Hanging The Cows One More Time


Okay so I made us have a picture taken. At the last exhibition supposedly a photo was taken of the three actually dressed for the event but it was never shared with us by the gallery. So here we are again in our everyday clothes. Carol Herden on the left, Barb McGee in the middle and then me of course. The work was hung on Monday and will be showing until the end of December at The Octagon Art Center’s ground level gallery.



The ground level gallery is a small space but quite lovely (when not cluttered with our packing debris.) I do plan to take photos during the reception which is December 3rd from 5-7 weather permitting. I’m the closest at a little over 2 hours drive time. Barb and Carol are around 3 so even a hint of foul weather may mean we won’t show. So here’s hoping for a lovely day to celebrate some cow art in Iowa.


That’ll do pig. That’ll do.


I Got Piggy Quotes Dancing In My Head

While working on my perky pig here I kept having various quote from Babe the movie in my head. Like “What a fine little pig” and “That’ll do pig. That’ll do”

So here we are all done. I may crop a little more off the right like 1/2 inch but probably not. Once I say I’m done I just move on. Literally. Once I declared The Happy Hog finito I started yet another little oinker. Which is probably gonna be the title of that one. She’s 11 1/2 x 15 1/2 inches and my usual mixed media on suede board.


So unlike most of my sneak peek posts this one I figured I’d let you know what I’m up to. The piece measures approximately 10×16 inches and is tentatively called The Happy Hog.

As to the last Sunday Sneak Peek painting you wonder? Well it didn’t quite make it to finish. I will post a start to finish of it but in the end it was so ridiculously cute I swear I got a cavity. Not my fault though, the animal itself was just that cute …


I am pushing myself a bit to create more and also giving myself permission to work on my art. I do tend to work on what pays the bills now over what pays the bills later. This means quite often my personal creative time gets set aside. What’s crazy about this is my images make up the bulk of my income so it is at least equally important to keep producing new and different works. So as of this week I give myself permission to work on my own art on Saturday and Sunday. Of course I can do so also during the week, but even when things get busy and deadlines need to be met, I will give myself the gift of the weekend.

So I am now quite often drawing out potential pieces while working on one or (gasp) sometime two at a time. This is new for me. I usually focus all of my intention on one painting at a time. So it feels good to stretch a little.

Which leads me to this bizarre looking critter. The board is about 12×16 though it’ll get cropped some to probably 10×14 inches. I plan to do a set of three and am working mostly on this but have begun the second as well and the sketch for number three being refined.

Leaving it a mystery as to what it is. Any guesses?


Big Red is not done … despite the fact that I signed it. I need to tweak the background and some of the feathers only have the base wash done. But I’m gonna set him aside for a bit and move on. The gallery work has been streaming in so time to shift focus for a bit. The colors are a bit blown out, particularly in his comb. I think I should have tried taking the photo in a shadier spot but you get the idea. It’s about a 13 1/2 x 18 piece but I am seriously considering cropping it some. See cropped version below. What do ya’ll think?


Funny How The Universe Works Some times

A few days after making the decision to do this little scheme of mine I was contacted by someone looking to license my work …

specifically farms animals …

specifically several of the animals on my short list including a rooster and pig (which I have drawn out) and an alpaca which just that day I’d selected a photo of an alpaca to do.

I find the timing fascinating.

95% Never Manifest

Now I’m certainly not counting my chickens before they hatch as it were (Geez … how many bad chicken puns do you think I can some up with) but the timing suggests I may be on to a good idea. Sort of the Universe’s way of saying “Yes, follow this idea.”

I am contacted weekly by people who look like they could be a potential money maker. We may exchange multiple emails, talk for weeks hashing out details, they are all excited and say they’re ready to progress and then … never hear from them again.

After an appropriate amount of time I may contact them asking if they plan to mover forward or if they no longer want to, well that’s okay, just let me know.

… (crickets) …

So if this licensing deal comes to fruition I will certainly let ya’ll know.

The Art Of Licensing

I have been asked many time to talk about licensing but never have. Partly because I don’t consider myself all that knowledgeable and partly because I have yet to find it hugely financially rewarding. But I’m going to make at least one blog post on the subject. It’s high time I get back to sharing real information on what it’s like being an artist.

Updated: Once again my poll seems to have gone missing. I’ve tried uploading again but it still isn’t showing. So here’s hoping the problem will resolve itself. I apologize if you came to vote and it’s gone. Dang it!


