Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Days in the life

Just in case anyone thinks that self-employed artists laze around all day eating bonbons and painting in the sunshine, as opposed to actually "working," here's what my last few days have entailed:

Errand day.  After a few hours in the morning dealing with emails, phone calls and other desky business stuff such as accounting, plus a gigantic pile of weekend dishes and laundry, I headed out for errands.  Went to the post office (mailing an order), the bank (deposit from weekend market), and finally put some gas in the tank after finally making a little money on the weekend.  Then proceeded to Rasa Spa, where I dropped off some notecards for their gift shop, and also shuffled around a few paintings at my show there.  Then off to Greenstar, to do notecard inventory because they are looking to increase my shelf space (hurrah!).  Then a stop at the newly re-opened Buffalo St. Books to drop off my latest card catalog (isn't it great they're open again!?), followed by walking to the Commons to drop off a notecard order at Home Green Home.  Then a quick stop at Trader K's to troll for shoes for painting, had a few specific sizes to look for, and then dropped off a huge pile of books at the library.  Several of those books were about Japanese kimono design, since I've been studying Japanese patterns and motifs as shoe inspiration.  Stopped by my favorite trail for a 3.5 mile run on the way home.  Then I spent a few hours painting shoes before heading out to my evening capoeira class.

Spent several hours in the morning painting shoes, then took a little trip over to Gary's for art gossip and to collect some notecard inventory he had picked up for me at a gallery I was in.  It was finally a gorgeous day, so then I spent the rest of the afternoon on my porch with my computer, making a wee promotional brochure for Wingtip.  I also worked on a new version of my notecard catalog, because I have some new designs and haven't updated it in a while.  A big thunderstorm came through, and I took some time to make dinner and enjoy the storm with a beverage on the porch.  Then a little more shoe painting before calling it an early night (tired).

Well, it's just beginning, but here's what's on tap.  First a little accounting and desky stuff, a wedding announcement preliminary samples, getting a card order together for Greenstar, an afternoon run, and I have three pairs of shoes in various stages of painting...I hope to finish one special order today, and also finish a pair for my Etsy site.

So I'm going to get back to it.  I like this level of busy-ness, full of purpose and all about art.

Friday, April 22, 2011


Friday morning in Ithaca, still waiting for spring to really wake up around here.  One day it's 65 and sunny and I am going for a run in my t-shirt, the next day it snows and I light up the woodstove for what I keep hoping is the last time.  It's almost Easter, I expect to be wearing a coat to church this year instead of sandals.  My friends (and blog readers) are probably getting tired of me whinging about the weather, but every year my SAD gets a little worse and the Ithaca darkness gets a little harder to bear.  If I had insurance I would try out some antidepressants for November-March, but as it is I'm just flirting with a little half-caff coffee some especially dark afternoons.  Happily, the chicken pox is mostly a memory now.

Meanwhile, I'm finding great joy in this whole shoe-painting business!  I haven't been inspired like this in ages, it's all I want to do.  My kitchen island and living room are often covered with work in progress.  I find it's best to work on several pairs at once, so I can think about the next steps, and also let the paint really dry between coats.  My Etsy site is getting lots of looks and some nice comments.  AND I have several bespoke orders, five this week alone.  I'm thinking this is going to go somewhere.  And if not, at least it's really really fun right now.  Although all this shoe research means I keep finding shoes I want too.

Bespoke is one of my favorite words, and I love being able to adopt it to describe part of my business.  It's a great old somewhat-British word meaning created specifically for a client.  Here are a few photos of bespoke shoes I've painted this week, and them the last pair is just for fun (they're for sale on Etsy).

 Above are a pair of Danskos for a friend, and below is my first pair for a guy.
 These are called Jitterbug Perfume, with a nod to Tom Robbins.  See them on Etsy!

Saturday, April 9, 2011


Let's just get one thing out of the way first: I have chicken pox.  You heard me right, apparently I'm not too old for this.  It's uncomfortable, and I'm cranky, and staying in quarantine is less fun when you're an adult because it doesn't just mean you can stay home from school for a week and eat ice cream.

BUT, the good news is that my blog silence can be completely contributed to launching a new branch of my art business!  Introducing Wingtip, super cool shoes hand-painted by me.  So far I have several pairs on my new Etsy site, and getting lots of good comments and looks and some inquiries and a couple of orders from friends.  Here's a photo of my first pair for a client.  She mailed the boots to me, and specified colors and that she liked the Thai-style spirals from a different pair.  You might hear a lot about shoes on my blog in the next few months.

Having a new canvas to work on, and a new business to plan and promote, has been a true pleasure, and has saved me from complete Seasonal Affect Disorder despair.  It is also giving me justification to go shoe shopping.  I'm going to use some of my quarantine time constructively to see if I can figure out how to build one of those free flash websites for this.

Otherwise, spring is making it's painfully slow way to Ithaca.  The little wee bulbs are finally up and cheerfully blooming, it hasn't snowed for a week, and the chickens are starting to range farther in the woods.  The missing hen melted out of the snowbank a few weeks ago (probably hawks).  The Farmers' Market started up again last weekend!  I've started running.  Every year we all wonder if spring will really actually come, it always seems like a miracle.