Wi-fi was out for a whole day yesterday (Monday). I needed to turn off wi-fi and attach the ethernet cable directly into my laptop in order to be able to re-install OS X Yosemite to restore the laptop into its original settings. The laptop had gotten really slow and burdened and a fresh erase-and-reinstall often does the magic. (I am quite fortunate to have been gifted a basic grasp of software things so I have been able to get by on wits alone with all my gadgets and computers. I can troubleshoot well enough that I have been saved from a lot of trips and fees to the service centres.)
The download was going well until it was past six in the evening when I had to unplug the ethernet to restore wi-fi because I was close to tilting into some form of insanity not being able to complete certain tasks that required being online (shop stuff, coordinating with customers, doing research). Hence the laptop is still not functional, but I've decided to try again later in the week.
My brain has been on fireworks since Friday, and it has been on a bit of a high.
Let me backtrack a bit.
On Thursday night I wrote this, out of despair:
On the same day I also had to deal with The Elusive Strawberry which aggravated my frustrations. I posted this entry on my Wordpress blog:
Right after I wrote the red light piece, my dad came home with a tub of strawberry ice cream. (Yay!)
On Friday morning, the following day, I met up with a dear friend (and art patron) for breakfast. And in many small ways, the green lights started to flicker amidst the tangled strings of reds and yellows. (No, actually, the green lights started to stir even while I was still in the cab, during the one-hour drive to where we were supposed to meet. When I got to the cafe, I immediately scribbled down my thoughts while I waited for my companion.)
The seed of the idea was to explore Big Data Analytics and to find a breakthrough trailblazing path through the heart of it. Much like what i did with traditional qualitative research and redefining how it was done, which carved me a pretty impressive career in the old days . This is dayjob matter. But it is possibly a dayjob opportunity that I can tolerate and earn from while I strengthen my art work. The idea is a tangent off my original dayjob work which gives me some strong foundation and wisdom, but it also offers me a way to do a dayjob differently -- basically redefine things again, while also being able to offer something within my skill sets. The long work I need to do for this is some deep research and study on how to go about it. I need to be able to show something to ask for the kind of pay I want. I need to convince potential clients to invest on it with me. It is an experiment and a bit of a gamble. But the gains are promising. I want to give it a good try.
I plan to do the Big Data work this week, likely start later in the day after I've taken care of art work and a bank errand. It's too late at this point for anything I do dayjob-wise to magically conjure a chunk of income but if this exploration succeeds I shall be reaping the rewards sooner rather than later. Send me some positive energies!
Saturday was spent dealing with The Case Of The Devoured Paint. And catching up on a few administrative tasks, and shop stuff, and painting patron tokens.
The Case of the Devoured Paint was solved by a quick consultation with the local watercolour community. The culprits are insects -- silverfish bugs (often found in lots of paper files and books, especially old paper which I have a lot of because of my books), or even termites if the storage is near possibly infested wood. I just need to store paintings as soon as they are dry. Honestly, it was a relief to find out that this was the cause, because then I know exactly how to deal with it, and it would not be difficult (just labour-intensive). I was more concerned when I thought it might be the paper or the paint.
Sunday was doing a Mind Sweep, putting things in order. Afternoon was meeting up with another dear friend for coffee and brainstorming on her thesis and our dayjob options. Evening was an impromptu dinner out with the family, initiated by my dad who suddenly felt like eating out. It was the first time in many years that this has happened again.
Monday I worked all day on the poetry book, following the guidelines provided by the printing service. i cannot print in colour so I have to make all illustrations black and white. The book is actually almost finished -- I just need to complete the illustrations, and I don't really have to start from scratch for all because I can already use some existing finished works.
Today is doing a bucketful of small tasks, a bank errand, a grocery errand. Then finishing a commission that needs to be sent out this week. Then putting in hours of research and study for the potential dayjob path.
As usual I have no clear sight of the next two hundred miles, but I only need to see enough to keep me moving forward. I am still on the path less traveled, so that's a good thing, right?
There’s a dayjob project in the horizon, and it’s going to pay well. But since discussions have begun, the project timetable keeps moving. So the hope that it will get approved in time for me to gain some income from the advanced partial payment and thus pay the rent on time next month has dwindled.
