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The Daily Newb – Mercury Retrograde and My Creativity

Well, I must say that I have never heard of this before. Yes, I often gaze at the stars wondering if there is some cosmic reason for everything, a universal truth, a bigger plan so to speak. But it wasn’t until recently that I heard of Mercury Retrograde….

What is it? The planets are swinging around at all times and their movements affect us all in strange and bizarre ways. All planets go retrograde, but Mercury’s journey seems to impact people much more than any other. Mercury isn’t really going backwards, it’s just hanging out by the sun, but from Earth, that makes it look like it’s in reverse. This period usually lasts a few weeks and occurs 3 times/year (sometimes even 4 times/year!) This current retrograde is from April 18th to May 11th.

So why does it affect us so much? It’s because Mercury rules communication, clear thinking, truth & travel, so when it goes retrograde — which means that it looks like it’s going backwards in the sky — all these things seem go backwards as well. Unresolved issues from the past rear their ugly heads, you get into strange arguments about nothing at all, everything seems confusing, new projects go amuck. Things just seem to be going in reverse. Electronics, like computer equipment crash. I just recently lost ALL of my 2010 data on my computer and when you operate 2 small businesses from home….this is not a good thing! Travel delays occur…..a certain Icelandic volcano comes to mind? No air travel for a week in Europe? Wow…I am glad I wasn’t traveling over there…although being stuck in Europe for a week couldn’t be that bad..lol. I think I would just park my butt in the Louvre and stare at the Mona Lisa until all the madness has passed.

So what does this have to do with my creativity? It has made me want to go into hermit mode and my creativity went out the door. Actually, I think it went to Iceland and is still trying to catch a flight back. I have been trying to create new paintings for the past few weeks but am struggling with a HUGE creative block. I am actually contemplating going back and looking at a few of my unfinished pieces. Not to mention, I am irritable, frustrated, feeling like half of my brain is missing. Every conversation is confusing and I am having a hard time focusing. As well, my computer crashing and losing my data didn’t exactly help my frustration levels much. Yes, this would be the joys of Mercury Retrograde. And I just thought maybe I was in perpetual PMS (although that is always possible too!).

So that is the BAD news…but I have been thinking (this is one of my clearer thinking days)…maybe…just MAYBE this could be a GOOD thing. It seems to me that this is the Universe’s way of trying to cleanse. Go back and deal with past issues, re-examine areas in our life that need a bit more work, tie up loose ends. Look at you life with fresh new eyes. Deal with that nagging monkey on your back. Instead of swatting at it and telling it to go away, maybe give it some space and listen to what it has to say. I know this isn’t easy….artist’s are usually very emotional beings. And yes, I am definitely an artist at heart. But if the door to our creativity is blocked, how can we move forward?  Gotta tell you I am not looking forward to this part….I have a whole barrel of monkeys to deal with..lol.  But from what I have heard this is a good time to have great breakthroughs….intellectually and spiritually….and who knows….maybe even creatively!

So here are a few tips that may help deal with the retrograde nasties….

–          Roll with the punches….this is a great time reflect, renew and slow down. Take some time for yourself.

–          If starting a new project be flexible. They may not always start on time…or be completed at all. Don’t freak out! Maybe you have an unfinished project from a few months ago that would better work with the situation.

–          Back up, Back up, BACK UP! Yes, back up your computer before the Mercury Retrograde starts….and don’t lose precious data like I did.

–          Go with the flow….maybe the universe is trying to tell you something. Let it nudge where it wants. Maybe there are important issues you need to deal with before moving on.

–          Be cautious when travelling. You may be delayed. If so, take the opportunity to enjoy seeing places you usually wouldn’t venture. You may find a new source of inspiration.

–          And above all…..don’t take things too seriously! Your spouse is on your case, your kids are driving you nuts and you can’t paint a damn thing…..STOP!  B-R-E-A-T-H…..and try to laugh about it. We have all lost our marbles and are functioning with half a brain right now. Don’t worry this too shall pass and we will be back to our glorious selves in no time!

The next Mercury Retrograde will be August 20th –  September 12th……oh joy…lol 🙂

The Daily Newb – Art Competitions – Great Exposure for the Emerging Artist

Art Competitions – Great Exposure for the Emerging Artist

It’s been a few weeks since I have blogged. I have completed my marketing plan (which I will be posting soon) as well as worked on a pop art commission. But a funny thing happened…I am running into a creative block. My brain has turned to preverbal mush and I am having hard time getting the creative juices flowing again. I am trying to figure out a way to get past this creative resistance. Any ideas out there??  Or am I doomed to draw stick people for the rest of my life?

