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Your FAA Bio...What does it say about you?

October 13th, 2017

Your FAA Bio...What does it say about you?

Our bios can invite people in or turn them off! What we choose to say & how we say it is so important when letting others know who we are as artists & people! I don't know about you, but I enjoy taking a few minutes to read what members write, especially those who are creative & not too long-winded, or when someone has a way w-words & isn't too full of themselves; that's a big plus! A longer version can draw me in, too, if done w/style & humor.

Sometimes, I will contact a member to let them know I liked what they shared & the way they did it. If I'm able to find out what makes them 'tick' on a personal level and learn a little about their creative process, then I, along w-potential buyers & patrons appreciate the 'effort'...and, more importantly, I may even make a new 'friend' in the process! For a f-u-n break, I will also, from time to time, assist members w-editing their bios [when asked], something I do in the 'real world', as well.

Initially, my bio contained a lot of info that I thought visitors might find interesting, like my published poetry collections, honors-awards received along the way & more details re my artistic experience. But, after some reflection & on the advice of a couple of well-respected members I asked who [wisely] said "make it about the art & photography, get to the point and don't be too flowery", I refined & downsized.

Keep in mind that, being both visual artist & photographer, I tend to present a more colorful, visually-appealing profile, not something overtly business-like. I do prefer my avatar be a good likeness or favorite work of art ~ choices that will welcome & encourage visitors to scroll through my page[s] and, hopefully, purchase numerous prints & products! Some suggested I show my 'Collections', but I prefer 'Images' because it allows me to offer a sort of sampling of things-to-come. Plus, our bios only show up w-the latter now, so I simply direct patrons to view my 'Collections'.

On that note, here's what I came up with:

"Welcome to my world of art and photography! Please enjoy my 'Images' portfolio, 'Blog', 'Favorites' & more. Click on the 'Collections' tab to see specific categories. Always drawn to the creative side of life, I'm a visual artist, photographer, musician, writer-poet, designer and more.

Primarily acrylic on canvas & pastel, my paintings range from figurative-representational pieces to flowing organic creations to things 'purely' abstract. Described as '[e]motion expressed with the language of color' and 'Soul made visible', my work is a 'combination of intuition & intention'. Nature, music, love and life itself are my inspiration[s].

I've published a couple of my own poetry-photography collections and also created illustrations for several other authors. Honored to have my work featured in & on a variety of magazines, travel the globe and exhibited in numerous galleries & elsewhere for over 30 years. I'm thrilled to offer YOU a wide selection of fine art prints via FAA! Some are displayed in a series of 3 or 4 to give you more variety, visual impact & hanging options. I've also included 'Art 4 Kids', prints that will inspire our 'little ones' and help them learn to spell, as well!

Born In New Orleans, I've lived & worked in southern OR since 1985. Visit often! I'm always adding new pieces and 'fine-tuning' my gallery.

CONTACT INFO ~ Send me a private message any time. You can also 'friend' me on Facebook! For more print options, click 'Contact' [me], 'Visit Website', then 'Shop ~ All Products'.

Note: ALL images here & elsewhere are copyright protected and not to be reproduced, manipulated or used in any manner whatsoever without my written permission. Click on any image to see larger version, description & print options."

UPDATE: I know many of us were not happy to see the recent changes FAA made re our Artist's Profiles & Websites ~ the removal of those super cool 'Revolver Maps' visuals some of us had installed & tended that let you & me know statistics, like the who-when-where of visitors; the dumping of our 'Slide Show' widgets, featuring certain of our works on the homepage; the change-up in size of our Profile avatars; the location of our bios, which can now only be seen if we choose our 'Images' to be shown, not 'Collections'; etc. Visitors must click on the 'About', instead, if showing the latter. I get it that the site needs to remove some 'extras' to make room for newer options, addition of products & updates, but, still s-a-d.

Facebook - Like It...Or Not

September 12th, 2017

Facebook - Like It...Or Not

"Nothing stays the same...and that includes Facebook! Even with all the changes & things 'we' can find wrong with the site, though, I'm happy to be there, most days; the good still outweighs the 'bad'. That being said, higher-ups need to listen to those who got them where they are and find a happy balance between their desire to make money, while allowing us access to more of the personal posts we enjoyed seeing for so long. It would be wise for them to remember their reason for being in the first place ~ the initial 'connections' with others that made the site what it is...was.