Still, the fact that there will be money coming in, even if later than hoped, is a balm to the stinging anxiety that I endure every day that everyone else seems to find my passion work irrelevant or unnecessary. Wait, let me knock out this bitter self to sleep…
Alright then. Let me say that again. The fact that there will be money coming in, even if later than hoped, is a balm to the stinging anxiety that I endure every day.
My previous posts have explored the issue of jobs and money, and I would like to make this post more about what I’m going to do today after I found out that the money is going to be, as with most things in my life, delayed.
The long work. For the art path. I just have to keep piling up the stones (in a coherent thought-out manner) until there is a tower that will redefine the skyline and draw attention to itself and thus people will come.
(The jury is still out on the “real-job” options.)
So today I work on:
I will probably not be able to finish all in a day (or I might). Regardless, I start now.
My ultimate dream job is clear. It is to be a full-time artist and author, and be able to sustain a decent living with what I make from selling my art and my creative services. What is less clear perhaps is the detail of those services and even the "products" that I want to sell. I guess I have to sort that out. Right now I am easily swayed and dismayed by what other artists are doing, and feel bad by what I am not able to do or offer.
I am inspired by Sarah K. Benning and Jose Naranja who are very focused on one kind of work (but requires a solid base of patrons and customers for an assured income stream). I am also inspired by Lisa Congdon who believes and recommends "diversifying" her creative offerings (which makes perfect sense if one is to develop more income streams).
And then of course there is the need for a job with a regular paycheck.
I have dream day jobs too. Such as working in a library. Or a publishing house that makes the kinds of books I read. I would also like to work in an organisation that has to do with nature, especially plants. Work that has to do with conservation or finding ways to help the planet recover from the abuses of humankind. If I had the skill and talent I would have liked to work with something like National Geographic, or The Smithsonian. Or a job that will require me to work inside a lot of libraries and museums. I am not too good with work that involves too much active peopling. I can work well with small core teams that are allowed to act independently rather than having to execute a template process. I think I might enjoy work relating to old cultures and its preservation and promotion. If I had been born in an older time and in a more moneyed circumstance, and better brain cells, I think I may have had an inclination to be an academic on literature, an archaeologist, a botanist -- someone with a specific and deep expertise, almost to the extent of being a genius in that particular field. And that field would be something that provides learning or resource to all, an expanding of knowledge and an aid to wisdom.
I could work with a lot of writing but not a lot of having to talk and present. One of my dreams when I was more actively doing market research was that there would be a time when all I have to do is write a comprehensive idiot-proof report that will present itself and not have to be presented by me. it will have sidenotes and footnotes and appendices that are easy to access and understand, and can be consulted again and again.
The other day I was thinking about whether I have the talent and skill for illustration. I think I need to understand more about what it is because right now it feels like a version of an ad agency creative job where the brief plus the client's opinions and demands could curtail the creative flow. Also, I am really not trained for drawing and may be very limited in what I am able to do. I don't know. I really have to read up a bit and be better informed. But it's a possible direction I can take that is commercial but still "artsy". It will be a terrifying shift, if ever.
I am ambivalent about teaching. I was a high school teacher once and I enjoyed it for a while (until the Dead Poets' Society version of an incident). I may no longer have the patience, especially when kids now have that annoying sense of entitlement and are too outspoken and insistent on their freedom to express for their own good. I am open, however, to maybe coaching a creative class of adults, but following my own design or curriculum. A physical gathering, lightly structured, contained, and smaller version of Jane's Creativity Bootcamp and Salon. It can be something that companies can perhaps avail of as part of their HR projects, like a creative retreat, but it will be the total opposite of those loud extroverted team-building courses. Then maybe I can also do one-on-one, following similar structures and schedules as the group ones.
I need a day job. I want to keep growing my dream job. But I need a day job. One that will hopefully not kill my dream job or put it into coma.
I am currently in that frightful place where I am unable to make a decisive move because the move that seems most sensible also feels the most like a mistake.
The week's work. Much less than I had hoped and planned. But there was some good writing done as well, so it evens out a bit. Battling bouts of doubts can also be overwhelming and exhausting, and takes time to recover from.
Most of these pieces are up in my Etsy shop. A couple are commissions. A few are experiments.
