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Archive for August, 2011

Fall 2011 Apples 'n Oats is Out!

So I know I usually write something here telling about how wonderful this magazine is and you should all run out and snatch up the newest issue or maybe even subscribe but I’m just not feeling like being all chatty.

Oh wait. Maybe I just did say all that. Hmm.

Once again I failed to get an article ready for it because … well you know. Frankly I haven’t painted in forever but hopefully I’ll manage the next one. Hard telling since there is so much change happening with me and I’ve got a steep learning curve to overcome.

But it IS a wonderful magazine with all sorts of wonderful information. So go get it! or just hit the Apples ‘n Oats website. AND I believe they are now on Facebook so dash out and friend them.

Okay I’m done giving orders for now.

PS Seriously how cute is this cover?

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Back To Work

Note: If you are new to the blog you may want to skip this post as it’s not exactly my usual fare. There are plenty of posts dealing with art fairs and artwork as well as just silly stuff like this. Peruse the tag words on the right side and pick one. I will try very hard to be back to this person (as in the happy person who wrote those posts) just as soon as I can but for now once again I am using my blog for a bit of catharsis.

One Day At A Time
Well I’ve put on my big girl panties and started working again. I took several days away and hung out with my friend Linda. We had a girlie weekend of movies, munchies and video games. At this point some days are good and some aren’t. The day this pic was taken (Sunday) was a pretty good day and I spent much of it jockeying the card printers. Today is not so much.

My business was built around my husband’s technological genius. Now it’s up to me to learn how to do this on top of my normal jobs. It’s very much like someone saying I need to be fluent in Japanese within an undetermined (possibly short) period of time while still working at all the usual things that keep my business (and household) afloat. I tremble just thinking about it.

Fear has become my enemy and it’s a constant struggle to keep feeling positive and to continue to move forward. There’s that little voice that says “Yeah, but even if you learn all of this what happens if the printer dies, or the scanner or the computer dies… or you get really sick … or, or, or.”

So at any given day I may be laughing in the morning and crying in the afternoon. My friends have been a Godsend. Their constant support and positive words like “You’re a pioneer woman if I ever met one.” Or “You can do this!” keep me from crawling under a blanket, lying in the fetal position and just never coming out again.

Thank you to Barb McGee for giving me her painting to create prints of despite knowing it’s up to me to get it right. Hers is my first artwork though currently I’m scanning and working on another non-art project. I did some color profiling long ago in the early years but it’s been long enough that it truly is starting over and learning everything from scratch.

Thank you to Linda for being there for when I am in the moment and listening to me repeat myself over and over until I get all the crazy out.

Thank you to all who have offered me a place to stay or get away from it all if I needed it. And especially to those who were also willing to take in my horse if it came to that. That kind of generosity was so unexpected as to leave me speechless and humbled.

Thank you to all who have suddenly found some business to give me.

Thank you to all (both on and off the blog) who have just “been there” for me and continue to do so. I can’t express enough how much it helps to keep me going.

And thank you to Mike for being a willing and patient teacher.

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Change is Hard

Once again it seems I am faced with a life altering event. I just wanted to pop in and let you know that I’m not posting because at the moment, I am too wrapped up in myself … and not because I just don’t feel like it.

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So Budda isn’t really one to read children’s books but since he has some young siblings on the farm he thought he would peruse a few and has come across this delightful series starring Sunshine the cat. The books feature Sunshine in photos and rhyme as she searches for her lost mousy toy.

Now every cat knows that mousy toys are wily little critters and often have a habit of disappearing. Budda tends to find his throwing some sort of secret meeting under the couch.

Budda thinks these are fun books for parents to read aloud and a real joy for any animal lover.




click for larger image


Where Is Your Mousey?


The author Audrey Simonson is local to Iowa and has written several books featuring Sunshine and her friends.

Here’s a sampling from the book Oh, No … Not Again!.which is part of a trilogy of books about Sunshine and her mousy toy.

Sunshine, the cat, just loved her yarn “Mouse.”
But, she kept losing that “Mouse” somewhere in the house.

Well, it’s lost once again.
We don’t know just when.

She’s looking just like an orange, furry grouch!

To learn more about Audrey Simonson and her books please visit her website.
You can also purchase her books from this site at a lesser price than amazon.

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Worst Art Fair …. ever.

Rant Warning
While technically this isn’t a rant because I’m not in any way angry, it does lean a bit on the vulgar side.

You have been warned!

Umm, yeah. So the event didn’t quite go as planned. It rained while we were setting up and then the sun came out and stayed out all day. It got hot.

Really hot.

