Friday, 7 August 2020

Lighthouses

I feel like I may have lied about being back in business as another week seems to have flown by. 

I have finished making my prints though, and the Golden Temple print is being delivered on Tuesday. I also have a possible painting purchase enquiry and two more commissions to do.

The timing of all of this is perfect, as I have some time, and sales are always welcome. I also just checked my website stats. The performance, and rating of my website has gone up, but the page authority has gone down which is confusing. I need to get on and finish updating the rest of the pages. It is too hot to do anything other than melt at the moment though! 

I also need to share my latest painting, which I meant to do before! So here it is.....It is Slangkop Lighthouse in South Africa and a commission for a friend. Bizarrely I used to paint quite a lot of lighthouses when I was younger. I am not sure if this is the influence of being born on an Island or just a coincidence. This is only the second 'proper' painting I have created of a lighthouse though. The first being the 'pepper pot' lighthouse on the Isle of Wight which is more of a medieval ruin than what you would imagine. So who knows, maybe this will start a run of lighthouse paintings. 

  

Thursday, 30 July 2020

Back in Business

It seems like the last nine days or so have passed by in a blur. I may have overdone my intense work week by following it with an intense socialising week and then it has taken me this long to remember what the hell I am meant to be doing. 

I am lucky because I can turn sections of my brain on and off. This is great for compartmentalising stress, as I can just turn it off and forget about it for a while. I am not one of those people that takes my work home with them! The downside is that it is much easier to turn it off than to turn it back on again. 

But, I feel a bit more focused today. I have completed negotiations for my massive Golden Temple print so that is being made as we speak, and bizarrely, unintentionally sold a few face masks. Because of course, now that masks are compulsory, I have got some with my paintings printed on them..... 


I have also completed my current load of architecture work and updated my accounts so I am currently feeling quite zen. Not to mention the fact that I cleared out my study on Sunday to make some more storage space for my paintings. I am not quite sure how I managed it, but I made it feel disturbingly empty, although I have got used to it now. 

So on the agenda for next week, or the next few days is:
A blog post about my latest painting.
Making my missing prints
Doing a new painting
Making a Facebook Shop. 

And I can't remember anything else. 

Tuesday, 21 July 2020

Evening Stroll

As promised, I did successfully have radio silence last week, and yesterday as well seemingly.

Yesterday, I was trying to remember what I did before I had a crazy week of architecture work. I also had life admin to complete as literally everything other than work was on hold last week. On the plus side, even though I wasn't doing art stuff I still managed to sell a large Limited Edition Print on Etsy and I had an enquiry for a bespoke, enormous print of the Golden Temple. The print is a bit expensive as it is 1.5m wide so it is debatable whether it will go ahead but we shall see.

Other than that, not much is happening. I should be able to share my latest painting with you soon as it is being collected at the end of this week and hopefully I will find some time to paint soon. I don't necessarily feel like I am burning to paint just yet, but I can feel that I have been without it for a while. I just need to find some inspiration. I also need to make my missing prints up and I have an advertising voucher on Facebook if I set up my 'shop' there. I have no idea what this entails, but a free ad voucher seems too good to miss.

This is all on top of still tidying up my website, which I have forgotten how to do, but should come flooding back to me when I log back in (Fingers crossed).

In the meantime, not a painting, but here is a photograph I took the other day whilst out on a perfect evening stroll. I hope you enjoy...


Saturday, 11 July 2020

Pip the Poodle

Hmm, so who knows what happened on Wednesday and Thursday. I did some website updates I think, and my brother fixed my SSL issues. Oh wait, it's coming back to me, I also painted on Wednesday evening. You'll have to wait for this painting to be shared as it is a birthday present so I need the recipient to receive it first.

Speaking of painting's being received, my latest dog commission made it to Seattle on Wednesday having left my house on Monday which seemed pretty efficient! I was tempted to wrap myself up and get shipped to the US too, although that would be a bad idea currently.... for many reasons.

I have had some architecture work come today as well, so be prepared for potential radio silence next week as I manage to forget that I have a blog, or that I paint. Compartmentalising is a skill I almost seem too proficient in.

But anyway, the dog, the lovely Pip the Poodle, who is no longer with us unfortunately which is why the owner wanted a painting of him. Let's hope I did him justice!



(And yes, I wrote this yesterday but forgot to press post!)

Tuesday, 7 July 2020

Consistency of...

I ordered some more puzzles yesterday, it is debatable whether this will be a good investment or not but I need to restock one of them anyway, and I can see a few are still in people's baskets so hopefully it is a planned risk. My missing prints are finally arriving today as well, so putting them together will be on my list for the next few days.

Other than that I think today will be plodding through some website updates. I feel like I need something simple to concentrate on that I can see the fruits of my labour at the end of the day. I am still having website issues currently but I am hoping any updates I do now can be migrated over to a new host if required and will be worth doing if I stay where I am anyway. Plus when all the SEO updates are done I can create a new £100 small commission page and change my portfolio 'commissions' tab to 'animals'. Somehow I have enough now to have an animal portfolio section! Who'd have thought.

I have also seen a competition running for animal paintings that I am quite tempted to enter 'Roary' into, just to change things up a bit! And by tempted, have in fact just entered. I forgot I also sold a print on Society 6. So not big sales, but for once in my life, quite consistent selling. I have sold 33 things this tax year so far, in comparison to 8 things by this time last year. Seems like a good progression, and I would have noticed the money if I hadn't reinvested it in cardboard boxes and a thousand (almost literally) blank canvasses.

Time to start painting some new pictures soon I think. That always helps keep the interest up! 

Monday, 6 July 2020

Post viral Fatigue

I knew I forgot to blog on Friday, I was going to blog on Saturday instead, and then Sunday, and now it is Monday.

My painting got it's seal of approval on Thursday and is wrapped up and waiting to be picked up today. I also sold a large print on Saturday so I need to persuade myself to go to the post office again shortly. I really miss the mini post office than was ten minutes around the corner. Having to walk into town each time is knackering. I can't complain though, it is better to sell something than to not!

Other than that it has been quiet - my security certificate is still not working on my website, two of my paintings got shared on an sikh art site on instagram so that has been some good extra publicity, and hopefully I will paint my next commission at some point this week.

Other than that more website updating I guess and I need to do some invoicing, and more importantly, try not to fall asleep.

I think it might be a long week.

(Also, I did finally write a haiku on Friday for my food poem:

Fish and chips Friday
It only happens weekly.
Sea air is lacking 

They are much easier to do! )

Thursday, 2 July 2020

Frustration.

I did a good job of forgetting to post yesterday. I decided to paint a commission I needed to do in the evening so I thought I could blog whilst I was waiting for it to dry. Instead I mostly lay on the floor and did some yoga.

I had had a slightly frustrating day on the computer, so I was happy to spend the time away from it. I purchased an SSL certificate the evening before which I was trying to load onto my site with the help of my brother. It doesn't seem to work for some reason, so I spent most of yesterday online with Moonfruit (my website provider) speaking a language I didn't understand, trying to sort it out. Apparently it is sorted now, but I have to wait for 24 hours to see, in which time my website could just completely break. Lets hope that doesn't happen.

In other news I sold a mug on Etsy to someone in Cincinnati which sounds good but I think I have underestimated the postage so I need to update that on both Etsy and my website. It seems a bit like every time I think I have sorted something out, 20 other things happen that I need to update. My to-do list is super long at the moment and I am super tired. This doesn't make for a good combination, as by the time I have chosen what to do and then procrastinated about doing it I am pretty sure the day will be over.

Never mind, one commission down (hopefully, I am still waiting for the seal of approval) and one to go!

Also, as I missed sharing my lunchtime poem for yesterday:

Baked beans on a garlic naan,
This take-away is lasting forever,
I.m sure it is making me fatter,
I started out as light as a feather.

The calories are surely worth it,
It is better than eating cardboard.
Just don't judge when I loosen my belt
and my waistline looks like a fraud!

I promise next week I'll behave,
I'll stick to the diet like a slave,
But until then anything goes,
Lets just ignore all the weight on my toes! 

I seem to have got far more invested in this than I was expecting....


Tuesday, 30 June 2020

Chicken Biryani

I only managed to update 11 pages today, so I think that makes 31 done and 210 to go. That makes me die inside a little! I am also slightly worried it isn't going to make any difference at all as well.

Everything seems a bit like a mammoth task today. Having started 'lockdown' with a rush of sales of prints, paintings and puzzles and commission enquiries it seems to have gone very quiet.

