Thursday, 26 January 2012

Doors open, doors close

Despite his laid back attitude, Gimlet has been causing trouble again. We have had problems in the past with him bringing in dead things. Well now he has stopped doing this, and decided it is far more fun to bring in live things. Mice to be specific. After all, its not much fun outdoors; he is as fast as lightening, they don't stand a chance. How much more pleasant to chase them around indoors where they can hide up under the tv or food cupboards, hours of fun, plus its warm. Bonus, as the teen would say!

Well after about 5 mice in 2 weeks (one on my birthday and he didn't even wrap it) we have all had enough. Well Gimlet hasn't had enough, but despite what he may think, the humans are in charge (mostly). The cat flap has been locked to 'out only'; no more 5am mouse chasing, at least not in the house.

The human doors are changing too. Out with the delightful doors that were here when we moved in:

And in with the new solid pine ones:

It's amazing the difference changing the doors can make to a house. Now just the rest of the decor to deal with.

As for the business of art, each year I tend to have a bit of a plan for moving my work forwards, last year of course it was 'build big studio in garden year'. This year I want to get internet sales. It is notoriously difficult to sell artwork online, but I am determined.

So the internet is the answer and this year it is what I am working on. There is much more to selling online than simply listing the stuff. Photographs must be immaculate, networking and cooperation with other artists and crafters is a must, as is promotion via social networks and image bucket sites. Then there is 'SEO', or search engine optimization for those who actually have a life.  So this week it was time to open a shop on Etsy, a US based site that is the worlds largest market place for handmade and vintage goods.

Here are two of my first listings on Etsy, recently finished mosaics:

Many hours are being spent on the computer... time will tell if it pays off for me!

Thursday, 19 January 2012

January Sales

Despite the recession, (which I keep hearing about on the news), myself and all the other people I know in business are very busy, which makes no sense perhaps, but there it is. I was putting off picking up my snow scene painting, due to high winds and rain on the day it was due to be collected, only to discover that it had sold! Of course galleries tend not to tell you when things sell, until you arrive to pick up, so I suspect this was actually a December sale.

A week later and a call from another gallery informs me that this one has sold in Bury St Edmunds. It is one of my absolute favorites, and I think it has quite a modern look, but I was unsure of how commercial it was.

The fact that it sold fairly quickly means my decision to have some giclee prints made was hopefully a good one. Since then I have sold a couple of other prints, proving that some people at least have a little spare money in January.

Those people would not include me, as after several months of saving my pennies I bought this in the January sales:

It is beautiful, lights up, plays cute tunes when your laundry is finished and is actually quite good at washing clothes. It has a steam function which 'freshens' clothes for 20 minutes, meaning that teenage jeans worn for half an hour and dumped on the floor no longer have to go through a full wash cycle. The drum is twice the size of the last machine (which regularly ate the teen's small trainer socks) and for the first time ever I am up to date with the laundry. Boyfriend is horrified at how much I paid for it, and I am shockingly unrepentant.

When not trying to talk me out of buying expensive white (er silver-grey) goods boyfriend finished the tiling of the kitchen floor, and also started hanging the new internal pine doors. 

He has done a fabulous job and it looks stunning, unlike the rest of the kitchen. It is lethal when wet however and when I inevitably slipped over the teen had some advice:
"Don't wish to offend," (She always says this just before saying something offensive) "But it's your age..." "someone young like me has an inbuilt sense of balance"
Fantastic. Now I just have to wait for her to fall over, and she will. Revenge shall be mine.

So, any art this month? Well yes, in between wrapping a ton of limited editions and driving them out to various venues I continued work on the mosaics, and the first one is finished:

Obviously I am hoping for a valentines sale, after all, that dishwasher I want isn't going to pay for itself!

Thursday, 5 January 2012

Merry Floor Tiling and a Happy New Job

Too much sherry Gimlet?

Well, Christmas and New Year have passed here with little event, because we are mostly still caught up in the DIY maelstrom. We did, however, get the best present: boyfriend got a new job. It is super news that he has been offered a job about 15 minutes away in one of the local silk mills. Surprisingly it is similar work to his previous job in a paper mill, with no night shift. It is not fantastic money to start with, but we couldn’t be happier that it is so close to home, and the petrol savings will be significant, we may even share a car eventually.

Meantime he has been putting to good use all the construction training he did whilst off work, starting with tiling the entire kitchen and new extension floor. This is a huge task, the kitchen (which was previously two smaller rooms) is not level, and the entire area covers 24m square. Floor levelling:

The worst thing about this has been the loss of my cooker (and indeed kitchen) and a few days ago the TV was buried behind the second sofa, the dresser and a freestanding kitchen unit being in the lounge, the cooker and a large cupboard were in a hallway, the fridge and freezer were in the extension and numerous food items in boxes distributed between the teen’s room (some chocolate biscuits were never seen again) and the spare bedroom. The teen started every sentence with the words “Where is?” as I explained for the umpteenth time that I didn’t know where anything was and she would have to search like the rest of us. I am sure that most households mislay things, like the remote or the car keys but when you have to look for stuff like the fridge and the cat you do start to question reality. 

The new tiles go down:
 And the contents of the kitchen move around the house:

I have been known to complain in the most scathing manner about the cheap gas cooker we inherited with the house, and simply cooking dinner on this loathsome item is like going into battle. However after 5 days of microwave dinners I am so please to have it back. Being a strict vegetarian and wheat intolerant, the selection of food available for microwaving is rather limited. The teen was also horrified not to receive her usual home cooked food, and in particular voiced her disgust at having to eat ready-made cheese sauce on her pasta. I really hope she marries a millionaire, or life is going to come as a big shock.

One thing I did manage over Christmas was to spring clean and clear out the studio, the amount of clutter I had acquired in just under a year was amazing to behold.

So the big question is; did I manage any artwork? Surprisingly I am nearly finished a large Watercolour and several mosaics are in progress:

I was also delighted to discover I had sold this original watercolour in a local gallery!

It is back to ‘proper’ work this week with the resumption of my Saturday art classes, and lots of bookings for January for private students, including a couple of new people.

Happy New Year all, let’s hope it is an extraordinary one for all of us.