Their excessive ads, bogus fake news stories, incessant marketing links and all those birthday notices clogging up the newsfeed don't float my boat, but I simply adore my community of artists & collectors and friends & family from all over the world! The rekindling of childhood friendships, family connections and creative interaction with kindred spirits & amazing artists is, for me, priceless. Fb knows this is true of most members, and is 'banking' on the fact that I/we will not dump our accounts altogether after the time & effort we put into gathering friends, managing our 'Timelines', updating our 'Photo Albums' and all the posting-sharing-commenting! Whew. I must say, though, it's getting pretty tiresome sorting through all their 'stuff' to find posts worth my while.

It used to be quite simple to purge the feed [and friend's list] of junk ~ anything or anyone untoward, ads & such, those who only post politics or people who consistently share pics of their pets, family & what they're having for dinner, lol. That meant, when we did choose to scroll thru our feeds, we'd see posts that sparked the creative spirit, spurred the imagination, made us think and sometimes laugh-out-loud. The thing that bothers me most is the fact that only about 10% of our friends even get to see our posts! If you pay to play you may, or may not, get more bang for your buck. I will try that once to see if it actually works in bringing more viewers to my art-photography links. I'll let you know!

Sales? There've been a few, but then again too few to mention. Ever the optimist, I do hold out hope that will change. If selling my art & photography was the main objective & motivation to be on Facebook, however, I'd be sorely disappointed...and frustrated. I know a lot of artists are on-site only to sell their work, creating a single artist's page and hammering away with the image posts & links. Others have two separate accounts ~ personal & business. I keep it simple with just a personal page. Not sure how viable a tool of the trade Fb really is; I've heard conflicting reports. But, like I said, it's been awfully slow going. If the end result is that I gain new fans worldwide and more family & friends get to know me & my work better, their friends, too, then fabulous; I can 'work' with that. The precious time spent 'connecting' and forming a supportive community, people from all walks of life, whose work & lives I also appreciate, will be my reward. If it translates to sales, bravo!

To attract friends, I keep my 'Timeline' clutter-free, creative & entertaining. Translation: only my posts appear! Rarely, do I share other's links or photos and, then, only if a catastrophe like Harvey or a friend needing help in some way. I also vary my posts, from art & photography to me, myself & I, which seems to keep people coming back for more. Variety if the spice! I avoid anyone who allows all those birthday wishes, 'thanks for the request' notices & repetitive posting of the same photo on their Timelines. That means they don't manage their page[s] well... or their 'time'. Some artists like joining groups, but I've found only a couple I liked and neither amounted to much, except extra views & likes. I hardly interact in those anymore. I DO support people, though, both here & there, but don't let anyone post on my pages. I remain diligent in sharing my FAA group & contests there, though. The trick is to do it in a way that doesn't 'seem' like I'm trying to get anyone to buy something, but rather to 'enjoy' it. Like I said above, only a handful of our 'friends' actually get to see our posts...and then it's a toss up as to IF they see them in their feed since most people don't hang there for too long, or at all, and less so these days than before. I also notice the same people liking, commenting & sharing my posts over & over. Interesting. Makes me wonder if those 100 are the ONLY ones seeing anything?

I'm not a 'twit'terer, don't use Instagram or other apps, play games or hang out & chat. Never was or will be on another social media site, except for FAA; I guess I can call it that! So, Fb, such as it is, matters to me. Not an addiction, like some claim, just a way to pass a little time, share my work & a little bit of me. I check in once or twice a day, do what I need, and am able to stay on top of things. I figure 'if YOU are not active, you won't get much action'! That only stands to reason. Most of us live much larger lives than spending our days on Fb or other social media sites. Happy to say, I get a LOT of 'love' from my 3,150+ friends...and that's good enough. Liking someone & their work is better than the alternative.

New thing [for me!] this week is, despite having over 3-thousand [well-vetted & connected] friends, Fb is telling me to add MORE friends IF I want to see MORE posts in my newsfeed! Huh? My feed simply stops within a minute or two, after I rid it of 'trash', with a note from them saying, 'If you want to see more posts, add more friends'. That stinks, as I already have a LOT of friends, active ones, and rarely see a thing from them, which means I have to go to their Timelines to do so. Thanks all the same, but I am content with the number of friends I have. If I want to add more, I will. So, today, Fb is on my 'blank' list. Actually spent over 15 minutes cleaning the clutter [crap!] from my newsfeed earlier in order to enjoy something personal from friends & family. I'll have to do it all over again the next time I visit, so enough already Fb with what YOU want me to see! The more you control things, the less I want to be there. Sigh.

