Monday, July 21, 2008

I've Been Working So Hard

Down at the studio....everyday day almost except I didn't go on Sunday. But today seems to have been the most productive, or at least it felt that way.

I realized that I have get a journal quilt done...oppssss....I know what I am going to do and have been thinking about it so I think I will do it tomorrow. Saturday I finished up the quilting on California Dreams III which turns out to be 57" x 84" or something or other. Now I have to decided on what fabric I want to use for a binding on this piece. Finished the quilting today on my new Color Blocks that is 48 x 36 and got started on the background of another Color Blocks of the same size. Also got Ashton's baby quilt worked on...did the animals and palm trees and fused them all to find a backing for it and then I can put it together and do the satin stitching around the animals, grass, trees, etc. Then machine quilt it and get it bound with satin blanket binding. I also had found a chicken quilt top I had made four or five years ago while traveling around in our RV so got it put together with the backing and batting and it is ready to quilt.

So, now I need to cut timtex to size for 8 x 10 to take to Long Beach to work on color blocks while I am doing open studios there. I will be showing my working methods on Friday 12:40-2:40; Saturday 2-4; and Sunday 12.40-2:40. This will be a lot of fun but I have to drag my sewing machine down with me. Oh well...that, my tim tex and batiks and away I go! More little color blocks coming up!

Tomorrow I need to make my journal quilt...out comes the upholstery material, the lutradur and what ever else I can think of. But I will get that done.

Then if there is time I will put together Ashton's quilt so I can sew on it. I will also cut out the binding for California Dreams and who knows what else....maybe I can even quilt on the chicken quilt!

So much fun!

Come by and say hi and just chat with me in Long Beach! This, too, will be lots of fun!

Friday, July 18, 2008

Spending Other People's Money

Thursday was such a delightful day! We met again at the Alameda County Arts Commission to pick out the pieces of art work we thought we would work well for the space which was getting them. Three of the members of our committee were from the department that was getting the work. There was one other artist and then a member from the Arts Commission Board, who happens to be the chair of the art department at California State University East Bay. It was fun meeting him.

We walked in to the room which had lots and lots of art work. It was not all for us to look at as another agency was buying $60,000 worth, another agency had some money also, and, we found out our budget had been increased by $1000 so we now had $3500 to spend on art.

We saw all of the pieces that had registered highly on our voting from three weeks ago. What an interesting process. First we viewing them all, kept notes for ourselves (basically voting on them), had lunch and then started deciding which pieces we actually wanted to consider and which we absolutely did not want. That got the pile of 120 pieces down and we eventually settled on five pieces of art from three different artists. I tried mightily to get them to chose two woven pieces which were just stunning. But, the pieces that were chosen were all abstract and very different. The three guys from the agency took the opinions of the other artist and myself and carefully considered what we had to say. We were there to give voice to an artistic sense of worth, not just if we liked something, so issues of color, complexity of design, and composition were more important to us.

We ended up spending $3900 (we pleaded for an extra $400 to allow us to buy one very special abstract piece). What fun that was!

Now I know exactly what will be happening when the two calls for works are reviewed which I responded to. One is for commissions for a Sobering Center to do several pieces (there is a lot of money there) and the arts commission reserves a certain amount for emerging artists (which I was two years ago when they bought 4 pieces of my work), mid-career (which is what I am now) and I've forgotten what they called the last category. That work would be the most expensive and they would probably pick up only a couple of pieces from that last group.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Some More New Work

I have spent the past three days at my studio. What a wonderful place to be! I am able to sit down and reach Alyson's book, think about it, write some notes, do some machine quilting, and work on my Color Blocks. I have started one that is much larger but I am not going to show it until maybe after it is done...if it really turns out then maybe I will enter it in a show.

Anyway, Color Blocks 23:

color Blocks 24:

Color Blocks 25:
Each of these is about 24 x 17"

I have really appreciated all the support from people on my blog about my anon. editor. She did make some good suggestions but it was a short conversation on my part for my blog which I sent to the Quilt Art list and the SAQA yahoo group...not an article for publication in a magazine or professional journal so I wasn't too worried about it.

Besides, I have other things to do. I am also finally getting a baby quilt made for my second grandson, Ashton, who is now 7 months old. I decided I had better before he was too grown up for it!

Tomorrow I am back down at the studio to do some more machine quilting with George, work on the new Color Block and work on Ashton's quilt.

Commercial Break!

I will be teaching at the Hudson River Valley Inn in New York starting Nov 2, 2008. We start with a wine reception on Sunday evening and then have five full days of learning about composition and color and working on individual projects. We still have some space so contact Kim either through the web above or by phoning 1-888-665-0044 to reserve your space at this beautiful, elegant historic country in New York where the food is absolutely awesome!

Saturday, July 12, 2008

On Being a Professional Artist-- I Stand Corrected

I came home today and found a copy of my blog about being a professional artist copied and with corrections to my grammar and the content of my sentences. How nice!

I thought, even though the corrections were appropriate, that there was no personal note enclosed, no return address, no signature...just something sent to me at home anonymously. My only thought is that it must have been someone from the SAQA list who felt that my writing was not professional (as professional in the title was circled) and felt it necessary to show me that I was not writing in a professional manner. I figure it must have been someone from SAQA as that group has access to my mailing address. The only clue I have is a post mark of Mamasota, Florida.

