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Thursday, December 10, 2009

Arts Career- how to educate and add value!

Last week I had a little rant about pricing products as a business. I'd love to see artists and crafters charging what they deserve (and NEED!) to charge for their fine work! But this of course raised a lot of other issues. So as an artist, if we start charging more for our art, how do we get people to pay more? Here are my thoughts on this, and a few other related things!
Art is a Unique Commodity- There's a lot of art out there at the moment. But unless someone is directly copying your work (which does sadly happen!), your art is YOURS and no one else out there has that to offer. If someone falls in love with one of your paintings, and you're charging say $50 for a print of it, they can't turn up their nose and go, well, I'm going to go and buy it off that artist who sells prints for $8. They can't, the other artist doesn't have YOUR work.
This is good! But there is also bad! While you're not in direct competition with other artists, the other artist might have something else that customer might like. And customers will sometimes compromise on their favourite to get something a bit cheaper, there's no doubting that. Particularly when the other artists work might be a bit similar.
What do you do?
Quality and Innovation- Firstly, differentiate yourself and your product. Create something that is of a level of quality and innovation to stand out from among the masses. Too many people painting fairies? Paint fairy cats! (Waves to Tigerpixie!). Too many people doing Pet portraits? Do ASCI art pet portraits (I've seen someone doing this, it's cool!). Expand your artist horizons, explore what your inner artistic drive is capable of and loves doing!
Be the best you can be- I see some artists who never stop bemoaning their lack of sales and desire for more customers. But at the same time, I never see these same artists bemoaning their lack of skills in their craft and desire to be better. Most artists whose art or craft I admire, who I see succeeding and improving all the time are neurotic at best about their skills. We never feel good enough, we are always trying to improve, we are always challenging ourselves and living through the torture of not meeting our expectations of where we want our skill level to be. Of having to learn a bit at a time, learn through our mistakes as well as our successes. This may sound overly dramatic, but when people talk about the "tortured soul of an artist", this is where the truth of that statement is for me, personally, in that drive to always be BETTER! So be better, improve your art. It is, after all, your number one commodity!
Learn what makes art GOOD- Ok, this is a seriously touchy subject. Some people will defend to the teeth the concept that ALL art is good simply by being ART and being created by an artistic soul. I wonder whether these people are as quick to defend those modern artists that use dead cat heads in their art as they are to defend the amateur artist who they call friend? There are certain things that by design, by our culture and by our very biology make something visually appealing... or not. It doesn't mean style or genre or how deep or lovely your concept is. It's about values, composition, colour choices. There is a science behind the image that every artist should understand. Some artists are blessed with an eye and talent to creating perfect compositions innately, but EVEN THEY should understand and be aware of the science behind it. Study it, learn it. Never stop learning.
Educate the Customer- Your work takes a certain skill and vision that is unique to you, it takes time, energy, care and when someone else can see and appreciate that the resulting product or artwork will have greater value than any mass produced item. Show people how you work. Show how you never stop learning! Explain how you find your inspiration, the lengths you go to researching your craft. Tell them about the grand design and theme of the artwork. Why do you think abstracts that have pages and pages of frou frou outlining the artists motivation for the artwork sell for thousands? People want to fall in love with an artwork, they want to feel an emotional response and personal connection to it, and the artist who created it. Artists succeed through personal contact. Yes, you need to always be professional, but also just be yourself! People want to know the real you. Building real relationships with customers can turn them from a casual viewer into a buyer and collector, as well as a friend. :)
Don't be a boring commercial break- No one likes blatant advertising. When you're trying to explain to people the value of your craft, focus on the BENEFITS the artwork or item has for them, not it's features. That artwork there? It's 50cm by 50cm in size... yeah who cares... Will it look great on my wall and make everyone who comes into my home jealous?? Yes it will! There's the benefit! That necklace is made of silver and glass. Great, whatever. But did you also know it will be an awesome conversation starter and accentuates your.... er... eyes... yes, your eyes. Benefit!!!!
Still include the details and features, of course, people want to know these things, but they aren't the where the VALUE is.
Offer alternatives- If a customer loves an image, they don't always mind what format they get it in. If they can't afford a $50 print, maybe a $5 greeting card will do it, and yes, let them know they can frame the card! Or wait, if they want the print, how about lay away options? Or be even more innovative. Start a prints club for customers. I read about this one in the Artists Marketing 101 handbook (I think! It's still packed away so I can't check). It's a neat concept of charging a subscription fee to customers monthly, for which they get to pick an art print to receive each month... or save up to receive an original... at the same time as receiving other perks like newsletters, etc. However you want to work it! People can often feel better about expenses when it just *poofs* out of their account a little bit every month.
Be a pro- Being professional isn't about the $$$'s you make or just throwing the word around. It's about all the things I discussed above, and more. It's pushing your mind to greater limits, behaving respectfully, being innovative, always learning, researching, studying! Do you think I wrote all this by pulling it out of my... hat? Nope. I learned it from books and other websites and experience. I spend large amounts of my time still learning. I've been learning this business for almost TEN YEARS now. And I still feel like an amatuer in every way, not fit to run a business, lol! But I know I'm always getting better, slowly and steadily, in both my art, and my sales!