More about friends ~ it's true that some people accept any & all friend's requests, but it's super important, I think, to check everyone asking for your friendship as closely as possible! They will be seeing all your info...and you will be getting their posts in your feed, unless you 'unfollow' them, which makes me wonder what's the point of accepting them in the first place, except to pad your list? Kinda rude. I have turned down more requests than I've accepted during the time I've been on-site...and am even pickier now, if possible. Maybe this is more true for women!? If I had allowed everyone access, I'd have reached maximum capacity in my 1st year of membership and missed the chance to 'meet' some fabulous people. I like to keep my options open. There are a lot of weirdos out there, though, so make sure you use of all the 'privacy' settings available, including 'blocking', if needs be. At least that's something within our control!

I sure hope the site is paying attention and doesn't let greed completely cloud their senses. If not, their 'baby' could simply implode, self-destruct, poof ~ 'here today, gone tomorrow'. And, that's not something I would like to see happen.

Feel free to join me there while you still can. If you do, please 'enjoy' my painting 'Aria' [above] when you visit my Timeline. It's my cover photo."


~ Brooks Leath Garten Hauschild

Hosting FAA Contests - the good, the bad, the ugly

August 17th, 2017

Hosting FAA Contests - the good, the bad, the ugly

"Since joining FAA, I've hosted over 350 contests, which, as you can imagine, has been both rewarding & challenging. I realize it's strictly voluntary on my part...and doing a good job takes time & patience. So, here are a few things folks need to know. But, first, could someone [please] tell me how certain members find the time to administer groups, host contests, create new work, write a blog, post in the discussion forum, promote their art & photography, manage a job, have the energy to spend with family & friends...and get a good night's sleep? Sigh, I wish I could drink coffee, again!

Hosting duties take a backseat during warmer temps when fairer-weather projects call my name ~ the big garden cleanup, home d-i-y endeavors, a slew of unfinished paintings and numerous photography sessions, edits & uploads! The endless updating of site[s] and learning new ropes re promoting my work continues, come rain or come shine! Naturally more artiste than promoter, the latter can prove a bit tricky, but willing student that I am, 'game on'. Of course, there's life in general, which always needs tending! 'A woman's work is never done' is [so] true.

For me, hosting [and entering] contests is an enjoyable & creative way to share my work while supporting others. But, as most hosts & group administrators will agree, there are a handful of members who make the experience less fun, if you let 'em. For starters, certain members really get bent of of shape when you remove their images that don't follow your easy-to-read rules, even when you've offered them a chance to re-enter with ones that do! Go figure. Then, there are those who will try to 'help' you run the contest when they've never taken the time to host one! Fyi, hosting & running a contest on FAA isn't rocket science. Well, by the looks of some, it might be, lol. I always 'suggest' that folks host at least a couple of their own, which never fails to garner their lasting respect...if they actually do! You don't need to be a summa cum laude graduate or professional artist for over 35 years [like me!] to do a fabulous job. You just need to be somewhat creative, motivated, organized & detail-oriented. The occasional rotten apple or two or three ~ cheaters who continually try to manipulate the boards, members entering images that don't follow the rules or those letting you know how they feel in an unfriendly way ~ must be addressed...plus a couple other 'issues' surrounding contests.

One thing we hosts wonder aloud about is 'why' some members can't read & follow simple rules? I realize it's not in some of our DNA as creative sorts to abide by rules, as a rule [lol], but that's how things roll here, which you will find out if you EVER host a contest! Structure is a good thing. It's a mystery to me that no matter how many times I may say 'no b&w images' people enter b&w images. I can ask for 'photography only' and folks enter paintings. I clearly state clearly 'family-friendly entries only' and see nudity, violent, eerie or offensive images. So, the rules, the rules, people, please read the rules...and follow them!

