Tag Archives: art life

10 things I’m grateful for in 2023

Here’s a list of the things that made me happy last year:

  • I was able to travel and spend a lot of time with family and friends. I’m lucky to be able to pack up and go almost any time I want and, bonus! I now have a lot more good references for future portrait practice.
  • I took art lessons from Michigan artist, Vianna Szabo. She has helped me progress with my art and I feel a lot more confidence in the quality of my work. I’m so glad she took me on as a student.
  • I had more opportunities to hang out with the creative people who live here, attending more art receptions and going on plein air outings. Artists inspire me to do more work plus they’re just a lot of fun to be with.
  • I taught more pastel classes this year. Not only did I teach at Ludington Area Center for the Arts, but I was also invited to teach at the Ramsdell Regional Center for the Arts in Manistee. I love teaching pastels! The people who attend are talented and kind and curious, and those are the best kinds of students of all.
  • My art got juried into more shows. It’s so cool to see “Invited” on the Café form. I don’t always get in but when I do it’s really awesome.
  • I won an award. This was so unexpected and such a thrill. It would have been enough to know that my work was hanging alongside a lot of beautiful pastel paintings, but getting recognition was the icing on the cake. It’s been four months and it still feels awesome every time I see the shiny ribbon hanging in my studio.
  • I sold more art. Thank you to everyone who bought an original or a print or a card or an ornament from me this year. It always gives me a little rush to know someone liked my stuff enough to spend their hard earned cash for it.
  • I got sick, which may not sound like something to be grateful for, especially since it was Covid. I had to miss participating in a local holiday market as a result, but I used the time off to play around more with my skeleton art, which was fun! And really, I was very happy that my case was mild enough I didn’t need any intervention stronger than Nyquil to get through it. (Vaccines work!)
  • I got a dog! Well, technically I share her with my husband, but finally! A dog! Her name is Daphne and she’s a retriever mix, tan and white, very pretty and with Egyptian eyes and a very loving personality. 
  • As a result of the aforementioned dog adoption, I am getting more time outdoors, which is always something to be grateful for, because I live in a beautiful place, and the more time I spend outside the better I feel.

So that’s my gratitude list for the year! It’s good to look back and remember all the positive things that happened and will hopefully continue into 2024! A big helping of gratitude to you, too, for coming with me on my art journey. Hope your new year is awesome.

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The studio lessons

Last June I moved into a new studio space at 307 S. James Street here in Ludington, Michigan. It’s awesome. There are a lot of new businesses around me so I’m in good company and it’s fun to watch people walk by my big picture window. But there are some things I’ve learned since going from a work-at-home artist to a work-in-the-public-eye artist.

Having lunch at my skellified table…

Are you going to eat that?

Lunches are a challenge. My space is pretty small. No room for a microwave and no windows for ventilation, so there is a whole list of things I can’t eat here, like any kind of hot food (I now eat soup for breakfast), legumes (I hadn’t realized beans would go through me quite that quickly), and anything odiferous like tuna or smoked fish. I use a freezer pack in my lunchbox and eat salads every day. I feel virtuous all the time now plus I’m more regular than I’ve been in years.

Look, rainbow shoes!

What are you wearing?

I have to wear nicer clothes than I did when I worked at home, or at least, matching ones. Also I can’t come to work in shirts with holes in them (mine get holes right where I press up against my work table, at my belt line. It looks I have moths living in my navel), or pajamas, or anything that I wouldn’t want to meet the mayor in (he hasn’t shown up yet, but it’s a small town. You never know). All the tie-dyed dresses my husband Steve made me so long ago are getting a real workout this summer. They’re bright and artsy and you can’t see where I’ve dribbled vinaigrette on them.

I no longer smell like vegetable soup

I can’t tell you how many showers I’ve taken since mid-June, but it’s probably at least four times as many as I did in the last twenty years. But is this is a good thing? I mean, Steve appreciates it, I’m sure, but I find myself wondering if this is how people start losing their hair. Is it possible to wash it too much? Also, if I’m too clean, how will he find me in the dark?

Blankety blank blank

Every once in a while my computer does something really stupid and I yell at it in a not very lady like way. And then I take a quick look around to see if anyone heard me. Recently, I got mad enough to kick a cabinet (that’s better than kicking the computer, right?) and thought I broke my toe. Fortunately, I just stood on the freezer pack from my lunch in my stocking feet for a while (hardly any swelling). I’m learning to curb my tongue better than I used to, but computers never fail to bring out the crazy in me.

Time to do something with this pile!

Have you seen my…?

I am a natural slob. Did I mention the space is small? This means that whenever I do anything at all, I have to finish it and then put away everything that I took out to do it with before moving on to the next thing. I’m not used to this, but it’s starting to grow on me. I used to have piles of projects in various states of doneness all around. Now I can’t let them become piles in the first place. It’s neater, if a little alien to my nature. The big advantage is that I know where everything is now because it’s always put away. The disadvantage is that I’m always putting things away. How did I live with myself before this?

I love my Pilot G-2 gel pens. I should buy stock.

The life of an artist is often misunderstood

Now and again I take some ribbing from the people passing by. My favorite is, “Have you finished my homework yet?” which happens when I’m sitting out front writing in my notebook. I think people don’t associate writing with art making but it’s a fact that you have to write about what you’re doing if you’re planning to share it or sell it. I like to sit at my skellified cafe table and put pen to paper. There’s usually a breeze, occasionally I have company to talk to, and it’s fun to watch all the people go by. Once someone called out that he wished he had my job because it looked so much easier than what he was doing and I nearly told him to go jump in the blankety blank lake, but I thought better of it. After all, he might have been the mayor.

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