Saturday, November 19, 2011

Thinking About Birthdays

 I was thinking about birthdays while I was in spinning class this morning. As children, we can hardly wait for each birthday to arrive. Early on, we are never old enough....not old enough to ride that amusementt park ride, not old enough to get into that exciting looking bar, or not old enough to vote.

  Then comes the day that we turn 21, and are finally old enough! The fun and celebrating lasts until we hit the ripe old age of 22.

  Time creeps on and we find ourselves almost dreading each birthday as we get slowly older. I thought I was old at 30....then really old at I am 55 and trying not to feel old. I am working on my "self talk". I'm thinking we become old because we think we are. Remember..."you're as young as you feel"?

  I gave myself the "gift" of health by attending the above mentioned spinning class. (I thought about just staying in bed for my birthday). I am also trying to view my age as just another year...just a number. I have a few aches and pains, but I don't feel really old. I still do most everything I want to do...and I am grateful.

  I think I will celebrate this next year with gratitude. I have a great life, a great family and lots of wonderful friends. I have more than enough and I am enough.

Saturday, November 5, 2011


 Time.Such a simple word, yet such a huge concept. Time. Do we ever have enough of it? Have you ever found yourself wishing for a few extra hours in the day? I recently asked my husband upon rising, what he had going on....he replied, "I have 8 hours of work to get done in 4 hours". As the days are getting shorter, I personally long for more daylight hours.

 This brings me to my next question: tomorrow, as we change from Daylight Savings Time to Eastern Standard Time, what will you do with your extra hour of time? Each one of us will be "gifted" with 60 extra shall we use them?

 My intention is to do something productive, as opposed to sleeping it away.By that I mean, create some art work or enjoy a hike in the woods.

 We aren't guaranteed anytime in this brief life time, so maybe it is more important to be present and be aware in this very moment. By practicing mindfulness, perhaps I won't miss out on one second of that extra hour.

What do you think? How will you spend your gift of time? I'd love to here your thoughts.....

Monday, May 23, 2011

   If you are interested in superlative art quilts and enjoy historical tapestries and textiles, then...RUN, don't walk to these shows!!
 I recently enjoyed this amazing exhibition showing at the Zanesville Museum of Art, in Zanesville, Ohio.
SUPERLATIVES Ccontemporary Ohio Quilts opened Saturday May 14 and will run until July 14, 2011. The show " is unique in the history of Ohio quilt exhibitions as it includes six quilts by seven Ohio artists. Each artist works in different directions, creating a broad sampler of textile artistry."
 Such a wide variety of  technique and style you won't find in one place together very often. Linda French displays a more traditional style, yet her minute machine stitching could only be 21st century!  (  Although it is so perfect that you might think it was all done by hand.) Then there are the two artists using shibori dying in their work, yet they have very different results. Rebecca Cross uses silks and creates light, airy pieces and installations, while Sue Cavanaugh works on large cotton sateen. Deborah Melton Anderson's work is pieced using fabrics that she has manipulated and printed using heat transfers. The machine work of Sandra Palmer Ciolino bring another beautiful dimension to this show. June O'Neils use of raw edge applique will leave you amazed, and of course, Nancy Crow never disappoints. I especially enjoyed seeing her screen printed pieces.
  I was lucky enough to enjoy some of the lectures given by the artists on opening day. Nancy Crow, in particular, left me with a few things to think about. She really is an icon in the art-quilt movement. She was one of the original organizers of Quilt National, the Quilt/Surface Design Symposium and the Art Quilt Network.  I was thrilled to get to hear her speak. What I took away from her lecture was the importance of going after what you want, being persistent and not taking "no" for an answer; being professional and disciplined and above all, " do the work".  It was a reminder to really know yourself.

  "In Stitches" is another, smaller exhibition displayed next to, and con-currently with "SUPERLATIVES". This show highlights some of the wonderful textiles from the collection of the ZMA. It provides a very satisfying contrast to the contemporary show.
 I particularly enjoyed the "Man's Vest", 19th century from Turkey, that looked more child-sized, the "Kalarga Tapestry", late 19th century, made of linen, silk, velvet and cotton, and covered with beads and sequins. Also intriguing was  the"Bark Cloth" piece which is not woven at all, but made of tree bark.

