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  • Thursday Thoughts – A Plan and a Painting

    First a Painting

    From Chiropractor’s Wall to Collector’s Wall

    You might remember me telling about a painting that I reclaimed from my chiropractor’s office because I felt it wasn’t being displayed satisfactorily.  While I put it there in the hopes that someone waiting for massage or adjustment might see it and decide to buy it, it was never hung in a very visible place.  The place it was displayed was only being seen by people on their way for x-rays, which at a chiropractor’s office is usually only for your first visit.  Well, I reclaimed the painting and put it up in the studio where everyone who came in could see it, and it finally sold. Only it didn’t sell as a result of being seen in the studio.  It sold from my etsy shop to a collector in California.

    This was great encouragement for me, because while I’ve sold prints and T-shirts, cards, and hand painted glassware.  It has been a while since I sold an original painting, and it was making me wonder if it was ever going to happen again.

    Koi fish
    My Koi Pond is off to its new home.

    I just packaged this painting last night and got in the mail today, it should be arriving at its new home next week sometime.

     

    Next, a Plan

    Log it, track it, write it down and add it up.

    So, in my last post I shared about how I didn’t keep track of financials as they happened, and it is causing much delay in filing my business taxes.  Well, I am not making the same mistake in 2017, I am keeping a running ledger, so I will always know at a glance what shape I am in financially.

    While I don’t plan to make up for previous years’ losses, I don’t want losses in 2017.  So, unless the expense is unavoidable, like a bill that is due and can’t be delayed, I will not spend money on my art, or classes, or studio, unless I am in the black.  I have a pretty good start to 2017 already, January I came out $25 in the black, and now with a sale in February I am looking to probably ending February in the black too, by at least as much as January, so the two will accumulate to being at least $50 in the black for the year so far.

    Now of course if I am in the middle of a painting and need a certain color of paint I’ll probably buy it regardless of financials, but a lot of my spending in 2016 were not things I needed right then, a lot of it was because this store or that one was having a great deal on canvases or paints that would likely come in handy later.  Since I didn’t really know I was operating in the red, I went ahead and bought things that I didn’t even really need for a project right then.

    Well no more.  From now on if it is discretionary it will only be purchased if my art business is in the black by enough to cover it.  My goal for 2017 is to at least come out even financially in my art business.  Now, that might not seem like much of a financial plan, but its a start.  Sure it would be great to turn a nice profit, but I love doing art, and if all it does is pay for itself, I will be pretty satisfied.

    One good thing about all the supplies I purchased in 2016, I have plenty stashed up to start 2017 without spending much.  Yes, there may be an occasion here or there where I need something specific, but for the most part I have enough supplies to do almost any art project I might want to do.  If I buy anything at all in the coming year it would likely be paints as I run out.  I have canvases everywhere. I might have to buy more of the economy canvases for my classes at some point, but not right away, and as for the canvases for my personal use, I have more than I think I could possibly use in one year.

    So, I don’t think curtailing my spending is going to curtail my creating of art at all.

     


  • A Day in the Life – A Homeschool Family

    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.

    This is a typical Thursday for our homeschooling family. Click To Tweet

    Thursday is homeschool co-op day.

    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.

    Homeschool co-op gives my kids a chance to get familiar with a classroom setting.
    Homeschool co-op gives my kids a chance to get familiar with a classroom setting.

    Morning Routine

    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.

    Our morning routine on Thursday is rushed, we have seven people and one bathroom. Fortunately, only three of us are getting ready for co-op.

    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.

    First 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

    Second 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

    Lunch is from 11:10-11:45 in the morning.  Not much to say about this, obviously we eat.

    Not much to say about lunch, we eat whatever we packed. Today that would be ham sandwiches.
    Not much to say about lunch, we eat whatever we packed. Today that would be ham sandwiches.

    Chapel

    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.

    As a Christian co-op we have Chapel in the middle of our day.

