, so that’s pretty cool.)

Actually, that’s only partially true. Originally these ugly things were in that bed and the first summer I was here and we did the front garden I ripped them out of the bed because I didn’t like them and planted wildflower seed instead (which didn’t grow) but then I felt really bad at this pile of still-alive flowers I had dug up and didn’t know what to do with them AT ALL so I basically ended up just transplanting them a few feet forward. So dumb. Now they’re there and I still hate them every year and wish they’d die on their own but the fuckers thrive instead and I have no idea what to do with them. Suggestions welcome. I don’t even think I could drive them somewhere, throw ’em in a ditch and wish ’em the best. I’d feel like such a terrible person, I would not be able to live with myself. But every year they grow and every year I think about it…maybe I should let them grow, cut them down and decorate random graves with them…hmmm…

Anyway, I think that’s all I’ve got in me for  today. Well, there’s one more thing but it’s its own post and isn’t about me at all or even important.

(*I like Starbuck’s. TO GO!)

August 8, 2013

When I say “dance!”, you best dance, motherfucker.

There should be things to say. When I was in the bathroom, admiring the purple shade of my foot, I thought of a hundred things to write about but now that I’ve opened WordPress, I’m drawing a blank. That’s probably because I’m procrastinating.

Here’s what I should be doing:

– Starting my 1st draft for The Fiction Project. (Due Nov. 15th, 2013)

– Working on my “fat lady story”, the story I’ve been working on for 2 years but that I’m completely stuck on, frozen.

– Work on my sketchbook for The Sketchbook Project (Due Jan. 15th, 2014)

– Working on my Dorothy painting.

– Working on my donation for the Food Bank for the studio tour. I *was* going to donate two ACEOs in gold frames but I kinda thought that was too cheap, so now I’ve decided to paint something new instead.

– Journal away some of the crazy, fucked up shit that keeps going through my head.

So yeah…I guess I’m going to fire up Netflix and see if I can’t knock some of this off my list. *sigh*

Peace.

PS. Here’s my foot.

July 24, 2013

Forget the haters, cuz somebody loves ya-AH…

Greetings, Earthlings.

I am feeling SO MUCH better than I was on Monday. A normal schedule again, medication-wise and work-wise, and lots of sleep has helped immensely and I’m mostly back to my old self. I won’t say “normal” since I doubt I’ll ever be that, but back to my old self…

I did not go see my grama and my brother on well, today, because both Blake and my mom thought it would have been a bad idea in my former state, which I agree with, but I’m okay now so I’m kind of regretting that decision. I really want to see my brother. I don’t know why, I just do. Is it weird to say that I miss him? Because I do. Immensely. I love the shit out of that big stupid asshole. And my grama, well, I have something for her.

On last Thursday or Friday, I forget which, there was “customer appreciation day” in Elmvale and Madison was doing face painting at Jack’s On Queen, which is the local comic shop.

Why people would want their face painted on a 42 degree day is beyond me…

Brian was also there assembling his new mini comic called “Faces” which I forgot to buy one of so I’m not sure what it’s about but I’m sure you can purchase one yourself on his site! He’s really good!

So Wes and I went down there for moral and emotional support and also to buy Madison lunch at Alma’s which, if you follow me on Foursquare, you would know that we eat there a lot. Their hot roast beef is the fucking bomb. Look at this!

Anyway, that was Friday I think and while we were at Alma’s there was a HUGE storm where tornados touched down in various places near us so we called Blake to come home from work to come get us (he was working in Barrie that day) and then on Saturday before I had to go to work, we went to the beach because we live right near day beach. BOOOOOI! Lotta mercy. (Points if you get that reference. I can’t stop saying it…)

The beach is AWESOME after a big storm because there are big waves that are fun to jump. So we stayed for about 40 minutes because I had to work and then I worked for 3 hours but a friend of ours had a bit of an emergency so my co-workers, who are AWESOME, scrambled to cover my shift and Blake and I went to spend time with her. She had just run the Warrior Dash, which is this crazy-assed race thing that you can read about here. In fact, apparently someone died at it here this year but I haven’t read anything about that yet. They apparently had a pre-existing condition and just…died. I mean, the race itself is brutal, you have to climb rope walls and crawl through mud under barbed wire and the mud has gravel underneath it so your knees get scraped up and you have to jump through fire. It’s pretty nuts. Blake ran it last year and plans to run it again next year. I think they’re both mental but whatever floats their boats.

So we had a good night with our friend and then Sunday…I forget what we did on Sunday. So probably nothing. I had to work at 1am, which fucking sucked, but I did it and then I had Monday off but I slept through most of it and that brings us to yesterday when Blake did his Canadian citizenship test where he got 19/20 questions right and was finished first. He’d been practicing for weeks so I wasn’t really worried about it and nothing bad happens if you fail anyway, it’s not like they deport you or anything. I am crazy proud of him. What happens next is he’ll get a letter to come down to that building again to do his oath where he’ll swear to like, be awesome & respect the Queen & shit which I will get videos and pictures of, don’t you worry! The first song we listened to upon getting into the car after he passed his test was this one, by A Tribe Called Red, which is a Canadian band that does like, aboriginal dubstep that’s super wicked:

They’re up for the Polaris Prize and I think they should win.

I didn’t wear socks with my Chucks yesterday so I have a blister that’s basically my entire heel and it really fucking hurts. I wore my Chucks because my sandals gave me another blister on Friday when we walked into town to see Madison and Brian. I can’t win! But that one’s healed enough that I can wear my sandals again.

And I guess that brings me to today! I worked this morning, which sucked (I am so sick of my job at the moment…I’m thankful I have it and I realize it’s a pretty cushy job compared to a lot but man, I am so fucking sick and tired of working), then I woke up around 11:30am and decided to make this canvas I’ve been working on my bitch. If you go to my Facebook page you can see Vine vids of the process of splatter painting which I think is super uninteresting but other people seem to like so that’s why I did it.

This is how you can tell someone’s an artist (or one of the ways):

I can’t remember if I posted about what I’m working on at the moment but it’s Dorothy! The background is all rainbow so far and as soon as I’m finished this post I’m going to start working on Dot herself. I made a preliminary sketch of her last weekend but I think I’m going to tweak her a bit when I actually paint her.

That’s obviously just pencil crayon with no shading and her nose isn’t right.
I can’t figure out how to paint braids but Dorothy in the 1939 movie only had french braids to just behind her ears and the rest was a pony tail so that’s what I was going for.

Anyway, that’s what I’m working on.

Peace oot, homies.

November 19, 2012

Bad Flash Photography & Touched By Fire

Today is Monday, which means I have photography class tonight. I also have some creative decisions to make, but I’ll get into that later.

So this week’s photography assignment was pretty simple and complicated at the same time. Take a picture without flash and then take a picture with flash. All I have to work with is the popup flash on my camera, which is pretty crappy I think, so my pics are pretty crappy this week. Also, I realized at 10:30 last night that I’d forgotten to do the assignment so I didn’t get all fancy with my lighting or anything. I just used the light from Madison’s bedside lamp and the flash. Here we go:

No flash. f/2.8, ISO 6400, 1/30 sec.
(I cleaned up the noise in Lightroom, but that’s the only editing I did.)

With flash. f/2.8, ISO 200, 1/4 sec.
This one was taken pretty close up, within maybe 3 feet or so?

 

Obviously with flash. f/2.8, ISO 200, 1/19 sec.

Flash, f/2.8, ISO 200, 1/24 sec.

Flash. f/2.8, ISO 200, 1/15 sec.

I think this last one is the best one and it was taken from about 6 feet away so the flash wasn’t so bright in her face.