My target is to have a good-sized inventory of original work because I cannot yet afford to produce prints and simple art-printed products locally. It's difficult to get into the fairs and bazaars with just the original works -- I think they want products that will sell fast and relatively cheap, and with variety. (And probably items that look cuter or more family-friendly or fashion-friendly. Or simply more functional.)
My next best bet is to set up a pop-up shop on my own but I need a venue. And I need the right sort of people to come -- not fellow art-makers because they won't spend on artwork, they'll spend on art materials, and they will tend to be too focused on their own art-making (can't blame them really, though if I had half the amount of money they spend on art materials I'll make an effort to buy the work of fellow artists just to show some real support). I need people who will buy, not just people who will smile and say nice things and marvel at how brave I am for pursuing my passion. I need people who genuinely see and feel something when they look at my work, and who will help spread awareness for my work because they sincerely believe it was a good thing to do.
Back to realities -- the harsh reality is that I might need to scout for a job with a paycheck in the next few weeks. I want to get something tolerable in the same city or at most the next one. I would rather not work again in the old business district that will take four hours of my day to travel back and forth. If I work in the same city where I live or the neighbouring one, I can walk home every day and take a cab in the morning.
A paycheck job means I'll have much much less time for creative work. Which pretty much reflects the reality of how much of my Patreon pledge goals was fulfilled. I thank you and I love you, my Patrons, but there is not enough of you right now. But if I do end up with a paycheck job I promise to spend the hours purchased by your pledge into creative production. I'll trade in some of my reading time and sleeping time. Until I can begin to buy back my the hours of my true life again.
Along the five stages of grief -- denial, anger, bargaining, I believe I am now on the fourth stage, depression (though still having relapses of the previous, especially anger, and lots of bargaining). Acceptance should be close at its heels, some form of it that is only a few notches higher than doing something at gunpoint. Who died? Not yet dead, just dying. My self as independent artist. Hanging on to the last threads of full-time freedom.
In case you wish to make a difference (and it will), take a P word and do your magic:
Make a PURCHASE from my Etsy or Society6 shops.
Make a PLEDGE on my Patreon page.
PROMOTE my shops by pasting one or more of these links on your social media:
ETSY SHOP -- http://etsy.com/shop/MarichitGarcia
SOCIETY6 SHOP -- http://society6.com/marichitgarcia
PATREON PAGE -- http://patreon.com/marichitgarcia
Almost mindlessly I picked up The Selected Works of T.S.Spivet by Reif Larsen. I have made about three attempts to read this book at separate occasions in the past two years, but it kept losing me, and I kept getting lost away from it. Every time I would begin at the beginning, because there was nowhere to pick up from the last time.
But tonight it finally caught me, and finally I got past page eleven. The words and the images clicked into place, dug in roots. The story thickened, pulsed, grew out of the pages and spilled over the lingering thoughts gathered anxiously on and around my desk. Just a page in and the highlighter was making marks, and a part of my mind pulling portions of what I read like soft taffy and sticking them into potential grafts with other bundles of words loitering and orphaned in my head, creating tacky webs of association. Slumbering plans stirred from their suspended progress.
The book suddenly became a lighthouse, a steady reference, a constant I can tether myself to for the moment. At the very least until this particular prolonged life storm has passed for good. There will be other storms and I will weather them when they come. But for now there is only this storm, battering at my fragile foundations, forcing me to bend to the point of breaking. It has flooded over what I had carefully seeded and tended, all labour’s fruits buried in the mud.
I found comfort in the idea of maps and cartography, and of breaking down nature into its parts, labeling and identifying, classifying and filling in the blanks of whats and hows, always on the lookout for the undiscovered and the unknown. And I realise it is not unlike my creative quest. For in the process of getting absorbed into the story’s world from the perspective of an odd twelve-year old, I felt my journey’s path open up a bit. Not to a solution to my current predicament but it remains a means to one. A knot loosened in the tangle of options, something I could do with clearer purpose instead of the half-certain forward movements I have been making for the past few days. Movement is still movement, but the long plateau has been unnerving. I have been dowsing, trying to discern which projects would best shorten the distance between obscurity and no longer losing sleep over the household bills.
If I look back, even for a short bit of time, I could see the other clues that were not so obvious then. Pieces presented to me to put together into something useful. A map. A spinning wheel. A daisy chain.
