Monday, August 31, 2015

A Real, Lively Tim Burton-Style Postal Worker

Photography Prints

Recently, I sold three of my Zentangle horses to a collector in Canada.

The first two, The King's Horse...
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...and War Horse...were purchased a month before the third horse, Circus Horse and shipped perfectly and safely to the new owner in a nice, convenient-sized bubble pack. 

Photography Prints

Circus Horse; however, was bigger. It's the first one in my Chinese horse series done in the Zentangle style.
You can see the horses I've created in my Chinese horse series HERE

After searching for a bubble pack, it became apparent that I would need to find another way to package the artwork.  There isn't a 16 x 20 bubble package anywhere.

It took some thinking, but I eventually figured out how to package the artwork so it would be safe.  When I took it to UPS, the cost of shipping surprised me.  It would take over $40 to ship it to Canada.  My budget was $25.  So, I decided to go to the Post Office instead.  USPS is much cheaper than UPS.

My daughter was with me and we were waiting in line.  It wasn't our local post office because we were in a different city that day.  There was a male postal worker helping the customer in front of us while I stood at the adjacent service window writing addresses down on the package.  We heard a loud female voice coming from somewhere in the building.  At first, I thought I was hearing the ranting of a homeless woman, but couldn't make out all the words. 

While I was trying to ascertain if it was indeed a homeless woman, my daughter was counting the bobble heads on the windowsill next to the receiving desk.  She elbowed me and pointed at them with her eyes. With a grin, she whispered to me, "There are 30 of them."  Then, a thin, gaunt-faced jolly old woman walked through the door towards the bobble-head stall where we were waiting. She was proudly wearing a vest decorated in postal-themed pins.  Her rectangular face was framed with shoulder length, limp hair.  It appeared as though it had been permed and colored at one time, but had long since grown out. The ends of her hair held onto the last bit of wave left in to the perm.  The moment she saw us, I realized that she was that mysterious, outspoken woman I mistakenly thought was a homeless woman.  When she spoke, her worn down, stained toothy smile and her gruff voice exposed a lifetime of heavy smoking.

It didn't take much effort to imagine her as a Tim Burton-like character. This guy above is a Bell Hop created on an episode of Faceoff.

This one's a cellist also created on Faceoff....You get the idea.

Imagine a postal worker character Tim Burton-style and you have yourself a character like the one who stood before us that day.

I looked at my daughter, an aspiring writer, pointed expressive eyes towards the bobble head filled windowsill; then turned my gaze towards the woman indicating that those bobble heads must belong to the pin-filled, vest-wearing postal worker and she needed to make note of this woman's characteristics for her writing.  I've been encouraging her to keep a character log for future reference. Notes on people with interesting faces, unique body movements, and dynamic characters like this woman serving us today.

The gruff-voiced, but kind postal worker looked at the package and said, "This looks bigger than 24 inches.  I don't know if it will ship out first class.  It must be 24 inches or under to ship that way."  First time I had ever heard that.  The hope that I had actually been able to ship the art within my budget faded. I prepared myself for hearing that $40 amount that UPS quoted me.

She measured the package and told me that it was just over 24 inches, but she would try it anyway, "It'll probably be fine.  Unless some guy decides to measure it and refuse it.  If it comes back to you, don't open it.  Simply bring it back here.  We won't charge you for what you've already paid. Just charge you for the additional cost and we will ship it priority."

Then she noticed that I had used a priority shipping box to protect the artwork before slipping another plain cardboard box over the top of that one.  During my creative brain storming on how I could ship it flat, safe and sound.  I had picked up a priority shipping box, slipped the art into it leaving the box flattened, then slipped that box into another flattened box that was a little bigger creating a stiff protective layer.  It was then taped securely.  I was trying to avoid paying for a massive box and its weight, "Is that a priority box I see in there?"

Not knowing if that was a bad thing or not, I said back to her, "Uhmm...ya, but let's pretend you didn't see it.  I won't tell if you don't tell."  I was kind of kidding.  She seemed like she could take it.
I looked at my daughter and shrugged my shoulders. The postal worker had a thoughtful expression for a second. It seemed that it would be fine as she didn't say another word about it.  I suppose I could've gone dumpster diving and found one the right size for free instead of using one from them with all their tell-tell writing over it that seemed to peek through cracks in the plain box around it.  You always think of those things after the fact and after the box is taped to high heaven.

