The Ultimate Blog Challenge is Ending, But I won’t Disappear
This is the last day of the Ultimate Blog Challenge, I’ve managed to blog on this site every day during the challenge. I’ve taken part in this challenge before, but I think this is the first time I actually wrote a post every single day, and in the past I’ve had a tendency to vanish once it was done, to stop blogging, or do so only sporadically. I am not going to let that happen this time. I have a plan.
I’ve been reading a lot about how to get more visibility to your blog, and believe it or not, from what I’ve read, it is good to give each post a day or two to sit, and gather more views and comments before posting again, this also gives the blogger a chance to enjoy reading and commenting on other blogs. However, it should only be a day or two, or at most three days between posts, longer than that and people assume you’ve dropped off the planet.
I also have three blogs that I would like to maintain, though I actually do have more blogs, the time for posting on some of those blogs is past. I no longer have really young children, so the “mommy blog” I used to keep is pretty much over, other blogs I just didn’t care for the hosting site or whatever, but currently I have three that I really would like to maintain. My Weight Loss and Lifestyle Blog, My Devotional Blog, and My Art Blog (the one you are reading).
I decided that the ideal way for me to blog would be come up with a schedule for each blog, so that I am not trying to post on all three every day. The Weight Loss and Lifestyle Blog needs to have at least one post every week, on the day that I weigh myself, which is Monday, so while it is okay for me to post more often if I want, I scheduled that blog for every Monday. I decided to take Sunday off of blogging, though I might do some planning and blog reading that day. So with Sunday and Monday off the table for the other two blogs, that left me five days each week to write the other two blogs. I decided to alternate, so one week the art blog would be Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday, and the Devotional Blog would be Wednesday and Friday, and then the next week they switch, so that the Art Blog is Wednesday and Friday, and the Devotional Blog Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday. I put all of this information into my bullet journal calendar pages for the month of February. After February is done I’ll evaluate and see if I need to make adjustments. The devotional blog may be difficult to post on that often, because I have to prepare and study quite a bit for each post, so if it proves too much I might end up picking one day a week to post on that and post on my Weight Loss and lifestyle blog more often.
I also have an Etsy schedule.
Along with all of this blogging information, my work schedule, doctors appointments, birthday’s, etc. my bullet journal has my etsy posting schedule for February, which is basically a list of dates that nothing auto renews, so if I have new listings to post, I should do it on those days. And I do have new things to post! A lot of them. I will need to really get busy creating those listings, each one needs several photographs, plus key words selected, and a matching listing on this website needs to be made as well, so each listing ends up taking 1-2 hours to create.
Ultimate Blog Challenge Results
I thought I’d also show the results as far as my site stats go, for this Ultimate Blog Challenge.
In addition to those charts, I can say that during the challenge I’ve had an average of 1.92 comments per day, not counting my own replies.
Today I spent the day in the studio, and worked on a new sample painting for my classes. I was really pleased with the results, it is a series of mountains in the mist in the background, a branch of cherry blossoms overhanging the top corner, and some silhouetted foreground bushes in front of a silhouetted Asian styled building, that resembles a Buddhist temple. When I showed the painting to the Studio manager, she helped me come up with the title “Mystical Mountains”. One of the other artists at the studio has told me she wants first dibs at buying the painting, so once I figure out how much I am going to charge for it, I just might already have a sale.
Of course, I can’t tell you all about my painting and not show it to you. The following photo was just taken with my phone, so its not really the best quality, but it still gives a pretty good idea what the painting looks like.
I’m not just an artist, I’m a homeschooling Mom too.
So, I know that this is usually an art blog, but today the suggested topic for the Ultimate Blog Challenge was to describe a day in your life. I decided to describe today, a typical Thursday for my family. A typical Thursday for a homeschooling family.
Once a week my family goes to homeschool co-op, where they get a chance to experience a classroom setting with other kids. I works out nicely for us, because it also lets me outsource some of the subjects I’m not as strong in. For example, while I enjoy science, once it gets to High School level I’m not really comfortable teaching it. Now, I could manage, a lot of homeschool curriculum is designed for the child to mostly do independently, but its nice to bring my kids here, where some of the parents actually have degrees in various sciences, and let my kids be taught by someone who can actually answer their questions without taking a trip to the library to look it up. Of course even though homeschool co-op is only once a week, the kids take home assignments to complete at home all week long, so they are really getting a full year’s worth of work in these subjects.
