Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Walm-ART or Real ART?

With the holidays just around the corner, I want to challenge everyone to spend their gift giving money on America. Not just in American stores, but on truly 100% American made products from artists and craftsmen around the country who put their years of training and love of their craft into every item they make. Think about it: for every crappily made sweater that you spend your hard earned dollars on at Walmart, American Apparel, Kmart, Target or wherever, the result is the same. You get an inferior product made in Malaysia, Tawain, Bangladesh or some other sweat factory located around the world. That money that you just spent goes to another country and stays there. You are supporting a global machine that oppresses millions of people into working for slave wages so that you can have that inferior, cheap product that will end up in the bottom of someone's drawer eventually or in the Goodwill store. (But it did have a nice label didn't it?) And once that money goes oversees, it doesn't come back. That job that you lost recently? It's because too many folks are feeding the machine.
The solution? Start with buying American made art and fine craft. I bet almost everyone knows an artist or a jeweler or has attended a craft show in their neighborhood or on vacation. Start to think about the people on your shopping list and the kinds of things that they might like that would be a true treasure for them, that they would keep for years and years. Are you shopping at the box stores for low prices? Artists and crafts people have low prices too. They also have high prices. They can offer you all the quality, variety and pricing you want to fit you budget. You just have to look for the right ones to fit your budget.
The artists at Stormflight Designs have gorgeous American handmade silver and glass jewelry starting as low as $12.99 and up. Can you get that at Sprawlmart? NO!
Do you have an occasion coming up like a wedding, special birthday, or do you just like dessert? Should you run out to Target and get those mass produced ceramic plates that will chip the minute you put them in the dishwasher? Maybe you should visit Hulls Happiest Days Designs for your adorably customized serving plates, cups, platters and cake plates with items starting at $17.99 and up.
Do you still enjoy the art of letter writing? Would you like to encourage someone (maybe your kid) to write to you? Enjoy for yourself or give a subtle hint with the gift of hand crafted note cards by Bella Card Creations starting at just 3.95!!!!!! People, if you are going to spend $3.95 on a card, should it be on a massed produced generic greeting from Hallmark that 10,000 people in America are also getting????
Or do you really care enough to send the very best, something special and unique that shows that you thought about who you were buying for and wanted to give them something as special as they are? I mean how friggin cute is this card? This woman has had 3 kidney transplants so buy her cards!
Ok , almost off my soap box. Bottom line. Buying your stuff from American Artists and Craftspeople is just the right thing to do and here's why:
1. All the reasons stated above
2. Most people treasure handmade items and will keep them
3. Handmade items can be more affordable than you think
4. Artists who live in America will take the money they've earned and put it back into America buying goods and services that may be in the industries that support you, your husband , your kid or your neighbor. So go and buy from these people, the ones I've mentioned or the ones in the art fair around the corner or in the gallery down the street.

Lastly, (shameless self promotion here) you can always buy from me. A signed copy of my children's book "Millicent and the Faraway Moon" is $17.95. It is 40 pgs, full color hardcover and priced under many kids books on the market. Newsflash here: A Scholastic Book that they push on you at your kids book fair is not necessarily better than my self published one. Yes, they do publish a lot of wonderful books, but mine is pretty wonderful too. And if you are in the market for something for the wall... you can always buy a print from me starting at just $30 or for the more elaborate gift for that special person in your life, an original ranging from $85 to $900.
Its all a matter of what you want and what you want to spend. I can almost guarantee you, that whatever your budget, you can find something made by hand to fit it. Something way better than anything they have in the mall or in the big box stores. Now go shopping! Do your part for the country and for the economy. It will make you feel good. It will make people like you :0)

Monday, September 19, 2011

Don't Let Anyone Hold you Back from Your Dreams!

