In Need of a Project

When I was in school it was easy to get myself motivated to do work. I was getting a grade and paying for classes and had a portfolio to build. Now I have all these friends who do amazing work as these projects and they are in Instagram and Blogs and are putting together shows and I am sitting here wondering if I can do the same. Yes I could...Recently two of my friends did amazing projects one was a 100 day project where each day for 100 days she created something. Yes she totally rocked this. At day 77 (last night) she hadn't missed a day. Another friend went and did her first gallery show. It was Endangered animals with flowers. It was amazing. I was astounded. In the beginning of the year I did start a Photo a day project, but then I got frustrated that most of it was of my food.

So here is the Project and I decided on something easy. I know it is my first and I already have a second project for the next one is a bit harder. I decided the best way to complete the project was to do the alphabet. So today I start with "A" and the illustrations last the week. I am a busy girl and decided this way I know I won't give up on it if I decide I can't work on it. Now I needed something to go along with the letters. 

If you have ever been to my house or went to school with me you would know that I love to paint flowers. Not a specific kind but I have these ones I always do in any medium. I chose flowers and certain flowers pertaining to the letter. And a something different I decided that the pieces will be done on the computer, which I never did before.  

  • A-African Daisey
  • B-Balloon Flower
  • C-Camellia
  • D-Dahlia
  • E-Eared Coreopsis
  • F-False Rockcress
  • G-Garden Cosmos
  • H-Hardy Geranium
  • I-Iceland Poppy
  • J-Jackman Clementis
  • K-Kurume Azalea
  • L-Lanceleaf Tickseed
  • M-Mallow
  • N-Nasturtium
  • O-Oakleaf Hydrangea
  • P-Painted Daisey
  • Q-Queen of the Prairie
  • R-Red Fox
  • S-Saucer Magnolia
  • T-Thatch Palm
  • U-Urn Plant
  • V-Verbena
  • W-Watermelon Peperomia
  • X-Xerophyta Viscosa
  • Y-Yangtoa
  • Z_Zigadenus Elegans

Each week follow my Twitter and Facebook to see the progress and final projects.




Photo: Ceaser Photography


"What do you do?"

I get asked this question a lot. A lot more since I lost my job and started out on my own.

"I am an Mixed Media Artist"

Then the questions start: "Where can I see your art?" "Is it for sale?" Then comes the statement that I cringe at: "I never knew you did this."

Point blank: I never told anyone what I do. I don't advertise my work. I don't post it on social media and I don't enter art shows. Recently I read a post I wrote three years ago about quitting the design world. But it all stems to one story and looking back to 18 years ago makes my know why I hesitate every time I meet a new client or why I hesitate posting my work. No matter what there is always one person with an opinion and all I can hear is: "What you did sucks."

It happened 18 years ago about this time. I was a senior in high school and I spent most of my time in the art room. I had two passions back then: writing and art. I read poetry, wrote short stories, and painted. I painted a lot. Most of my clothes were stained with paint and I always smelled like turpentine. I really didn't care much about anything except for the canvas or notebook in front of me. 

I was in the art room on this day. I was working on my self portrait and it was my final piece. It was to hang in the art show and I was already frustrated with it. I spent extra classes in the art room. Study Halls and even after school-this was to be my masterpiece.

There was a group of people in the art room that loved to pick on me. Bullies were huge back then, but there were no school shootings or drama around bullies, so they were just left to pick on the weak. I always thought this group was picked on by the jocks and so they decided that they should just let it roll towards me. I also liked to think they were jealous. That is how I dealt with being picked on: I thought I have something they don't. A boyfriend, a group of friends and sometimes even a nicer home. it was mean and I never picked back. I just thought things and was able to brush it off. Plus if they saw it effected you they picked more.

But one thing was picking on my art. I was never told my art sucked or was horrible. People either said nothing or they ate it up.

