Tag Archives: art

A Request For Feedback

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At The Hungerford Building, the place where I share artist space.

Over the last few years, my passion has shifted from writing to painting.

From the start, I’ve been wedded to the idea that all my work would be original, that everyone should be able to afford an original piece of art.

And I still believe that.

And yet…

I’d like to be able to support myself as a full-time artist one day, and selling reproductions of my stuff one way to do it.

After polling people in real life and on Facebook, I realized that folks would appreciate having an opportunity to buy my work, at a slightly more affordable price point.

So now I’d like to hear from you.

As of right now, I’m planning to reproduce my work on magnets, stationery, and cork-backed coasters.

That much I know.

What I don’t know – and need to figure out quickly – is which pieces people like best.

Below, you’ll find eleven images labeled from A-K.

I’d appreciate it if you would tell me which FOUR pieces speak to you most.

And which image you like the least.

Because, you know, I don’t want to order 100 coasters of that pattern if no one is going to buy them.

That would suck.

Feel free to leave a comment on the blog or on Facebook.

I’m excited about my foray into the business world.

Per usual, I have no idea what I’m doing, but I have faith that I’ll figure things out.

Thank you in advance for your feedback.

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So which FOUR do you like best? Which ONE do you like the least? And why?

tweet me @rasjacobson or SHARE my stuff on Facebook @rasjacobsonart

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The State of Undress Project: A Longterm Art Endeavor

IVY BEATS THE BLUES

IVY BEATS THE BLUES

Some of you know me as an artist; others of you know me as a writer or a teacher or a professional organizer. However, you know me, I’m guessing you’ve heard about how I’m healing from damage to my central nervous system caused by Klonopin, a medication prescribed to me by my doctor.

I’ve come a long way, but I still struggle with my executive planning function, a part of my brain function, which has been damaged during my traumatic withdrawal.

Once a mover and a shaker, I now experience nerve pain that has forced me to slow down.

 Despite my daily challenges, I’m still here.

After a 3-year hiatus from the formal classroom, this summer I’m teaching a memoir class once a week, and…

I’ve found a way to unify my passion for combining words and art in an effort to inspire others.

I’m calling my latest endeavor The State of Undress Project, which — when complete — will feature 18 paintings of women of every age, color, and social class. 

To be part of this project, women must be able to articulate an invisible obstacle they have overcome (or that they are actively working on) and be willing to frame this challenge as a strength. They must be willing to pose in some state of undress – lingerie or bathing suit, or slip (of their choosing) — and have their likeness painted as an impressionistic piece of art. 

I’ve completed 6 paintings so far, 2 are in progress, and…

I’m looking for 10 more female volunteers.

Posing semi-clothed requires immense vulnerability, bravery, and trust. Please know, I believe that every woman’s body is beautiful, and I can promise that I will turn your photograph into a fabulous piece of art.

If you’re interested (or if you know of someone who might be interested), please compose a paragraph in which you explain your story to me and send it to:  rasjacobson.ny@gmail.com by August 15, 2016. I’ll contact you we can talk about my timeline and the next step.

If you’d like to monitor my progress on Facebook, you can find me at: https://www.facebook.com/rasjacobsonart/

Would you ever consider posing in a state of undress? Why or why not?

tweet me @rasjacobson

Sketching Project: Chad

This is Chad, a student at Monroe Community College.

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A devoted husband and father, Chad’s back in school after a long absence.

He was kind enough to let me sketch him not once, but twice.

Because the first time, I royally screwed up his head.

And his ear.

And basically everything.

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After sketching Chad for the second time, a friend informed me that I’ve been using the wrong paper.

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“You have to use watercolor paper,” she told me. “Otherwise, it bubbles up.”

Who knew?

So I bought a new pad of paper, and guess what?

The right paper really makes a big difference.

I shouldn’t have been surprised, but I was.

Having the right equipment is important.

I mean, I wouldn’t wear a bikini to go snowmobiling.

I wouldn’t wear stilettos to track practice.

And I definitely wouldn’t buy a volleyball and give it to my son to use at soccer practice.

(except that i totally did that one time. poor kid. soooooo embarrassing.)

The point is that I’m learning something new every day.

Sometimes, it’s about confronting a fear, trying a new activity, having a difficult conversation.

But sometimes? It’s all about the watercolor paper.

