December 31, 2010

The New Year

The New Year is hours away and the new start means a lot of different things to a lot of people all over the world. We set goals and resolutions and take time to reflect on the past year. We aim to break bad habits and start some good ones.

Most years in the past, I look back over the past year and am disappointed with the list of things I didn’t get around to. This year, though? 2010 has been one of my best, most meaningful years to date. Especially compared to last year. In 2009 I lost my grandpa and my biggest artistic inspiration. My mother was without a job for 13 months. I took up a job in fast food at Arby’s, which sent me into an 8-month creative dry spell. It’s hard to dream when you’re dunking fries in grease all day

But to follow that with a year I am proud of? Is nothing less than a blessing from God. I started LainyArt in April relying solely on faith. To see where I am today, compared to the day I held my first prints in my hands, is more than I expected when I started out. And I know there’s only more to come!

For 2011, I’d like to take the time to set some actual goals for myself.

1. First, I need to get my license. Most people get those at 16, not 21. Though I do not expect to have a car available for me to drive, it’s one of those steps in life that (here in America) tell you you’re an adult. To be honest, I hate driving. But in the future, I’ll need to be able to run my own errands cross-town.

2. I want to finish my novel. I’ve been working on it off and on for about 4 years. Writing and re-writing and… I’m finally feeling it’s time to write the ending and head down the publishing road!

3. Expansion! I need to reach more people through LainyArt and I’ve been dreaming up ways to do that. I hope to have some funds to do some advertising this year. (local and internet!)

4. One of my goals from the very beginning was to get an original of my work accepted into a local gallery for display. I will likely start with coffee shops and work my way up. It’s just one of those things I have to do. A marker of some sort, in my mind.

5. And (since my town is a fan of them) I’d love to set up a booth in one of our craft shows! It’s a great way to meet people face to face and spread the word around. (That’s and it’s a great reason to go overboard with beads and scrabble pendant stocks! :P

I think that about covers it! These are the big things I missed this year, so here’s to the accomplishments to come in 2011 for all of us! Happy New Year!

October 11, 2010

Making a list and checking it twice

To Do List by robayre
In the past months, I have discovered that writing down what you want to accomplish is the best way to get it done. Now, it’s not magic. But if you use right, it sure can seem like it! I keep a total of three lists per day. Sounds daunting, I know, so let me break it down for you.

My first list outlines my goals for the week. (I usually write this one Sunday evening) It contains ‘mini goals’ like designing 10 new pendants or completely finishing a commission, things that would take a few days before I can scratch it off. I keep this list next to my bed and keep track throughout the week of my progress.

My second list is full of all the little things that will get me closer to my weekly ‘mini goals’: spending time on a commission, cleaning up my studio, listing a new item on Etsy or a reminder to ship off a package. This list is a time saver. I’m continually going back to it and checking things off through the day. I find that I waste much less time when I know exactly what it is I need to do.

The third list is more for the sake of my family’s sanity. It has all the less fun, but also quite essential things that need to get done everyday. Dishes, laundry, vacuuming…the things that will keep the house running smoothly and toes from getting stubbed. I write this one on the same page with my Art list…otherwise, it’s far too easy to forget about it!

So, today’s the start of a brand new week full of things to finish and steps in the right direction. It’s time to make list!

September 15, 2010

Overcoming Obstacles

Things are slowly starting to come together! Just waiting on a few more things in the mail and I can make some real headway towards my Etsy shop overhaul. A lot of my job is waiting right now, which is a huge, huge lesson. And it’s given me some time to sit and reflect on some of the other lessons I’ve learned. If you’re venturing into a similar realm of employment, maybe you can learn a little from my obstacles.

Budget. Oh, the horrible dreaded word! Even with the fast food job I quit a year ago, I’ve always been thrifty and very careful what I spend money on. But with the economy and family losses, most of the funds from that job were tapped out by the time I decided to actually go for my dream. I started from absolute 0. So what are my best tips and tricks to make it?

1. Only buy what you need. No, really! Write out your goals and set them in stone. Think honestly over every potential purchase: “Will this help get me closer to my goal?” If not, take a deep breath and walk away. If so, then scour the internet and all the stores in your area for the best deal possible!

2. Shop thrift stores and take advantage of garage sales! Not only for clothes and household items, but for supplies as well. I’ve saved hundreds of dollars in frames alone!

