Opening Up Shop

This is the big week.  I finally opened an Etsy shop and posted some of my paintings for sale.  (Yay!!)  Just about everything in the shop is in note card format for now, even though I could have prints made in a larger format if need be.

One of my first items for sale.

So why am I not jumping up and down right now?  That’s an excellent question.

I am excited, I promise.  This is a fantastic chance to try making some cash doing something I love.  But I basically have the heart of a middle school girl in this case, and not a cool, spunky middle school girl.  I just want people to like me. I want the whole world to like me.  A lot.

On some mildly paranoid level, I’m concerned that the people who love me have lied about liking my paintings for years.  Or maybe they’re blinded by their like for me.  I’m sure it wasn’t malicious.

I’ve never worried about these things before, because it wasn’t super important what the general population thought about my taste or my artistic ability.  But now that my art has been transferred to neat stacks of cards and listed for sale, it’s suddenly quite easy to quantify opinions.

That brings us to the present.  I’m checking my shop stats way too often, hoping that random strangers will like my art.  Results have varied.

I want to work harder and harder to make sure I have all of my bases covered, but I think that at least part of this game is waiting.  In the meantime, I’m going to try to paint some things that are A) great and B) not quite my favorite paintings ever, so I’ll be able to part with them.

Sneak Peak

Want to check it out for yourself?  Feel free: www.smallbutvaluable.etsy.com.  But whatever you do, don’t feel pressured to buy anything.  I absolutely don’t want my shop to be a weird, guilt-laced financial strain on any friends.  I just want you guys to know what I’m up to.  Painting some Alps tonight.  Pretty happy about that.

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Painting a Day

I get these emails from an artist named Duane Keiser.  They’re called “painting a day” emails because, in theory, the artist paints one new work a day and then sells it for relatively little money online.  It used to work that way, but the paintings have been less frequent for the last year.

Anyway, Keiser’s paintings are wonderful… part impressionistic, part contemporary (especially some of the still life paintings of things like fortune cookies), lots of light.  I like studying things that are dark and complex, but I would rather have one of Keiser’s paintings on my wall.

Thought I’d share the painting that came to my inbox this morning.  It’s called “Late Afternoon on Lorraine Avenue,” and it reminds me of afternoon dog walks in my neighborhood.

The time change has me all disgruntled when I wake up to total darkness, but it’s so nice to soak in some real sunlight after work!  It’s much more cheerful trotting around the neighborhood with the sun setting in the background.  So happy thoughts about Daylight Savings Time to all.

Monk by the Sea

Take a look at this painting:

It’s called Monk by the Sea, and I loved it from the first time I saw it during a college art history class.  It flashed up on the projection screen during a dark, sleep-inducing class.  The sky was a luminous mix of rainy day color, not flat like the photo version (I worked in the art history slide library, so I’m biased towards the beauty of slides instead of digital images).  I was instantly there on the cold, grey shore, although not in my monk robes, since I don’t fit the qualifications for that job.  It was beautiful and awe-inspiring and a little bit scary.  I was looking out at something that had the power to swallow me whole in an instant.

That’s what life is a lot of the time, isn’t it?  You don’t figure out the answers as you get older, you just know the shore better.  You get braver, and you know which spots will hold and which ones won’t.  There’s always that cliff to look over, and there’s always that immense presence around you.  The monk isn’t really alone.  He’s surrounded by the sky, and it seems more alive than he does in a lot of ways.  He’s not even a super impressive-sized speck on the shore, but you notice the sky.  It’s full and rich and in motion.

Today, I’m taking comfort in being that small monk on the shore.  If I’m that small (and I am), it makes God so much bigger than I try to make him.  He has to be in control of everything, since it’s obvious that I couldn’t be in control even if I tried.  I could only hold a few grains of sand together, and he can hold the whole world together.  I’m so glad.

And that, dear friends, is exactly what I think of when I see that painting.  The official art history discussion of it talks about the artist, Caspar David Friedrich, and his role in German Romanticism.  It covers the use of lines that lead out of the painting, etc.  But basically, replace my use of the word “God” with the word “universe,” and this is exactly what I’m supposed to feel when I see the painting.  Art is pretty powerful stuff.

Also, I like the name Friedrich.  Even though I know it isn’t pronounced like “fried rich,” I think of a really obnoxious rich man being fried in batter.  In my imagination, it isn’t painful for him, just funny for me.