Wild Joy Blooms Retreat in Portland Oregon

First off, I want to warn you that this is a long post because I have so much to tell. Trust me, it will be worth it. There are not many artists that I would fly 2000 miles to go see, since I had not flown since 2002, but Carrie Schmitt is one of them. I have been following her for many years and love her intuitive paintings. When she sent out the email that she was having this workshop I thought for maybe a minute before making the decision and grabbed the opportunity. This is what we were greeted with and I knew it was going to be a fantastic experience. I was so excited to meet everyone, or as I say, the other artistic souls. Now they are soul sisters.

The workshop was held in Flora Bowley’s large studio which was awesome with all her originals hanging around on the walls. She rents this out and so it was all set up for workshops like this.

Flora’s paintings are the top ones and then there are stations for the artists with ways to hang canvases on the walls. This picture is kinda dark which the room was not, with big windows at one end. The decorative lights were fun.

Carrie is talking about her painting and how she is doing it. See the large windows at the end. This is an old building that was redone with artists studios. We all had tables and carts, everything an artist needs. We had women that came from all over the United States!

A better picture of Carrie painting.

This area is where we started our day in a round with various activities and much of sharing our stories. From the first day we all felt comfortable with each other and had a lot in common, it was all so interesting. The beauty shown is Melissa who was Carries’ friend and she was always there to help with everything!

There were maybe 20 of these carts to use in the studio, just like my one at home. There is my painting apron, my goddess crown, a painting that Carrie made for all of us, of a rose. I love the drippy wall behind it.

Many artists contributed to these drips.

A favorite picture of Carrie and myself.

These are wings that were drawn on fabric and were to be painted by everyone. It became a late night endeavor and I had gone back to my hotel and what a surprise it was the next day. They were beautiful!

We all had many pictures taken in front of the wings. Here is one of me talking saying what should I do?

This is Lauren, she came as a photographer and had not painted before. Behind her is a bit of her painting and she definitely developed her own style. She was a gentle and sweet soul sister and was my painting buddy on the right.

This was a mural on the side of a building I saw coming from lunch one day. Tara and I had to go take each others pictures in front of it, since we were making history in Portland also.

This is an early stage of someones painting. Not sure who was painting it though.

The early stage of one of my paintings. We had two canvases we were working on.

Another stage and it was crazy and screaming at me. It will not end up looking like this.

Here is the final result that I had shipped home from Portland. It has found a permanent home here on my picture shelf.

This I saw at a shoe store at the Portland Airport while waiting for my flight to leave.

The Rocky Mountains outside of the airplane window.

Our first lunch delivered. A salad, hummus, stuffed grape leaves, pitas, chicken kebobs, rice. It was all good!

I saw these in several places, you must be able to rent them.

This is Jen and she was my painting buddy on my left. She lives in Washington State and we found we had many of the same interests. She is a beautiful and sweet lady.

Another set of early paintings.

Maria from Florida came over to talk and we noticed her hands and had to snap a few photos of them.

This tall beautiful woman is Sophie from Georgia. She is our Goddess Crown leader. One of the evenings was set aside for us to make these crowns and it was great fun. I tell her she is a breath of fresh air.

She had brought many of her crowns and she had one on here. Her face was painted and her tassel earrings are just perfect. She sat at the edge of the angel wing and this picture turned out just gorgeous! One of a kind.

This is Zippy Lomax who is a professional photographer and she came to take pictures one whole day and to take pictures of all of us professionally. I look forward to seeing all of them. She is a very fun person.

This was an activity one evening, a rose ceremony and Qoya hence the yoga mats. I participated in the Qoya but did not get down on the floor because I did not want to have to get up off the floor.

Here I am showing off my Goddess Crown that I made with the help of Sophie. I love the feathers.

Angel Wings that I started and had shipped home. When they are done I am going to hang them on the wall.

This is Tara who came all the way from New York City. She was my painting buddy behind me.. We did a lot of talking and I had many questions for her since she lives right in NYC and I had visited there this last summer. She is also our Qoya leader and she is an artist and she and I took our pictures in front of the mural. She is doing many things and take a look at her on her website. So as you can tell I had the time of my life. It was well worth the trip and I am so glad I got to do it and met all the fabulous women! One person that I do not have an individual picture of is Dvora Troshane who was the coordinatior of this retreat.  She runs the Soulshine Studio and just worked tirelessly on this.  Please look at her website because she is always doing something interesting.