So those are my horrible flash pictures because my flash is terrible and I didn’t have time to light her room properly. (Not that I could have lit that corner any better with what we have, honestly. I want a flash for Xmas and lighting for my birthday haha)

Honestly, I didn’t really get a lot of what he was talking about last week. He talked a lot about his crazy light setup, which none of us have, and showed us how to use an external flash, which only one person has, and it was kind of information overload so I’m not sure what we were supposed to take away from it. Except that I have no intentions of using my popup flash for anything, ever, until I have an external one that I can actually bounce off of things because these pictures are awful. I also didn’t know what ISO to put it at when using the flash or if the flash would compensate for what the ISO was set at. He never told us that or if he did, I missed it. He was playing with a light reader but I didn’t understand any of what he was saying because I don’t have a light reader and have never seen one and just…no idea what he was talking about. That class was just a total clusterfuck of information thrown at us.

I am curious to see what tonight’s class will be about and how well everyone else does.

Thursday night was Touched By Fire which, for those who don’t know, is an annual art show put on by the Mood Disorders Association of Ontario. 419 pieces were submitted for the show for consideration and only 96 were chosen. Apparently there were 620 people who came to the show, which is the 2nd biggest crowd the show has ever had (with the first being the time they had it at the Royal Ontario Museum – I didn’t get in that year because all I submitted was my happy fantasy glitter girls and this show wants paintings that reflect mental illness).

This was my piece this year, which I painted in 2009 and gave to my shrink as a gift who lent it back to me for the show:

“The Two Sunnies”, 2009

The show was very claustrophobic and I had a hard time being there. The whole way there I was like, “I really don’t want to do this” while chowing down clonazepam and honestly, if I hadn’t have invited Charlie to come with us and have dinner beforehand and everything, I probably wouldn’t have gone. (Dinner was awesome, btw. Garlic mashed potatoes and a weak, but good, strawberry margarita ftw!)

The main thing that was interesting about the show this year was that there seemed to have been more pieces by who I call “the usual suspects”. I mean, the show definitely has its people who are pretty much guaranteed to get in because they always do and a couple of them have even become volunteers for the show. At this point, I kinda think I’m one of those people but only if my work reflects mental illness.

I’ve been saying for months now that I’m not going to paint anymore and I’ve put away my paint and painting supplies in a bucket at the end of my desk. And I also said that this year’s Touched By Fire would be my last time doing the show for that reason. The show accepts photography but most of it, in my opinion, is pretty good, and mine is not, but I have no interest in creating photos or god, self portraits, that reflect my mental illness because like I’ve said a million times, I’m medicated and “better” now. I think for the most part my mental illness is under control. Or at least as “under control” as is possible with straight up medication. Now we’re trying to work on the things medication can’t help with.

The thing is though, that being creative is part of my mental health plan. I’ve been creative my whole life and it’s always been a way to cope with the unpredictability of my lying brain. Idle hands and all that. But right now photography fulfills that life requirement and since I feel like I’m done with painting (mostly because no one’s buying anything, even after greatly reducing my prices on every older piece in my Etsy shop and I need the money from those sales to make any more plus we’re really out of wall space in this house, but also because I’m just not inspired to paint right now), I decided that this year’s Touched By Fire was going to be my last.

So me and Blake and Charlie go to the show and Charlie bought a painting called “A Bad Case of Stripes” from a girl named Sarah Hopper who goes to the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (there’s a sister Touched By Fire event in Chicago, I did a commission for the family behind it the first year I did Toronto’s Touched By Fire).  I liked a lot of the artwork this year, whereas I haven’t so much in other years. There was one artist, an abstract artist, named Whitney Taylor, whose work used metallic paints and foils and a thick, glossy glaze varnish of some sort, much like my own paintings. I loved them. And I’m not even a huge fan of abstract. They were super expensive (and rightly so!) so I couldn’t afford one, but they were my favourite out of the whole show. She (?) had several pieces in the show, taking up almost one entire wall and they were all big ones. And it was a prominent wall, too, I mean, she got massive exposure. I didn’t notice if she sold any of them.

My painting was in a busy part of the gallery and I didn’t wear my nametag or hover around my painting (except the one time Charlie made me) because I just don’t like the attention. In previous years there were wandering photographers stalking artists and I wanted no part in that. I didn’t see any of those this year, though many people were taking pictures of themselves with other people  just with their own point & shoots. I did my best to keep a low profile and no one recognized me from previous years.

My painting was not for sale this year because it was on loan from my shrink, whom I gave it to in 2009. This caused a bit of a ruckus, I found out on Saturday but I’ll get into that in a minute.

Apparently at the show, there were oysters that people were eating but I didn’t see any and wouldn’t have eaten one if I did. I only saw one tray of potato and cheese appetizers, which Blake had and said they were cold. Cold mashed potatoes. Ew. I had a $2 Diet Coke and while I didn’t have one of the $10 fire and ice martinis, I saw lots of people with them in their hands. Blake and Charlie didn’t drink anything. (Charlie had beer with dinner and Blake just didn’t feel like having a drink.) The proceeds of the entire event go to the Mood Disorders Association, although the artists keep 100% of their sales, with the exception of the following:

This year they had two Fire and Ice fundraising things.

The first was, they wanted the artists to solicit donations for the MDAO and the artist who received the most donations would be invited to their black tie gala event in January and their artwork would be prominently displayed at the event and it would be on all of the promotional materials. They advertised this offer as being “big exposure” but I didn’t bite, despite the fact that I was pretty sure I could win that competition through my site, primarily because A) I wouldn’t want to be the featured artist at a black tie gala. I don’t think I’d be able to do that. People would want to talk to me about my work and stuff and while rich people with kids is kinda my audience, see B) I kinda don’t think it’s right to pay for exposure like that and that’s what this felt like. Normally *I* would get paid for having my artwork on their promotional materials, not the other way around. Yeah, I realize it’s charity but see C) The Mood Disorders Association of Ontario has never done anything for me or my mental health and until Touched By Fire THIS YEAR, I wasn’t even sure what they did. I’ve never been involved with them, but what I got out of this year’s show is that they do art therapy in Toronto for people with mood disorders and from looking at their website just TODAY, they have peer support groups across Ontario. I’ve never been involved with anything like that and probably wouldn’t be but I can see how that may help some people. It’s possible that next year I may do fundraising for them but I dunno if I’d want to “win” and honestly, I know that the only way I’d get people to donate to them in my name through my site is if I was actively trying to win the top prize.

Anyway, the second thing they asked us to do was to create 12 x 12 inch pieces with the theme “fire and ice” that they would sell for $150 a piece, splitting the profits with the artist and the rest would go to the MDAO. But they only gave us a week to do that and it takes me 2 weeks to make a painting. Nothing I’d already done could even remotely be considered “fire and ice” so I just didn’t submit anything to that. Maybe next year if they give us more time, I would do it.

So like I said a few paragraphs ago, my painting apparently “created a lot of buzz” according to the voicemail I got on Saturday from the MDAO’s executive director. I knew the MDAO had called on Friday but I figured it was just about coming to pick up artwork when we’d already taken mine home after the show or about fundraising, which they’d already called about before, so we just ignored it, especially since Blake wasn’t home and he’s the one who usually answers the phone if it’s not someone expressly for any of the rest of us. (He even picks up the phone for blatant telemarketing phone numbers…)

On Saturday Blake took Madison and her boyfriend to see Twilight and I had to call him to tell him to bring something home but when I went to do so, the dial tone was like, “boop boop boop boop”, which means there’s voicemail. So I listened to it and there was this executive director of the MDAO calling saying my painting had “created a lot of buzz” and that she wanted to talk to me.

