This post has been a long time coming. Today I am pleasedhappythrilled ecstatic to announce that I have now opened an Art Shop! This was one of my major goals for this year, and although I was originally hoping to do it in January, I suppose that July is the next best thing. 😉
I have talked here on the blog before about how I have started selling my artwork at local art shows and sales, and how I hoped to start selling online as well. Actually starting this blog was originally supposed to be Step #1 in starting to “get my name out there”. I don’t know if it’s really accomplished that at all, as I don’t post very much artwork, and mainly focus on vintage and ethical fashion here, with the odd photography post thrown in. Though the blog has turned into something other than an art blog; that’s OK as I do really enjoy it as a creative outlet for everything else.
Anyways. Once I accomplished the scary Step #1 of starting a blog, and then the intimidating Step #2 of selling and showing at local art shows, it was time to tackle the seemingly impossible Step #3 of creating an online shop.
I am the sort of person who procrastinates and over thinks things. 🙁 The more I think about something and hesitate from jumping in with both feet right away, the greater the chance is that I will never actually do it. And that is exactly what happened with the plan of opening an online shop. I was originally planning on opening an Etsy shop in January, but ran into some technical difficulties and ended up not being able to go that route. After much research, I discovered Print On Demand, and decided that this would be a good way for me to start selling online. Part of me really wanted to join the ranks of Etsy sellers and do the whole printing myself, and wrapping up packaging and all that fun stuff. However, logistically it just didn’t work out, for many reasons, one being that, since I live in Canada, the shipping prices are astronomical. Choosing to sell through a Print On Demand shop out of the USA will, I hope, be better for customers. I have decided to sell through Society 6, as they often have sales, and offer promotions like free shipping, and most importantly, they do a high quality Giclée print.
I now have an “Art Shop” tab in the upper right corner of my header. Well, actually the shop tab has been there for a while, there just hasn’t been anything on that page 🙁 But I now have an actualshop, so if you click through, or click here, it will take you to my products page, which then links over to Society 6. It has taken me a lot longer than I thought it would to get my artworks ready to sell, so right now I only have three pieces up. However, I decided to open the shop anyways, otherwise I honestly think I would never get it opened! Society 6 also offers products other than art prints, so even though I am beginning with just art prints, and framed art prints, I might offer other products in the future. Stationery, notebooks or phone cases perhaps? I have some other pieces that I have finished and which I am planning on adding to the art shop as I find the time. (Seriously it takes a lot longer than I think it will!)
I will periodically update here on the blog, when I have added new items, or when there are special promotions and I will continue sharing my artwork here. But, fear not- this is not turning into an art blog! It will remain what it has always been- Life, Art, and Style. A little bit of this and that, since I can’t stay in a “niche’ to save my life 😉
Oh, and I have also started a new Instagram account solely dedicated to my artwork, illustration and photography. I would love it if you would follow me there, and if you would like to, you can find me at: @theartyologist_studio.
I’m really excited about this new venture, so thank-you all for reading through this post, and for letting me share my exciting news with you! 🙂
In February I did something that I had been thinking of doing for a long time, but never had the courage to actually go and do: I exhibited my artwork at a local art show.
I have been creating artwork for as long as I can remember, and yet I have never considered myself to be an “artist”. What a heavy word that is! An artist is purposeful. An artist is talented. An artist is trained, not self taught. An artist has a defined style. An artist sells their work. An artist is focused only on creating art- they don’t have other jobs and hobbies, right? Wrong! These are ideas that I had always held about artists, and thus I never placed myself in the category of being an actualartist, because I don’t line up with what a so-called “artist” should be. But, an artist is simply someone who practices a creative art; whether or not they are paid for it, or whether they trained at an Academy, or whether anybody even likes their work. (Think of all the famous artists, who are now revered, but during their time weren’t valued, appreciated or even paid for their work!)
I have always struggled with a rather low opinion of my talents. Can you relate to feelings like that about your own pursuits? This past year I decided that it was time to start taking my artwork seriously and the first step I decided to take, was in exhibiting at one of the local art shows held in February. It was a very big step for me to start selling my work at a few of the Christmas craft shows last November and December, but another altogether to exhibit at an Art Show. I felt so intimidated to show my work at the local Art Show, and yet it was one of the best decisions I’ve made in regards to my artwork. Not only was it an inspiring experience to see the artwork of 60-70 other local artists, and mine among them, but it was just the kick-in-the-pants I needed! 😉 Here are the lessons I learned about getting out of my creative comfort zone, and I hope you can learn from them too- whether you are an artist, or whether you can apply them elsewhere in your life.
Showing my work at an Art Show forced me to get out of my comfort zone, and start taking myself seriously.
I had to actually call myself “an artist”. In the same way, whatever you are pursuing- own it! Call yourself “a blogger” or “a fashion designer” or “a photographer” or whatever it is you want. It is funny how simply acknowledging that this is a serious part of your life can make a huge difference in how you view it, and approach it.
Having a deadline meant that I was spending time creating, not just for personal enjoyment, but because I had something to work towards.