I did look back, and I gathered the bones and the seeds, in no specific order:
All of them have that similarity in tone and flavour when my mind grazes on them. An invisible relationship without the aid of a neatly typewritten manual.
Or maybe the Spivet book is the manual, with its meticulous maps and graphs and illustrations. But I have to read between and beneath the lines.
Overall they all hint that something is ready for a metamorphosis. Something that’s been simmering and lingering for quite a while, silent and underground. But it’s an old thing, nothing to do with my recent frantic frenzy of effort with the shops and all that. Just something old and heavy and important that has decided to surface into my daily life regardless of the inconvenience.
It has to do with words, first and foremost, and my original creative roots as a writer.
It is not a spectacular momentous event. At least it doen’t seem so from where I am now. But it is important. It may even be a really small shift, yet it could be the lynchpin upon which everything else hangs.
I don’t really know. We’ll see.
For the past hour I have been staring out the window. Except that there are no windows in my tiny studio so I am really just staring into space. Or figuratively, I am staring out the window of this immediate reality and into that wild galaxy beyond.
The weather has shifted from sunny to raining. Which actually lifted up my spirits. Because rain comforts me.
I’ve spent most of the day tidying up and doing chores. Also did a lot of administrative stuff – backstage work for the websites and shop sites and social media. Still no breakthrough into that bigger audience and market. The trickle has not magnified into a tidal wave.
For the past few days I have been slipping and sliding along that boundary to depression. Sleeping at night has been tough. I keep rattling my brain for feasible ideas to make quick cash with my creative skills. Also ideas to improve my chances of being responded to online. This morning I did my first video on Instagram, a clumsy trial of capturing my painting. I just wanted to see how it worked, and how it looked. I think I might do more but better-planned. Then segue into a poll of whether people will be interested to learn to make the simple florals I make.
I’m thinking out loud here. One resolution I made today is to only share quotes in my own calligraphy. It’s an extra step. But it creates a visual instead of just plain text, and it showcases my handwork, and has a higher chance of being noticed and responded to in the midst of an often mindless or auto-mode scroll.
I look like I am doing nothing, sitting here, not moving much, with a faraway (or maybe more of an inner curving in) expression on my face. Not being productive.
But you can’t see how much NOISE there is in my head right now, underlined by the nervous thumping of my heart. Thoughts crashing about, ideas shooting up and then burning down. The voices, all loud and heavy and pressing, laced with guilt or despair or anger. Once a while a streak of hope, like lightning, illumines everything and drowns all dark imaginings. There are well-worn paths of thinking I circle again and again, wishing for ways out, sifting for clues of a secret portal buried beneath all the rubbish.
Maybe I should stay up and not go to bed. Keep tinkering about, pushing pencils, weighing options. See what cracks open in the dead of night.
I have a really terrible feeling.
I posted a raffle giveaway on Instagram. If you're there follow me @mariwitch and look for the post with this photo:
I was originally thinking nine pieces to give away, for the nine muses. But in the end I kept it at seven when I realised I'll have to cough up the cash for shipping later on. Seven to stand for the seven days in the week I'd rather spend making art.
So, just to provide more details on the prizes (which would be too much to type into the Instagram caption):
1 - "Mazikeen", 8.5 x 11 inch, watercolours and gouache.
2 - "Believe", 5-inch diameter canvas in embroidery hoop, acrylics and inks.
3 - "Portia", 5 x 7 inch, watercolours, gouache, inks, and a few baubles and sequins
4 - "Aquila" 5.75 x 7.75 inch black paper, watercolours and gouache mixed with pearl pigments
5 - "Augustine", 5 x 7 inch paper framed, watercolours and gouache
6 - "Make Your Own Path", 5 x 7 inch, watercolours and ink
7 - "Aquilina", 4 x 6 inch, watercolour, gouache, and inks
Imagine a tough up-mountain trek towards an avalanche. Add to that inadequate supplies. And possibly an injured limb.
That pretty much describes how I feel as I plod along through the days pushing down the debilitating panic (how am I going to pay all these bills???) and not making any decisions with promises I couldn't keep (there are few things left to me, intangible such as integrity and I don't wish to gamble with them).
There are still small trickles of magic. Small surprises that buy me just a little bit more of time and breathing space. Never quite enough in the practical sense of Things but encouraging enough to show that my cause is not a lost one.