I asked her how she knew that it was over 24 inches before she measured it.  Her response was animated as she leaned towards me, "I've been here 49 years, honey.  You learn a thing or two in that amount of time." She also said that it is possible that it would come back to me because of that. Then, knowing it was going to Canada, she patted her bobble head bear from Canada (making him bobble even more) and said, "That's why I've got this guy.  He's from Can-ay-dee-a.  He watches over all the others."

One can't help but deduce from meeting this woman that she either really loved her job or she's been made crazy by working for the government for so long or both.
Really, she was a breath of fresh air. A delight to work with.  She is also the only postal worker that I've ever seen smile. As you probably already know, and have experienced for yourself, that government workers always seem like they hate their job and never smile, but she didn't hate it.  I told her that too, "I don't think I've ever met a postal worker who likes what they do."
"Oh, I do love my job.  I also love it when it is 5 o'clock." She said smiling once again revealing her worn down, smoke-stained teeth.

When we left, my daughter said grinning, "Is she real?  I love adding people like that into my writing, but it's hard to believe that people like that really exist." 
Yup, that's why I encourage her to take notes about the interesting people she meets.  Not that it would be easy to forget a person like that.  Those kind of people make my day.  So does being able to ship something within my budget of $25.

See my WEBSITE to see more of my artwork.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Mercy Only God Can Give - Jesus - An Easter Story

After being asked to illustrate the word Mercy I asked myself, how does one put a picture to a word like that? The story of the good Samaritan came to mind, but somehow that didn't seem to fit exactly. We've all been in a situation of that kind of mercy at one time or another. I wanted to depict it on a higher level. So I asked people, "What does mercy mean to you?"

The most impossible answer was this:  Forgiving the man who murdered one of your loved ones and doing his sentence for him.  Well, my first thought is no one would do that.  Whoever commits murder deserves their death sentence.  I would find it impossible to stand between the man and his death sentence with forgiveness.  Even more impossible to do his sentence for him.  It would take more than super human strength...and then, I realized that it was the perfect answer.

Within a day or two, there was some very disturbing news and still shots from a video about a girl who was stoned to death in Iraq. I was shocked to learn that some cultures still do that. The video stills showed a circle of men from the hips down and a girl being killed with stones thrown at her head.  (I will not be putting a link to the story as it is very disturbing. Google it and you will find it.)
The news these days is filled with horrific stories like this.

That story reminded me of the story in the Bible about the woman who was caught in the act of adultery and was judged to be stoned to death, but Jesus stood between her and her accusers.

It became very clear to me that I needed to do the painting based on that Bible story because it is a story of divine mercy and forgiveness.

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In my painting the girl stands unaware of the mercy she is about to receive. She was brought to Jesus by the Pharisees.  Her sin fully exposed. Caught in the act of adultery. According to Jewish law, the law of Moses, anyone caught (two or more witnesses) in the act of adultery was to be stoned to death.
The Pharisees were using this girl to trap Jesus in breaking the law and/or blaspheming against God by calling Himself the Son of God.
Did Jesus know the law? Would Jesus uphold the law? Would He say that He was the Son of God or say that He was God? 
Jesus didn't only know the law, but He came to this world to fulfill the law.
- the Law Of Moses.  The same law that God gave his people. The same law that states that anyone caught in the act of adultery was to be stoned to death.

Art Prints

In this story, Jesus doesn't state that He is God or that He is the son of God, but He does show God's mercy. The kind of mercy that can only come from God and from someone who knows God intimately .

Jesus turned a potentially tragic situation into a story of mercy.

This painting illustrates how Jesus got their attention by being a peacemaker. He courageously knelt down not once, but two times to write in the sand in front of an angry, ready-to-kill crowd. Some think He was gathering his thoughts, but consider the situation. The crowd was going to stone the girl. Not the ideal thoughtful spot. I believe He was very purposeful in His actions and knew exactly what he was doing. I believe He was writing their sins into the sand. Perhaps even the same sin that they were accusing the woman of doing. When He said, "He who is without sin cast the first stone", the crowd dropped their stones and dispersed. The oldest ones first. 
What He wrote down must have been pretty revealing to be able to disperse them so quickly.

