I regularly read Michael Hyatt‘s blog. He addresses many topics, and words fail me when trying to describe his blog. Business? Publishing? Marketing? Being a better human? Life? All of the above!
Recently he wrote on the difference between a wise person and a foolish one. The definition of being wise came down to 3 things:
- Listens without being defensive.
- Accepts responsibility without blame.
- Changes without delay.
It occurred to me that in my quest to be a better artist, this is my method to learn and improve. I show my drawings to my students or friends and ask them to tell me honestly what they think. If they are new to the process of drawing and critiquing, they are a bit reluctant to speak the truth. If they have known me awhile, they just let it fly without fear!
I appreciate the honesty so much. I depend on their unbiased opinions, their innate good sense, their experience, their wisdom.
Then, I usually follow their suggestions.
This is not to toot my own horn about my great wisdom. We are all wise in some areas and foolish in others. I’d be foolish to think myself capable of producing my best work without input. I just wanted to share my method of processing feedback in order to improve.
Here is a recent example of a piece that got some great feedback from my students. I listened, I accepted, I changed.
Hmmmm, I dunno.
Of all the 22 studios on the tour, mine is the smallest and the most rustic. That’s okay – it IS called “Cabinart”. (And please excuse the First Saturday flag – this post is about the Studio Tour.)
Tickets are on sale for $15/person and available at The Art Co-op in Three Rivers and Arts Visalia Gallery in Visalia. They are also available online at Three Rivers Art Studio Tour
March 23-24-25 will be a beautiful weekend to drive around Three Rivers and visit 22 artists studios. You can do it at your own pace and pick your own route. You can even spend the night, or two nights. Soak up some spring time green and wildflowers in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada. Meet many California artists, remember why you live in Tulare County (or perhaps why you don’t), enjoy a rural weekend, slow things down a bit.
(Tomorrow I will have a guest post on Brendon Wilson’s blog. It will probably cause you to think “Who is this preachy chick and where is Jana The California Artist?” The subject is gossip. . . not related to my blog at all, but a subject that really triggered many thoughts in my pea-brain.)
Our interviewer got annoyed with me, so today’s blog entry will be unassisted.
The redwood boards are slats that will serve as the backs to Adirondack chairs. You may recall my throne, or even want to see the chairs as sold on eBay. The furniture maker and I enjoy working together and are figuring out a way to dress the chairs up a bit more.
Meanwhile, I do know how to paint oranges, poppies and Sequoia trees/Big trees/Redwoods on canvas. After all, I am a California artist!
Yesterday’s interview continues as our interviewer investigates the meaning of redwoods on redwood.
So, California Artist who has redwoods on redwood, what is the deal?
No deal. It’s a commission. It is unusual, so I’m calling it an “odd job”.
Who commissions stuff like this?
Someone who loves redwoods.
Come on!! What’s the deal?
The redwoods have been burned into the wood so they are recessed. The customer has asked me to paint in the recessed area.
How’s it going?
Not too well. The oil paint isn’t looking like much. It appears to be soaking into the wood, or maybe it is just too transparent to show on top of the charcoal. It is also too wood-grain-ish for my brushes.
What are you going to do?
I’ve put a layer of white acrylic paint as a base coat and will see how the paint shows on that. When it dries, I’ll try oil paint over that, and then you can continue the interview.
But you haven’t told us what these things are for!
Gotta keep you coming back to read the blog, don’t I?
Oh-oh, here comes that interviewer again.
Hey California Artist, what are those?
They are Giant Sequoias, aka Big Trees, or for those Rangers out there, they are Redwoods.
Yes, I can see that, but that doesn’t look like canvas to me on that easel.
So what is it?
Redwood. Those are redwoods on redwood.
Are you kidding??
Now don’t get your knickers in a twist – it is salvaged wood, not savaged trees.
But what is it?
Keep your shirt on – more will be revealed.
That’s definitely a California artist title! Here are the poppies, reclaimed from a painting of Sequoias (redwoods) in snow, painted in oil on a 5×7 board. Still needs signing and the edges need painting. So much to do, and all for $49. (SUCH a deal)
pencil drawing of Wilsonia cabin for the book The Cabins of Wilsonia
Hey California Artist, are you still working on that book, that cabin book of drawings?
So glad you asked that question! Yes I am, and the completed drawings are stacking up.
