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Guess who’s BACK

It has been more than a year since I posted a blog but I’m BACK! I apologize for “disappearing” and have let you, and myself, down but I have been busy BEYOND belief.

I feel like I’ve been on the grind nonstop, trying to MAKE art, trying to SELL art, trying to figure out HOW to sell art, trying to improve my social media presence…the list goes on. The difficult part, the part that gets in my way….trying to keep up on all the other STUFF I have to do…like work full-time, help run our fitness studio, teach Zumba, help with the grandkids and basically meet my basic life necessities. One of the things I HAVEN’T spent anytime doing is updating my blog.

Despite feeling overwhelmed and often inadequate, I try to celebrate the successes as this is often the only thing that keeps me going. Here is my “success” list for 2017 so far:

  • Completed 6 drawings (one of which took about 45 HOURS)
  • Displayed my art in several shows
  • Finished a few commission pieces
  • Participated in the Jackalope Art Fair, a huge 2 day event that I set my sights on a year ago but didn’t get in the first time
  • Entered 3 drawings into a juried show, Gateway to the Rockies Art Show. Two got accepted and one, and my drawing “Chalk it Up,” won 1st place in the 2D category…what?!

I’m trying to finish out the year strong and have a few more things for my list…I am working on another commission, I am hoping to complete a few more big drawings, and will be participating in several more events before 2017 is over:

And although I have avoided dedicating anytime to my blog, I am making a commitment, trying to add another success to the list. I am back in effect and plan to update my blog more regularly. With only about two and a half months left in 2017, I’ve got to stay focused, stay on the grind, and get back to the hustle. Plan on hearing from me soon, I have lots to share….some good and some bad…but I think all worth writing about.

 

 

 

 

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Small Business Sale Starts TODAY!

Dog Portrait,

This Nov 26, I want to celebrate Small Business Saturday® with you! It’s a special holiday created so communities can show love for small businesses like mine. And it wouldn’t be a celebration without customers like you!

So today, Nov 25 and tomorrow Nov 26 only, stop by my Etsy shop here and get FREE SHIPPING on any order over $10! Just use the coupon code THANKFUL at checkout.

And please don’t forget to share your favorite Small Business Saturday moments on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram with #ShopSmall.

Thank you for supporting independent artists!

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Slam Dunk– My Latest and Greatest

I’m excited to announce that my drawing, Slam Dunk, was accepted into a juried art show here in Colorado. Slam Dunk will be on display at the 51st Annual Own an Original Art Exhibition at the Littleton History Museum until January 8, 2017.

The reference photo was taken by photographer Jamie Mink. Jamie took this photograph while on a humanitarian trip to Haiti. It was taken 6000 feet up in the Seguin plateau.

As I drew this portrait, I was captivated by the little girl’s eyes. Her eyes definitely tell a story, I only wish I knew what it was.  This portrait was completed in colored pencil (Polychromos) with some Pan Pastels in the background. Finished drawing is 9×12.

Haitian Girl, Portrait Drawing, Own an Original, Polychromo Drawing, Colored Pencil Portrait, Haiti
Work in Progress
Haitian Girl, Portrait Drawing, Own an Original, Polychromo Drawing, Colored Pencil Portrait, Haiti
Completion compared to original reference photo

You can purchase prints of my original drawing here.

Show Details:

November 18, 2016 through January 8, 2017

HOURS:
Tue-Fri, 8am-5pm
Sat, 10am-5pm
Sun, 1-5pm
Closed Mon. & holidays
Free admission
LOCATION:
6028 S. Gallup St.
Littleton, CO 80120
Map

I hope some of you get the opportunity to see the show!

||All original artwork at the show is FOR SALE||

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About Those Goals…A Progress Report

Evaluating Goals, Progress on Goals

Evaluating My Progress and Staying on Track

It has been A LONG TIME since I have posted a blog….like an entire month. Unacceptable I know… I feel terrible for neglecting you, truly I do, but there are several things that have gotten in the way of me staying current these last few weeks of the summer…

I spent a ton of time working on finishing some big drawings and stocking up on some smaller art. I focused a lot of my time and energy into preparing to show my work. My granddaughter, Kayva, spent 11 days with us for a summer “vacation” so we basically dropped everything to kick it with her exclusively and in all honesty…a piece of me avoided blogging because I have carpal tunnel in my hands and they go numb when I type.