What tiny little thing did you learn today?

tweet me @rasjacobson

 

Sketching Project: Faye

I’ve been staring at people for several weeks now and, while I initially planned to sketch one stranger each day, I’ve realized that was an unrealistic goal.

So I’ve slowed down a bit.

Still, I feel like I’m improving.

This is real life Faye.

A proud mother and grandmother, Faye is a Manager at Rite Aid

A proud mother and grandmother, Faye lives in Spencerport, NY and is a Manager at Rite Aid.

And this is my version of Faye:

A proud mother and grandmother, Faye is a manager at CVS.

So maybe this portrait doesn’t look anything like “real life” Faye, but I like what I did with her ear and her neck. And her lips. I’m seeing things differently, too, which is cool.

I’m feeling sorta inspired.

(And by that I mean, I feel some kind of art contest coming on. You know, with prizes and stuff, the way I used to do.)

tweet me @rasjacobson

 

 

 

Painting More Strangers: Update On My Progress

As you know, I’ve been drawing/painting strangers in an effort to improve my emerging sketching skills.

Seems that no matter what I do, I gravitate towards a whimsical palette.

Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

I’m learning that I have a style as an artist, just as I have a style as a writer.

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I sketched “Helene” at my local Barnes & Noble, and while she was flattered to have sat as my subject, she refused to be photographed.

At first I was disappointed. After all, I’d hoped to include real life photos along with my sketches.

But then I realized that Helene gave me a gift.

By not including her real-life photograph, I am able to appreciate that  – somehow – I managed to capture the essence of Helene.

According to Malcolm Gladwell, it takes 10,000 hours or roughly 10 years, to become a genius at something.

Not bad for 80 hours in.

How have you challenged yourself lately?

tweet me @rasjacobson

Staring At Strangers

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My first attempt at painting a stranger in watercolor.

At age 48, in the throes of a divorce, I’m figuring out who I am.

What I like to do.

After not investing one iota in myself for the last 20 years.

People keep telling me to do things that I enjoy.

“Have fun,” they say.

It’s awful to admit, but the concept of fun has become completely foreign to me.

In an effort to find fun and fill my craving for a creative community, I joined a sketch group. Convening mainly on weekends, we travel to different locations to meet and commit art together.

I’ve found that I feel less lonely while making art in public, so in-between meet-ups, I’ve taken to visiting local coffee shops to practice painting strangers.

In stealth mode.

Unfortunately, people often got up after only a few minutes, leaving me with an unfinished piece.

Which was unfulfilling.

I was taking too long in an effort to get it right.

I realized I had to speed up my efforts and focus on capturing the essence of an individual – his or her energy – in a quick sketch completed in just 4 or 5 minutes.

Once I stopped trying to be perfect, an interesting thing happened.

I started smiling.

Suddenly, people are approaching me. They call me “brave” for painting in public. Sharing how they used to love to knit/weave/paint/sew/make quilts … until someone told them they were terrible, and they stopped.

Sometimes people pull up chairs to sit with me and we end up talking about art, children, politics, love, divorce, grief.

And then they aren’t strangers anymore.

This morning, I went to the gym and, in addition to my mat and my sneakers and a change of clothes, I brought a backpack filled with pens and pencils, watercolors and brushes. Settled next to a cozy fireplace, I spotted a man with a strong profile, staring at an iPad.

After I finished sketching, I decided to walk over to introduce myself.

Awkwardly.

(You know, because I’m still the same dork you’ve come to know and love.)

Anyway, Taylor graciously allowed me to interview him and take his photograph. I received his permission to post his face and his likeness here on my blog.

So I’m setting a goal to complete one new sketch each day for a month. I’ll see if I want to continue after 30 days.

The most important thing?

I’m having fun again.

And I’m meeting new people.

Taylor

This is Taylor. While working as a lifeguard at Walt Disney World, he realized he enjoyed the medical aspects of his job. He’s currently studying to earn his Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing. And he’s a very good sport.

 

How’d I do? What brave new thing have you tried to do recently?

GIVE – a 4×4 canvas – just $25

This year I promised to spend more time cultivating relationships with people who bring me happiness and less time with negative and/or rude individuals. I’ve tolerated that for too long.

When you fill your life with people you love, giving isn’t a chore, it’s easy.

