here we are, still in the middle of the Corona virus lockdown. People are
getting antsy now, wanting to get out and restart their lives and businesses
before they are swallowed up in time, ruined financially, and forgotten. Artists
certainly are no different, and that’s what I wanted to address here.
you thought about how you are going to face this continued shutdown and survive
it? I’ve been giving a great deal of mind space about that and thought I’d
share what I’m doing. I hope it resonates with and helps some other artists (or
non-artists) who read this.
you’ve read my March and April blog posts, you’ll know that I’ve been putting
lots of ideas into how to move forward instead of lamenting over lost
opportunities. There are so many more and different opportunities now! I
believe the economy will boom after this is over, maybe incrementally rather
than in a huge opened flood gate, but a rebound nonetheless. I believe people
can’t wait to get out and do things again – fun things like going to art shows
and spending a little money on items other than toilet paper, masks, and hand
sanitizers. They may be hesitant to spend a whole lot of money at first. They
will be looking for something fun to buy, that’s easily affordable but not an extravagant,
yet is of high quality and value for the money spent. A non-necessity that’s a necessity
to the psyche. And that’s where branding come into play.
an artist recently coming out of a decade of inactivity, I’ve found myself
having to re-establish my art career. One of the things I’ve done is create a
brand for myself. We attended a couple of website seminars and learned how
important it is to have a tagline, what makes it memorable, how it contributes
to your branding, and how important it is to update and redesign your site periodically
to keep it fresh and new. I made a tagline: ART THAT TAKES YOU THERE. It is
short, pithy, and says exactly what my site is about when people first land on
my home page. It states the goal of my art, which is to transport the viewer
into the scenes I’ve created. It received so many rave reviews from other
artist friends and the web designers giving the seminars that I had it registered
as my trademark with the U.S. patent and trademark office. If you want to avoid
the awful legal costs, you can do it yourself (which we did) but it takes a
long time to jump through the hoops and can be very frustrating. Worth it in
the end, though.
second thing involved framing my original work to museum conservation standards,
using 99% UV protection glass with no-glare properties, and 100% acid free
materials, including rag suede mats. Suede mats colors are so saturated with
richness that they truly make the art inside them pop in a way no other matting
can. Because of the consistency of my style, my pastel medium, the velvety suede
mats, and the museum quality framing, viewers should recognize my work before
they see the signature on it or know whose booth space they are in. This is
branding – instant recognition. All of this brings more value to the buyer.
Why? Because that person will never have to worry about fading, and that
includes the mats. That buyer will never have to be concerned about glare from
windows or UV lighting. The glass is crystal clear, like the glass on protected
paintings in museums. Whoever purchases an original painting of mine will never
worry that acid spots from none-buffered mats or from none-acid foam core on
the backing will appear on the work. It costs more to do this, but the buyer
will know he or she has purchased a valuable work that is worth the price paid.
The point is to brand my work as a highly valued, desirable addition to a home
or office that will last for generations.
that being said, what about the people who want something valuable, but can’t
afford a four figure original painting? There are always limited edition
prints. I used to do off-set lithography prints because that was the only option
available for art reproductions up until the 1990s. At that time color-fast giclee
on-demand printing was introduced! The quality, color saturation, and printing
on mat rag paper was perfect for my pastel medium. So, I switched. They are
more expensive than lithos, but still far less than an original. In my recent product bag, I’ve added giclee
reproductions printed on canvas, then stretched on wood frames like an oil painting.
Easier and less expensive for buyers to frame to their own liking. Also added
during this time of quiet will be enhanced canvas prints, where I will be
bringing out highlights by applying appropriate acrylic paint to the canvas – little
touches of originality and added dimension. These additions add labor cost to
the canvas giclee prints, but create a product that’s unique and of higher
value. The trade-off is in the framing costs to the consumer, not a point to be
as my brain continues getting ready for the boom, I’m thinking of the
bread-and-butter items every artist needs to make a show a real financial success
even without selling an original painting. I used to make and sell note cards,
which filled that bill admirably. Alas, thanks to the age of the internet, cell
phones, video face-time chats, and so many other smart technological
innovations which blossomed during my decade of inactivity, barely anyone
writes notes anymore. Here are some things I have done, ideas I’m in the middle
of, and others I plan to implement: 1) creating ceramic coaster tiles with
images from my art. They are gorgeous, and I can sell them for about the same
price as a package of note cards. I can take high quality jpg images of
vignettes from some of my favorite paintings long since sold or new ones in my
inventory, and turn them into coasters or wall tiles. They make great home
accessories or gift items. I had some made and will take them to my first show
in August. 2) I am working out an agreement with a metal laser engraver to do
line drawings of my most popular animal and bird notecard subjects to put on
metal insulated drink cups. They can be personalized with the recipient’s name.