Well, that aside, I have realized that two of my favourite art competitions are coming up – The Royal Bank Canadian Painting Competition and The Artist’s Magazine Annual Art Competition. Art competitions are a great way to expose your art to a worldwide audience. Artists may sell work, garner commissions and become part of prestigious collections. Many competitions showcase the winning work in their publications which are seen by millions of people. Art competitions also allow fellow artists the opportunity to see the works of their peers and compare their own alongside them. And if you are lucky enough to be a finalist, I think it is a great addition to your resume/cv.

Below are a few competitions that I follow and enter every year. The fees to enter are small and if you are a finalist, the exposure is incredible.

 2010 RBC Canadian Painting Competition

This is a great competition open to only emerging artists (within the first 5 years of their careers). Artwork must be on canvas or board and be comprised mainly of painted media (archival material) with dimensions up to 72”x72” and must be completed between January 1, 2009 and May 3, 2010. There is no fee to enter this competition and you may enter up to 3 works for consideration. A regional jury panel of distinguished members of the arts community will select five paintings from their regions as follows: Eastern (Quebec, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, PEI, Newfoundland and Labrador), Central (Ontario) and Western Canada (Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta, British Columbia, Yukon, Northwest Territories, Nunavut). The three jury panels will then select one national winner and two honourable mentions from the 15 semi-finalists. The national winner will receive $25,000 and the two honourable mentions will each receive $15,000. The 15 semi-finalists will be announced June 2010 and the winners October 2010.  I entered last year and I will be entering again this year. Please read the qualifications carefully as there are a few stipulations of the work you submit. If it sounds like something you are interested in, here’s the link http://www.rbc.com/sponsorship/paintingcompetition/index.html

Entry deadline is May 3, 2010. 

“The Evolution of Life” – This is one of the paintings I entered into the RBC competition last year.

 The Artist Magazine Annual Art Competition

This competition is open to artists anywhere in the world. Only original artwork, conceived and created by the entrant will be considered. All mediums are considered except sculpture and computer generated artwork. There are 5 categories to compete in – Portraits/Figures – Still Life/Floral – Landscape/Floral – Abstract/Experimental – Animal/Wildlife. Winners will be featured and finalists’ names will be published in the December 2010 issue of The Artist’s Magazine. Five first place awards, each receiving $2,500. There is a fee of $15US(students) and $25US (all other applicants) for each piece of artwork you submit. Winners will be contacted August 1, 2010. The Artist’s Magazine is published 10 times/year and is distributed worldwide. Finalists of this competition will receive incredible exposure. I entered this one last year and will again this year. Here’s the link if you wish to check it out http://www.artistsnetwork.com/annualcompetition/

Deadline is May 3, 2010

 “Twilight” – I entered this painting in last years Artist’s Magazine competition.

 International Emerging Artist’s Competition – Summer 2010

Visual Overture Magazine introduces emerging artists to galleries, curators, and collectors. They are now accepting submissions for the Summer 2010 edition. International emerging artists of any field are invited to apply. Juror and art critic, Kathy Stockman, will select 7 artists for feature in publication. Selected artists are presented on two pages of magazine and receive 3 complimentary copies of issue in which they are featured. This is an excellent opportunity for under-represented artists to connect with galleries, curators, and collectors. All types of media are accepted including sculpture. You can submit 3-6 images of your work for consideration. There is a fee of $17 per artist. This will be the first year I enter this competition. Here’s the link if you would like to check it out http://www.visualoverture.com/artists.htm Scroll down to the middle of the page and you find submission qualifications and a link to submit your artwork.

Deadline is April 1, 2010.

“A Goddess in Elegance” – This may be one of the 3 I enter into this year’s International Emerging Artist’s competition.

 The Art List.com

If art competitions are your thing, check out TheArtList.com. They not only offer links to art contests and competitions but to art exhibitions and other opportunities for artists. They offer a free monthly newsletter as well as a Premium paid service which provides a more detailed search with contact info, etc. It costs $27US/year.  Check them out at https://www.theartlist.com/index.php

Do you have any competitions you can add to the list? How do you feel about art competitions? Do you enter them regularly? Have you ever been a finalist?