  These are but a few of the interesting and inspiring pieces to view in this "bonus' show. Who knew the ZMA held such treasures?! Don't miss these shows!!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Plunging Ahead

 I was recently "blog-surfing" and came upon Kathleen Loomis' blog,   " Art With A Needle" . She has been sharing her recent cruise experience, where she took a class on writing. She is a seasoned writer, having taught classes herself. She was curious to see how someone else might teach.
 The concept she shared that totally resonated with me was " Planners vs Plungers." According to her teacher, " a planner figures out what they want to say and writes it down, while a plunger writes in order to figure out what they want to say."

 I always struggled with writing an outline, then a paper from that....I usually managed to do it the other way around! AH-HA!! I am a plunger!! This, some how, is so freeing for me to know that it is an acceptable way of writing.  And, here is the best part: I am a plunging artist as well. No, I do NOT draw out ahead of time what I am about to create. I fly by the seat of my pants; working intuitively, following my instincts, letting the work take me where it may. No outline, no graph paper, no computer program...just a sketchbook/journal and all my stash.
 Thanks to Kathleen for sharing this information! I am a plunger and proud of it!

How do you write/work?  Is it just me or did this categorization help someone else as well? And why do we need labels anyway?

Monday, April 25, 2011

Springtime Explosion

If you've never been thrilled to the very edges of your soul by a flower in spring bloom, maybe your soul has never been in bloom. ~Terri Guillemets

chickweed and self heal
An early morning walk along the Dresden Bike Trail left me with enough inspiration to last a long time. My hubby and I were looking for the elusive morel mushroom and found much, much more to satisfy the senses. Please enjoy the simple beauty of these beautiful flowers....some wild, some domestic...all amazing.

weird stalks of either trillium or may apple nipped off by an animal and curled

yellow violet

trillium and may apple

Christmas fern fiddle heads unfurling

blue bells

red trillium

crab apple

Sunday, April 17, 2011

The Speed Bumps of Life

  Little did I know, as I took this photograph, that I would, indeed, have some speed bumps coming my way......

  Having just returned from 10 days on beautiful St John US VI (where I took this photo), I found my dear 94 year old uncle sick and dying and my father in law admitted to ICU, fighting for his life. Two weeks later, my uncle has passed away and my father in law is home recuperating and I find myself at complete "loose ends".

  Unable to focus, I feel as though I am "spinning my wheels". Inspiration and motivation have flown out the window. Why is it a surprise to me that the stress involved in being witness to a loved one dying could deliver such a powerful punch? Silly me.

  As I have trudged through the last few days I can feel myself slowly healing. I trust that my heart will mend and I will be able to return to "normal" life...whatever that may be.

  In the meantime I would like to share a verse sent to me by a special friend in response to Uncle KK's death. I think it captures his sweet, gentle, loving spirit.
                         Legend say that  hummingbirds float free of time, carrying our hopes for love, joy and celebration. The hummingbird's delicate grace reminds us that life is rich, beauty is everywhere, every personal connection has meaning and laughter is life's sweetest creation.

RIP Kenneth H Warthman 1-28-17 to 4-9-11

Sunday, March 6, 2011

To Gallery Or Not To Gallery???

  I have been trying to spend a lot more time on the business/marketing aspect of the art world. ( when I would really rather be creating artwork)
This article arrived in my email in box recently, and I found it so interesting I thought I would share it here. One goal I had set for myself this year was to seek and find gallery representation. After reading this article, I will be rethinking this. Perhaps I would be better served to spend my time elsewhere.

 Thanks to Fine Art Views for allowing me to share this here. I highly recommend their newsletter.
PS: I would be very interested in hearing your thoughts on this?? Please feel free to leave a comment. Let me know what you think!

Selling Without Galleries

by Lori Woodward

Today's Post is by Lori Woodward, Regular contributing writer for FineArtViews. She also writes "The Artist's Life" blog on American Artists' Forum. Lori is a member of The Putney Painters, an invitational group that paints under the direction of Richard Schmid and Nancy Guzik. Find out how you can be a guest author.

While in Tucson this month, I attended several galleries and two opening receptions at high-class galleries. I'm noticing some new trends for art sales: While gallery sales seem like they are flattening, self-sales by artists are flourishing... especially for those artists who sell their works for under $1000.

Several, previously successful, galleries on Main Street in Old Town Scottsdale have closed. The artists they carried are now looking for new venues, but existing galleries are not taking on artists - as they're working hard to sell the works of those artists they currently represent.

While conversing with avid collectors, I'm hearing that some of them are in the process of moving to a smaller home or condo - and they're looking to downsize their collection by consigning paintings with galleries. While this works well for the gallery and the collector, the living artists get no revenue from these sales.