To that end, I’m offering GIVE today.

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This 4×4 acrylic canvas is just $25 and that includes shipping & handling anywhere in the United States! (Friends in Canada, you just have to pay a little bit extra.) I accept PayPal, so payment is secure and easy.

Interested? All you have to do is type SOLD in the comments, and I’ll contact you.

I wish you all a year of easy loving and giving relationships.

xo

 

What I Learned From My 2nd Art Show

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This summer, I had the opportunity to help a friend sell costume jewelry at a local Barn Sale.

“You should sell your canvases,” she offered.

I thought, How hard can it be to set up for a festival? I might as well try it.

The day before the show, I got $10 in singles, and I filled a baggie with nuts and fruit and yogurt.

Before the sun came up, I drove over to Sara’s house and helped to load her car with tables and chairs, bins and shelves, baskets and… oh yes, the humongous canvas canopy.

When we started driving, I realized that I no idea where we were going. As I followed Sara’s car, I cranked up the radio and enjoyed the morning breeze. But it was August, people. After we’d unpacked our cars, moved them to an adjacent field, and hiked back to our reserved spot, I noticed my shirt was sticking to my neck. It was hot. Damn hot. I wished I’d thought to bring a sundress.

The rest of the day was punctuated with little moments that kept reminding me I didn’t know anything about how to prepare for an outdoor festival.

Our sale took place in and around a barn.

In the middle of a field.

It would have been a good idea to have brought sunscreen. And wasp spray. And a fly swatter. A hat would have been a good idea too. And tissues. And lip balm. And Advil. I had no idea I’d need all those things to have a comfortable outdoor festival experience. Sara, a seasoned vendor, had everything: safety pins, zip ties, scissors, twine and tape, even bungee cords.

Did I mention I set up my display in 7 minutes?

It’s not enough to have a quality product. One must also have a degree in merchandising.

Besides a freshly pressed tablecloth, it’s necessary to have clear signage and extra-enticing displays.

I didn’t have any of these things.

Luckily, Sara how to artistically arrange her bling in bowls and baskets. She heaped bracelets on silver trays and draped scarves over wrought-iron racks. Sara’s tent was packed all day with women who couldn’t get enough of her inventory.

At one point, someone touched one of my canvases.

And then put it back down.

Long story short?

That day, I sold nothing.

Not one thing.

I pouted, I’m never doing another festival as long as I live.

And yet.

Four months later another opportunity presented itself for me to sell my stuff, and well… it seemed like a good idea to give the festival thing a second chance.

My handmade cards & canvases paired with Pretty Bird jewelry

My handmade cards & canvases paired with Pretty Bird jewelry

This time, the event was indoors. I felt more confident. No bugs. No heat. Plus, I had a better display and a pile of cute business cards. I’d brought plenty of change, and I was prepared to take credit cards.

They say you only need one customer. That one person to make your day worthwhile, and guess what? My customer showed up. She was looking for some special gifts, and I was just thrilled to have been able to help her with her holiday gift-giving.

I’m still trying to decide if I want to continue doing festivals. I certainly have a new respect for artists who participate in them regularly.  It takes a lot of work to research and prepare for a show, not to mention the labor involved with setting up for and traveling to and from a show. You also have to have a kind of mental fortitude because strangers sometimes make unintentionally hurtful comments.

Right now, the honest truth is that as long as I’m connecting with other people and making some money while doing it, well… that’s a great day for me.

What’s something you’ve done that had a sharp learning curve?

• • •

Oh, and it’s a good day for Lisa Kravetz! She commented on my blog and won the HOME canvas. I couldn’t be happier for her. Lisa, please email me at rasjacobson.ny@gmail.com and provide me with your snail mail address so I can send that canvas out to you as soon as possible.

please tweet me @rasjacobson

What does HOME mean to you? #giveaway

HOME, a 4x4 canvas featuring acrylic paint & texturizing medium. Makes a great gift!

HOME, a 4×4 canvas featuring acrylic paint & texturizing medium. Makes a great gift!

Enough snow had fallen so Thanksgiving felt festive, but not so much so anyone had to worry about getting from here to there.

I was looking forward to going around the table and sharing with everyone all the things for which I am thankful.

How lucky I felt: to be there – all of us all together – in a warm, cozy home where there is always a comfortable place to sit and a plate of delicious food to eat.

