Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Where Am I Career-Wise

I keep thinking I need to re-vamp my art career, decide what I want to do. I’ve been putting it off, which I had to do with the move and all the renovations. But I am feeling the need to do something, to again re-write myself and my career. 

Yes, I have been avoiding the subject. I wasn’t sure what I was going to do or what direction I wanted to take. I have been on hold for almost a full year now. Something was changing, but I wasn’t sure what, and I’ve been waiting for some kind of inspiration (which I thought would happen the first of the year. It didn’t because of the ongoing work in the house.)

This morning I decided to take the time and start dissecting who and where I am. I know I want to do writing, photography, and drawing. Wait a minute! There are no changes in what I want to do. So what’s the difference? Why am I feeling I need to re-vamp, to make changes? This IS who I am!

Maybe it isn’t a full change, but an update; a re-freshening to give my art career a boost. Kearsarge Magazine contacted me about advertising and I decided to do it. NH Made has been after me, too, and I wasn’t going to do that this year. Today, with a last chance email received, I am choosing to place that ad, too. I want to re-do my website and give it a fresh, new look and I want to be better about posting new pictures to keep the site alive and new.

When asked what I do for work, I say, “Artist and editor” or “Editor and artist.” But who I am and what I do for work is so much more than that. Artist and editor is too general, especially artist because people often immediately relate artist to painting. An artist can be so much more. 

The most exciting, and perhaps hardest, aspect about my career is that it is not just one focus. Writing is at the foremost with working for the InterTown Record at writing columns, doing the community calendar, and being editor (which I still can’t believe – me, an editor?). I also have three books on which I am working (yeah, I know, a bit crazy) and I want to do better at blogging more consistently. 

Photography is also right up there with the writing. The main focus here is fine art prints, although I occasionally do pictures for the newspaper and I pick up commission work here and there. The latter entails photographing an event for someone, taking pictures for brochures and websites, or doing pet portraits. 

My third focus as an artist is charcoal-pastel drawings. This year I am adding the -pastel although I’ve been putting in a little color for awhile. Now I want to do more color. I haven’t worked on drawings in over a year because of the house/studio issue, but it’s often on my mind. Drawing calls to me. I’m ready to get back to it… as soon as I get the studio cleaned out and set back up. (I had it ready once then a renovation project messed it up again as I have to use the space for storage.)

The walls of my new home are full of my drawings and photographs. They make me feel happy, accomplished. It’s time to take it further. My work has improved and I’m ready for the next step.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Photo Project

I’ve been amusing myself these past few days playing around with four different-colored see-through wine glasses. I make arrangements and take photographs. And, because I am also doing a 100 Photos 100 Days challenge, I’m only working with a few arrangements per day. I am intrigued by the play of light and shadow reflected in the glass and how various items around the room affect the outcome. 

The first day, the glasses were empty. The next two days, I added water. When I left the water in the glasses overnight, three of the glasses ended up with a lot of tiny bubbles in the water. The green glass only had a few. I experimented again, and the same thing. The purple, blue, and yellow glasses had a lot of bubbles, but the green glass did not. Why is that?

I laid the empty blue glass on its side one day and took photos of the various angles with the other three glasses upright with water in them. I added ice cubes. Another day I left the green glass empty and put it on its side and then the next day, it was the yellow glass. (I didn’t like the yellow so well on its side.)

I used wine in three of the glasses. While I love the color, it didn’t seem as interesting as the water. Oh, the little things that amuse me.

Today I finally decided to print a couple of the photos. I haven’t used the HP Envy 7640 Photo printer since I bought it last September. I did a sample run on plain paper. It printed with faint horizontal lines which I figured might be due to the plain paper and the printer not being used for a long time.

I put a piece of HP glossy photo paper in the tray on top of the plain paper already there. The printer picked up the both papers and printed on the plain sheet. I pulled out the plain sheets, put the glossy photo paper went back in the tray, and went out to the computer to hit print. (The HP printer is in the studio because I don’t use it much.) 

Drat! Not only were there horizontal lines, but faded color. I had to change the color ink cartridge. Jeez, I haven’t even used that printer and I need to change a color cartridge? 

After the print alignment, I figured I was good-to-go and put in a sheet of the expensive polar pearl metallic paper. Noooo, the vertical lines are still there! Of course I don’t have a manual – they expect you to look everything up online. I couldn’t find troubleshooting and gave up. 

Today I’ll do another round of arrangements. I’ll leave the purple glass empty today. Maybe I’ll try something different with creating a background.