The curiousity all weekend just about killed me because I couldn’t imagine what she would want to talk to me about. I knew it couldn’t be fundraising. I just didn’t know what it could be.

So this morning I took two Ativan and called her back. She said that there was two people at the show who really wanted my piece and who were dismayed to find that it wasn’t for sale and that there wasn’t anything else by me in the show that *was* for sale. One of them wanted to buy one for their daughter and one of them wanted to put a piece for their niece. One of them was the main sponsor of the show from Raymond James who, as it turns out, bought my piece from last year’s show too. The other guy, I’m not sure how he fits in, but it was someone within the sponsors or the organization because Ann Marie used his first name like it was someone she knew well. She asked if I did commissions and I said yes, even though traditionally I hate doing commissions, mostly thinking that with how bored I am with my girls right now, maybe some ideas from other people would interest me. Also a commission is a sold piece so that would be killing two birds with one stone as far as my reasons for not wanting to make any more paintings. I gave her the link to my Etsy shop and my e-mail address and said that I would welcome contact from anyone who was interested.

She also asked me how I liked this year’s show and I told her that my favourite part was the wall they used to showcase artwork made in the art therapy classes they offer. That wall was like, “the happy wall” whereas the rest of the show, with very few exceptions, was pretty dark and moody (which has always been my issue with it, they don’t want paintings from level, medicated artists whose mental illnesses are under control, but I didn’t tell her that part). She said that in the coming days, a survey was going to be coming to us via e-mail on ways to make the show better so I figure I’ll get into that aspect then.

This positive reinforcement has made me sort of rethink my painting strike and whether or not this really would be my last year doing Touched By Fire. All afternoon, since getting off the phone with her, little trickles of ideas have sort of been flowing through my brain so I guess we’ll see what happens.

Work meeting in 8 minutes. Better go get ready.

April 21, 2012

Yellow Submarine

I love the Beatles. I’m not totally familiar with every song they’ve ever done but I really really love the ones I know. I love how, if everything is totally fucked and you just don’t know what to do with your life, your day, your minute, you can turn on the Beatles and just be like, “well whatever, fuck it” and everything will just be absolutely okay.

Is that just me? The Beatles are like, the safest music choice in the world because everyone loves them and the ones who don’t love them are just fucking crazy anyway so fuck those people because you believe with all your heart that “all you need is love”.

And kids love the Beatles too so it’s like, totally a nice, safe, family friendly band but not in a lame way because John Lennon was and will forever be one of the World’s Most Awesome People. Just look at this quote my cousin Haylie posted on Facebook last night or this morning or whenever the hell I checked FB this morning was:

For those who can’t see my images at work because my site’s blocked due to ~*PORNO ADVERTISEMENT*~, this is the quote:

When I was 5 years old, my mother always told me that happiness was the key to life. When I went to school, they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wrote down “happy”. They told me I didn’t understand the assignment, and I told them they didn’t understand life.” – John Lennon

Feel free to pin that on your Pinterest inspiration boards!

Speaking of Pinterest, I read an article in Forbes this week that said Pinterest is worth $7.7 BILLION. That is fucking crazy. It’s such a simple idea and they have no REVENUE yet so how are they worth that much? Same with Twitter and Instagram. Why are these companies worth so much when they have no revenue? What is their value to investors? What are their investors paying for? I feel like I should know the answer to this, but I don’t. This is like, beyond my knowledge base.

Anyway, I’d link the Forbes article but I tweeted it a few days ago and now I can’t find the link. Google it, it was interesting!

After seeing how much Pinterest was worth and that how “the little guy” means nothing in comparison and therefore my copyright claims are a gnat on the ass of an Elephant I think it’s time to not give a fuck about copyright on the internet. This may seem like a big “no duh” thing for a lot of you reading this but it’s an epiphany I’m just having so ride it out with me.

By someone pinning my art on their Pinterest inspiration board or even their DIY board, all that’s giving me is traffic and, since I think my girls are recognizable, a bit of a name. I don’t think my work is easily FORGED which is different than “copied”. Sure someone could copy my concept and if they’re satisfied with their work in the end then what do I care? That person wasn’t going to buy one of my paintings anyway.Them doing that doesn’t take away my right to make my girls or my rights to my girls’ images or any of those things. And if that person ends up making paintings like my girls for a living, who cares? Do you know how many people there are in the world to buy paintings? Like, a lot. She’s still not infringing on any of my rights. Etc etc etc. See copying is okay. I don’t see any issue with that, all artists do it and anyone who creates anything is an artist. The “truly original” person is a fucking MYTH.

If someone was forging my paintings, that would actually be pretty cool because that would mean I’m successful enough that people would actually care to do that. And that level of infamy is rare. I mean, I’m a normal person. I don’t have a degree in art. Here are the “contemporary” artists that I know of off the top of my head:

– Damien Hirst
– Andy Warhol
– Jackson Pollock (because of the movie)
– Jean Michel Basquiat (because of the movie)
– Frida Khalo (because of the movie)
– Pablo Picasso (because he’s fucking Picasso)

I only know that these are “contemporary” artists because I read that on Wikipedia in the last 6 months. The only one of MY lifetime (so to speak) is Damien Hirst and he only became popular when I was in grade 9 but I’d never even heard of him before 2 months ago.

So that is my “art knowledge”  as a regular, every day person with only a grade 9 education and the ability to use the internet. I think that’s pretty typical, the only real difference is that most people wouldn’t know that any of these people were popular within the last 100 years. Most people have no idea that Michelangelo and Picasso were of totally different eras (and I’m not talking about you guys, I’m talking about the average person in my town who also doesn’t know what a “blog” is).

That’s SIX PEOPLE in the last HUNDRED YEARS who I KNOW OF who have made any kind of money making art for a living in their lifetimes. Again, do you know how many people there are in the WORLD? Like over 6 billion. Do you know how many of them make art? Like, tons. Yet in a hundred fucking years, I can only name 6 who didn’t starve as a result. Does that make me ignorant? Absolutely. But can you also see why people are so afraid to try and be an artist and live their passions? This is why there are all these workshops by Willowing and Suzi Blu and all the people in the book I’m reading that really boil down to the same mantra: you are an artist. Have no shame in that.

Blake calls me utilitarian. And I am. But he also gets upset with me because I can’t relax and just BE. I have to be doing something productive or I feel completely unsuccessful and then that makes me feel like shit. Selling a painting is the BEST feeling in the world for me. Selling a painting means that what I do with my time isn’t completely worthless. And that makes me feel good because I’m utilitarian.

Pre-going crazy, I had no trouble whatsoever calling myself an artist and using my imagination. Post-going nuts I became afraid of my imagination and also of what people thought of me and I had a hard time calling myself an artist because “artist” was a fancy way of saying “unemployed”. That’s where Suzi Blu came in. I saw her videos on YouTube, encouraging me to be silly and funny and weird and quirky and an ARTIST and that was exactly the encouragement I needed. I could trust my medication so that I didn’t need to be afraid of my imagination anymore and this confident woman with the less-than-perfect-teeth-but-still-beautiful was practically shrieking at me and thousands of others on YouTube that it was a-okay to call yourself an artist and yes, you can make a living from doing this. Suzi Blu practically invented the art of the online art workshop via Ning that so many other artists have copied in the last few years. If you want to make a living by being an artist, is the message from Suzi and the mixed media artists online like her, then be a teacher. because “slinging paintings” as Suzi called it one night in chat, is not the way to go about it. That route is HARD. You have to have gallery representation and you have to kiss a lot of ass.

Or do you…?