So, those are my random art career thoughts of the week. One day I'll try and structure my little rants some more... maybe start from the beginning or something useful ;)

Friday, December 4, 2009

Thoughts on Pricing Art Products

There is this phenomena I have experienced myself, and day to day, see artists around me who are trying to build a career experiencing.
It's that "No matter how hard I work, I never seem to get ahead! Where does all the money go?" issue. You know the one.
I don't get it as much anymore, these days, and the reason why is that I've PROPERLY worked out the costs behind all of my products, and am now pricing my items accordingly! Yes, a lot of my products are a bit more expensive now than similar products available from other artists, but the simple truth is that they are underpricing themselves, and shooting themselves, and their careers in the foot. It's easy to do, and as a start up artist it's not such a terrible thing because you can normally subsidise your business from some other employment to keep it afloat. But the minute the change from "hobby" to "business" starts to happen, and those "Why aren't I making any money?" worries pop up, it starts to become a very serious problem.
I remember when I first started out selling merchandise of my art. How do I price things? What's fair? Well, first thing you do is go and see what everyone else is selling that sort of item for. You price based on the market around you. So, lets use fridge magnets for an example. I see others selling fridge magnets for about $3 a pop. Great, I think. If the magnet itself costs me maybe 0.80 or so cents in materials to make, I'm ahead right? So you go with the flow.
Everything is ok for a while, then you start selling products wholesale because stores want to stock them. Retail stores generally EXPECT and demand a 50% discount. They have their expenses they need to meet, and need that 50% profit to cover their expenses and make some money too.
So now I'm selling the same magnet for $1.50. Still making money right? No, actually, we're not.
We've missed a step along the way, a very important step. We haven't considered out costs properly. Just looking at material costs is a tiny fraction of the picture.
Let's have a look at the numbers closely.
We're selling the magnet at $1.50 wholesale.
Material costs are around .80c, leaving us .70c left.
In my business, I have to charge 10% tax on all goods, so that's another .15c gone, leaving us .55c
Waste- it happens. If 1 in 10 magnets is a bust for whatever reason, that's 10% of the material costs on top, so another .08c off, leaving us 47c.
I use sales reps for some of my sales, who take a 15% cut of the profits, so that's another .22c gone, leaving us .25c.
If the sale goes through paypal, they take maybe another 3% of the total, leaving us .21c.
Labour, yes, you absolutely must account for labour. What happens when you want to start employing someone to do it for you? If it only takes 1minute to make a magnet at a reasonable $16 an hour average labour rate, that's .26c labour cost....
Looks like we're down to -5c now. So we're losing .5c every time we sell a magnet...
In my situation, I also have other artists I need to pay a % sales commission to... where is that going to come from?
And all year long in my business I have to buy packaging supplies for posting, pay for advertising, buy art supplies, service printers, pay for all these other expenses that don't directly pay for themselves like product materials do. All these day to day running expenses have to be paid for somehow. You need to be making enough profit with each and every sale to cover all those other day to day expenses of running a business. Every product you sell should make you a CLEAN profit (after all those other expenses for the product itself I just talked about!) of at least 30%, or you're in the red and your business will never get ahead.
I look around the internet, from the amazing handcrafts on Etsy to beautiful jewellery and art prints coming from fellow fantasy artists around me, all selling for a pittance, and I want to grab people and shake them and yell "You're paying other people to take your work!!!!"
Because this is what so many actually are doing, at the prices they sell at. Not only are they undervaluing their product, they are undervaluing their ART. The artwork we create as a thriving and inspired fantasy and fairy art community (and other genres as well out there!) is a beautiful, unique thing of GREAT VALUE. And we need to start treating it as such, before I see any more of my collegues out their wring their hands in financial stress and say "I just can't do it anymore, I'm it giving up", and give up not only the business, but the art itself. That's the saddest thing I have seen happen, on more than one occasion.
Our fans and customers might love a bargain, but they probably also don't want to see us sell ourselves out of business.
Someone told me once, when someone buys an art print from you, they aren't paying you for the paper, or the ink. They are paying your for an artwork. An image they've fallen in love with. As artists, we need to stop charging for the price of the paper, and start charging for the price of our art.