I need to sort out some new paintings, doing one a week really kept things ticking over. The problem at the moment is a commission I need to do that I am procrastinating over. Two commissions in fact but the canvas for one of them only arrived this morning. I really went crazy buying new canvasses as I think I have 48 blank ones now! Oops.

I guess I have to look at the fact that I am still working on everything and towards something, so the payout may be sometime after the work. I could just do with a painting sale as a bit of a pick me up!

Also, as I started the crazy idea of sharing my lunchtime poems on here, here is day 2:

Chicken Biryani
Doesn't come with Salami,
But a side of Meat Samosas,
That I dropped on my coaster.
Wash it down with water
(I am my Mother's daughter)
And now I am full.  

Don't worry, I am sure the entertainment value of this will only last a week or so and then my ramblings will go back to normal. 

Monday, 29 June 2020

Still an Eccentric Weirdo

I think my brain is in danger of exploding this afternoon. I have been tagging and attempting to optimise my website pages for both Google and mobiles. I have kind of worked up 20 pages so far, 8 of which I need to alter dramatically for them to work on a mobile. This isn't even 10% of my website yet! This task feels enormous and is going to be ongoing for a long while. I have also half started researching into making my website secure. I think it has come to the point where it may be a good investment to buy an SSL certificate. I just need to work out how to do this and where to purchase it from. It might be time to log into my website provider and ask some questions!

Tidying up my pages is actually kind of therapeutic. It is a nice feeling to know all the images have names and that the pages have correct titles and descriptions, and that everything matches. I just sincerely hope it makes my website easier to find in the big old world wide web, otherwise it feels like a lot of effort for not much gain. It does seem to have made me feel incredibly tired as well, but that may be because it is the first time for ages that I have sat at my desk solidly working for at least 5 hours.

At least that means I should sleep well tonight! (I hope)

On a lighter and more random note I thought I would also share a 'poem' with you. I was chatting to a friend earlier today about how it is better to acknowledge what you are eating by not doing anything at the same time, so watching television or reading for example. I live on my own, so I said my mealtimes would be lonely. She said it meant that I could savour what I was eating, to which I replied that maybe I could write a Haiku or a poem for her to describe my meal. This was mostly a joke, but seems to have stuck. So here are lunchtime thoughts on Day 1:

Staring at my plate,
I've got nothing to do but wait,
For my stomach to satiate,
It's going to be a long week.  

I'm sure this counts as art right!? At least it might reaffirm my status as an Eccentic Weirdo. 

Friday, 26 June 2020

Upgrade in Progress

I had the day off yesterday because it was a thousand degrees centigrade outside, and I decided chatting with friends, in a garden, was much preferable to being attached to my computer and bursting into flames in the flat.

It still feels pretty hot today as well, but having made the most of the sunshine yesterday, I am more content to sit in today and 'work'.

So I did start tagging my pages and adding alt descriptions onto my website images. I also wrote a list of all the website pages I have. A mere 240 of them. This is going to take forever! I also found that on Google there is a thing called a 'Lighthouse Report' which generates a report of any web page you choose and rates it in terms of SEO, performance, speed, accessibility and lots of other things that I don't understand.

This is good, interesting and confusing. I am stubborn, so whilst I had a brief moment of thinking it would be easier to just pay someone to sort all this out, most of me went into 'ooh challenge mode.'

So I guess I am going to become a webmaster then? Unlikely, but I will certainly see if I can make my website behave a bit better. I have put a lot of work into it and I need it to work hard for me. I have already seen that there is a market for my work, I get commissions and sell prints and paintings etc, so I just need to reach more people, more consistently to make this work.

I feel like I possibly should have started this at the beginning of 'lock-down' but then I guess I needed to paint. Maybe I can carry on doing this through the second wave, which I will hope to God doesn't happen!

At least I am not going to run out of things to do for a while! It beggars belief really, what I have learned and how far I have come from when I first started doing this. It is impressive really, and I should give myself some credit for that and my perseverance at making something as professional as possible. This was a pipe dream after all; I knew I wouldn't paint unless I could relocate the paintings......

Upgrade in progress......   

Wednesday, 24 June 2020

Lists of Lists

It looks like my favicon has updated this morning to a little orange 'LH' rather than the invisible black one that it was! Hooray!

I ordered the, hopefully last, set of new canvasses I needed yesterday. This means over the last couple of weeks I think I have ordered 30 extra canvasses!!?!??!?!?! Seems a bit like an obsessive compulsive disorder waiting to happen! I think as I have so many different sizes and quantities going on it might be time to put together a stock list and a price list so I feel a bit more organised when people are asking me for quotes. Speaking of lists, I managed to do everything I was planning yesterday except starting to tag and label my website pages. I kind of want to write down how they are currently performing from a SEO point of view before I start to alter them so that I can see what is and isn't working. This means I will need to write a list of all the individual pages before I start though and update their scores accordingly. I guess this may well be my activity of choice for today! It does mean I can streamline some of the pages down though, mostly just the original pages that have sold and I no longer need! 

I just realised I have individual pages for all my products. So 20 different mugs means 20 different pages. I think typing all of this up is going to take forever!

It will be interesting to see tomorrow, what I actually manage to do today...!


Tuesday, 23 June 2020

Un-bogging

It seems like the easing of 'lock-down' is bad for me, with every extra person I meet up with or every extra decision I need to make a little bit of art focus goes. I guess that makes sense though, your brain gets filled up with other things. In 'lock-down' I could only think about myself, going for a walk, my mental-breakdown-saving-walking-buddy, and art. Just four things, and only an hour outside so the rest of the time was devoted to house related things and painting to keep productivity going. I'm not saying this was ideal, it was frustrating and boring at times but it cut out uncertainty, unpredictability, and worrying about going or doing anything. I think too much, so it was almost like it gave me permission not to think at all. I can see it is affecting my friends too, they are more restless and anxious, and you can tell they have too much on their minds. Life nowadays, is sometimes too much.

The good thing is that I have noticed this, so I can do something about it. 'Lock-down' has given me some good habits, I am back in the painting zone, blogging and I have a better diet and yoga regime. More tools to make me more well behaved hopefully! Getting bogged down is not an option! So with that in mind, writing down my art tasks for the day seemed to work well at the beginning of all this and it gave me a focus to my day. So today, I need to order even more canvasses as I have another commission lined up, I need to put a painting up for sale and I would like to start key word and meta tagging my website.

So let's sit down, chill out, and do this!

Friday, 19 June 2020

Impasse

I am not doing a good job of blogging this week! I have been in a bit of a weird mood this last five days, frustrated and a bit fed up. I feel like I have been waiting all week for something to happen but I am not sure what. This feeling always worries me slightly as it means something is going to happen, but it doesn't necessarily mean it will be bad, or immediate!

Watch this space. 

I gave up on concentrating yesterday and finished off my puzzle and then went for a walk and thought about, and did, a painting. It ended up being a bit of a brain purge of a painting so it is a different style, colour and subject to what I normally paint. It is currently not going down particularly well on social media, but that doesn't really matter. I have felt a bit clearer since I have done it, even if only slightly. It is a strange picture as it seems both wrong and perfect. I guess wrong as it almost doesn't seem like me, but then perfect as it is what I needed to do. I also can't shake the feeling that it reminds me of Edvard Munch's The Scream. It has a similar composition and colour scheme, although mine is brighter, and obviously missing the person. Either way, it has meant I have done a slightly better job of concentrating today. It is up online already, I have bought some more canvasses that I need for my next commission, I scheduled a few social media posts for the Summer Solstice tomorrow and I have remembered to blog. That will do for today I think, and I may well be glad it is Friday. I think next week will be better, the sun is meant to shine, and I have a couple of social(ly distanced) engagements to look forward to so maybe that will help restore my joie de vivre. In the meantime, this slightly intense, dramatic picture can fill the void




Wednesday, 17 June 2020

Staccato

I am glad I waited until this morning to post my Etsy sales as I sold a print last night and had to take that to the post office as well. The post office is just far enough away that if I can save going multiple times that is a massive plus point! It also means that I did remember what I was supposed to be doing this morning. It was nice to get back onto some art stuff although I don't seem to have been massively productive.

Things are in the post though, the new painting is half up whilst I wait for the yes or no as to whether one of my friends is having it or not, and I changed the favicon on my website. Your what I hear you say? Basically the little icon that shows up on your favourites toolbar when you bookmark my site. I turned windows to the dark side when it updated the other day and realised my icon is black and doesn't show up! I have made it orange now to match my site. I tried to amend the icon for my blog too but it seems slow to update/reload at the moment. All that is left to do for today is finish this blog post and update my to-do list as it is out of date enough that I have no idea what is going on!

