No, I don’t think that’s really a word but I’m hoping it got your attention. The re-inspiration is an interesting turn of events. It’s about my Paintbrush Graphics business. I came up with the name back around 1995 after a family trip in which we drove out to Wyoming to go to Yellowstone and Tetons National Parks. One of the highlights of the trip was a backpacking hike in the Tetons. Now, being a “Jersey Girl” the whole concept of backpacking was rather foreign to me. But I also love an adventure, and a challenge.
I had planned our hike using a one of the many guidebooks I had bought for our trip. We arrived at the ranger station to check in and let them know our route and get our back country permit. As it turned out, the route I had planned had already reached the maximum number of permits allowed. Also, we didn’t have ice picks with us to go across the pass, which apparently was still frozen even though it was July. That being the case we chose a different trail. It turned out that the trail we would hike was Paintbrush Canyon. The Paintbrush is a wildflower found throughout Wyoming and it is their state flower. It was a wonderful experience. But in the process of hiking I thought I should name my design business Paintbrush Graphics, because if I could make this hike I could do anything.
Now, here it is, 2012 and I’m reviving my design business but it’s a little different. Because I have been doing design work for the last several years for my painting business I thought I should specialize in doing design work for artists. Between my experience and the fact that many artists are, to be blunt, technology averse, it seems like a good approach. Then I thought, my name, Paintbrush Graphics, it works even better than it did when I first thought it up. So, I have re-designed my web site PaintbrushGraphics.com and I will be soliciting work as a designer. I will still be painting so my time management skills need to be fine tuned as well.
I am particularly fond of designing brochures. I think because it seems to be just enough space for pictures and text. Business cards are limited but that makes them a fun challenge. I really enjoy doing more with a business card than occurs to others. There are many opportunities for marketing your work, between web pages and print materials which have become much less expensive to produce. Presenting yourself in a professional manner is very important to me. Coming from a publishing background with a major publication based out of New York, my training forces me to make sure all my i’s are dotted and t’s are crossed. While in the midst of that training I may have complained about Art Directors being too picky, but then I became an Art Director and then my own designer, that put my standards at a whole new level.
It seems a good time to reflect on changes as the summer fades into Autumn. It has been a year full of them, artistically and personally. For some, change is a scarey thing, but not for me, it excites me and makes me more curious about what could be.
Just about a year ago I began painting with a palette knife during a Lois Griffel workshop. I found it quite liberating. I had tried painting with larger brushes to get the same effect in attacking the large shapes in a painting, but it didn’t work for me. A few times during the course of the year I tried to return to brushes and it was an almost painful experience, almost like having to move back in with your parents, yea you’re safe, but that’s not where you want to be. I was becoming convinced that palette knife was “my style”.
A few months later, I was in Italy; Rome, Florence and Venice. With all the places I’ve traveled to, I have never been disappointed with any of the sights that are on the “must-see list”. Italy was no exception and in fact even more of an experience than I could have imagined. Seeing art, history and grandeur everywhere we turned was both overwhelming and invigorating. Before we went, everyone I spoke with that had been there said I’d love it, even those that I didn’t know very well. I thought, how would they know I’d love it? It seemed rather cliché. The truth is now I know, I can’t imagine anyone not loving it. You don’t have to know the person, you just have to have seen the places we saw. But how did that trip change my paintings? People, that’s how. The buildings were wonderful, but buildings and street scenes without people, well that just doesn’t capture a city as alive as Rome. Couple that with the thousands of paintings and statues we saw, almost exclusively of people I felt the need to bring people into my paintings.
With new perspective and excitement for painting I wanted to also create a more simple way to update my web pages. Knowing that then I could have more time to paint. I have new slide shows for my Watercolor and Oil painting sections. I will add more pictures in the future but it’s a start. I posted a poll to see if people wanted to help me decide if this format works best for my paintings. Your input into the survey would be greatly appreciated before I add any more pictures to it. My New Paintings page is no longer Paintings of Italy, those now have their own section. That being said there are new paintings posted there. I finally am finishing up paintings of flowers that were started when they began to bloom. I expect a few more florals will be completed soon.
More changes happened at home, one son moved to Miami and a new job for my husband. The new job brings with it an expectation of relocating. That is still in the future and such a move would bring us closer to Boston and the seacoast. The idea excites me and has me making more plans for the future. It is now the unknown which awaits us, but that’s what makes life interesting. For now, I will just keep painting, kind of like Little Nemo – “just keep swimming, just keep swimming”.
I do try to keep some measure of practicality to my painting career. I spend a fair amount of time on marketing, designing and printing brochures and mailings. I try to keep my web site up to date and I participate in as many local art events as I can. Sometimes though, even when you know you need to be attending to the business end of things you just need to paint.
The month of August is my busiest time. Last weekend I was in Mystic, Connecticut for their art festival, a two day show. This weekend I will be in Greeley Park, Nashua, N.H. Next Saturday, it will be Portland Maine and the following weekend, Keene, N.H. There will be a couple of weeks off before I head down to New Hope, PA. After that, the Open Studio Tour, Columbus Day weekend.
The summer started out with a show Memorial Day weekend at the Montauk, Long Island show in New York. Before leaving I took some pictures. In wandering around in search of possible subjects for future paintings I came across a garden/florist shop called Strawberry Fields. It was beautifully laid out. I took a whole bunch of pictures and I’ve been wanting to work on a painting ever since.
Today I painted, it felt great to finally get to this picture. There are some other things I didn’t get to that maybe I should have – but today I painted. Tomorrow, I’ll have to get ready for this weekend’s show in Nashua. Once again I’ll pack up my truck, in the evening I will head over to set up my tent. But today I painted.