Friday, May 3, 2013

Today, Our Heroine Ignores the Challenge and Creates Her Own...

So today's Marketing challenge is to add twenty new contacts to our mailing list...except that (being completely honest) I don't have time to create an email news letter to send out.  And the vast majority of the sign up emails I receive are (again, being completely honest) sent immediately to the trash so I don't have to filter through them to get to what I need to see.

Yes, about once a month, I go through it if I need a coupon for sewing patterns or it's time to get ready for a party and I need supplies from Oriental Trading company.  But otherwise, I'm content for the auto filter to just sweep them away.  And I'm willing to bet most of YOU feel the same way about your email.

So I've decided to make the executive decision to skip this one (;  That's one of the nice things about Leslie Saeta's challenges.  I don't -have- to do it.

Instead, I -will- tell you all the ways you can keep up with me, if you'd really like to!

First, you can follow my blog.  Off to the right ---------------------------------------------------------->
There's a "Subscribe To" widget.  Sign up and you'll never miss another one of my blogs (:

Second, you can "like" my page on facebook.  I post my own work, upcoming local events, world wide contests, other people's arts and crafts that are (quite frankly -awesome-), a bit of science, a touch of humor....(lol)  Like my blog, there's a reason it's all called "Wise Ramblings" (;

If you make sure to click "Get notifications", I'll show up in yours news feed.  If you like and comment on the things I post that strike your fancy, it lets me know the kinds of things you guys like to see.

I welcome and encourage you to take a stroll through my portfolio.  Like what makes you go "Ooo!"  Comment if you think it's beautiful, or interesting, or you love the colors, etc.-- if there is a piece that calls out to you-- I would love to know that!

Did you know I periodically ask questions?

I'm both a crafter and an artist and I understand that original artwork leans towards more expensive.  So I'm looking for suggestions on less expensive things that I could offer.  You can select from the existing choices, or possible even help me brains storm for something I've yet to consider!

I'm also planning my next series for fantasy creatures! And I would love to know: What's your favorite?

It's also the exclusive way to participate in my "Surprise Me!" commission (:

Third, I'm on twitter!  Just do a search for Wise Ramblings (no space between the two) or my name and you're sure to find me.  I have it set to automatically share what I post on my facebook page, but I also post to it great retweets, as well as original blurbs that aren't anywhere else.  (At some point in the future, I'm considering using it for exclusive sales!)

Fourth, you can find me on DeviantArt.  I also post my artwork there if you're not a big fan of facebook.  You can learn a bit more about me in the bio blurb.  Plus, you can take a stroll through the awesome stuff that's made it's way into my favorites (:

Fifth, you can check out the original art that I have for sale at Etsy.  I -always- ship via Priority mail, with tracking and insurance.  If you're curious, give my about me section a look!

Sixth, if you love my art but my originals are out of your price range, you can purchase prints in a variety of sizes, framed prints, and a plethora of other goodies at Society6.  They offer such high quality products and have given me such good customer services.  I adore their totes.  And it's awesome that they offer iphone, tablet and laptop covers.

You can also browse through the the pieces by other artists that I've promoted and see the artists that I follow.

Seventh, you can find me on Pinterest.  My portfolio is there, but there's also a wealth of steampunk and historical/ costuming resources, art activities for kids, delightfully delicious recipes, a solid romp through what I find funny ....and good deal of zombies/book references/sci-fi/fantasy.

At last count, I had over 3,600 pins.  Enjoy them!


Eighth, you can find me on Google+.  I'm not on there quite as frequently, and I repost my blog.  But I also go through and share posts that are only available on Google+.  Just do a search for my name (:

And all of that, right there (plus working a day job, taking care of my family, and making new art) is why I don't have time to start an email news letter (;

Thursday, May 2, 2013

"Surprise Me"! Even Mermaids Reach For The Stars

"Even Mermaids Reach For The Stars"

Prints and other merchandise available here.

For my second "Surprise Me" commission, I had the honor of creating a present for a young miss about to turn nine.

Wondering what a "Surpise Me" commission is?

The premise is simple-- You send me a check for an amount -I- don't know about until I open it, and I send you a piece of art that -you- don't know anything about until you receive it.

This is a brilliant idea my friend Pud came up with and I adore it for so many reasons!

First, it gives me complete and total artistic freedom.  There's no suggestions, no requests-- it's you trusting me to make something you're going to love for the amount that you send.

Second, it allows me to experiment.  Until I've decided what I'm making, there's no telling -what- it's going to be.  So I'm painting on different media and trying new things, which is all very exciting for me (:

And third, because so far, (albeit my sampling so far is small (lol)) I've had 100 % customer satisfaction!

