As mentioned in a previous post, I’m keeping my Etsy shop alive with a maximum of 13 listings, and each listing description has a simple invitation to view more artwork on my website.
Yesterday I made the most of having completed my first participation at The Sketchbook Project and shared the finished pages across social media and my website. (You can see them here.) In the process, seeds of ideas sprouted in my head and now added direction to the artworks I will make, as well as the creative practice I will build into my days.
It is Saturday today and I’m still undecided whether to go on an Artist Date and do a supply run (more accurately, I need to decide whether I cold afford ether or both). Yesterday I successfully did a trial print of postcards on a different kind of paper (less expensive but as good as the previous). Now I need to buy more of that paper so I can start making the art bundles for my patrons. I’m also thinking I really need to get started too on replenishing my stationery products and be able to open the shop with a full inventory.
There’s a big sale on art supplies at one of my favourite art shops and it’s only until Wednesday. I want to get more of the Mijello paints but I can’t afford to right now (and likely not for quite a while unless sales peak for some reason). This morning my sister and I had an interesting conversation over coffee about how most people won’t probably get how we can live the way we do – without security and stability as most people would define it. The subject seems worthy of a whole separate post. Maybe I’ll write it.
Have a good weekend, everyone!
It all builds up. That’s what I hold on to these days.
The other day I made an unexpected sale on my Etsy shop — remember that i had planned to shut it down once all the current listings have expired? Well, slight change of plans. The unexpected sale made me decide instead to keep my Etsy with a small number of items available — 13 maximum — at all times. Only original paintings that can be shipped abroad so nothing larger than A3, and nothing too complex or fragile to withstand the long distance travel. Recently too there have been new favourites that registered for the shop and a few items. So perhaps it is better to still be present in Etsy but in a less costly arrangement.
This is the original painting that got sold:
Meanwhile, small serendipities led to a full cleaning and rearrangement of my tiny studio which now makes it a very comfortable space to work in. I may have finally hit upon the best arrangement for it to let my work flow with the least pain, distraction, and obstruction.
The unexpected receipt of a new old desk was the key to getting everything else in the studio to fall into their places. I hope this favourable synchronicity reflects into the larger schemes of my daily life.
The clearing up of so many stagnant corners seems to have unblocked some writing paths and only now do I discover that Scrivener has released a full update and upgrade and it’ll cost $25. I’ll have to find a way to scrape that amount together. (If you would like to help in any way, here’s how, or you could just directly send me a coffee or two )
I have to plan for a computer upgrade soon too — either get a new desktop or a new laptop or a new high-performing tablet. Any one can replace all my 8-year old equipment that have been lagging so badly that I could make myself a snack while waiting for a file to open. I need it for managing the website, the online shop, writing and doing the layout of my books, editing and printing my stationery products — in other words, it is a real need and not simply for leisure and entertainment. I also use it for day job project work when I have to do one — data processing and report-writing and emails.
I’m still on standby for my big breakthrough that will, at the very least, take care of all the basics of dally living. But maybe the breakthrough is not big and it is already happening. Maybe this blog post will trigger another tiny thing that will lead to another tiny thing and so on. Maybe in the end it is not so much as a breakthrough that I should look out for but a small sound of a small important thing finally falling into place. Or many tiny things falling into place, like the sound of much-awaited rain on a very thirsty earth.
I started off my Monday morning with writing in my journal that transitioned into a Mind Sweep. This week I intend to be super-productive in the studio and the shop. To make that happen I have to say it out “loud” so everyone’s energies will be aligned with mine.
I’ll be off the typical routines and my hours will likely be odd. I won’t let anything in that has nothing to do with the Garden and the Forest. (This means shop inquiries and transactions are always welcome, so do browse and buy!)
I’ve been caught up and stuck in some kind of obstacle course for the past few days and I could not seem to find the time nor the energy to stay put for long hours and make something happen in the studio. I also need to figure something out for fortifying my energy and stamina — starting with getting a decent pair of walking shoes that I cannot yet afford until I sell a few more paintings.