In this painting, I placed Jesus in a vulnerable position (kneeling) between the woman and the angry crowd because that is what He did - stood between us and our death sentence.  Sin leads to death.  Sometimes physically; always spiritually.  When we choose sin; we choose death.
The girl's uncovered hair, in a time when women covered their hair in public, symbolizes her exposure. Her body is wrapped in a white sheet representing both the shame she feels and her wrapping herself in the cleansing forgiveness she is about to receive.
Jesus straightened up and asked her, "Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?"  Remember, two or more witnesses needed to be there for her to be judged of the crime.  There was no one. 

Then neither do I condemn you," Jesus declared. "Go now and leave your life of sin."  Jesus didn't say that she didn't sin, but cleansed her of her sin through forgiveness.

Jesus did not break any laws.  He could have said, "You are correct.  The law states that she should be killed." Instead, he showed them that they deserved the same sentence as they were willing to give the woman.  They saw their own sins exposed in the writings in the sand and left her with only Jesus standing there. The one who came to fulfill the law, forgave her of the sin that was leading to her death and then told her to go and live in that forgiveness.  She was saved from physical death by the grace of the law - there were no witnesses.  It is also a story to represent us being saved from spiritual death by grace through God's Son Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior - the One who came to fulfill the law.

Now, that's mercy.  Mercy only God can give.

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For God so loved the world, that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.
~ John 3:16

There is no sin too great for God to forgive.  There is no one who can judge you of your sins as greater than their own because they are not without sin themselves.
Only Jesus who took all sin upon Himself  and died on the cross, who conquered that death and rose again for you and me so that we could live.  Only Jesus who knew the law and followed it perfectly has the right to judge. 
He chooses mercy.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Wondering Where Your Online Orders Are?

So, I had this brilliant idea to kayak out to the container ships that are hanging out in the harbor by Manchester, Washington.  My curious nature had an itch and when it itches that bad, it must be satisfied.  Besides after being cooped up for days doing serious stuff like artwork and trying to make money I needed an adventure.
There has been anywhere from three to five of theses type of freighters anchored here waiting for a turn to be unloaded at the Seattle shipyards.  The longshoremen of the whole West coast  have been on strike for months.  Meanwhile, these ships wait and wait, anchored in The Sound with engines rumbling off and on day and night.

I've been wanting to see them up close ever since noticing them from the road and ask the crew what's up with my order. It's been three months and I still haven't gotten it. I'm just the type to go up to them and ask, "Hey, man, can I look through that shipping container from China? I won't be long. I just want my shirt I ordered three months ago." Jokingly, of course.

(That's Seattle in the distance and there were two other ships full of shipping containers anchored nearby.)

When we got to the ship the guys were far too nice for me to say something that ornery.  Besides that, the captain was looking at us through his binoculars as if he was expecting trouble.  Then I remembered the movie, Captain Philips.  Of course, the captain and crew of this ship is going to be on alert as they should be.  It's part of their job.
They waved at us and said hello.  Not the captain; the crew.  The captain reminded me of a cop that has his radar gun pointed at cars on the freeway.  A very serious dude with a lot of responsibility and someone who deserves respect.
I asked the group of friendly men where they were from and they said, "The Philippines." 
Drat!  My stuff is from China. 
Then I asked them if they get to leave the boat and they said, "Yah, we went to Tacoma." After three months that's all they did? What? Why, when Seattle is 10 miles away by boat? I then asked them, "How'd you get there. By helicopter?"  I didn't see any ladders or ways to get off the ship any other way and Tacoma is quite a ways away by water or by land.  I don't think they heard me as they didn't answer and they suddenly weren't there anymore.  I realized later that the ships weren't actually anchored for three months, but only for a few days as they waited their turn to be unloaded.

Here's puny little me next to this beast of an eye sore. Hey, we do need our goods don't we.

I did hear that "talks" are happening so maybe these container ships won't be cluttering our view for much longer and maybe I'll finally get my cool  Queen Of Hearts shirt that I designed.  One of the only things about it made in America - the designer. That and the inks it's printed with.  They are really well made though...