Another problem plaguing contests, no matter how much some hosts work to combat the practice, is vote solicitation [group & individual] and leaderboard manipulation. Actually, there are some contests & groups that allow these things, but the majority of members, administrators & hosts don't encourage the behavior. Members resorting to this type of activity may think the rules don't apply to them or, perhaps, they believe that winning or placing is SO important they are oblivious to other members' right to an equal playing field! It's especially bothersome when those soliciting votes & w-i-n-n-i-n-g don't have the best work...and it certainly doesn't allow the 'cream of the crop' to rise to the top when folks screw around with the board. It simply shows who's best at soliciting votes, not who has the best work! It's true that being a member of certain FAA groups can help members place in contests. Some administrators actually provide a thread in their discussions for members to 'beg' for votes. Plus, friends will vote for friends; can't be helped. They will support one another however they can, in voting blocks, at times, even when not [overtly] asked. So, yeh, it can look like a 'popularity contest', or worse, not a forum where the people who deserve to win win! Of course, many are deserving, but there can be only one winner. If a contest host is on his or her toes, the offending members & entries will get axed.

Like I said, it can be fun coming up with creative & interesting contest ideas, making rules, promoting member's work, seeing some really spectacular images and encouraging lively voter participation. I've met some wonderful, super-talented 'friends' while doing so. The really great thing is that members actually DO make sales directly from entering the contests. So, what's not to like...except for the few negative Joe's & Jo's who show up to cause trouble. Happily, with some 'tough love' measures on my part, most do NOT enter my contests anymore. And, if they show up to vote in order to mess with the results, those images will be removed, as well.

A few more things re VOTING...yes, there's more! Many of those entering contests will just vote on their own images...and that's it. Some enter for the 'exposure' and never show up to vote. That's fine; to each their own. But, usually participants will take a few minutes to scroll through the pages of thumbnails [a couple, anyway] and vote on other people's work, too. I mean, since you're 'there'? Also, a lot of folks complain about there being too many entries in some of the contests, making it way too time-consuming to vote. I agree. It's important for hosts to watch the number of images permitted, even though FAA guidelines allow up to 10! The contest limit overall is 2500, though some surpass that mark. Be aware, that if it does, the images that were loaded first will not get seen once it hits the 2500 mark! I like to vary mine, not only in subject matter, but amount of entries. If I know the topic will bring a bigger turnout, I'll limit it to 1 or 2. If it's something like 'Floral Abstracts in Acrylic', I'll allow more, since most folks here are photographers...and not a lot of artists paint floral acrylic abstracts! Lol. But, those two things, allowing 10 images & reaching 2500+ entries, cause problems for contest participants. That's an awful lot of images to sift through in order to vote...and most people just don't have the time, patience or attention span to do so. Scrolling through the pages of thumbnails to cast your vote[s] is a lot easier than looking at individual image, though, I mean IF you're going to vote. That being said, hosts will still decide what they will or won't allow in their contests, according to FAA rules...and members will still enter, maybe win or place, continue to complain and, sometimes, vote! All three contest options we're offered on-site have their 'good, bad & ugly' points. I always choose 'Members Only' so peers decide 'our' fate. I think it's the fairest. 'Public Allowed' lets those who solicit well to 'win'. And 'Juried' contests have their own issues. Don't get me started; oops, too late! Jurors or panel members have been known to vote for their own entries and/or their friend's for one thing. That 'impartial' part sounds good, but it hardly happens. Friends vote for friends, jury or not. And I've seen hosts who are also 'the jury' voting their own work into 1st place or their friends! So, you gotta have a sense of humor about the whole thing.

Okay, so, what's the big deal about contests? Well, it's a communal platform offered by the site to share & showcase members' work, have a little friendly competition and garner a sale or two, a 'win-win' situation. Fellow members might well pass on the images we submit to their friends or family. The public, both visitors & potential buyers, are always invited & encouraged to view my contests, which, in turn, can add up to sales. When hosting, I look at EACH participant's image, even those contests with the largest number[s] of entries. That way, I not only weed out & remove those not following the rules, but I get to see hundreds, sometimes, thousands of artists/photographers, some of whose work I promote & share with my friends & family. They, in turn, might share and/or purchase it, as well ~ the gift that keeps on giving. Placing 1st, 2nd or 3rd, may only get you the honor of 'bragging rights' and some extra attention paid as 'real' prizes are rarely offered, but getting your work seen in the main objective. The 'Other Top Winners' category, which makes up most of the leaderboard also affords you more views. In the end, contests are a great resource ~ they provide a wonderful forum for us to display our art and garner some $ales in the process, which is really the whole idea in the first place, besides the fun, sharing & competitive part!