But first, in order to finish this post off, a bit about the new painting. It was a bit of a challenge piece to attempt to paint dance and movement, and basically how I feel doing Zumba. This is difficult, as I tend to paint how I feel but the process of doing Zumba, uses up how I feel about Zumba if that makes sense? I don't need to paint it, because I have already danced it out. It ended up being a much more rigid painting than I intended, focusing almost more on the process of steps and how music is made up of beats (dots) three counts and four counts, lines (staves) and songs, the purple song, the blue song, the red song, and then the wavy gold lines of dance weaving through the music, the songs and the class. The energy I guess is in the background, with the splats of paint and colour, and drips of 'sweat' that come off whilst you dance. I have a feeling this all makes a lot more sense in my head than it does on paper, I would need to explain it via video with the painting in hand, but hopefully the above gives the gist of what I was trying to show!

  

Tuesday, 16 June 2020

I have a blog!?

I am sometimes impressed with my brain's ability to compartmentalise. I had completely forgotten I even had a blog over the last few days. How can I go from writing pretty much every day to forgetting I even own one? That seems worrying. Equally it is useful as it means I rarely take my work home with me and I can switch off from stress as and when required. The downside is that now I have some time for art again I can't remember what I was doing.

My to-do is basically like my how-to-live bible.

Fortunately reading my previous post reminded me that I was looking at SEO tactics. Was that really only a week ago? It feels more like a month.

So a few art things have happened. I have sold another puzzle on Etsy, three more prints have left the building and one of my commissions has been given the go ahead so that is good. I also painted a weeny, and slightly strange painting at the weekend that I may or may not share with you shortly. I am still a bit undecided about it. I also had to make a promotional video of my work today to go on the Maidenhead Festival page which is happening online this weekend. I think I will probably share the video with my Facebook fans as well as it gives a good nose through my living area and my work. Assuming I wake up tomorrow and can remember what I am doing.

The first tasks will be to get up, do zumba and go to the post office to deliver said sold items above....(just in case....)

Wednesday, 10 June 2020

SEO?

I don't feel like I have done too much today. I put a few more paintings onto Artmajeur and then spent half of this afternoon learning about Search Engine Optimisation. It all made sense until my attention span started drifting and then I must have had brain saturation, as it started going in one eye and out of the other. I don't think I am meant to do anymore work this evening anyway seemingly, as my internet connection seems to have committed suicide and no amount of refreshing or restarting seems to be making any difference.

How frustrating!

I have architecture work to do tomorrow and Friday as well so I may not be getting to any website tweaking until next week.

I think the most useful thing I have learnt today is about google cache, which theoretically shows me what the search engine bots are looking at and basing my website on. I have very little writing on my website so I need to add more in, either in the form of tags on my images or on my page descriptions just to make it a bit more obvious what my site is all about. I also think making it more mobile friendly will help so I need to do that at the same time. I am worried this will involve redesigning some of my pages so I am not too keen to do it at the moment; Especially as my site is built using Flash which is going to be discontinued in December this year! I need to ask Moonfruit what the plan is regarding this! Which is what I should put quite high on my to do list tomorrow.

In the meantime I think it is time to give up for today and watch the rain falling outside instead.

Tuesday, 9 June 2020

Flamingo-ne

My mount supplies arrived today, so I just need to wait for the prints to arrive next! I did cave and order some new canvasses this morning as well, 15 of them in fact! Let's hope I can have a brainwave about where to store them or suddenly magically sell a couple more paintings! I also topped up my foam corners that I use to ship purchased paintings. I am hoping this finally means that all my packaging and stock supplies are full and up to date.

Let's hope I don't find anything else that I am running out of! (Fingers crossed)

I also wanted to run a poll on Facebook today to ask people to guess the topic of my latest painting, just for fun. Unfortunately you can only have two outcomes, and as I wanted the choice to be between 'building,' 'landscape,' 'tree,' and 'animal' having only two options was no good. I only wanted to ask the question as quite often I have no idea what I am going to paint next so I wondered what the people following my work felt about it! I remember reading some art marketing advice somewhere, that mentioned about making sure all your paintings are similar so that you have an identifiable brand. It makes sense, but I kind of like the fact that my 'brand' is more random. I would much rather follow someone who keeps me guessing than someone predictable. It may mean I might not always like the paintings that are created, but it should at least be interesting!

In this vain, my latest painting, is another unexpected and random topic. This is mostly because it was a suggested commission and probably not something I would naturally paint. It was still fun to do though, so, are you ready?! The latest painting is of...................flamingos! :-O :-D

 

Monday, 8 June 2020

Insufficient Memory.

I am confused today as I feel like I am juggling too many things. I painted a new painting at the weekend that has already been bought and collected, so I need to add that online shortly. I am also in negotiations to sell my painting of Lisbon, a price which has hopefully now been agreed, I am just waiting for the signing on the dotted line as it were. I am also in negotiations to sell my painting of St Pancras as well as a small commission of some Cottages in Scotland. This is on top of the general social media posts I need to do and an architecture quote I just had to write.

My brain is now going whaaaaaaaaat?

This week might be busy! This is more what I imagined being an artist and being freelance to be though. Chasing leads, trying to drum up sales, and keeping up a steady flow of new paintings. However boring lockdown might be, the extra time I have from lack of socialising or leaving the house has definitely been quite beneficial!

I just need to stop spending all my money on art supplies. That said, I am really running low on canvasses so I can see myself stocking up on them shortly!

I think that might be enough of a blog post today, before my brain melts. I will share the new painting with you tomorrow. In the meantime I need to go and write down everything I need to do and cross off the things I have completed already today to get them out of my head.

It is too full today......

I forgot, there was one other thing I wanted to mention today. I didn't realise, but Artfinder has been carrying out a curatorial review on all its members. Apparently out of 6,000 shops and artists it has reviewed, it has removed 2,000 of them from the site. I am pleased to say, I had an email today saying that I passed the quality control test to be allowed to stay. Thank goodness for that! 


Friday, 5 June 2020

New Prints

I don't feel ready for it to be Friday again. I am actually in the working zone for once and could do with maybe two more days in this week to make the most of it. I am sure if it wasn't Friday I wouldn't be saying this though.

I checked my numbers on Artmajeur today and it looks like it is ticking over much more slowly since I haven't added anything new for a while. It might work out well for me to add things as and when to keep the interest up. I'll have to start adding a couple a day as part of my to-do list. In other news I have finally added these 4 prints onto my website and onto Etsy which I have been meaning to do for ages. I have already sold one tiger and one lion, so I am hoping they will do well.


Hopefully tonight I will manage a new painting as I have one on my mind. A couple of people have mentioned paintings they might like to me recently, and it is one of these ideas that I currently have floating around. I sometimes find that people don't want to commit to a commission but they want to tell you what they would like. I normally eventually get around to painting what they have suggested if it is something I am interested in and then give them first refusal. It works quite well and I have sold a few paintings this way, and if they don't buy it I can always put it up for sale on my website so it is a win-win really.

Lets hope this one results in a sale!

Thursday, 4 June 2020

Chapel of St Non's

Today has been busy too. It looks like I am having one of those weeks when I get stuff done. Although I have equally already forgotten what I have done so far today.

Erm....

I have cropped my photos and put together the video showing the work in progress shots of my latest painting, and ordered mount and print supplies as both were dwindling. Money in. Money out.

I have also just paid my subscription fees to the online slideshow that allows me to post changing images on my website, so the next thing to do will be to update my accounts. I realised I haven't updated my Etsy expenses for a while either. Argh! 

Sometimes I feel like I have 12 jobs. I'm going to speak to HR about it. Oh wait.

I have also opened my 'sample' 1000 piece puzzle so I shall start on that soon and post some in progress shots. So much to do!!

In the meantime, my latest painting should be delivered soon. It is currently floating around in a van in Swansea somewhere. Surprisingly this painting has been a hit on Facebook, and is possibly my most liked painting to date!? I can never predict which paintings will be popular and which ones won't be. It is quite interesting to see and sometimes makes me feel like I have no taste, as I tend to be more pleased with the less popular ones. But at least that works quite well as either I like them or everyone else does!

So here it is, the Chapel of St Non's on the coast of Pembrokeshire. There is something about this painting, it is so calm, solid and reassuring. It is even better in real life and I would have been happy to have kept it for a little longer....




Wednesday, 3 June 2020

What day is it?