This is my friend who was adventurous enough to come with me.  Don't you just love her hat?  She thought she looked like a garden gnome. 
I forced her to get this close and joked with her about a vortex that would suck us into China if we got to close.  She joked with me about popping out one of our sunglasses lenses so we looked more like pirates.
She was smart enough to think that we might actually get into trouble if we got too close.  That thought did occur to me, but I figured, nah, this is America.  No way they'd see us slow paddling, recreational kayakers as pirates, but the captain was looking at us through his binoculars and it was odd that the workers were all suddenly congregated just under him and left just as suddenly as they appeared. 
I was more worried about how deep the water was and if a porpoise or seal would capsize me (the water is very cold) than whether or not we would be seen as pirates.

The ship was incredibly massive.  These photos don't do its size justice.  I kept wishing I had a wide-angle lens available on my phone.

This was about when I heard a really loud and eerie creaking sound. 

"What was that?" It scared the life out of me for a second.

My friend just laughed.

Time to leave.

On the way there and the way back we saw lots of driftwood and birds floating on the surface that looked like porpoise fins.  One very large piece of driftwood had a line of Loons as passengers surfing the tide towards Blake Island.  They looked like skinny penguins all standing in a row.
We paused a few times to take photos of Mt. Rainer and watched a pod of seals curiously eyeing us and then go back to their business.  We were hoping to see porpoises, but didn't.
The tide was going out when we left the beach and was slacked when going back which made for fairly pleasant paddling both ways.  My strokes were more frequent than my friend's as she is a much more seasoned kayaker and probably stronger than me.  I told her it was because her kayak was lighter and narrower than mine. I looked like a Shetland Pony trying to keep up with a Thoroughbred.

Well, I wasn't able to pick up my order. We left the container ship empty-handed.  Should have went to one of the other container ships that was from China. 

All 'n all it be a mighty great adventure, matey.

Edit:  Turns out that my shirt was at the post office under my friend's name waiting to be picked up.  The one that I did this trip with.  She had ordered one previously and I had wanted a replacement for a different shirt.  For some reason, the post office decided that it wasn't deliverable. Perhaps it would have needed a signature and it wasn't under the addressee's name.  I don't know. They misunderstood and thought it was a replacement for her shirt.  The problem has since been ironed out.

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Sunday, February 22, 2015

Why Are Value Sketches Important?

Some people don't see the value in value sketches.  They like to go straight to the canvas and paint or draw on the canvas, then paint.  For some, it works wonderfully; for others, frustration follows.  Plein Air painters are some who benefit from going straight to painting on the spot because lighting changes so quickly.  Still, some will do a color version of a value sketch and do the final painting in their studio.

My process is through black and white value sketches.  They are a warm up before the workout.  They help keep myself from having artist block at paint time and I like to know how the composition will be before I paint. Having a well laid out plan is key for me.  With this plan comes the leeway to go off the plan as painting commences.  That's important to remember to allow freedom for spontaneous changes.

First, there is thought.  Thought of color, value, composition, breaks of space; then, moving into applying that thought into a preliminary sketch or value sketch before creating the final painted piece.  Getting the bugs worked out so-to-speak so there is freedom to explore with the painting process and not be hindered, by unforeseen complications.  There are plenty of challenges still left to conquer, but far less because of the sketch work.

Here are a few examples.
The original sketches to the housekeepers and Reciprocity (Dual Message) would be considered thumbnail sketches because the original drawings are only about 5 x 7 inches.

 Sell Art OnlinePhotography Prints
Thumbnail sketches and value sketches are basically the same thing.  Thumbnails are just smaller, quicker preliminary sketches.  

The Peace And Justice sketch wasn't very quick to do and was 11 x 14 inches.  I would consider this to be a value sketch.  The final painting ended up as quite a large finished piece.  30 x 40 inches.
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Sell Art OnlinePhotography Prints

Photography PrintsArt Prints

No need to have them super complicated. The horse sketch titled, Determination, was a very quick 11 x 14 inch value sketch intentionally kept minimalistic.  Painted Determination was an oil done on a 9 x 12 inch canvas board and wasn't quick to do at all.  It had several layers with drying time in between.  The purpose of this technique was to make it look like a Greco-Roman wall painting.  Keeping the sketch minimalistic helped me think out the final piece to appear more simple.