Monday, November 23, 2009

My art around the world.

I like to keep records of where my art gets sent! My orders program actually makes it pretty easy, and I was suprised to see my "country count" has gone up to 36 countries that people have ordered my art from now!
My art has been ordered by people in: Austria, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Swizterland, China, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Germany, Estonia, Spain, Finland, France, UK, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Iceland, Italy, Japan, Korea (South!!), Latvia, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, New Zealand, Phillipines, Poland, Peurto Rico, Portugal, Romania (one actually went to Transylvania!!! One of the best *order filling* days of my life, hehee), Seychelles (which I'd honestly never heard of before, and I thought I was ok with geography!), Sweden, Singapore, Thailand, South Africa, and good ol' USA.
I feel like in Pokemon... must collect them all! I'm always excited when an order from a country I haven't sent to before pops up!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

New Art- Arianrhod

Another artwork finished! It's nice to be painting again. This one was fun, because to get that really vibrant background, it's a case of throwing as much paint on as the paper will hold! I played with thick, wet in wet washes, spattering, and pastels to create the nebula feel. I think I originally intended to base it more precisely on "The witches nebula" but it evolved on it's own as it went... soooo.... just gave up after a while. The stars above her head though are the constellation of Corona Borealis.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

New Art- Nemetona

I'm starting to get back into painting again, I've got SO MANY artworks I have to get done for my next card deck with Lucy Cavendish.
Here's another just ticked off the list. This is Nemetona. She is the goddess of the grove, so I really wanted to portray her as almost dryad like, but still being "human" formed, and combine that with fairies and the tree of life symbol!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Home from Holidays

Hey everybody, I just got home from my trip to Vietnam! Feeling some major jet lag right now, so I'm making this quick just to say I'm home and it's good to be home! The trip was awesome and I'm planning on getting some photos online this week to share, along with some stories of our adventures :) There were typhoons, mermaid caves, landslides, the butterfly spotted emerald waters of Halong Bay... More later ;)
Today, tomorrow I am mostly relaxing and cleaning and catching up at home, then monday is diving right back into work again, got some awesome things on the to-do list to share!

PS: 2010 Calendars are in stock and will be listed online tomorrow!!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Off to Vietnam- Final Reminders!

Today I'm getting the very last orders packed ready to send before I fly off to Vietnam on Sunday. I'm starting to get excited about the holiday, but also scared! I always have this inner fear when it comes to going away. I guess it's that whole issue of stepping out of your comfort zone. And for me, my lifestyle revolves around my business, and so does my income. I am my business and my business is me, there's always work to be done and things going on that involve my time and effort to make them work and up and leaving all that behind un-cared for just scares me. This holiday, still only a reasonable three weeks in length, is the longest I've EVER been away from my business. It's also the longest I've been away from my Kitty Fantastico, so I worry for her as well, and Jed the lorikeet. I'm sure they will all be fine, but the worry is still there. I know though, as soon as I'm off in another country I'll be distracted enough by all the wonderful things to see and do that it won't hinder my holiday fun!

A few reminders before I leave-

The Fairies and Fantasy Art Competition is still running and you still have a few weeks left to get your entries in! I've had some gorgeous "Moon" themed artworks entered already. The winner gets a CASH prize and an actual trophy! Since I'm going to be away until the 10th and can't judge the winner before then, I will even let people keep submitting entries until then! More details are here-

Feel free to keep shopping online at while I'm away, but please be aware that orders will not be shipping again until I return on the 10th. I unfortunately didn't have time to train a new employee to take over while I'm away since moving house and studio earlier this year.
The benefit of getting your order in while I'm away, is that it will get first priority getting sent out as soon as I get home, and not get delayed as the christmas rush kicks in from then on!

