Sunday, December 31, 2006

Goals 2007

On December 19th I made a list of accomplishments for 2006. It was an effective exercise to reinforce my painting and business achievements and somewhat of a reassurance that I'm focusing in the right direction. I promised to list the new goals and here goes:

For business:
  • I believe I can take this so-called "genre" painting and pull it into the mainstream. Confidence abounds thanks to the response from non-horse people who purchase my paintings and giclees. Continuing in the direction of the current multi-canvas project, the creations will increase accessibility to a wider, larger client base.
  • As the projects grow in physical size, I intend to seek corporate clients and representation. I'm thinking lobbys of sports books, walls of race tracks and other sporting facilities, boardrooms, any public buildings, etc.
  • The cash flow this year was great. However, I'm implementing a new business plan with Michael's help to increase sales. I intend to increase my income by ??? The amount is as large as I can envision.
  • I have over forty images in giclee reproduction. Widespread distribution throughout the country (and beyond) is imperative. The images should be in every race track, gift shop, tack shop, feed store, frame shop - and any other outlet we can get them into.
  • 2006 was the first year that I made a concrete positive shift in my attitude about bookkeeping and marketing. I love the left-brained me that I didn't know existed! My first year of keeping books was a learning experience and is improving. As for marketing, my goal is to read books and materials, network, take courses, attend seminars - whatever it takes to continue to grow my business.
  • This year Michael and I are poised to experiment with POD (print on demand). I'll soon offer an open edition giclee quality reproduction on canvas in any size requested.
The artwork:
  • I read recently that one of the mistakes artists make is not determining what direction they want their career path to go in, i.e. becoming a museum artist or an artist that makes $50,000 yearly. (that's all?) I say why can't an artist do both - create museum worthy artwork that SELLS.
  • I intend to learn e-bay once and for all and offer "painting a day" size originals from this blog and the website.
  • The book. The book will be finished and in print by...drum roll please...summer 2007. There it is in writing. About twenty-five more drawings and we've got ourselves a best-seller!
  • I will consider...consider, mind you...renting a larger studio. I love working at home but realistically I outgrew my studio years ago. Plus, Michael needs more space for his office and printing which will move him into my current studio space.
  • Work harder, study harder, manage my time more efficiently, excel at managing my money - do whatever it takes to get rich and famous!
  • Balance that work ethic with playtime. All our road trips are for business only. I intend to take an extra day on these trips to relax and enjoy.

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Not My Christmas Present

No, this is not my Christmas present. Michael got this little Honda Rebel ready for me to learn on after years of riding on the back of Harleys. I love it!!!!!!! It's light, maneuverable - perfect to learn on. Around and around the backyard until I feel comfortable to take to the streets. Who says you can't teach on old b---- new tricks? Like I said, it's a down-time week...

Here's the dude himself playing with my new toy. Oh yes, we're in t-shirts in late December. Sorry, Denver. This is what we pay the excruciating, sweltering summers for...

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Great Article

"The Leader", a quarterly magazine published by Farm Credit of North Florida, used my image, "Blue Blinkers" for the cover of their latest edition. H. Don Dean also wrote a great piece about me and my artwork. I think it looks fantastic and I'm so grateful and pleased with the story. Thank you FCNF!

This is sort of a down-time week. I finished a painting today which I'll post later in the week. It's for next month's exhibit at the Florida Thoroughbred Breeders' and Owners Association. I'm stretching and gessoing canvases to resume working on my big multi-canvas project, finishing up the year with my books, and getting myself motivated to finish the children's book in the evenings. Yeah, the book is in hiatus and the ball is in my court to create more illustrations. Once I get back on it I'll commit to the end. The time away often works to advantage as a fresh perspective emerges. My partner, Dale Jarusik-Wade, must be wondering what the status is. Bless her for her patience.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

The Inner Christmas

My dear friend Marita who is intuitive and sensitive in a remarkably powerful way, sent this lovely movie to me today. I wanted to share it here on this post. I think it's apropos for anyone who finds this season difficult as I do and for anyone who wants to use this time in a positive way to reflect and set intentions. Enjoy. The Inner Christmas Movie.

Monday, December 25, 2006

Merry Christmas

Risking sounding like a scrooge, I'm so over the commercialism of the season. One cannot watch television between Thanksgiving and Christmas without being bombarded with slick marketing appeals, annoyingly loud end-of-the-year rants and otherwise mind numbing incessant yakking. Enough already, it's so wearisome. And the pressures of "have to's, musts, and shoulds" is just no fun at all. Oh, the energy drain!

In recent years I've made a conscious choice to keep my holiday as peaceful as possible. And I'm succeeding. I love attending my church and absorbing the tranquil significance of the holiday. Reflecting on the Christ attributes of love, peace, joy, compassion, forgiveness and so forth is my personal path for embracing Christmas.

I adore being a secret Santa for a needy child. Every year the minister at my church contacts social services to find a family that could use some help in providing a Christmas for their children. It's always an adventure for Michael and I to shop for a requested gift, this year being an X-Box game. Very, uh...interesting. We were familiar with the player but oblivious to what kind of game to get a thirteen year old boy to please him and appease his Mom.

