Three reasons why I’m not trying to sell you my art

3 ladiesYeah, so here are three reasons I’m not trying to sell you my art:

1) No one has ever sold me any art. I have enjoyed viewing and buying art for the last 12 years. I have purchased several pieces for enjoyment purposes. I was out browsing, usually for something else and a piece would catch my eye and my heart. I would buy it on the spot. Only once have I bought an “investment” piece.  But I didn’t buy it for the investment possibilities. Proof of that is I spent lavishly on the framing and the next person to own it won’t care at all, beyond that the LE was well protected.

2) Original art is not a 2014 car. No one needs to explain anything to you about my art when you are looking at it. The title might make you smile. The measurements might help you figure where you are gonna put it, but that information usually comes with/near the art. No one needs to convince you that the acrylic paint used is the coolest new color and your neighbors will be jealous. (Although they very well might be. Just sayin’.)

The story of how my art was birthed out of direct instruction from God to draw, and that without any training and little confidence in my abilities, I launched My Blue is Blue is encouraging or inspiring to some. It may cause you to take a second look at a piece. But it won’t make you buy it.

3) The folks who happily spend $49.99 on a two by three foot reproduction of abstract art are not my customers. I have nothing against those folks. Mass reproduction and distribution have made it very easy for everyone to afford eye catching pieces. I have nothing against the art or the companies that are churning the stuff out. I hope the artists are being properly compensated, but I suspect all those talented, unknown artists somewhere in China are not being paid fairly.

I’ve never wanted to run with the crowd. I never wanted art that I had seen or might see on someone else’s walls. And even though I didn’t know that for what I was willing to spend, I could have had original art, I chose unusual pieces that spoke to me as a woman and as a person of color. I chose pieces that made me smile or added to my sense of peace.

I’m an artist. That’s how I earn my living now. I paint almost daily as part of my continuing therapy. I have produced a lot of art. Almost all of it is for sale. If you see something that grabs you, don’t let price stand in the way. If you’d like something completely unique, I’d love to create it. However, I’m never gonna try to sell you something.

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I Get By With A Little Help From My Friends

Last weekend I had one of the best times of my life! I was staying at the Chicago home of a best friend from college. She and another college buddy had planned a private book signing for me at our buddy’s home. My hostess and her husband are gracious and generous. Their home is decorated in authentic Asian wall art and sculpture from their time in Hong Kong. However, the best decoration is their mutual love and respect wafting up to the ceiling like the curl of smoke from the Tahitian Vanilla incense gently filling the foyer. Their relationship is the sweetest I’ve seen.

I had been a bit anxious about the event. However, once I arrived at O’Hare, my jitters settled. My hostess and I reached our buddy’s home to find a fancy and fun spread with everything from shrimp to Sprinkle’s cupcakes. We had time to catch up a bit before the event began. I greeted each guest with a hug and committed to remembering and using every guest’s name.

Ultimately we had about 20 attendees. I opened by talking a bit about myself to provide some background. Then I read an excerpt from Turning Blue to Blue. I opened  it up for questions and a wonderful exchange began. Everyone contributed to it. I sold about 21 books and made at least two new friends. Most significant, my confidence regarding speaking to strangers, increased dramatically and I was inspired to challenge myself to accomplish some other projects I had been avoiding.

MBiB cover

Thanks to my four Wellesley College sisters for their tremendous support. It was a wonderful evening.

By the way, I only muffed one name. Sorry Jeff.

COMING SOON: A Day at the Museum

Super Happy and the Every Day Struggle

“It’s been a long time. I shouldn’t have left you, without a strong rhyme to step to…” – Eric B. & Rakim

comet2Wow, life has been busy. Let’s jump right in.

I am super happy with my life. Almost every day is a struggle.
I love having an unstructured schedule. I can pretty much plan my day around my workout. I hit a gym about 3 times a week. My body has changed a lot. I’m not as frail looking as I was originally after the 40 lb weight loss. I’m developing definition in my arms. Watch out now!

Just about everyday I do something related to painting. Sometimes it’s studying techniques or products. Sometimes it’s looking for or organizing inspirational pieces. Sometimes it’s spending 8 hours on one piece or 8 hours on four.

Marketing the book is just as challenging as I expected.  But lots of folks have shown their support with purchases, leads and introductions. Actually, I’m having a little trouble keeping all the info organized and followed up on.

In spite of all this, almost everyday I find myself lonely, bored and or restless. I have to consciously use my positive coping techniques and self talk. The positive activities to cheer me include painting, getting outside, meeting friends and new people, prayer, exercise, aromatherapy, beverages with a lot of caffeine and sugar and thrift store shopping. Well, maybe those last two really shouldn’t count, huh?

Left to its own devices, my mind wanders off to various dark corners. I think the interesting part of it is, while it probably always did that, now I notice it and it bothers me! Yes, now that my head is clearer, I can see just what a mess I really am. Chuckle.

I’m kinda at a crossroad with my meds. My doctor and I tried to take me off one, but I began to really struggle. Now we need to figure the next dosage or combination of medications. I had dropped out of talk therapy for over a year. I can see it is time to go back and tackle a whole new set of issues.

I thought getting  well was a full-time job. Staying  well is a full-time job! I love my job.