2010 Calendars will be available as soon as I am back! and they will be a limited edition only, so be ready to get your order in then, because they sell out fast!

My story- "Memory's Wake"

I've been mentioning a fair bit lately that I'm writing, but WHAT am I writing? It's a story I've been working on for over ten years now, that has grown and evolved through many different lives. It's called "Memory's Wake".
It's a little hard to describe what an epic "personal project" this is for me. Obviously taking ten years is pretty epic, and being my part time personal project it will probably take another ten... and then I'll decide it's no good and start from the beginning again. Starting this over and over has been what's taken me so long to start with, so lets start right at the very beginning...

Ten years ago, I was just finishing high school, and had recently gone from being "a drawer" my whole life to someone who was obsessed with art. I wanted to be a comic book artist when I grew up! If I could overcome my embarrasment, I'd show the 2-3 comic books from this time that I wrote and drew... seriously they are pretty shocking...
This all sort of culminated in illustrating "Fallen"-
I had gone from standard superhero style comic towards my always beloved fantasy genre, and from ink and colour to much more detailed graphite illustrations. This was the end of my "Wanna be a comic book artist!" era I think. But it was still there in me. Somehow, from the angel character in Fallen, evolved another character, this little blonde, perfectly petite and timid sorceress who had the talent of being able to talk to anything. And from her, grew a VERY cliche sword and sorcery storyline, which I had plans to illustrate in the same style as "Fallen". I think I even drew up the very first page before I gave up that idea, thank god.
I always knew in this fantasy world of mine I wanted someone I could relate to more, a spunky opposite to my blonde characters overwhelming sweetness. And that's when Memory appeared. Odd name right? She is given her name by Eloryn (my blonde character) when they first meet, because, well, Memory has no memory... Nothing at all. She wakes up in this fairy tale world with no idea who she is or where she's from, and there are a few rather odd things about her. Finding out those things is what the story is about.
That is "Memory's Wake". It sounds a little dull and cliche... hrm amnesia ok. But I like to hope that it's not. There's a heck of a lot of twists and things going on, and I really can't say anything or I'll spoil the suprise. About 5 years ago, having played around with the story in my head since giving up on the comic book idea, I wrote out the whole story, so I do already have one complete version of it. It, however, is absolutely terrible. It IS cliche and shallow and somewhat rubbish. So now I've finally, once again, started from just the bare bones... my most loved characters who have been with me from the beginning, the basic idea... and rebuilt the entire script, forcing logic onto it, making sure every action is based on real, understandable motivations. Characters now have real feelings and react in understandable ways. I'm really excited about how it's turned out. My plot summary is now completed and polished, and I am about maybe a quarter into the first draft. I really can't wait to share my story with everyone! I'm hoping to illustrate it as well, which could easily add another ten years to the project, but hopefully it will be worth it in the end. If nothing else, I've been so enjoying spending my spare time on something that I simply want to do, whether it is ever shared or not.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Considering my Art Prints

So, I'm considering changing the paper my art prints come on. Currently I use Hahnemuhle brand paper, it's really top of the range "watercolour" feel matt paper. But honestly, it's a massive pain in the rear. It doesn't co-operate with my printers, doesn't feed into the printers on it's own, I have to stand there with the printers to feed the sheets in. It catches and splodges easily, and after all that, there is just so much waste. I hate waste. Waste also makes things very expensive to produce, and the paper isn't cheap to start with anyway.
Yes, the prints come out really beautifully, and being a matt paper, they are very true to the original artworks look. But they are also very delicate, easily scratched.
I'm considering switching back to the paper I used previously. It was good stuff. A high quality "silk", semi-gloss surface. Not super glossy slick, just a slight sheen to it at the right angle. It was also really tough stuff... you could run your prints under a tap and they wouldn't be worse for wear (seriously, I did this). They also printed through my printer with near no faults or wastage, and I could stack the sheets in and leave my printer to it's work without babysitting all day and night.

Many, many benefits there. Also, if I switch back, I could maybe even offer a slightly reduced price for my prints. It's all very tempting, except for that ONE problem... the surface type. I simply love the slightly textured matt look of the Hanhemuhle... but everything else about it is wrong. And yes, I have extensively tested and tried many other brands and styles of matt and textured papers, and they pretty much all have the same issues as the Hanhemuhle for me.

