Swimming Upstream

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I have never really thought much about selling my art work in years past. I drew or painted only for the love of it, I never put any value on it. When someone told me they liked my art, I just said “here ya go” and handed it out. Over the years I would have friends and coworkers ask me to paint something for them, usually to give the item as a gift. I would usually paint or draw the requested item and give it away refusing anything in return. It wasn’t until I had someone that I refused payment from, insist that I take a gift card for payment. I tried to refuse that as well. She finally said this is a GIFT to you for doing this painting for my husband that he loved….I only took it because she said it was a gift! My first transaction ever in the art world. A $50 gift card to the Gap. A couple of more years passed. I would tell people when asked, that I COULD do a painting they asked for… but I would dodge them like the plague afterwards because I didn’t want to follow through with it. Could, would and should sound alike but they are very different. By the time I complete said requested painting, I was out the expense of the materials, plus my time. And in my busy world, a working mother of two…I value my time, more than money.

The past year has been a year of diving into my art. Experimenting with new mediums, trying different techniques, and going back full circle to sketching like I did years ago. After many years of family and friends believing in me more then I believe in myself, I started to put a price on my work. It is very hard for an insecure person to put value on something that their hands made. But I found as I dove into the creative process, the demand for my work most definitely out weighed my supply! I would paint something, post the picture on Facebook and my inbox would be flooded….”how much do you want for this painting?”, or “I will give you $100 for this painting and pay shipping”. Really!??? How exciting! That gave me money to invest in more materials and fueled my faith in the talent God has given me. Now let me tell you, I have made some things that I step back and look at, and I think to myself…yuck. But I learned something in the process by experimenting. One of those paintings I have posted in this blog. (the pocket watch). What can I say? One mans trash is another mans treasure. That trash in my eyes is treasure to my mommas eyes and it is hanging humbly in her home. All this rambling to inform that I have sold four of my paintings in less then a months time. I must say I’m happy with this number because I only had eleven completed to sell. I am working on a commissioned piece and another requested dancer for The Tennessee Dance Arts Conservatory in Spring Hill Tennessee (thank you so much Meagan!)

I’m past the stagnant point and I am swimming. Swimming up stream. I’m not at a place where I need to swim along an easy current. I have to move up. And I have obstacles along the way. Some of the largest being myself, my mind, my discipline, my time. That brings me to my koi painting. The Chinese legend of the koi fish is that it swam UP a water fall and became a dragon because of it’s perseverance. It’s a great tale of encouragement.

The Legend of the Koi

So like a koi or Dori from Finding Nemo…I’m gonna “just keep swimming, just keep swimming”. I’m seeing a difference in my life since I’ve made the conscious decision to do so.

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This painting started with a sketch and I put it on canvas. I watercolored vintage and recycled paper for the flowers. I used acrylics, acrylic gel, oil pastels, graphite, salt and rubbing alcohol to make this painting.

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