My tips for hosting contests:
[1.] Always provide a contest link if sending a time-to-vote group email! So frustrating to get a notice without the link or even the contest title itself.
[2.] Limit the number of entries. I prefer 3 or less, depending on the contest. Members will appreciate it...and you!
[3.] If you don't want folks to solicit votes, say it in your rules/description. It doesn't stop the practice completely, but the warning gives YOU the power to remove those you suspect or know are asking for favors. You might make an enemy or two when doing so, but it's par for the course.
[4.] Be specific in your description, make a few simple rules and, then, follow through! The other day someone entered a goofy-looking gumball machine & another image that had nothing to do with my 'Beautiful Trees' contest. I, of course, I removed...and promptly received a nasty email re! Hard to believe that people can be that ignorant and/or confrontational when they are in the wrong!? I usually invite them not to enter my contests, but rather the majority of others on the roster in which the host has no clue.
[5.] Choose subjects & styles that will appeal to visitors & collectors looking for specific types of art & photography. They are coming on-site looking to buy, so help them out by offering interesting topics that will catch their eye & attention. Make sure you [also] ask participants to enter their BEST work...and dump images that are shoddy-shot, ill-cropped, etc.
[6.] Tend your contests if you want members returning for more! You might also want to 'congratulate' the winners on their winning image itself. Again, members appreciate it and are more likely to keep entering your contests when they see that someone is in charge who actually cares.
[7.] Last, but not least, promote the heck out of your contests and ask participants to do so, too...whenever, wherever, however!

Finally, to those needing a reminder, I repeat, read & follow the rules. It makes it so much easier for those of us who choose to host. I can't tell you how many worthy images I've removed that didn't follow the guidelines. Unfortunately, or fortunately for some, there are scads of other contests to enter that don't give a hoot about what kind of work you post, how many images you upload, provide any rules whatsoever or make members adhere to them...or offer any follow-through at the end. Good luck with that.

Be well. Hope to see you when I return with more great contests to share! Until then, Happy Trails."


{Photo: My husband & I at our former business of nearly 20 years, a gallery in downtown Ashland, OR.}

SUNFLOWER POWER - my NEW group...and welcome to it

June 29th, 2017

SUNFLOWER POWER - my NEW group...and welcome to it

Welcome to 'Sunflower Power'! You are invited to join my brand new group featuring your amazing SUNFLOWERS in living color! All media & creative expression accepted as long as it's family-friendly, high quality and recognizable as a sunflower. Sunflowers must be the main focus!

In the first two weeks of [our] existence, we have gone from 'zero' to 'high' in the FAA activity charts! YOU should come check us out ~ the 'Discussions', Images, Members, Contests & more.

Here's what you can expect as a member ~ daily/weekly reviews of your uploads; selected homepage features; an 'Administrator's Pick-of-the-Week' every Sundays; group link shared on my Fb Timeline; periodic promotional contests; updates from me in the 'Discussions'; and NO bombarding group emails!

Groups are a great way to meet new members, share your work and learn something, as in promotional tips, ideas & links! To find us, simply do a 'Group' search for 'Sunflower Power'...and you will see my sunflower logo, avatar & homepage 'Overview' with all the info you need re joining. For some reason, we are no longer able to include active links within our blogs.

"There's not another thing on this planet that more trumpets life than the SUNFLOWER. Not because of what it looks like, but because it follows the sun. During the course of a day, the head of a sunflower tracks the sun's journey across the sky. Wherever light is, no matter how weak, a sunflower will find it. That's such an admirable thing...and lesson in life." ~Helen Mirren