Here is another 9 x 12 inch canvas version of the Determination horse in oil painted with only a pallet knife.  Actually, this one was done before the brown, oil version, Painted Determination 1, and took a very long time to dry because it is thick with paint.  Both of these colored versions could also be considered value sketches too as they are small. 
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Some pieces are more necessary to have a value sketch done first.  For instance, when models and reference photos are used.  It can end up taking lots of hours of prep work to use models and photographs, but it is always well worth it.  When I don't go through this process, my work rarely succeeds. Besides that, sketching is enjoyable and many times end up as salable.  Most of my value sketches are sold or have sold as prints. 
Photography Prints
Art Prints

Mercy Sketch and Persecution Sketches are about 9 x 12 inches.

Photography Prints
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Making notes on the side of the sketch is a great way to capture the desired composition, mood, color, direction of lighting and is a good refresher for the times when painting the painting that same day just isn't possible.  It makes for a good reminder to your initial inspiration for creating this painting in the first place.

Thumbnail/value sketches don't all have to be black and white.  You can make a color version too.  Sometimes I make a color swatch specific for that painting; which is also very helpful to freeing up creativity in the painting stage.

So, In Short, Top 6 Reasons Why They Are Important
1.  A plan of attack to release painting freedom.
2.  Create a pleasant composition and breaks of space.
3.  Editing unnecessary content.
4.  Value study for mood and lighting.
5.  Loosing up painting muscles.
6.  Bonus points - Salable sketch.

Prints, cards, phone cases, and pillow cases of all of these are available.  Simply click the image of interest or go to MY WEBSITE.

More value sketches not yet painted but available as prints:

Art Prints
Sell Art OnlinePhotography Prints
Art Prints

Initially meant as a preliminary sketch, but now I've created a series of drawings like these horses for the additional purpose of selling the original sketches as well as prints of the sketches.

This drawing of swimmers preparing for the swim portion of a triathlon was suppose to be a preliminary drawing for a painting, but decided it is complete as is...for now.

A complicated composition(restaurant in Pirates Alley, New Orleans) made simple by editing the excess.

 This little ballerina is intentionally unfinished. She's new at dancing and has a lot to accomplish to earn her pointe shoes. She is a work in progress (WIP).

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

My Car Smells Like Pizza

You might be thinking, "So?"
...or saying, "Yum! Sounds good."
It was good.  I had enough of it that I can attest to it being very good.
The problem with my car smelling like pizza is that I shouldn't be buying pizza or eating it when I want to lose weight. 
It did make me think, "Hmm, I don't ever recall fresh produce smelling up the car for hours like pizza or like burgers and fries do."  No, I didn't have burgers and fries too.
You see, I hired a trainer (with my birthday money) to help me be more disciplined and help me get back on track with my eating and workout habits.  My lack of self-discipline has gotten completely out of control and my thoughts were that if I hired a trainer to get me back to taking care of myself, then, in turn, I would be more self-disciplined with my art production. 
That's how it works, right? I take proper care of myself and that discipline spills over into other areas of my life. 
So, I said to myself, "It's time to shed the fur coat."  That is what I so lovingly call my fat layer - my fur coat.  I shouldn't love it and I truly don't, but I've hung onto it for years like I love it. 
There's muscle under there...or so I've thought until my trainer got me doing a Pilates-type workout.
It's on Monday's --- my Pilates-type workout.  Yesterday was my second Monday and today is my second 'day-after-all-over-body-pain' day.  Well, not all over.  Just my back and neck and head.  I've heard that if it takes two days to feel the workout you are in better shape.  I guess I'm a weakling. How can 30 minutes of Pilates make me so dang sore?  Especially considering that I workout a lot already throughout the week.  
Okay, truthfully, I have not been very self-disciplined in the department either for the last few months (years for not taking care of myself and my over-eating habits).  I may have been getting one to three workouts in a week for the last few months.
So, now that I'm being honest with myself, I realize that I've become completely undisciplined and inconsistent with working out and what I eat.  Not caring for my heath and well-being has worn on me and made me more out of shape than I realized. 

Yah, it's a new type of workout for me, even though I have done it before (ages ago), especially feels new when having a person right there making sure that I have perfect form (which makes it even harder to do) and counting endlessly and saying you have one more minute when you think you already did that minute. Or says, "You have 15 seconds."...which feels like much, much longer. 

