ON Sale through 8/31/15

ON Sale through 8/31/15
Painting, journaling, color mixing and more!

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Ten Tips to Get into the Holiday Crafting / Sales Mode!

For those of you who are looking to gear up for your holiday arts and crafting, here are some tips to keep you on track:

 1. Go through your holiday crafts now and organize what you have. This way you are less likely to buy what you don’t really need for your seasonal projects.

2. Create a Pinterest board with ideas that spark your imagination. You could include not only crafting ideas but color schemes and decorating ideas.

*Check out my Pinterest color board

3. Make a list of the projects you want to pursue (gifts, sales, shows, trades with fellow artists/crafters). You may be inclined to try 10 or 15 different things but if you narrow down your list, you will find yourself less pressured (and probably save money) during an already busy time. What are your deadlines? Work backwards on a schedule with a little cushion for the unexpected.

4. Try signing up for a small holiday show if there is something nearby. There’s nothing like preparing for a show to get yourself into full on creative mode! Plus you may make some extra cash for the holidays while doing something you love!

 5. If you sell your art/craft for a living, be sure to establish a seasonal marketing plan now if you haven’t already. It’s always better to be proactive rather than reactive.


 6. Do you have crafty friends? Consider doing a holiday home show and make it a party! Everyone invite a few people to shop your collection.

7. Are you looking to build your customer base? Offer a free or low cost holiday make and take project at a local coffee shop, art studio, gallery, boutique, or even at your own home.

 8. Organize your postage and shipping supplies. Take inventory of what you have and what you will need to ship all your amazing products to your holiday customers! Schedule postage runs into your daily schedule, avoiding peak times if possible. Better yet, schedule shipping from your home online or take advantage of pre-pay postage options.

 9. Use what you have whenever you can! I know I’m always inclined during the holidays to buy more ribbon, papers, bulbs, findings, etc. seasonal crafty project but this year, I’m going to try my hardest to create with what’s already here as there’s a lot here! Going back to point number one, now is the time to clean up your studio, not just your holiday crafts so you can be fully immersed in this upcoming busy season. Clutter distracts and stresses you out, or at least it does me and I’m on a mission to control it so it’s not controlling me.

 10. Invite friends over for a holiday craft making day or evening. Pick a few projects, assign supplies for your participants to bring, or use some of your de-stash, add a few snacks, perhaps a bottle of wine and you will not only be creating wonderful projects, you’ll be creating memories. After all, isn’t that what the holidays are about? 

 Do you have some great tips for preparing for the holiday creative season? Whether you are a hobbyist or a full time artist, we all thrive when we share best practices! Leave a comment on this post, we’d love to hear from you!

Be sure to stop by my Etsy shop to see what's new!!  ***Lots of great items that you can certainly give as gifts (to yourself or others..haha).

Friday, August 21, 2015

I Want To Run Away!

I've always wanted to go away by myself just to think.

 After I'm in a good place, take out my paints and dive in deep. I can picture myself  tucked cozily  away in the woods, hugged by a mountain and soothed by a trickling creek.  It hasn't happened yet but I feel the solo sabbatical coming soon.  I'm not even sure why I feel this way. I think that (probably like many of you), I just don't want to do laundry, or  mop the floors; or be on for cooking dinner, or answer the phone or reply to messages. I just want to hear things clearly and make decisions without the guilt of having chores to do. Not forever, God no! I love my life, yet I crave the solitude so to speak.

I imagine what  that scene would look like, and this picture although not really what was in my mind, can kind of take you away for a moment to that sanctuary I envision.

Or perhaps it looks a bit like this:

I could sit out on one of these big rocks with my journal and pen and write for awhile before I grab another cup of hot coffee and begin my day with a clear head and peaceful heart.    I know it may be awhile before I can go on that trip by myself to find my way again (finding my way needs to happen every couple of months btw...it has nothing to do with mental status, just my quest for clear direction :)  Instead of escaping somewhere, I have been doing these morning rituals that have helped me quite a bit. Maybe not as quick of changes as if I could sequester myself for 4-5 days at a time, but taking 45 minutes to go outside very early in the morning and read, drink coffee, then write in my journal, well that simple morning routine has lead me to some really amazing breakthroughs this summer.

One....I've started another new body of work.  My abstract collection is growing and becoming a huge part of the direction I want to take in the future.  It's something I've been cultivating over the last few years but this new collection is different. It's more mature in a lot of ways.

So to my point about wanting to go away to my safe little place in the woods,  the morning routine is actually a good compromise.  After all, once I get my inspiration and motivation in check first thing in the morning, what comes out of my painting sessions afterwards has been amazingly clear.  

Take 45 minutes at the beginning or end of the day to get yourself  into a state of clarity.  It might include exercise,  meditation, reading, walking,  music..whatever your vice is, after developing a routine you will be amazed at how your are able to cope, actually not just cope, but thrive the rest of the day.

You still will encounter obstacles.

You will still have to do the laundry.

You will feel more equipped for what's to come.  