I have never claimed to be a complete, all- the -way -there, professional. I would not have minded the corrections at all if that someone had been nice enough to include their name and a note.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Doing the Work

I have just gotten a fun little article done for Fibre and Stitch magazine for the next issue. It is about making your own rubber stamps so I had fun making more and stamping fabric.

My goodness, my last entry has sparked a lot of commentary. I was chastised for not posting the piece directly on the lists (primarily the SAQA list) rather than sending people to my blog to read it. I just felt it was a little long for the list. Oh well.

The responses have been really interesting. There were feelings that I gave short shrift to "artists" but the purpose of the entire thing was to alert some people to the fact that becoming a professional artist, one who is making art their business, takes a lot of time, not just making the art but in doing the marketing. This fact seemed to get lost with a lot of people.

At not time did I intend to suggest that one way is better than the other. Only that in order to become a business, it takes a lot of time and energy.

There were a couple of comments about family members who had their own business and how much dedication and time it took. That is what I am talking about. Anytime you are self-employed, it is all on you.

I also didn't say that I was able to do all of the things I listed all of the time, either! I flake out, I space out, I play too much solitaire when I can't think straight, I am certainly not the picture of a professional artist.

However, I am working at getting more organized in the business sense and getting my responses in to calls for proposals for shows. I have also submitted portfolios for two calls for commissions from the Alameda County Public Arts program and am searching through other calls for those that are appropriate.

I have really enjoyed the thoughtful responses to my comments! Thank you all!

Now, back to critiquing my class work and getting some facings sewn down.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

The Professional Artist versus The Artist

I have been thinking alot about my role as a professional artist versus just being an artist. Whether one is an artist or not is brought up on the QuiltArt list regularly. It seems many people get the "professional artist" mixed up with "the artist" parts. Let me explain from my point of view.

An artist is one who creates art. The artist may or may not sell and/or show their work.

A professional artist is one who creates art and is making it a business...meaning constantly seeking out show opportunities, sales opportunities and other ways to make money from their creative endeavors.

Well, let me tell you, there is a really big difference between the two of them!

An artist may decide to just wait for the muse to strike and then create at that time. An artist might decide to not create art for a while although they usually keep something going somewhere. An artist does not spend many hours on the computer seeking show opportunities.

A professional artist keeps a complete catalog of their work, which includes images, descriptions and information about shows and awards involving each piece of work. The professional keeps up a current artist statement. The resume is keep up to date. Calls for shows, galleries, museums are all searched twice weekly and considered for appropriateness. Shows are entered on a regular basis. Packets are sent out regularly to different galleries and museums which include a digital submission of images, a list of those images including pricing, size, etc., a cover letter, that up to date resume and anything else that might be appropriate.

A professional spends a lot of time (probably more that half of a workweek) doing the business part of being an artist. Maintaining accounts, banking, writing notes, contacting different places to arrange for teaching, writing lessons, writing articles, keeping bills straight, shipping and mailing, getting postcards and business cards printed, getting images taken, resizing images multiple times to fit various requirement (why can't everyone use the same size and resolution?), etc. etc., etc.

A professional artist does not work a 40 hour work week but more like 60 hours per week which factors in time to create, time to reflect, time to contemplate, time to renew, time to view others' work, time to read professional magazines....ugh...maybe that workweek is more like 80 hours per week...I do take Sundays off...well, sort of.

Want to become a professional artist? Be prepared to create even when you don't feel like it, doing the business even when you don't feel like, meeting deadlines, fusing with little details, hauling stuff around, cleaning the studio, going to the studio even when you are tired, teaching even when you are really sick, and making nice to people you don't really like.

Want more information about how to do it? Read Alyson Stanfield's new book "I'd rather be in the studio". Her book is filled with lists of things you need to do! Don't just think about it!

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Three More

I have just been amazed at the positive comments made on yesterday's post about the work shown. It is so great because this is a very new style of work for me. After teaching my first on line class called Better Art By Design and spending so much time discussing the elements and principles of design and critiquing a lot of work, I just decided I wanted to go back to basics and work in the abstract with shapes and focusing on design principles. It has been so much fun and I am very happy others are enjoying the work.

And this is Color Blocks 19 which is 26.5 x 20":

Here is Color Blocks 21 which is 25.5 x 20":

And here is Color Blocks 22 which is 26.5 x 20.5":

So now I just have to get my images ready for my website and load them up there! What fun!?

Again, many thanks to all of you for such nice comments! You all made my day today!

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Some New Work

I thought I would share three of my bigger Color Blocks pieces. I have just finished two more today but didn't get them photographed yet.

so, this is Color Blocks 20 and is 29 x 38 ":Color Blocks 18 which is 26 x 19":
Color Blocks 17 which is 28 x 21":
I am having so much fun with these! The ideas and colors just keep rolling right along.

Not much else happening...I have been spending way too much time on the business end of things and not enough on the creation end. Oh well, that is the way it goes. Being ill for so long has really put me behind. I have to update my catalogue and my website....more computer time!