Shaun T says you can do anything for 30 seconds.  It's true.  You can.  You can also do it saying ow a lot or wishing you weren't doing it. 
Okay, now you're saying, "Shaun T?  Isn't that the Insanity guy?" Yup, I did a lot of 'beat your body' (Beachbody) products like Insanity, P90x and other stuff like 200 mile bike rides three different times and did it all well.
Except for the 80 mile hill ride that I rode, after not training well for it, and being beat to the finish by two seventy-year-olds riding a tandum bicycle (they were inspiring and I was mortified), I got in really good shape. 
Because I lack self-discipline and have not made a change in my brain about food, when those programs or events were over, I fell back into bad habits.
Read this as a warning label:  Don't let yourself go.  Take care of yourself.  It's very hard to get fitness back.  It's very hard to want to get fitness back once it is let go.  And last, but not least, train your brain about what you eat. I haven't lost hope.  I'm not obese and I still like to workout.

I do see how easy it is to slip into being lazy and undisciplined; which doesn't make me feel good in my own skin.
I know that I will have set backs (like allowing my car to be filled with the intoxicating aroma of pizza).
As the saying goes, Don't ever trust a skinny cook...wait, I meant to say...abs are made in the kitchen.
<Holds up a glass of warm lemon water>
Here's to trying to smell the fresh produce in my car and not the Costco boxes they are in.
Here's to eating healthy foods in healthy portions and not cheating myself.
Here's to making it through the holidays without my nemesis, Holiday Jani, taking over my body.
Here's to doing for me while everyone in my life is demanding a pound of flesh.
Here's to my success at learning how to be disciplined.
<Holds my back straight and goes to bed>
(I'm really good at the second one.  Especially the screw ups and set backs...just sayin')

More stories:
There Is Something Wrong With Your Hearing
Don't Ever Do This
Mission Impossible-Almost
A Lesson In Fashion Turns Into A Funny Tattoo Story
Curiosity And Other Artistic Traits
Demo Is A Four Letter Word

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Monday, October 20, 2014

There Is Something Wrong With Your Hearing

My family has been saying that a lot lately.

When my husband answered my question, "What protein should I give Megan this morning; she has a swim meet today?" He said, "Give her a grenade." 

I think it was the pillow earmuffs that I use in the morning to quiet the getting-ready-for-work noise my husband makes.  Or maybe it was the make-a-cave-with-two-pillows technique I use sometimes (Yes, I can breathe.  That's what the cave opening is for. My husband thinks I need a snorkel).  Not being a morning person, that extra half-hour of shut-eye is priceless. 
After I emerged from my cozy, earmuff pillow cave, I did realize that I heard incorrectly and gathered that he had actually said, "Make her an egg."

My kids have been commenting about how poor my hearing is too, but they tend to converse with me while being several rooms away and mutter their words or while they have a mouthful of food or while my mind is on something else.  So, I think it's understandable that I'm not hearing them correctly.

It does, however, remind me of the time that I thought George Michaels words in one of his songs were, "Would you like me to introduce you?" When what is actually said is, "Would you like me to seduce you?" One can chalk that up as a common mistake.  Lots of people mess up words to songs.

My son just thinks I'm old.  Especially when I mention people like George Michaels, "Who?"

I can hear the kids just fine when they're fighting or drinking out of the milk carton or rifling through the pantry too close to dinnertime even when my mind is on something else.  I can even tell you who it is that's doing those things just by the way it sounds.

My hearing is positively bionic when it comes to some things. 
Really, my hearing is fine and always has been...except for that George Michaels song. 

I'm just trying my hardest to be good at everything I do every day as a wife, mom, and artist.

It's more likely that my hearing has gotten selective after raising kids for all these years.

Now, if they accused me of being forgetful or absent-minded.  They would be correct.

I can find my car in a parking lot and am really good at directions and know which way is North,
South, West, or East, but sometimes forget why I enter a room.

(Where can I get one of these?)

That GPS thing for busy moms would come in handy.  So would a cloning device.

My excuse for any memory loss, besides needing to eat more blueberries, is that I have way too much on my mind. 

After all, besides the wife and mother job, I'm trying to make an art business successful.