I always underestimate the time it takes to get things done and I think that always gives me a lot of stress. I pressure myself to do more everyday, to catch up on a series of self-imposed finish lines, because I often feel impatient with my progress, because for some reason the deadlines for paying bills seem to run at double time.
Yesterday I unexpectedly sold a painting and it gave me a bit of breathing room — I was able to buy groceries with less pinch and I was able to buy a few studio materials. Whatever’s leftover I’m putting into the household bills for July. It is exhausting to constantly put off things because there’s never enough money to go around, and especially when I’ve minimalised my life to the degree that I very rarely buy anything out of pure whim. Every planned purchase is a necessity, and every time it is a long wait. Sometimes I just cry out of sheer fatigue. And then I get up and do what needs doing according to my heart (because there are many other ways of interpreting what NEEDS doing).
So, yes, I sometimes whine a bit about the harsh and hard stuff of my life. I am aware I am better off than most. But each of us is on our own path and each is as important as the other. We follow the life path we need to. Not one is light or trivial. Every life has a gravity that no one else can bear. Every life gifted with a purpose. The trick is to not get distracted or destroyed in the process. The trick is seeing through the layered (and often material) clutter of the world and arriving at spirit, seeing beyond the finger that is actually pointing to the moon.
Trust the process. Know thyself. Be true and stay true. Follow your bliss. Never lose hope.
Finally got around to giving myself an Artist Date with minimal guilt (because of the expenses), and it was a good thing.
Happy to discover that the very cheap sketchbook I purchased a few weeks ago (unbranded, made in China, and sold in a generic stationery section of a department store) turned out to have good enough paper. The watercolours did not soak through, nor bleed.
I'm pleased with what spilled out, after many days of not being able to paint because I was prioritising the setting up and opening of the website shop.
I feel that I want to go out again today. Keep filling up pages and pages with paintings, drawings, and words. Like a wild gardening. See what takes root and grows into something more or something else.
For the past week, I’ve been hard at work in setting up my website shop. I wanted to integrate all the products with my art in one place so people can browse conveniently before deciding to buy. Instead of having to go to various partner sites just to check out what’s available, customers can just go to my website and see what’s on offer. I am also able to integrate the selling of my original artworks which I handle directly.
It was a tedious task and I stayed up late for many nights. And now it’s up and running and I am hoping that my labours would bring some fruit.
I’m closing down my Etsy shop once all listings have expired because right now I cannot afford the fees they charge, and they just announced that there are going to be some changes made that I suspect may not be too helpful for sellers like me who have yet to establish a strong core of customers.
You can visit the website shop here.
Here’s a sneak peek on some original artwork now available in the shop.
I also fixed my Support The Artist page and found a way to work with Paypal so that I cut out on the many layers of fees from Patreon and Ko-fi. (Ko-fi has no fees per se but to avail of the really useful features you have to subscribe to Gold which is a fixed monthly donation of $6 which in the end amounts to a fee of sorts, and I barely make that amount from Ko-fi myself.)
However, I’m keeping my Patreon and Ko-fi (non-Gold) accounts open in case some supporters feel more comfortable coursing through a well-established third-party.
If any of you want to consider giving help in any way (there are non-monetary options such as recommendations — very valuable because reach is a challenge for me right now, I need more people to see, and I need the people who need my art to see), you can visit here.
I realised that I need to make new pieces now that the shop is fully open and active. Not just paintings but also get started on the other items I want to explore further, such as handmade bookmarks, notebooks with handpainted covers, and other stationery. I also want to make a series of artworks that is meant to also raise funds for causes (my chosen causes are those on animal welfare and the environment). I want to be an active artist, someone who’s always working on something I believe in and passionate about every day, creating stories and stirring up hearts, moving people towards hope and inspiration and positive action.
I have a terrible feeling I am already too “ruined” to ever return to employed corporate work (my old life) with its values dissonant from my own. I have to make it and make things happen as an independent freelancer, somehow able to survive and thrive on the unpredictability and perceived instability of such a status. So if you feel you want to help in any way, please do so and I shall be eternally grateful.
To all the other independent artists out there, how are you doing? I hope you’re getting some good breaks and breakthroughs.