    Third Block

    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

    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.

    Pre-K classes are fun to teach!

    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.

    After Co-op

    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.

    My son may get a chance to go to Nepal.

    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.

     


  • Thursday Thoughts – Bucket List?

    Bucket List?

    The Ultimate Blog Challenge topic for today was a bucket list. I am not really sure what I would put on my bucket list, other than a trip to Hawaii at some point. I mean sure there are things I want to do, but none really seem major enough for a bucket list. Things like trying oil paints (I currently paint in acrylic).
    So instead of a bucket list I thought I’d just share some thoughts about projects I hope to do in the next year. These are not in order at all.

    Goals for the Year

    ⦁More Sculpted Paintings

    My Dixon Wings was part painting, part sculpture, and I want to do more of these hybrid types of works. Only I want to take it further, I want more sculpting. I’m planning on using paper mache to do some of the sculpting, a bonus to this is that I can utilize some of my damaged canvases and it won’t have any negative effect on the final artwork. A small tear in a canvas isn’t going to matter after the entire canvas is covered in strips of paper mache, since paper mache is strong enough to hold up on its own once it is dry. Then over the paper mache covered canvas I will take paper mache mulch (also known as paper clay), and sculpt whatever I want over the paper mache platform. I can also use undamaged, but previously used canvases, such as some that have demo paintings on them from my classes. I can use those for sculpted paintings, because I’ll be covering them with enough layers that the existant texture of the demo painting won’t show through the sculpture.

    Daryl Dixon inspired art.
    Here the Daryl Dixon inspired wings are pretty much finished. All that remained at this point was a little touch up in a few areas.

    ⦁ More Volunteer Work 

    Some of my most enjoyable times have been painting sets for KCMT, somehow I want to carve out more time to do that. I’m not sure if I’ll be able to make it work or not, because often the times when the work is done is during my shifts at the studio, but I plan to contact the person in charge of sets and try to work something out.

    Alladin Sets
    The finished wing panels, still sitting in the painting room at KCMT, and without their caps.

    ⦁ Compile a Portfolio of my Demo Paintings

    Every time I teach a class, I come up with a demo painting for that class, I know I need to start compiling a portfolio of those sample paintings, so that if someone wants to book a private party they can choose a painting from that portfolio.

    This class was a lot of fun, and I got to meet someone I’ve known online for years, but never met in person. She came to my class!

    ⦁ Mural Size Paintings

    I’ve already done some mural size paintings for sets, but I want to put some on canvases. I recently purchased some very large canvases, and I am giving careful thought to what kind of painting I want to put on them. I’m just not sure where I will put them once they are finished, if I had a guaranteed buyer it wouldn’t be a problem, but to complete them and not know if I have room to hang them makes me a little nervous, I guess I’ll give it some thought, and once I decide on where they can hang, I’ll get started on them.

    ⦁ Uploading all my Completed Works to my Website and Etsy Shop

     I still have so many completed works that I haven’t uploaded anywhere. I really need to catch up and stay caught up. I think for smaller works such as jewelry a tabletop whitebox for my photos would really help, right now getting set up to take good product photos just takes so long, but if I had a whitebox for those photos it would really streamline the process. So I guess that gives me another item for my list.

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    ⦁ Build or Buy a Product Photography White Box

    See my explanation above.

    ⦁ Establish a Regular Schedule for Blogging

    During the Ultimate Blog Challenge, I manage to blog daily, but for some reason when the challenge is not going on, despite the fact that I really want to, I just don’t set aside the time to write regular blog posts. I want to remedy this and start keeping a regular schedule for both this blog and my weight loss blog. For the weight loss blog weekly updates are all that is really needed, but I really feel that I should be posting on this blog at least three times a week, if not daily, and all I lack is the discipline to do it!

    So there are the things I really want to do this year, how about you? Is there anything you really want to do over the coming year? Let me know in the comments.