I still have painting touch-ups to do in the kitchen and utility room. Maybe when I get the paint out, I’ll paint an extra board or something to use for a backdrop for still life pictures. Hmmm… 

Saturday, March 12, 2016

A Myriad of Excuses

I am not alone; not in my thoughts, not in how I feel, not in what I experience. I am not the only one who feels overwhelmed with everything I want to accomplish. Some things I do totally from choice while others are a have-to – like having to go to the accountant, get groceries, pay bills, etc.

I may be physically alone when I am home and there are many times when I often feel alone in my head (like when I’m driving) – but I know I’m not. Others are a phone call, email, or FB message away. There is Spirit (God) that is everywhere. And yes, when I’m home there’s my kitty Pele for company.

Often, my writing is my way of talking to other, and, surprisingly, answers or a response sometimes comes through me onto the page (which I find exciting). Notice I say other and not others – other is… other-worldly which for many is like praying (which I also do) whether it’s to God or the Universe or Great Spirit. 

Today I sit here thinking about the myriad of projects I want to do… and obstacles (real or imagined) that keep from getting much done. There are times when I just feel overwhelmed and choose to do nothing. It’s kind of funny when I think about it. Is there a part of me that self-sabotages my efforts?

For instance, there are prints of photographs that I want to do. Then my mind-talk will go, “But then I’ll have to mat and frame them and that’s such a chore and not fun.” There is the book that has been written and photos need to be chosen, the cover to design, and the manuscript to ready for publishing. The mind-talk goes, “But to sit and go through pictures is so timely. I have to know where and how I’m publishing to do the set up.” There are drawings to finish and this mind-talk goes, “I have other things I want to do first. I would have to re-find the photos that I used for the drawing. Why do more drawings when I don’t know where to have them framed?”

And being alone, I can make up excuses not to get it done. There are items to move to get ready for the new carpeting coming this week. There are items to get ready to sell. I need to rearrange items in the kitchen. There is touch-up painting to do to fully finish the kitchen and utility room renovation. Oh, so many things that are not getting done.

Yet, there are things that I am accomplishing. I am getting some writing done. I get my weekly work for the InterTown Record done. I am keeping this kitchen cleaner that I ever have any other kitchen. I am making plans (in my head and writing lists) for upcoming projects.

Where am I going with this today? I don’t even know. Such as it is, but it all boils down to pushing myself forward. I am in charge of my life and only I can accomplish all I want to do. So, on with it!

Friday, March 11, 2016

Feeling the Need to Get Back to Art

I have only felt twinges towards my art these past few months as the house issue takes my energy and attention. I am even up in the air about the direction of my art career. I want to sell my art, but I don’t want to do shows. No, I am not giving up. Perhaps it’s just being in limbo until the house is completely (or almost completely) to my liking.

Writing is my huge passion with photography second. Charcoal drawing also calls to me and I can feel a paintbrush in my hand and feeling the stroke across the canvas with a brilliant spot of color. However, painting is far down on the list. I’ve not totally given up on it, but with everything else…

The writing is a constant in my life and is my life saver. Writing is my job. It is my life. Without the writing, I don’t know if I could live or want to live and yes, I do consider it an art.

This is the third month of the year. My website needs a new look, but feeling in limbo with my art, I’m hesitant to make changes yet. The need is feeling stronger. Maybe this means I to adapt my site to where I am in this moment. The wording, my story, needs to be refreshed. Viewers need to see something new.

I need to design new brochures, too, but how can I when my art direction hasn’t solidified yet? I am quite adamant in some aspects, but not so much in others. My head just won’t wrap around it and focus.

I started a 100 Photos 100 Days challenge on February 1 not really sure if I would stick with it. We (there are four us doing it) are now on Day 40. I’m surprised at myself for sticking with it. I’ve not done any of my normal photo shooting days, so this has kept the spark burning.

Pele, my gorgeous kitty, provides endless antics and poses. She thinks she’s a model. I’ve taken some interesting shots of ice in the brook and snow on logs left from when trees were cut down. One day I took photos of four different-colored, see-through wine glasses and yesterday I used those same wine glasses and put water in them.

I am intrigued by the light and reflections that the glass and liquid picks up from the room and the counter top. Today the plan is to put an ice cube in each glass to see what that does. The next day, I’ll put wine in the glasses (‘course, I’ll have to drink the wine after taking the photos). 

This morning I started a list of photos I’ve taken recently that I want to print and mat. I may even frame a couple to hang on the wall.

Maybe this is a sign the photography fire has ignited again.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

When Is Too Much Information at One Moment Too Much?