He has a lucrative business selling these personalized cups, and has approached
me to do the drawings and receive a royalty for each cup with my design on it. He
has even agreed to supply some for me to sell at my shows. The details aren’t
finalized yet, but I
love this idea! Hoping I will have
some of these for my show in August also. 3) Limited edition hanging Christmas
ornaments with my art showcased in miniature gold or silver plated frames. I’ve
been in touch with a company that makes these exclusive ornaments, and they are
exquisite! Not your ordinary tree ornaments, but things of beauty one will hate
to put away after the holidays. There is a minimum order involved, so I will do
only one design a year, and make them limited to that run so that when they are
gone, they’re gone! This way, they will be sought-after objects of value and
still wonderful, affordable gifts for buyers or others on their gift lists.
you’re wondering what these things have to do with branding. Everything! I’m looking ahead to create
art objects that are of the highest quality possible for anything I offer, yet
diverse enough to fill important gaps in
my art product line. And, since I’m using my own art imagery, it’s still Art That Takes You There. In this age of
covid-19, we can’t afford to stew in our own juices, but instead be ready when the lockdowns are lifted, and get out there!—-Signing off as JEAN
CARTER KIMBLE ART — Art That Takes You There.
FINDING PEACE IN
THE MIDST OF TURMOIL
we are in April of 2020 in the midst of a world-wide Coronavirus pandemic. It
seems the world has gone crazy with fear, panic, and hoarding. Our country and our
economy have come to a virtual standstill. Only those businesses and services
deemed “essential” are allowed to remain operational. Some examples are food
and pharmacy retailers, medical services, construction, transportation,
suppliers and manufacturers of machines, parts and equipment for all of the above. As a result of this, businesses are failing
and employees are finding themselves jobless as the country grinds to a halt.
The panic is so wide-spread that many people
are hoarding things that are
essential to most of us, such as toilet paper, hand sanitizer, anti-bacterial
surface wipes, and even food items like chicken and bread. It seems Chicken
Little is trying to outrun the sky falling in. In our few trips out to the stores
during March, we couldn’t find toilet paper. Good thing we had bought a bulk
package of it just prior to this collapse of common sense! We finally found
chicken after three separate days, three trips to Winchester, and all the
stores in Front Royal. While out, we saw people everywhere wearing face masks
(which are now unavailable as well). Those who weren’t wearing masks looked
empty or frightened. It looked like they thought the apocalypse was going to
happen at any moment. But at the end of the day, we must remember what happened
to Chicken Little. She spent all her time spreading panic and fear while the
other chickens gathered seeds and made bread. In the end, the sky didn’t fall;
the other chickens had plenty to eat and she had none…
didn’t I just write a book about that a couple of years ago? It’s called THE
RICH, THE POOR, AND THE NAKED – Finding Peace out of Turmoil from the Lives of
Twelve Biblical Women. You know what? Plagues and pandemics aren’t new; famine
isn’t new; evil, cruelty, starvation, and turmoil aren’t new. All these things
have happened since the beginning of time. Most of the Biblical women I wrote
about faced such circumstances and had to make life-and-death decisions and
make them quickly. Where did they find their strength in the face of such long
odds of surviving? By putting their faith in none other than the God in heaven
who made them. Now would be an excellent time for us to look to their examples.
of my artist friends are doing just that, as I am: creating inventory, adding
new things to our product lines, writing more, getting paperwork in proper
order, and so much more. In my case, I’m also redefining my purpose for art,
and writing a new book. All of us can
use this time to prepare for the boom coming after the bust, and it will. This
doesn’t have to be a time of fear and panic. We can regard it as a respite from
the “busy-ness” of life as we reconnect with God, with loved ones, friends and
neighbors, and with our purposes and callings.
can be a time to cherish as we reconnect with what really matters, of finding
peace out of turmoil. We’ve certainly been given the time to give it some
thought and put those thoughts to action.
I’m excited about what is to come. I believe it will be a new beginning, a
fresh new start for many of us artists who are using our time wisely. I’m
excited about the prospect of shows crowded with potential customers, of creating
new works for them, of working on another book. I see a whole new world of opportunities
after an extended time of serious trouble in the land. For those who look, even
those who’ve been knocked down, the possibilities could be endless. I believe
it will be a wonderful time in our country to be an artist!
FEAR OR CONFIDENCE?