It's a practice of clarity by doing what brings you peace.

Try it!

Do you have a morning routine or a way to seek clarity in your everyday life?
I'd love to hear !


Before I let you go--don't forget I'm having an awesome sauce Back to School  (ART SCHOOL) sale over at both of my online workshop venues.

Save on all my online classes from now until the end of August. 

See what's on sale over at Creative Workshops!

See what's on sale over at Arte Village!


Tons of new work up in the shop over the last month!

Stop by and see!

Thursday, July 30, 2015

The Flow of Life and other Creative Musings

It's not easy to take a break when you work for yourself, and yet if you don't take it easy every once in a while, it's soooo easy to go over the cliff of exhaustion that seemingly never ends. One thing I've learned over the last several years is that self care is hugely important no matter what you do for a living.

With taking a break and making time to work on some personal projects in mind, I pretty much cleared July and August of most major obligations so I could do a few things that were on my plate that I haven't had time for.

The Purpose Filled Life  6x6  painting on wood

And of course, as I cleared the path, the path filled up with things for me to do. Which, by the way, isn't a bad thing to be busy, to be needed, to have things to do. But there are always the surprise things that come up that aren't as welcomed which eat up time you were supposed to be doing other things.  Like for example,  one of my hosting sites for my online classes closing down tomorrow (July 31st as a matter of fact)  Yep.  So that has encompassed my mind, my time, and my work obligations for the better part of the month.  
Looking out on Chautauqua Lake while eating lunch with my family back home in NY

Even still...I've managed to take two mini vacations with my family and my sons.....create lots of art,  play a bit with friends,  work on new pieces, and organize my studio.  Oh...and make way for a new venture coming up in September locally.      The new venture is something that I hadn't planned on either, now that is a very good thing to counterbalance the bad thing.   Even with the surprise move by one of my website partners,  I found a solution through 2 other dynamic individuals who are working very hard with me to make the move for a few of my classes as seamless as possible. So there again, we have some light shining down even though the big picture at first glance wasn't so bright.

Rolling with the punches and trusting you will figure out your next move in life is half the battle.  I try not to get consumed by the what ifs but when they happen, the best thing to do is to be decisive in your steps and make the move toward problem solving. I use this technique in my art as well.  I don't always know what to do. I don't always know what color to use or which brush stroke to take.  But after I evaluate my choices, I make a decision and then I make the decision work. I figure it out.  And if I don't figure it out perfectly, I try something else.  
Figuring out something else...I tweaked this older painting a bit this month "Explore" and enhanced the previous version.

The alternative to not figuring out problems in art or life is to stand still and fall down. Or just simply stay where you are while the rest of the world keeps on moving.  

I wanted to take this time to showcase some of the things I did in July with my family, friends, and my art...yes just some of the things.  I thought at first I did practically nothing in the month but when I looked back at all 462 of my July photos (I catalog by the month), I realized, even a month not filled  to capacity with have to's, can be filled with memories that will last longer than an overgrown to do list.

So here's a walk through Jodi's July......

My oldest son Zach...on vacation with us in NY at my Mom's

Zach's girlfriend Chelsea came with us for our family vacation.

My youngest son, Josh,  who obviously does not like his picture being taken.

I don't have a lot of pictures of my Mom....so this one is extra special to me.  While in NY, her and I snuck off for a little event at one of our favorite wineries in Westfield, NY   "21 Brix"....love that place, if you are in the neighborhood..do stop in.

We spent part of the 4th of July out on my second cousins's farm out in East Otto, NY,  for a family reunion....how wonderful that was to see family that honestly, some of us hadn't seen each other in 20 years or more!!!!!  How does that happen and why??

...A favorite picture of mine featuring my niece and beautiful God-child, Lizzy, my sister Becky and me. We went on a super fun adventure to Buffalo one Tuesday evening while on vacation with all the kids to a food truck rodeo at a renovated artsy district called Larkin, music, awesome food, and good wholesome fun!  

I ran into my pops in NY  (he lives in Florida when not visiting his other half in PA)...we always seem to run into each other in July every other year or so in NY....other than that, sadly we don't see each other any more.  

Even though my home town of Dunkirk, NY,  has had a really rough 20-25 years because of industry leaving and the lack of great opportunities for young and old career wise, the community still knows how to come together and enjoy a beautiful evening, making memories along the lake with family, friends, and neighbors (which are sometimes one and the same).   I miss that sense of belonging to a community  and brother/sisterhood likened to where one grows up. I suppose I probably romanticize it a bit in my head, but going home always feels like a warm hug.

Our week back in NY was quiet yet busy.  Remarkable but yet peaceful.  It was just what I needed before getting back and hustling my bootie  for a week in between my next trip.  During that 'down', week I did tons and tons of art.

I mean, look at all these 'kids' I brought into the world!!!  And this is just a smidgen....there's more:

I started cleaning my studio and tweaking a bunch of pieces I had from class samples or experiments while working on classes.....