It’s been pretty quiet around here lately on my blog so launching a poll right now may not be the best timing, but since this is something I’m pondering right now regarding my own work … well … the timing is right for that. So here it goes …

Over the past decade or so I usually get asked multiple times a year (particularly when I’m doing an art fair) by various art centers and galleries if I’d like to exhibit with them. Up until recently I’ve always said no. My reason being

  • I don’t want to create a body of work I can’t sell for a year or longer. Sell now over sell later.
  • I sell my work easily enough at art fairs, most of the time I don’t have enough left over. Let alone for a themed exhibit.
  • I was doubtful it would be profitable.
  • Gallery folk quite often just aren’t “my tribe.”

But as you know I did begin accepting exhibition opportunities albeit turning them to themed group showings. I figured it wasn’t something I’d explored much, and since my art is my livelihood it seemed stubborn of me to assume it just wasn’t a venue in which I could make money. And thus “cowgirls” and now “Down On The Farm” were born.

I’d guess I’ve spent around $1500 on Cowgirls so far for framing.(and that’s cost since I have a frame shop)  Now it’s not like that money is lost. Truthfully any art I create I frame, but again … it’s money spent with no potential return on until the exhibit is over. There are other costs like the time and gas it takes for installation, receptions and tear down after the event which also need to be looked at.

In the end the “Cowgirls” show has been profitable but only because I’ve been selling prints and note cards of the new art at my usual venues. The two exhibits thus far have produced gas money at best. It doesn’t mean I’m quitting the idea. 2 exhibitions does not an informed decision make and that’s why I thought I’d ask you all.

BTW: The results of my last  poll were quite interesting. In the end it was almost a 50/50 split between the orange frame and the yellow frame with a handful of comments suggesting other color like green. Judging by my prints sales of that image with matting … yellow way out sells orange and green. In fact the only time I sell a different color is when the yellow is sold out. There was a total of 54 votes with 51.85% yellow and 48.15% for orange.

BigRedWIP3-1000Get it? Hatching … rooster. Ah,(sighs) I crack my self up. Ooh .. I did it again.

I have an artist friend, (Leonard Olson who makes all sort of wonderful and whimsical things from wood including this) who when the wind is blowing in the right direction, pops in the gallery from time to time to chat about marketing. After getting comfy on the couch he usually begins with a twinkle in his eye, occasionally rubbing his hands together and says “You wanna hear my latest scheme?” 

So Here’s My Latest Scheme

I’m stealing Leonard’s schtick and calling this latest inspiration a “scheme.” I plan to bundle one idea into multiple marketable plans of action. I am seriously considering having a booth as a vendor at the Iowa State Fair this coming year. It’s expensive and the days are gruelling (something like 7am-10ish at night for 10 days) Add on driving an hour each way well … if I’m gonna do it, I need to commit to it fully. It needs a big financial payoff for the amount of money and physical energy I’ll be putting in it.

My plan … more farm animals. I need to expand my offerings, Lord knows I’ve got the cows but I need chickens, pigs, goats and sheep… alpacas? I don’t plan to dress down my booth. It will be much like it is at art fairs with original work and such but I will come heavy with smaller items like small prints, cards and magnets. The plan is to make sets of like 3 or 4 images of chickens, pigs, horses etc. that I can bundle and market as print sets not to mention boxed card sets. The cowgirl card sets were very popular this year so why not take something that works and expand.

Expanding this idea’s marketing potential

Etsy is cracking right along but if I ever plan to have it be a real money maker for me I need more images. I have over 200 listings right now but like anything I do online I know to increase income means to increase quantity. More images plus more variety of critters is all good. My original goal was 250 listing by end of year. After that I’ll work toward 500 then 800.

Lastly I do have a solo show booked for October of 2016 and maybe instead of rolling it over to my group showing of “Cowgirls” I will keep this one to myself. I can take all this farm critter collection and make it a themed exhibition who’s working title is “Down On The Farm” which I love but has been used so many times for so many things it would be good to shoot for something a little more clever and original. But until that happens DOTF it is.

So All This Brings Me To “Big Red”

“Big Red” is the first of my chicken/rooster series. My intention is to do a very similar color story as that of “Young Tess.” And since this post has gotten rather shockingly long and most people today have the attention span of a gnat, I’ll go into more detail later.


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