Tuesday, June 18, 2013

500 Blog Posts and A Giveaway...

Hello Dear Blog Readers,
I hope you are all enjoying your summer so far!

I am back from my little break away from my blog and I have many things to share with you all...sadly, not all of them are positive, but in my usual fashion, I am finding lessons to be learned! This may be a long post, so brew up a cup of tea or coffee, and get cozy for the news ahead...

Challenging Struggles
You may have noticed that I took an extra week of time away. I wish I could say it was for more relaxation, but it was anything but relaxing. I have been dealing with a series of challenges and struggles which is not exactly conducive to a restful summer holiday - to begin with, the hard drive to my dear boyfriends computer stopped working!!

We thought it had broken down completely, but we are currently in process of sending the hard drive to a data retrieval company in the hopes that we will be able to retrieve all the data that is stored on the drive: documents, pdf's, photos...my goodness, the photos!!!

I had been saving many photos to use in future blog posts and now I will not have access to them for a long time to come, if we can retrieve them at all. And then there is the brand spanking new artist CV I created mere days before the hard drive froze up on us!!

Something told me to save it to one of my flash drives, but I didn't do it...nor was I saving any of my numerous photos:

My fun and colorful flash drives for documents and photos - I actually carry them around with me ALL THE TIME so I had no excuse for not saving my work/photos...

I am hoping for the best that my dear boyfriend and I will have ALL our data retrieved for us in due course, but it is hard to think of all the work we have both stored on the computer that we might not get back...so I try to put that thought out of my head!

If this incident were not challenging enough, I took on a challenge that seems to loom ever bigger with each passing week - I signed up for the Lilla Rogers online course "Make Art That Sells".

This course is filled with great information on how to get ones artwork into the markets we are studying in the first module: bolt fabric, home decor, children's book illustration, wall art, and gift.

These are all areas I have an interest in. However, I had not anticipated that I would be swimming in a sea of advanced graphic art designers, which I am not. I have very little in the way of Photoshop or Illustrator skills and there is no time to learn enough in those programs to get my style of work on par with my classmates.

It has been daunting to see the work produced by these great, experienced and highly skilled graphic design artists and I just can't help from comparing my work to them.

My humble hand painted design for home decor tableware - a plate with the artichoke for my motif and lettering done with help from my dear boyfriend who is more graphic design skilled than I am!

I know the 'comparison game' is a big no-no and I rarely do it, but seeing how inadequately I am skilled for this class has been a real eye-opener...yet I am learning a LOT about how these markets work and Lilla Rogers is one of the most encouraging instructors I have encountered, after my book binding instructor Wendy Poma! Watching Lilla's weekly videos (as well as other interview videos I found) makes me want to meet her! I just know she is a kindred creative beast =-)

The course involves weekly assignments and trying to utilize my skills and style of artwork for this online course has been challenging when I see the amazing creations being made by my fellow students, some of whom have already been getting work in these markets! During the second week of the course, I had to make the decision to keep to myself for the remainder of this course and no longer interact in the class Facebook group in the hopes I can keep from feeling discouraged or losing any more of the "Identity Capital" I have built up for myself, over my many years of creative work...

Identity Capital
I came across this great concept of "identity capital" while watching a TED talk with Meg Jay, PHD. Though her talk was aimed at 20-somethings, the concept of identity capital resonated very strongly for me and I think it is something we all work at, all our lives.

I found a link to a blog that discusses the work of Dr. Jay and the concept of identity capital - I think this quote sums up the concept well:

“Identity capital is our collection of personal assets. It is the repertoire of individual resources that we assemble over time. These are the investments we make in ourselves, the things we do well enough, or long enough, that they become a part of who we are. Some identity capital goes on a resume, such as degrees, jobs, test scores, and clubs. Other identity capital is more personal, such as how we speak, where we are from, how we solve problems, how we look. Identity capital is how we build ourselves – bit by bit, over time. Most important, identity capital is what we bring to the adult marketplace. It is the currency we use to metaphorically purchase jobs and relationships and other things we want.” - Meg Jay, PHD
 (underlined section by me for emphasis)

I love this concept, especially since it is something I have instinctively been doing, without realizing that there was a name for it...and knowing about this concept helped me come back to myself while struggling with my creative inadequacies.

