KEEPING IT REAL

KEEPING IT REAL

This has been a busy and interesting week.  Seems like I have accomplished a lot, even though I haven’t gone anywhere, although I will tomorrow.  So, what did I do?  Mostly, it concerned behind-the-scenes work.

First, for a couple of weeks I have been mulling over an invitation to join an artists’ association closed online group.  It was founded and started by a pastel artist on the west coast who gives online courses on pastel techniques, business tips on running an art business, techie tips for selling online, and much more.  I have listened to some of his free seminars, but I was hesitant to join this group because it mandates a monthly charge, and I wasn’t sure I would find it helpful.  Now, I’m all about networking with like-minded people, sharing tips and information and such, but have found it exceedingly difficult with the local artists I have met here where I live.  They are interested in me only if they think I will buy something from them.  Otherwise, they seem to care nothing for any kind of communication.  I found this extremely disappointing.  I didn’t want to be paying a monthly fee for the same kind of treatment!  Two days ago, I bit the bullet and signed up for membership in this group, The Abundant Artist.  I’m beginning to think I’ve been blessed!  Information sharing galore!  Pastel wildlife artists!  Photo-realism artists!  Very high-quality art work in all categories!  All kinds of artists in diverse mediums as well, but whose work I can admire even though it’s quite different from mine!  Many are writing books, too.  I simply see a wealth of information coming from this.  Seems these people want to share, and that’s what it’s all about.  Supporting one another.  Keeping it real.

Second, at a business meeting I attended in the spring sponsored by the Shenandoah Arts Council, of which I am a member, a web page designer taught on designing web pages, and what makes a good page.  One of his key points was the need for a “slogan” 5-7 words long, that described the contents of the site.  I had been using “Art That Takes You There.”  Other people responded with statements such as, “Oh, I LOVE that!” or “I wish I had thought of that” or “I sure could use that!”  I had to say out loud, “It’s mine!  You can’t have it!”  I laughed when I said it, but I was seriously thinking I better protect this thing!  My Man Jim and I began researching a copyright for it.  We found out one cannot copyright a title or a short phrase, but one CAN register it as a trademark.  Then, we began looking into legal fees for this, and found that the most rock bottom out there was Legal Zoom, and they charged $749 for the search through all the states and internet sites.  IF it was found anywhere else, they would notify you, but you were still out of $749 because they spent their time doing the search.  Now, God is so cool!  He just brought the right information at the right time!  I mentioned my dilemma over paying so much to my son, John (my editor for forthcoming book) and he sent me a U.S. Gov’t website for patents, copyrights, and trademarks where you can do the search yourself.  Jim proceeded to do just that.  It took a while, and he used many combinations of the words in the phrase just to be sure it wasn’t close enough to something else out there.  It wasn’t.  Next, he filled out the application forms for me.  We paid the — get this — $225 fee, and their examining attorney will conduct a search and notify me the same way a private lawyer would have.  Only, I won’t be out $749 or more, I’ll be out only $225 if it’s already in use.  We went ahead because it appeared we were pretty safe.  I will know for sure in 3-4 months.  That is something worth sharing on an Abundant Artist online group post.  I’m sure there are a lot of artists out there who’d like to know this information and save a lot of money!  Now, that’s really keeping it real!

As for where I am going tomorrow, I am returning to my hometown of Kilmarnock, VA.  My framer is located there, and she has finished framing the last two paintings of my women’s series for my book, “Pharaoh’s Daughter'” and “The Woman Caught In Adultery.”  I’m excited to see them fully “dressed” and can’t wait to bring the last of my girls home, where they can join their sisters.  There is so much diversity in this group of twelve women!  Some were wealthy, some were dead broke, and a couple were even naked,  All of them, just as we are, were naked before God almighty.  But all, I believe, came into the sisterhood of Christ.  Most had life-changing experiences, defining moments, if you will, where they changed the way they thought, and they changed the world.  I hope I can do them justice as I tell their stories in my book, which I will title THE RICH, THE POOR, AND THE NAKED —  Finding Peace Out Of Turmoil From The Stories Of Twelve Biblical Women.  You can’t get much more real than that!

Tonight, I am feeling so blessed and sort of over the moon!

 

 

 

 

DARE TO TRUST

DARING TO TRUST

Here in the mountains of Virginia where I live, the timber, or canebrake rattlesnake is often found.  It is a shy snake, preferring to be left alone, and would rather remain hidden or slither quietly away than fight, unless forced to.  But, would you trust that snake not to bite you?  That’s sure an open-ended question which depends on individual circumstances for answers, but the principle here is somewhat analogous to what I’m thinking.

We in the creative world depend a lot on trust.  Generally speaking, creatives are trusting people.  Of course, we trust our families, friends and acquaintances.  But we also trust our customers, our online friends, and those strangers across the country who are interested enough in our work to follow our various artistic pages.  These are people we most likely will never meet in person, but are extremely important to us nevertheless.  We always want more of these, right?  Whether we know them personally or not, our followers matter greatly to us.  We depend on these people to provide a solid support platform for us whenever we launch a new art piece, music project, book, or whatever.  They give us valuable feedback, answer polling questions about titles or book cover preferences, and so many other things that make our products better.  We’d be lost without them!