 

Looking Ahead in 2017

I am excited to tell you about a weekend trip I will be taking in March. I have always admired Carrie Schmitt and her art work. She is putting on a workshop in Portland Oregon that I signed up for. I got the email and didn’t think too long about going. It’s a small group, 18 people and it will be held in Flora Bowley’s studio in Portland. Making plane, hotel and car rental reservations soon. It will be an awesome time. The link to read about it here.

Then in July Tom and I have decided to take a trip to Maine. See Acadia National Park, stay in Bar Harbor on the Ocean. It looks like a quaint, sweet town. I would like to see many National Parks in the coming years so we are starting with the first eastern most one. Link I will be using to read about the area. So I can say I will be Sea to Shining Sea this year!

We are going to drive and I would like to see the Adirondacks also. This picture is beautiful. Here is the sitehttp://visitadirondacks.com/ I will be using.

I am in the off season for art fairs in the north. This is the time to research and apply to the fairs to participate in. All in all I will apply to 16 for March through October. Now is the time to make art, make changes to the tent, and just prepare for the season. My first show will be For the Love of Art at the Century Center in South Bend Indiana. Come on up and see some fantastic art. Do you have some fun plans for the upcoming year?

 

Starting a Creative Business Part I (Things I have learned so far)

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Earlier this year I had come to a crossroads in my working career. I had left my job of 14 years and I was trying to decide what I wanted to do. I had no desire to go and work in an office environment again. I really loved being home and I absolutely love to create. I had taken art and business classes and also worked in various business areas so I had that background. Following my heart I decided to open a creative business. Ok, what are my first steps? I needed to educate myself on this. I am a huge book fan and I wanted to find a book that focused on creative businesses online. I decided to go and look at Kelly Rae Roberts because I knew that she would list favorite books on her website that she used. I knew she started from scratch, and she decided one day to follow her heart/calling and open a creative business. Lo and Behold! She had recently written a book about this. It is an E-Book and she decided to do it because when she started her creative business she had to dig and read for everything and she wanted to share what she learned. I cannot say enough good about this book, I refer to it constantly. She is very open with her information and it has been right on. If you would like to find out more about her book I have a link on the front page of my website.

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So, I am going to be online, and I wanted to do it right with a website that I can grow with. I needed a domain name and a web hosting site. This was a huge learning curve for me. There are so many different options that it is head spinning. My biggest advice to you is read, Read, READ! If you are going to do this. Read especially the support FAQ! You will not generally get an answer to an email back in a timely manner. Many sites have support where you post a question and a moderator may try to answer it. Other users may answer the questions and they are very helpful because they have been through the problem. I chose Green Geeks for my web hosting. I liked their prices, which other companies were comparable. I liked that they were environmentally friendly. So far it has been a good experience with them. It has been a quiet existence between the two of us, I haven’t had many problems and they just keep everything running smoothly.This service you pay for and it is renewable every three years.  I could have chosen to use their email, but I have kept the one that everyone knows. I don’t want to have to monitor several emails. It gets confusing and time consuming. I then had to decide on a name to register with the Indiana Department of Revenue and also to get a domain. I was going to go with my name…Robin Hawkins and have the domain (website address) the same but it was already taken. If you have an idea, search for it on a search engine. This is why I use Here’s My hART….I like hearts and art. Green Geeks helped me register my domain name and I have to renew it every year. It’s a little over $100.00. You want to make it pretty easy so customers can remember. I then had to decide on where I was going to build a website. I chose WordPress because anything I read said that it integrates easily if you should want to have your shop on your website. The thing I learned here was even though I had a blog for 5 years through Blogger it was not just a snap of the finger to get my website built, it took me three weeks of reading and trial and error before I was comfortable making it live. I still change and add all the time.  The sky is the limit. WordPress has a large amount of free templates with all different styles and themes. My theme is called Sela. Two other important ideas.  When getting your website set up be sure to download Jet Pack for WordPress.  It offers many more widget options.  In the options is a program called Akismet.  It stops spam.  Something happened to mine at one point and I was receiving 50 or more comments per day, all nonsense.  Imagine my surprise because people don’t leave a lot of comments unless you are super well known.  They were all spam.  I got that fixed quickly! It is amazing all the spam that goes out.

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I went ahead and changed my Pinterest account to the business name instead of personal, I opened an Instagram account, which I like very much and am still learning hashtags. I also opened a twitter account. All these are free marketing accounts where you connect with the outside world. I also ordered business cards through VistaPrint and was very happy with my product. I made a mistake though and the address is wrong to my Etsy Shop. I left a word out. So here are my little sticky labels to correct the problem. I bought 500 cards. Remember to check your addresses! Now with my Etsy shop, I have a link from my website. I also have added an Etsy mini it is called that it shows 9 pictures of my art that is for sale and it links out to Etsy. Etsy has charges, 20 cents per item listed and a 2 percent charge on what you sell. I also had to set up a PayPal account. All this requires many passwords that are important, make sure you can find them again. You can find these links to my different accounts on the front page under “follow me” at the top.