Our Thursday morning routine is rushed. As homeschoolers, we aren’t exactly used to having to get everyone out the door by 8:30 in the morning. We all do our best to stay out of each other’s way, and to help each other get ready. We have to get up, take care of all of our morning’s bathing and grooming needs, all with only one bathroom. We also need to crowd into our kitchen for breakfast and for packing our lunches. The kids have to gather all their books and things, though often they do it the night before, and I have to gather supplies for the class that I’m teaching. I usually get most of it together the night before, but always have to run around grabbing last minute items.
This year I’m teaching a preschool-Kindergarten class, and today we are doing activities that involve, cooking oil, water, glitter, food coloring, shaving cream and bubble soap. Also I needed the book that outlines the activities, a Children’s Bible story book, a sheet… sounds like a lot of random stuff but it all is related as I’ll explain a little later.
After we gather everything up, we pack into my van, my teenage son drives us to co-op. My daughter usually sits in the back and listens to her iPod, but today she sat in the back practicing her speech for her public speaking class. This morning we arrived just a couple of minutes late, but not by much. The kids rushed out of the van and into class, and spent a few minutes trying to get my purse, my class supplies, my laptop, and my lunch all loaded into my arms at once. I didn’t have to rush as much because I don’t teach until the last “block” or period.
The co-op day.
The co-op is structured into four “blocks” or class periods, plus a lunch time and a chapel time. My kids have various classes all through the day, but for me I have a lot of time to sit and work on personal things before my class. Many times I have all day until the last block to myself, just doing whatever I want in the parent room, but today a lot of families are out sick, so I’ll have the first two blocks free, but will be helping out in another class third block, and then teaching my class fourth block.
The first block of our co-op day goes from 9:00-10:00 in the morning. I sit in the parent room, and work on whatever I want, lately its been my blog. Meanwhile my son is in study hall, and my daughter is in her Public Speaking class. That’s this year, in years past the classes have varied, last year my son had a High School biology class first block
From 10:05-11:05 we have second block, again I’m in the parent room. My daughter is in study hall and my son is taking American Literature and writing.
Lunch is from 11:10-11:45 in the morning. Not much to say about this, obviously we eat.
Our co-op is a Christian co-op, so mid day we have chapel. There will be singing, prayer, then a short bible teaching, then important announcements and information, then we close in prayer and dismiss the kids.
Third block I often have to myself, but technically I’m a “floater” during third block, which means that I go where ever another person is needed if someone else is absent. Both my son and daughter are in Intermediate Drawing and Design. That is an awesome class taught by an artist who used to be with Disney.
Today I see that I will be helping at some drawing class, I’m not sure if its the same one my kids are in. I’ll have to ask and make sure.
Fourth block is our last class period of the day. My son is in a class called “Creation College”, which is mostly an apologetics class. My daughter is in a Bible Study class. My daughter’s classes are all elective classes this year, but many years she is in a lot of academic classes. My son also is only in one real strong academic class this year. That means we are doing the rest of our academics on our own at home. In years past co-op has really been helpful in getting our core classes taken care of, but this year not so much. We are questioning whether we want to continue with co-op next year, since my son will be taking college classes through dual enrollment, and unless my daughter can take academic classes it will just be one less day to work on things at home. We are waiting to see what classes are offered for next year, and then we’ll decide.
At any rate, fourth block for me this year is the one block that I am teaching. In my class today we will be reading the story of when Jesus’s disciples were fishing all night and didn’t catch anything, but then Jesus told them to cast their net on the other side of the boat and they caught nets full, too much to bring the boat in.
From that story we are going to start talking about the oceans, rivers, lakes, and about water in general. We’ll make a “wave bottle” with the oil, water, food coloring and glitter, and we’ll watch the waves move back and forth in the bottle and about how waves move. Then we’ll probably also make waves in a pan of water by making drips into it, and we’ll talk about the motion of the waves and ripples, and how they bounce off the edges of the pan. We’ll blow bubbles and catch them on paper. We’ll talk about how water sometimes makes bubbles but how too weak to float on the air, they break as soon as they reach the surface of the water most of the time, but how soap has a stronger surface tension, like a skin, that allows the bubbles to stay together and float for a while without breaking. We’ll also take the shaving cream, color it with a few drops of tempera paint, and finger paint with it, making peaks and “waves” on our shaving cream.
