Monday, December 13, 2010

How Do You Decide What to Do Next When You Don't Know What to Do Next?

My husband and I have been writing a book for a few years now and it is getting to the point that probably what needs to happen next is a thorough Roto-rooter-like edit/proofread by me and then find a publisher. Or do I find an agent? Or is it neither of those things? Am I deluding myself that I could actually do any of those things? I started down the garden path to find a literary agent, then looked at some stuff people had written about getting a book published, then started looking at the book to see what sample copy I could send out, then started writing a cover letter to no one, then I realized that my head was swimming and I had no idea what I was doing or what I needed to do next and I know what a run-on sentence this is, I'm just using it to give you the idea of what it feels like in my head. My head is one big run-on sentence, and as an editor, I should know better, but it just never stops. In addition to the book, I am an artist. I show my work in a gallery here in town and also in my Etsy Shop on the internet, so I'm also an internet marketer of some ghastly variety. Plus, and more importantly, I'm a housewife and stepmom (and dog-mom).
So what do I do first? Do I work on said book? No, not at all. Instead, I work on something that I know how to do, putting off the probably much more urgent thing (the book) that I have no fucking clue how to do.
One of the first things I have been trying to work on is a book cover illustration!
I rediscovered a former professor from college on Facebook, friended him, and discovered that in addition to being a brilliant physical chemist and concert cellist, he has written several novels! So upon mentioning my delight in this discovery as part of my Facebook friend request, he offered, "buy one of my books and I'll buy some of your artwork." So I bought one of his books (for Kindle, which I'm reading on my computer, since I don't have a Kindle) and waited to see what he would pick from my artwork. Better than picking something, instead he asked me to design the covers for his next three (I think he said three) books! I was flattered and excited and said 'yes' immediately, of course. So the first image in this post was the condition of the first cover, before I took it with me to the doctor with one of my kids and sat in the waiting room for 90 minutes. So that sketch is considerably further along than it appears in the photo.
As a consequence of being a stepmom and artist, I have volunteered to design my daughter's first tattoo, and her Dad is going to get (part of) the same tattoo with her. Fortunately for the creative process and unfortunately for my kid, said daughter had a terrible stomach ache on Saturday, sending us to Urgent Care, resulting in 4 hours trapped in a small, sterile room with a bitchy teenager. Needless to say, I got almost the entire drawing finished right there. Fairly excellent usage of a day I will never get back.

Next thing on the list, in no particular order, but that needs to be completed immediately along with everything else, is my Sketchbook Project sketchbook. I found one of the many, many links to The Sketchbook Project and thought it would be a fantastic opportunity to both do something creative and almost completely limitless in possibility and get some publicity by being part of this huge project that will be touring the country, then wind up as part of the permanent collection of the Brooklyn Art Library. Each artist chose from a wide variety of themes--I chose "Science project gone wrong" because, well, how perfect does that describe my scientific career. I can finally make a formal mockery of my own failings in scientific inquiry. Shown here is the back of the book. Those are the only marks on it thusfar. It must be postmarked by January 15th, 2011. Sigh.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Featured Inspiration--Natalya Sots Amazing Pots!

Okay, she makes more than just pots, but I couldn't resist the rhyme. One thing I'm really loving about the new Etsy feature called "Activity Feed" (it's pretty much like the running status you get on your Facebook homepage) is how it keeps you up to date on everything any of your favorite sellers or people in you 'Circle' are doing--new listings, treasuries they made, items that they have added to their favorites, etc. This morning I had a couple of minutes so I checked it out. One of my long time favorites, Natalya Sots, had a new listing, and I was completely charmed by it! The Sunshine Girl teacup in the top picture is so adorable and has so many charming details, I was inspired to write about it. Click on the link to go to the listing, and be sure to look at all of her detail pictures, like the little braid going down her back and the tiny flowers! So sweet!
This blue cup (called Blue Cup with Pants) was the first item of hers I added to my favorites. It is truly charming and adorable. I wish I had the kind of home where something like this wouldn't get broken. Perhaps oneday.
As fun as her pieces are to look at, some of them are useful too! While I'm not sure if I'd really risk using either of the two cups (they'd probably just sit on a shelf where everyone could see them) this third piece is a butter dish! Can't you picture having Sunday brunch or tea with scones and serve your butter in this? I love her choices of colors and whimsical faces. While I do not create art with any functional purpose, I might just get inspired to create some drawings inspired by her fun faces and flowery patterns!
I have barely scratched the surface of her talents, so go check out her other lovely ceramicware in her Etsy Shop.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Fine Art Friday--A Little Lowbrow from Mary Lundberg

Her profile mentions that she has studied art all the way up to a Master of Fine Arts degree from the University of Memphis, has exhibited in both solo and group shows, and has been honored with awards for her work. AND YET I LIKE HER ANYWAY.

Aside from the immense talent, what drew me into her shop and made me check out every single category of art was, well, the categories she gave to her art. While other shops have categories like "Original Artwork", "ACEOs", and "Works Under $20", Mary has named her categories in a way that explains just what you're looking at, while the category titles make you laugh all by themselves. Her categories include "i use offshore banking"(works over $500), "lost my 401k but still love art" ($40-$65), and "art for the really poor" (<$12). The piece below ($50, since we're on the subject) is from a series of Trailer art, featuring bizarre and a little disturbing single-wide trailers. This mixed media piece I find awesome not just because it's a trailer and that the trailer appears to be walking, but that it appears to me to be wearing bellbottoms.
Single Wide Trailer #5, 4" x 4"

The artist is even honest enough to offer a category called "not my best work". It's nice to know that while I use my work from that category to give to people I don't like or to entertain my dog by letting her carry it around, Ms. Lundberg is at least trying to make a buck off of it. The work below, while not her best work, still cracked me up. Besides, the rest of that category I, um, didn't like. No offense, Mary, but it's not your best work. You said so yourself.

Last night, after checking out this shop, I thought about what categories I might use for my own shop. Using the same honest criterion, I was thinking, "papa needs a new roof", "mama needs a new dishwasher", "teenage daughter mascara fund" and "please buy this shit before I give it to my dogs to play with". It can't possibly be any less successful than what I've already got.