Do you have a story brewing inside of you? Have you always dreamed of writing your story and seeing it in print? Is it there, alive, in your mind, with no place to go? If you are walking around , dreaming of the day that you will write it, or if you have it written and are dreaming of that day when a publisher is magically going to show up at your door and make you the next J.K. Rowling, we need to talk. Not to be negative, but someone online said something like, "It's so hard to get published. Like less than 5%. And it seems like you need to be published first to get published -- it's catch-22." It's not impossible, but very difficult, and requires persistence,perseverance and most of all-patience. That's something I ran out of a couple of years ago when I decided to take matters into my own hands and self publish, "Millicent and the Faraway Moon." Granted, I didn't shop my manuscript around too much, as I am a rather impatient person and when I have an idea for something, I want to see it happen.
So I began looking into self publishing. I looked through many self publishing company sites and at that time the one that appealed to me the most, was because I could create my book without a big giant upfront investment and since I had the needed skills to create my picture book, I took matters into my own hands.
I have to say that it as a labor of love, as it does take a good investment of time to go this route, but once it was done, I had the satisfaction of holding something that I created from start to finish and in my hands and had had compete control over it. What resulted, was a 40 page softcover picture book for kids, ages 4-9 and something that I was very proud of.
I took my book and sold it mostly at art shows where I was already selling my paintings, but I have also done book signings, school visits, and book fairs. By the time I had sold about 300 copies, I decided that the book had enough of a track record to invest in a hard cover printing which I did last year. My sales continue to flourish and I am proud to share the uplifting story of my blue cow Millicent as she tackles her self esteem issues.
I also look forward to sharing what I have learned on my self publishing journey in 2 workshops that I am offering at the Newark Arts Alliance in Newark De. on Oct. 3 from 6:30 - 8:30 and on Dec. 5 from 6:30-8:30. If interested, you should register for one or the other at the Newark Arts Alliance website . This is a link to the program pdf.
If you are someone like me who likes to take control over their own creative life and destiny- I hope to meet you at one of my workshops. If you live too far away or can't join me for any reason, please feel free to comment or contact me if I can help you with specific questions :0)

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Newark Arts Alliance Fundraiser

Here's a really cool way to support a great arts organization in Newark, De. Go to to bid. There are some really cool hens to decorate your nest and its for a great cause.

The one I did is on view at the Flip Flop Shop on Main Street. You can drop by any time to see it for real before you bid on it and maybe buy some cool flip flops while you're at it :0)
Here's me at the shop with my hen.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Launching My New Website Today!

I am so proud of myself. It took me weeks to complete, but my new, completely overhauled website is now up and running in fact -you are already on it! I felt after 6 years, that it was time for a fresh look and I wanted to create a seamless experience for people visiting my website to also visit my blog and my new website-, a site created just for "Millicent and the Faraway Moon" under the moniker of House of the Rising Star Publishing. I hope you will take some time to look around. I have created not just a site, but a whole gallery catalog of my work created from around 1985 and onward. Many people only know me through my cow paintings, but now folks can get to know all facets of my artistic persona. In the galleries, prints are instantly available for purchase and originals are offered, just inquire for pricing. There is also a link to Cafe press where notecards, mouse pads and even Christmas ornaments with my work on them is available. I will really appreciate if you would comment here with thoughts about the new look and feel of my site, especially if there is something I might have overlooked.
Thanks for reading, for looking around my site and for supporting me as an artist!

Friday, September 2, 2011

Longs Park? Save Your $10 Admission! Two Art Shows

This weekend I will be showing my art in two wonderful places. The first is Saturday at Woodside Creamery in Hockessin. They have some of the best ice cream I have ever eaten and you can use the $10 admission you would spend at Longs Park by coming to Woodside for free and eating lots of ice cream. The show runs from 11-5. please find me in the Party Tent on the hill to the left.
On Sunday, I will be back at Paradocx Vineyard where I have recently been bestowed the honor of Artist in Residence. Party down with great wine and Atiba Caribbean Steel Band from 5-9. Bring a blanket, some grub and the kids, cause there's a moon bounce and fields to play in.

Thursday, September 1, 2011