I keep kicking myself for not blogging. I want to do it, but I get sidetracked and the day slips by. Yesterday, Nan McCarthy came for what we are calling our Weekly Wednesday Winefest. We have the best conversations!

We both came into the new year with thoughts of our art career directions. This is one of our favorite topics. We are both in a bit of transition and we spend a lot of time discussing possibilities, what to do with our art, how to market it, etc.  

The gallery through which Nan sold a lot of her paintings closed and she spent the past year looking at other venues. So far, nothing has quite filled the need and she was in a bit of a creative slump throughout the end of 2015. The new year brought a new burst of creative energy – until she fell and broke her wrist.

For me, all my energy and efforts have been going into the house renovation. Just as I feel I’m getting settled, the next project throws everything in disarray again. My house is getting Sasha-fied and is looking beautiful on the inside, but this whole process, now well into its sixth month, is not doing anything for my art career… not that I even have the energy to think where I want to go with art at this point.

I finished the writing part of the latest book, but that’s on hiatus as I’m going to be learning Adobe Create Cloud InDesign. And this leads to the next comment:

Sometimes the brain can only take in so much information at one time. When there is too much, like when someone is talking on and on about a subject or you are trying to research one particular aspect of an issue and there are a lot of proponents to the topic, the brain goes on overload and you zone out. How many are willing to admit this happens? The brain needs to process smaller bits of information. Then when that settles, you can go back for the next part.

“Okay, I understand this part, now explain…” 

I’ve always had multiple projects going on as I have so many interests. I don’t know whether it’s this whole house project is sapping any excess energy or it’s age, but lately I’m finding the obstacles more difficult to get over, around, or through. Just as my physical body is no longer able to climb over obstacles, my mental well-being is struggling, too. What does this mean?

For some time I have realized that I’m the type of person that can’t handle a lot of information all at once. I learn things by taking one aspect at a time and when I’m comfortable with that, I go back for the next part. This is why I never want to take full classes. A class will teach you all aspects of whatever it is – camera, computers, programs, etc. Also, when paying money to take a class, it seems a waste to be forced to learn something I am not willing to work with at the time. And often, by the time I’m ready for that step, I’ve forgotten what I learned.

For instance, I bought “Adobe Creative Cloud Design Tools All-in-One for Dummies” (CC). The book is three inches thick. At this moment, all I want to do is get my manuscript ready to publish/print. However, there are so many aspects to CC that I can’t find my way through to where I need to be for this one part. I’ve gone online and am even more confused by all the graphics they are trying to sell me. ALL I want is that one little aspect right now and I feel like I am being bombarded from all directions with everything the programs can do. It’s like looking for a needle in a haystack – a very tiny needle in a huge stack of hay. It’s so overwhelming and my brain just shuts down.

A similar type of subject also came up at two separate meetings I recently attended; one being town meeting. People ask questions and those answering stand up and go on and on and on. They explain to the point of over explaining. It becomes too much information all at once and the brain becomes muddled as the answers turn into a voice that drones on and on. 

And it’s not that the speaker is not intelligent. He has a lot of information or reasoning, but the brain needs to process the information and when given too much people zone out to the speaker. Some people can handle it well, but the majority cannot. Their brains will interpret parts of that incoming information and mix it with their own mind-talk. Other sections of the information will be lost. Miscommunication and confusions sets in. People think they “got it,” and later find out something was misunderstood.

So, how can we better communicate? How can we share information to educate one another to help us understand? How can we answer questions with the right amount of information without frustrating the listeners? When is too much information at one moment too much? 

You’d think because we all speak the same language, everything said should make sense, but phrases are used that some may not fully understand, words may have varying definitions and meanings between those speaking and those hearing, context of what is being said may not be clear or understood correctly.

I know; this is hard when there is a lot of information to present. I think back to how I learn things. There are times when I actually have to write my own steps to do a project. Writing my how-to puts the process in words MY brain uses and understands. I am a great proponent to “sleeping on it” when needing to make a decision.

That may not work in every situation and during public meetings when there are many people present with emotions swirling about, side chatter going on, and other distractions, a long-winded explanation will lose the importance of its message.

During meetings and presentations, people need to dole out the information in smaller increments. They need to let their audience process what is being said. Again, I know; there are time limits to present information or answer questions, people are not always available to attend many meetings, and a myriad of other reasons. 

So, how do we share information, educate, help people understand, and move forward in positive light?

What do you think? Is there a way to break down an overwhelming amount of information to help people process situations better?