How has the internet changed that dynamic or how is it changing that dynamic? I have galleries on my site, right here, where you can see my entire oeuvre and I can guarantee that more people are looking at those than I would get at any gallery in Toronto so why would I bother with a gallery in Toronto, especially when they would take 50% of my money for that privilege? I mean, in the age of the internet, who’s really doing all the work here, the artist or the gallery? The artist, if they want to stay authentic (that means writing your own tweets and updating your own Facebook fan page – there’s no reason a gallery should be doing that).

#Hashtag Gallery, the brand new gallery I’ve been watching for the past couple of weeks, tweeted the other day something to the effect of, “which local artists would you like to see at #Hashtag Gallery?” and I said something like, “why would you want local artists when your gallery is named after a component of the internet? you have the whole internet!” To which they replied “good point” and rephrased the question. They’re super green, but they’re learning. I really wish they’d get a goddamn website up though; you’re named after a major component of internet life and you don’t even have a website? Come on, shit or get off the pot. I still maintain that if your gallery is getting more foot traffic than your website, you’re doing something wrong.

The Square Foot Show signups started yesterday. It’s $20 to enter and you can submit up to 3 pieces, each 12 inches by 12 inches, and they’ll put your work up at AWOL Gallery in Toronto along with 600 other artists. You have to get your signup in SOON because space is limited and this year is their 10th anniversary.

I don’t know whether or not I should do this because it’s $20 and I’m slowly but surely learning the value of a dollar. You have to proce your work for $255, which would be totally fine by me because that’s what I charge for a 12 x 12 inch painting anyway (with shipping), but the gallery takes 50% of your money if you sell anything so I can’t figure out what the point is to doing this. To get “exposure”? Again, I don’t need “exposure”. I have a website. 3,000 people per month come look at it. The Square Foot Show isn’t going to compete with that. It’s not like they show your name with your painting or anything, people buy it purely on whether they like how it looks or what it says. I kinda like that aspect of it, I just don’t like parting with 50% of my money when it’s going to cost me so much to be in it. ($20 to enter, $15 to park at the event, $10 in gas, a day to prepare to go, a night to actually go to the gala, $25 to have dinner out if just Blake and I go.)

So I dunno. My mom thinks I should do it. She thinks she might want to do it. I’ll do it if she does it, I guess, then we can all go to the gala together and that would be worth it for me, but I don’t think I’ll do it any other way. Another benefit of doing it is to put it on my resume because the more gallery showings you have on your resume, the better your chances of getting a grant are.

I got turned down, again, for the OAC grant this year, which is no surprise and I’m actually glad I didn’t get it because I’m not doing my girls anymore and that was my entire artist statement. And if you don’t do what is in your artist statement within a year of receiving the grant, you have to give the grant back. I would hate to have to do girls when I wouldn’t want to just to get some money. I mean, I would have done it because $5,000 is a lot of money, but I wouldn’t be very happy about it at all.

That’s why I don’t think I’ll be applying next year. We’ll see how things go when the time comes around to do it and where I am artistically, but I think I’m still trying to figure out who I am right now and what to paint as a result and I don’t think I’ll have that figured out until after Squam and after Squam is too late to make enough pieces to enter for grant purposes. But we’ll see how it goes.

Getting sick and almost dying really messed with my world views and I feel like I’m on really shaky ground right now because I don’t know for sure how I feel about certain things. When you realize just how short life really is (and how long and condensed at the same time), I think it’s natural to need a while to figure things out.

The last thing I have to talk about, because I have to start work in like, 42 minutes, is the fact that the kids and I signed up for The Sketchbook Project 2013 and I think that’s pretty awesome. I’ve decided to (really this time) not treat my art supplies as being “precious” and I’m going to give them access to everything I have for their sketchbooks just to see what they’ll come up with. I know Wes has big platypi plans for the cover of his sketchbook and he’s been practicing in his *other* sketchbook in the time between signing up until the books actually arrive, but Madison has been quiet about her plans. If she has any. *I* certainly do not have a plan for mine.

I sent in my Sketchbook Limited Edition sketchbook a couple of weeks ago. I think I did a fucking great job on it, considering what I’m going through artistically right now. I think you guys are gonna really like it when it’s digitized. :oD

Tomorrow we’re going geocaching I think, after Blake goes to hot yoga for the first time. He’s got all next week off of work and he plans on going to hot yoga every day since the membership was like “$X for unlimited classes for the 1st month”. He’s gonna get even hotter and sexier when he starts doing hot yoga and then I’m gonna look like a fat, old goat herder beside him. :o( He just gets sexier by the moment though, even preparing for his venture into hot yoga. I mean, check this out:

That is Blake at the grocery store with his stylish new headband for hot yoga for all the soccer moms to drool over. In the background is Shaun/Sean/Shawn, our favourite Foodland employee.

Anyway, I have a million personal e-mails to go through so I’d better get on that before I have to start working on work e-mails. I hope you all had a fantastic April 20th yesterday and an even better 21st!

PS. I wrote this in an e-mail to Charlie yesterday, what do you guys think?

Y’know. I kind of envy your career. Not like, what you actually *do* for a living but the pace, the responsibility, the ability to manage underlings, the travel…if I wasn’t married with kids, I would probably have a job like that. Advertising was a lot like that but with less travel and I really enjoyed that. I want “projects”, dammit. That’s kinda why I think I want to start doing small commissions.

I think I want to paint in as many styles as I’m capable of to see how I really make art because I’m honestly not sure how I make art. I don’t think I have a signature style or themes or anything. I guess I “sort of” did with my girls, but that was more a marketing thing than an art thing, I think. I’m not saying that they weren’t or aren’t art, I just mean that they’re more decoration than “art” art.

I just think maybe doing commissions would open me up a little bit. Blake says they’re a bad idea because I’m terrible at deadlines and I end up hating what I do in the end (not the product but the process) but I think I’ve kind of evolved a little bit since the last time I took on a commission type project and I see art differently than I used to. I don’t really see it as a “commission” but as a collaboration. Damien Hirst and Andy Warhol had students and assistants doing the grunt work *for them* and they both also took/take commissions. I bet there’s a ton more examples of famous painters taking commissions.

I also think it’s a good way to practice techniques without it being “work”. (Like Suzi Blu had us make a grid on a piece of paper and draw eyes in each square. I did this for 10 pages. That was WORK and very very boring. Totally effective in the end, but still work.)

So what do you think? Would YOU commission me?

March 5, 2012

A Whole Buncha Thoughts

I’m listening to “Boys Wanna Be Her” by Peaches. Such a good song. Here it is if you don’t know it:

It was recently used in a car commercial starring sumo wrestlers, which made absolutely no sense whatsoever and it was a terrible ad since I don’t remember what kind of car it was. OH! Speaking of ads though, I want you all to see the Sasquatch ads my friends The Perlorian Brothers did for Hyundai! They are SO funny! They aired during the Superbowl here and I didn’t see them live but The Perlorian Brothers tweeted the URL during the game so I saw it then and laughed my ass off. Good stuff.

Oh and one more thing about advertising…The other day I got this e-mail from a marketing company saying that their client was interested in purchasing a text link from me  so out of curiosity, I replied with “who’s your client?” I didn’t even sign my name because I didn’t expect to really get a reply since I figured it was a form e-mail they sent to a lot of people. But I *did* get a reply and it was a Canadian pharmaceutical website that would pay me $70 to write a health-based post and insert one link to their website into it. I politely declined because I wouldn’t ever support a site like that, but I found it interesting that twice in the last little while, I’ve been approached by marketing companies for product placement in my blog. Does that mean my little piece of internet real estate is starting to get noticed? Why the interest all of a sudden? Fluke? Definitely strange. (And believe me, if I ever got paid to promote something in my blog, you would know I got paid to promote it because I would tell you.)