I'd love some feedback from other artists or print collectors on this. Does the surface type (semigloss VS matt) matter to you? And does it matter more than the toughness of the print (and thus it's longjevity and flawlessness)?

My other option, which I could fairly easily acheive, is simply offer a few paper options for the prints. I did already do this at one stage. But part of me cringes just knowing when people order the Hanhemuhle, I'm going to have headaches...

Monday, August 10, 2009

Getting back to work

The move to my new home and new studio has definately been good for me. I'm really starting to feel motivated again, about my art and my business. I will eventually get around to taking photos, at the moment things are still a little too chaotic! I really need to sort out some proper shelving for my studio, all my product stock is just piled up in random boxes at the moment, not very pretty!

The house is coming along well, some great improvements already made and it's really feeling like a home now. I'm enjoying gardening very much, and have some nifty raised garden bed edging coming in this week for a couple of little vege patches, and I went a little crazy at an online vege seed store, so it's going to be exciting to grow things (I bought the PURPLE variety of everything! Purple carrots, purple capsicum, purple corn, purple colliflower, etc! Woo!)

I have finished a painting since moving, of the seeress Fidelma, calling down a vision for a celtic queen, and I'm half way done working on a painting of Cerridwen, both are for the next oracle deck I'm illustrating.

For the first time for a long time, I'm having fun developing some new products. I've got a bunch of really neat items I'm hoping to release soon. One of the first will be a new style of earrings, which will replace the current style. So if you have your heart set on one of the current earrings style, better grab them now, because they will be off sale soon replaced by the new type! Or take advantage of the current sale, to buy an Art Pendant necklace and get a pair of earrings for free!

That's all for now. I need to get back to work. Still many, many things on the to-do lists!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Winterfest, how I love thee...

Despite battling a disgusting cold last week, I made the effort to get to the medeival fair this weekend that I regularly vend at, Winterfest, and I'm so glad I did. I couldn't miss Winterfest, it's just such a wonderful event, and the folk I see there each year are becoming like an extended family, and this year particularly I had an absolutely amazing time. While I was still sniffling and coughing and a little woozy at times, the event itself was like a healing experience, just magical! The weather was more perfect than I could have hoped, clear sky and not a whisker of wind. I was suprised by many gifts from strangers, from random hugs to exclamations of me being beautiful to a breakfast of Fairy bread made just for me! I had my pixie ears on (having my wings out are just such a hassle, always getting caught on things! Ears are a nice neat, little, bit of magic to my outfit!) and just the look on kids faces and uncontrollable squeels of delight (and sometimes fear!) when they saw them was priceless. Hundreds of kids have gone home this weekend thinking they saw a real life pixie, or elf, and that makes me feel tingly inside :) Bitter sweet that I had to break the hearts of a ninja and a gorgeous panther man, and feeling triumphant for having run my stall all by myself (with a few appreciated helping hands here and there) and I'm already looking forward again to Winterfest next year.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

New home, new studio, new energy.

I'm writing from my new home, in my new studio for the very first time! Still surrounded by boxes, but progress is going well. I'm hoping to be back in business by this afternoon! It's all so exciting, the studio is looking great! Actually, it kind of looked better empty, but I blame that on my magpies collection of furniture that I seem to appropriate from where-ever I can for free. I have ex-high school science lab tables, kitchen side boards, steel work shelves, bedside tables, and not a one thing matches another... but it works, and if it aint broke... no point spending money and sending usable furniture off to landfill just to have a consistent interior design ;)
But it's still nice in here. I've got all my printers almost set up now (missing some cables, where did I pack those?!), and just a bit of unpacking left to do of stock and tools. I actually have a room in the house I will use as my painting room, and keep all the order filling and manufacturing type work seperate from my creative space, which is very exciting for me. My painting room actually looks a lot nicer, I kept my favourite bits of furniture for in there :)
We're still finding more things around the house that just don't work, which is a bit disappointing (air conditioning unit, TV antenna, some light fittings), but it is still a beautiful house to wake up to in the mornings, birds calling outside, lovely light, trees all around. I will be getting photos online very soon :)
Anyway, I'm just getting my internet fix for the first time in a couple of days, and then back to unpacking and finding homes for everything!