Silence is Golden

April 19th, 2017

Silence is Golden

Spring has sprung...and Mother Nature welcomes 'the change' in her own wild, wacky & wonderful way! Moody, fickle & temperamental, she offers us 'overcast & chilly with a chance of snow' one day, 'balmy breezes & sunny blue skies' the next. I can work with that! Happy to get going on the annual garden cleanup when the latter prevails, like today with its warmer temps, which made picking up the debris after my tree guy took down a large pine near the front porch not that much of a chore. Plus, a 'kind of hush' has been restored in the hood after the chainsaw racket; definitely an improvement. Call me wimpy, but when it's too cold, I simply refuse to work outside! All those extra layers just make it hard on a girl. Looking & lumbering about like a lumberjack is not my idea of 'cool'. Lol. You can bet that when I'm cozy & comfy inside working on a painting, being creative on the computer or just chillin' in hibernation mode, I can think of a million excuses not to don long underwear, overalls, my jacket, headband, hat, gloves, boots & knee pads [whew!] to tackle even more projects. Too much of an effort! The peace & quiet of our hilltop abode surrounded by oaks, madrona, pines [one less] and a very large redwood sequoia these last few months has been a blessing. With so much going on in the world, I cherish, and protect, what tranquility can be found, especially on the home front ~ brisk nature walks alone on overcast chilly windy days, sitting by the fire in the evening with my husband on silent snowy nights, the less hurried pace of late fall & winter, the 'extra' time there seems to be to get stuff done inside, things we put off when sunny skies invite us out to work & play in the garden...and the shorter days in which to snuggle up with a cup of tea [and mate], read a good book and NOT feel guilty. Once again, spring reigns ~ its promise of hope & renewal engages our senses and re-ignites our passion. We get on with the hustle & bustle of life, albeit, sometimes, reluctantly. Time waits for no one, as the seasons, coming & going way too quickly for me, will attest. Up here in southern Oregon, the unpredictability of a spring day can be somewhat entertaining since you never know what will transpire from one minute to the next. In 24-hours, you may experience thunder & lightning, sunshine, a passing rainstorm, gusts, hail & possibly snow! Just the other day, I opened the front door to a soft layer of white blanketing the yard & trees...and the next took a jacket-less walk in my neighborhood park under a blue sky dotted with puffy white clouds where I snapped this photograph titled 'Almost Spring on Golden Pond'. See page-15 of my 'Images' for more. No matter the season, may your days & lives be filled with moments of sanctuary, solitude & reflection, time to replenish the spirit, restore sanity & renew your heart's desire[s]. 'Peace out'...make that 'within & without'.

Designs for FAA Merchandise and Home Decor Products

January 23rd, 2017

Designs for FAA Merchandise and Home Decor Products

Some images go better on FAA 'Home Decor' items and 'Art-on-Merchandise' than others! In fact, some members design imagery specifically for these options, a la size, shape, colors, pattern & style. Here's a recent upload from my gallery 'Fire in the Sky - Autumn Abstract' shown on a mug. See page-15 of my 'Images' for more re this gorgeous piece. You are welcome to 'Shop' for mugs, tees, duvets, towels, shower curtains, greeting cards & fine art prints via my Artist Profile pages or FAA Website, the latter which you can access by clicking on 'Contact', then 'Visit Website'. Actually, my website has more to offer as far as products! There are many print options & images to choose from...so, enjoy. And, please, ask if you have any questions. I'm happy to help!
Art Prints

Art-on-Products...and thoughts re

July 5th, 2016

Art-on-Products...and thoughts re

I keep going back 'n forth re the idea of placing my art & photography on the growing number of 'home decor' items now being offered on Fine Art America. My main reason for joining the site in the 1st place, and dumping all of my other on-line shops, was FAA's reputation for selling only 'fine art prints', not the myriad merchandise options up for grabs on [so] many other POD sites. What a breath of fresh 'artistic' air, I thought...and I've been an active member ever since. Unfortunately, things started to change on FAA...and I understand why ~ you need to stay current & keep up with the stiff competition out there. Who can blame anyone for that? It's the name of the game.

With the thousands of members already uploading thousands of images a day, and the legions joining as we 'speak', each with the [same] hope of selling their work and wanting a little attention, it's getting even more difficult to get seen, much less appreciated. Unless you are famous, lucky enough to be a BIG seller by bringing in buyers or in the right place at the right time, you hardly garner a glance. We hear it time & again, 'If you build it, they will come' or 'If you love what you do enough, success will follow'. Hmm, it does happen! So, we keep creating our beautiful art & taking amazing pictures that we can't wait to upload ~ things people 'ooh' & 'ah' over all the time. We promote the heck out of it and, sometimes, when all else fails, we do things we wouldn't 'normally' dream of in order to keep pursuing our dream of making a living from our lovely works-of-art ~ we, gulp, put our art on 'wearable~tote-able~throw-able~usable~everyday' products!