How did these unknown followers find out about us in the first place?  Some stumbled upon us like a hiker stumbling upon a snake on a trail, and picked us up off internet searches.  Others saw our pages when one of their acquaintances shared our page or something we posted on a blog or Facebook.  For most of us who self-publish our work, this sharing of information among friends and friends of friends is the life blood of building our fan base.  Networking is key!  We don’t have representatives out of major book publishing houses, art printing houses, or recording studios, to whom we’d have to pay thousands, doing it for us.  It’s not an ego thing to have a large following, but rather, a make-or-break economic issue.  That’s why you see so many people, myself included, asking you to share something about them you have found interesting and like.  It helps us get the word out to the public that we have new art, music, or a new book coming.  It introduces us to new audiences who would otherwise never hear of us.

Many of you have followed my Facebook art page during my creative process over the last three plus years while I researched, did photo shoots of models, and then painted the twelve women for my forthcoming book.  The writing process was more behind the scenes and currently is in the editing stage, so my book will not be out for a few more months. However, I hope to develop a large following pre-launch, so that by the time it is ready to launch, thousands of people will be excited about it.  This is where I am going to trust YOU, because you are vitally important to me, and I want to include you in the excitement!  I’m asking you to share.  Share my Facebook Art page posts, my web site, my blog posts.  It doesn’t take but a second.  I’m trusting that some of you, hopefully many, will do this for me and help me get the word out that a new book of art, prose,Defining Moments of Eve and poetry is on the cusp!

But don’t worry, I won’t come back and bite you if you don’t!  You can trust ME on that!

 

 

LIVING ON THE EDGE

LIVING ON THE EDGE

Centuries ago, mankind used to believe that the world was flat, and one could sail off the edge into the Great Abyss if one weren’t careful and got too far from land.  Most mariners dared not venture too far out to sea, but found ways to operate within their preconceived boundaries.  Today, we know that’s not true, but can you imagine the sense of adventure those first sailors experienced while they were discovering this?

Many years ago I was driving down a local highway where I used to live.   I came to a small bridge that crosses the headwaters of the picturesque Corrotoman River. .At the end of the bridge, there is a steep embankment dropping to the water.  Trees shrouded the bank in deep shadows, yet at the edge of the shadows, dancing in the bright sunlight and summer breezes, was a profusion of Queen Ann’s lace and orange day lilies.  The sharp contrast of sunlit flowers against the dark shadows on the edge of the bank was startling in its beauty.  I raced the ten miles or so home to get my camera, then hurriedly drove back to photograph the scene.  As I picked my way through the tall weeds, I noticed a curious thing.  None of the Queen Ann’s lace or day lilies grew down the edge of the embankment.  Butterflies and insects flitted about the flowers, but all was still and quiet in the deep shadows at the edge of the drop.  They were living on the edge.  But they, like many of us, had no reason to explore further.

Some years later, after I had moved to the mountains, I pulled out those photos and created a painting based on that experience.  I titled it “Living On The Edge.”  This painting has always had a certain amount of personal meaning for me.  Where would I be, where would any of us be, without our “edges?”  What do we do when we reach our preconceived boundaries?

I’ve lived on many edges during my life.  Most have brought about a lot of change as I dove off the end!  At this particular time, I seem to be living on the edge again.  Our youngest automobile is fifteen years old; we need a newer one.  Our heat pump/AC died in June; we need a new one.  I’ve been working on a book for three years, and am anxious to publish, but have to wend my way through the editing process.  My Man Jim and I have been weighing the possibility of selling our home, downsizing, and buying a place with a much smaller and more manageable yard.  Finally, as we seek God’s will in our lives, we are also considering some changes in the path He seems to be leading us down.  Lots of edges!  Lots of potential changes!  Not a whole lot of specific direction, yet…  So much going on, yet nothing is happening.

knowI feel it in my bones, that we are on the cusp of something, but what?  Will we fall off the edge into the abyss, or sail on towards a new world?  We don’t have a specific reason to go further yet, but why not?  What lies beyond the edge?  Patience is not my strong point!  I don’t want to sit on this cusp forever, and we’ve been bouncing around on some of these issues for several years.  I want to get moving NOW!  Alas, my timing is not God’s timing, and God is always right on time.  What’s a person t do?

I can practice being grateful, that’s what I can do! . Grateful that our cars still work, even if not as reliable as we’d like, and that Jim is a good mechanic who can fix them most of the time  Grateful that the AC unit for our bedroom area still works, so we have some respite from the heat after a long, hot day, until we can get a new unit installed for the rest of the house.    Grateful that my son, John, is my editor extraordinaire, who helps me in ways an anonymous editor couldn’t, and who does the best he can under his own time constraints.   Grateful that we have a decent home in spite of the pain-in-the-neck difficult yard maintenance.  Grateful for listening hearts and guidance from friends as we navigate the changes we see before us.  I’m learning to be grateful for what I do have rather than lamenting what I don’t have.  So, let this adventure unfold in its own time.  Living on the edge beckons!  I’m grateful for that!

Jean Carter Kimble's Pastel Art

          LIVING ON THE EDGE