Friday, April 24, 2009

End of TFS contracts

I just wanted to post a quick notice to say that as of April 18th my licensing contracts with The Fairy Society are now all legally terminated and I am no longer affiliated with The Fairy Society in any way.
That is all.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Redbubble quality let down, cheese and more

I'm just processing some photos off my camera for some one of a kind items and new things I'll hopefully be getting online for a website update today, and grabbed these photos that were on there as well.
First one, is a photo of the print quality of the Red Bubble t-shirt I just bought myself. is one of those print on demand product services, and I thought it would be neat to make myself a kinda promo t-shirt with a bunch of my images on. I picked Redbubble over the others since I thought it had an Aussie branch, but turns out the shirts come from germany anyway, sooo....
But meh, I'm SO dissapointed with the quality of the print. I don't think I'll wear the shirt at all... For any artist out there that has designs up on Redbubble but hasn't ordered a sample themselves it'd be worth doing I think. I don't think I'm being fussy... it's all grainy and you can barely make out some of the images.

On a completely unrelated topic, me and David have been very busy lately, and going out a lot. Which means our milk, which the milkman brings each week, is not being used. So I've been making lots of homemade cheese lately. It's fun, and is really yummy, particularly for cooking (cannaloni, cheese pastries, etc). It's also super easy too. You just mix up some plain junket with the milk, let it set, then spoon it into some cheese baskets (getting the cheese baskets will be the hardest part!). Then the curds and whey seperate out, leaving nice, fresh cheese.
My cheese baskets are the Maltese style, so they have cute little patterns in them that make really pretty little cheeses-

And that's my random post for the day! Hopefully I'll have some website news later today!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Fun with Fonts

As much as they told me during my graphic design degree that I should only ever need 2-3 fonts on my computer (one serif, one sans-serif, and one script), I've always loved my fonts. I generally have anywhere between 500-1000 fonts installed on my computer at any given time. True I rarely use them all, but I like having them around just in case.
When you have that many fonts though, without a way to see what they are, you don't end up using them anyway. I used to have a font manager installed, but lost it moving to Vista, it just wasn't compatible! So for about a year or so now, I've been struggling with my font collection. Not happy.

Anyway, I've found a great new font manager, MainType. It works with Vista, and does everything and more that my old font manager did. It's really neat, functional, and intuitive, which is something that so many programs get wrong these days (do those designers even USE their own programs? Seriously!).

Basically what a font manager does is pulls up a visual list of all your fonts, so you can see what they look like. You can also install and uninstall fonts, a few other things. What I like to use them for is when working on logotype designs. The programs normally have a screen with the full alphabet showing, or a quick brown fox line, to preview the font (MainType has a few options there). But what you can do is type in whatever text you like, and it will preview the font in your own text. So, just say I'm working on a new Fairies and Fantasy logotype, I type that in and breeze down through my fonts list to find a font that suits the text. It makes things so much easier.

Anyway, MainType is a neat, simple program that does the job. The only thing I wanted to be able to do that I couldn't was flick a uppercaps/lowercaps switch for the preview text.

MainType is from
They also do which is awesome fun! You can create your own font from your handwriting! It's pretty cool stuff... of course my handwriting is too disgusting to consider doing it...

Sunday, February 1, 2009

What's happening these days...

So I've been really busy. This morning is the first time for a while I've just sat down for a bit of a break for weeks, so I thought I'd do a little random blogging to release some pressure from my busy head. Even though I should be clearing my inbox and finishing costumes...

So the last few weeks have been a bit of a blur. I've been working hard helping out with a play that will be showing for five nights at Newtown Theatre as part of the Short and Sweet festival
I've been just lending a helping hand to David who's directing, and mostly getting the costumes together, which has been an interesting project. There are NINE costumes required for this 10 minute play, including secret service agents, delivery men, angels, and the devil. And since we basically have no budget... hrm, well I think I've done ok considering. I've sculpted a pair of 14inch long devils horns and created fur pants and cloven hooves for the devil, robes for the angels and more. We should be taking a group photo at dress rehearsal tonight, I'll see if I can post it here later.
On top of working on that, I've been vending at more markets, filling orders (without my helper monkey!), updating websites, and working on some big stages of my business plan, important behind the scenes stuff like contracts, database set up and so on.
My next big import shipment is due in about a week or two, which as usual I'm feeling totally unprepared for. My store room is going to become mighty cramped again all of a sudden, just as I had almost cleared some room again. Of course, this is the way it should work right? Stock coming in on time, etc. But it's nice to have space...

