I write, I draw, I do laundry…

I have been painting and drawing for about twenty years.  I have experimented with different mediums but overall, have always considered myself a creative-minded person.  I guess since I’ve been paid to do these things, I’ve earned the title of creative professional. I have recently added writer to my creative resume and am in the process of publishing my first novel.  I have always loved to read.  Books and poems have always been like rubrics for my imagination; a way to take words from a page and create images on a canvas in my mind.  A character can be described in painstaking detail by its author but will still have to pass through the reader’s filter.  So Baz Lurman saw Gatsby as Leonardo DiCaprio; to me, I always imagine him as Matt Damon.  Anyway…I digress.

I am a writer.  I am a mom and a wife.  I am an artist.  The plate is getting a little full but writing my first novel has been the scariest and most rewarding thing I have done, career-wise.  (Being a parent trumps everything!)  I left the safety and security of the known (otherwise known as Texas) and travelled to the wilds of London to study art.  Ultimately what came of it was some serious confidence issues regarding my painting abilities and a nearly finished novel.  What a muse she was, that beautiful, old, stinky city.  I wish that we were allowed to believe in magic and not look like a nut because London has it in spades.  Each walk, trip to a new part of the city or train ride to parts unknown lit some creative spark that I have yet to find anywhere else in the world.  I’ve been wondering, as I begin to navigate the dark waters of publishing, what will become of the 205 pages I crafted from love, defeat, fear, hope and a menagerie of other life experiences in my 38 years on this planet (give or take a few days in college where I thought I was on another one).

I’ve encountered another stark reality, there’s not a whole hell of a lot of support out there.  There are creative writing centers, YouTube videos on being a creative writer, blogs on the ABC’s of publishing, etc…etc…etc… BUT when it comes to the dollars…radio silence.  It’s a dilemma I face: following the traditional route (ie- sending manuscripts to every publishing house I can find an address for and pray to the gods, light some candles and hope to make it out alive), edit myself-promote myself-format the novel myself- try the eBook thing… well, being myself and giving the world the benefit of the doubt, I have tried Kickstarter (which I have affectionately renamed “Kickmyasser”).  It has failed miserably, almost to point of embarrassment.  Life lesson learned at this moment:  It’s all on me.  The world is not designed to make success easy to achieve.  Human nature is not as nurturing, especially to us creative folk or small business owners, as it needs to be.  But hey, JK Rowling did it on her own. I’m running on a cocktail of hope and broken dreams but I am fairly certain that when I see those pretty paperbacks with my name on them in the windows of bookstores, it will be a sweet feeling.  When I see teenagers reading, imagining and enjoying my stories, it with be amazing.

Our Kickstarter Campaign runs through October 24th.  You can also read more about the novel on my other blog page for Flying Furniture Adventures or on our www.flyingfurnitureadventures.com.

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Dia de los Muertos and me…

I LOVE Halloween.  Not the gory, severed body parts and zombie Halloween but the whimsical witches, Jack O’Lanterns and candy corn Halloween.  And as the chaser, Dia de los Muertos is equally as spectacular.  I am not Catholic, I am not from Mexico but I do enjoy the meaning behind the Day of the Dead celebrations.  I enjoy incorporating its symbols in my artwork.  Everyone has lost a loved one; family or friends.  The thought of them being able to cross over from the land of the dead, on paths lit by bright orange and yellow marigolds, guided by the spirits in the form of Monarch butterflies is absolutely fantastic. I lost my grandmother this past summer.  Much like the matriarch in Latin families, my grandmother was the supreme ruler (occasionally like the White Queen in Alice in Wonderland, other times…Darth Vader- hence my father’s ring tone).  She was the glue that held all the pieces of our scattered family together.  I am amazed at the possibility of she and my grandfather spending time with us, in the realm of the living, even if it is only for one night.  We often wallow in the darkness left behind by death instead of celebrating the life that preceded it.  Though our mortal bodies are gone, our spirit continues to live in the hearts of our children and legacies we leave behind.  I hope that my artwork and the Flying Furniture novels will be that for me.  Enjoy Dia de los Muertos!  Enjoy the memories of your loved one past.  Enjoy the people in your present and after I go, should you choose to add me to your ofrenda, I like cheese puffs, diet root beer and corn dogs with regular mustard…

Sometimes, a reboot is good…

Beetle Bird Studios_etsy shop banner

Sometimes, a reboot is good. I had pretty much exhausted myself with a new baby and tons of arts festivals.  They don’t do a lot of festivals when it’s cold.  It’s always like the third level of hell outside.  You get lots of interesting-ness at festivals; the good, the bad and the “I’m gonna sneak a picture of this cause I think my sister’s neighbor’s friend’s son’s girlfriend can just do it for me for free.” I think there are people that are built for the festival circuit.  I don’t think that I am one of those people.

I started the gouache illustrations a few months ago and combined with my intense love of invitations and paper goods, I revamped our Etsy shop and added tons of illustrated invites and announcements.  They are fun and bright.  I truly enjoy typography and drawing; this is a marriage of both.  I try to post illustrations on social media as I go and get them formatted and on Etsy as quickly as I can.  I am excited and hope my new venture takes off.

 

Gouache, where have you been all my life?

I have recently moved from mostly acrylic paintings to illustrations. I have one question- gouache, where have you been all my life?  I LOVE you!  You are bright, quick-drying and very textural.  It makes the perfect backdrop for more detailed layers of pen and ink drawings.  It is always fantastic to try new mediums and discover that you actually like change.  I have reopened my Etsy store with tons of printables using my illustrations and continue to add more every week.  I love stationery.  I still write notes and send cards.  This is an exciting new chapter in my artistic career and I look forward to seeing where it might lead me.  There are a few projects coming up:  I am working on illustrations for my first novel in the Flying Furniture Adventure Series, The Adventures of the Flying Furniture: The Return of the Great Flyer which currently has a Kickstarter Campaign going through October 24th.  We, of course, have our Etsy Shoppe up and running with tons of customizable stationery and invitations.  Not a bad gig…

 

I once was a painter…

FridaI have been painting for a long, long time and completed my Master of Arts in Studio Art back in 2015 from Middlesex University in London, United Kingdom.  I enjoy painting.  It is labor-intensive and I often-times, am overly-critical of myself.  BUT, I always feel a great sense of accomplishment when I sign and varnish that canvas.  Having a busy schedule, a sort of grown-up job and a two year old can make it difficult to dive deeply into a work like a used to in my younger, freer days.  I’ve completed tons of door paintings, some pretty amazing keys and a few portraits.  Lately I have turned my attention to illustration.  I, as one university professor put it, am a mark-maker.  I enjoy the manipulation of the pen on paper.  Even in my paintings, I love the visible brush strokes and textural qualities of unblended paint.  Perhaps that is why I love acrylic so much; it doesn’t give you the freedom or the room to keep working at mixing and smoothing the colors into one another.  You have to be quick and definitive, neither being a particularly strong personal attribute.

I haven’t put much stock in galleries, sort of exhausted the local festival circuit and focused on mainly commissioned works, throwing in a large mural or two here and there.  But the illustrations, they are almost daily.  I look forward to sharing them and making sure that I don’t neglect to post them here and most importantly… on my Etsy Shoppe