Artists at the very top of popularity with collectors are still selling very well, but mid-career artists - who sell in the $5000 to $25,000 price range are not doing as well as even two years ago. Some are hunkering down and improving their work, others are teaching, even a few are taking on second jobs while waiting for sales to pick up.

Here's the way I see it. If you're already working with a good gallery, stay with them and ride out the slow down. Be open to reducing your prices by a certain percentage. Collectors are looking for bargains and they're getting them... even from galleries. On the other hand, if you're not working with a gallery, it might be a waste of time to pursue that route at this time.

Instead, consider entering competitions to get some press. Winning national competitions often leads to magazine articles. Build your resume as well as your skill. In the current market, you are competing with other artists for sales and the better your work is, the easier it will be to sell it.

Now for the good news: I'm hearing from artists selling work from local shows, their websites and email newsletters - that they're having their best year ever. What does this tell us? That perhaps we'd be better off spending our time growing our own following than vying for space in a commercial gallery. However, this doesn't mean avoiding entering invitational salon shows at galleries because these days, that's where galleries find their new artists. As far as I know (and you can correct me if I'm wrong), but galleries are not even taking the time to look at portfolios.

I'm convinced that artists must promote their work whether they work with or without a gallery or agent. Galleries do not spend as much time on artists who are "emerging" as they do on their stars who sell for "big bucks". It all comes down to revenue - what will keep them in business. They do a great service for artists, but right now, they need to put their effort into what will keep their door open.

We artists can no longer avoid building our own career. The days of having someone else do all the leg work for us are over. We must build our collector base through relationships, showing at a variety of venues and building our email newsletter subscribers. This is Permission Marketing at its best. It's not done overnight, but artists are proving it can be done!

Renee Lammers and Esther Williams are selling on their own without galleries - and it just keeps getting better for them. Esther Williams will be the subject of an interview for FineArtViews in mid-March, when her show schedule eases up. Today, she mentioned on facebook that she sold 5 paintings from her email newsletter. It doesn't get much better than that!

I am taking notice of these new self-sales trends. I'm excited for, and about, these artists. I have been selling on my own for the past 5 years, and I enjoy working directly with those who buy my work. My prices are generally under $1000, so it wouldn't make sense for either me or the gallery to split the profit 50-50.

A couple of weeks ago, I sold a painting from my website's email newsletter to a couple who bought their first painting from me several years ago, at a B&B in Tucson. Here's a fun fact that I read in an art marketing book: Past collectors are 6 times more likely to buy again than someone who has never purchased your work. Keeping those relationships active by getting them to subscribe to your blog or newsletter is "key". Our loyal collectors are like gold.

If any of you are selling well in this current economy, please feel free to share what's working for you. We can all benefit by your experience. Esther, please save your best advice for the upcoming interview!


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Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Valentines Day

  I spent the day with a very dynamic group: The Innovative Art Alliance.  We are a diverse group of artists that come from all over south eastern Ohio and northern West Virginia.  Our monthly meetings are all about networking and sharing. One of our members, Diane, has ALS, (also known as Lou Gerhig's disease). We have slowly been witness to the loss of use of her legs, then her arms. She is an amazing creative woman, who despite her ever increasing limitations, continues to not only lead us, but inspire us with her ever present courage and wisdom. It has been quite a while since she has been able to put a needle to fabric, but that does not stop her indominable spirit. Her creative outlet has become her thoughts and her words. She shared a few of her poems with us today.  One poem in particular resonated with me. It talked about how we spend our lives trying to be "good enough", and that, at some point we need to realize we are, what we are...and that is perfect for us!  It reminded me of the old Amish quote, that we are " too soon old, too late smart."
   On this day of hearts and love, I am sending out all the love and healing energy I can muster to you, Diane. And thank you for giving me permission to be who I am.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Have Art: Will Travel

   I have found that when I travel, I feel completely "naked" if I don't carry along some art projects on which to work. Most of the time this is easy, because I usually have a few pieces in process that are laying about the studio. At other times I find myself frantically pulling something together to take along.
  The easiest thing to bring is hand work, because, usually  I don't have a sewing machine at vacation destinations. (Although I have been known to pack one) Handwork is never a problem, as I love to do it.
   Below is an example of a piece I just took along on a recent trip. It was a quilt sandwich that I created to practice thread tension and various stitches on the machine. I liked the looks of it, and decided to do a little beading and will perhaps add some hand stitching as well. At any rate, this is what it looks like so far.

click on picture for a close up view

     I also try to never be without my camera or my sketchbook/journal. This is true on a daily basis as well as while traveling.
   What about you? Do you have certain things that you feel at loose ends without on a daily basis?  If so, what are they?