Put long overdue hangers on pieces that were semi finished....I mean, how hard is it to put on hangers?  Pretty hard if you consider this piece has been complete other than that last step for 2 years...I've had it sitting so long that it doesn't represent what I do any longer! lol

Took more pics of pieces I sampled...this one I was going to sell, but it's actually representative of a class I want to do with abstracts  so I think I'll hold on to it a little longer.  But at least now she's unburied and out from under piles of 'orphaned' pieces.

Along with my small bird pieces, I did a few bigger birdies...I love the conversations my critters have with one another. This one says, "Ya, this is my first time online dating, too"...lol they make me laugh and I hope they make my viewers smile or giggle a bit, as well.

Mid week in between my break, my friend Ophelia came over for a full day of painting together. We've been planning this play date for umm I think 3 years..lol. We work together a lot doing demos for Jerry's Artarama in Raleigh and every year we make plans to get together and just paint.  I'm so glad we finally made it happen because it was awesome to work with another kindred spirit without any guidelines or deadlines to worry about.     Why don't we make time to just 'do' more often??

Here's my piece that was born from our play date.  I love it...it's called "The Flow of Life".  I've been thinking a lot about the 'Flow' lately so I'm sure you'll see variations of the ideas come out in my pieces for awhile as I work through some 'internal' stuff.

I journaled a ton in July too...again, just working out things in my head but also getting ready for some mini classes I'll be holding locally soon....stay tuned for that! :)

The Last 20 Miles  20x20 on canvas
While doing my assortment of birdies this month, I had this piece on my easel to work on with the extra paint I had on my palette. I just love how it came out.  I really, really, I mean really love working in abstract.  It isn't my highest selling category of paintings but it's one that I love probably the most. Go figure :)

This is one  of my last art 'renovations' before Josh and I headed off to the mountains for a few days with one of his buddies.  The one arty week I had at home sure was productive now that I look back. I left out a few pieces even.  I think I do work better under a deadline now that I reflect back on the last 30 days. I didn't really have a deadline so to speak, but at the same time, I knew that in order for me to take time off this month, I had to create as much if not more in the time not on vacation to keep things rolling in the business.  That's the thing, it's ONLY YOU to do things, so if you don't do it...nothing happens.   The blessing and curse of a solo- entrepreneur!

So the next little adventure was a trip to Lake Lure, NC (remember Dirty Dancing and The Last of the Mohican's)?   We rented a little place with a beautiful setting via Air BnB...my first time using that website for a vacation rental,  and although the setting was beautiful, the exterior of the sugar shack was beautiful, the resort was beautiful...the inside and overall state of the cabin was not what we expected...at all...  The ranch manager did his best to make us comfortable but honestly...not happy with the booking agent at all who switched our condo for the cabin. Anywhoosers...we still had a great time despite the upgrade  downgrade in accommodations.

The boys and I spent one day on a 'not so lazy river" tubing adventure on the Green River. Oh my, I almost didn't go because I was a bit scared of umm...rapids, rocks, and snakes.  Hahha...but I went and it was one of the most fun times I had and even better having spent it with the kids.     3 1/2 miles equated to about 3 hours of floating, paddling and navigating the cool river...pure bliss!

After we did the tubing, we detoured for another couple of hours to the south end of Lake Lure and enjoyed the most peaceful time swimming in the calm and picturesque surroundings of the mountains.

I sometimes think one can 'float' their worries and stresses away.

These pictures do not even really do the scene justice.  

We all had a blast.

In the evening, it was off to the ice cream shop to wind down with some  delicious frozen treat and watch the sunset go down beyond the mountain tops.

Speaking of mountain tops...our last adventure during our trip to the mountains was over to "The Gorge" in Saluda, NC for a day of Ziplining  (The Gorge has the steepest ziplining course in all of North America...whoowee, right!!!) .  I mean the boys did it...lol...not me! I was the camera girl!   I asked Josh to put a few things down on a list for the summer of what he'd like to do and not that we could do everything, but I'd try to do some of the things for him and ziplining was on the no bummer summer list.  

I'm so glad we went because it was a really great experience for us all, we all did things that were outside of our comfort zone and we experienced a part of the state we hadn't been to before so it was a true adventure. Not to mention the fact we got to spend time together and away from most distractions.

The Simple Life  20 x 20 acrylic on canvas

And now, here we are are at the end of July and I've been back to work for a little over a week now, finishing tons of paintings,  but mostly working on changing my online classes over to the new venues, you know doing things that require a lot of work behind the scenes but nevertheless are part of what it takes to make all the moving parts of our careers operate on a day to day basis.  

I almost started off the blog by apologizing for not being around much this month...but the truth of the matter is,  I was purposefully kinda quieter socially so I could take care of my inner world.
The next big thing is just around the corner...I can feel it.

:)  Jodi

Question of the day,  what was your July like? Did you take time out to enjoy life??? I hope so!!

Stop by the shop for LOTS of new art!!!

Summer by the River  24 x 24 acrylic on canvas