And here is "Even Mermaids Reach For The Stars"

I did it on a sheet of Little Mermaid music (;  It's 5" x 7" acrylic.

But because it's a gift, I wanted it to be a finished piece, and I loved the idea of a mermaid in a shadow box, so that's -exactly- what I did.

 A little bit of flash really brings out some of the colors, but it's not really doing justice to how pretty the shade of green in the frame compliments the mermaid.

I have to admit, I was a bit worried about the glass and shipping, but it arrived today safe and sound.

My favorite part was when her Dad let me know it had arrived by saying,

"Got the package.

One word:


And I love the business cards!! So so cool!"

Now I'm excited because we'll know in just a couple of days how it goes over with the birthday girl!

As her parents said as they captured this moment:  "Her face says it all!"

Yea!!! (:

No One Ever Expects the Kraken: An Indepth Remix

If you've read through any of my dream or humor posts, you're probably aware that I tend to be quirky.  *snort* At least I entertain me (;

But you may not know that this shows up in my artwork as well!

Today, I'm going to tell you about "No One Ever Expects the Kraken".

Click here to purchase the original.

Prints and other merchandise available here.

The original inspiration for this piece came from a friend's facebook status, where he was lamenting calling Sears Eye Care and being put on hold for seven minutes before being hung up on.

When I read it, I was in one of my quirky moods (I tend to warn people when I'm in one because pretty much -anything- is going to strike me as funny) and I responded,  "So on the one hand, I want to be all sympathetic and 'aww'...on the other, your response makes me want to laugh because I suddenly envision funny reasons =why= she couldn't get back to the phone.  The most hysterical involves donning a cape and fighting off unexpected kraken.  No on ever expects the kraken."

And the very next day, I started this piece (:

Now clearly, my mood hadn't passed, because I chose "Old Cape Cod" as the background for my horror story in motion.

You know nothing says, "Let's get eaten by monsters!" like a song about enjoying quaint little seaside villages and falling in love with the cape.  When I got to the part about eating lobster stew, I giggled as I envisioned those aboard my imaginary ship becoming cape delicacies themselves.

Since I've been doing these pieces on sheet music and dictionary page, people occasionally ask how I'm doing them, so I figured I'd answer that here:

I start by free hand drawing the outer edges of my shapes.  And then I free hand paint in all the details.   I can't help it.  I -adore- detail!  There's something relaxing and freeing about concentrating on each spiral as the tentacles begin to take shape.  Though I do have to admit, after the first four hours of painting this one, I had to step away for a break because my eyes were crossing.

I half-heartedly ranted at my husband, "Why don't you stop me before I start these crazy detailed kinds of things?!?"  And he laughed, gave me a hug and said, "Honey, I couldn't stop you if I -tried-."

Well.. he does have a point (;

In case you were wondering, I have two favorite brushes.  One is size 0 and the other is 5/0 and both are angle spotters, and yes, I do the vast majority of my painting with one or the other of these.

As to paint  I adore using acrylic.  It dries faster than oil and has more control than watercolor (unless you really, REALLY thin it, in which case it works -exactly- like watercolor).  My preferred brand is Atelier Interactive Acrylics.

And in the end, I always love how taking the time to put in those details turns out.

This is my favorite painting that is still for sale.

If you would like to purchase the original, you can purchase it here.

Or you can purchase prints, framed prints, totes, iphone cases, and more here.

Or if you'd like to commission your own piece, you can contact me here (:

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Artist Mentoring and The Wonderful World of Social Networking

So I came home tonight to do the first challenge, that involves setting up an Artist-Mentoring group.  It's a group of people you go to to brain storm and offer up ideas and provide support.

And I realized I've already done that (:

First, there's my friend and fellow artist, Deanna over at Om Is Where the Art Is and You've Got Maille.  We've been friends for almost 6 of years (thanks to social media) but I got to meet her in real life for the first time about two years ago (:  She participated in and invited me to join Leslie Saeta's 30 paintings in 30 days challenge at the beginning of the year, as well as joined me in my count down to One Billion Rising.  And she's joining me in this challenge too!  At lunch, she invited me to be her mentoring buddy and -Viola-!  Day One challenge was done before I even knew about it!

But I've been blessed to have multiple Artist- Mentors that I can turn to (and frequently do!)