Speaking of product placement, they’re making Bottle Caps again and I couldn’t be more thrilled. These are Bottle Caps:

Bottle Caps are soft drink flavoured candies and they are pure awesomesauce. One of my favourites as a kid, they either stopped making them or selling them in Ontario for the longest time but in November-ish we went to this specialty candy store where I found a big box of them, the same as the one pictured. Then on Wednesday when we went to Clover to get my weekly Skittles stash (Skittles get me through my 9 hour shift on Saturdays – I liked Crazy Cores and Fizzy Skittles the best) and I saw Bottle Caps there too so I bought the box of them pictured, which I’m enjoying right now. The cherry ones are the best because they’re softer and they dissolve in your mouth, followed by cola, then orange, grape and root beer’s last because they’re actually kinda gross. The cola and root beer ones are really close in colour though and I always get them mixed up so half the time I’m expecting to taste cola, I’m surprised with the nast that is root beer Bottle Caps. Having said that, I love them and I’m glad they’re back. Thanks Wonka! Big fan over here!

The weekend was pretty mellow. Saturday I worked, which I do until 11pm and then we watch SNL together (Blake and I and sometimes Madison). Wasn’t Jack White fucking phenomenal on SNL this week? Holy shit is that man ever talented. We paused SNL halfway through to talk about life and the world for a couple of hours because lately I’ve been feeling really stupid. My world just seems so small. I can’t even comprehend big numbers like $36 million, like what a movie may gross and how much of that is spent on advertising. They pay so little in advertising compared to how much they profit and I used to think ad dollars were huge. But I can’t even comprehend how much money the Toronto Maple Leafs makes in ad revenue or how much one hockey player may make in endorsements. Those numbers just don’t mean anything to me. I never used to think a million dollars was very much money until Blake showed me that I would never earn a million dollars on my lifetime. And there are people making $25 million (*cough*JuliaRoberts*cough*) for ONE movie that took like, 2 or 3 months to film. $25 million fucking dollars for 3 months of work. How is that…? What…? I can’t even…! And like, we know someone personally who has that kind of money. I can’t say who but there is someone in our sphere of people who has like, $50 million and who is a total prick about it which is another thing I can’t even comprehend. If *I* had $50 million I would probably be extremely generous with it. Or at least with the interest of it. I would gladly buy my kids houses and educations and pay for big weddings and funerals. It’s like in the movie The Descendants (which I loved btw), I would give my kids enough to do something but not enough to do nothing. This person we know who’s like, super rich? Gives his kids next to nothing. Wouldn’t even pay for their educations in full. I just don’t understand that mentality at all. It is beyond my realm of comprehension. As Blake put it, this man buying his kid a house would be about as much effort as their kid buying him a Christmas present.

But even more than money, which I don’t think I’ll ever understand because I’ve never really had any and I probably never will, I just don’t understand how big the world really is. Like Blake’s dad lives in Vail, CO and there’s a mountain there and you can stand at the bottom and not be able to see the top. I’ve never seen anything like that before, not that I remember anyway (I went to Banff with my mom when I was 2 but that doesn’t count because I don’t remember). Something that big is literally beyond my imagination. I can understand the concept, I guess, but not the actuality. And that bothers me immensely. It makes me feel close-minded and small.

I’m probably not even making any sense. I just feel like everything is so much bigger than me and it’s not that I’m feeling insignificant or anything like that, it’s that my mind isn’t open enough to comprehend large concepts. Like I’m too stupid to understand. Like it could be explained to me until a person was blue in the face and until I saw or experienced it for myself, I wouldn’t be able to understand but because I’m nothing I’ll never experience things myself and therefore I’ll always be small and stupid and unimportant.

So that’s how I’ve been feeling lately.

On Sunday afternoon, we all watched the movie Hugo, which Blake and I really liked, and they all worked on their submissions for The 4 x 6 Exchange (still 116 slots left!). Madison and Wes finished theirs but Blake’s still working on his. He has today off so maybe he’ll work on it this afternoon. For the exchange we need to send self addressed, stamped envelopes but they have to be US stamps since the exchanged pieces are going to be mailed from NYC.  Well, the store I talked about in my post last week that I’ve been working on pretty hard is a Zazzle shop and they let you make US stamps out of your work there. SO, I made stamps out of all my girls – or at least the ones I had here to photograph – and I’m going to order one sheet of them to be used for the exchange. I’m pretty sure I’m going to go with “Strawberry Ice Cream” because she’s my 4 x 6 submission and I like that she’s pink.

(Just a note about the Zazzle shop, I’m not officially launching it until I can afford to order some of the products myself and see how the quality is, so if you order anything from there NOW, yourself, it’s at your own risk. I’m 99% sure I have my resolutions alright and everything on MY end should make quality products, but I have no idea how their stuff is so I can’t say for sure. If anyone does order anything, let me know how it turns out!)

Here’s Wes’ submission for the exchange:

And here’s Madison’s:

I think they both did a really good job but obviously Madison’s is better because she’s been practicing her drawing pretty consistently over the past several months and I think it really paid off in this piece. So way to go Madison! I gave Wes watercolour pencils to do his and I don’t think he really understood the concept. But it is what it is and I think he did a good job too.

All weekend I’ve been reading Gwenn Seemel’s blog because she is an art marketing whiz kid and has a ton of good advice for artists trying to make a living from their work. (She also has endometriosis like I do, which I found very interesting.) She’s a really different artist than I am, she’s really serious about her art whereas I’m more casual. This is probably because she needs to sell her work to eat and I don’t. (Well, I do, but not to the same extent she does because I have a part-time job that I love and my husband is also employed full-time etc.)  She does a lot of her work in series and she has gallery shows and stuff. I don’t do that, obviously. I’d like to do that, don’t get me wrong, I just don’t know how. She says you need to send proposals and applications to galleries and stuff if you want to exhibit your work there but I still don’t know for sure if I even want to do that. I like the idea of it, but I’m not so sure I like the reality of giving a gallery so much of my money when I’m not charging that much to begin with. The easy solution to that is to raise my prices, but I’m not selling pieces at the prices I’m charging now and once you go UP, you can never come down, which I absolutely agree with, so I’m not sure I want to go up unless someone really recommends it.

BUT!

One thing Gwenn does that I never thought about doing myself is payment plans. I don’t know what kind of payment plans she does because she doesn’t specify on her site, but she does them and I was thinking that that might be a possibility for me. I would do something like, 50% up front and then take payments say, once or twice a month for 4 months or something like that and in doing that, I would take that piece off of Etsy because I would consider it “spoken for” and when they were done paying for it (+ shipping), I would send it out to them. If they didn’t pay for it in full by the agreed upon time, it would go back on Etsy and I would keep the money they paid toward it. What do you guys think of that? Does that seem like a good, fair system? Because I do. But then again I suck at money so…the other thing is that I would need to make a contract for a payment plan like this but how do I get someone to send me a contract with a signature on it? I don’t have a fax machine. I have a printer that has wifi though could I make it a fax machine somehow?

The other thing Gwenn does that I’m considering is commissions. I used to be really afraid of commissions because I didn’t know my boundaries but as I’ve practiced over the years and I’ve gotten to know myself and my style better, I have a better idea of what my boundaries are and what would and wouldn’t be negotiable.  I’m also a more confident artist than I used to be and Gwenn says that is crucial to the commission process because I’m supposed to be the expert guiding the client through the art-0buying-making experience. She also has a really good article for buyers on how to commission an artist that’s worth checking out.

