Monday, November 18, 2013

Mr. Jefferson's Livable Artwork

I live a few hours away from Monticello, the estate of Thomas Jefferson. Last year, on a VERY hot day in July, we had an impromptu family reunion there. I drove down from Pennsylvania with my kids and my sister drove up from North Carolina with my parents. We toured the house and drank lots of water! I love the place!

Jefferson was such a clever and creative person, which is obvious when you tour his house. He created many functional things to make life easier. They were his works of art, and he lived among them.

One of the words I use to define my artwork is "livable." I love the idea of art being comfortable and soothing and fun. Of course, there is a place for confrontational art and art that teaches, and I am okay with that. But, for me, the best kind of art becomes a part of your life and family. Some people feel that way about their books. Jefferson certainly felt that way. His house is decorated with lovely leather-bound volumes, and I'm pretty sure they were more than decorative pieces to him. He wrote in a letter to his good friend, John Adams, "I cannot live without books."

I have several family members who share that sentiment, so I created a piece that features the saying with books lined up like colorful jewels. Prints of this 5" x 7" painting are available in my Etsy shop: The paper is cut to 8" x 10", providing a nice, wide border around the artwork for matting and framing.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Nearing the Top of the Learning Curve...I Hope!

Well, my online shop has been open for one week, and it's been a very busy several days! In the business world, busy is good! I've received so many nice comments and lots of visits to the shop. I also received just the right amount of purchases for my first week. If there had been many more this week, I would not have been able to keep up.

Every task is new, and every new thing has several OTHER new things to learn and arrange and set up. I'm sure it will start to feel somewhat routine eventually, but for now, I'm still heading up the learning curve. I am really looking forward to being able to focus on painting some new pieces soon.

The best seller so far; 2.5" x 3.5" ACEO watercolor

I'm still posting pieces that I finished painting during the summer. The ACEOs have been the best selling items so far, and the "Perfect Sister" design (above) has been the best of the best. ACEOs are small and affordable and essentially fill the role of "the adorable puppy" in the art world. If you're unfamiliar with ACEOs, you'll just have to visit the shop and read about it in the item descriptions. See, I know that eventually I must get you to click away from here and head over to the shop, so go ahead.

BUT FIRST, take a look at the items (pictured below) that I've been working on for most of today. I call these Quilt Corners. There are four in the set, and they represent the four seasons. They are available as a set of four or individually. I have loved fabric since I was very young. I used to enjoy making real quilts, but now I'm enjoying painting them even more. I love designing my own fabrics for my painted quilts. The only thing I miss is handling the fabric, which any quilter will tell you is a very important part of the experience!

Quilt Corners; 5..5" square watercolor prints
Okay, NOW you can go shopping! Here's a link to the shop: Blu Jar Studio on Etsy.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Made to Order

Thread Collector ACEO, 2.5"x3.5" watercolor original
The paint is barely dry on this piece. It will be heading to California on Monday. I sold it on Etsy this morning, and painted it this afternoon. That's how "made to order" works for me. I listed pictures of a previously painted piece that serves as the general reference for future originals. Of course, no two will be exactly alike, but they will be similar. Here is the piece I painted several weeks ago and listed on Etsy a few days ago.
In the description of the item, I explain that I will be painting a fresh piece "to order" when someone chooses to buy this piece. If the customer receives the piece, and doesn't like it, they may return it for a full refund.

I have relisted this piece. And, again, it will be made to order...maybe for you! Click here to see what's available in my Etsy shop.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

One Little Button--It's a Big Deal

It only took five months to click the little button that says, "Open Your Shop." Anyone who knows me knows that I usually have no trouble pressing buttons. It's kind of a joke among my peers and former co-workers. But, pushing this button was a little terrifying. It means I'm really doing this. And, I am.

I managed to get 15 items listed, which is slightly less than my goal. It was a chore to get the first few items ready, but it finally started to get a little easier at around number 13 or so. All the while, my fears mounted. "Am I doing this right?" "Will anyone even like my stuff?" "Ahhh. Why is this so hard?!" The fears are strangely reassuring, because all artists go through periods of fear. It's irrational, but it's there.

Seriously, I'm not usually this neurotic or worried about my abilities, but somehow this is different. It's mine. All mine. It will be what I make it...or it won't. So, I humbly point you to the virtual storefront of Blu Jar Studio. I hope you find something you love or at least some potential of things you'll love in the future.

Click here to look around my new shop. I wish I could offer you free coffee and donuts, like you get at a proper grand opening, but alas, you'll have to go to your own kitchen for that. You're better off. I make terrible coffee!
Blu Jar Studio logo

Monday, November 4, 2013

It's About Time and a Dream

I've been working hard, trying to get my online shop ready for its grand opening. I've set Wednesday, November 6, as the day the shop opens, no matter what! It won't be fully stocked, but there will be some variety of items and a few items in each of three price points (under $10; under $30; and over $50). This was a goal I had from the beginning. Come to think of it, I don't even know what "fully stocked" will mean for my shop, so I'm just going to go with whatever is ready to sell on Wednesday, and go forward from there. When is going forward ever a bad idea? :)

It's taken much more time and effort and raw brain power than I ever thought it would just to get to this point. But, creating my own kind of art and making it available for sale has been a dream of mine for a long time. So, it's been about time--lots of time--but it's been about many other things as well. I'm learning a lot about myself through the process, namely that I do not have a natural mind for business. That has been the biggest challenge, but the lessons learned will serve me in the future, I am sure.

Now, back to work!