There's Studio 116, where I did my internship last year, where I got to set up and help lead last year's summer art camps for kids, where I've gotten to do storytelling and where some of my items are in their gallery.  You can find them on facebook or the web.  One of the things I adore about Studio 116 are Chris and Sara, the owners.  They've created this fantastic art/music/learning venue in the middle of our area!  One of the prime tenant of theirs is to grow community through the arts.  And they're not just paying lip service to this idea-- they mean it.  And it influences everything they do in such a wonderful way.  They are an incredible source of inspiration and support and if you have the change to visit Brundidge, Alabama, walk along main street and give them a visit.  The gallery is FULL of local artists and you're likely to catch a fantastic music event or have the opportunity to join a class.  And they have kids activities all the time.  They've really made it a family friendly environment and I have to admit, I'm proud to be associated with them.

Last fall, I had the privilege of participating in Show and Tell, a fabulous supportive creative inspiring month long happening hosted and led by my friend Shamsi.  In retrospect, I realize that description sounds both exciting and vague...but it was all about finding our own stories and exploring the ways to tell them in an atmosphere of total support and encouragement.  Any and all media were welcome and encouraged (including fine arts, crafts, music, dance, poetry and writing-- you get the idea.  ANY media.)  You can find her on the web if you're interested in partaking of wonderful light and warmth that she supports and generates. (:

And then there is facebook itself.  When I launched my Wise Rambling page, it was easy to feel lost.  But fb is all about social interaction.  And with a couple of searches, I found some wonderful resources and sources of support that I'm going to share!

When you're an artist/crafter/musician/creator of things/performer, you want to be able to share your work.  Facebook has all sorts of rules and regulations and would LOVE to have you paying through the nose to get anyone to see what you post.  Fortunately, the nature of facebook allows people to create networks and social structures that allow you to share without paying.

For artists, I highly recommend The Artistic Blog, Ink and Alchemy, Art to Share, and Seeking Artists.  All four of these pages welcome and encourage you to share your art, contests, and art questions with them.  Not sure how to photograph your work?  Ask.  Need help figuring out how to price?  Ask.  Each one of these is a fantastic supportive network of fellow artist who have the same questions and have found a wealth of answers and are willing to share their knowledge with you.  And you will have the opportunity to return the favor when you're the one who knows the answer!

For crafters, I highly recommend Clearly Crafty Community, Artizans Emporium, Craftsy, Crafty Likes, Spreading the Handcrafted Love, and  Hand Made in the UK.  Looking for craft supplies?  They can help you find them.  Wondering about a particular technique?  Ask!  And you're going to get to 'meet' some truly giving, talented, incredible artisan crafters along the way!  And many of these resources will have buyers coming to them as well asking for potentially, exactly what you have to offer!

Trying to increase your page 'likes'?  Check out Hike Those Likes!  This is for the American branch, but they have pages for all over the world.  And like the above two, they are ALSO great resources for finding potential buyers and for finding guidance and advice.

And when it comes to facebook and trying to grow your page (or supporting the pages you love!),  I'd like to share this:

"I see so many small business pages that say they're struggling because of the changes facebook has made regarding who sees their posts, so here is a post to explain how Facebook seems to be working, which I have borrowed from another page Little Burrow Designs:

"It seems to me that a written post gets potentially seen by 3 or 4 times more people than a photo or a link and if you are sharing your own pictures or posts you might as well not bother as they're seen by so few.

The more people who comment or click "like" on your post the more facebook will allow it to appear in different news feeds.

So the answer is, if you're reading this, click "like" or comment on anything and everything that catches your eye and help all us small businesses survive or one day you'll go looking for your favourite business pages only to find they've given up because people didn't actively like or comment on their photos or posts on a regular basis.

Small businesses need to support each other Don't forget the Get Notifications option under the Liked button to ensure you receive all posts from your fave pages.

Thank you!"

All in all, I would have to say:

Day 1 Challenge:  Totally 'check'!  (:

Looking forward to what Day 2 has in store!

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Ready For Another Daily Challenge!

Whew!  Between starting a regular day job (and learning how to do it!), doing commissions and getting ready for TroyFest, my poor little blog has been left languishing.

This is where Leslie Saeta comes in!

I had so much fun participating in the 30 paintings in 30 days challenge in January.  And enjoyed it so much, I hosted a daily count down to One Billion Rising.  And now, she's offering a 30 in 30 Marketing Challenge and I'm signed up (along with =300= other artists)!!

I really appreciate that they should take roughly only 30 minutes each day to complete.  I can -totally- work that into my schedule (;

If you're an artist, why not check it out and see if you want to sign up too.  We start tomorrow, but the only rule (and one of the reasons I love Leslie Saeta's challenges) is to have FUN!