A lot of us work hard to promote our work...and we each think we're 'special'! As our favorite site heads into this 'more is more' direction a lot of members feel 'less & less' able to find a place in the FAA sun, even when we've done all we know to do to promote, promote, promote and be active. With all the new products, and the old, there is always the question of QUALITY, which is a big issue! I would not be so reluctant, probably, to join the bandwagon in a bigger way, IF I knew the quality was e-x-c-e-l-l-e-n-t, and consistently so! Being a seamstress, I am very aware of the details of garment construction & finish work, which are essential when including home decor products for $ale, in my opinion. I'd hoped that would be the case...and, I'm guessing, most members & collectors feel the same way. There's also the question of pricing ~ how much will consumers want to pay for these items? IF the quality is superb, I can see charging more since we're offering original [for the most part] art & photography. But, who is going to pay an arm & a leg for a tote, say, that's marginally-constructed when you can buy a better, well-made, double-stitched & longer-lasting product at the local market? Something to ponder.

After some 'bah, humbug' moments, well, make that days & weeks, and some less-than-enthusiastic conversations with others, I inhaled deeply & took a 'leap of faith' and placed some of my work on a selection of products. I created & hosted myriad contests in order to showcase member's works-on-products [still do!], assuming they were worthy & worth my efforts. I also purchased several items to check for quality. Unfortunately, I was underwhelmed with my order, which was really frustrating...and sad. It wasn't just the poor construction, but the clarity of the images appearing on the fabric choices. Not thrilled to say the least. In fact, I went through all my images & removed every one from every product!

Then, I began to read the community discussion threads more regularly and kept seeing conflicting reports ~ some said, and are saying, that they are happy with the products, while others say just the opposite. I noticed, too, that those with righteous complaints were/are being shushed or pooh-poohed, which bothered me. It also made me wonder if some members, maybe those selling in the upper brackets, were receiving better-made or higher-quality products & prints, while those of us average Joe's or Jo's were getting the less-than-stellar version[s]? Consistency is SO important...and not for just the top dogs! It does seem, perhaps, that those selling well often have several on-line shops/venues ~ here, there & everywhere, instead of concentrating only on FAA, which I thought was preferred. I do remember when membership just on FAA was being touted as optimal...and to be rewarded?

So, yeh, offering art & photography on products ~ it remains a dilemma for me. That is even more true for artists than primarily photographers, I think, because, if not done well, it really can 'cheapen our work', as 'they' say. When compared to cyber marketplace sites offering similar merchandise, is it simply enough to match their quality...or is it worthwhile to exceed it? I am on board with the latter...which can only happen if 'we' actually offer a BETTER product. Why is it, I wonder, that great quality is not the rule, but rather the exception these days?

We ALL want to make money with our art & photography; that's a given. And, I continue to wrestle with the 'why not' and 'the more the merrier' part. In that vein, I have re-added a selection of my images to certain products & sizes of, once more. I will simply cross my fingers & pray that whoever might purchase something from my gallery will be happy, or happy enough, to keep & enjoy what they receive. Not every one has higher standards when it comes to these kind of things, I get it, but it would be nice, once in a while, to have your expectations met...and/or exceeded, instead of having to accept the status quo. I have dragged my feet in promoting my gallery & the site, but am going to be more pro-active in doing so, as it is my ONLY venue. Onward I go. Wish me luck!

{Logo image: 'Aria', an original acrylic painting, seen here on a round beach towel. Scroll through my 'Images' to see more.}

Singing the Blues with Jim Belushi

April 30th, 2016

Singing the Blues with Jim Belushi

My husband, John, a musician-singer-songwriter, just spent the last week in the hospital recovering from emergency surgery ~ talk about the blues. His energy is returning and his voice getting stronger, so we're making progress, yay, and just in time!

Jim Belushi has requested that John's blues band 'Duke Street' accompany him at a local event here in the Rogue Valley to help rebuild the old Eagle Point Mill, a working historical [flour] mill, which recently burned to the ground. Gone are the priceless antiques, in-house store & very cool facade, complete with vintage signs & items that can't be replaced.