The Daily Newb – Social Media and Selling Art Online – My Continuing Experiment…

When I first started exhibiting my work about a year ago, I knew that I would eventually have to dip my toe in the sea of social media if I was to produce sales online. Being that it is the start of a new year, I thought why not setup a little experiment and see just how social media can “bring home the bacon”. So I learnt as much as I could about social media – what it is and how it could help me with my art. Social media is essentially a category of online media where people are talking, sharing, participating, networking and bookmarking online. Examples of this new media are blogs, internet forums, podcasts, social bookmarking, picture-sharing and social networking sites just to name a few. There are so many out there with new sources added daily. So how was this supposed to help me with my art career? The answer is simple – all of these provide me with incredible exposure to masses. Exactly what I needed if I was to sell art beyond the city limits of Kelowna……so my experiment begins. Here are a few I have tried so far and the results I have seen….

Facebookhttp://www.facebook.com/angella.goodon#!/pages/The-Art-of-Angella-Goodon/470407210424?ref=ts

I have been on facebook for about 4 years now. I found it a great tool for meeting new people, connecting with long, lost friends and sharing pictures with family and friends. I had never thought about marketing my art through facebook. So when I launched my website about a year ago, I decided to post my art on my personal facebook page as well. I set up a photo album called “Portfolio” and added digital pictures of my art. This worked out well as I was able to get some great exposure and generate some sales. I even managed to get a few collectors out of it! Then I found out in December of 2009 that facebook frowns on people who try to market products/services through their personal facebook page. And found out that I may be shut down if I continue to market my art this way. Oops! So I have since taken off the prices of my art on my portfolio page. They are there to simply look at now. However, facebook does offer a great alternative to businesses and a way to market their products. Set up a FAN PAGE! This way you can set up a page specifically for your business. Here’s a link to help set up a fan page (http://www.facebook.com/pages/create.php) It’s super easy….just follow the steps. You must have a facebook account to do this. You can fill in all of your business info and post pictures of your products. It’s like a virtual business card and more. I like this option because it really ZEROS IN on your target audience. Anyone can add themselves to your fan page even if they are not on your friends list thereby growing your customer base. And, unlike your personal page, the pictures you post will be seen by people who actually want to see your art, your fans! It’s been a great resource for me. I already have 137 fans and I just started the page a few weeks ago.

Blogswww.thenewbieartist.wordpress.com

Well, I’ll be honest, I have never been much of a blog reader. I never felt I had time to read blogs. I should be painting, right? Well, YES….and NO. Yes, you should be spending your valuable time painting and creating. But what about the business side of your art? Blogs are traffic magnets and can bring people to your website and hopefully bring you some sales. I started a blog just a few weeks ago and already I am seeing major hits on my website. If you are like me and am not sure what to write about…try the topics outlined in this blog post by Barney Davey (http://www.artprintissues.com/2009/08/last-summer-repost-52-blog-topics-for-artists-get-started-now.html). There are a lot of great topics and I am sure that you will find one that you can relate too. For me, I have decided to write about my personal journey as an emerging artist. There are not a lot of resources on the internet for someone starting out as an artist. And I thought why not share with everyone what I am going through to pursue my dream. From time to time, I am sure that I will be ranting about my frustrations on working full time, raising a family and trying to pursue my dream (I am sure that article will be called “What was I thinking???”). But none the less it will also be about the things I have tried to get where I want to be….like marketing, art shows, approaching galleries, etc. All in all, write about what you know. Blogs are easy to create. I have heard that wordpress is the best one out there and the most flexible when adding your content, pictures, etc. To open an wordpress blog, go here (http://en.wordpress.com/signup/ ).

Twitterwww.twitter.com/thenewbieartist

Twitter is a valuable tool to tap into an amazing community of people from around the world to see what they are thinking, feeling and experiencing. It’s a great resource to find out what you should write in your blogs. Find out what people are talking about and include it in your blog. In return, it’s also a great way to bring exposure to your blogs, websites, etc. Here are some great tips for those twitter newbies (like myself!) http://www.twitip.com/10-easy-steps-for-twitter-beginners/.