It’s March, 2020, and time for my
favorite art show, the Rappahannock River Waterfowl Show in White Stone VA. I
love it because it’s in my home county where I grew up. It supports the local
fire department. I went to school with the local organizers. They’ve worked
hard to produce a top-notch show worthy of any of the national juried wildlife
art shows I’ve participated in. It attracts the best wildlife artists, and as
such, has been named one of the top ten attractions in the Southeast.
Consequently, it attracts serious art collectors throughout Virginia and
beyond. The tiny town of White Stone explodes with thousands of visitors every third
weekend in March. They come to connect with artists, purchase art, and eat
local seafood in one of Virginia’s most rural and beautiful areas on the shores
of the Rappahannock River as it pours into the Chesapeake Bay. It is a “buying”
kind of show!
I was in this show for over two decades
before moving to the mountains in 2007. For most of those twenty-three years I
lived only four miles away. Even after I moved, I went for two more years,
because I had good friends to see and to stay with. So, last fall I made the
decision to go back this spring after an absence of 11 years. I sent in my booth
space fee. Jim designed and ordered new, updated business cards for me and a
six foot banner. I had beautiful ceramic tile coasters made up with my
paintings heat infused into them as a new item. And, I had a whole new body of
work better than ever! The closer it got to “show time,” the more excited I
got. I looked forward to renewing old friendships, reconnecting with former
customers, and making new ones. I would relish the fragrance of salt air, eat
baked rock fish and soft crab sandwiches, and savor the exhilaration of being
back in my old stomping grounds of the Northern Neck.
Enter the coronavirus. Originating in
China, it wasn’t long before it was world-wide. Over here in the eastern US, we
felt protected by distance when it first appeared on the west coast. As it
jumped to New York and Florida, I still felt life would go on as usual. But
that nasty little covid-19 virus halted life as we’d known it, and created a
new “normal.” It leaped state by state, finally entering Virginia in the north,
then Virginia Beach, then suddenly in Harrisonburg, 55 miles down I-81 from me.
The governor closed all schools K-12. He sent out warnings, then banned all
gatherings of more than 100 people. Businesses began closing. Panicked
customers stripped essential items and food from store shelves in a day. The
W.H.O. declared covid-19 a pandemic, which made the stock market drop like a
stone. The President declared a National Emergency. Suddenly, everything was
being cancelled. That included my favorite art show.
Hope died that Jim and I would not be
touched by this demon virus. We had done a lot to prepare for my show. Was it
all for naught? Would the big May art show in Roanoke I’d applied for be
cancelled as well? What show wouldn’t be? What was I doing this for? I admit to
feeling very confused for a couple of days. And then, there was the precipitous
fall on Wall Street. Fear. That’s
when the discretionary income that people use to buy non-necessities like art
gets tucked under the mattress instead. Similar to Black Monday in 1987 and the
housing bust in 2008, the art market now could be in the doldrums for years. It
was easy to wonder why I’d been doing art in the first place, and easier to it give
up. I questioned if I should just stop painting altogether. These were
So, what to do now? Although I was very
disappointed at the show cancellation, and dismayed at the thought of others
I’d applied to being cancelled, after a few days I felt strangely at peace
Knowing the fluidity of the situation, Jim
and I prayed that God would provide answers. We made a conscious decision to be
proactive instead of reactive about how we responded to the circumstances. Most
of all, we knew we must not let this time be a time of fear, but of confidence.
Confidence, you ask? What could we have confidence in when the world is falling
apart? Well, we know this pandemic will end,
and we should be ready when it does. We know, because of our age, we need to make
common sense adjustments in our routines to protect our health. We have
confidence that there are reasons for everything that God has allowed to happen
even if He didn’t instigate what’s happening. We may not know them, but we also know our God
will protect His children who trust in Him. Best of all, He has given us the
blessing of time in the middle of a crisis! We must be the best stewards we can
be of this precious commodity. Time to fall back and regroup. To concentrate on
the things that matter. To look to Him for wisdom and guidance instead of
giving in to panic. Love is liberating, so, we must use our time wisely to love,
support, and connect with our families, and our friends and neighbors as best
we can. Jim and I must be good stewards of
this valuable time.
Jim and I must be good stewards of the
abilities and finances God has blessed us with as we seek to use these gifts
for His purposes. We’ll use this lull to increase our efficiency and inventory.
I determined I would not give up painting. God gave me the gift and expects me
to use it. However, instead of increasing my inventory of large paintings, which
I love to do, I’d concentrate on smaller pieces which would be more affordable.
