Art for the Joy of Making and Getting Out of the Blues

I haven’t been working for a few weeks now since my last contract ended.  Apparently there aren’t any admin jobs at the moment.  It is not too surprising since it is the end of the tax year and everyone is waiting to find out if their budget will accommodate temps.  So while I wait patiently for something to turn up, and it usually does, I need to be creative.  This winter was dire for me as the light was really bad for painting and I probably had one of the worst temp placements ever.  Usually the jobs are not that interesting, but the people tend to be great to work with and that can keep me going.  I had a six week placement that had no up side to it what-so-ever.  That is all I am saying.

So, what did I do?  I knitted myself a hat, scarf and gloves and started a set for my daughter.  I moved furniture around and had a bit of a clear out.  I went for walks with the dogs and the hubs.  I have been thinking about my life and hobbies and how to move forward.  This is what happens when I have a lot of free time on my hands.  I think about stuff.  Now that spring is here, my mood is more upbeat.  There is more light to the day.  The weather has generally improved.  I am still thinking about stuff, but I feel less stressed.  I like to try new things.  I will give things a go.

When I first moved from London, I went to an art class because I had the time and I wanted to try something new.  I discovered that I can draw and paint.  I may not be great at it, but I can do it and most of the time I enjoy the process.  I was really enjoying myself with it until someone suggested that I sell my stuff.  That’s the problem.  Just because someone makes the suggestion doesn’t mean that  you have to do it.  I think we just get flattered that the suggestion would even be made.  What we tend to forget is to ask the person who makes the suggestion if they would like to buy something and how much would they pay?  It’s great to have the suggestion, but are you willing to part with your cash?  And since everything is about money these days we forget why we are doing what we do in the first place.  I have read so many comments from people asking how much should they be selling their work for.   Art is subjective.  Ok, you do have to work out the cost of your materials to recoup that back, but what about your time and effort and creative process?  How do you put a price on that?  This then becomes a minefield.  Don’t charge too little as people won’t take you seriously.  Charge too much and people won’t buy it.  Either way, people are not buying.  And yet I still take online classes and I keep making things.  This happened with the furniture that I was painting.  People can paint their own furniture, so unless you live in the USA or London where people pay stupid money for upcycled furniture, it ain’t happening where I live.  People are tight here!  I don’t have time to go to craft or boot fairs as I generally work full time!

While going through my prints, I decided that most of them would make better cards.  I may or may not try to sell them as cards.  The main thing is that I had fun making them.  I tried to sell them as prints, but nada, nichts, nothing.  I looked at all of my 10×12 inch paintings and think I might try and sell them super cheap in one last ditch effort to make space on my walls.  I will give Etsy one more chance.  Some I will keep or give away.  Paintings for family is always free.  They just have to come to where I live to collect it or tell me what they want the next time I visit them.

I just started needle felting and I do love it.  I didn’t think I would like it so much.  People are already asking me if I will be selling my creations!  I didn’t start needle felting to make money from it.  I started needle felting as it intrigued me and it is a way of making a sculpture (or a painting) from wool.  I find it relaxing.  The upside is that it is not too messy!  I can make little critters as realistic as I want to and they will still be cute.  I used to have felted animals when I was a child and I thought I could get a head start on making some for potential grandchildren.  If someone wants to purchase anything I have made so far, contact me as I am open to offers.  Right now I am happy learning how to make cute things.  I am working my way up to making things with armatures.  I want to make my dogs.  I think that would be fun!  What is the price for having fun?!

So, what about painting?  I’ve done a few things so far this year and currently have a WIP, my biggest one yet.  Here is stage 1.

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And here is stage 2.

FullSizeRenderI am painting lupins loosely based on photos I took of the many lupins we saw in Bariloche in Argentina when we had our grown up gap year 5 years ago.  I stopped progressing it when I started the needle felting.  The painting is about 3×2 feet.  This has a long way to go yet.  I am sure there will be a lot of changes.

So, my plan is to continue how I originally started and to make stuff just for the heck of it or out of necessity, like the cushion covers I need to make for some pillows for the campervan.  Now that I made that decision, I feel so much better now.  Thanks for stopping by and if you have managed to read all of this, pat yourself on the back for getting through it and thanks for listening. 🙂

Making Cards

I previously wrote about my ‘unsuccessful’ prints.   What made them ‘unsuccessful’ was partly because the print didn’t come out well on the paper for framing and partly because they were blah.  So, I fixed them up and made them less blah.  In fact, some of them turned out really well.  Unfortunately they were still ‘unsuccessful’ because the print on the edges was messy or it didn’t register perfectly.  I still hung onto them as I thought I could still sell them as collage paper.  That never happened.  I mentioned that I went to a craft show in London and bought some card stock.  In fact, I have 150 blank cards, 6×6 inches.  These are the perfect size for my ‘unsuccessful’ prints as I made them on the 6×6 inch gelli-plate.  Yesterday I spent the afternoon cutting down my prints and made them into cards.  Guess what?!  They make great cards!

Downloads2This came about because I needed a nice card for a birthday.  My husband thinks I should pack them up and sell them in my Etsy Shop.  I am not sure about that as I haven’t been too successful selling anything on there.  But I am toying with the idea for Christmas Cards as I purchased  some stencils that I was wanting to make cards with. (That’s another blog post altogether.)

Once I had finished the cards above, I went through a bunch of what I thought were successful prints, but to me just seemed blah now, so I reworked some of those too and made them into cards.  I don’t think they are something I would want to sell, but I am getting a huge stash of cards that I would be happy to send out to family and friends.  Another good thing about that is that they are original and one of a kind, never to be repeated – and that my friends is the beauty of making monotypes.  So, instead of felting another sleepy animal, I spent the afternoon making cards, playing with paint and a glue stick.  Not a bad way to spend the afternoon!