So the worst thing about the fact that I didn't blog on Monday or yesterday is the fact that I didn't even notice.

Oops.

Monday was busy with architecture work and posting puzzles and online Zumba.

Tuesday was busy with enjoying the sunshine and making the most of being able to meet up with 6 people outside with social distancing.

Wednesday has been more posting, this time a print and a painting, more online Zumba and then art admin and realising I have forgotten to blog. 

The commission painting on Sunday was a success, that is the painting that has left the building today and I will share with you tomorrow. It has been put online everywhere now and Etsy has been tidied up which were the things I needed to sort for today. I also took work in progress pictures of this painting so I am hoping to put a 30 second or so video together of this one to share across the board.

Assuming I don't forget at least....

My to do list is growing......




Sunday, 31 May 2020

I'm awake! Or am I?

Is blogging slipping? I missed Wednesday and Friday's post last week. I don't know why but I feel like I have been hit by a bus at the moment. I am not sure if this is flu /virus leftovers or what. I am hoping I will have taken it easy enough this weekend to recover.

I am tired though, so, so, so, tired. I fell back to sleep this morning and dreamt of karate, and pasta shapes between toes and spilt soup. Yes, I have no idea either.

I am making up for some lack of blogging time today, as I have some art admin I need to catch up on. I am anticipating a busy start to next week so I thought I would pre-prep a few things to make my life easier. My puzzles arrived yesterday so I have put them back for purchase on my website and Etsy. I have wrapped two up to post tomorrow and updated my print list as I sold two small prints yesterday. I have also typed up my invoices and expenses so hopefully everything is now up to date. This afternoon / evening will be commission painting time so I need to clear my head and find some energy to give that my all. I have also just remembered I need to take one of the small prints offline on Etsy as I have sold out. I will be putting an order in with my mount supplier and my print supplier shortly. It seems like every time I make art money, I spend it. I assume at some point I will have everything I need and then I can actually make a profit for a while. Sometimes art seems like an expensive 'hobby'.

But things are ticking over; the odd favourite here and there, a small sale, a new painting, even a bit of architecture work! It all seems good. Just tiring.

Wake me up before you go-go.

Thursday, 28 May 2020

House Mask

Yesterday seemed to pass me by in a blur, and I must admit today has done much the same. My blogging platform has updated itself as well so I am currently trying to relearn what the buttons mean and where everything is. I am worried by how long it took me to find the button to start a new post. It doesn't bode well.

Artmajeur is still ticking over, I have 607 image views now, one follower and two likes. I am not going to lie, the conversion rate here is terrible. It may well take a lot of views per item of feedback but at least I am supposedly reaching a lot of people. That can only be a good thing right? 

I also finally have confirmation that my ordered puzzles are on their way. They were meant to have arrived on the 22nd of May, but I am assuming that they caught Covid-19 and got delayed. They should be here on the 2nd of June, just in time for perfect weather and socialising to begin with the loosening of the lock-down. I may not be selling anymore puzzles for a while!

But anyway, belatedly as promised, my new painting....! Bizarrely this is a painting that I first thought about creating in September but seems much more apt now. I have an inspiration photo of it on my phone, during the ninth month of the year, as the light was streaming in. I was perfectly relaxed, feet up, cup of tea in hand, optimistic orange ahead, sun, blue skies and warmth. The photo was of..... my living room window, blue skies against orange wall and a view I endlessly look at. Even more so recently as I have spent more time in the flat than I think I have ever done before. It seems strange to think I have spent 8 weeks in the same place, allowed out for an hour-ish a day. 

Home is where the heart is I guess, although I still feel like my heart needs to roam (thank you Travis).




   

Tuesday, 26 May 2020

263-44 is WOWSERS!

Ironically since I have been blogging every day, people have stopped reading my posts. I guess I must be too boring. Although I suppose maybe time is factored in, the posts I wrote before I started doing them everyday must be three or so months old by now so I guess they are bound to have more views. I kind of like the thought that I can have a public brain purge and no one will see it (except my Mum). I like to keep some cards close to my chest so I never leave myself too vulnerable. You have to have some air of mystery, so you can always be a surprise! I don't think anyone will ever know me well enough to get bored.

At least that is the plan.

I am on an upload-athon today. I am putting my paintings for sale onto Artmajeur and Saatchi Online. Apparently on Artmajeur you can upload as many paintings as you like and they just take a cut if you sell anything. If you pay the £4.50 a month the commission rate is reduced. I think I will leave it to see if I sell anything first and then make a judgement call. Saatchi Online just works on the principle of taking a 30% or so commission on painting sales which keeps it easy.

I figure the more places I am online, the more chances there are that I will reach someone that wants to buy a painting, in theory. Plus, if I blog frequently, keep my social media up to date and my news page pointing out when I sell things I should look both successful and professional and therefore, a potentially sound artistic investment. Which I should point out is true.

I was going to only upload a few paintings a day as then you reach a wider selection of people following the 'new' or 'latest' sections. Since I have been doing a painting a week I have managed to get ten or so new Artfinder followers after my numbers have been stuck for months. I have learned that consistency is everything. There is so much information around that you have to constantly remind people that you are there. It is the easiest way to attempt to grab some limelight. I realised though, that I can also upload my artwork for prints, so in that respect, I may well be uploading art on these two sites for months.  Apparently I have 263 paintings in my high resolution computer folder. Although only 44 of them are currently up for sale.

Oh. My. God.

When did that happen!?!?

Monday, 25 May 2020

Balance

So it looks like I forgot to blog on Friday. I did actually notice this on Friday but I decided I would blog today instead, which technically should be a day off where it is a bank holiday.

I managed to paint over the weekend, so I will have a new painting to share tomorrow. This one took a few days to do, mostly because I decided to start it at 10pm on Friday which is late even for me.

I have some feedback from Artmajeur already as they said my 3 uploaded paintings have had 76 views. That seems quite good as I only put them up on Thursday so it might be worth pursuing. I have had no followers yet though, which is possibly not a good sign. Trying to get followers all the time across about a thousand different media platforms is quite hard work. I know I am not good with my social media content as I am too private and don't particularly like sharing my thoughts all the time, she says writing a thought-purge filled blog post. I need brain space to paint though, writing my thoughts down helps me get this space, whereas prepping social media posts uses it up. I guess everything is about balance. My current balance is trying to work out how I can earn more money from all the things I am doing, so that everything works a bit harder, and if art starts earning me more, maybe I can progress to doing just that. Having just one work focus, sounds relaxing....

Brainstorming hats on!


Thursday, 21 May 2020

Colourism

I had one of my classic 'head being cleaved in half' headaches yesterday. Too much sun possibly? But it has made me feel a bit like a hungover version of myself today. I am still trying to decide whether to belatedly do my sun salutations or just leave them for today.

Sometimes I think caring less would be a massive plus.

On the plus side it has meant I have sat at my desk today and uploaded all of my cushions and prints onto Etsy and uploaded 3 paintings for sale on Art Majeur. It turns out Art Majeur has the same rate of commission as Artfinder, except that you can pay £60 per year to reduce it. I can add either three or ten paintings to the free basic package (I haven't worked that bit out yet) to start, so seeing how that progresses first seems like a good plan. 

Interestingly one question that is always asked when you are uploading an item for sale is what style it is. I always struggle with this question because what is my style? I normally opt for the cop out option of Impressionism or Expressionism, but I am not really sure if it is these or not? Apparently heightened use of colours would class it more as Fauvism, but my colours are not exactly unrealistic, just enhanced. I feel like I am either missing the point with what style they are or I need to create my own term. Perhaps something like Colourism?

Sounds like a winner to me. 

Wednesday, 20 May 2020

Apply Liberally

I spent too much time in the sun yesterday so I am like my own personal furnace today. This is not particularly helpful when it is already 27/28 degrees outside. The moral of the story here is suntan lotion, applied liberally.

I have finally finished uploading my prints onto Etsy this afternoon and added my first cushion. I will add some more of those either in a minute or tomorrow. My painting has been safely delivered to my parents and is probably being put on the wall as we speak.

Nothing much else has happened. I have put off some life admin, spent a lot of time thinking about food, danced at Zumba, and had the daily walk. After the excitement of all the extra page followers, the commission competition and the sales I have had recently it seems a bit dull now. That said, I do have a new follower on Artfinder and one of my paintings is currently sitting in someone's shopping basket. Let's hope they check it out soon.

Fingers crossed!