I wanted everyone to know that it’s true what your grandma said: your health really is everything;

That being home isn’t a place, it’s a feeling.

It’s a green toothbrush on the bathroom sink. It’s his bowl left on the kitchen table. It’s the sound of the garage door going up at the end of the day. It’s warm zucchini bread cooling on the countertop, the cat lying in that spot on the landing, the laundry twirling in sloppy circles.

If there’s one thing we share – no matter our race, income, religion or beliefs – it’s that we all want a place to call home, a place filled with love.

I’m getting back into the swing of the holidays by offering HOME  to one lucky commenter. how can you win?

Leave a comment in which you tell me what you think of when you hear the word “HOME,” then click HERE for additional information.

This contest is open to residents of the United States only. Enter as many times as you want between now & December 6th. One lucky winner will be announced on my blog on December 15th at 9 AM, so be sure to check back. If I don’t hear from the winner within 24 hours, Random Number Generator will select another winner.

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Professional GROWTH: a wee story & art

I’m feeling better each day, y’all. I’m volunteering weekly at a local elementary school, I’m working a part-time job;  I’m exercising and reconnecting with friends and family members, and I’m feeling confident as a mom again.

And, of course, I’ve been painting.

With my creative process ever evolving, well… I’ve had to learn more about how to run the business end of things more effectively. I figured out how to create invoices and take payment PayPal.

And then I realized I have issues.

Not long ago, an enthusiastic buyer sent me dozens of messages via Facebook, email and text message. I thought we’d finalized things so I got to work; apparently – she sent me a Tweet requesting that I revise a few things. Needless to say, I never saw it, so I didn’t make the piece the client wanted. After this snafu, I realized that corresponding on so many platforms didn’t do me any favors. Now, I only communicate via email, and I make sure to confirm orders with people before I start any work.

GROW is a 4×4 canvas featuring acrylic paint, texturizing medium & buttons. Just $20. Interested? Type SOLD in the comments or email me at rasjacobson.ny@gmail.com

GROW is a 4×4 canvas featuring acrylic paint, texturizing medium & buttons. Just $20. Interested? Type SOLD in the comments or email me at rasjacobson.ny@gmail.com

Another one of my issues involves asking for money.

I feel uncomfortable every single time I ask for payment.

Every. Single. Time.

Until recently, most of my orders came from people with whom I’m friends with on Facebook. It felt weird to ask friends for money. I thought people were just being nice by buying my little canvases. I felt unworthy of being paid for something that I was dabbling in as a hobby. And then I opened my Etsy shop and the orders started flooding in. That’s when a friend told me she was concerned I was undervaluing my work.

“Just because you make small paintings doesn’t mean they’re worth small dollars.”

I squirmed around with that for a while.

Me? Charge more? What if no one wants my paintings anymore? That will be so embarrassing. And how do I change prices. And won’t people be mad if they’ve already bought a 4×4 canvas and now I’m asking more?

I have a tendency to be a people pleaser, which is to say that historically, I’d go to great lengths to make else comfortable, to my own detriment.

I’m done with that.

So here’s the deal: effective immediately, I take cash or payment via PayPal. (No more personal checks.) I won’t start work on anyone’s canvas until I’ve received payment. If payment is not received within 48 hours of placing your order, that order will be canceled. Starting in the new year, 4×4 canvases are $25, plus shipping and handling (if applicable). Oh, and I’m not delivering canvases anymore. Folks have to pick them up or I’ll pop them in the mail (for an extra $5.95).

These are my policies. (There are a few others, but you get the idea.) As my friend reminded me, policies establish boundaries for acceptable behavior and guidelines for best practices in certain situations. They offer clear communication to buyers as to what they can expect from me, the seller, and also how I expect them to act.

Still, I can’t help feeling like my policies sound rigid and kinda bitchy.

Professional growth for me is learning that it’s okay to create boundaries, to say yes or no to something and then stick with that decision. It’s believing my work has value, that I’m good at what I do, and that I have a right to request payment.

To that end, the 4×4 canvas above – GROW – is yours for $20. Because it’s still 2014. Interested? Write SOLD in the comments or email me at rasjacobson.ny@gmail.com.

Do my policies sound reasonable? And what are doing to promote your personal or professional growth?

tweet me @rasjacobson