I am certain there is a book in this. And one day I will be reading from it reliving this part of my life when I was caught in the limbo of a crossroads and I wandered in many vicious circles before I found my way out.
I will say that what kept me strong was the tribe. Having found that precious group of people who are not just "people" or "friends" but kindred spirits. One of them, a writer, has captured the essence of our connectedness amidst the troubling hates and prejudices of the world today:
"I am not judged by the color of my hair or the size of my ass. They don't care how much money isn't in my checking account or what kind of car I drive. We connect with our creative hearts. That greater similarity is what glues us together. We would fight for each other's right to be true and whole."
When I look back the past nine months (and having counted thus I notice the potential significance of it, the pregnancy that preludes a birth), the tribe has been significantly instrumental in pushing the many small and big events that propelled my creative journey farther forward than it would have gone if I were simply alone. My courage was collective, and it was woven through with love and faith, genuine affection and understanding. You wonder how I know, how I can say this about people I have not even physically met. But let me say this as well, that I have more than three hundred "friends" in my Facebook network and I have met them face-to-face and have even spent years in close interaction with them, but only the barest handful have ever responded genuinely to my creative journey. I have called out and asked, as far as my introverted nature would allow, and as far as politeness and respect would allow, and most of those who answered back were people of two extremes -- those that I have really been truly kindred with from the beginning, and those whom I have the least expectations from because we never really had that much real-life interaction in the first place. Everyone else disappointed me to some degree. And then it also made me realise how much my life has changed that it is inevitable that the people and relationships that support it change. I do not hold grudges. I, too, am guilty of not responding enthusiastically to the posts that matter most to others (baby and children photos, exotic bucket list trips, retail therapy splurges, political rants, religious exhortations, to name a few). The simple fact is that the orbits of our lives have ceased to intersect, and the reality is that most of the relationships we build over time are really relationships of convenience. Extract yourself from a certain arena or hub and watch the relationships wither or drift away. Only the truest connections will remain, getting stronger through time and distance and growth.
Getting into new hubs is not easy either. Local culture values exclusivity despite declarations of openness and equality, In my cash-poor state it is not possible to participate frequently enough in the endless weekend events and workshops that would, hopefully, eventually snag one a demo engagement with a popular brand of art material (and result in a hundredfold increase in Instagram followers). At the same time, I am yet unable to produce my work in prints or products that could be considered for a shop consignment, or that could easily jump into pop-up-shop opportunities. I am a Jane Eyre, plain, poor and obscure, and I am a Lizzie Bennett, with no favourable connections nor status, triggering the instinct to reject from the likes of Mr. Darcy and his ilk.
I find my ways to spread my art where I can. And now I have come to the edge of the known possibilities and I am aching to go beyond it. There is only one step left to cover all bases with my old connections and I shall release them, in my mind, from any further expectation or hope. Then I need to find and forge new connections, those that are appropriate and nurturing to the path I walk now, the same way that my old connections were appropriate and nurturing to the path I was walking then.
It is not a visible thing, but the inner shift as I finally recognise the futility of throwing myself against the brick wall of old assumptions brings with it a kind of relief. Because I can stop now, and I can cut away the frustration that results from the failure, and I can clean away the poison of resentment that still manages to seep through. The change in perspective brings with it an expanded openness to alternative solutions, and a freedom from the constant wondering why I was not given help. I also accepted my own failures as a "friend" from a specific context, and thus learned valuable lessons on how to be a better one in another.
To all those who follow my pages and those who have made purchases from my shops, I would like to ask for a bit of your time to write a review about my artwork and for some, my poems and writings --- why you like it, why you are supporting it (either as a patron or as a buyer). Why does it inspire you? Why does it elicit positive feelings? (I'm basing this on the many comments I get. Please feel free to add other observations and reasons.)
Send your responses below. Say as much as you like. Then please indicate if you are willing to have excerpts of your review featured in some of my pages and shops. I'm thinking it will help new visitors and buyers if they see that others have already had a good experience!
And, please add your post mailing address -- it won't be immediate, it might take a while, but I will be sending you a little something for thanks.
Two big things today:
1) I spent half the day attending to a dayjob project requirement. If this pushes through, I get to earn enough to last me at least 3 months, 4 if I'm really, really thrifty and if more help pours in from Patreon or more sales are made through the shops.