Tuesday, 19 May 2020

Lockdown Positives

So. 30 sun salutations means I ache the next day. I did 30 again this morning but must admit my shoulders were giving up on me by round 25. It does feel like it is back to having detoxing properties though so I am all for that first thing in the morning.

I don't seem to be doing a good job of getting through my art list this week. Today looks busy so I might not get much done today either but I will try and put some more bits up on Etsy at some point. In the meantime, I put my new painting online across the board yesterday and it got a relatively good response. People seem to be seeing hope and positivity in this painting. It is interesting, I feel a bit as though I am on a dark painting, light painting oscillation at the moment. I wonder if that is anything to do with the emotional frustration of lockdown. Some days it is nice to have time to myself and no interruptions and quiet outside. Sometimes I am more lonely, I want to see friends, I want to go out and I can't see how it will all end. Swings and roundabouts on almost a daily basis. Either way it is noticeable that I am more peaceful after painting, and more stable. Since lockdown has started my blood pressure has lowered, and my resting heartbeat is getting lower and lower. Less stress because things have slowed down and some pressures have been released? Or more relaxed because I finally have some time to paint which is something I had been missing recently? Who knows. All I know is the more I paint, the more I want to paint, and the more ideas are slowly starting to form. I have another commission to do shortly, for my competition winner, but I also have another idea in my head that I will need to start soon. It has been rumbling around for a week or two now so I think it is time for it to come out!

Here is the newly birthed 'happy' painting until we get to see what the next one will be....



Monday, 18 May 2020

Monday-n

So, just another manic Monday, except that this one seems pretty chilled thus far.

I have stepped up my sun salutations this morning to a round of 30, lets see if that starts to hurt later.

I also managed a painting over the weekend, and found homes for all my packaging supplies, except for the giant roll of bubble wrap, that is still pending. I even managed to fit my last remaining blank canvasses into the cupboard. It is nice not to see them at the end of the entrance hall (read: corridor) for a change.

I also took a stock take of the canvasses that I currently have, I am starting to run out of quite a lot of them. The problem with ordering more, is that I need to put them somewhere. I really need to sell a lot of the paintings I have already done, or find somewhere that I can show them for a while. There are only so many places I can put things, and the cupboards are already bursting.

Never mind.

I am packing up the latest painting today as it is a commission for my parents. They had a specific space in the living room, in between two of my other paintings, so I needed to create something to bridge the gap, which I have just about managed! 

Lets hope I can manage some more paintings this week, or at least clear some bits off my Etsy to do list. 

Friday, 15 May 2020

What's for Dinner?

Its funny, architecture work really does decimate my art brain. I guess they are similar enough that they both use up the same mental resources. I find with most things that art thoughts can still rumble in the background when I am doing something else. I guess architecture uses my creativity up for the day.

But no matter. I have finished the work now and it is Friday! The rest of the day is dedicated to deciding what to eat this evening and thinking about what to paint over the weekend.

Hopefully next week will see me ticking off some Etsy and website related things. I guess, especially at the moment, there is no rush with these things....

Thursday, 14 May 2020

That's a Wrap

I seem to be a bit erratic this week.

No sun salutations this morning as I seem to have hurt my ankle. I might try them later or do some press ups instead, she writes knowing she is more likely to sit on the sofa and eat cake.

But at least a blog post today which is better than yesterday. Yesterday was a life admin day, although I did draw my commission competition. It looks like I will be painting St Non's Chapel in Pembrokeshire which should be fine. I was a bit worried about drawing out some of the commission requests as they were a bit out of my speciality! Although I equally always like a challenge.

I actually have some 'real' work to do today but I am hoping it won't take all day so I can add some more prints onto to Etsy and then possibly add the cushions on as well. My cushion supplier is starting production back up today so I can offer them again and they seem like something that may well sell on Etsy. We shall see how much time I have.

In other news an enormous roll of bubble wrap has arrived and I have no idea where I am going to put it.

I think that is a wrap. Boom, boom!

Wednesday, 13 May 2020

Oops

Today, I have completely forgotten to write a blog post.

The End.

Tuesday, 12 May 2020

Drawn

A late post today, and no, it isn't because I have only just got up. I have just done things round the wrong way, or rather a different way today.

Sun salutations were completed, as was a puzzle I started on Sunday, a walk was taken, lunch was cooked, packaging supplies were re-homed, a ton of washing up was done, my new painting put online and a Zumba class was organised for tonight. I have had a much more productive afternoon than I anticipated. 

All, much more relaxing than yesterday. Yesterday, I took my flat apart trying to find a water leak. My water bill has been enormous recently but I couldn't work out why. Helpfully South East Water checked my meter and poked a note through my door saying they suspected there was a leak on my  property somewhere with a leaflet on how I could fix it.

Well thanks.

Fortunately after locating my meter outside, turning off my water supply and then taking apart the cistern innards of my toilet, cleaning it and ordering a replacement washer seems to have solved the problem. I now feel like I can add plumbing to my list of living on my own skills. I am going to pretend I can at least.

So no art happened yesterday except for the posting of my final in stock puzzle, but today is new painting day so that should make up for it. There is not much for me to say about this painting. I feel like it is relatively self explanatory. It is literally just a depiction of how I was feeling on Saturday evening..... answers on a post card, or rather a canvas....



Monday, 11 May 2020

Lock-down Fatigue

It doesn't seem to matter how well things are going at the moment. Trying to maintain a mood in lock-down is rather difficult. I seem to be on a good day / bad day rotation; Positive one second, disheartened the next. Impressed with productivity one minute and then defeated.

It is quite tiring.

Apparently I am not alone in feeling this way and it is supposedly a symptom of lock-down fatigue.

Whatever that is.

But *insert kick up the backside here* I think it is important not to worry too much, and if I am less productive on one day than another it doesn't really matter.

I did a good job on Saturday of painting a new painting (there will be more about that tomorrow). My Facebook page has just reached 550 likes, I sold the last puzzle, my packing boxes and bubble wrap arrived this morning and I have had an architecture enquiry.

Realistically things are good. Now if I could just persuade my mind to believe me.....

Friday, 8 May 2020

Spring Cleaning or lack of.

I am still trying to decide about whether to join Artmajeur or not. It seems as though they may take commission but I can't seem to find any proper details. It may be a case of joining the free version and seeing what that entails and then judging whether to upgrade to a paying package or not.

I am not very focused today so maybe I will put it on my decision pile for next week. Next week is going to be chilly again apparently so it may be easier to sit at my desk and work. After the excitement of setting up my Facebook competition and all the puzzle sales, the rest of this week has seemed a bit flat.

I have also inherited my Mother's 'seasons are changing' disorder, which means I am restless and feel like I need to leave or throw my flat in the bin. I guess you would call it the Spring cleaning urge except I don't want to clean.

I think it is going to be one of those days today.

Thursday, 7 May 2020

Cheating

I cheated this morning as I didn't do my sun salutations. I am sure I will feel guilty about this later, but I hurt. My legs, arms, back, basically everything.

Hurt.

So I decided I would have a bit of a break. I may well end up doing them later on today, but I would at least have given my muscles a chance to warm up throughout the day.

Uh-oh, hopefully this isn't the start of the routine starting to break. For some reason this week I am super, super tired and exhausted. Too much of something I am sure, or not enough. I am the first person to keep pushing myself when I need a rest though so I am trying to do a better job of listening to my body. One day off might be enough to recharge and save me a week off later.

I have sold a total of 8 puzzles now. I wish I had more stock, but I have now ordered in the next batch. Still just one of each item as it seems too risky to bulk buy any more. Who knows how long this customer love of puzzles will last.

Today will be delivering a puzzle, keeping an eye on and promoting my facebook competition and maybe putting some prints on Etsy. I also found another art site called Artmajeur that might be worth selling on. They take no commission and just have monthly fees to sell online of £4 seems like it could be worth a look. I have a good amount of paintings to put up at the moment!



Wednesday, 6 May 2020

Let's be Fronds

I feel like writing these everyday is turning me into Bridget Jones, but without the drama, alcohol, cigarettes or interest.

Let's hope that is not the case! After sharing my puzzles on Facebook I managed to sell 4 more of them, actually make that 5, as I've just this second sold another one. So I definitely do need to restock now. I think I am going to buy a 1000 piece puzzle as a present to myself, obviously with a view to trying out the merchandise before I offer them online. Honest.

I have also just put my competition online to win a commission piece as after reaching 524 page likes I am well over the 500 target I set. I have already had some unusual requests so I hope I don't regret making the entry such a loose thing. Some of these could be rather tough paintings to do. Oh well, a challenge is as good as a rest apparently. If you would like to enter, you can click on the link here.

