Saturday, January 30, 2010

Sweet Relief!

That phrase, sweet relief, has a double meaning for me today.

Firstly, my California sales tax return is completed, filed and paid!  Woo Hoo!  (I'm riding a high, so we won't mention the income tax return preparation yet.)  As my eyes swept over ALL of last year's activity on a single page, I realized that my art sales finally hit the tipping point in 2009.  There were two noticable jumps - the first happened around April when I moved from MySpace to facebook.  Coincidentally, this first jump happened four years to the month since I started working full time on my art.  The second jump happened in August when I moved my online shop from Etsy to Artfire.

And while I have been working diligently (read as 'whoring my art out') and using social networking to the fullest extent I can, the bulk of the thanks goes to others.  Namely, to my very supportive husband, Ron, Skelekitty and, of course, each and every one of you whether you have purchased art, gone to a show, read a single blog post or even just mentioned me to a friend.  Without you, none of this would have happened, so THANKS!  Oh, and Skelekitty says to take the rest of the afternoon off (she's a troublemaker, that one).

Let Me Count The WaysSecondly, "sweet relief" reminds me that the Let Me Count The Ways art exhibit at Sacramento's VOX Gallery is fast approaching on Saturday, February 13. This event will feature and art exhibit, music and a raffle to benefit for (wait for it...) Sweet Relief Musicians Fund, which provides financial assistance to all types of career musicians who are struggling to make ends meet while facing illness, disability, or age-related problems.

Music will be provided by Kevin Seconds, The Kimberly Trip and David Houston (and I have heard a reliable rumor that Allyson Seconds may also be singing that night).  Raffle tickets are a mere $5 each and get you a chance to win original art, jewelry and prints (like a photo of The Clash taken by Sacramento photographer John Muheim).  They will even be raffling off an iPod Touch preloaded with music by our own Kevin Seconds.

And of course, since VOX is a gallery, original art by over 35 artists (wow!) will be plentiful and available for your viewing and collecting pleasure.  I'll have several pieces there, but I'm particularly excited about my newest piece called Old Growth.  It is an 18x24" pyrography & mixed-media on cradled hardwood artist panel, which is the largest piece I've done to date. 

Old Growth - 18x24"
If the price tag of an original piece isn't in your budget this month, you can always order a print from my Artfire shop or pick one up at the show.


Let Me Count The Ways art, music and raffle to benefit Sweet Relief Musicians Fund
VOX Sacramento
Saturday, February 13, 6 - 10 pm (opening reception)
@ The Urban Hive Building
1931 H Street on The Grid in Midtown
Sacramento, CA

I sure hope to see you there!  Oh, and if you win one of my prints, ask me to sign it for ya!
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Thursday, January 14, 2010

Letter From The Crazy Dog Park Lady


Robert Goss
Parks & Recreation Director
City of Folsom
50 Natoma Street
Folsom, CA 95630

Dear Mr. Goss,

I am writing to let you know of my extreme disappointment as a Folsom resident, home owner and dog owner regarding the way that the City of Folsom has managed FIDO Field. I've had a growing dissatisfaction for some time, but was finally motivated to notify the Department and City today.

This afternoon, I took our Jack Russell Terrier to the park only to find it closed. Upon returning home, I called the number which stated that the park would be "closed because of recent rain," however, it has been sunny for two days straight and both sides of the park were quite dry - dryer in fact than many other days when it has remained open.

As I mentioned above, this incident is not the only one that gives me pause. Over the past 12 months, I have also noticed that while the park is closed for "rest and maintenance" two days a week, maintenance is regularly neglected. Specifically:
  • Refuse containers are rarely emptied, and are sometimes left to overflow for several weeks. At one point, owners resorted to hanging additional garbage bags on the fence since the cans were full (the same bag was hanging on the fence for two weeks straight). As a result, the odor of dog feces emanates from the area of the garbage can, even on the coldest of days. Given the nature of the park ,it's understandable that the cans WILL smell of dog feces, however I am unclear on why it would be left to pile up for more than 5 days at any given time.
  • The lawn on the small dog side was completely neglected during the entire summer months and died from a lack of water. In August, a thick layer of fine dirt and grass seed was tossed on top of the dead lawn and was not watered in. This careless "reseeding" attempt resulted in asthma inducing dust for over 3 weeks, followed by mud which choked and killed any of the original lawn that managed to survive the summer.
The dog owners who frequent this park have formed a true community and we pride ourselves on picking up after our dogs and maintaining a pleasant park - that is, when it is open. 