I plan to set up a streamlined bookkeeping system that inventories everything
in its place. This is the perfect time. I’m researching limited edition Christmas
ornaments of some of my paintings. And, I need to write more. Jim will continue
tweaking my website, which is an on-going process anyway. we’ll add time-lapse
photography videos of my painting process and some short teaching videos on
pastels. This should increase my visibility on the internet. There is no
shortage of things we can do to achieve better success in the future if we
apply our due diligence to research, resources, and feasibility. We’ve talked
about these things before, but now is the time to act. When March 2021 rolls
around, we should be ready for a wonderful year ahead.
Fear is paralyzing. Fear is not of the
Lord, but by the one who seeks to stop us from the Lord’s work. We might not be
able to attend conferences or shows, or other gatherings we’d scheduled for
March, but we have volunteered our time, through our church and privately, to
help others in need. Helping others helps us realize our own blessings when we
see those who are in deeper need.
unsettling watching a metamorphosis in our society caused by a virus. But I
have confidence in this time of crisis that we’ll come through the other side
of it shining like beacons of light on a hilltop, as long as we keep our eyes
on the things we can do instead of
the things we can’t do. In this manner, we can all get through the corona virus pandemic!
haven’t blogged in a long time, and that’s one of my mistakes. There have been
plenty of reasons why, but no excuses.
It’s a big mistake bloggers shouldn’t make. It has made me feel like a
failure. Have you ever been in that
situation? Where there are mistakes
you’ve made in your personal or professional life that have colored your
outlook on yourself? You can’t undo
them, so you think of yourself as a failure no matter what your successes have
Bear with me a moment and go back to
my blog of April, 2017, entitled “In the Beginning…Cartoons??” In that blog, I put forth my technique for
transferring a pattern for a future painting onto my art paper. I explained how I created a pattern first,
blew it up on a grid, and then transferred it to my final paper as mistake-free
and permanently as I could. This helps
avoid many unforeseen slip-ups. Back in
the day, as in Renaissance days, the system of enlarging via a grid system was
called “cartooning.” It was practiced by
many of the great artists of that day who were painting much larger-than-life
works and didn’t have a handy-dandy desktop projector. Well, I didn’t either, so I cartooned my
patterns. I still do.
By the time I’m through with my
patterns, they are a mess! Crisscrossed
with horizontal and vertical grid lines, all kinds of numbers from the grid,
pencil smudges, roughed in, sloppy looking shading scribbles, notes I’ve made
to watch out for this or that, erasure marks; they often look as confusing as
some sort of visual riddle. Anyone else
looking at them would see a disaster. Sometimes,
even I have a hard time deciphering them.
But somewhere hiding in there are
good patterns waiting to be transferred.
Once a pattern is applied to the final art
paper, it’s just stark, flat outlines resembling the pages of a new coloring
book. Boring. But what happens next is ah-mazing! Color!
Little by little as I apply the color, a painting comes to life. I follow my lines for the composition and
shading I had planned out on the pattern.
Through color and shading or highlighting, the 3-D effects of great
distances or close-up details of various objects take shape. Color
sets the stage, creates a mood, and transforms a mess into a masterpiece. It was all done by previous design.
I think we, as humans are the same
way. We’re just patterns, cartoons. No, not funny stuff to poke fun at, but
imperfect patterns from which God crafts His masterpieces. He makes the patterns He’s had in mind for us
all along. We mess it up with mistakes,
smudges, confusion, trying to erase what we can’t undo. Eventually, throughout our lives, He
transfers us to clean paper and applies the color that will glorify Him through
us. Oh yeah, we’ve failed in so many
ways, but we are not failures when He is in control of the color. We are masterpieces, and we must get out of
that mindset of defining ourselves by our past failures, when in reality we are
turning into beautiful finished products.
I wish I could claim this thought
as an original of mine, but I can’t. My
Man Jim was having breakfast with a new friend this morning. He told me afterwards that his friend, Randy,
had asked him about my art and how I did it.
Jim was showing him my website and explaining the age-old “cartooning”
technique as part of my creating process when Randy, in a flash of inspiration,
exclaimed that we’re all like cartoons, destined to be something beautiful, but
seeing and believing our messy patterns of failures instead. I say
kudos and many heartfelt thanks to Randy for his insight, which provided the
thought material for this blog, something I very much needed to be jumpstarted
back into doing!
This is one of my latest paintings of what I saw on the beach while vacationing in North Carolina at Corolla, Outer Banks ( OBX ). My goal is to paint in such a way that it’s “Art That Takes You There.”