Wanted: Juggling Teacher

I’m looking for help and advice. I didn’t start this blog to gain followers. I began the blog as a way to publicly blackmail myself into moving ahead with my art. (Don’t get me wrong, it is nice when you learn that someone cares to read your ramblings. In my case way too personal ramblings, but there’s no looking back, only moving forward) It worked for a year, and then I fell back into old habits and worse yet the land of self-doubt.  So here I sit getting older by the second (I think I can actually feel a wrinkle forming), and still trying to gain the confidence to succeed. Here’s where you come in, the person who has decided to take five minutes to read my thoughts. I’ve been a stay at home mom for a good portion of my life. Now the kids are gone, but I’ve spent twenty plus years living by their schedule. From school to after school activities, vacations, and bowing to (almost) their every need and whim, I think I’ve forgotten how to schedule myself. I need to structure my day, which when you work at home can be difficult. There is always a bathroom to clean, laundry to do, meals to prepare, etc. I make lists of things I want to accomplish artistically in a date book. A date book that I purchased last December that quite frankly has very little written in it. Does anyone out there work at home? How do you manage your time? How do you ignore the dirty socks and paint instead? How do you fit in time for friends, grocery shopping, and doctor’s appointments? Despite my best intentions I can’t seem to walk though my house back to my studio without stopping to clean. It isn’t that there’s a lot to do, and there are only two of us here, (well, five if you count the three cats, needless to say cat hair tumbleweeds abound). With no clock to punch, or school bell to answer I’m at a loss. I’d appreciate any advice.FullSizeRender(13)


Now that I’m done with my plea for advice, I’d like a little help. The help is with social media. I’m not so old that I’m computer brain dead. I have of course my blog here on WordPress, but I also have two Facebook accounts, a Twitter account, an Instagram account, a Pinterest account, and an Etsy shop. Everyone tells me that I need social media to move my art business ahead. I am a one woman glitter factory making fairies to sell, I am also a fine artist working on three pieces at the moment, and I just don’t know how to get to all of the posting, descriptive tagging, tweeting, and hash tagging required. I currently have three thousand one hundred and fifty five emails, and that’s in only two of my four email accounts. Clever me, I thought having one for business, one for personal, one for the house, and one Hotmail account (that’s from the dawn of the internet, I can’t seem to shut it down!) was a good idea. It’s not, it’s a nightmare. Facebook sends me “You haven’t posted this week and your followers want to hear from you” emails. Not to mention (but I will) all my friends and loved ones who post on Facebook that I feel obligated to “like”, and then those same people who post the same photos on Instagram. I feel a surge of Catholic guilt wash over me and must “like” again. Daily notifications from Instagram on who is now following me, and the new posts from the people I “follow”. From Etsy Success and Etsy there’s the “Here’s what you need to do in order to succeed in your shop”, or “remember you looked at this” emails, and Twitter notifications. New posts from the people here on WordPress whose work I enjoy reading, but again don’t know where to find the time. (Insert screams here) It’s never ending. I have no staff, or management, it’s me doing everything. I currently have only sixty pieces listed on Etsy. I have more than two hundred and fifty created. Why aren’t they in my shop yet? It’s because I have to write a description for each piece to try to help buyers understand my vision, and I have to tag each fairy or print with the recommended and allotted thirteen tags. I have more than two hundred pieces to list, that’s more than twenty six hundred descriptive words to come up with. Yes, I could use the same tags again and again, but I must vary them so that when potential customers search with certain key words I might be “found”. It has in fact become a dreaded chore, like the homework I once hated. To say I’m feeling overwhelmed is an understatement. HELP! How do you manage all of this? Are you scheduling time for each? I would really love to hear from anyone who can help me in this juggling act. And now the tags for this post….sigh….

Oils, I Have Missed You So

Of course my plan to get out first thing this morning to do a little oil painting never happened. This despite my gushing over how happy I was to have them back. As always I had things to do in the house. I think maybe what I need is a set of horse blinders, you know so I can’t see dirty dishes, dust, or the cat hair tumbleweeds that have been known to travel through my house. By the time I sat down to work it was no longer daytime, but actually about 8:15. I’m just about a third of the way through my project and time management remains an issue for me. That is, I manage to find time for everything else but my art. I will again attempt to make a promise to myself that my art will become a priority, but I think we all know that it still falls under the ” I’ll start my diet Monday” category. I’m beginning to think that it won’t happen until it is supposed to. By that I mean that we all make promises to ourselves and others, and despite our sincerity when we make them, the promises go unmet until the planets align, or the earth spins the other direction, or our brain just kicks in. I’m hoping that one of them happens soon. I find myself so tired by the time I start that sometimes I don’t feel like working. I can’t keep letting that happen.

I did eventually work tonight, in oils, indoors (don’t tell Dan). I had a small square canvas I painted black some time ago. I grabbed it, not sure of what I would paint, but as I walked out of the studio I noticed one of the boutonnieres from my daughter’s wedding sitting near the door. It’s been nearly four months since the wedding and I somehow have ended up in possession of two or three bridesmaids bouquets, three or four boutonnieres and the bride’s bouquet. Actually, I am keeping Jessica’s bouquet because otherwise her pug, Otis the mini-terror, will have his way with it. (He is very cute, but oh so naughty!) I love the look of the dried roses and hydrangea, so I decided to paint those. My canvas is only about four by four, and I really did only a quick study, but I do like it very much, and I LOVE having my oils back! Oils, tomorrow we shall meet again!

By the way, isn’t it Superman that can spin the world backwards? Does anyone know a guy with tights and a cape?

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Tomorrow Is Another Day

There may come a day, or hopefully days, when I am not typing this blog at ten when all I really want to do is to go to bed. Each night I swear I will put my artistic endeavors above all else the following day, and night after night I sit here knocking out a piece of art after dinner. My poor husband has fallen asleep on the couch far too many times waiting for me to finish, but there is unfortunately always something that gets in the way, and sometimes it’s not even me. There was  cleaning the house, cleaning out cat litter, cooking breakfast, making lunch, grocery shopping, three hours working on the faux brick wall project, and cooking dinner. The day just gets away from me. I’ve hashed this problem out in my head over and over. If I want to do real quality work, and anything substantial I need to start rethinking my life. I need to let some things go. So as Scarlett said, “Tomorrow is another day”, and so I will try again, try to make myself a priority, try to make my artwork a priority. Trouble is when you spend most of your life putting the needs and wants of everyone else first it becomes automatic. As I said the other day, it’s been a month since I started this project. I think I can honestly say that I may have set time aside early in the day less than a hand full of times. But I guess it’s all a work in progress, it isn’t only my work that is growing and evolving, but I think I am doing the same in other ways. I don’t stick to things, I have so many unfinished projects, but here now in my portfolio I have more than thirty pieces of finished art. I’m proud of that, and proud of myself for doing it. I feel like my personal confidence is growing with my artistic confidence, and I know that I feel happier and more content than I did a month ago. Doing things for others is very gratifying, I am a person who likes to give gifts rather than receive them, but I feel like I’m giving myself the best gift I’ve ever gotten, me, the way I was meant to be.

Tonight’s project was a simple drawing exercise. Its something I really need to work on. I know I mentioned the instant gratification person that I am. Drawing runs the gamut between pain and pleasure for me. Sometimes I absolutely love it, sometimes its algebra (a subject best left unspoken about). Painting is much more effortless for me, unless of course I torture myself with architectural type paintings. But I truly believe I can’t be the artist I want to be without working on all my skills.photo(4)