More than a response letter listing excuses, I would truly like to see some action taken on the above issues. Folsom says it prides itself on its parks and open spaces, and that should most certainly extend to the dog park it has taken on as a responsibility of the City.


Kristine Sandvik
#### Xxxxxxxxx Court
Folsom, CA
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Tuesday, January 12, 2010

The Heights to Which My Geekdom Aspires

A while ago I blogged about a series I was working on which was inspired (read as "ripped") from the 2007 Doctor Who episode, Blink.  Now despite the fact that this is one of the 'Doctor Lite' episodes, it is also one of my very favorite.  Those damned weeping angel statue creature thingies are just so scary! 

Lonely Assassins they used to be called. No one quite knows where they came from but they're as old as the Universe, or very nearly, and they have survived this long because they have the most perfect defense system ever evolved. They're quantum-locked. They don't exist when they're being observed. The moment they are seen by any other living creature they freeze into rock, no choice, it's a fact of their biology, in the sight of any living thing they literally turn to stone. And you can't kill a stone. 'Course a stone can't kill you either but then you turn your head away, then you blink, and oh yes it can.
Fascinating race, the Weeping Angels. The only psychopaths in the universe to kill you nicely. No mess, no fuss, they just zap you into the past and let you live to death. Rest of your life, used up, blown away in a blink of an eye. You die in the past and in the present they consume the energy of all the days you might have had. All your stolen moments. They're creatures of the abstract, they live off potential energy.

I finished the series of six 6x6x1" paint and mixed-media canvasses in early October for Side Show Studios' "666" exhibit where they seemed to miss their target audience.  Since the close of the show, they had been sitting around my house waiting for me to either photograph and list them or hang them on the wall.  I was thinking that maybe I was the only one who loved them, but since those Skelekitty T-shirts have been crawling up my "to do" list, the photo/list option won out.

Holy cow, was I ever WRONG about the potential these had (but once again right that you should paint what you love and love what you paint).  Not only did they most certainly have an audience, but they sold in under two hours.  I've also had people asking if prints are available  (there aren't any as of this post, but I hope to offer a limited edition of them later this year.)

The lucky owner of these creepy little lovelies is Jennifer Alvin, DIY queen and fellow geekess.  We "met" on Flickr and now I'm an avid follower of her blog, Illusionaire.  Seriously, get over there and prepare to get lost in the projects and stories - you'll thank me.  Oh, and did I mention that she's a dog-lover?  Specifically, she volunteers with a "retired" Greyhound rescue & adoption organization called GPA-NW, and fosters some of these lucky dogs as well.  You know, I'm starting to notice that a huge number of DIYers and indie crafters are involved with dog, cat and/or parrot rescues.  Who knew?

Here are the little guys hanging proudly over Jenn and Aaron's couch (where you get an idea of how iridecent the gold backgrounds are).
Weeping Angels in their new home

Seriously though, I'm not so sure it's a good idea to turn your back on them to watch TV, guys....

After watching the finale of 2009's Doctor Who "season" (and that word is loosly applied in this situation), I was reminded that I wanted to do a little painting of an Adipose from 2008's "Partners In Crime" featuring the return of Catherine Tate as Donna Noble (who looks a LOT like my friend Evie Turner, which is a total non-sequiter as Evie hasn't watched a single episode of the Doctor, but she most definitely IS a nerdy girl in her own right).
ANY WAY...  I did a quick sketch and then started to work the painting and, not surprisingly this time, he found a home before he was even finished.
Final "Adipose" creaturestudy for "Adipose" painting

And here's a photo to top off this little Doctor Who fest I seem to have going.
Can you say, "DORK?"  I knew that you could.
This year of geeky hotness is apparently out of print and sold out on BBC's, BBC-America's and David Tennant's sites.  I managed to snag one on Amazon for an undisclosed price (much too high to pay for a calendar, if truth be told).  Since I made my purchase a week ago, the calendars available have decreased in number, but increased in price.  Dang.  You better get one now, girls.
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Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Previous Accomplishments, Future Goals

Thanks to the wonderful and inspirational San Smith and her posts on creating visual lists, I got the idea to do a year in review of 2009 and goals for the coming year.   Here's what I came up with - what do you think?