Jim, who has a compound nearby on the Rogue River, has been kind enough, since moving to the area, to lend his name & talent to a number of causes to aid those in need, introduce himself & become part of the southern OR community. Kudos, Jim. Really nice guy ~ witty, funny, intelligent, creative.

It helped that John's band opened for Jim's last summer to benefit a local theater restoration...and that he also played for Jim's wrap party at the close of his reality show. So, a very kind gesture on Mr. Belushi's behalf to ask Duke Street to play with him once more for this latest 'Rebuild the Mill'.

Singing the blues, in this case, is helping to chase the blues away in more than one way. And, maybe there might be a new addition to the touring 'Blues Brothers' duo? It could happen!

Interestingly, I met Jim's brother, John Belushi, years ago backstage at a concert in L.A. Also, his 'Curly Sue' co-star, all grown up now, is shining brightly on this season's 'The Voice'!

The Art of Reworking Older Pieces

March 26th, 2016

The Art of Reworking Older Pieces

Ever sort through your inventory of [older] unsold pieces and rework them? I do...and am always glad I did. Well, except for that one which was better off before its extreme-makeover, lol. Probably shouldn't have been quite so enthusiastic about changing-up the original, but c'est la vie; live & learn. Seemed like a good idea at the time...and, I still can work my magic on that particular canvas if I want to 'go there' again.

You would never recognize the 'before' of some pieces found in my gallery! For example, my 30 x 40 acrylic 'Imagine' [see via the comments below w/added border & title], formerly titled 'Deeper Love', was a flowing floral painting! Now, with its new title & imagery, it has become one of my most popular 'winningest' works of art.

Currently, I'm working on 'Second Wind', seen here, which is an original mixed-media piece, 10+ years old, one of 12-piece exhibit I lovingly called 'Females, Fruit, Flowers & Flying Things'! Each was a combination of soft pastel, colored pencil, collage & more, [matted & framed], an all-time favorite show and a successful one, I'm happy to say. It was during an especially creative time of my life, so every piece held & holds a special place in my heart! This particular one did not sell, thankfully. Odd to hear, I know. But, it gave me the opportunity to breathe new life into it ~ as in more energy, color & movement. Plus, I kinda like[d] having it around to be honest! In fact, I've hung at least 10 of my favorite originals to decorate the walls & rooms of our home. Just can't bear to let go of any of them at this juncture...and none need further tweaking, yay!

Going through some other stored canvases & framed art, I also pulled out a couple of pieces that, to my now more-discerning eye, could use a little extra help, a flourish of color or some shading here & there...or more. So, when 'Second Wind' is finished, I will start updating those, beginning with another beloved painting, 'Place of Origin', which I've kept over the years for my own selfish pleasure. It needs a little freshening-up ~ like the rose in its center, for starters, could use some more definition. Just my opinion. Then, perhaps, I'll offer it for sale, so that someone else can enjoy its beauty & sensual delights, too. Or, maybe, I might consider willing both it & 'Second Wind' to certain family members who I know will treasure it [almost] as much as I do, and have. Such is the dilemma & joy of being an artist.

There are always a host of unfinished canvases standing around the studio that need my [undivided] creative attention, it's true. I hope to start tackling that project come summer, if not before, one of many on my 'to-do' list. Wish me luck...I'll need it!

Easy does it---or does it

January 28th, 2016

Easy does it---or does it

In a world gone crazy what keeps you sane? Some people can 'take it easy' better than others; different strokes for different folks. But, sometimes, it's 'just hard' to experience that 'peaceful easy feeling' when our days [and nights!] can be spent dealing with difficult people, places & things: issues with banks, insurance providers, return policies, bad information, death & taxes.

There's some serious & righteous griping to be had and a whole lot of frustration going on out there, physically, mentally, emotionally, politically & spiritually. Our nights, meant to provide rest & relaxation, can also prove restless, and sleepless, not offering us the relief we need to deal with [the] myriad 'issues' affecting us, worldwide, regionally & personally.

We can downsize, simplify & organize til the cows come home, but does all that make life easier & more peaceful in the end or just that we have an endless array of baggage to sort through & tend, internally & externally? And by simplifying our belongings do we, then, feel more like we belong?

What keeps you from shouting, 'Stop the world, I want to get off!'? Whether a quick fix or long-lasting, what have you found that makes 'it' all worthwhile & gets you through the day, and life, in a happier, healthy way.

 

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