This morning Michael and I went over to help out at the horse rescue. What remarkable work they do. Angels come in all guises. It was pouring down rain, however, it was warm and balmy. Later after we returned home, the weather worsened and a line of tornadoes cut a swath through Central Florida. We weren't affected, just getting lots of needed rain. Not so lucky for some, the storms caused lots of damage.

Back to work tomorrow. I'm trying to get to Atlanta to visit my cousin this week. After I return it's a new year, new life, new goals, new attitude, new work, all fresh and promising!

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

What I Did

Alyson Stanfield, art marketing guru extraordinaire, writes a fabulous e-newsletter which is delivered to my in box for FREE every Monday morning. This week she's urging artists to take stock of what they've accomplished over the past year. Here goes:

  • This year was commissioned-filled like never before, meaning clients want me to create customized works of art for them. As a result, cash flow was, well...flowing.
  • I picked up three new galleries in Aiken, South Carolina; Lexington, Kentucky; and Hot Springs, Arkansas with owners that I feel extremely confident about.
  • Bookkeeping became a priority. I devised a system to do it MYSELF and I've been faithfully tracking every penny. This is huge for me and I'm proud of this accomplishment!
  • I took an intensive Bruce Baker workshop in January and my eyes were opened! I now actually enjoy marketing and taking control of my own business.
  • Purchased scaffolding to save my neck painting these huge canvases. I also bought rubber flooring for the studio to cushion my climbing and jumping.
  • The website was completely overhauled by Angee Chase of Webwrx. I'm thrilled with the's says "me" and then some.
  • I started intensively keeping a mailing list and began e-mailing announcements, updates, new work info, exhibits, etc. about once a month.
  • Reading list consisted of positive, affirmative prosperity creating books. One standout was "Treat Yourself to Life" by Raymond Charles Barker, published in 1954. Awesome.
  • Saw many movies - I love them. Huge standout: "The Secret". I highly recommend this film to anyone who desires to control and create the conditions in their life.
  • Was featured artist at Gallery East in February.
  • Participated in group show at Brick City Artist's Association, "Best of the Season".
  • Created program cover and poster artwork for H.I.T.S 2006 and Live Oak 2006. Artwork for Live Oak was used on billboards throughout central Florida. Very cool to drive down interstate and see my painting huge and in the air!
  • Designated Mondays as my business day to call, e-mail, market, do book work, research, replenish needed supplies, etc.
  • Eliminated shows and events that aren't cost effective or profitable. In other words, I said "no" (thank you) several times.
  • At Marion Cultural Alliance's fund-raising project "Block Party" artists were asked to create a 12" square canvas which were later auctioned off. Over 225 canvases were beautifully and diversely created. My canvas received the highest bid and was chosen first. These kinds of blessings assure me that I'm doing the right things in the right way.
  • Ben Baugh (journalist par excellence) wrote a great article about my visit to Aiken, SC which was published in the Aiken Standard local newspaper. I'll also be featured in an upcoming newsletter for the North Florida Farm Credit Union. Also received nods from the Star Banner, Ocala Style, Florida Horse and I gave permission to use some of my images in advertising.
  • Speaking of, advertised in the Thoroughbred Times, a national weekly horse racing trade magazine.
  • Experimented with gold leaf and acrylic (the medium for my "Block Party" canvas). Created three pieces, sold two.
  • Started keeping this blog. Writing about my work helps me focus on my process and reveals intentions, aspirations and inspirations. Even if no one ever reads this, writing is a concrete way of organizing my thoughts and ideas.

In a week or two I'll post a list of my intentions and goals for 2007.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

A Day Off

Michael and I are finally getting caught up with the unprecedented amount of giclee prints ordered this holiday season. We actually took the afternoon off and visited a park that my dear friend Marilyn had told me about. It's called "Shalom" and it was exquisitely sacred and special. Gardens, forest trails, fish ponds and a mystical labyrinth combined with warm temperatures made for a very relaxing and introspective walk. And hidden in southwest Ocala.

A pond full of koi entertained us as we put quarters in a gumball machine that dispensed fish food. We came upon this tree while walking the labyrinth. It's called Wounded Tree and it had a great scar on the thick part of the trunk.

This is the other side of Wounded Tree which appears healthy.The metaphot deals with wounds experienced throughout life and how we persevere and strengthen as a result, and do we want to hide the scars or share the learning experience. If you've never had an opportunity to walk a labyrinth, it's a contemplative, meditative walk in which the physical action of walking aids in concentration. It connects the mind/body. There is one path into the center which usually has some sort of seat to rest and reflect. You return the same way you came. The path itself is as simple as this one today at Shalom or as intricately designed as a British maze.

I walk the labyrinth at my church, Oakbrook Life Enrichment Center when I'm feeling overwhelmed. I ask for an answer to whatever is troubling me and it's usually revealed by the time I'm finished. Their labyrinth is patterned after the elaborately designed Chartes Cathedral labyrinth.

There was an abundance of this Florida indigenous bush call Beauty Berry. It's a gaudy food source for certain birds who then poop this brilliant fuscia color on your car.

