Making a Video!

November 11, 2014

I know I have been rather quiet of late… I am in the midst of my wonderful, new project: teaching online for I have been in the pre-production phase for many weeks now. What does that mean? It involves creating a 7 part video first. The video comes down to figuring out what is important to teach, how to say it and show it as well as creating the pieces that show the methods on the way to the end result in at least 3 steps plus the finished piece: so think 4 pieces for each 'chapter' or segment. Wow. That's busy!

We film the video next week! I'm so excited to do this! But here is what happens as an artist: cycles of pure confidence in what I know and can teach but then…a crises of confidence: consuming nervous anticipation that I'll be a total flub on camera. It's crazy. Where does this come from? I know what I know. I can only be me. They can edit, stop, start, reshoot, edit and did I mention EDIT? BREATHE! It'll be fun. REEEEALLLLY!


   So I haven’t posted here in quite awhile.  I was slammed at work and life for months.  Then I went to teach at Bead Fest Philadelphia in August and on the way back to Seattle I stopped in Colorado to attend an invitational retreat that I have been trying to get to for years.  Just before leaving I realized that I can’t work like this anymore.  There isn’t any break from the demand, no time to create, everybody always wants my help with something.  This isn’t the life I would choose for myself but here it is.  So before I left I told one college that I wouldn’t be teaching for them anymore.  I also decided that I will not be going out on the road so much anymore.  As much as I love my adventures it is clear that it’s very disruptive.  It takes a lot of time to organize everything, order materials for kits and classes, maintain inventory of the materials, count everything single thing for kits, pay for every single thing…I could go on and on.  Let’s just say that I’m currently a couple thousand dollars out and impatiently waiting to get paid (they take 40 days for goodness sake – ridiculous!).  So why would anyone want that job? I don’t.

  Unbelievably, I got a phone call today for work (on SUNDAY morning, I was barely awake).  It was business.  No emergency.  Just somebody wanting something and they have my cell phone number.  Really?  It couldn’t wait for a business day?  If I were teaching this weekend I would be juggling this call and a class at the same time? Ugh.

  Before I left I was awakened almost every day by a text message or a phone call.  I was scrambling around trying to get everything together to all hours of the night and people were waking me up 5 hours after I went to bed.

   It occurs to me to say: it’s my phone for MY needs.  Please don’t call me before 9 AM.

  So beyond the venting here there is a real life.  The real life I am choosing includes working in my studio, seeing my husband, cleaning my kitchen and even painting downspouts for the house.  Because I don’t work every minute.  No one ever said on their death bed: gosh, I wish I had worked more…

Worthy Creative Advice

July 2, 2014

“Identify the primary distraction that keeps you from your creative work and deal with it. If you have an issue, be it weight, lack of exercise or family worries, do your best to resolve that issue or reduce it's power of distraction on your time and energy.” – Julieanne Kost (of Adobe Systems)

As I dive into a renewed commitment to my own creative efforts this quote is my scale. It is especially appropriate since I am slowly moving into using Lightroom and yes, that which I have avoided for years: Photoshop. I have always maintained that a good photographer shouldn't need to do much in software if an image is shot properly. I still believe this. Yes, a crop or exposure tweak after the fact may be needed but all the bells and whistles of Photoshop are not required. I realize that Photoshop has become a standard tool and by avoiding it I am just being contrary. Sometimes that's just how I roll.

But now I have owned Lightroom for about six months. I have barely had time to really get to know it. I have found by using the cataloging feature that I have tens of thousands of photographs. It will probably take me years to troll through them much less learn how to use Lightroom. I know… it must be time for a class to shorten my learning curve. After setting Lightroom onto my photographs to catalog them, I had to own that I am a photographer. I should just stop being quiet about it (since it was staring me in the face) and own that since I actually have about 15,000 or more photographs I've taken just from the last 5 or 6 years. Click happy me.

So in an effort to reduce the power of distraction on my time and energy I am going to stop teaching. I already spend a lot of time mentoring artists every day at ArtWorks and through the EDGE Program each Winter. I have come to realize that one can only mentor so much and I need my own creative time.

Light Dawns at the End of the Day, Meredith Arnold, 2014

I have a lot of jewelry to make and am excited about the prospect of digital collage as well as a lot of other projects I have in mind. Onward and upward!



A Good Thought

June 20, 2014


Be Brave With Your Life.



Resolution for the New Year

January 11, 2014

Celebrate your mistakes! They mean you're human.

