Drips & Spatters

Thanksgiving 2019

3 WEEKS

For three weeks I’ve been contemplating this year’s Thanksgiving post, and these last three weeks have been a doozy!

About 5 months ago my husband and I retired and relocated across country and I left 99.5% of my family on the east coast and moved to the Southwest. Three weeks ago, we received notification that one of my mother’s brothers passed away and so we planned the trip north. Fly or drive? Even in our 60’s we are both still road warriors and we figured the cost would be comparable, so we took to the highway. Two days later we arrived and immediately realized that something was amiss. Later, after the funeral, we would find that my brother had been suffering a series of mini-strokes until that one that put him in the hospital.

Had not my uncle died, I would not have been in town and staying with my brother at the time of his stroke. Had I not been living with an EMT for the last 15 years I may not have noticed the signs and alerted my husband – “You better check him out!” Had we not gotten him to the hospital when we did, his prognosis would be much worse. Had we flown instead of driven, we most likely would have caught our return flight prior to his incident and there was a good chance he wouldn’t be here with us today.

So, on this Thanksgiving, 2019:

  • I’m thankful that we had the financial means and the time to up and go without having to worry about taking off from work or how much it would cost.
  • I’m thankful that God and my uncle/ancestors put us in the right place at the right time to be with my brother when it was absolutely imperative that he not be alone.
  • I’m thankful that I have lived the type of life where I can call on a friend or relative at a moment’s notice and be welcomed, sheltered, and fed with no questions, no conditions.
  • I’m thankful for friends and family who were genuinely happy to see us while we were in town/on the road, if only for 15 min – some of whom went out of their way to make sure our paths crossed.
  • I’m thankful for the Auntie that coupons and sends us on our way with items from her “store”.
  • I’m grateful for new tires, a reliable vehicle and traveling mercy.
  • I’m grateful to return home to a house intact.
  • I’m grateful for the technology that allows me to speak with my brother face-to-face over 1K miles away so I can continue to encourage his recovery (and threaten him as needed).
  • I’m so very thankful that this entire year prepared me for these last three weeks and the weeks to come.

We never know what the day will bring, or the next 3 weeks, but whatever it is, I will be glad in it – even through hard times and heartache – and be Thankful!

When Business & Emotions Collide

ON THIS LABOR DAY 2019

I have worked more than 40 years so far in my lifetime and it’s time to sit back in retirement and enjoy the fruits of my labor. For me that means painting at my leisure. Now, instead of picking up my paintbrush only on weekends and after hours in my “spare” time, in between raising kids, 2 careers, cooking and cleaning house, homework, board meetings and mandatory hours at work, I the freedom to paint, explore new techniques, show up when I want to, or sleep in if I so desire. And I get to work MY business full time (or part time) as I feel.

At my last day j-o-b, I wore as many as 10 different hats, juggling various tasks, taking care of multiple people. Today I am a one-woman show wearing just as many hats, juggling just as many or more tasks, only now I pour a lot more effort and passion into the roles I assign myself. I think any entrepreneur will tell you that passion plays a huge part in getting your business off the ground, expanding your business, running your business day-to-day.    

Fueled by my passion to keep this lil business of mine going in retirement, I created a new brand under the Handy Concepts umbrella: MOJOVE. Mojove was is to be my signature brand for art supplies, a small product line in addition to my paintings and services. I researched, tested and invested in an artist brush set as my first item to rollout, while planning the second and third items in the que. I advertised and marketed the product, created packaging, sold pre-orders, and my excitement grew. Then time passed, and more time. I contacted my supplier and was informed that the shipment was held up in customs. And more time passed. Back and forth communications to date has yet to yield a product and now my emotions are stepping on my passion.

You see, MOJOVE is an acronym I created to honor the 3 women in my life who mean the most to me. These women helped shape me, supported my dreams and pushed me to do my best, and who, I know, loved me unconditionally. So that brand is extremely important to me. It is intended to sustain me in more ways than a couple for the remainder of my life.

But as I post this, I am at the same time refunding money to customers who purchased pre-orders, suspending my advertising, removing “shop now” links from my sites and feeling a little defeated. Months of work and preparation and planning are now a learning experience. My feelings are hurt, badly, and I will spend this Labor Day somewhat wallowing in my emotions. I apologize to my customers for not delivering on my word. Somewhere in the US on an unknown tarmac there are more than 3500 Mojove branded paint brushes still hoping to find their way home.

In the interim refunds are on the way and also discounts should any of you want to get something in the future.

I still have my passion though, to keep me in the game. Mom, Joni, and Velda, I know you are with me, watching me, guiding me, sending me your blessings, pushing me forward.

– and tomorrow is a new day.

Forced Initiatives

“Forced” may be too strong a word, but due to life-changing decisions it is necessary for me to pack up my studio to prepare for a move across country. I generally paint in oils and acrylics and the occasional watercolors, but since the move has me packing up all of my supplies and materials, which will remain in storage for a while, I will revert to using dry media while in transition.

I have not completed any decent sketches, yet alone full blown, detailed drawings, in years. I barely commit to stick figures and basic geometric shapes when plotting out a painting but now to keep my creative muscles flexed I will need to travel light and tight. That means sketchpad, graphite, maybe some pastel sticks or markers.

I hope by the time I unpack my studio at it’s new base I will have completed some strong drawings and enhanced my skills to the point of being able to produce even better paintings.

2018 – A Recap

As is habit I, like many, generally reflect on the year past as I travel into the freshness of the new year. So looking back at my artistic accomplishments of 2018 I’m reminded that I’ve completed 9 paintings and a series of sketches throughout the year – a bit short of my usual goal of 12-15 paintings per annum. That isn’t necessarily a bad thing as I declared last year this time to slow down and put a little more concentration into my work. Also, my participation in Inktober2018 was a new and challenging effort that took me from my comfort zone and helped me think outside the box.