With this concept firmly in mind, I took time away from the weekly assignment to work on things I AM highly skilled at, such as working on some alterations for a friend, completing a book binding project to give as a gift and making a special piece of art (all of which came together quickly I might add!):

Artwork in progress - I will eventually share the final finished piece here

Working on things I know I am skilled at helped me regain my sense of 'identity capital' as a creative artist. Though Lilla's course has been highly challenging (and a little discouraging) the course has taught me a lot so far and I'm barely into the third week! However, the biggest lesson I have learned so far is this:

I am not a graphic art designer.

Having this knowledge helps me face the remaining weeks in Lilla's course and I will continue to learn as much as I can and find a way to use the information I am gleaning from this workshop as I continue to make my way in the world as a self-sustaining, self-employed artist.

There are other challenges I have dealt with in the past few weeks, such as being a vendor at the Silverlake Art*Craft*Vintage Fair and making very little money, but I will save that 'Lesson Learned' for another day!

In the meantime, I think it's time to celebrate the fact that I have posted 500 blog posts!

Time for a Giveaway!
I have some creative goodies to give away to celebrate my 500th blog post...

Here is the breakdown of goodies:

brads, snaps, sticky bead embellishments

 ...clear rubber stamps by Tim Holtz...

...decorative ribbons and tapes...

...Jolene's Boutique holiday embellishments and epoxy bubble embellishments...

...black glitter alphabet stickers...

...sponge brushes for creative gluing projects...

And the lucky winner with receive all these goodies in a fun colorful bag:

How can you win this bounty of creativity??!?

You will have the opportunity to enter the giveaway 2 times:

1) Leave a comment at this blog post
2) Like my new Facebook fan page and leave a comment there as well!

You must leave your comments by 12:00pm Sunday June 23 so the winner can be announced by Wednesday June 26. This giveaway is open to ALL, near or far!

BTW: there will be another giveaway to celebrate 4 years of blogging the following week, so be sure to stay tuned for that!

Many thanks to all my wonderful blog readers for taking time from your busy lives to read about my adventures here. This blog has been the means to meet so many wonderful bloggers, from near and far, and I am so thankful for the community that has been fostered here. Here's to 500 more blog posts!


Kathryn Hansen said...

congrats Monica...500 posts is a lot!!

a couple of thoughts: i have 2 external hard drives (because i am paranoid!!)so i can rest easy, knowing all of my important docs/data/photos are safe and easily accessed!

and don't tell yourself things that you are not...we all have to start somewhere. better to have people better than you to inspire you than people below your level of expertise...you learn and grow more that way!

good luck with the course...sounds like it's really valuable!!

Glenda Hoagland said...

Congratulations on having 500 blog posts. Your posts are so uplifting and insightful.

Your talent is great and I am inspired by you.

Gill said...

I'm not computer literate which is probably a blessing but I really should learn more about computing!
Congratulations on 500 posts!

Heather Hughes said...

The concept of identity capital is really fascinating. Going to have to read more about that. Thank you so much for this lovely blog and giveaway.

scrapwordsmom said...

Congrats on 500 posts!! That is a big deal!!!!! The course you are taking sounds so interesting and like you would learn a ton of useful information. Sounds like something I may need one day!!!

I am headed to your fb page to like and comment next. Thanks for the chance to win. Those stamps are awesome!!!!


Amelia said...

Hi Monica, wanted to drop by and say hi and thanks for stopping by at my blog. I've been slow with it lately due to finding things to do around the home, but finally wrote a new blog post yesterday and found your comment too :)

Sorry to hear your news with the computer and the course. Sometimes thought we do things, the best thing we get from it is that that ISN'T what we want to do!

Hope you are well.