One thing that’s fun about teaching Pre-Kindergarten is that we don’t have to really get into anything too complicated, the kids are learning all the time, even if all you do is hand them play-dough. Everything is still new to them, and observing waves and pointing out how ripples start from a center point and travel out in all directions until they bounce off the side of the pan is actually an activity that introduces them to basic science concepts, in a fun way.
Most weeks we are all pretty much tired and ready to go home after co-op. This week that isn’t really an option for us though. Today after co-op my husband will show up to pick up my son and drive him across the county to the county clerk’s office so he can apply for a passport. That is because, if all works out, my son is going on a missions trip to Nepal in March, and we need to expedite a passport for him so travel plans can be finalized.
While my husband and son head to the county clerk, my youngest daughter and I are heading to Target to do some shopping for my oldest daughter’s baby shower this weekend. Then we’ll rush home so my oldest daughter can use my van to go move some things into her new rented house. Also because the faster I get home, the more likely that I’ll be able to answer questions if my husband needs any information for the forms at the county clerk’s office.
Once home my two daughters will go together to move some stuff into my older daughter’s new house, and I’ll watch my granddaughter and make dinner for me, my son, two daughters, husband, granddaughter and son-in-law.
At least, that’s the plan… whether that is what really happens today only time will tell.
So, I am continuing to share my old art from Junior High School Art class, which puts this way back in the early 1980’s. Some of my artwork from so long ago has been lost, and most of it is damaged at least a little. One assignment I remember involved taking a magazine picture of someone’s face, cutting it in half, and then trying to draw the missing half of the face. I’m sure this is probably a really good way to improve your portrait drawing skills. At the time I was happy with the results the way I did them, but now I look at it and really wonder why I didn’t do more details in the eye, I mean I just colored in the entire iris and pupil in gray, and didn’t give her any eyelashes at all! Oh well, I was just a kid after all..
Some Blogs I’ve Enjoyed Reading During the Ultimate Blog Challenge.
The January Ultimate blog challenge is almost finished, and today’s suggested topic was to share some of the blogs we’ve enjoyed reading during the challenge. I have enjoyed several. These aren’t in any specific order, just because I list one before another doesn’t mean I like it better.
Jane Porterfieldalways gives lots of great SEO and website tips, I know I really need to take the time with her blog to try out all her suggestions, its like a crash course in Search Engine Optimization.
Chondra Rankinis a blog that is great to go for personal development and positive thoughts!
The Martha Review gives great book and product reviews so you can find out about an item before purchasing it.
Nita Beshear is a blog about life from the perspective of a widow who still manages to be postiive most of the time.
Since this is primarily an Art Blog, I don’t often share much personal information, but I am starting to realize that most readers want to know at least a little about who is writing, and most art buyers want to know a little about the artist. So I decided I should write a post telling a little about me, not just as an artist, but as an individual. Without getting too personal, what three things would I consider important for someone to learn in order to start to understand who I am? Not surprisingly what I came up with touched on the areas of faith, family, and vocation.
1. Before all else, I’m a Christian
The first thing you would need to know about me in order to understand who I am is that I am a Christian woman. What I believe is pretty much in line with a typical evangelical Christian. I believe in my Lord Jesus Christ and I’ve given my life to Him. I live for Him, though not always perfectly of course. I think one of my greatest weaknesses is that I often don’t live my faith as openly as I should. The world of art tends to be very liberal, and sometimes it is easier to be silent than to be ostracized, but when push comes to shove, I side with Christ.
However, I differ politically from many evangelical Christians
Where I perhaps differ from many other evangelical Christian women is politically. When it comes to politics, my mottoes tend to be, “to each his own”, and “no harm no foul”. “To each his own”, because while I believe certain things are right or wrong because of biblical teaching, I do not believe that I have the right to force anyone else to live by those standards. “No harm no foul”, because as long as someone is not harming another human being, I don’t believe it is my business, or the governments business what they do. So there are some political things I stand for, but those largely have to do with protection of human life and human rights.
