Thursday, June 30, 2011

Life and Loss...

I've been quiet on the artistic front lately. This past weekend, at just shy of twelve weeks pregnant, my husband and I found out that I had miscarried. It's been quite an emotional blow to the both of us.
The other night I picked up my sketch pad and pencil and just started doodling...the result was the image you see above. Now, usually life's many strong and emotionally charged moments bring me incredible, calming, therapeutic inspiration, but this was a much more painful experience.
The moment I laid the pencil down and really took in what I had just drawn, I burst into tears.

For me, art has always been therapeutic. It helps me heal the pain, define the frustrations, solve problems, revel in my happiness. But, I have never had such a simple drawing cut right through everything and feel like the very image of my emotions.
It was a very raw and powerful experience...and it scared the crap out of me.
There I was, thinking I had a handle on things, and a few minutes with a pencil and paper, proved that I still had a lot of healing to do.

To be completely honest, I've been terrified to pick up a pencil since. But, somewhere in the back of my mind, there is a little voice telling me, "go for it...let it all out".

So, it may be a while before I'll be jumping back into the work that I love to do, but I think I'm going to take some time to explore these emotions and see where they take me artistically.
It may not be an easy place, but I think it's a journey I need to take.

Sending all my love out to you, my readers and hoping everyone can bear with me on this slight creative detour.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Happy Father's Day!

(Portrait of My Dad)
Artwork By Chris Zahner

My dad is one of those do-it-all, know-it-all type guys. He can fix anything, solve any problem, and I swear some days he knows more useless information than all the rest of my family combined.
Growing up, my brother and I used to joke that my dad worked for the CIA, for two reasons...#1: As kids we really didn't understand what his job title meant (Operations Systems Manager or something along those lines...see I still don't know it!) #2:No one person knows as much as he does without being James Bond, MacGyver, or a human Encyclopedia.
As we grew up, we started to realize that while my father was indeed a very smart man; he was also a world class BS'er. I've watched him outsmart people in their own fields of business; from Real Estate Agents, to car Salesmen and beyond. And one of the greatest lessons I've learned from him over the years is exactly how he was able to pull all this off.
My dad has NEVER stopped learning. He asks questions, he tries everything new, he listens to experts, he reads news/magazines/manuals, and he takes up every opportunity he can to expand his ever growing mind.
My dad always told me that in the working world a boss could take just about anything from you; benefits, time, money, and of course your very job itself. But, one thing no one could ever take from you was the experience and the knowledge you gain while working there. He always encouraged me to to learn as much as I possibly could at each and every job I held and to glean as much knowledge and growth from my everyday life.
I've always admired my dad's sharp mind and hard working ethic. When things get tough and life gets stressful; he's one of the best people to turn to and help find the good that can come from it, the lessons that can be learned, and the experiences that can be used.

He's been one of my greatest teachers in life and for that I am so incredibly blessed and thankful.

Love ya pops! Happy Father's Day!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

New Work

Just a sampling of some of the newest creations...

1. Personalized Letter Mosaic for a child's room
2. Lady Among the Flowers ( for sale in my Etsy shop )
3. Bear Mosaic on for my Mother In Law's Birthday

After falling off the face of the earth...

I'm back! I realize it's been a little while since I've been able to pop on here for a chat; but I'm back in the swing of things now.

I spent the last few weeks desperately trying to reach a sales goal in my Etsy shop (which turned into a more than epic failure), but alas, I am not deterred. (Initially a little disappointed, but not destroyed) ;)
I got swept up in the desire to "sell sell sell" my artwork, and you know what...I got more joy from the art piece I recently surprised my Mother In Law with than I usually get from an Etsy sale. While I'm not one to balk at people paying for my work (it is in fact a very very high compliment in my opinion and I admire many of the talented artists who sell so well) I've realized that for me personally...I just can't get too swept up in the business side of it or art loses all joy for me.
I am a terrible business person. I couldn't sell myself to save my life. And, on top of that I LOVE giving people gifts. It's an addiction...I absolutely revel in the joy that comes across someones face when they are surprised by a gift, a kind gesture, or a little token of love. I like making people smile...and if I can do that by sharing my artwork with them, then I'll do it a hundred times over.

Over the past few weeks (as the deadline for my promotion/sales goal came hurdling towards me) I started to reevaluate what I was really trying to accomplish.
Do I want to sell my artwork? Heck yes! Do I think it's worth what I charge? You betcha (and the hand cramps, sore back and hours of involvement in each piece more than back me up)
Do I think people will buy my work? Yes, yes I do. Am I proud of what I create? Absolutely!

But, I do have a soft spot for giving art away, and I know that will always be a part of who I am. So, for me, I think it's about finding a balance between bettering myself as a business person (for the purpose of selling my work) and not beating myself up for wanting to gift my creations when I feel like it.

I am truly truly blessed (and I am grateful for this everyday) that my art is a hobby. As long as my sales help me to break even and continue to create, I'm happy. Don't get me wrong...if I could ever make a monetary living from doing this, I'd be thrilled. But, money ain't going to make or break me...because the moment it stops becoming something I love to do, just for the sake of doing it; I don't want to do it anymore.