I can never resit photographing a group of horses, especially in waning light. On the way home from Shalom park, we drove by this clan and I got lucky enough to shoot them before they noticed me. The challenge of photographing horses on farms is to be quick, before they spot you, which will inevitably peak their curiosity and they will begin to walk towards you ruining the composition. Their heads turn to you as they say to each other: "Oh look, visitors."

I wasn't as lucky with this photo. It was a horse and this piggy sharing a hay bale together. The horse immediately walked over to greet me. The pig was less interested.

Oh gawd, not another sunset photo. Humor me - winter sunsets in Florida are always spectacular. Tomorrow I get back into the studio to work on just such a fou-fou painting.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

It's December 12th...

I've mentioned in my advertising and e-cards that December 12th was the last day to order gifts and giclees to ensure a December 24th delivery. This is not to say that I won't still take orders, I can just no longer promise holiday delivery. However, I will do my best. Last year I was still filling orders up until January 10th for holiday gifts. So if you're a last minute shopper or in a quandary about what to get that horse lover in your life, I will gladly mail/e-mail a gift certificate for any amount. Contact me through my website and we'll figure out something together.

Phew! Michael and I have been printing and shipping for two weeks solid. My heavy-duty stretcher bars arrived today to continue with my multi-canvas project. Anxious to get back at it but that will probably be after the first of the year. I finally did a bit of shopping today. As for's eggnog and card writing for me!

Sunday, December 10, 2006

A Shout Out

On page 19 of this month's "The Florida Horse" magazine is a short piece about the art exhibit that Michael and I are helping to organize. It'll be racing themed paintings and sculpture although some farm scenes are included (as long as they're thoroughbreds). They ran a photo of me standing in front of my big commission piece - the same one that I'm using on the bio of my website. I overlooked including the photo credit for which I truly apologize. It's a great photo by Cindy Mikell who graciously came to my studio and agreed to an artist's exchange for her talent.

We asked our friend Ben Baugh to write the article which will be in next month's issue of "The Florida Horse". He produced an exceptional piece as usual and we're so thankful for his generosity and talent. We've managed to get some top equine artists to participate including Erica Nordean who is the 2006 Kentucky Oaks poster artist, and we're thrilled to get Booth Malone who is the 2006 Breeders' Cup poster artist. It's going to be a strong exhibit.

Michael and I have spent the last five days printing giclees, stretching and shipping. As I mentioned in a previous post, this season the print business is booming for us. Orders are coming in daily and we're working like mad to fill them in a timely manner.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Holiday Sales

In previous years, I've been absolutely inundated with private commissions in the weeks prior to the holidays. I'm painting like a fiend right up until the last few days before Christmas. Business has been different this year. I'm finishing up with the commissions in a timely manner and it's only December 6th. However, the giclee print business is booming like never before. We have 30 or so reproductions to produce this weekend alone and more are ordered daily. This has caused me to contemplate the shift that's occurred this year. Is it due to political influences, the war, the reallocation of power, technological changes, economic mood and the like? I discussed this with some of my artist friends and and surprisingly, they share my experience. One friend said that she usually closes the book on commissions on October 31st but it's still wide open. Hmmm, times are a-changin'. I'm not complaining, I happen to be married to my printer and money is money. One thing you can be certain of in this universe - everything is in a state of continuous flux.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Catching Up

After exhibiting at the Stallion Showcase last Sunday, it was off to Lexington, Kentucky on Monday morning. I dropped off my painting, "Sneaking Off" at Cross Gate Gallery for the traveling exhibit "Masters of Foxhounds". A visit to Fayette Gallery followed, and we negotiated for representation. It was a most successful and rewarding trip.

Because I-75 is insufferably under constant construction throughout Georgia and Tennessee, Michael and I decided to head east towards Aiken, SC. Skirting the Great Smokies was a nostalgic treat for this native New Englander.
The mountains were brown and the trees mostly bare. Leaves thickly carpeted the ground. Memories of winter even though it was unusually warm - mid 60's.

Not only is Aiken becoming quite the center for all things equine, it's also becoming quite artsy. The city sponsored a public art project of painted fiberglass horses a few years back, just like our "Horse Fever" project here in Ocala.

Aiken is so funky. We stopped by Equine Divine to visit with Lydia del Rossi but we missed her. We met our friend Ben Baugh, a journalist at the Aiken Standard, for lunch and got caught up with each other.

We returned home late Wednesday night. Thursday night was the "Block Party", a fundraiser for the Marion Cultural Alliance. This was my entry and it was chosen by the first winning bidder. I am so blessed.

Today we were invited by our friend, Monty Thomas, Jr., to attend a stallion show at their farm "Ups and Downs" in Citra, FL. This is Weekend Cruise, by A.P. Indy. The farm is absolutely beautiful with so many mature live oaks everywhere.

This stallion handler was very competant and patient as this big boy shows off for the crowd.

I'm just so enamored at their powerful beauty. This is what inspires evocative paintings.

On the way home from the stallion show we passed by these bison relaxing in a sandy patch. One never knows what one will see in the tropical plains of central Florida!