(No word yet from the dayjob employment option so I'll leave that be.)
2) I just decided to open my Etsy shop and offer my art to a more targetted and receptive global audience. I have to pay $0.20 per item posted but it covers four months. I think I can scrape enough extra cash for 10-20 listings.
Here's a snapshot of the storefront:
What I'm going to do is slowly move items from my originals shop here to Etsy. I'll keep the shop here as is, but linking the purchase instead through Etsy. Payments are still processed through PayPal via Etsy.
As I move items I will also adjust pricing for a more global audience, as well as to cover posting fees and selling fees. If you have been eyeing certain pieces in the shop, let me know so you can still purchase it at pre-Etsy price. But if the piece has already been listed in Etsy you'll have to purchase it through Etsy.
Hence, because of these two events I have not started on any painting work yet. But I hope to do so after dinner.
I also had to help sort out a problem this morning about a Society6 order. A set of throw pillows shipped to the Philippines got lost in transit. (I suspect our corrupt customs officials.) But Society6 has already assured that a replacement order is already under production.
I was angry and anguished yesterday. I'll write about that in a different post. I'm still processing it, but I am feeling better now, much soothed by the love of the creative tribe. Also, the coming in of the dayjob project inquiry was a welcome emergency band-aid so I was also able to breathe a bit more easily. Not yet 100% sure if it'll push through but there's a very good chance it will.
The only way to go is up. Or so they say.
Unless, of course, when you fell, the bottom gave out and dropped you into a deeper tunnel before collapsing over the hole you made and now you are squeezed in and have to crawl your way out before you can start going up.
But here I am, still breathing, belly quite full from dinner, still with a roof over my head. At this very moment everything is alright. I don't want to think ahead nor think of all the wrong or missed turns in the past. I have both my parents still, very much alive and hearty despite their own personal dramas and inner demons. I have my friends, my tribe, my kindred spirits -- a meagre handful compared to everyone else's who I'm supposed to be like, compared to the rest in the category I am supposed to be in, but all true. I have my art, I have my creative journey. I have my faith.
I will go downstairs in a few minutes and make myself a mug of coffee. There is hot water. There is coffee. There is gas and electricity. There is internet. When I pass by the fridge I will avert my eyes to avoid the sight of the pinned late unpaid bills. I'll take care of them, but not now. Not at this moment.
I have done work for today. Finished another art commission. Started on the next. Also started on a shop piece so there's two of them going on at the same time. I did the work that I could, given the strength and will available to me. My mind would not stop churning and turning over ideas on how else I can move people to decide to buy something, how to persuade them to become patrons.
I was in a sulk earlier this afternoon. So much so that I was resentful, and for a while allowed myself to wallow and whine. In the process I un-followed and un-liked pages and people in my social media feed who only heightened the feeling of being disadvantaged -- especially those whose circles would not be broken into, whose cliques only orbited within certain solar systems and somehow never found me or my art worth sparing a small space for, whose networks were tight and exclusive and significantly dependent on who you know.
And then I was tired, and I guiltily crept into bed for a nap, and fell into a dreamless sleep.
There was a query for a dayjob project yesterday, in the late afternoon. If it pushes through I'll have a small bit to tide me over the rest of this month and possibly the next. I performed the necessary steps to be able to prepare the proposal which is due on Monday morning. Already I am telling myself to be grateful. So maybe the dayjob has to save me this time. Again. Maybe next time the art will be able to manage things on its own. Maybe not. Maybe there is a longer tunnel before the light shows itself. Before I am allowed to get up from being mired to the ground to lift my face towards the sky.
How am I still so hopeful? Still so stubborn? Am I, perhaps, foolish instead of faithful? False instead of true? Misled instead of inspired?
Last year I started July with a commitment. I was signed up to attend a local Typography and Lettering conference. I just sold my car to pay of bills and debts. I was slowly recovering from what I thought then was "rock bottom". (That was not rock bottom. Rock bottom is where I am now, totally empty, totally functioning on faith alone.)
The commitment I made was to my art. I promised myself that for every single day until the end of the year I would make one creative piece -- a painting, a calligraphy or lettering piece, a poem. I called it the Second-Half Sprint, buoyed up by the dose of breathing space afforded by the car sale, and the relief of having paid off one of my two credit cards in full.
