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.
Where did the month of February go? I know that it is a shorter month than the rest, but I was still so surprised at just how fast it went by! And here we are, already on the 3rd day of March. There is something about turning the calendar page to March, that turns my mind towards Spring. I know that technically we are still in Winter, and the current view out my window is one full of snow, with nary a tree bud to be seen, but I can’t help but start hoping for Spring. And with thoughts of Spring, and a fresh new month before us, also comes thoughts of “goals”; and specifically my creative goals.
I set myself a rather hefty list of goals to accomplish this year. I might have gone a bit overboard with the number I set, but last year I didn’t set any overarching goals, and at the end of the year I realized that I didn’t accomplish much. So, this year I set a lot. Seriously- the ones listed below are only my “creative goals”. Many of these creative goals are things that I enjoy or have been “meaning to get around to”, but haven’t dedicated the time and effort into. The act of writing them down is really forcing me to work on them- and, sharing them here is going to help me be a whole lot more accountable too 🙂 Since we’re now in the third month of the year, here is what I have done so far, and what needs to yet be done, both this month and the rest of year as well.
Improve my Photography Skills
There is so much about photography that I don’t know. I have decided that this is the year that I finally invest some time (and money if needed) into improving my skill set. You can’t grow if you don’t learn, right? I have been putting it off, but I have finally carved out the time to do some online lessons and DVD courses in order to get better at photography. I absolutely love taking photos- it is one of my favourite creative mediums, so instead of being intimidated by all the things I don’t know- I am instead going to start absorbing some of that knowledge bit by bit. My goal is to finish one course this month, and making this a priority each week is a good start!
Improve my Photoshop Skills
I have a very rudimentary knowledge of Photoshop and Illustrator. I use these two programs for my job all the time- but I was not trained very well in the programs, and I know just enough to limp my way through. My boss has agreed to let me dedicate a couple of hours each week to tutorials and training, and I have learned so much in just the few lessons I’ve taken. I found the Youtube channel Phlearn, and if you are wanting to learn Photoshop- this is the place to go. Not only am I learning things that will help me with my job, but also with my own personal photos and this blog too. Talk about killing two birds with one stone. (Well – not literally.)
Create a More Cohesive Instagram
Although my family and friends, who are not part of social media, laugh at this goal of mine- I know that my fellow Instagrammers will understand. 🙂 I get frustrated when I look at my feed and it’s all over the place. I am now, as of this week, focusing more on creating cohesive images for my Instagram account. The first step I have taken to implementing this plan is downloading VSCO; and already I am liking how my pictures are turning out. It is so nice to be able to edit outside of Instagram, and have complete control over the look of the picture before it is published.
Create More Artwork, and Practice, Practice, Practice!
I had really gotten out of the habit of putting my artwork as a priority. Don’t we always neglect the enjoyable things we love, that are not as “important” as the other things on our to-do lists? I have now set a goal for myself to create one painting each week. I am also going to sketch each day, and take one artistic photograph each day. I will probably fail at this goal, but at least by setting it, I will create more than I have been, and I will be intentional about it!
Exhibit at Art and Craft Shows
Going to those two Christmas sales has really given me the “sale” bug. I took part in one art show last weekend, and it was great! I didn’t sell as much as I was hoping for, but I did sell four photo prints, which was very nice. Also, because of the sale, I found out about a local library that has an area for artists to hang their work. I now have my pieces hanging up for the month of March and April- so who knows where that might lead? And, I have just found out about another art show in April and I am now planning for that one too. And of course, planning again for the next Christmas shows. It was a huge step for me to do that first show, and now I am so excited for all of these new ones coming up!
Create an Online Shop
You may have noticed that I have a “shop” tab in my blog header, but if you click on it, it only takes you to a page that says “coming soon”. 🙁 I was hoping to have set up a shop online by now, but I have run into some complications with that, and it hasn’t happened yet. My hope is to be able to start selling online this year, but it might be a while before that happens. This is one of those creative goals that I have not made much progress on so far, but I’ll keep chipping away at it. . .
Considering that I love to wear clothes, you would think that I would be chomping at the bit to get more things sewn and into my wardrobe. However- I am a slow seamstress and I always seem to run into problems with my sewing which then takes up more time. . . Long story short- it takes a lot of time. But, I do have a lot of projects in the works, and I would like to finish them up. I think a goal of sewing a few hours a week is not too bad of a target. Maybe even one garment a month? Do you think I can do it? I guess we’ll find out. . .
Unplug More Often
I currently unplug on Sundays; as it is my Sabbath and day of rest. It is so nice to have one day a week where I don’t turn on my computer or browse through Instagram, and I think that doing this more often wouldn’t hurt either. I actually don’t need to post a new photo every day on Instagram. If I miss a blog post here and there, the world won’t fall apart. (I hope- haha!) I don’t need to see what every person I follow is doing every minute of the day. There actually is such a thing as too much inspiration. I want to do these things only because I want to, not because I feel the pressure to keep up. Last weekend I took a break over the weekend, since I was busy at the art show. I realized that I needed to be living in the moment; not wondering how many comments I needed to respond to! I am going to make a conscious effort to unplug this year, when necessary.
