Happy New Year!

Happy 2017 everyone! I am celebrating with the launch of my new website! A lot of work went into it over the past month and a half, but I am so proud of how it turned out.

We've all heard in the news about what a disaster this past year was. And we have to admit, it was pretty dismal with all of the deaths, terror attacks, war in Syria, and the election. But I'm trying to stay positive and reflect on all of the good that happened. I began the year committing to draw in my sketchbook every day and while I didn't make that goal, I achieved much more than I could have ever imagined. My work has progressed immensely and I no longer sit there terrified of a blank page.

Here's what I managed to do in 2016:

  • I drew or painted consecutively for the first 100 days of the year and then continued to create regularly multiple times a week after that
  • I grew my Instagram following from 200 to over 1K
  • I had my best year in sales
  • I had my first solo show at a gallery
  • My cousin-in-law helped me make my first promo video
  • I made my biggest painting yet and documented it through a time-lapse video
  • I did my first artist residency
  • I revamped my website thanks to GoLiveHQ <3
  • Oh and I worked my full time job :)

As much as I love what I do, it was hard to get up every morning at 5am to paint and to dedicate whole weekends to art making.  But looking back, each choice I made to sit down and make something, although it was hard in the moment, as soon as I started putting brush to surface I lost myself in the moment and let the joy of creating take over. And all of the small efforts added up to so much over the year.

Making time for the things we love is hard. There are so many other important things grabbing for our time. But there are also so many unimportant things we spend time on that we could cut out; TV, mindless web surfing, games on our phone, all things I am so guilty of but that don't make my life any richer.

This year, I will have even less time for art because Marc and I are getting married (YAY!!) and I am going to be writing my interior design licensing exam so I am going to need to get even more ruthless about how I choose to spend my time. This past year has helped show me that the small choices I make every day really do make a difference.

I can't wait to see what this year will bring and although I won't be making as much work,  I am still committing to showing up everyday and doing at least one thing, whether I share it or not. I am so proud of all I have accomplished this past year and am excited to keep up this momentum.

I encourage you to guard your time along with me this year and make time for the things that really matter to you. Little by little small choices make big results. Thanks so much for following along with me. Here's to an awesome 2017!

The Month of Art Fairs

Wow, that summer went fast.

When people asked me what I was going to do when I was done school this spring, I did not think doing three back-to-back art fairs in four weeks was on that list. But fate had other plans! In retrospect, I would not have chosen to time things that way, but that's how it worked out, and in the end it was great. I met so many wonderful people and made new artist friends. I learned how to secure a tent in a giant windstorm. I learned that the best way to cart your work to and from the van each night is on a dolly, not in your arms. I learned not to be afraid to ask for help and to always bring an extra [insert random tool here] to help out your neighbors when they forget theirs.

Doing an art fair is a lot of work. Collecting all the supplies, planning out your booth, pricing all your work, packaging it all up, un-packaging it all and setting it up . . . you get the idea. But art fairs are a great way to meet people who are genuinely interested in your work and to talk with them about it. This is a real gift once you're done school, because you don't have a critique every week where you're getting feedback. Here are some tips in case you are thinking of doing an art fair but don't know where to start.

1. Collect Ideas

Make a Pinterest board with inspirational images of other art/craft fair booths. You want to keep it simple and let your artwork be the star of the show. For my first fair I chose to get some lattice panels and paint them white. I hung them from the frame of the tent with zip ties and then hung my work with S-hooks. I picked up some old white sheets from the thrift store to drape over my table as well, to keep with the white theme. People can tell when you've put thought and effort into the design of your booth, and it will make them want to come in and look at your work.

2. Gather Supplies

  • panels to hang your work from (lattice, metal grids, mesh walls, figure out what works for you)
  • small table
  • chair or stool
  • zip ties (big ones)
  • s-hooks
  • staple gun
  • hammer and screwdrivers
  • scissors and exacto knife
  • packaging supplies, including pretty tape and/or ribbon and clear garbage bags to put the packages in if it's raining
  • markers/pens
  • payment system (I used Square)
  • receipt book for cash payments
  • email signup list
  • artist statement/short explanation of who you are and what your work is about
  • string or rope
  • business cards (lots of 'em)
  • something to show how people can find you on social media
  • banner with your name in giant letters
  • stands for small paintings (i got my mini-easels at the dollar store)
  • accessories (I brought my favourite plant because I felt like it brought some homey-ness to the booth)
  • labels with names/prices/size/medium
  • dolly to carry things to and from your truck

3. Create a Plan

Make sure you know approximately where things will hang and how the booth is laid out. (Do you want your table at the front so people can grab business cards easily, or are you using it to display product?) You can be flexible with this and move things around the day of, but often you don't have much time to set up so you want to be as prepared as you can beforehand.

4. Schmooze

Once you're set up and people start walking by, the best thing you can do is be friendly. Say hello if someone pauses, make a joke, talk about the weather, anything to engage them. People are usually hesitant to talk to you so you have to be the one to break the ice. You'll be surprised at how interested people are. Look them in the eye, be genuine, and answer their questions with a smile. They want to get to know a little about the person behind the artwork. It's important to have a short description ready to spout off so you can tell people about your process, materials, and inspiration.  Give each person a business card and always thank them for stopping to take a look.

5. Follow Up

After the fair, collect the names on your email list and send out a note saying thanks for stopping by and that you enjoyed meeting them.

Remember not to get too disappointed if you don't sell anything. Many times people are just breezing by for inspiration or don't have time to stop to chat but will take a business card and buy something later. Keep in mind that any time new people are seeing your work, it's a good thing!