Reading her blog has really opened me up to the idea of commissions, I mean, as far as painting I’m not really doing anything right now. I have ideas but none that are critical as far as getting them out of my head and onto canvas and there’s no reason, really, why I can’t make my own ideas and a collaboration with someone else at the same time. It’s true that I only have so much space, but Blake’s said we can find a solution to that if necessary, and it’s true that I’m a slow painter, but that’s why you have a contract in the beginning so the client understands that it’s not going to be an overnight thing. I don’t know if it’s a good idea to take payment plans on commission work though, what do you guys think? I’m just thinking it would be a bad idea because say the person didn’t end up paying the full price by the agreed upon timeframe, then I’m stuck with custom work that I may not be able to sell because it’s custom. I got screwed on two commissions a few years ago and I’ve only begun speaking to the person who screwed me over because I’ve decided to just let it go. However, I don’t want a repeat of that, which is why there would be a contract and why I would need 50% up front.

But yes. I think once I get the pricing and the contract thing figured out (input seriously needed and considered here, guys, because I dunno wtf I’m doing) there will be a commissions page put up on my site and I will be open to other people’s ideas. I have no idea if I’ll actually have any clients take me up on it but I never will if I’m not open to it and I’ve had at least 20 people over the years ask me if I’d do a commission and I’ve always said no because the prospect scared me. NO MAS!

So that’s what’s been in my little Sunny brain all weekend. It feels good to get it out. Now I’m going to go work on my sketchbook for the Limited Edition Sketchbook Project since that’s due in 2 months and I haven’t even started yet. My theme is “The last word ever spoken” so I’m going to go back to my roots and make girls holding words. Right now I’m working on another “ennui” and then it’ll be “beloved” because to date those are two of my favourite paintings I’ve ever done and it’s super important that I include them.

Okay, I’m off! Happy Monday!

Edit: DAMMIT! I was having trouble checking out and this was the problem:

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Thanks for your reply.

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February 2, 2012

Argent’s Painting/Home Alone

I finished Argent’s painting on Saturday afternoon but I’m going to post about it last so it still remains a surprise for him when he gets it in the mail so….

…ARGENT, DON’T LOOK AT THE BOTTOM OF THIS POST!

Blake and the kids left for Militiagan on Monday morning and my time alone has been both interesting and bittersweet.

Monday afternoon I started watching that stupid Red Riding Hood movie with Amanda Seyfried BECAUSE Amanda Seyfried is in it and she’s like, the embodiment of one of my girls but I got bored halfway through, turned it off and decided to have a nap. This was at about 4:30pm. Well when I woke up, from a nightmare about being in the middle of nowhere in the dead of winter with a serial killer on the loose, the house was pitch black because it was still light out when I went to bed and it didn’t occur to me to turn on any lights before I laid down. So I laid there in bed, in the pitch dark, listening to the wind and the heat register in my room making ticking, knocking sounds as the metal cooled from the furnace being on and I freaked myself right the fuck out because I was convinced there was a serial killer casing the house. Then the goddamn dogs started freaking out and barking in my office, which they do when someone’s at the door. I was practically crying by this point and it took me 20 minutes after the dogs calmed down to convince myself it was okay to leave my bed and go turn on all the lights and close the living room curtains.

I’ve been carrying my pink, aluminum baseball bat around with me in every room I go to ever since and I’ve only been letting the dogs out one at a time because I figure if there IS a serial killer out there, the logical thing for him to do is to poison the dogs so I have less protection right? So if I only let them out one at a time, theoretically he’d only poison or kill one of them so I’d be left with the other for protection. DO NOT FUCK WITH MY LOGIC, PLEASE! IT IS KEEPING ME SANE!

On Tuesday I woke up in a lot of pain in my pancreatic region, the same pain I had when we went to the ER a few weeks ago. I took all my drugs in the morning, including the morphine, plus a handful of Tylenol 1s and that didn’t help. By 1:30pm it was time to take more morphine, so I did and also took more Tylenol 1s plus a mega strength Ibuprofen. That didn’t help. Then I took my last Gravol and that DID help so I got worried about what I would do if the pain came back and I didn’t have any Gravol to take so I messaged Ronny to see if they would come keep me company that night and if they would bring Gravol with them but he wasn’t replying so finally at about 4:30pm, I called Alex and explained what was going on and she said they’d come over around 6:30pm for dinner because I was in the process of making beef stew in the crock pot. She said picking me up Gravol would be no big deal and so they came over at around 6:30pm as promised, I took more of the Gravol they brought me and I felt totally fine.

We ate beef stew and watched Glee, which I’d never seen before and I’ll probably never see again because it was stupidity on a scale I couldn’t even comprehend and I think the stew turned out pretty okay. It wasn’t phenomenal but I liked it enough and was hungry enough to have one & a half bowls of it. Ronny and Alex only had one bowl each so I’m not sure if they were genuinely full or if they didn’t think it was so great and were just being polite haha (It won’t hurt my feelings if they didn’t like it, I used a mix.)

Then it was 9:00pm and time to watch their shows, New Girl and Raising Hope. Now one thing you need to know about me is that I traditionally can’t stand sitcoms. Especially ones from the past 10 years or so. Roseanne? Wicked show. Loved it. The Cosby Show? Television genius. Golden Girls? As Jax said the other day, “Betty White is a flawless human being.” I loved Blossom. My Name is Earl was pretty good. Love The Office. I can’t think of anything else I really watched that was a sitcom growing up. I watched a lot of one hour shows that were more drama or comedy than a sitcom like My So-Called Life and Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Six Feet Under and those are the types of shows I prefer to this day.

Anyway, Raising Hope was just “blah” to me but New Girl was FANTASTIC. I love Zooey Deschanel in movies so I kinda figured I would like this show but I never knew when it was on or what channel and I didn’t really care enough to figure it all out. I didn’t realize it only started this fall and we’re only 11 episodes in. I thought it started last year and I didn’t really feel like catching up, y’know? But now that I’ve seen it and I’m in love, Blake will be d/ling all of the episodes that have aired so far and we’ll be keeping up with it because it’s great.

Another show that Kevin actually recommended to me is Up All Night with Christina Applegate. I’ve still only seen one episode of it, but it’s like New Girl in that it’s shot more like a movie than a TV show and what I saw was really really funny. (I forget what I saw now though. My mind is a like a sieve.) I think that one only started this fall too, but I don’t know when it’s on or what channel and it’s not OnDemand like New Girl is. (But they only have the last two episodes of New Girl OnDemand, which sucks, but we have a PVR so I can just record it.) Anyway, I think that’s a show I’m going to get Blake to d/l so we can catch up on it too.

Ronny and Alex left around 11pm I think? And then Blake called and we talked for a while about what he’d been doing in MI and then I stayed up until about 1am working on a painting (more on that later) but had to get up at the asscrack of dawn yesterday morning because stinky Cheryl left a message saying that she was going to be at my house at 8:30 in the goddamn morning. I really dislike Cheryl, she makes me get up early even though we’ve asked her not to (they’re supposed to work around OUR schedule), she never listens to me when I tell her that I need a strip of drape across the top of my dressing or the Hypafix tape they use will pull down because my belly hangs over and is heavy, and come unstuck and the whole dressing will fall off. (She listened to me yesterday morning though because she knew Blake wasn’t around to patch me up. She just likes rushing through my dressing and doing the bare minimum so she can get off of work early and leave Blake to do the drape. That’s my hunch, anyway.) Plus she reeks of cigarette smoke which she tries to cover up with perfume and it’s just friggin’ gross. I mean, she’s nice & all, but out of all the nurses I have, she’s the one I like the least. Siske’s my favourite because she’s just awesome, I can’t even explain how or why, she just is, Janice is next, she’s just so nice and bubbly and she has a great sense of humour, then there’s Blue, who’s brand new and doesn’t know how to do my dressing AT ALL (I really hope I don’t get her on Friday…) but she’s nice and funny and chatty and I just really like her. And then there’s Cheryl.