Flickrhttp://www.flickr.com/photos/thenewbieartist/

Flickr is a free online photo and video hosting website. The benefit of using this free file sharing site are massive.  Flickr asks photo submitters to organize images using tags, which allow searchers to find images related to particular topics, such as place names or subject matter.  Once an internet searcher finds your images you can then drive them back to your website.  This site is just another way for you to get free traffic to your site, helping to promote your art. It is easy to get started with Flickr. Go to www.flickr.com, click on the “Create Your Account” button and enter your Yahoo email address and password.  Once you are a member of Flickr you can start uploading your videos and photos to share with your friends and the world.

Imagekindhttp://www.imagekind.com/goodon_poster

Imagekind is the world’s first hybrid art gallery – offering a photo-sharing experience along with a POD (Print on Demand) service. Print on Demand is the name given to the process of producing high quality fine art prints or canvases according to specific, individual requirements. You upload your art to Imagekind’s website and in turn the customer chooses which ones they would like to make prints of. Prints can be made in photo quality papers or canvas as well they can choose to frame their print with over 160 frames to choose from. Also, you can set your markup on each piece you sell giving you control over what you earn. I uploaded the majority of my photos a few weeks ago. I have not made any sales yet but I do know of a few artists that have had success with this website.

I have found that just by utilizing these social media tools I have increased my website traffic substantially. I was getting on average 10-12 hits/day on my website before. Now I get anywhere from 30-35 hits/day because I am increasing my online presence. In eight short days, I have received 157 hits, more than I ever have in one month! How did I do this? By linking these social media tools back to my central hub, my website. Has it “brought home the bacon” yet? Well, it’s only been a few short weeks….but I will keep you posted! There are so many social media tools out there. I have also heard great things about LinkedIn, Bebo and Ning which I am also wanting to test out in the near future. The experiment continues!

What social media tools do you use? What have you found to bring in the most traffic? Sales? Exposure?

The Daily Newb – What is a “Newbie Artist” and just WHY am I doing this?

Hello everyone! My name is Angella Goodon and welcome to my blog “The Newbie Artist”! Why the “Newbie” artist and not the “Emerging” artist? Why not? Must everything be so politically correct? I don’t think so. “Newbie” is defined as someone who is new to a particular group, activity, game, field of study, etc. Also a “newb”. Lol….I love this…why not have a sense of humor about being “green”, about starting at the bottom, about being new to something! Everyone has been or is a “newbie” at some point in their life. In this blog, I want you to come along with me on my journey of being a “Newbie” artist or emerging artist (for those of you who are politically correct!).  Here’s a little background on me and my journey as an artist…

I have always been creative. From a young age, our house was always filled with creative vibes. My dad, a metal artist, was always sketching and creating. I fondly remember watching him in his shop welding wild creations from nothing more than scrap metal. My brother is a musician so music always filled our house. For me, I kept sketchbook after sketchbook of drawings and future paintings. My mind was always dreaming of its next great creation.  I knew that it was always something that I wanted to do. It is such a HUGE part of who I am. When I started a family, however, my creativity took a back seat as I focused on supporting them. A full decade went by and it wasn’t until my early 30’s that I really got my creative spark back. In January 2009, I decided to take a bold leap and start showcasing my new work. I created a website, www.angellagoodon.com and I was in several juried art shows this year, including Artwalk. As well, an amazing opportunity was presented to me in October 2009 and I am now part owner in Kelowna’s only artist-run gallery, Little Shop of Artist’s. You can visit us online at www.littleshopofartists.com.

A lot has happened in one short year. But by no means am I fully supporting myself with my art. I am very new to this journey….very green….very much a “newbie”. Always looking for that “niche”, that secret back door that will catapult me to instant success! Well, not quite that dramatic but I want what every other artist wants….to someday be working as a professional artist fully supporting myself and my family. Maybe you’re a “newbie” like me….a mom of three, working full-time, raising my family, trying to find balance as I pursue my dream of becoming a professional artist. Even if your not a “mom of three”…lol…..but you are still pursuing your passion in life why not come along with me on the journey. I will be posting the “trials and tribulations” of what I am going through….from new painting techniques that I am learning…..to the art shows that I am part of…and everything in between. I will be exploring online marketing techniques….testing out what works and what doesn’t in regards to selling my art online. Anything and everything on the road to becoming a professional artist. So come on my fellow “newbies” and join me for this journey!

“Flourish” by Angella Goodon