Do you remember when you lost the ability to play pretend? When did you realize magic wasn’t real? When did the weight of reality and eventual adulthood dim the light of your play, your toys became brittle plastic and you worried at their tangled, matted hair?
My paintings have become about that childish grief that I can’t seem to shake. That feeling of betrayal by promises of love, beauty and adventure. That they were all of our birthright and now we find ourselves denied by reality. It’s confusing. It hurts. It lingers.
I think of my paintings as quiet moments, a space you could crawl into and sleep, a cave, a blanket fort, a cabinet, a cupboard. They’re a sticky drawer you open and find something you thought you had lost forever. They’re a hole you find in a hillside and stick your arm in, not knowing whether you’ll be bitten or pull out treasure. They’re that space in time when you’ve stayed up too late in summer and you’re alone in a giant, throbbing world. They’re the memory of moments sitting in scratchy grass and wondering at the freckles on your arm. They’re that space in time right before and after you lost your power of pretend. That transition.
My paintings are the first time I was ever scared, the porcelain swan on my grandmother’s vanity, are when I realized I wasn’t good at horse back riding just because I was a girl, my unicorn jewelry box with the broken horn, the space under my bed, my flushed cheeks, and that dress in my closet that doesn’t transform me into a heroine of some interesting story.
My paintings are the feeling that weighs on me when I wake up from a dream I don’t want to end, can’t get a grasp of, but I know I’ve lost something beautiful.
My paintings are about knowing that there’s a little girl still inside of me, missing her, not being able to reach her because she hides her face from disappointment. Her and my bones are the most permanent part of me. The rest of me gets scuffed, fades from exposure, wrinkles with use and stumbles about like broken toy ponies.
I want you to know that I feel these things, and I want to know that you do too. And that I haven’t stopped trying to conjure up that same depth of belief.
Every now and then I can make a place or time in the real world sacred and feel that glow of endless afternoon and be safe there, but as those moments get further and further apart, I strive to memorialize their passing in my paintings.
Someone not so recently asked me how I am making things work, or ends meet, while in art school. Actually it wasn’t too recently. More like a year ago(sorry Kai!). Also the paintings are part of my daily painting practice. Have some Christmas pickles!
The short answer is that I’m not, or maybe barely, but I have figured out some weird ways to make money while being able to focus most of my attention on my school work. Also, to be crystal clear, I have been receiving help from my family, and am incredibly grateful for it.
There are the obvious ones you already know about, my RedBubble shop, and I’m about to try to figure out Society6 and perhaps Zazzle. They haven’t brought in a ton of money for me, but aside from the initial setup, and updating them periodically, they are a source of passive income. I don’t have to fiddle with them much. That’s a major plus.
I also just submitted a grant proposal to help me purchase a wide format printer. With one I’d be able to make prints and cards of my work and then participate in local little art fairs and shops. I’m crossing my fingers! It would be such a boon to get funding!
I’ve been entering art supply contests, mostly through Blick and Jerry’s Artarama and occasionally have won a gift card. Nothing to turn my nose up at. Anything that pays for my school supplies is of massive help.
I pretty much submit to any kind of free contest possible that has to do with art supplies or scholarships. There aren’t many out there, so I try to google regularly.
I have some other weird ways to bring in a bit of cash. They are the types of things that you initially think are ripoffs, but they work, as long as you feed them some time and remember them. One is Swagbucks, and yes that is absolutely a referral link. If you do decide to check it out and sign up after clicking through my link, I’ll get a bit of cash. It’s a survey/free trial type of site. When I had time I’d occasionally do some of the surveys, but I mostly earn money by letting the videos and such play on my computer. The same goes for Inboxdollars, i-Say, MySurvey, Mintvine and many more. The ones I’ve mentioned here I know are legit and the least spammy, but I suggest you always create another email account when signing up for these sites.
I also use some grocery shopping rebate apps. I shop the way always do, so I am not looking at the rebates and seeing what I’d get cash back on and then just getting that whether I really wanted it or not. I’m shopping as I’d normally shop, keeping the rebates in mind of course, and then slowly accumulate cash back. I don’t get a huge amount, but it’s nice to pick up 5 – 20 dollars here and there. I specifically use Ibotta, Savingstar, Shopkick(a bit different, you scan things for gift cards) and Receipt Hog(you just take pics of your shopping receipts with the app). All of these I cash out either using my Paypal account or in gift cards, sometimes right into my Amazon account. The Amazon ones are the most useful, because I can get much of my school supplies that way as well.
Speaking of Amazon, you may have noticed I have an Amazon link on my page now. It’s a bit of an experiment. It’s a referral link. I plan on keeping it always art related, but if you are shopping on Amazon for anything really, and go through my link, I’ll get a little kick back. Nothing huge, but I’m in scrounge mode. I’ve been blogging more and plan to continue so I figured it wouldn’t hurt to try the Amazon affiliate program.
A few other things: I used to pose for drawing groups, but now that I’m in school that isn’t practical. I want to concentrate on my own artwork rather than be the subject of it. I do occasionally do transcription through an online site, and while I’ve improved at it, I’m not so fast and accurate that I can bring much in with it. I will probably give it a go again soon, but it was definitely not one of my favorite ways to make money. I have been selling my smaller paintings lately, which isn’t only great because of money, it also feels wonderful. Encouragement is just as valuable as cash.
Hmmm, what else? I feel a bit silly talking about these things. I feel like on the internet we’re all supposed to pretend things are shiny, filtered and easy. Or the flip side to that, blown out of proportion and dramatic. This is a kind of middling post. This is life. Some of it is a struggle. I’ve discovered some ways to adapt.
A little cast iron cauldron for little potions.
Deer vertebrae I found by the French Broad River.
Little glass bottle I bought in the western ghost town of Chloride.
Scottie figurine that lives in my mom’s china closet.
I had no idea this daily painting thing was such a thing. I decided to give it a try while on break between semesters so that I can go back as a stronger painter and get to know the medium again. I swear school made me and painting feel like strangers on a bad OKC date.
I came across some other daily painting blogs and also lots of weird articles criticizing the practice(parade rain-ers!). It seems to me other artists do this in order to stay productive, learn how to simplify and to sell. If you rapidly create a batch of small paintings, you have product. Small, minimally labor intensive, product. Which means you can sell them for a low but reasonable price. I may just consider doing that as well. It’d be nice to bring in some money with my artwork.
Here is a list of some other daily painters and their work. Not all of it is necessarily my cup o’ tea, but I like seeing how others approach the practice.