Tuesday, January 13, 2009
Oil on canvas, 10" X 20" titled, Esplanade Palm
Painting can be purchased for $275 plus s/h: from the artist, Jenny Floravita
Today I received the new Santa Cruz County 2009 Official Traveler's Guide and a HUGE photo of me and my paintings are featured in the middle of the magazine. Santa Cruz is a very colorful beach town with a rich history in culture and art. It is a college town. I graduated from UC Santa Cruz and lived in the area for around 10 years. And, of course, it has fabulous beaches. Each of the neighboring cities has their own flavor and I'm sure to blog on this a bit later.
If you are thinking that you might want to travel to this unique California beach town and would like to receive a FREE magazine featuring all fun places to go and things to see, you can find it here: http://www.santacruzcounty.travel/index.shtml
This piece, Esplanade Palm, is 10"x20.
Saturday, January 10, 2009
Oil on canvas, 6" X 8"
Painting can be purchased for $95 plus s/h: from the artist, Jenny Floravita
This painting was definitely the study for a larger piece that I finished last week and in which will be posted in a couple weeks. I'm ramping up to my next tropical adventure. Next Sunday morning I'm flying to Oahu to spend some time on the North Shore.
The scene above just happens to be of the North Shore of Kauai but I thought it would be a good challenge to discover some new inspiring scenes to paint. I choose this time of year because I know that the waves will be heavy and that there will be a lot of mood and movement in the ocean and in the air. Winter time is an exciting time in the Hawaiian Islands and for me, it's a wonderful break from our dreary California weather.
I know...I'm a wimp when it comes to weather. If it hits below 75 degrees, I'm chilled! And actually, we tend to have mild winters, definitely no snow, right up to Christmas. Though the one thing that I miss the most is the fresh air. Even in the summer when the sun is cranking the heat in, we have our windows open, unlike all of our air-conditioned polar bear neighbors.
Today I'm inspired simply because it's warmed up to the mid 60s and we've got the windows open to air the place out. What a difference! My spirit has lifted to a new level and I feel like I can breath again. I truly do not like even the slightest cold, preferring tropical weather but also loving temps in the 80s and 90s. In fact, 90 degrees is somewhat perfect for me.
And now that my beautiful tropical yards have been maturing for about 6 years, it's paradise here when it's warm. And as I write this blog with my tropical office window open, the sound of our pond waterfall and the lushness of the palms outside my window is simply lovely.
Now if only we had our hot tub installed...it's waiting in our garage to be moved to the back. ..
Thursday, January 01, 2009
Those of you who know me well know I'm a very goal oriented person. I'm always reaching for goals and typically contemplate and revise my art business goals in late October. For some reason, that has always signaled the end of a year and as I write this, I realize that my birthday is at the end of October. So it truly is the beginning of another year in my journey as an artist. Go figure, an artist walking to the beat of their own drum!
That being said, New Year's Eve has almost always been a time for me to reflect in general terms as my specific goals have already been thrown into action. And New Year's Eve is rarely about parties as my husband and I prefer a quiet evening together and last night was no exception. But what made the night different from other New Year's Eves is that we did decide to go out. We had plans to dine at a favorite Japanese restaurant and before that we stopped by a locally owned mom-and-pop fish store to buy supplies for our treasured fantail goldfishes.
Like so many other people that we know, the owners of this shop were not faring well and in fact, they were feeling very desperate. They are on the brink of failure in their business and loss of everything that they own including their home. My immediate reaction was to try to relate on a human level so I told them that we knew many who were in the same boat and that they are not alone. As we left the shop, tales of the owners losing everything and having no hope for a new future clung in the air all the way to the Japanese restaurant. It was hard to shake off.
Reading about economic horrors in the news is one thing but knowing so many people who have been touched in this economy is another and if I had to describe the feeling, it would be frightening. The events at the pet store had me thinking more in terms of what I am grateful for right now instead of what I plan to achieve next year. And to be truthful, I've been feeling grateful for an awful lot lately as I know what it's like to have struggles. We all do and it's that comparison that helps us appreciate small things in life.
Despite the hard economic times, my year as an artist was actually quite rewarding. I completed several large paintings, some being commissions. I explored a wonderful series of sugar plantation cottages paintings in oil, based on cottages seen in my travels through Kauai. Most of these paintings have sold. I had a surprisingly successful San Francisco solo show where the gallery owner sold 13 paintings in the spring. And though my art festivals felt at times like they were just a lot of work, I met a lot of wonderful people and improved the look of my display. My fine art publisher turned over a new leaf and started to promote my work more, resulting in sales. Also, I must have painted 30 commissioned chandeliers though my greatest achievement in this vein is that I figured out how to launch my very own line of glass, painted chandeliers. That was no easy feat as each of these pieces is totally custom and made from scratch. It took several months before I had a complete piece. Several of my clients snapped up these lights in the fall, including a ginormous custom piece (that I'm particularly proud of) that we installed in Reno.
And I could go on and on and on on positive things related to my art business that happened in 2008. It really wasn't a bad year though I did work hard. Who knows what 2009 holds?
From a personal level, I've felt blessed with such good friends and family to surround me like my husband, parents, brother, all of my wonderful in-laws, cousins and extended family from my husband's side. I don't want to jinx myself, but things on the home front are positive and that allows me to continue to create joyful art. Come to think of it, my biggest challenge lately has been deciding on a series of paintings to start as my inspirations are great right now and that is a challenge for an artist. The ability to choose a direction and focus on it is key to success.
Hopeful in general is how I feel most of the time though I realize that many of my contemporary artist colleagues may wash out this year, at least for a while. That is the cycle of things and nobody ever said art is an easy business. We who do art for a living do so because we feel it is the best way we can contribute to society.
With all this being said, what I think is useful to almost everyone is to list all of the things that you are thankful for, even if you are going through trying times, and try to keep those thoughts close. And that is exactly what I did last night...write a full page of things that I am thankful for.
Health, happiness and prosperity to all of you in the new year! And to those of you who feel less positive, know that times will change as change is the only thing that is certain.