Well, those are my creative goals. Congratulations on making it to this point, because whew! I thought this was going to be a short post and it is a looooooong one.
So, do you set yearly goals for yourself? If so, what are your creative goals, or non creative goals for this year? How are you doing with them so far? And, are you excited about the coming Spring season?!
I thought that since I was not organized enough to get together a round-up or year in review post for New Years, and also considering that I would have been one month short had I published such a post before now, I would share my favourite posts since I started blogging a year ago. When I looked at my blog stats, I was surprised to see some of the posts that came up as the most popular, although the #1 post is also one of my favourites too. So, without further ado, here are my top 12 posts from the past year, in case you missed them the first time around!
Oh, and ps: So sorry to everyone who was trying to leave comments in the past few days and having difficulties with the all caps situation going on there. Somehow, when I changed my blog format, I switched the comment form to all caps! It is fixed now, so you should have no more difficulties 🙂
This was one of the most fun posts to write, and it took me forever to gather all the facts and write it. There is so much more I could have said, but then I would have had to write a book, I suppose. 😉 This is the most popular post I’ve ever published; I’m still getting page views on it six months later.
For some reason that is quite beyond me, this little post I wrote about my vintage Astra faux fur coat and advertisement has proven to be very popular as well, and I still get plenty of views on it too.
This was another favourite post to write, although I look at the pictures now, and think that I could have done better. Oh, well. I am really looking forward to writing some more fashion history posts this year.
This was a project where my blog proved to be an accountability partner. As I had told the entire internet I was going to take part in this challenge, I had to do it! Unfortunately the weather turned cold right after this was sewn, so I haven’t had a chance to wear it out yet, except for these photos. It is waiting patiently for next summer, but this post has proven to be a rather popular one in the meantime.
One of the more serious posts I’ve written, for Slow Fashion October, this outlines some of the reasons why I choose to shop and wear ethical fashion and why the effects of the cheap fashion industry should matter to us all.
Hands down, this was my personal favourite outfit post of the year. Not only do I like the 1910’s inspired outfit (which is a bit different of a style for me, and one that I am incorporating more and more into my wardrobe), but the photos were taken on the brink of a summer thunderstorm! We got the photos just in time to avoid a soaking downpour.
One of the first times I ever did a proper shoot of photos, not just quick snapshots, these were taken on one of the most beautiful days of Spring, right in between rain showers. The lilacs were absolutely stunning that day.
Wow. It’s already been a year? In some ways it doesn’t seem like it was one year ago that I wrote that small little introductory post and pressed “publish”. And yet, in other ways it seems like forever ago. It feels like sometimes I can’t remember what it was like to not be blogging. In some ways it’s like there is “life before blogging” and “life after blogging”. 🙂 And it’s crazy to think how much has happened in the past year, and how much my blog has grown since the beginning too! Blogging definitely hasn’t turned out to be what I thought it would be like: it has turned out to be even better. I’ve learned a lot in the last year, so I thought that I would share a few of those things I’ve learned along the way.
1. I have become a lot bolder and confident in my style since I started blogging about it. Instead of wondering whether something is too “out there”, I go for it. I know what I like to wear, so I just wear it; instead of fearing the reactions of people around me (who by the way are very nice- I’ve never had a terrible vintage wearing experience like I know some people have!) It’s just my assumptions of what people will think of me, and that they will think I’m strange. Surprise! I am strange, so what am I worried about 😉 I’ve talked a bit about my vintage “journey” before, here and here so you know I haven’t always been so confident in what I wear. I’m still not always confident, but knowing that I am supported by a large vintage community of people who are also wearing the same kind of offbeat style, is so encouraging. I may not see you in my day-to-day life, or ever cross paths in real life with another vintage lover, but I know that you are out there, and I am not alone. And, because I am sharing my outfits here, it encourages me to try new things, sew new pieces, put together new ensembles, and generally keep me out of the rut of wearing the same old thing over and over again.
2. I should have started this blog years ago like I dreamed of, but never had the courage to. I was afraid of whether it would fail. And I haven’t failed. Yet. (haha!) I have all of you lovely readers who faithfully read what I have to say. This blog, and each of you, has given me the courage to try other things that I was afraid to do, like selling and showing my art and other crafts at several Christmas markets and art shows. (And, I am going to be starting up an online shop soon too, so stay tuned for that!)