The high heat coupled with sales so infinitesimal as to be non existent makes for seriously cranky 2-d artists. I say this because the jeweler next to me killed as did of course my beloved potter friend. I had a good friend (and fellow critter painter) as a neighbor which i enjoyed because I usually do only one event a year with him. He does awesome and delicate bird watercolors, though frankly his landscapes are stunning and my personal favorite. He doesn’t have a website so no link.

Why The Low Sales?

The Lakes Art Center event was larger this year than before and because like most art events looking to make a buck, when they discovered artists will pay more for a corner spot they created all these little island of booths and scattered them around the park. On the plus side this makes the event look huge but it also makes it more challenging to navigate and to return to any particular artist.

We (myself and the 2 other 2d artists in my booth island) were on the far end (as well as back side) of the fair layout. This is never a good location. A couple other painter friends of mine both had a moderate to good event and both were located closer to the heart. But who knows why. I’ve been doing this long enough that I don’t get bent out of shape. Though my neighbor swore he would never return.

I’m not sure why but I found it all lightly amusing. Usually earning next to nothing while I sweat off 20 pounds of water weight does not get this kind of response. Perhaps I’ve been doing this so long there are no surprises left. Or perhaps I’ve had much bigger trials in my life lately which make a bad show seem completely inconsequential. Whatever the reason I’m back in the gallery and itching to start a new piece of art. (read that as, I “want” to start something but I’ve spent most of my day ambling aimlessly and drawing cartoons for this post)

Sadly though I was so distracted with trying to remain conscious in the heat that I didn’t take any pictures. So I drew a before and after picture of myself to illustrate the trauma that was this event.


Buy Something Or Get The Hell Out!

I can’t tell you how many people asked for a business card because it was “too hot to shop and decide on exactly which print they wanted.” This is frustrating because most of the time they never follow through and order online. Most likely they will buy the following year instead, which is okay but I’m pretty sure I won’t be back at least for a couple of years.

The heat and lack of sales did make me less than perky. Not cranky mind. Just not my bubbly effervescent self. I have been in worse moods (though doubtful any worse events) because I remained pleasant and when startled out of my haze by a passerby felt no need to glower at them. And when things go really downhill I get to feeling kinda of stabby and do not suffer fools well.

I’m all “No, you can’t charge that $2 greeting card,” and “Yes that original painting is $1200.00 and not a $12.00 typo” or when some comedic genius makes the oh so moronic “Horse’s Ass” comment (that I’ve heard for the millionth time,) I start fishing around for something pointy in which to end them with. A sure sign I’ve hit rock bottom is when it takes all my strength not to scream “Buy something or get the hell out!”

At one event several years ago my brother was at an event with me and he’s like “So you just sit here and watch the turds float by.” I’m like “Yeah, pretty much.” That is as good an explanation of what this event was like for me as any.

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I’m all packed and ready to go for the Pearson Lakes Art Center Art In The Park held at Preservation Plaza (formerly the green space) at Arnolds Park (to which the whole area I tend to think of as Okoboji ) The event runs from 10-5 and here’s hoping the weather holds. 40% chance of showers (sigh) but I’ve got a good feeling about it. I may be having these “good feelings” because as of yet I haven’t been stormed on this year. It’s like a freak of nature or something. Temps are to be in the mid-80s so if you’re in the area be sure to come out.

Whew, Thank God it’s Friday and I can just phone it in. 🙂

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So this event was a while back but I thought I’d do a quick update anyhow since anyone out there doing art fairs find this sort of info really handy.

The event was pretty good and sales exceeded expectations, though to be fair my expectations have been dramatically lowered. None the less I was happy with the take and hope it bodes well for the remaining events of the season.

This is the event that is held during the Des Moines Summer Art Festival but is located at the fairgrounds. It has the bad wrap of most people thinking the artists here are of a lesser quality than the ones downtown. I can’t tell you how many people said to me how surprised they were to find the quality equal among the events.

For a breakdown of the art fair event’s perks visit this post.

The other thing I heard a lot was “I went to the other show to look but I came to this one to buy.” The reasoning behind this is that the downtown event is an originals only show and so much of the work carried a hefty price tag. Since the indoor event allows prints it also made it more affordable to a wider audience.

I really like Sur Stookey the promoter. I truly believe she works hard to make a really quality event and takes the artist into consideration. We aren’t just a commodity like so often events tend to treat us like.

The Ugly Duck ling
This was my demo piece at this event. It’s seriously ugly I know and the only reason it still exists in this world (meaning not sent to a firey grave) was to show you. I love the concept of this little brown duck painting and will try it again sometime in the future.

Mona’s Lesson Tip for today.
Begin your demo piece at home and then work at it during the event. Don’t try to start it there. For me at least I need the relative quiet of studio to start a new piece.

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