Happy Otterday!

While we were on vacation, I sold a set of my favorite otter notecards.  It’s the teeny tiny victories that count when you aren’t devoting much time to your artistic craft.

il_570xN.395734437_dvntI mailed them off yesterday and realized that I only have two sets of otter cards left.  Good thing I get to keep the original!

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Procrastination Holiday Style

Well, Christmas is almost here again.  I love it, I really do.  I even like making the Christmas list (the grown-up one that has other people’s names on it).  Since today is my day off instead of Saturday, I took the morning to work through the list to make sure everything is getting done and ordered and mailed, etc.

Then I went to a few websites to order some of the remaining items on the list, and imagine my surprise when the website told me I was doing some last-minute shopping.  WHAT?  It’s only December 13.  We have at least 8 days before anything should be considered last-minute.  Come on, people.  They obviously don’t know what real procrastination looks like.

photo from memegenerator.net

photo from memegenerator.net

Real procrastination looks like not ordering things in time to wrap them yourself.  Sorry, nieces and nephew!  Real procrastination looks like buying supplies for those homemade gifts in mid-December.  (Yes, today is homemade gift-making day, too.)  Real procrastination looks like all of those January and February gifts that my friends have cheerfully accepted in years past.  Thanks, friends!

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And before those January presents become a reality again, it’s time for me to hit up a craft store.  Merry shopping, y’all!  Need something artsy?  I know where you could shop: shameless advertising for my shop.

Being Okay With Imperfection

I recently read an Etsy article (written for and distributed to people who have Etsy shops) that focused on imperfection.  Apparantly, lots of Etsy crafters/artists/sellers struggle with listing items.  I’m not talking about technical issues with listing items, but a struggle that comes from a desire for perfection.  That’s something I can definitely relate to.

Perfectionism isn’t always something I struggle with.  There’s a pile of wallboard rubble at my feet as I type this–strong evidence that I can live with mess, at least to some degree.  But I think everybody struggles with wanting certain things to be perfect.  For me, one of those things is my image as an “artist.”  

I don’t actually consider myself an artist.  Not really.  I just like to paint, and I like some of the paintings I create.  Some other people have said that they like my paintings, too.  So presenting myself as an artist in an online shop is a constant struggle between wanting to present as many items as possible to fill out the shop and wanting to present a cohesive brand that’s as perfect as possible.

Until today, I had been going mostly with the “as perfect as possible” theme.  I listed only the items I would take to an art critique.  Today, I posted items that maybe weren’t formal enough or were painted too long ago (high school!).   

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some of the new stuff

And you know what surprised me?  I’m glad that all of those paintings are posted online.  Some of them are incredibly cheerful.  Others have a nice decorative vibe, even if they aren’t fine paintings.  Maybe someone needs that burst of perkiness or that small piece of decoration.  (Need being a relative term.)  

I was proud of the way my shop looked before.  It was mostly full of muted colors and relatively realistic (if simple) landscapes.  Now there’s more ridiculousness.  Because of that, my shop looks more like me today than it ever has before.  I do think there’s something to be said for imperfection.  There’s life in imperfection.

Art Sale: After

I won’t keep you in suspense (because I’m sure you’ve been biting your nails about this for days)…

My very first art sale was officially a success.  Woohoo!!!  I was so nervous the day before.  My table neighbor at the sale said that her first art sale was like putting her underwear out for everyone to judge, and I kind of agree.

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In my online shop, people can look at my work and decide what they think in a far away land totally apart from me.  But at the art sale, I was sitting one small table width away from all of my judges.  Fortunately, they were polite if they didn’t love my stuff and kind if they did.  It was such a relief.

Amid the mass of polite folks, there was even a troop of very adorable Girl Scouts who asked me all about my work and took a huge chunk of my business cards.  It took a while to explain how I’m inspired to paint and help each girl get the color of business card that she most loved.  That was one of my favorite moments of the sale hands down.

So art sale complete, I immediately got on a plane (well, not immediately, but at 5 AM the next day) to Colorado to visit my parents and do a bit of work for them.  It’s a pretty great story, and I’ll be working through that project for weeks to come, so I’m sure you’ll hear about it soon.

In the aftermath of the sale, I’ll admit that my online shop stats are a bit disappointing.  Hundreds of people took a gander at my stuff in one day in person, and that energy rush was pretty great.  Now I just have to figure out how to get similar views in my little corner of the online world.  (But before I find success like that, I need to have the print shop replenish my stock a bit… one step at a time.)

P.S.  The Virginia Museum of Contemporary Art (art sale location extraordinaire) is staffed by wonderful people, and I highly recommend it as a spot to visit if you’re in the area and haven’t been there lately.

New Stuff!

I had some of my small paintings printed off in larger print formats recently, hoping I could pop them into my Etsy shop and call it a day.  That worked out for one of the three prints, but the other two really needed a little something before I can sell them.  In little tiny format, they’re cute and nice, and I like them.  In larger format, they needed some extra zing.

I did some watercolor zing experimentation last night, and I had two successes (in my opinion).  Witness the zing:

Zing 1

And (check out that freshly painted, beautiful red door in the background):

Zing 2

I will admit that I ruined 3 prints of the same leaf painting.  There are ugly blobs and “oops” moments galore on those pages, but I do like these two, and I think they have a lot more life than their former selves.  Yay!

 

Doors and Chairs and Things–Being a Renaissance Painter

Today was a big day in the world of house projects.  I finished painting our front door and the two freebie dining room chairs that we scavenged from a neighbor’s trash a few weeks/months ago.  I also did not one or two, but four loads of laundry.  Woohoo!

I happen to think that the chairs look a lot better, although stained wood versus painted wood is something that people tend to disagree about.  Here was the before:

This is the after:

Our dining room already has stained wood in the form of floors, table, and side table, so the painted chairs seem like a good fit.  Personally, I think the blue also gives the chairs a bit of special flair.  They’re a relatively standard chair design, and they needed a bit of flair.

As for the front door, I’ll admit that I kind of liked it in chipped, lots of layers form.  There was some kind of green under the original red, and some spots allowed the green and the natural wood color to show through.  It was pretty.  See:

But as of today, the chips and raw edges are all covered with a nice, fresh coat of red paint–same color, new day.

And last but not least, I got to add a few new items to my Etsy shop.  There are otter notecards (that’s right) and a watercolor of a row-boat in Italy.  I like them.

So that was today.  Now all I have to do is clean the entire house before Scott’s mom gets into town tomorrow afternoon.  She’s never said a single word about our house needing a good vacuuming or anything like that.  She’s a great mother-in-law.  But I know my parents’ house is a good three or four degrees cleaner than ours is at any given moment.  I don’t want Scott’s mom to be concerned that her son is going to die by violent roach attack or dust bunny smothering or something.

There we are.  The thrilling life of Housewife Hannah in 339-ish words.