I couldn’t not create because I had to have pieces ready to show. I finally got the courage to get five of my photographs printed up on 16″ x 24″ canvases. (I had never, before this, printed my pictures any larger than 5″ x 7″- which is just crazy!) I was spending time every day sketching and painting and pottering about with my camera, but with a purpose in mind. Not that you can’t create without a deadline, but for me personally, having a deadline was a great incentive! Sometimes, finding an outlet for whatever goals you are pursuing is a great way to make sure you are spending time on them. Look for local places to exhibit your artwork. Plan a trip in order to practice that new language you are learning. Look and plan ahead for ways to put your skills into practice.
As intimidated as I was about exhibiting, there was absolutely no reason to be so.
There were so many artists of all different varieties there. There were self taught artists, as well as professionally trained artists. There were hobby artists and career artists. There were artists who had one very distinctive style, and artists who created and experimented with multiple mediums and styles. There were artists who had been creating for years, and artists who were showing for the first time. There were artists who were young (students) and artists who were old (retired). There was artwork I didn’t much care for, and artwork that stopped me in my tracks because it was so overwhelmingly beautiful.
In short, all of the drawbacks I had about my artwork were absolute rubbish. I am my own worst critic, and the fear of failure often stops me from even trying things. I am mostly self taught, except for lessons throughout high school, and I have always considered this to be a drawback and a hindrance to considering myself a serious artist. Seeing the work of so many other artists of all different levels (many of whom were self-taught too!) and different stages of life was so encouraging. I realized that I have absolutely every right to consider myself an artist (without being vain about it, of course!). I realized that I was one of them. You are too! Whatever it is that you are pursuing, you are a valuable part of the community. Don’t feel intimidated by what others are doing, and get stuck on what you consider to be your drawbacks. Maybe, like me, you will be pleasantly surprised to find out that the things you are worried about are not things that should be holding you back at all, but might actually be things you have in common with the others you are comparing yourself too. And on that note- stop comparing yourself! (Easier said than done, I know; I am the Queen of Comparison!)
I came away from the show inspired to create.
It was incredibly inspiring to see the work of so many other local artists and art students. There were all kinds of styles and mediums. There were pieces made with mediums and techniques that I had never thought about before. There was one collage made with magazine clippings combined with watercolour and ink. I had never thought of combining my love of ephemera and collage with watercolour and ink. It was such a simple, yet ingenious idea and I don’t know why I had never thought of it before. I am now eager to try that medium myself! Going to the show was so refreshing, creatively speaking. Seeing what other people are doing can be very inspiring. Don’t get stuck in a rut of looking at only the same thing all the time, or becoming so focused on what you are personally doing, that you stop looking outwards. Look at Renaissance artwork, if you are normally drawn to Impressionism. Follow a modern style blogger, if you love to wear period vintage. Look at things that are normally outside of your style, and be inspired by them, as even things we don’t like can be tremendously helpful in honing our own skills and styles. Don’t feel the need to limit yourself to only one hobby, or one style either. Experiment and explore.
I am now a part of the Arts community and am actively seeking other opportunities to be involved in it.
If I had never taken that first step towards exhibiting at this show (which isn’t even in my own town, but rather in a neighbouring one) I would never have found out about other opportunities. Because I went to this show, which was more widely publicized, I have found out about a couple other shows coming up, and have applied to another one in April. Because I went to this show, I also found out about an opportunity at a local library, where I signed up to display my work for March and April, free of cost. If I had stayed at home and never taken that first step of applying for that show, no more opportunities would have come my way, because I wouldn’t have even known about them. Don’t hold yourself back from taking the first step, because you might be surprised at what other things may be out there waiting for you to discover them.
I am now eager to continue learning and improving my skills.
I touched on this in my post about creative goals. I am happy with what I have learned so far, and I do see how far I have come, but there is still somuch to learn! Taking that first step to showing my work, helped me immensely and gave me such a confidence boost. Getting a positive response and selling some of my prints was a real happy dance moment for me. But, I also realized just how much I don’t know. There were some seriously talented artists at the show. I could have compared myself to them and come up severely lacking, but rather than feeling like a worm, I have instead become all the more eager to learn and improve myself. We all learn from the Masters. There is always someone who is better at something than you are- but rather than feel bad about the fact that you don’t know something, instead be inspired to learn and grow! And on that same note, negative feedback isn’t the end of the world either. Just because one person doesn’t like your work doesn’t mean it’s a failure either- art is extremely personal and it will appeal to different people.
So, those are the lessons I have been learning lately. This was going to be a quick little “recap” post and now it’s turned into a long and drawn out Dear Abby life advice column. 😉 Well, I hope that the lessons I learned through this experience can help you in whatever creative or non-creative pursuits you are working towards right now!
Have you ever struggled with feelings of comparison and inferiority in your pursuits and interests? Have you ever found yourself stuck in a “creative comfort zone”? What are your current goals? If you want to share; I would love to hear about what you are working on!
ps. All of these are pieces I created for the show, both photography on canvas and watercolour and ink.