And finally, as belatedly promised, a bit about my new painting that was completed last Friday evening. This one was a slower one for me to like than the last few as it didn't really turn out how I had half planned. I had intended to paint the rain, as it had been raining all week but for some reason it has come out more like either snow, or sunlight dappling the leaves. I'll let you decide which resonates with you:


Although I think for me, it does probably still feel like rain, warm summer rain when you can smell the humidity in the air.

Either way it has grown on me so I am glad I left it for a few days to escape the covering over of black paint, reserved for paintings that aren't going to plan.

Lastly my limited edition print boxes have just arrived and I need to find a space for them to live. They are enormous, so I hope I haven't miss- sized them.

I'll let you know tomorrow.....


Tuesday, 5 May 2020

Puzzling

So you may need to tune in tomorrow to hear about the new painting. I unexpectedly sold a puzzle yesterday so I need to sort posting that out and I want to take a few promotional photos to post on Facebook to remind people that I sell puzzles.

Bizarrely the sale came around because there was a note on Etsy suggesting that artists print their work onto puzzles to sell as they are in demand at the moment. As I already sell puzzles I thought I would add the 6 I have online. I wasn't really anticipating instant success but I am glad I did upload them. This now just begs the question of restocking. I usually only have one or two of each thing in stock at any one time. So I need to replace this puzzle, but the question is, how many to buy? It is always a risk, or maybe I should say investment trying to decide what to have to hand. I always try to buy from my stockists when they have a special offer on as well otherwise I will never make any money. There is 40% off at the moment so now could be a good time to buy.

Decisions, decisions.

Monday, 4 May 2020

Busy.

Now it feels like Monday - we meet again.

Hopefully this week will drag slightly less than last week did. I already feel like it will be a more productive week though so here is to hoping. I managed a new painting on Friday evening and put it online yesterday as I was too lazy to be persuaded to go for my daily constitutional. Packaging supplies are arriving tomorrow and Wednesday and 'Norman Gate' is being picked up by my courier today.

Busy, busy.

I also started a competition on Facebook. The first phase was to get to 500 page likes with the promise of subsequently running a competition to win a commission. I started at 447, and now I am already on 518! So the plan will be to get that sorted this week.

In other news it will just be putting my remaining prints up on Etsy, learning SEO if that is possible and working on my website hit rate and mobile site.

That sounds like more than enough for this week. Tune in tomorrow to hear a bit more about the new painting! Until then!


Friday, 1 May 2020

Gran Turismo

Hello Friday, we meet again.

The Cardigans Gran Turismo album is playing as I write this today. Just enough, dark twisty melody to suit my mood. This should bode well for putting me in the painting zone either this evening or at the weekend. The best thing about having all this time is that when I don't know what to do, I paint. I remember reading a book by Austin Kleon that said to be a successful artist you needed to be antisocial. I guess you need to treat painting like a best friend, and make time to see / do it.

A lock-down silver lining. 

I was productive yesterday, I put 16 or so prints onto Etsy, figured out I need to try and make the mobile version of my website work properly, and sold a painting! I had been looking at trying to make an independent mobile website but I think it will be too complicated and cost too much. I think, if I am clever, I should be able to make the one I already have more user friendly, although it may involve rejigging some of the pages I have already set up which will time consuming. It will be worth it though. Just as well I have a lot of time at the moment!

But more importantly, another painting sale! The big question is, is selling this a coincidence or because I have been a lot more art focused recently? That is a million dollar question. It always makes me wonder if I would be more successful if I devoted my time entirely to painting and self promotion. I still might have a few weeks to try and find out. In the meantime though I need to go and package up 'Norman Gate' which has been safely hanging on my wall for quite a while.


I guess I had better paint, or find something else to hang it its place. I should really get on and order some more packaging boxes too as it seems like I might need them...

Have a good weekend everyone!


Thursday, 30 April 2020

Dinner

This week really does seem to be dragging. Hopefully my painting is arriving at hospital today and I did manage to put one print up on Etsy yesterday. This is good as it basically means the template is done so it will be much easier for me to start adding the rest, which will be today's treat.

I don't even know what would help today. Is lockdown too much? Do I need to have a friend over? Go to the pub? Go to a different town? See my family? Get drunk? Paint? Have a spa day day? Go to the Cinema? Go out for dinner?

All such simple pleasures that would be ridiculously good right now. Going out for dinner with friends. Now that I have said it. That is what would help!

One day. In the meantime, I had better fire up Etsy and pretend that is going to earn me some money!


Wednesday, 29 April 2020

Paddington

It seems strange that I have managed to keep up my new routine so well until this week. I still got up for Zumba, and then went for a walk in the almost rain, the early routine and blog post is just slipping a little. Maybe I will do a better job tomorrow.

My NHS inspired lockdown painting has just been collected and is now on its way to North Middlesex Hospital for them to hang in their staff well being room and brighten up the situation a little. Bizarrely I feel a bit worried about this one going, what happens if it gets lost on the way or isn't looked after when it arrives? Donating a painting is very different to selling one. When it has been sold you know it is wanted, when it is donated you are sending it out like Paddington with a 'Please look after this bear' sign attached. But I am sure it will be fine, it is a positive painting and was created for this situation so it should all be perfect.

Worry mode seems to be engaged today. This could also be because I need to go food shopping. Out of all the lockdown things we have to do, it seems to be shopping that I like the least. I don't even know why. I shall probably feel ten years younger once it is done.

Maybe then once I get back, I can finally put some prints up on Etsy. Productivity doesn't seem to be my strong point this week.


Tuesday, 28 April 2020

A White Tree in the Chaos

Today seems like a less enthusiastic day. Whether that is because it is raining, because yesterday was too good, or because I am tired and stiff I wouldn't like to say.

Sun salutations for the day are done although, admittedly without the sun but never mind. They are getting easier but I am still surprised by how stiff I am in the morning and how fatigued my muscles are. They are making a serious toning difference though, I can see muscles returning that I had forgotten I once had. I feel like I am onto a secret here!

In other news one of the online galleries I belong to has set up a scheme to provide art for hospital well being rooms. I have just emailed them to offer my global pandemic painting (which is a more positive picture than it sounds) if they want it! Fingers crossed they will. I like the thought of it being able to help to bolster people up a little!

I also managed to produce a new painting at the weekend. This one was a 'make it up as you go along' type thing. I had decided I wanted to try a different method to produce the background of the piece of work; A drip technique reminiscent of Jackson Pollock. I also had the thought of shooting stars in my mind as we had just had ten days of them flying overhead. So the background was supposed to be a milky way, dark, star filled kind of background. It didn't turn out like this at all. It was a muted, soft, colourful collaboration of serenity and peace, that shouted daytime. Cue a rethink. After sitting with the work for a while it was shouting at me to paint a white tree over the top of it, so that is what I did, and here is the finish piece. I am in love with all the colours in the background, and could sit looking at it for hours.


I have also heard back already that they are happy for me to send my painting to North Middlesex University Hospital, so that has cheered me up no end. Maybe today will be a good day after all!


Monday, 27 April 2020

Afternoon!

I am not going to even pretend I am keeping to time today as it is 3pm.

Oops.

I did get up and salute the sun, but then it was sunny so I decided to rush out for a walk this morning in anticipation of rain for the next few days. On my return I was starving and had a call from a friend. Hence my lateness.

Today feels unproductive thus far, although 'Crackle' has been picked up by my courier and I have marked up my print list and checked stock levels of my packaging supplies. Turns out I just need some mid sized painting delivery boxes and I am tempted to source some limited edition print packaging.

I did manage a new painting on Saturday, so my mission this afternoon is to put that online and then I can blog about it tomorrow. Afterwards it will be time to plod through putting all my prints on Etsy which I am sure won't be fun, but hopefully might earn me a few more pennies! Fingers crossed.

I guess that is it for today! I hope you had a good weekend.

Friday, 24 April 2020

Friday

And somehow it is Friday again.

Everything hurts this morning, so I am glad the sun salutations are done, zumba is done and I have an exercise free (other than walking) weekend.

I actually did very little yesterday except enjoy the sunshine. It was a lovely day. I will be making up for it today by trying to do the things I didn't do yesterday. It also looks like the weather is going to turn from Monday onwards, so I may just make the most of the sunshine whilst it is here and then work harder next week in the rain.

I also need to think of a new painting to do at the weekend if I can. I can already feel my mind is wandering today though, so I fear productivity may not be high on the list.

