Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Wrapping up Apalachicola Workshop

Just an average morning view.
Had a great workshop this past week with 17 wonderful students in the Florida panhandle. It was pretty hot down there, but everyone worked hard in spite of it.

DAY 1: Introductory demonstration. 
Establishing the shadow pattern shows strength of the design.

"Oyster House on Water Street," 11x14

DAY 2: Quick sketch at Scipio Creek. 
Showing students the difference between boat reflections and 
boat cast shadows, even in the mid-day sun.

"Boats Float," 8x10.

Finding a little shade and breeze made the afternoon better.

DAY 3: Painting, Mid-day lecture, More Painting
Everyone painted more boats in the morning. After lunch, we retreated to the air condition for a discussion on equipment and color mixing with a limited palette during   the hottest part of the day. Then back down to the marina for another painting session.

     Students always want to know how to "loosen up" and use color.

"Just Wanna Have Fun", 11x14

Day 4: Lafayette Park Paintings
Green roof in light is lighter than yellow house in shadow.

"Yellow House, Green Roof",  8x10

Spent my lunch break dancing with the devil's color.

"Greens," 11x14

Wrapped up day 4 with a group critique and wine! Great way to end the workshop.

Good bye Mexico Beach. 

Shrimp...I will miss you the most.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

New Studio Update

And this is how it goes...

Beautiful view after the rain!

What a beautiful afternoon view following the rain!

Having built several homes in my life, there are a few things that I know to expect along the way. One, that the house will look very small when it is first staked out; two, that there will be many bumps along the way; three, that everything takes longer than I think it should; and four, that there is a point during construction where it appears very little is being done. That is where we are right now.

Even though they are huge, important jobs, seeing the electrician's and plumber's rough-in, just doesn't get me too excited. At most, I might feel a bit anxious about it. "Did they put holes in the wrong place that now have to be patched? Is the toilet in the bathroom or the kitchen? Is the overhead light centered in the room?"

Back to those things I know to expect... bumps, delays, etc. Indeed a few holes have been drilled where they do not belong. Stuff happens.  They will be filled and only Mark and I will know they were ever there; the plumbing is behind (no pun intended); and the studio no longer looks small at all.

Any of you who know Mark and me personally, know that we are no strangers to hard work or physical labor. Exhaustion and sore muscles feel amazingly good when they result from sheer determination and accomplishment. Many times, the main reason for hiring a contractor to do a job for us, is the simple fact that we cannot find the time to do it ourselves. Last weekend was an extreme exception. Late on Friday afternoon, Mark rented a U-Haul truck so we could pick up 4 tons of hardwood flooring that had been ordered. See that nice man at the lumber place and his forklift in the image above? Very early on Saturday morning, sans forklift, Mark and I unloaded all of the flooring into the studio one box at a time. By 8:00 a.m. we had it neatly stacked and ready for use in a week or so. There are 3 piles of it. The one below is the smallest of the three.

An unusually less-humid-than-normal day for middle Tennessee, and a slight sprinkle off and on, made it the perfect day for working in the yard. There is a lot of construction debris that happens when you build.  It starts with one pile, which quickly grows to 3, 4, or more. I took this photo when I was about one-quarter-way through with my project for the weekend... construction clean-up.

For most of the day Saturday and Sunday, I sorted, stacked, and divided 4 nasty piles, into stacks of recycle, repurpose, donate, and clean burn. 

Ever the artist, any breaks I took were spent staring at the white pine flames and thinking about how I would paint them.

Recovered materials for future projects were moved to here...

I turned piles like this...

into yard like this...

while Mark did this...

to open the utility trench he needed like this...

Now the plumber and electrician and finish up some work, which will allow the rest of the sheet rock to be finished and the flooring installed. 

Stay tuned!

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Doing It All?

People ask me all the time how I get everything done. How do I paint, and do all of the marketing? Most folks think that my husband or someone else must be doing it for me. That is not true, but I am happy to say that now I have finally hired a virtual assistant. This will eventually help me get somewhere around 40 more hours a month to paint. But for now, I would like to share a few tips with you that can help you get your media communication manageable. 

Often I teach a smart art marketing class. One of the things we talk about is sending a newsletter, blog post, and social media. Just keeping up with those things alone seems like it can be a full-time job. The trick is to do it in small bites. This post, for example, was dictated using my iPhone as I drove down the road. I used the phone's voice recording system, to input this into a program called Notes. Then I emailed the note to myself to be copied and pasted here in this blog post. All I had left to do was a little editing where Siri does not understand something I said, or my thoughts are not complete, and add a picture or two. Now I can schedule this blog post to go out anytime I would like. I will probably save it a for a few days. 

 Once I have a new blog post ready, the next thing I might do is put together a quarterly newsletter. I can gather information and put it in my Evernote file or in Dropbox. Those programs work differently, but either one would do for this particular part of the project. Things I would put in there might be photos that need to be included in the newsletter, notes that I dictate on my phone about upcoming events or awards. Also,at this point I will make a note about those things that will require a URL for the readers to link to. For instance, I have a new workshop which I will include a little bit about in the newsletter with a link to my website. The note reminds me to make sure that the website is up-to-date and copies the link so that when I put the newsletter together I don't have to go searching. Doing these things a little at a time is a time saver. So now I have a new blog post and a folder full of things for a newsletter. 

Next, I want to make sure to set my announcements as a post on my Facebook professional page to tease people that a new blog post and newsletter will be going out soon. This is also linked to my Twitter account so that this one post on Facebook will also post to Twitter.  Twitter is linked to LinkedIn so you get the picture how many of those social networks you are on, can be linked.  As long as they don't go in a complete circle, you are fine. In other words, you don't want Facebook to link to Twitter, and Twitter to be linked to LinkedIn, and LinkedIn to be linked to Facebook. It would go around in circles all day long. I can even pre-schedule when I want the post on Facebook.  I can schedule ahead of time whenever I have a moment. Now that I have some dominoes set up, it's easy for the blog post to go out and the email to be scheduled.   

Finally, through iContact, the newsletter is schedule to go out with a link to the new blog post and it links to all of the other announcements to be shared. This can go out immediately, or be pre-scheduled for a future day and time. If I choose, it will post directly to Facebook (or Twitter or Linkedin) automatically. So if I choose for it to post to Facebook, as I mentioned before, Facebook will post to Twitter, and automatically shorten the URL for me. Twitter then posts to LinkedIn. Twitter will also post on Pinterest and choose a photo from the newsletter. Having all of my supporting documents and URLs ready to go helps me manage all of these things. So instead of this post and the newsletter taking up an entire day, I can put the whole thing together and push over first domino to get things going, in about 30 minutes. That leaves a lot more time to paint. 

Obviously, getting in a routine like this takes a little time. Eventually, it becomes a habit and doesn't seem so overwhelming. So here is a quick recap of tips: 

  • Set up blog by dictating into phone. 
  • Add photos to a central place for newsletter either Dropbox or Evernote. 
  • Make notes either in the Notes program or in Evernote of things you would like in the newsletter. 
  • Preset URLs
  • Review the list to make it as brief as possible. 
  • Cut, paste, drop, and schedule the e-blast. 
The recent promotion I had for the DVD was a real test of this working. I was without a phone much of the time & this was going on without me. But everything fell into place, with the help of my new assistant, and there were only a few hiccups.