How many have you finished now?
48 at last count.
How many are left?
Umm, I’m not all that good at math and I’ve added a few to the original plan. (Translation: Can’t deal with reality)
Did you learn to use Adobe Indesign yet?
I practiced with the trial version until I had a long list of questions. My friend Carol will help me work out the answers when I visit her in April. (Right, Carol??)
What’s the name of the book again?
Great question! It will be called The Cabins of Wilsonia. Don’t you think that is a clever title?
What typestyles will you use in your design?
Do you really think anyone gives a rodent’s hiney about that?
Why do so many interviewees answer questions with “I’m glad you asked” or “great question”?
Monkey hear, monkey say.
Seems that the quality of this interview is deteriorating. Would you like to get back to your pencils now?
Great question – I’m glad you asked that one!
What does this have to do with a California artist? It could be called “California Artist Reads”. It could be that I want someone to fall in love with the reading rabbit of Salt & Light. Perhaps I just want to share a more complete picture of my life with you than just my art.
Maybe I am just hoping you will tell me the books you love!
Salt & Light, not a dumb bunny
- Garlic and Sapphires by Ruth Reichl was great fun! She was the restaurant critic for the New York Times. The only way she could get an honest meal was to disguise herself. The book is interesting on many levels – her disguises, her experiences of working at the New York Times, her descriptions of the service, experience and the food at all the restaurants, the recipes she shares and finally, actual reviews. I couldn’t wait to see how she rated various restaurants. It certainly made me realize that I know next to nothing about food. I also couldn’t figure out why she wasn’t fat!
- Every Last One by Anna Quindlen is a novel that tempted me because she is a great story teller with very complete characters. It just sort of meandered along, and I kept wondering why I was wasting my time. Then everything changes. Wow. It is very descriptive of emotions, which probably qualifies it as “chick lit”.
- The Widower’s Tale by Julia Glass was an engrossing story, pulling me back into thinking I really like fiction when in fact, I really like well-written fiction. Lots of little stories within the main one, complete characters that you understand and would like to befriend, excellent description of the settings – all of it combined into one of those “can’t put it downs”.
This piece is called “Less Traveled”. I believe in taking the less traveled road, which is one of the reasons I am not on Facebook.
I read blogs – art blogs, business blogs, marketing blogs, inspirational blogs, knitting blogs, humor blogs, travel blogs, writing blogs and art marketing blogs. The writers of these blogs are my teachers, guides, mentors and some have become my friends.
One of the most helpful is called Fine Art Views. Informative articles, insightful comments by professional artists and interaction with the writers all keep me returning to this site.
A recent series of articles by Brian Kliewer really struck a chord with me. He is writing about the myth of social media as a viable marketing avenue for all artists. It caused me to write this overly long post, which began as a comment on one of his posts.
About 1000 years ago I decided to become a professional artist. Pencil drawing was my favorite (only) style. I chose to be a master of pencil rather than a Jana-of-all-trades.
I learned from Jack White that in art sales oil painting sells the best and pencil the least. It crushed me. So, I learned to oil paint, moved into murals, and now have much more to offer customers. Because my subject matter and my audience are mostly Tulare County, having more to offer is a good business practice.
Still, those who have followed my art for years and new friends continually tell me they LOVE my pencil work. (Perhaps this is because I don’t paint very well, and they are too polite to say that.)
Almost four years ago I started this blog. I LOVE to post, love to show photos, talk about Three Rivers, Mineral King and Sequoia, my drawings, drawing lessons, my sources of inspiration, the processes, the shows and events, and be a smart aleck any time inspiration strikes.
Just like becoming a master at pencil, I’ve chosen to be a master at blogging. (Nope, not there yet but putting in my hours faithfully.) That is where the bulk of my computer efforts are spent. I’ve dabbled in LinkedIn, eBay, Etsy, and Google+. What a waste of time! (Notice I have continued to resist Facebook)
Has it paid off? I’ve read that it takes 5-7 years for a blog to really reap results. Not sure what the writer meant by “results” – probably a Big Fat Following. The pay-off thus far to me is in personal satisfaction, steady growth in the number of readers, the discipline of 5 posts per week, the relationships built, the credibility established.
Thank you for your loyalty, comments, email, encouragement and honesty as I fumble my way along in the world of art, art business, art marketing and blogging.