3. Keep a close, watchful eye on your bank account. It’s so easy these days to hand over that plastic card and forget the total amount! Check it every day, if need be, and remind yourself it’s okay to be a bit of a tight-wallet! OR switch back to cash. Trust me, the spending makes a bigger impact on you if you have to count the money out and hand it over.

4. Spend money to make money…sad, but the saying is true. Just don’t go all gung-ho about it! Take it slow and start with the most important thing to get you on your way (for me, this was setting up and testing prints). Slowly build yourself up. Like I said…it can be a big waiting game, but you’ll get there if you play it smart.

Certainty. This kind of adventure isn’t for the fickle tip-toer. Be absolutely sure this is where you want to take your life before you jump in. And believe me when I say that this was the hardest part for me. With a more than shaky economy and unemployment, I had the mindset that I needed a steady job…even if minimum wage. It actually took an intervention from some close friends to make me realize this dream could be a reality. You’ve got to get rid of the ‘guilt’ of leaving the workforce, banish any crumb of pessimism, and be solid in your determination to make it!

And our good old friend, Time. When I started out, I bounced around from one thing to another without really accomplishing much. As soon as I found some sort of routine, I found myself making more and more progress every day. I usually clean in the morning, draw around 11-3, and then switch over to jewelry until around 5:30. After that it’s writing, uploading, updating and finances until bed starts to call.

The main thing to remember here is progress. Taking little bites every day won’t get you anywhere. You have to get ahead! Work hard every day, no matter the mood or task at hand. Every day should feel like a leap forward. Remember, this is a marathon. Not a sprint.

Now, don’t get me wrong…I’m still a ‘newbie’ at this. Still learning every day. But I think these are still the most important things to keep in mind if you’re heading down a similar path! Good luck to you and drop me a line if you’ve learned any other helpful hints!

September 11, 2010

To split or not to split?

The curse of being creative? Too many ideas to sort out!

I’m still going back and forth on whether to open a separate shop for jewelry or not. All the pros and cons keep floating around my head, I get more ideas and the decision is, once again, put off. So, how do I best deal with this?


Yeah…I’m a nerd at heart.

I’m going to take you through my decision making process and make the call. Right here, right now.

To split or not to split?

It’s much like a scale, weighing good against bad and here, clearly (thank goodness!) there is a sure winner!

The only thing on the con side that really stands out to me is where my paper jewelry fits in. But seeing as how it’ll be better to keep it all together, I’ll just have to make it work.

This means a shop overhaul! New logos and advertisement. New photos and color scheme. New packaging. It also means new products! In the next month, I hope to double my prints available for sale, have 25 different 'wearable art' designs (Soon to be revealed!) and a full selection of my upcycled paper bead jewelry.

Good thing I'm a determined little creator. haha Off to work!

August 24, 2010

Efficiency, Presentation, and planning for the future.

So, I've been thinking. About efficiency. Presentation. Future.

One of my biggest advances in pursuit of a profitable living as an artist and jeweler has been creating my own little space to work. Having an area to keep, store, organize and display my work has done wonders in the amount of work I've been able to get done. Everything is right where I need it, when I need it. (And more importantly, out of the way of my family)

One of the biggest hold backs in being efficient is actually the time I spend on the computer, keeping up with marketing, listing, researching, and all that other good stuff. I'm slowly getting better at it, though. I manage websites in the morning with my cup of coffee, check emails and hop off to take care of the house. (dishes, laundry, cleaning, pets) I try my best to be done on the computer by 9:00. It's simply a matter of not becoming distracted by all the shiny things on the net. :P

When it comes to presentation I've got the display of artwork down...well, to an art. But I'm kind of clueless on the aspect of jewelry display. I play with lighting and fabrics, angles and everything I can think of. What I really need is something unique...something more eye catching and professional. I'm just not sure what that is, yet.

But one of the biggest issues I've come to face is my Etsy shop. All of my artwork seems to have gotten lost among all the jewelry and the feel of the shop is not at all cohesive. Lucky me, there is a hopefully simple solution: Open a second store. One focused on my jewelry, one focused on my art.
The only problem with that is likely more time spent on the computer to promote both shops.

All in the hopes of a future. I dream of living by my art and I will do everything it takes to get there. I just wish it didn't take so long to learn exactly what it is I need to do. Regardless....I'm loving the ride, highs and lows. And I can't wait to see where this goes.