I tried some new techniques and new materials that I will continue to experiment with in the coming year. I also bought some clay, a medium that I’ve never worked in but am stoked to try. The clay is as yet still unopened but you should look for something very new from me in 2019.

So, without further ado, these few are my top picks from 2018, not so much because I think they were executed well but because I thoroughly enjoyed painting/sketching them and I learned something of myself in the process. Of course you can review these and more on my Gallery page or purchase a print or the original if still available. Did you have any favorites? Let me know below.

I look forward to continued creative escapades in 2019 and hope you enjoy the journey as much as I. Here’s to wishing all of you a healthy, happy, and artful New Year.

Inktober2018

Somewhere around day 18 I had the thought that I should have been blogging my daily drawings, but by then, well I decided to wait until the end and post them all together.

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This is my first year participating in the Inktober challenge. I rarely sketch at all let alone draw or sketch every day.  Generally when I prep for a painting I jot down a couple stick figures or some simple lines to plan my composition and then I jump right into painting. So the daily act of drawing something was quite new to me.

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Following the prompts for each day was interesting as well. I tried to stay away from the mundane or more common images for the specified word, but some days it was just easier to do something simple. I saw so many people doing full scale pen and ink paintings, and quite exquisite drawings – DAILY, even full page cartoons. I applaud them all. I was lucky to get the simplest sketch done without breaking blood vessels in my brain. Still, I think as the month waned I took a little more time to create better drawings and to give more thought to interpreting the word prompts. All in all it was a great exercise.

Inktober

I will try to continue to sketch daily on my own through the end of the year. Who knows, this might really turn into a very good habit.

*Note: we are 11 days into the new month and I have only added 1 new drawing to my sketchbook. But in my defense, I have nearly completed a new painting so I’m going to call it a win. 😉

The Power of “Thank You”

So many people come in and go out of our lives over the years. Some stay a long while, others just pass through for a very brief moment but all have had some impact on our being. Could have been a teacher, classmate, employer or coworker, neighbor, client or pastor. Whoever they are they all leave indelible marks, some good, some bad. Most are memorable, some forgettable but their mark, however slight, remains.

I’m aware that I have touched some people in positive ways, but I never really think about it. I’m usually just being me or simply doing my job. I’m always surprised when I hear a voice from the past, get a note in the mail, or get friend requests on social media from someone who has not been in my life in many years. This was the case recently when I was contacted by Hope Porter, who sent me an innocent request for my email address which I sent. Shortly thereafter I received an invitation to her company’s 15th Anniversary Gala. I was quite honored that someone I haven’t seen or spoken with in over 10 years thought enough of me to invite me to such a prestigious event. And I was happy to accept.

It was a black-tie event and I haven’t been all gussied up in a while so this too added to my excitement. The evening was stunning, with about 100 or so beautiful people dressed to impress, great food and inviting friendly atmosphere. There were speeches and accolades and then the awards ceremony. Can you imagine my shock and awe when my name was called?

It turns out that in one of my former positions as Leasing Director of commercial office space I ran a small business incubator where start-ups came to nest and Hope Porter brought her precious dream there to grow. And grow it did. Those precarious first five years of starting and running a business were tedious and frightening as much as it was adventurous and exciting. Exit Cheryl. Fast forward another 10 years and Staffing Etc. is a multi-million-dollar company employing thousands and doing spectacular and honorable work throughout the nation. And Mr. and Mrs. Porter remembered me. Thanked me. How awesome is that?

Congratulations Staffing Etc. on your milestone and please allow me to THANK YOU! Wishing you so many more years of success and blessings.

A Measure of Success

How do you measure success? For me, the measure of my success is gauged by how much I’ve grown in a specific area. Like a fitness plan, if the goal is to lose weight and I can see the pounds coming off, then voila, success!

My constant goal is to be better at executing my art and in that vein, I subject my paintings to constant comparisons – sometimes to that of other artists but more often to art I’ve created previously because I am only as good as my last painting. We all have our favorites and then there are those creations that are recycled or painted over – much to my husband’s chagrin – because I have no desire to hold on to works that I feel are subpar or that I’ve lost interest in.

Then there are those that, at the time of creation, I thought were fairly good (sometimes great). Those are the pieces I hold onto even though I sometimes cringe as they pale in comparison to more recent work. I keep them because they are great indicators of my growth, therefore my success as an artist.

When I think of growth, I’m not talking changing my style of painting or making art. A change in style is acceptable and expected as an artist matures, but a noticeable change in technique, composition, color harmony, etc., are, I feel, better indicators of growth, therefore success. Often when I look at some of my earlier works, I think “do over” and challenge myself to a rematch.

There are not many things in life that allow us the privilege of a do-over. Luckily for us artists, do-overs are available at any time. All we need is a fresh canvas, piece of paper, sketchpad, chalk board, piece of clay, wood, some wire, cloth, yarn – whatever our medium, and we can start again, and again, and again until we think we’ve got it right…

Until the next time we stop to measure our growth.

Which brings me to these two paintings. I am still not overjoyed with my execution of the hands on the lower image, but boy oh boy, I think I’ve traveled a great distance towards crossing the line of success with this painting. As for the top painting, which is well over 10 years old, I am planning a do-over very soon. I’ll keep you posted.

As long as I continue to work at my craft in earnest and I can see some growth, I am happy. Sometimes I grow by skips and hops, other times by leaps and bounds! Either way, with growth success is eminent.

What yardstick or scale do you use to measure your success? Drop me line below.