2. I’m a wife and homeschooling mom.
I’m the wife of a wonderful, supportive husband. People often tell me how lucky I am to have such an awesome husband, and believe me, I am well aware of that! While like any marriage we’ve had our ups and downs over the past 25 years, my husband means the world to me and wouldn’t trade him for anything. I’m also a homeschooling mom, and now also a grandma.
My family comes first after my Lord, and before my own wants and desires. The decision to homeschool my kids from kindergarten to graduation was partly motivated by faith, but that was not the only reason. I had a very negative experience with public school as a child, and wanted better for my own kids. While I support public schools and think most teachers deserve more pay and more support, as a whole I think the public school system in America is broken, and while I hope that someday it is fixed. I didn’t want my kids waiting out their childhood in a broken system, waiting for a repair that may never happen. Homeschooling has meant a lot of sacrifices, I’ve had to stay home except for a little bit of part time work through the years. This has meant less money available for things like cable TV, vacations, gym memberships, and even art supplies. Its also meant that furthering my own education has been on the back burner since the birth of my oldest child. That’s okay though, they come first and I wouldn’t have it any other way. There is nothing else in our earthly existence that means as much as family, so I’ve poured myself into mine. The homeschooling phase of life is almost finished now though, and I imagine that I’ll need to spend some time evaluation my main purpose and goals when it is done.
3. I’m a (mostly) self-taught artist.
I’m an artist and a painting instructor, but I’m mostly self-taught. While I had some art classes in Junior High and High School, beyond that everything I know about art I’ve learned through reading books, watching tutorials, and practice, practice, practice. I’m still learning all the time, new methods, new techniques, new ways to make my work have more depth. I don’t think I’ll ever get to the point where I feel like I know it all and can’t learn any more. The main reason I do art is that I have a passion for it, so whether my art sells or doesn’t sell is secondary to me, but I do love when it sells and at least pays for its own creation. Some day I’d love further my education as an artist, to get some formal education in art, and maybe in God’s timing that will happen, but for now I’ll continue to do art for passion, and keep learning as I go.
Feel free to give me your thoughts on this post, and if you want, share three things about yourself as well!
Sometimes A Painting can be More than Just One Thing
This isn’t the first time I’ve re-worked a painting, if you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you might remember when I redid a painting that had one element in it I really liked, but I really hated everything else, so I covered everything except that one thing with white and redid everything around. I told about that in Metamorphosis of an Old Work PART 1 and PART 2. In that case I was reworking the original to try to bring it in line with the vision I’d originally had for it, but which I failed to achieve the first time around.
This time though, I did the original exactly as I wanted, or as my daughter wanted, since I did it for her. The original is still hanging in her room. It is titled Eiffel Tower in Pink.
I thought it looked nice, and I made several archival prints of it. For some reason though, of all my prints, I sold fewer of these than any other. So lately I’ve been looking at it and wondering what I could do to use the prints I bought. Well, with Paris being the city of Romance, and with the pink background, and with Valentines Day being around the corner, I decided to take a print and modify it for Valentines Day. So, I added paint on top of the print, which I will later scan and have greeting cards made from. The photo below is just taken with my phone, I’ll do a high-resolution scan to make the cards from. And this print with the paint on it? Well I think I am going to get a piece of poster and make a giant card from it, and ask the same as I would have asked for the print in the first place.
For the ultimate blog challenge today I was supposed to share a favorite photo. I decided to go with the idea of posting a photo, but I decided that instead of picking my favorite, which would be very hard to do, I’d share a photo of my latest painting designed for my classes.
The key to doing a class sample painting, is to keep it simple enough to do in a few hours with people who are absolute beginners, this one might pose a bit of challenge, but I think if I hand draw and cut some dolphin stencils for those who need them to at least get an outline, it should work out okay, of course I’ll encourage people to draw their own dolphins if they feel comfortable doing so.
Anyway, here is the photo, it isn’t print quality, it was just taken with my phone, but it gives a pretty good idea of what my next class will be like.
Of course, for those who are in the same area as me, they could sign up to paint this, here is the flyer:
I try to sell my artwork for several reasons. One of those reasons is that I like to get back at least a little of the money I spent on supplies. The other reason is that my house can only hold so many paintings! There have been times when I’ve had paintings stacked in corners because I didn’t have any more room to hang them. That has been less of an issue lately, since my work is being displayed at ArtSLAM Studio and the Kitsap Mall, and since I’ve sold a few pieces as well. At one time though, I was always looking for places willing to display my art for sale.