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Painting On Location: Who Knew??

  The on-location class I am taking is really a lot of fun! Who knew I would feel comfortable sketching and painting in the middle of a restaurant? That was our assignment this week: Go to a coffee shop and draw and paint what you see. I chose my local Starbucks. I love the atmosphere there anyway, and they have my favorite tea, Tazo Zen, so I was golden!  The oatmeal got a little cold while I was doing my thing, but I ate it anyway. This could actually turn into a weight loss study. By the time I finished painting the muffin, I was no longer interested in eating it! The only real problem I had was that I attempted to drink my paint water a few times! Ha! Fortunately I caught myself.
  I plan on hitting a few more coffee shops/eating establishments for more inspiration. ( There goes the weight loss theory ). And I am looking forward to the next prompt. Stay tuned for more sketching adventures!

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Media Stretch

   While my first artistic love is stitching and embellishing art quilts, I am trying to stretch and grow in other creative endeavors.
 An online class I signed up for this January is Jane Lafazio's "Sketchbook Watercolor on Location" class. Our first assignment was to just stay at home and find some objects to paint. She suggested keys. As I have a collection of old keys, that was exactly what I painted.

"Antique Keys" by Susan Nash
 I am loving the "on location" concept of this class. This week we are on location in a coffee shop! I can't wait. I only wish my friend Vivian ( who is also taking this class) lived closer so that we could hang out at a coffee shop together.  At any rate, stay tuned for more on-location artwork. I'll be posting more in the near future, in between finishing up some quilt-y projects. It has been a good season to stay inside and make art! What have you been creating?

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Sketchbook Project 2010: Part 2

the front and back covers

  In an earlier post I introduced my sketchbook for the Sketchbook Project 2010. The deadline has come and gone, and my book was mailed off to its new home last week joining all the others in the Brooklyn Museum of Art. They will travel to different destinations and be handled by a lot of people.

  Since the paper was very thin, I glued the pages together; back-to-back, and even added gesso to a few to allow for water media. Along with the glue and gesso, I used some matte medium, markers, and watercolors, not to mention soaking wet tea bags. These are some of the reasons my book looks as if I dropped it in the river.

  My "theme" was: I am a Scavenger.

made from cut out photos retrieved from the trash

 bio pages...a vellum pocket with business card and post cards

tea staining

I found some pressed leaves, and a quote saved from a calendar

traced around my hand...just for fun

inside the front cover
   Some thoughts:
  1. This was a fun project to do
  2. A blank sketchbook is very intimidating
  3. It became WAY more fun, when I gave up perfection, and ownership
  4. I would do it again, but start on time ( I joined up in the middle of the project)

Sunday, January 16, 2011

New Dawn, New Day, New Year

  My new year did not start out as I had planned. Instead, I was in bed shivering with the flu. Life does not always go as planned.
  Today I awoke to a beautiful sunrise over a crisp, frosty landscape. It inspired me to think about what all I want to accomplish this year. I prefer to think about setting goals, instead of resolutions.

 So, I have a wide open path ahead of me at the start of this year. There is the usual weight loss goal, but I've been thinking that it probably won't matter that I was 10 pounds over weight in 2011, as long as I can do the things I want to do, right? I will continue to try to eat healthy meals and to exercise every day.

 The goals I am most concerned with are my art related ones. I would love for this to be the year that I supported myself completely at the studio. By that, I mean, that I sell enough artwork, and teach enough classes , so that I cover my expenses. It would be wonderful to make a profit, but I am trying to keep to reality here. (smile) 
 Another goal would be that I put together a professional portfolio. I would then use this to seek out gallery representation. I am getting help with this by joining the SAQA Visioning program that is offered through SAQA University.

 One fun thing I am doing is taking the "One Little Word" class over at Big Picture Classes. Taught by Ali Edwards, it uses the concept that you choose ( or it may choose you ), one word to focus on for the year. My word is trust. Ali will be giving the class members a prompt every month...something to do or think about. I will be sharing my progress with you here.

  Hopefully by verbalizing some of my goals for the year here, I will feel more accountable. At any rate, it's a new day and a new year, and I'm ready to step out and get going! What kinds of goals have you set forth?

Let's step out together!