I left my painting alone for five minutes while I went to the ladies room. When I got back it was almost clean up time. I did a few more brush strokes and then cleaned my brushes and started to clean up my paint. I had a special place for my painting granted to me by the art teacher. I lifted my painting and there placed strategically under the canvas taped to the desk was a sheet of paper with "This Painting Sucks" written in black sharpie. I froze. I looked at the paper and then to a group of people all giggling and pointing and waiting on my reaction. Without a second thought I walked to the garbage can and threw the painting away. I then stood by the door and waited for the bell. I had no tears and no anger. They had no idea that the only thought in my mind was to go to CCAC and choose a different life. They had no idea I was all set to go to art school the following fall. They had no idea that I had chose to make art my life. I then felt a hand on my arm. I was being lead out to the hallway and all I could hear was the art teacher asking what did I think I was doing? When I explained the note and where it came from he demanded I went to the restroom and then come back and have a seat in the classroom. I followed his instructions. I never knew what happened in that time. I did come back to the art room to where my painting was back out the garbage and the person who wrote the note was in the hallways with the teacher. When the bell rang I didn't move. I sat there staring at my feet. When he walked back in he just said that I can't give up because of someone else. Then he said "Go on, I can't give you a late pass." And he smiled. 

18 years later and I still hate the art world based just on this moment. I have never had a gallery opening, never been published and never had my art in a magazine, other then my own. 

I tell this story openly to finally get over it. I need to make it now or I am going to just go back to running restaurants and sleeping a lot. So every time I take a new photo or I make a new piece of art I want to post it. Just never tell me it sucks, or I am going to ask you why?

BTW: The painting is in the picture above and currently resides in a plastic bag on the floor of my studio.

Is Failure Even an Option?

"You will Fail"

Every book about running a business or working freelance has a paragraph about failing. Is it even an option? I know it is a inevitable part of the process. We try something, we fail, and we try something new until we succeed.

But those of us who shy away from opportunity based on fear of failure will never get the chance to try again. But here I am. Six weeks since I got let go from my job. In a matter of six months I went from two jobs to none. Again so here I sit.

This month I decided to make a game plan for what I wanted to with my life. I want to make art and BOLD Pittsburgh into a profit and finally make my life what I want it to be. So far I haven't failed. Every goal I have succeeded and surpassed what I thought would happen. I sit here with multiple notebooks filled with my notes and ideas to make it all work. 

Last night I finally said "Self-Employed" for the first time. Before I said "Unemployed" and "Laid-Off", which at that point someone would correct me.

Today that turned an ugly way. As I finished my eggs and coffee I thought "What if I Fail?" I have surrounded myself with people who say: "Try again". I know rejection letters will come and not every business in Pittsburgh will buy advertising, But what if a no money is made at all?

The Answer: Then you try something else. 

I guess I have to say this over and over until it sticks like "Self-Employed" rather then "Failure".  

My Three Words

I can not believe I forgot "My Three Words" for 2015

If you don't know about "My Three Words" go here. (Also in the book: Amazing Things Will Happen by C.C. Chapman)

So what are "My Three Words"




How I stumbled on these words is dumb. They were in a word search on Facebook that whatever three words you saw first is how your 2015 will be. DUMB. Even I admit it. Then when I next flipped to twitter and saw all these "My Three Words" posts I had to admit I forgot even though I only started the tradition last year. Then, as dumb as they may seem, the three words fit.

Beauty. This year I will continue to find beauty in the simplest things. I know that sound fluffy, but it is true. The way a building is built, the sky and a piece of art. All of it. In the past year I didn't experience enough of it.

Experience. I want to learn new things and test my artistic ability this year. I will take an online writing course to strengthen my skills. As a result I will be writing more. This blog needs a refresh. I will keep up with Treehouse. I bought it last year and since the magazine took off I haven't fit in the time. Lastly I am gonna try harder at being an artist. I know that is a weird thing to say. But the problem with me is instant gratification. Art takes time and a process and I rarely finish a project. This year that will change. I will carve out a night just to paint, sew, or make something. Also to kick this into some fun I am taking a note from a few friends that do a sketch a day; I am going to do a Photo a Day. I hope to make this something neat I see in the day and there will be no selfies. I dislike them.

Happiness. Now this I have a problem with. It isn't the act of being happy. But I think it is more the level of content. I don't want to go through the next year scared of my future or upset that I am not "making it". I want to celebrate the little successes.

So that is it. My Three Words. Happy New Year.