August 12, 2010

Been a while?

Life gets crazy, right? We all know the feeling.

In the past weeks I've learned a new love for commissions. There's something special in creating a work of art that's already tailored for it's owner and home.
But I never said it was easy! A week and a half ago, I sent out my first finished commission to London. Handing over that artwork into someone else's care was horrifying! I'm actually still nervously awaiting the news that it has arrived there safely....until then, I'll be on pins and needles. Is it odd that shipping it was harder for me than drawing it?

So, what about that other commission? That crazy huge one with the five portraits? It's mere hours of work from being completely finished and I honestly couldn't be any more excited. It's the biggest project I have ever taken on and I'm almost sad it's nearly over. Here's my progress and coming soon is the whole piece!

Here's a little clue on what is left to do:

June 21, 2010

Arts, Parks, and my Grandpa

As an art town, we have an event every summer called "Art in the Park" where local artists of all kinds gather in our largest park to show, share, and sell their work in booths and tents on the grasses. I'm hoping to team up with a friend and fellow artist of mine to buy a booth this summer and sell my artwork, prints, and paper bead jewelry.
Nothing is set in stone, but the idea's been keeping me excited and motivated towards my work! I'll try and keep you all updated as I do more research into it!

I love to keep as busy as I can, so I must say this past week has been wonderful. I'm building up both my paper bead jewelry collection and my artwork for galleries and coffee shops.(and possibly Art in the Park) I'm looking forward to starting on my "Peacock Dancer" drawing later this week as well as my second commission!

I'm only able to start on new projects because I have been able to finish another piece. My "secret project" was finished this past week and given to my mother on Father's day. It was her first father's day without her dad and she was so touched by the portrait. This one was actually incredibly difficult, more in an emotional sense than anything.
But as drawing has always done for's helped me to heal and to remember someone very special that I love.

June 14, 2010

A Moment to Relax

I wish I could remember to update more often! There's so much to do and being done that I get a little distracted in my excitement! So here are a whole bunch of art updates for you!

Katherine Jackson is finished and I've already started in on Michael for the Family Portrait Project. It's been a new experience all around taking on a slew of 'firsts' all on in one piece! If I can remember them all, I'll list 'em later.

I also finished my first landscape and loved doing it so much I will probably take on another one!

I've always had a bit of an obsession with eyes, their infinite shapes and colors. Eyes are the way we express and are often a person's most memorable feature.
When I need a moment to relax, I often find myself drawing eyes. Today's was Penelope Cruz. I've always loved the character of her eyes. This one was created with Charcoal on Cannon Sketch paper 8"x12" and took me around 2.5 hours.

June 8, 2010


Once again, it’s been a bit of a wild week, but I’m finally making some headway in a lot of my ongoing projects. I’ve had a lot of interest in my paper bead jewelry and have a few more commissioned necklaces to do!

And finally a little something to show you for the Michael Jackson Family Portrait Project (I need to come up with a shorter title) The first WIP is a close-up of Katherine Jackson’s eyes with the first layer of chalk and charcoal shading. The second is in the final stages, I only need to make a few adjustments and add detailing. I’m really excited with how this is going so far and the lovely lady that has commissioned it is just as thrilled! It’s been an amazing experience to work with her.


I’m a little sad that the landscaping section of this piece is finished, but I can’t wait to complete this one and see the whole scene put together. Not to mention it would mean I can start on a piece of artwork that I’ve really fallen in love with. Isn’t it odd how captivating a simple idea can be?

May 30, 2010

Crazy Days

What a busy week! First off, I have finally received the correct paper for my commissioned portrait of Michael Jackson’s family and it shouldn’t be long before I have a little something from that to share!

Now, balancing multiple projects is an entirely new thing for me. A year ago I never would have attempted to work on more than one drawing at a time, much less 6 portraits in total and my first landscape! (not to mention my endeavor in creating jewelry out of paper beads…and writing a novel. Have I mentioned that yet?) So I learn a little every day. Some days more than I can put to rest at night.

But…against what I would have thought a year ago, I find it exhilarating! I work on whatever project I feel most drawn to that day, float between drawing and rolling beads and typing out a few revisions to my novel. I’m never bored…simply because there is not time to be.

And I love every second of it.

I’ll leave you off with my creations (and updates) for the week. Have a happy Memorial Day!

Day's end WIP #2

Bracelets created for friends of mine.