Speaking of space, David and I have been speaking with a real estate agent about a house we quite like, and are maybe interested in buying... yup BUYING! It is HUGE compared to the space we're in now, and even has a seperate studio building outside, and room to convert into a filming studio for David, wow.... Not to mention another 4 bedrooms in the house itself. At the moment we're living in a 2 bedroom townhouse, of which I've completely overtaken one bedroom and the large garage/basement space for my business.
Anyway, fingers crossed... We're still nutting it out ourselves, whether it really is in our afforable range, whether the area it's in is where we'd like to live, etc. But as for the space it has, and the house itself (VERY nice house and gardens!), I like.

Since I'm rambling, I also felt it was time to give everyone a little "cancer update", since I've been thinking about it and realised I've not mentioned anything for a while.
I've been thinking about it a bit because I HAVEN'T been thinking about it. I realised the other day I've basically forgotten last year happened, just pushing it away, trying to not think about it. In some ways it's best that way, because thinking about it (particularly chemo) still makes me feel queasy. Best just to not think about it at all.
There are some things I'll never be able to handle again after last year. Like buck wheat heat packs and crushed ice/lemonade ice blocks and the sensation of icey cold on my skin. All of these things I now associate firmly with chemo*, and make me want to dry retch. Also the sound of drip machine motors running. Bleeaah.
Otherwise I'm doing really well. In fact, a couple weeks time it will be the one year anniversay of my surgery, can you believe that? I'll be going in for scans then too, get a check up and hopefully an all clear for another 6 months.
My hair has grown a fair bit. It's about an inch and a half long now, and pretty much straight brown like it was before. I still get really tired easily if I push myself too much (like I have been this week!) and my boob still hurts all the time from cut nerves in surgery and the further beat up it got during treatment, cooking with radiation, etc, but the Dr's said I should expect that it will keep hurting for years... yay.
But otherwise, I'm feeling pretty much back to normal now which is nice.
So that's basically it. I'm enjoying getting things done again, wish I was painting more right now but have a million other things going on. Should be diving back into painting more again after the play is over next week and I've got my accounts from last quarter out of the way!

*The heat packs were used to heat my veins before chemo, the iceblocks I had to chew on during chemo to reduce damage to my mouth, and the icey sensation is from the freezing chemo liquid running up my arms.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

New artwork- The Darkling

I started this artwork ages ago, but had to shelve it while working on the faery oracle deck. The Darkling here is one of a set of images for a little project of mine, which has been a long time coming since it's kinda low on my priorities list, oops... The Silver Sisters are also part of this project. Hopefully I'll get more finished soon and can tell you more about it! Until then, here is The Darkling-

The Darkling

Of dragon bones and ancient stones
All black, all night, all darkness.
Of pitch and web and long since dead
A thing not cruel but heartless.
In shade and shadow and blood and marrow,
Of spells, bewitchment and blight.
A thing of beauty, long lost to duty,
a thing of forever and flight
Guarder of souls, of goblins and trolls,
Keeper of secrets and lies.
The dead she will keep yet not mourn nor weep,
For she knows that a tear always dries.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Perspective Problems

Ok, so I feel a bit like the town idiot, but I have NEVER been able to get my head around this...
And it's probably the simplest thing and I'm just not getting it... but...

Basic Perspective right, for drawing. You got your horizon line and vanishing points, yada yada, that all makes sense...

But when it comes to actually putting it into practice, if your vanishing point is NOT actually ON your paper... how the HECK do you line stuff up to it?!?!?!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Random Updates

This month has been super busy. Between getting back to order filling, doing some major business planning, working on a short play with David and catching up with socialising after hibernating all of last year, it's been non stop for weeks now! A few quick "Yays!"-One of my artworks is shortlisted for inclusion in a new fairy art book being published soon, yay!I have an idea for what I want to paint on my monster piece of paper! yay!My next shipment of journals and silk bags is due in early february, yay! (although also eek! I neeeed more space!)I've lost 5kg's that I put on during chemo, now just another 5 to go! Yay!I've got all sorts of exciting things already lined up for the new year, which I'll be anouncing as they come closer, yay!I just bought myself Stephanie Pui-mun Law's Dreamscapes book and a how-to landscapes and cityscapes book! Yay!I'm doing costume design for a short play showing at this years Short and Sweet festival in Sydney, and get to make angel wings and devil horns! yay!I got over my addiction to Twitter as quickly as it started, yay!
Anyway I had better get to work. I've got a lot on my to-do list today!