BUT, I’m Back…

At the beginning of the summer I posted my summer 2016 goals.  Being that my summer is officially over (I went back to school last Friday), I thought it appropriate to evaluate progress and update my goals.

I started out with about 10 goals that were directly related to growing as an artist and to building my art business. So, here’s the scoop on what I accomplished…

Achieved…

I entered a portrait of my daughter into a colored pencil competition hosted by The Colored Pencil Society. Entries to that show close August 15th so hopefully I hear something shortly after.

I entered 2 colored pencil portraits into The Depot Art Gallery local show featuring Colorado artists. Unfortunately my drawings didn’t make it in BUT I’m super proud of myself for trying.

I won’t know if I get into the Gateway to the Rockies Art Show until later this month but if I do, believe you’ll hear about it.

 

 

 

  • I joined Odessa Denver–connecting the creative community in Colorado. I’m so thankful to them for including me in “The Tribe.” You can check out my feature page here.
  • I am so relieved to have completed pricing and commission info for my website. This was a daunting task and something I was dreading. You can find all the info you need here and you can even request a commission directly from the site.
  • I also planned to find an efficient and practical way to sell my art online. I have used a fantastic company that specializes in printing archival, museum quality art. Check out my online shop to view and buy available prints.
  • One of my goals was to experience some art, not just make art, so I planned to attend the First Friday Art Walk in the Santa Fe Art District in Denver. I ended up going TWICE and had a blast both times….I’ll definitely be going again next summer. Jumped on the light rail and then hopped on a shuttle…no parking or walking to the event. I also attended the Cherry Creek Arts Festival, saw some beautiful art, ate some tasty food, and got tons of inspiration for the future.

Summer goals, Progress on goals, Santa Fe Art DistrictSummer Goals, Arts Festival, Denver, Colorado

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • In an effort to get some of my work on display, I planned to contact the Coffee Place Cafe and ask to be featured in one of their displays…I’m excited to announce that I’ll be hanging several pictures in the cafe during the entire month of September.

Didn’t achieve…

  • I’m still working on finishing Wendy Laynes Portrait Workshop...actually, I never really did more than purchase the supplies and viewing the first module  BUT I will complete the 12 course program…eventually.
  • Although I feel like I created art all summer, and I definitely did A LOT of drawing, I didn’t attempt a still-life yet. Most of my work has been either portraits or florals.

Learned…

It has been a long time since I have been so intentional and driven to achieve something from scratch. In the past, I would set one big goal and focus on that.  But I am essentially trying to create something from nothing and I have realized that I can’t reach my end goal without breaking it down into smaller tasks. In the next week or two I will be writing another list of goals. Many of them will be continuations of the things I achieved this summer. Some will be completely new, created from what I’ve learned about myself and what I can do or what I need to work on.

A Huge Shout Out…

It was NOT a solo effort in tackling my goals this summer. I have a fabulous and supportive husband, family, and network of friends. My husband, Keith, has believed in me from day one and has told me for years I was talented enough to make it in the art field. My dear friend, Sarah, has been my biggest fan and advocate and dishes out the perfect amount of encouragement. Thank you to John, Sarah’s husband for promoting my work, all the kind words, helping me setup my first show, and for basically doing anything and everything he thinks would be helpful. A huge thanks to another dear friend, Jamie, who is a continual source of inspiration and support. She has joined me on every part of my journey. My daughter, Kira, is a gorgeous model and very well the reason I’ll be selling some of my art. Shout out to you ALL for reading my posts, liking, sharing, and purchasing my art, and your kind words. Even bigger things are coming…Summer 2016 was only the beginning.