Thursday, 23 April 2020

Crackle

I am even later this morning but that is because of good news. I put my new painting online and up for sale yesterday and had to take it down again this morning as I sold it! 

That is my kind of productivity. 

Today seems like it should be a good day, the sun is shining, I have some general admin to do, I need to prep my painting for delivery and update my print stock list so I know which Limited Edition number I am on and what I need to order as and when I run out. I think I also need to order some more packaging supplies or at least check what I have. It might be time to set up a stock list of that as well; I am like my own personal shop. 

But anyway, a bit more about my new painting as I have just created and sold it. It is obviously just as well I abandoned the piece I was working on to paint something that had more feeling and felt more in tune with the current climate and myself. The idea came about after talking to a friend who noticed and purchased my tornado print 'Sucks' a couple of days previously. I painted 'Sucks' when I was angry, and I mean, really, really angry. It reminded me how therapeutic it was to get all of that anger and frustration out onto a canvas, and although I wasn't angry at the weekend, I did feel very emotional. I feel like lock-down kind of slowly builds up on you until you need a release, and with everything else that has been going on, I really needed to get rid of that pent up whatever it was. So cue, looking for some powerful weather, which I decided needed to be lightning, and then turned into a lightning strike cleaving the sky above Toronto in two. 

 
And bam, here it is. It did the job. For a few blissful hours I switched off and lost myself in the colours and the process. I already feel like I am good to go for the next painting, although I am unsure what that will be of at the moment. This painting is now called 'Crackle' for that static electrical build up you feel just before the storm starts, and for that first burst of energy that accompanies the first big rumble of thunder. I feel it sums up everything. 

 
  

Wednesday, 22 April 2020

Bread and Butter

I am doing everything round the wrong way this morning as I didn't get up in time to have breakfast before Zumba.

This is highly exciting stuff! Sigh.

I mostly managed to finish my Limited Edition Print making session yesterday, but I didn't quite have that peaceful satisfaction of finally achieving my goal. This was because when I ordered the mounting supplies I obviously lost the ability to add up and didn't order enough. I have five prints left over. The main goal has been achieved though as I now have at least one of all prints currently up for sale, so I can start adding them onto Etsy.

I realised yesterday that it is nice that my architecture work is currently on hold. It feels good to just use my focus to concentrate on one thing, and it has also made me realise that I do like the art side of things best, without a shadow of a doubt. Losing the will to live halfway through last year made me doubt everything I was doing as I was so dissatisfied. But this brief break of a better routine and actually managing to motivate myself to do some of the things I have had to put off for ages has made me realise, that art, should never be in doubt. I need it. More than I realised. Since I managed to paint on Saturday I feel almost a thousand times calmer and better.

Art is my medicine, and I think it hurt me that I lost it. Mentally and physically.

If only I could make it my bread and butter. Then life would be perfect. 

Tuesday, 21 April 2020

The Print Machine

So I have come to the conclusion that I will be able to stick to the sun salutations part of my new routine but maybe not my 'early' start time, as I have been getting later and later. I need to try and go to bed a bit earlier tonight before my day shifts back again. I am hoping it is just a temporary blip due to late night painting on Saturday and then too much Zumba.

Speaking of too much Zumba, I seem to have pulled a muscle in my lower back, backside which made the sun salutations this morning rather difficult! I am glad I will have a rest day from them tomorrow.

Art progress wise, I managed to make 24 small limited edition prints yesterday, and I have 24 left to do. That seems like something I should be able to finish today, and then I can get onto promoting my new painting. I keep thinking it is impressive how this new routine is helping me stick to completing the tasks I set myself each day. But then I remember it is because I have no interruptions, no sudden work, no friends randomly popping by and no unexpected events. I guess lock-down is good for predictability and productivity assuming my focus is in the building!



I hope you all have a good day. See you tomorrow! 


Monday, 20 April 2020

Footnote

And another long (feeling at least) weekend passes. Saturday was a bit of a struggle as I woke up without my marbles, I must have left them under the pillow. I would like to take this moment to thank my Mum for dealing with me whilst I was looking for them. Sorry Mum!

One positive of the marble losing debacle was that it finally put me in the need to paint frame of mind, so paint I did! I have aborted the half started painting temporarily, and focused on painting something that would be therapeutic for me. It did the trick and I slept really well afterwards. Also more importantly it gave me a couple of hours of blissful preoccupation. No thinking. No analysing. No worrying. Just colour. I think it is fair to say I got properly engrossed, especially as I managed to make this happen:


Making this much mess is an achievement even for me! I think it was just what I needed though, so I am hoping it will have broken my painting block.

Today's mission, is either to put my new painting online or keep making my prints. All the large ones are made now but I still have quite a few small ones left to do.

Also: note to self; trying to do sun salutations after a two hour Zumbathon session for the NHS yesterday is not a good idea. Everything already aches, and I think it is only going to get worse!   


Friday, 17 April 2020

Steady

So I didn't make as many limited editions yesterday as I had hoped but I did make some. The mounting supplies are being delivered in an hour or so, so I hope that means I can finish making them all today, but that will depend on how disciplined I am!

The sun salutations have had their usual calming effect this morning and I can surprisingly already see that they are toning me up. My arms especially are beginning to show a difference.

It will be time for Zumba in a moment, and hopefully all this exercise will make me happy to sit on the floor for the rest of the day assembling prints.

Thursday, 16 April 2020

Positivity

So I actually did put my Maidenhead Clock Tower up for sale on Etsy and started making some limited edition prints.

What? Are you saying you actually did what you said you would do?!? Well, goodness gracious me!

I also found out I sold two prints over the weekend on my US sites; one of the Budapest Parliament building and the other of the Oslo Opera House. Look at all this positivity! What is going on? I have also already completed my 20 sun salutations, rather badly as my arms are still sore, but shush, and I feel ready to tackle my day!

This seems silly, was that all I have needed to do all this time? Get up and do some sun salutations!?!? I wish I had known this earlier, but I'll take it. More of this please.

Wednesday, 15 April 2020

Progress

I am trying to decide whether I regret saying I would write a blog post every day. Maybe I should have said I would write a blog post, a social media post, or put something up for sale on Etsy.

I guess I can always change the parameters.

So yes, a bit late today; Early Zumba always seems to wipe me. It is only half an hour earlier than the class on Friday morning but that seems to make all the difference. I am stiff in my shoulders and arms from the yoga yesterday as well. But on the plus side, I was actually productive yesterday; I did some banking, some admin, tidied and backed up my computer, went for a walk, sorted out my limited edition prints and ordered some more mounting supplies.

Boom.

Today, I am going to start assembling the large prints and put my Maidenhead Clock Tower framed prints up on Etsy for sale, and then maybe painting time? Who knows.

Looks like the looooooooooong restful weekend was good for me.

Tuesday, 14 April 2020

Happy Easter?

The Easter weekend has been and gone and it felt like a long one, and not necessarily in a good way. I decided to have a break from art and try and relax and get my head back in a more peaceful artistic state. I am not entirely sure it has worked but it was good to take the pressure off feeling like I need to make the most of this time and churn out some work.

Ironically I do feel like I need to paint today, but possibly not paint the picture I have already started. I am tempted to put than to one side for the moment and start on something different. The original picture I chose to paint, just feels like the wrong subject to be tackling at the moment, so I think I need to succumb and just paint something else. I will see how this day progresses.

On the plus side it felt good to get back to my routine this morning and get up and do some sun salutations. I managed 20 this morning. I also made the mistake of weighing myself. Highly un-recommended but it is another bit of me that I need to tackle. I am in no way overweight or unhealthy but I have a condition that is dependent on my weight, and whilst I look fine, it would be good to be at least half a stone, if not more, lighter.

It is debatable at the moment, whether taking on all these tasks in one go, will be too much. But I have a real chance to get into some healthy habits over the next few weeks, so I will kick myself if I don't at least try! Here is to hoping.

Stay well everyone.

Friday, 10 April 2020

Focus

Zumba is half an hour later this morning, which has seemingly given me enough time to get up, do my yoga, have breakfast and write this post before I need to start. Seems successful.

I attempted to finish my painting yesterday, which I didn't quite manage but I have worked it up some more, so it is a bit closer to being complete. I am not wonderfully happy with it at the moment, but it feels like, by this point, that I just need to get through it. I am always too harsh as well so I am sure it will be fine once the finishing touches are in place.