 

Facebook for business owners

I have a personal facebook page and then also a business facebook page. It is taking a while to build a following. There are all kinds of experts out there who have a lot of good advice. Take advantage of their free webcasts. They don’t give you all the information because they want you to sign up. No faulting them for this at all. With a new business, funds are limited try to find the most bang for your buck as they say. I watched a free webinar with Amy Porterfield about marketing with Facebook. She gave some very good points especially shedding some light on problems I was having. I wanted to further my research  and found this book that I am showing. I liked it that he was a graduate of Indiana University. I downloaded this e-book for $2.99 because I have Amazon Prime. It gave me good information. Facebook for business has many rules. My problem was that I had not built my site up yet and had under 50 followers it was not sending through my posts. Thus I had no opportunity to get likes or shares. Facebook does not like that you send through posts about promoting what you sell. Because it is a social network it doesn’t believe that people want to read about that. It will take that post off also, plus you can start to sell on facebook and you can buy ads then they get the money also.  It is good to know the ins and outs of Facebook.

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I have this quote hanging right beside my computer. It’s inspirational and says it all.

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When I started this business I knew it would take a while to build it. I not only have to make the inventory, I have to market it and sell it. I am learning all the time. My advice, use the free stuff! YouTube is a huge source of information. Join Facebook groups, webinairs, never stop learning. Keep your mind open. Submit your work to get it noticed. Always keep searching out opportunities.

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Here is another book I bought from Austin Kleon. It talked about how to sell your art, how to get noticed. They are short, sweet and to the point. Good information. Here is his website.

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This book talks about opportunities for artists like licensing and how to get noticed. There are people perusing the internet and Etsy all the time to find new talent. The writer of this book is Lilla Rogers.

Painted Blossoms

I loved the cover of this book and I really fell in love with this style of painting of Carrie Schmitt. I have bought a package with DVD’s along with paints that I had not used before. I just love to learn new things. I have an e-course that I have downloaded on faces that I have to do yet. I discover something new all the time to learn from. I have taken a big step and applied to show my work at the Roanoke Renaissance Art Fair in October. It is juried and I don’t know if I will be accepted, we will see. There is all kinds of art mediums and all kinds of people in the world, not everyone likes the same thing. Get out there, show your art, it’s really great fun!

 

New Stuff for Art

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This last weekend myself and three other friends went to Cincinnati and made a stop at IKEA. My friend Michelle said have you seen the the rolling cart that is popular? I said no, but please show it to me. She said that she bought one in December and the price had dropped on it. It came in three colors and the turquoise seems to be a favorite. I was quite taken with it and picked one up. This is how it was packaged and I was getting ready to assemble it.

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Here it is, 45 minutes later. Rolls well and is nice and sturdy. When I have a project going I am having the supplies in the top at my fingertips, that way it will leave more room on the desktop.

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I ordered this bundle, which had golden paints and 3 DVD’s and a new Cloth, Paper Scissor magazine. These are a collaboration with Carrie Schmitt and Amy Jones. I am excited about using these different paints and some of the substances I have not tried before. I like to keep learning all the time!

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Carrie Schmitt has a story in the newest Cloth-Paper-Scissors magazine and that is why it is included in the bundle. I look forward to watching these and making more flower paintings.

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I had picked this hand printed canvas container at a museum of art and decided to move my watercolor tubes so they were more easily accessible. They are so little and do not take up much space. There is even room for more.

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I needed some large letter stencils for a painting I had in mind. I found this bundle at Meijer. They came with eight background stencils that I just love. I was floored that it was only $12.00!

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Not that great of a picture but here is the name of the stencils if you were wondering.

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In the mail this week I received a big, fat, Dick Blick catalog. That is just heaven!

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Also while at IKEA I picked up the iron holder. My husband put this up for me today. It frees up space on the counter and looks to neat and tidy. Picture ledge #1 was installed at the same time. I bought several to put throughout the room to store paintings that I will be selling. The Love picture with the heart is for sale in my Etsy shop Etsy.com/Shop/HeresMyHart. The other picture is one my sister Linda picked up for me. It is an older Papyrus print. I wanted to see how well a couple of pictures fit on the shelf. Lot’s of fun stuff!! Thanks for stopping by…..