2009 Accomplishments - YAY ME!
  1. broadened network and skelekitty fan-base
  2. (up and running)!
  3. improved art techniques with practice
  4. gallery shows outside of Sacramento and California
  5. taught first classes (mixed-media classes at Santa Clarita Craft Lab)
  6. helped build Abby's confidence (OK, so its not really a career accomplishment, but if you'd met this dog when we found her, you'd agree that this is worth noting)
  7. shop open (Skelekitty)
  8. accepted commissions (from friends)
  9. accepted custom orders (from anyone)
  10. took portrait class

GOALS (blank page on the right is for mid-year evaluation & reassessment)
2010 Goals, part 1
  1. new Skelekitty rubber stamps 
  2. (Skelekitty) tee shirts, make 'em, sell 'em
  3. 3rd Saturday vendor show (with Juli Nocita)
  4. take figure drawing and/or additional portrait class
  5. teach mixed-media at VOX Sacramento
  6. get (art) into 3 or more new galleries
  7. re-create
  8. paint, sketch or write DAILY
  9. make shop self-sustaining
  10. create on a larger scale (more paintings, larger sizes)

What are YOUR accomplishments and goals?
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Two Finished Pieces and One in the Works

Here is a picture of the painting I created in almost record time (less than a week) for Allyson Seconds' birthday this -OK, technically last- year.

Allyson is a singer/musician and loves bats, hearts and milagros.  She is also my personal trainer, but aside from the heart itself, that imagery will be saved for another painting.

"A Girl and her Cat" is a piece I seem to have been working on FOREVER.  It gave me quite a bit of trouble since I kept going after I should have stopped.  I ended up sanding the background down and building it back up again.  What a nightmare.
A Girl and Her Cat
Anyway, my skele-likeness and Skelekitty are now on their way to Atlanta, GA and the "Not You" self-portrait show at the MINT Gallery curated by my pal and fellow artist, Travis "Mr. Purty" Smith.

Finally, as many of us mourn the loss of David Tennant as "The Doctor," I offer you a little piece of cuteness in progress from the 2008 season to help cheer you up.
I've decided to sell this painting of an ADORABLE little fat cell on Artfire when he's all finished, and I fear that there may be something of a scramble when he finally gets listed.
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Saturday, January 2, 2010

Prices Reduced on Select Paintings

The buy-one art print, get-one free 2009 winter holiday promotion was a great success.  The point of the sale was not so much for me to sell, but to allow fans the ability to collect some prints at an affordable price, and about 20 prints went out the door between mid-November and New Year's Eve.  Thank you so much to everyone who ordered (and remember, if you send me photos of them in your home, I'll post them!)

As I was updating my Artfire Shop today, I realized that some of the smaller original pieces could be a little more affordable....  Yep, you guessed it: I reduced the prices of several paintings by $15 each.  Oh, and you get a free print with the purchase of these pieces, so that's like getting $32 worth of free art!

POISON - 7x9" pyrography & acrylic on wood
was $69.95, now $54.95, PLUS your choice of free 8x10" print!

Poison (8x10 acrylic on wood)

SKULL/GODDESS - 8x10" mixed-media on wood
was $79.95, now $64.95 PLUS your choice of free 8x10" print!

THE CATALYST - 16x11" mixed-media on gallery wrapped canvas
was $79.95, now $64.95 PLUS your choice of free 8x10" print!
The Catalyst (mixed media on canvas)
STAR F#@%ER - 16x11" mixed-media on gallery wrapped canvas
was $79.95, now $64.95 PLUS your choice of free 8x10" print!
Star F**ker

COUPLING FAILED 9x12" pyrography & mixed-media on wood
was $89.95, now $74.95 PLUS your choice of free 8x10" print!
Coupling Failed (gearworks series) - final

And of course, I'm still accepting custom orders! Happy New Year!
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