3. I really enjoy writing and making things and taking pictures and dressing up. This blog has given me a bit of purpose, I suppose, for all of those things. I have a place to share what I’m doing, the photos I’m taking, the things I’m learning and the outfits I’m wearing. I love to write, but I hadn’t done much since leaving high school. Now I can write as much as I want, and I have a purpose for it. (Some of my favourite posts have been the ones where I had to research and really take the time to think it out and write, such as my post on the history of harem pants.) I love to dress up, and now I have a place to share those outfits I’m really proud of. I love photography, and now I have a reason to improve my skills, and somewhere to share the pictures. I love to sew, but am famous for starting and never finishing projects. I am terrible at procrastinating and putting off the things I truly enjoy, but having a blog has given me a reason to do those things that I already love to do, and the accountability to stay with it till the end. This blog has turned out to be a great creative outlet, and I really look forward to coming up with more to share with you all.
4. I’ve made so many new friends since I started blogging. Instead of being on the outside of the internet community, I’m now smack dab in the middle of it. Before I started this blog, I would rarely leave comments or engage in the conversations I saw happening on the internet. But now, I realize how valuable comments and emails and participation actually are. I truly enjoy each comment that you dear readers leave, and I now love leaving comments on other people’s blogs too. Since starting this blog, I’ve met so many interesting people, (both online and in person), have written two guest posts (here and here) for some lovely fellow vintage bloggers, and have established a personal connection with many more. Each of you, my dear readers, I consider to be friends. You are the ones who make this fun for me, and I always look forward to what you have to say, in the comments and on your own blogs too.
5. Blogging is a lot more work than I thought it would be. I look back to my earliest posts, and I am not super proud of them. (So don’t go looking back at them, OK?) I didn’t really know what I was doing back then, but also I just wanted to quickly put a post together and publish it. I posted a lot, but those posts didn’t have much substance; I didn’t take the time to write something interesting or take good photographs. Fortunately, along the way, I made the decision to be more purposeful about what I post. I now take the time to take better photos, and write something useful. It now takes much more of my time, but I am much happier with the look and feel of my blog. I am always seeing areas that need improvement, but overall I am glad to be putting in the extra effort. The posts that I am most proud of, are the ones that took me the longest to write and put together. All things that are worthwhile take time, right?
6. Becoming a famous, full time blogger is probably not something that is going to happen to me. When I first started blogging, I looked at all the other bloggers out there, and thought it would be the same for me. I thought that once I had been doing this for a while, the sponsorships and collab posts would start pouring in. OK, well I didn’t think they’d start “pouring” in, but I did think I would get some notice, and that I would be able to make some money from blogging. As of now, I’ve gotten one email from a company, whose product didn’t fit very well with my style, or this blog, and so I turned it down. For a while I was kind of disappointed, but then I realized that it’s OK if I’m not a professional blogger. I don’t always remember to take pictures every time something noteworthy happens and sometimes those photos don’t turn out how I like, even if I do take them! I don’t dress up perfectly every day and plan the perfect outfit, and then make sure to post it to my social media. I can’t stay in a “niche” to save my life as I end up posting about any and everything I like. And, I realized, I don’t want to post only the things that will get followers and likes. I know there are practices that I could put in place to boost my readership and followers, but I don’t really want to feel boxed in like that. The result is that I don’t have a 100,000 page views and 20k followers on Instagram. That’s OK. Because I actually like my blog, and I look forward to posting. And I’ve realized that it’s OK if it remains a creative outlet, and never turns into a paying job someday. (And besides, I’ve got all of you lovely followers here and on Instagram. What more could a girl want?)
7. After a year I realized that my blog direction has changed from what I initially thought it would be. I originally thought I would post a lot of artwork, some fashion and a bit of lifestyle thrown in for good measure. That order has changed a lot, as my main focus is now on fashion, and especially vintage. Fashion history, vintage style outfits, thoughts on ethical fashion and vintage “fashion moments” make up the majority of what I post. I haven’t posted a lot of my artwork, or photography, but I do like to dedicate a few posts solely to that creative pursuit. And as far as lifestyle goes, I hardly ever have anything to say about that. As you can see, I have now updated my blog style to reflect the changes. The watercolour header and bright colours didn’t really suit my style, and it had the appearance of being strictly an artwork blog- with no reference to the vintage aspect of the blog. So, I’ve changed a few things to reflect that more vintage focus, while still having a “homemade” and “artistic” look to it. I am not going to be changing what I post- I just think that this design reflects more clearly what I am already posting: the creative expressions of a girl looking at the world through vintage coloured glasses 🙂
Whenever people change their blog format, I always think “Wait- what was it like before?!” So, now you can compare.
All in all, I see how much has changed in the past year, and I am very excited about where this next year will lead. I have lots of ideas for posts I am very excited to share with you all, and I am always learning ways in order to make this blog better. On that note: is there any feedback you have for me? What kinds of posts do you enjoy the most? What would you like to see more of?
So, on my one year of blogging anniversary, I thank each and every one of you dear readers who have been following along with my journey here, whether you’ve been here since the first post, or just started reading this week. And, if you’ve never left a comment before: please introduce yourself, I’d love to meet you!