Bizarrely as well as my body remembering its yoga poses my fingers seem to be remembering how to type quickly. I didn't realise how out of practice with everything I have become. I think endlessly self motivating to get up and work and get underway is progressively draining. I have slowly been losing my focus for a long time and last year definitely pushed me over the edge. Set back after set back is ok for a while as long as you get a break at some point. Recently though it seems like every time something good might be happening it goes wrong, and I have to start again. I can believe and have faith most of the time; I am positive and I work hard, but there comes a point when even the most resolute start to doubt what they are doing. I am on this page at the moment. Lost and directionless. I know the answer is within me, I just need to push the negativity and the tiredness and the doubt to the side and dig it out.

What is it that you really want to do?

Thursday, 9 April 2020

A bit of Zen

So I think I have discovered that this regime may be ok to keep, the only problem at the moment is the start time but hopefully that will improve. I am not, and never have been, a morning person, although I do like early mornings when I manage to see them.

Yoga is such a zen way to start the day, I can see why people do it. I managed 15 sun salutations this morning as my body is starting to remember how to do them although my form is still terrible. I am hoping they will help sort my back out, as well as giving me a strange calm, holistic feeling to carry with me throughout the day. Here is to hoping.

I did manage to complete my admin paperwork and file my tax return yesterday so that is good. Now it is time to either start painting or make some limited edition prints, and hopefully not spend too long wistfully looking at the sunshine outside. 

Wednesday, 8 April 2020

Oops

I realise it is going to look like I massively failed this morning, and I guess I kind of did. 

I had an online Zumba class at 9am this morning, and I had intended to get up early enough to do the sun salutations beforehand. However I can already feel all my muscles aching from yesterday so I decided Zumba would be enough, and I'll do yoga tomorrow. I then completely forgot about writing a blog post and started my admin instead. Hence belatedly writing it now. 

So 'the plan' failed, but the productivity succeeded. So I guess, like yesterday, it is still a 50/50 success. 

  

Tuesday, 7 April 2020

Rock and Roll

It is definitely not as early as I hoped it would be. I am probably an hour earlier than normal, but an hour later than I wanted to be. So half a success, it was the first day though, so I guess I can ease myself in. The good thing is that it was a nice way to wake up. The sun salutations are quite uplifting and calming so I feel more focused than usual and ready to get under way. I haven't completed any sun salutations for a long time and it showed. I am beyond stiff, so I hope that will improve with regularity. I also only started with ten so I would like to build up to a lot more. 

I also realised that if I am writing a blog post everyday, these posts might get pretty boring, so I apologise in advance. I am not sure if much art will happen today. If it does it will either be making some limited edition prints or finishing off the half started painting.

The first task will be getting in a food shop for an isolating friend, and then maybe working on my Tax Return and setting up next years files.

It is all rock and roll here.

Monday, 6 April 2020

The Purge

So it seems as though I still have too much on my mind. It is sunny, but I need to stay indoors, I should do some exercise but my back hurts, online zumba is coming, but it will interrupt my work flow, I have a text, three texts, twelve texts. I have eaten too much cake. I need to go and queue for some food and the post office. I need to head out for some fresh air. People need to know I am OK, I need to check that they are OK. I need to earn some money somehow....

Oh.

My.

God.

I need to stop thinking. 

Please brain, just shut up for a moment. I started a painting yesterday and managed to paint the background before I decided I wasn't even vaguely in the right head space to get it done. It is propped up in the lounge patiently waiting for my head to clear.

So I have come up with a plan. I was going to say one that won't work as I keep coming up with these plans but I should be more positive. I can't self sabotage before I have even started. So are you ready?

I need to get up EARLIER.

I am going to do some yoga sun salutations to start the day. Focused breathing.

Then breakfast and a shower.

Start the working day with a blog post and a brain purge to maybe start emptying whatever the hell my head is full of.

And then go, be free and do my day with no routine. But it has started well, and it has started an hour or two ahead of where I normally am. 

So that doesn't sound too bad. I feel like I can do this. I have the next few weeks of no work to make this my new way to attack the day, and I am writing it here to make it official. You can see whether it works or not by whether there is a blog post and at what time I posted it.

So come on. Lets do this. (and I'm having the weekends off, unless this routine makes me feel amazing)


Thursday, 2 April 2020

Covid-19

I managed to create my first post lock-down painting the other day and needless to say it was about the current situation we find ourselves in.

I tend to paint how I am feeling or what I have seen, which is why I often paint more after I have been on holiday or if the weather is strong. It needs to be something that slightly catches my attention. A perfect sunset, a particular light, a strong wind, a storm, an amazing building, a place I haven't been to before. I tend to switch my art brain off most of the time, otherwise it would drive me crazy (yes people that know me, this is why I am sometimes incredibly vacant) so when it is off, it needs to be something different that catches my eye to wake it up again.

Everything about now is different and it is accompanied by an information overload. Articles endlessly rehashed, the same four points said 600 times across every newspaper and social media outlet ever created. 'Experts' dredged out of cupboards with debatable references, saying one thing, saying the opposite of another. 20,000 people will die, 8,000 people will die, some are old, some are ill, some are young, the curve is flattening, we are heading to the same fate as Italy....

I mean seriously, just hold for a second. We need to wait. We need to stay at home, social distance and see what happens.

BREATHE

I am a positive person, personally negative possibly, but glass half-full minded with a dark sense of humour (before I have all my friends saying 'What? You? Positive?!) So out of everything I have seen and heard, my brain chose the following points:


  1. This is global and we are in it together.
  2. There are rainbows of hope and thanks to the NHS
  3. The NHS and the key workers are going to protect us, and we will look after them.
  4. The earth will win, and the virus will go. 
  5. Light/hope will overcome the dark/fear.  
At least this is what my brain has chosen to believe and to hear. So, with those points in mind, it should make this painting, pretty self explanatory....



Things will get better. 

Thursday, 26 March 2020

Lockdown

So I don't even know where to start with writing a blog post right now but I thought it would help purge a few things out of my system.

So I managed to complete my first painting of the year and the following two commissions, which were both due by last weekend, successfully. I will share posts about them later.

I also managed to successfully get the flu on the first day of March, which absolutely knocked me for 6, I am in fact still not totally over it which is starting to drive me crazy. It has also timed in with the end of the world as we know it, with the Covid-19 lockdown in the UK now in full swing. There is a chance my 'flu' may well have been the Coronavirus that is currently ravaging the world, I had all the symptoms, but I guess I will have a better idea of that when they bring out an immunity test.

It is literally crazy times at the moment. Needless to say all my architecture work is on hold and unlikely to resume anytime soon, so I was grateful to hear of the self employment package the government has put in place today. It will make a massive difference. I had intended to use this enforced break time wisely and catch up on my enormous art to do list and do some painting, but so far I am epically failing. I can't seem to persuade my mind to come back down to earth and focus, it is wandering, EVERYWHERE. I have prints I can make, I have a good stock of paint and canvasses, I need to make a mobile friendly version of my website somehow, and I want to put some prints up for sale on Etsy. So far though, I have been for a couple of solitary walks, spent a lot of time looking out of the window, and making cakes and cooking. I don't even particularly like cooking so don't ask me what is going on with that? Who knows, maybe in times of crisis I become a domestic goddess. Or a fat, cake filled person. One of those two things I am sure.

So anyway, brain, please come back and focus, I can't cope without you. Everyone else stay home, stay sensible, stay healthy, and be prepared for a glut of paintings from me. Hopefully! 

Sunday, 16 February 2020

Amorphous

So being insanely busy seems to be continuing. I currently have artwork and architecture work coming out of my ears!

I did manage to make a start on the first painting of the year last weekend, but then it went a bit pear-shaped, or I at least had an artistic tantrum and then painted over a big section of it. It is currently sat in my living room awaiting another attempt at sorting it out, which will hopefully be a bit later on today.

I also sorted out the sketch designs for another commission that is ongoing at the moment, and one of those designs has now been chosen so that is good. That will be the next painting if and when I manage to finish the one on the go at the moment.

Etsy seems to be coming into fruition already as well, as within a week of putting all my mugs online I have managed to sell one. Whether this was a fluke or a sign remains to be seen but either way it is a good start. I am hoping to put my limited editions up on the site for sale next if I ever get some time to sit down and work through it.

Speaking of sales, Amorphous has left the building this week and been re-homed just up the road from me. I am very happy this painting has now found a new home as it has always been a firm favourite of mine, and brings back fond memories of Big Sur, where the rock is. It is also the first painting I ever entered into the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition. I wasn't going to enter this year, but selling this, made me change my mind and keep trying to get in, maybe selling it is a sign? You never know when your time will come....


Wish me luck!