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Taken Too Soon-A Portrait of Tay

Tay, Asante Ray, Taken too soon, Korin, Death

Asanté and Korin…Taken Too Soon

I’ve put off writing this post for over a month because I didn’t know how I wanted to start. I still don’t. I was hoping to find the perfect words. But rather than wait any longer, I decided to write, perfect words or not.

I have mentioned in the past that I am a teacher at Smoky Hill High School. Several months before graduation, Smoky lost one of our senior students, Asanté Ray. “Tay” was killed in a car accident April 2, 2016, only 18-years-old. Tay was driving his car and made the decision to pass an SUV, causing a head-on collision.  Although I did not personally know Tay, many students and adults in the build did, including my best friend and Tay’s dean, Sarah Watts. He was a member of the Diversity Leadership Team and gave motivational speeches to students and teachers. Tay had the potential to be someone great. He was very well liked by his peers as well as his teachers and his death was difficult for the Smoky Hill community.

Tay’s passing affected my friend Sarah enormously. She worked very closely with Tay and his family and throughout his high school career. She often spoke to me about what an amazing young man he was and how much he meant to her. A few days after the accident, Sarah mentioned that she would like to have a portrait of Tay. That evening I went home and started drawing.

The Connection

As many of you know, and as I shared in a earlier post, my step-daughter, Korin, was killed several years ago. She was 18-years-old, months away from her 19th birthday, and the mother of a 9-month-old daughter. Korin made a decision on the night of her death that put her in dangerous situation. Had she, as well as Tay, made a different choice, they might be here today.

During the month that it took me to complete Tay’s portrait, I did a lot of reflecting on Korin and Tay and how their deaths changed the lives of their loved ones forever. I know my experience does not compare to that of Tay’s mother’s as I cannot imagine how much more difficult it is to lose a child to whom you gave birth. I do, however, feel that my husband must have experienced something very similar to what she might have experienced. And in a way, that is just as heartbreaking.

The Portrait

I was very nervous to draw Tay. I was working from a photo that was taken from his Facebook page and texted to me. Not knowing Tay and not being able to see the details of his hair in the photo, I had to do some guessing which was difficult.

Asante

 

Knowing that his mom would be seeing the finished product, I was very worried about her reaction. Each minute that I spent drawing Tay, I also spent thinking about the death of Korin. I hoped that seeing his picture would not reopen wounds that had started to heal but I kept thinking…if someone drew a picture of Korin, our reaction would be positive. Hopefully hers would be as well.

The Take Away

What did I take away from this experience? A simple reminder that life is SO precious and can be SO short. As for Korin…I have great memories. I also have regrets.  I would love the opportunity to go back and do some things differently. Parents are not supposed to outlive their children. We cannot afford to put off something that should be said or done today. I have changed my mindset and the way I see life.

“The trouble is, you think you have time.”Buddha

Having studied Tay’s face for countless hours, a part of me feel as if I know him…only I really didn’t. I’m honored to have drawn his portrait. I’m relieved that his mother wasn’t upset by the picture. I wish I could have met him. I think about Tay’s mom often. I have a connection to her that she may never know. I don’t even know how to articulate it, but it exists. Maybe the best way to describe it would be using Tay’s saying, “I felt it.” I imagine she is still in so much pain but I hope that each day brings her a little closer to peace and I know that if things can get better for us, they will for her too. Our children are in a better place and it is only those they leave behind that suffer.

IN MEMORY

Asanté Iseal Ray                                                                 Korin Lijah Williams
February 26, 1998 – April 2, 2016                                   May 23, 1995-February 1, 2014

 

I would like to say thank you to Sarah Watts for honoring Tay’s life in such a beautiful way and thank you to his mother, Shondra Ray for allowing me to share this story.