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!