I kept at it but did not get to the finish line. Dayjob projects came in and the art-making fell to the wayside. Bills were paid. There was food on the table. I was able to replenish art materials. But no art was being made. Very little and very small, if any.
Still I made enough for me to learn from. And some of the pieces I made then became shop pieces this year that then got sold. The pieces I made also became show pieces -- helping to spread the presence and visibility of my art. It also gained me a certain forward movement which eventually proved crucial when I had to take certain steps this year that led to the opening of the shops.
Now it is July again. I made commitments again because mid-years feel as hopeful for change and shifts as new years. And yesterday I started off by failing to do the first-day's work for both the Watercolor Month 31-day Painting and Camp NaNoWriMo.
But it wasn't too bad. It was because I spent all daytime out of the house. In the morning I sent off orders through the post office. Traffic was slow so travel to the post office was slow. My sister came with me and had asked me to accompany her on her day's errands and I thought, why not? I won't be going out over the weekend (I couldn't afford it). And during times when I am at my most lacking and poorest, I make it a point to do acts of generosity in whatever way I can. My mindset is that the spirit of giving, especially from my state of having nothing, will then encourage the spirit of generosity in others so I may, in turn, receive the help I need in whatever way.
We visited an aunt and she made us lunch and we spent some time catching up on news and the usual family gossip. It was light-hearted, and I believe secretly welcome and comforting for each one of us. Another small act of generosity -- this in terms of time and attention, also of peace and consolation and some form of unspoken forgiveness.
This aunt is also a dressmaker, and my sister had her measurements taken for future pieces to be made.
After the visit we scoured the thrift shops in the old neighbourhood. My sister needed clothes for work because everything she owned was at least six years old if not older, and were ready to fall apart at the seams. She got lovely dresses for only Php65 (or about $1.50). She offered to buy me a dress but I did not think I needed one yet. So many things being waited for to move before I can take the necessary steps, like buying clothes if I will end up having to go back to employment.
Somewhere along the way I did spend some money -- I bought pan de coco (coconut-filled bread) and spanish bread (sweet butter filled bread) from the still-going-strong 100-year old bakery where our father used to buy bread when we were children and the family still lived in the same neighbourhood. I spent Php34 (about $0.75). Delightfully delicious!
The thrift shopping took all afternoon, and then the trip back to our own current neighbourhood took time because of the late afternoon traffic.
Then the fatigue crashed and all I could do was wash up, have dinner, and settle with a book for the rest of the evening. There was no writing or painting. But I felt good, somehow. The day did not feel wasted. I can catch up on the Watercolor Month and Camp NaNoWriMo today.
First of all, I have added a subscription option on the upper right corner of this blog page! When you subscribe, you receive a WEEKLY update on this website and across my other online sites, including my shops. The newsletter is sent out every Wednesday.
Here's a snapshot of the first one I sent this week:
In the newsletter, I also included a list of links so you know how to find me anywhere:
New designs were uploaded in my Society6 shop. More will be added in the next few days. http://society6.com/marichitgarcia
Always active and frequently updated:
Facebook : http://facebook.com/marichitsg
Twitter : http://twitter.com/marichitsg
Instagram : http://instagram.com/mariwitch
You are always welcome to sign up as a Patron for a period of time to help support my creative journey. Patrons get different perks depending on the pledge tier, but all patrons get something that non-patrons don’t. I have a separate blog in Patreon.
Patreon : http://patreon.com/marichitgarcia -- with exclusive content for patrons
I have updated my pages across many social media and community sites.
It's the first of July and rent is due but I've requested for leeway and the landlord is kind. Still working on generating a few more sales and gaining more patron pledges to cover the rent.
But beyond the rent concern, I am also setting myself for two main "events".
Yesterday I was absorbed into working on commissions. Even the simplest one can take at least a couple of hours. In between projects and ink/paint drying times I read, wrote, and prayed for miracles.
I also squeezed in making my small tokens for my patrons. The first 13 patrons to make pledges will receive a 4x6 in original nature/floral painting. I have 3 patrons, there's room for 10 more to qualify for the free painting, so drop by and see if you can spare at least $1 a month to help support an artist! ^_^ (I am actually in the mood to send a free painting to EVERY patron who pledges, even if it goes beyond 13...)
Signing off now. It's time to get ready for the post office run.