After Cheryl left yesterday morning, I was exhausted from staying up the night before, so I fell back asleep on the pull-out couch in the living room until about 10:30am, then I made and ate waffles, then I feel asleep again until noon and then I was up for the day. I watched The View and Ellen and Dr. Phil while I worked on this painting I’m doing. The painting is hard to explain, I guess it’s sort of a mandala of the sun, but my intention for it is to either photograph it or scan it and make prints of it to raise money for Squam. My dilemma is that I don’t know how to go about making prints and because I used glitter (of course), I’m not sure how well that’s going to print. I don’t know if I should take orders and then go to an actual printing place and print that many or if I should use a 3rd party service like Zazzle or CafePress. I’m thinking the latter would be a lot easier considering we’d have to *find* a printing place around here that does giclees (because if I’m going to go to an actual printer, that’s what I’d want) and do a test printing, so that’s one trip, then another trip to set up the printing and pay the money up front for them, then another trip to pick them up, then more trips if I sell any more and time is a really precious thing around here because I don’t drive and Blake has so little of it. So I guess I have to decide between Zazzle and CafePress and I’m going to have to order testers from them to see if the quality’s good enough to sell to the public. Do you think I should do products too? Like mugs and t-shirts and stuff? I suppose that question is best answered once you guys see the finished painting. Hrm.

My plan for today is to nap, since I got up at 5am, and then to watch movies while I finish this painting. Blake said I could order a pizza tonight, so I fully intend to do that even though I’ve been living on pizza products all week. Monday night I made a frozen pizza (which was disastrous, my god can I ever not cook), then yesterday I had Bagel Bites for lunch/dinner and I have Pilsbury Pizza Pops for lunch today and tomorrow. Right now, y’know, just to mix things up, I’m eating a chicken teriyaki TV dinner. Blake really needs to come home so I’m not eating absolute crap. I feel like garbage from eating so much processed junk. I mean, I *love* microwaveable junk, but only sometimes, not as my main diet.

So, Argent’s painting…

ARGENT, STOP READING NOW!

Argent’s painting is a disaster. :o( It gave me trouble from day one, right up until the very bitter end. I think I explained the beginning but I’ll go over it again in case I didn’t.

Argent plays the lottery so I intended to make him a lottery fairy and I succeeded at that, but I had him send me old lottery tickets, which happened to be black, white and pink, so the painting’s colour scheme was pink and blue. (I added the blue so it wouldn’t be as girly, but in the end you could barely tell there was any blue in it.) I went through TWO canvases trying to glue the lottery tickets on as a background because my exacto knife went through them when I tried to trim the excess off the edges, so I switched to wood.

When I was done with the background, you couldn’t even tell there were lottery tickets in there but I figured that was okay, I could just use the tickets as the fairy’s skirt. Well, that didn’t quite turn out as intended either. When I used matte gel medium to adhere the sparkly overlay across the skirt, it totally wiped out all the numbers so all that remained was the pink strip across the top. *head desk*

Then I spent a million hours doing the lettering. They were stick-on letters, I didn’t do them by hand, but they didn’t stand out so I had to make a paste of white glitter and acrylic glazing liquid and a bit of water and I had to VERY carefully smoosh it next to and in between the letters, then let it dry over night and then once it was dry, I had to sand it so it looked like an outer glow. I think I was successful at that in the end, but it was a total pain in the ass to do and I was damn lucky that I thought to do that because it wasn’t planned.

But then this bitch of a painting bit my ass pretty hard when it came time to varnish her. I usually use Micron Pigma pens to do my outlining, usually an 02 or an 005. This time I decided to use an 08. The difference between the two is just how big the point is, an 02 is finer than an 08 and a 005 is finer than both of them. I wanted a thicker line, so I used the 08 and I left it for 3 days, doing other things, so it should have been completely dry and “cured” so to speak.

Well, when I went to brush on the varnish, the ink smudged, ruining the entire painting. I can’t sell a painting with a flaw like that, so I sent a letter with it to Argent saying that I couldn’t accept payment for it because of the flaw and that he could just have it.

I was really  upset about this. I worked so damn hard on that painting and it was such a pain in the ass to do and I was really counting on that money to help pay for Squam, but I just couldn’t, in good conscience, sell it like that. Because Argent’s my friend, I was only going to charge him $250 for it which is the same price as almost all of my paintings, even though it was custom and I normally charge a more for that. That would have dented my Squam fund pretty nicely, it would have covered my deposit and then some, but at the same time, it’s not like I’m really out anything but my time and the cost of the letters ($20 because I had to buy two packs to get both colours), everything else was stuff I already had. The stars are pretty expensive because they come in a kit and ONLY in a kit (12 colours I think), so it kinda sucks that I’m now out of white ones but it’s okay because I really do think stars are lucky and that this painting is lucky and that Argent’s going to win the powerball EVENTUALLY because he has this painting. It was such a pain in the ass that I figure it HAS to be lucky! haha

Anyway, I took some pics of it before I sent it off (oh that was another thing; I had it all wrapped up and addressed when I suddenly remembered that not only did I forget to take pics of it beforehand, I also forget to take pics of MYSELF with it, which was my new year’s resolution…so I slapped on some makeup and Blake took some goofy pics of me laughing because he was making fun of the fact that I take pics on burst all the time…you had to be there…):

I’m trying to train myself – and I think I’ve maybe mentioned this, at least I know I have on Twitter – not to let things be “precious”. Meaning that I like to hoard things and I’m afraid of wasting materials or making mistakes. For example, I would normally only use one jewel on a painting because I only have so many in my stash. On Argent’s painting I used five: three stars for her necklace, one for her bindi (that one was a Swarovski crystal, actually) and another for her wand. This painting was definitely an exercise in things not being precious, believe me.

Anyway, here are the goofy pics. I look like shit (keep in mind, I’ve lost a LOT of my hair from being sick), be kind:

THE END.

~*PLEASE DONATE SO I CAN GO TO ART CAMP!*~

PS. Blake and I got our sketchbooks for The Sketchbook Project out in time! He finished every page of his, I didn’t. My mom didn’t finish hers either, I don’t think, but I know John did. My friends Stephy and Alicia also finished theirs, who else participated this year?

January 29, 2012

And all the stars were just like little fish…

First, lemme get this out of the way: Argent’s painting is finished. I haven’t photographed it in full yet but I will and after he receives it, I’ll post those pictures. Here’s one pic I took before I varnished it though:

I am absolutely in love with those little Martha Stewart glitter stars. I used white ones and pink ones and they’re all iridescent and they have names like “sugar cube” and “sugar plum”. I used up almost all of my white ones on this painting and they only come in $30 kits, so I won’t be using white ones for a very long time.

Next up is…Blake’s Uncle John died yesterday morning. He had early onset dementia and from what I’ve been able to gather is that he either basically starved to death (in a home) because he stopped eating or he had a heart attack because he was anorectic. Blake said that John was around 100 lbs when he died and he was a very tall man. He had apparently been sick all week but no one told us that until yesterday morning. I happened to have gotten up at 7am and when you see a 248 area code on your call display at 8am on a Saturday, you answer it. So I did and it was Blake’s Aunt Pat and she was so upset because that was her brother and it’s all just very sad because he was a wonderful man and the person in the family Blake related to the most. He’s taking it pretty hard.

Originally just Blake and I were going to go to Michigan for the funeral because hey, it’s not like I have anywhere I need to be, but then he wanted to bring the kids basically for comic relief and so they could get to know the Albanian side of the family and there was a chance that his sisters would be bringing their kids as well, the youngest two Blake has never even met because they live in Lake Tahoe.