Don't be afraid of making a mistake: you'll not learn anything by doing things perfectly except how to do one thing. Cross pollination can't happen in a perfect atmosphere.

Expand your world and knowledge: make mistakes.

Remember: there is nowhere to go, nothing left to do if everything is perfect. The concept of perfect is a myth.


February 17, 2013

Artists like to create in a solo environment typically. I know I do. It's treasured time when I get to revel in my own process and I can do that so much more thoroughly when I'm alone. As a teacher I am either subject to others process or helping others find their process or incorporating their process with a new medium all the time. It's rare that I get to just be in my own space. However, I find there is more opportunity when I am creating with others like in an open studio environment. There are expanded options and new avenues that I might not have found when on my own. It's the same when you're associated with a group or organization. Opportunities may be offered to a group before it's offered to you alone. This is true with group shows and organizational events. I've found that the more I'm not going 'solo' in my every day practice the more my opportunities expand.

Investing into an artists group or even a group of friends regularly provides a trustworthy sounding board, a safe place for critique, and multiplies avenues of resources for everything from supplies to techniques which provides a lot of benefits for when you are working solo. This is one of the biggest challenges I see for artists in general. They have a difficult time consistently investing in being a part of a group. Just remember: there is power in numbers!

I know women my age and older talk about how far we've come as women in our society but the younger gals really have no clue. Of course we still talk about the glass ceiling. It still exists. And yes, there are still problems for women such as:

If women were paid equally to men 50% of the poverty in our country would be addressed. Think about it. Single mothers make up a disproportionate number of people in poverty. Women also make up a disproportionate number of the working poor. Where are the equal numbers of single fathers and single men? Probably making more money.

I remember when we weren't allowed to wear pants to school. When I was very young the dress code dictated which fabrics and colors could be worn by women and girls at what time of year. The only time I ever heard of this for men was in the Navy: dress whites in summer, dress blues for winter.

Ever hear of Jack Jones? He was a singer with a big hit song in 1964/1965 called 'Wives and Lovers'. Check out the lyrics below (or go see him sing it on YouTube!) and you'll know what kind of world I grew up in:

Wives and Lovers (by Burt Bacharach & Hal David)

Hey! Little Girl

Comb your hair, fix your makeup

Soon he will open the door

Don't think because there's a ring on your finger

You needn't try anymore

For wives should always be lovers too

Run to his arms the moment he comes home to you

I'm warning you…

Day after day

There are girls at the office

And men will always be men

Don't send him off with your hair still in curlers

You may not see him again

For wives should always be lovers too

Run to his arms the moment he comes home to you

He's almost here…

Hey! Little girl

Better wear something pretty

Something you'd wear to go to the city and

Dim all the lights, pour the wine, start the music

Time to get ready for love

Time to get ready

Time to get ready for love

What a great message to grow up to (NOT!). I'm sure all of our aspirations were lowered by this type of message. Clearly this is where the magazine ads and the beauty industry continue to reside to this day. Still women have come a long way from 1964, thank gawd. Now, let's talk about the Indians at Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota…and honoring treaties. I think you get the idea.

Oppression: The systematic, socially supported mistreatment and exploitation of a group, category, or team of people by anyone.

Oppression of any people, whether it's women, Indians, the poor, or whomever is wrong.

I have to say that my life really is quite an adventure. The things that come across my desk (so to speak), are incredibly diverse and not what one would expect of a middle aged artist. Every once in awhile I stop and sum up what is in front of me and I have to say that more often than not, I'm surprised. I'm surprised by offers, opportunities and the details mixed in with the usual suspects that I expect in my business. Are you ready for this? In the past 6 months I've received:

An inquiry from a producer to be a juror on a TV show for…taxidermy art – just a forewarning if you Google that. It's very odd, some weird, some wonderful…some could cause nightmares…but I would do it. Why not?

A book proposal – me write a book? Okay!

Two requests for submission of my work in other people's books

Two video deals pending – one an interview and one to produce a how-to

A request to teach at Jewel School Institute for Jewelry TV – yup, I'll be there in March for Mixed Media Madness!

And then there's my every day work: a new business I'm working on, deadlines for submissions for next year, pictures to be shot, cropped and sent, contracts to read, revise, sign, galleries to get work to and somewhere in there I need to make that work. Then I have the day job: ArtWorks, which requires a lot of attention, too.

Then in January all at once both cars had to go into the shop, there have been some family situations requiring a lot of driving (I rented a car), and my house phone stopped working! Hmmm, no wonder my house is a wreck. I'm hoping this means I get past a lot of chaos and the rest of the year will be a calm oasis of island breezes…HA!