It is February, and you know what that means: it’s time for my favourite holiday- Valentine’s Day! I know that some people- OK a lot of people- hate Valentine’s Day, but I’ve never really been able to figure out why. It has recently come to my attention though, in a conversation on Instagram, that in many countries around the world, Valentine’s Day is a holiday that strictly celebrates only romantic love. Well, of course that is how it started off back when the Victorians “invented” the holiday. Originally Valentine’s day was a feast day honouring St. Valentinus- and there are many different legends of why that came to be (who really knows?) However, over time it originated into a holiday celebrating love, where couples would exchange hearts, flowers, confectionery and love letters or “valentines”. By the time the 19th century came about, the Victorians, who were were obsessed with everything to do with romance and courtship, helped to turn it into the holiday we recognize today- where St. Valentinus is quite forgotten, but hearts and flowers and chocolates abound!
Even though the holiday was originally a celebration of only romantic love, over time, in Canada (and the USA I think too) it has turned into a day to celebrate all forms of love. When I was in elementary school, we always brought valentines to exchange with our classmates, and often had a party too. (Because really, who doesn’t want an excuse to eat pink heart shaped cookies and cakes?!) Nowadays, I hear the term “Galentines Day” circulating around, which has gotten fairly popular in the last few years; the idea being spending the day with your best girl friends instead of focusing on only romantic love. Even if you don’t have an opportunity for romance in your life right now, (I don’t) that’s no reason to dismiss Valentine’s Day as “Single’s Awareness Day”. Yes, romantic love is a beautiful thing, but having a holiday to celebrate all different kinds of love is a very nice idea too, I think. There are somany different kinds of love in the world, such as agapewhich is the love of man for God, and the love that God has for his children, eros or romantic love, philia, the beautiful love between friends, and storge which is familial love- just to name a few. Why should Valentine’s Day celebrate only eros, when there are so many more kinds of love in the world that are worth celebrating? I have always had that mindset about the day- and have always used it as a chance to send cards to friends and family and celebrate philia and storge love. Sometimes in past years, like with last year’s cards I’ve used the chance to highlight God’s agape love. And don’t forget that heart shaped cake too; which perhaps is an example of philautia- self love! 😉
Because Valentine’s Day is such a Victorian holiday, I usually make cards inspired by the era, so I thought I would show you all the cards I made and sent this year. Making and mailing valentines cards is such an old fashioned tradition, which is probably why it appeals to me so much 🙂
And, I also thought that since I can’t send all of you dear readers a Valentine of your own (I really wish I could!), it would be fun to share a Valentine’s card with you all in the form of a download! Just in case you haven’t gotten a card for someone special, but would like to give them one this year, I have a design I created a few years ago which is my Valentine’s Day card to you! I hope you enjoy it and I’d love to know if you decide to use it too!
So, is Valentine’s Day a strictly “romantic” holiday where you live? Or do you celebrate friends and family and all of the heart shaped things? And, do you make your own Valentine’s cards?
A few weeks ago my sister decided to get a table at the local farmer’s market to sell some of her handcrafted jewelry. It went so well for her, that she decided to get a table the next week as well, and she asked if I wanted to share the cost of a table, and sell some of my watercolours. I said yes, but I only had 3 greeting cards ready to sell- so that meant a whole lot of painting over the weekend! A few years ago, I did up some painted cards, but I had really gotten out of the habit. I haven’t been painting as much lately as I would like to. In fact, the last time I picked up my watercolours and my brush was way back in February when I made Valentine’s cards. Sometimes it is so easy to neglect the things that we love doing… why is that I wonder?
I was a bit nervous to start again, wondering if I had perhaps forgotten technique, and I was afraid that I would end up with some kindergarden style finger paintings, but surprisingly, I got right back into the swing of things, and had a great time making these up. Actually, I looked at some of the paintings I made a few years ago, and I like how these turned out a lot better. I got some new finer art pens a couple of months ago 0.5 mm instead of 0.7 mm, and it made a big difference!
I didn’t really do very well at the market, as it was a slower day, and I think people were there mainly for the fresh garden vegetables. (To be honest, that is why I go to the market too!) However, I did sell a few cards, and I got some good feedback, so I am planning on sharing a table again at the Christmas market. I think things will go better then, as people are looking to buy at Christmas time! Anyways, even if the cards didn’t sell very well, I had a lot of fun making them, and I am glad that I had a reason to get back into painting. Now, let’s keep it up right?
Do you do watercolours, or any other kind of artwork? Do you have any fun hobbies that you find yourself neglecting?
ps. Things have been rather busy and hectic around here the past few weeks; sometimes life just has a way of getting in the way of things and I’ve been a bit quieter around here, and on the internet in general. Next week I am writing two different guest posts, which I am very excited to share with you. As the two ladies I am writing for, are going on holidays, I thought it was perhaps a good time for me to have a break, myself (and catch up on reading blogs, as I just haven’t had the time lately for that!) So I won’t be posting here next week, however I will let you know when my guest posts go live, so you can go and check them out on the other blogs!