“When I”m writing, I’m trapped between the lines
I escape when I finish the rhyme…
I got soul.” – Eric B. & Rakim I Know You Got Soul

The Makeover

I was selected for a business women’s makeover by internationally acclaimed transformational makeover expert Eve Michaels on Thursday. The makeover included hair, make-up and an outfit. I had the opportunity to model my “after” look in front of a business crowd. I also got information on how to style myself as an artist. I was super excited for this opportunity. “What NOT to Wear” has been one of my favorite shows. I’ve learned some good general points from Stacy and Clinton. The opportunity, however, for personalized instruction from Ms. Michaels was so precious and inspiring.

Points Ms. Michael reinforced for me included:

  • jewel tones ( sapphire, jade, amethyst) look best on me
  • a supportive bra is an everyday essential
  • expensive clothes don’t have to be if you know where to shop
  • thrift store finds can be figure-flattering if you compare your measurements to those of the garment and have a neighborhood tailor

New things I learned:

  • my eye glasses are too rectangular for my face, and too narrow so that they cut my eye space (eyebrow to bottom of eye socket) in half
  • wider and rounder frames would be more attractive
  • “droopy” hair elongates my face and makes me look sad
  • more height to my hair will be more complimentary
  • a more flattering, attractive, artistic look may actually help me sell more art at better pricesIMG_2065

Perhaps the bottom line for me is, I could be doing better with my daily presentation of Kartika: the wife, mom, artist and author. Too often I rush and throw something together and skip the make-up. Years ago I had gotten my make-up application down to 7 minutes. But recently the thought came to me, why should I rush? Why shouldn’t I take 30 minutes to create the day’s look? For me the “whys” speak to some underlying issues. Had I believed I wasn’t worth the time? Had I believed it was vain to make the effort. Was I uncomfortable with “looking great” or “looking sexy”?

I’ll continue to dig into those issues. In the meantime, I’m reading Ms. Michael’s new book, Dress Code: Ending Fashion Anarchy. She has a 3 day makeover boot-camp coming up in September which I’d love to attend!

Please learn more about Eve Michaels and her life-work at her website.

www.http://evemichaels.com/

Ladies, wanna weigh in on these issues? I’d love to hear from you!

Installation Day!

Well, it was the day I had been waiting for: to see my art hanging on someone’s wall.

Who’s wall? Sharon’s, a friend who has encouraged me since I first announced I was drawing.  Actually, I made the announcement at the perfect time. She has a beautiful home with several bare walls. She said she had looked for wall art, but hadn’t found anything that grabbed her. The busyness of life had prevented her from spending too much time on the hunt.  Things had settled down some for her this summer and she invited me over to see her spaces and learn about her likes. I showed her two pieces I had done, but she really didn’t like either.  I took all my measurements and her color preferences back home with me and set out to create something new, specifically for her.

When I completed her two pieces, I emailed them to her.  She loved them! What a thrill to be able to interpret someone’s personality and style into a piece of art that speaks to them. I’m not sure I can really describe it. I don’t think I’ve ever felt anything like it.

Since the original is pastel on paper, I had to have it digitally scanned at a resolution that could be reproduced at approximately 45″ x 30″. Then I searched for a manufacturer to take the high quality scan and turn it into a high quality triptych (art in three sections), canvas wrap.

It was nerve-wracking waiting for it to come back complete. I had to see it!  Did the original richness of color and delightful sense of texture reproduce well?  When it arrived, I tore open the box and squealed with joy. It was beautiful. Now of course, all mammas think their babies are beautiful…

So today was the day I got it up on her dinning room wall. Well, “I” meaning my husband, who was actually on the ladder measuring and hammering. We hugged and took pictures. I thought I would cry, I had tissue just in case.  But all I could do was grin ear to ear. I collected the balance and my tools and we were out in about 45 minutes.

Oh my goodness, that was sooo much fun! I want to do it again real soon!

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“Wouldn’t give nothing for the journey.”

Happy birthday to me!! Today I turn 45 years old. I’m very happy about that. Actually I’ve never been one to lie about or hide my age, but today I’m practically shouting it from the rooftop.

I’m very happy with my life right now, perhaps the happiest I’ve ever been. (The meds work!) This is particularly significant since 7 months ago I did not believe I’d ever feel happy again. The fear, anger and feeling of being trapped were too strong. I was wrong.

Today I’m thinking of some of the most powerful moments in my life:

when I stood, alphabetized by last name, in cap and gown at the Baccalaureate service the night before my graduation from college

when giving birth to my 1st child, who was breach, heading into surgery for a C-section and realizing it was a life and death situation and I was more concerned about his than mine

when I came up out of the baptismal water knowing I was a new creature

when I was 3 months pregnant with my daughter and decided that I had to go back to my verbally/emotionally abusive husband because I couldn’t even buy toothpaste. But I resolved that I’d get a job, keep it and save my money.

really understanding poverty when Kenyan children in Nairobi begged me for coins and called me a rich American

when I found out my mom lost our second home and most of my stuff had been left behind in their haste

when it occurred to me that perhaps my second husband could not be faithful

when I decided that no matter what happens (and some more jacked up stuff WILL happen) God has got me. I’ll be fine.

Paul wrote in Philippians 4:11 – 13 “Not that I was ever in need, for I have learned how to be content with whatever I have. 12 I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little. 13 For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.” -NLT

I never really understood this scripture. But now I think I do. And it’s a great place to be. It requires focus and faith. (BTW it wouldn’t hurt to read that whole chapter. It is perhaps my favorite.)

My mother used to say from time to time, “Wouldn’t give nothing for the journey.” Today I can say the same. I’ve learned so much about myself, God’s love and humanity. And hey, I’ve got another 45 to go!