What Kind of Year Was It?

January 1, 2013

ArtWorks, Christmas 2012

ArtWorks, Christmas 2012

Happy New Year! I'm sure everyone is looking over the last year and taking stock – me, too. This last year was quite a whirlwind for me. At the beginning of each year from Jan. to March I coordinate the EDGE Program, (a 55 hour professional development program for artists on business). At the same time this year from Feb. to May I had 5 teaching trips: home for a week and a half/on the road for two weeks for four months. I finally recuperated from all of the travel by the end of July and then I was traveling again in August. After that my focus went to planning, prepping and making things for a show & teaching in Switzerland for most of November. Meanwhile I was still producing work for galleries and my 'day job' of running ArtWorks…and somewhere in there was some art play time and developing ideas I've had in mind to work on for sometime.

So lately, in looking back, I keep thinking about the days when I had nothing to do, nowhere to go, and really nothing much going on. I've come to the conclusion that if I'm wishing for more of something (time, play, silence), then a balance is missing. If I had the balance of each of the things I wish for or want and the things I must do then there wouldn't be a missing component that I'm wishing for, right? For example, I've been wanting more down time. When I asked myself why I was feeling this way I realized that I have been giving me, my brain, what I know and my time away in various ways like crazy. Teaching is just that: giving what's in your brain and it takes a lot of time to do. While I do love that and I love the interaction with my students incredibly it's time for me to develop my ideas and my work as well as pay attention to some other things in my life that I haven't had much time for. This year I'm striving for a better balance between teaching and creating my work, working and playing, noisy time and quiet time, messy space and clean space, adventures and every day life. Every day life can be an adventure, too! Especially when one hasn't had much of that all year. So this year I only have two teaching trips planned, perhaps three. So if you see me out there come say hello. I may not see you for awhile otherwise!

Bea Grob's Window, Bauma, Switzerland

Bea Grob's window, Bauma, Switzerland


Happy Holidays 2012

December 16, 2012

Sitting here with my cup of coffee (from Switzerland!), listening to some music in front of my electric fire (it does look like a real fire but no heat – maybe I should just call it the Visual Fire?) and just thinking on a Sunday morning… This is the first time in my life that I chose not to bring out our Christmas tree. Me, the Queen of Christmas! Instead I have the one that I usually take to work for my desk, a pretty little thing that's about a foot or so tall. I already put up a huge tree at ArtWorks and it's lovely. Everyone says so. That's enough this year. I'm feeling cozy and creative anyway which is what I expect this time of year.

Looking back over the year I see that it's just been crazy. I spent the first 5 months traveling every month, sometimes twice in a month. My house shows the chaos of all the packing and unpacking and repacking I've done. June was spent trying to get my bearings back at work and all that laundry done! August saw another trip to the East coast where I had really hoped to get to Seaside Heights (Jersey Shore!) and of course, now I'm very sorry I didn't get there. Hurricane Sandy changed everything there and it's still closed to the public. After August it was time to get producing for the show in Switzerland (in November) and then before I knew it, we were off to Switzerland.

I took my remote control air swimming Sharky to the Edmonds Art Festival's Christmas party recently. That was hilarious despite Sharky not being very cooperative that day. He kept hanging around close to the floor for some reason. He does need more helium… Still I'm sure people thought I was very strange for bringing him as my date! Oh well. I was celebrating. I had just figured out that ArtWorks is 90% or so self supporting and that's phenomenal! Art centers are rarely more than 30-60% self supporting – with 60% being generous… Yes, I'm proud of myself. My 3 year plan worked! I really do know what I'm doing and I have proof. =)

Looking forward, I will be home more this year. I have only three trips planned with one being a maybe. It will be the first time in about 8 years or so that I've been home so much. I have just a handful of classes scheduled. Usually I'm scheduled to teach almost every weekend somewhere so this will be a huge change. I'm planning on some rest and play, lots of studio time, and working on some things that have been on my list for way too long… How about you? Do you have time to mull over a cup of coffee or tea today what you would like the next year to look like? Shape in your mind what you want and it will happen.

Some ideas I've had:

Start the Paris fund – contribute every month!

Make new stuff for the galleries quarterly

Write that book

Get rid of extraneous stuff! Make space!

Go to the beach this summer, have a picnic

Hang out somewhere with your sketchbook

Try that recipe for graham crackers

Start Tai Chi

Make art with friends more often