Last night Blake and I decided that it would be best if I stayed here because I’m just not ready to be that far away from home and the hospital and my nurses just yet. I would be completely self-conscious about my belly and my extremely thin hair and I’m really emotional since being sick and if anyone mentioned me being sick, I’d probably lose it like I do, still, when people bring it up here. We’re just not okay and we’re not really ready to talk about it. Also we would have to bring all of my medical supplies and pills because I have a dressing that needs changing every other day and while Blake is perfectly capable of doing it, it’s just one more thing for him to worry about so I’ll just stay home and let the nurses deal with it. Another thing is food and feeling sick and potentially throwing up. I get really worried about it and then Blake worries about it and he doesn’t need to be dealing with that on top of a funeral for someone he was really close to and keeping track of the kids.

He also wants to go visiting Michigan friends while he’s in town and he wants to stay longer than is necessary for the funeral and I just don’t have that in me. I get tired really easily. I’m on really heavy doses of certain medications that makes me forgetful, not good company and I need to be in bed by 10pm. And I usually need a nap in the morning because I get up at like 6am and then I take hydromorph. I can’t just be go go go go go which is what this week in Militiagan is going to be.

So, we agreed it’s just better for him if I stay home where he doesn’t have to worry about me when things will be stressful enough. Ronny and Alex are around if I get scared or if something bad happens and I have the dogs. The nurses will be coming every other day to change my dressing and make sure I have all the necessary medical supplies. People will be around.

And honestly? And before you call me a selfish bitch, Blake and I have discussed this; 4 or 5 days of being alone and being able to watch all the bad TV I can handle and making art in my office and eating what and when I want to and sleeping where and when I want to sounds pretty damn good to me! Blake says I can do that now, but I can’t really. Someone is always wanting my attention or I feel guilty for not giving it to them even when they don’t ask and my “me time” suffers as a result. (That sounded horrible…please don’t take that horribly.) It’s taken me 5 months to feel okay enough to even go in my office and spend the day in there, when that’s where I belong.

So that’s what’s happening.

Onto yesterday! Yesterday we went on my artist’s date and it was GREAT! I had my $10 and I decided before we left for Michael’s that I’d bust open my Buddha bank to get some change for tax in case something was $9.99 and what I found in there was $20 in twoonies, loonies and quarters! So I loaded my wallet with that and put the pennies, dimes and nickels back in the bank and off Blake and I went to Michael’s. My mission was to first of all, buy gesso because I need it both now and for Squam and now that I was $20 richer, I could afford to get it, but my artist’s date mission was to buy something for $10 that I wouldn’t ordinarily buy and then come home and make something with it.

On our way to Michael’s, Blake wanted to stop off at this health food store because right now he’s eating 5/6 meals vegan as per Knives Over Forks. He’s been using the crock pot to make veggie soups and stews for the week’s lunches and he’s been having steel cut oatmeal for breakfast. Then sometimes a salad or tofu or stuff like that for dinner (but sometimes he eats what we eat). We’ve also, as a family, completely switched to wholegrain breads and cereals but I can’t do pasta because whole wheat pasta is just way too disgusting.

Anyway, Blake went to this store while I stayed in the car and he bought tempeh and this weird soy sauce stuff that I forget the name of but he put it on his salad last night and it smelled really gross. While he was in there, I could see in my side mirror that right next door was a flower shop. Wanna know a secret about me? Flower shops are one of my favourite places on Earth. Especially in the dead of winter. When I had my job, all winter I would make sure that I had flowers on my desk because I just absolutely love them. I cannot stop touching them and smelling them and staring at them. The kind doesn’t even really matter but I love flowers where the edges of them are a different colour than the rest of their petals. Carnations and roses often have this and those are my favourites. Next I love daisies, particularly gerbera daisies because they come in all kinds of colours.

When Blake got back to the car, I told him I wanted to go to the flower shop to look around, which we did, and they had a bucket of pink and orange carnations so Blake and I decided to go halvesies on them, using the change from the Buddha and his change from the car.  I was very happy because this kind of carnation is one of my favourite flowers, I just cannot even explain my love of them, I think they’re absolutely gorgeous.

After that we were back on our way to Michael’s and when we got there they had coupons at the front of the store for 40% off any item and Blake explained to me that this was better than the coupon I had for 25% off my total purchase because I was only buying one thing and with a 40% off coupon, I could get something for like, $17 for $10.

Just because part of my mission was to go down aisles that I normally wouldn’t go down, I went down the wood aisle and looked at little wooden plaques that were around $2 and I thought I could paint girls and put them on these but ultimately I decided not to get any of those because really, how would those little wooden plaques differ from the big pieces of wood I have sitting in my office? Or even a canvas? It’s just another substrate for the same old thing!

But in that aisle, something caught my eye. It was on the very bottom shelf, kind of hidden by other things. There were 3 or 4 of them but I only needed one. It was a wooden shadowbox with a wood-framed glass door that stayed shut by magnets. And it was $17. With my coupon it would only be $10 Blake said and the moment I saw it, ideas practically melted my brain so I had to have it. So I put it in the cart, declared I was done, let’s find the gesso and get the fuck outta here.

Well, we had to go down the paint aisle to find gesso because it would make sense that it would be there. For the record, it is not, but what IS there is that gorgeous Martha Stewart paint that I love so much. I had to stay there and look at all the colours again for a little while because they are just so goddamn beautiful. What really struck me this time though, was this orange glitter paint called Orange Sorbet. Paint was not in my budget so we left the paint aisle and found the gesso which was $11. Just then I had the crafty idea that if Blake got another 40% off coupon and we went through the checkout separately, I could get the gesso for $9. So that’s what we did because we are very very sneaky!

I went through the checkout first and my shadowbox was $11 with tax and I was practically laughing on my way out to the car because I felt like I was getting away with murder! I just couldn’t believe I was getting this magnificent thing for such a low price! And then to get $11 gesso for $9 on top of that, I was laughin’!

So I got out to the car and put the shadowbox in the back seat and checked into Foursquare while I waited for Blake. I knew he’d be a while because Michael’s was having a major sale on custom framing and there were a lot of people in line behind me so I screwed around with my phone and when Blake got into the car he handed me the gesso AND the orange Martha Stewart glitter paint I oh so coveted because he is just so goddamn romantical! I almost cried!

On our way home, Blake said he was feeling kinda bummed out about John and wanted to know if I’d go out for dinner with him to this new burger place he’s been wanting to try called South St. Burger Co. so I said “sure” because they serve New York Fries, which make the best poutine in Ontario as far as I’m concerned (not counting actual poutineries in Toronto and Ottawa). So we went there and Blake got a big burger with pretty much everything on it and fries while I got a small burger with just ketchup and a small poutine and the food was great. This place only uses grass fed, free range, hormone and antibiotic-free beef and I didn’t think there’d really be a difference but there really was. It was just…beefier, if that makes any sense. Anyway, it was good and afterward we just went home.

Once I got home, I was in a pretty good mood and eager to use my new paint so I decided to smash my date into my Smash Book, so here are pictures of that:

So all in all, a good time was had by all and Blake’s mind was taken off the funeral for at least a little while and I got inspiration IN SPADES. I am going to be very very busy for the next week or two, I think! I don’t even think I’ll need an artist’s date next week! Or if I do, I think it’ll probably just be a trip to Starbucks or something (which Blake may need after being in MI for a week) because I was literally flooded with ideas yesterday. There’s no more room right now for any more because I have to get these ones out first!

Okay, now I think I’m going to go start my list of things Blake needs to get from the grocery store so I don’t starve to death while he’s gone and then I’m going to hide out in my office staring at my flowers and wiping orange glitter paint on my apron.

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