The latest doozie of memory loss was during my studio tour.  There were so many people at one point that I lost track of who I had already introduced myself to and re-introduced myself to the same lady three times.  The third time around she was laughing and said, "Well, hello, again.  Nice to meet you too." 

My response was, "Well, I'm triple blessed to meet you...again."

I'm not very good with names, but I am usually really good with faces (except for that lady I met three times.); however, if you come into my studio wearing transitional lenses, I probably won't recognize you when they turn from shades to glasses (Don't turn your back. Those things work really fast).  And if I introduce myself twice or three times to you, that could be why.

I guess this is as good of time as any to formally apologize, "To the lovely lady with the transitional lenses,  I sincerely apologize for thinking you were two different people.  I swear I'm not insane just a little distracted sometimes." ...
Speaking of ... I know there's something I'm suppose to be doing right now...

...Oh, shoot!  I forgot.  I'm suppose to pick up my daughter early today...

...time to switch back to my "raising kids" head.

More art stories:
Don't Ever Do This
Mission Impossible-Almost
A Lesson In Fashion Turns Into A Funny Tattoo Story
Curiosity And Other Artistic Traits
Demo Is A Four Letter Word

See my artwork on My Website
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Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Don't Ever Do This!

My brain seems to never stop problem solving. My head is constantly full of ideas.  Many of them are successful.  Some are really great.  Some not so much.

My studio tour, the first one I'd ever done, was coming up and I had a last minute idea. It was a brilliant idea (or so I thought). My idea was to pass out 100 flyers to 100 of my closest neighbors.

Why hadn't anyone else on the tour thought of this?

My neighborhood is pretty spread out and is a fairly rural area. All the properties are separated by a green belt. Because of this I barely even know my closest neighbors. I felt it was a perfect opportunity, a perfect excuse, to market myself. After all, the whole goal of me doing the tour this year was to share with my community what I do and, hopefully, to gain more followers. So, I made up a simple flyer.

The first line said in large letters, "Did You Know That Your Neighbor Is An Artist?" Followed by, "Come visit her studio and see her latest works of art." The rest of the info briefly stated the date of the tour, and my address, and my website address.

After printing 100 copies, folding the flyer so the eye-catching lines were above the fold, I stapled a business card to the flyer.

A great and cheap marketing idea, right? Now, how does one go about distributing this information?

Here comes the part that you should never do. My "Lucille Ball" moment.

(see any resemblance?)

It was about 3:00 pm and I was very selective about which neighbors mailboxes would receive my flyers.

The ones I liked the best were those that were in tight rows.

It made the distribution more efficient.

Houses that looked disheveled or mysterious or had lots of worn out cars parked outside didn't receive a flyer. Surely, they would have no interest in art or me for that matter.

This type of marketing turned out to not be the most brilliant of my ideas.

Turns out that it is a federal offense to open someone's mailbox even if you aren't removing their mail and giving them exciting-happy-neighborhood-event type of mail. 

It makes sense. 

I get

(Far Side cartoon by Gary Larson)
Thankfully, I only got one irate phone call. Her timing was perfect. She called me a 1/2 hour before the tour was about to start and left this message, "Don't ever put a flyer in my mailbox again! That's a federal offense!"

Hearing that made me feel like I'd been punched in the stomach. Already nervous about the success of the tour, I now was very worried that I would get reported and fined a billion dollars...

or put in jail. That would not be cool.  Even if I do look good in orange.

"Lucy!  You've got some 'splainin' to do!"

In the words of what Lucille Ball might say, "WAAA! All I wanted to do was be neighborly, invite them to visit and to meet them in a very positive environment. WAAA!"

So far, no phone calls or subpoena (or whatever they give you) from the post master, no retaliation of any sort and no police officer at my door.


Btw, one of the receivers of my mailbox flyer is a police officer. Yeesh! 

He did not come to my studio.  Only a few of my neighbors came.  The tour was still a success.  People came from all over and I had 130 visitors and had a few sales.  Not bad for my first tour.

Next time, though, I'll inform my neighbors in a legal way.

More art stories:
Mission Impossible-Almost
A Lesson In Fashion Turns Into A Funny Tattoo Story
Curiosity And Other Artistic Traits
Demo Is A Four Letter Word

See my artwork on My Website
Follow me of Facebook
Follow me on Twitter