Not every place is ideal for displaying art for sale.
One of the places my work had been hanging is at my chiropractor’s office. Now, I was flattered when my chiropractor offered to display my work, but when he actually hung it I was disappointed. It was hung in a hallway that patients only see if they are headed to the x-ray room. When he offered, I envisioned people sitting in the waiting room waiting for massage (also offered at the same facility), and seeing the painting with my contact information underneath so that if they liked it they could get a hold of me and buy it. Instead it was hanging in an area seldom seen, and when seen at all, only seen while quickly passing by.
At the time though, I needed a place to store paintings anyway so I left it. However, lately my panel at ArtSLAM Studio has been looking a little bare, so I decided that I needed to reclaim the painting from the chiropractor’s office.
The suggested topic for Day 2 of the Ultimate Blog Challenge was to write-up a FAQ (frequently asked questions) post. Honestly, I haven’t been asked many questions on this site, so if I’m honest the best I could do would be “SAQ” (seldom asked questions) post, or perhaps even a “NAQ” (not asked questions) post. So I decided that I will just post a list of questions someone might have for an artist, and do my best to answer them.
My Questions and Answers
Q. Why do you make art? What motivates you to do what you do?
A. I make art because I need to. That may not be a very specific answer, but it is true. I find that it essential to me to create. If I wasn’t doing art I am sure that I would have create in some other way. I’ve always created in some way. Sometimes through art, sometimes through writing, sometimes through sewing or crafts. Art is the form of creation that find the most freeing and satisfying.
Q. How do go about making art? Do you plan everything out, or just let things flow as they come to you?
A. Yes and Yes. Sometimes, I will plan out a work carefully, sketch everything beforehand, make changes, erase and redo, before I ever begin applying paint to canvas. Other times I start applying a color to a canvas with no idea at all of what I am going to end up doing. Most often there is a mixture of these two extremes, I’ll have a good idea of what I want, and perhaps sketch out some of the more precise elements of the work, and then start painting, letting the ideas grow and change as I work.
Q. What kind of environment do you prefer to work in?
A. I like to have lots of space to spread out my supplies, I can work in clutter as long as the clutter is related to the work, but I don’t want to lose my tube of paint on a table loaded with a bunch of non-art stuff. I like to have music playing… usually the music I listen to will either be classic rock or christian music, either way I tend towards older music most of the time… though I do listen to some contemporary popular music. I love to make my own playlists so that I can mix mostly the older stuff with a few selections of more modern tunes.
I enjoy company while I work sometimes, but I don’t care for being asked a lot of questions about what I’m doing while I’m trying do it. I also don’t want to discuss politics while I’m working, especially with someone I know will disagree with my point of view, that’s because I have no desire to argue or try to defend myself, I just want to create art. I like to have the company of someone who is comfortable with lots of lulls in the conversation, with the occasional chit chat here and there.
Q. How did you become an artist?
A. As I stated in answer to the first question, it is just an integral part of my being to create, and that creativity has shown itself in different ways throughout my life. In that sense I’ve always been an artist. As for my current passion for painting, there is a story there I’ve posted about before, but to summarize, I accepted a blog challenge to do something creative every day for a month, and one of those days I decided to paint… I haven’t stopped since.
Q. What are you trying to say to the world with your art?
That there is beauty everywhere and in everyone, that every person has incalculable worth, every moment has its own beauty. Even in the hard times, even in the midst of pain, there is beauty and order and purpose. Even in the dull times, there is beauty and imagination and awe. Even in the most depraved person, there is a spark of something good, something of immense value and indescribable worth, personally I believe that is because every person is created in God’s image, so no matter how they may tarnish that image, it is still there in some form. So I guess ultimately I am wanting to point people to the creator by helping them to see the beauty of the creation and the wonders of the imagination.
Now, maybe you have a question I didn’t ask myself, maybe you were really hoping I would, but I didn’t. Here is where I’ll say “Don’t be shy!” Ask away! Feel free to ask me whatever you want to know in the comments, and I’ll do my very best to answer your questions both in reply to your comment and as part of future post!
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