Monday, August 28, 2017

take-backsies

I try to focus on the positives- in my life and in this blog- but I also want to be real and authentic, and sometimes disappointments happen. I realize that in the grand scheme of things this is such small potatoes, and thankfully, I've been in a great mood lately (thanks in no small part to having seen 4 Chris Robinson Brotherhood shows in a week with friends and family, among other cool, fun things that have been happening in my life)...otherwise, something like this might have sent me into a major case of the blues. I'm not trying to whine, I'm trying to be honest and make sense of what I'm feeling...I want to get topsy-turvy on it and make a negative into a positive. So, here goes:

Back in May, a student from a local college put down a small deposit to buy "Strawberry," one of my paintings. We had some communications right after we first met and made several attempts to hook up to make the final exchange of funds for the painting, but the timing wasn't right, and she went home for the summer holiday. Since I know the fall semester is starting any day now, I emailed her yesterday to check in and see when she might like to meet up. The response I received was along the lines of "Sorry, I wasn't thinking clearly. I can't afford the painting. Please keep the deposit for the inconvenience."

As soon as I read that email, my first response was a sinking feeling of foolishness: I'm so embarrassed- I posted that this was sold! I posted about how excited I was that someone saw the price tag on that painting and said, "yes- this is worth it." Anyone who knows me knows that I have a very hard time pricing my work, and this sale felt like a validation of sorts. Before you say it, let me clarify: no, I'm not painting for other people, I'm doing it for myself, and I'm not just doing this for money (anyone who has seen my work can figure that much out)... I know that validation comes from within. That being said, ideally, you want to touch people in a positive way with your work, and when that results in someone ponying up some dough for it, that feels pretty good. When it's given and then taken away, that feels pretty crappy. I'd just as soon have it not happen in the first place.

My inner critic (who I refer to as "Marge" for no other reason than it makes me laugh) wasted no time piping up: "People who don't like you will laugh when they find out about this" and "What's wrong with you- haven't you ever heard the saying don't count your chickens before they hatch?" and "I told you you shouldn't have raised your prices," and on and on. Quick sidebar: why do we say such horrible things to ourselves? We would never talk like that to a friend or a loved one, yet when it's us talking to ourselves, it's a totally different story. "Marge" is kind of a b*tch. Anyway... I'm happy to say that "Marge" was joined by a softer, yet equally forceful, voice that said, "This just means that painting is meant for for someone else. She isn't the right person. The right person hasn't come along yet, but they will, and in retrospect, you will be so glad this happened. Sometimes what seems like a delay is actually the universe getting the timing just right."

I've done deposits/payment plans with strangers before, and it has worked out well. Do I change my approach because of this experience and stop offering that as an option? Do I let one negative interaction change my way of doing business? How do I keep this as a possibility without setting myself up for a "fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me" situation? Artists- has this happened to you? If so, how did you handle it? Can you relate? I would love to hear your thoughts...

Monday, August 7, 2017

mid-summer check in

EEK! I didn't post here at all during the month of July! Well, it is summer, and things move at a different pace during this season, don't they? July was a busy month in a lot of different ways, some of which I'm not ready to blog about (but eventually, I will)...for now, I'll do what I can!

On Friday, July 21st, I had my 20th Brushstrokes With Impact (tm) "Paint-a-Thon" at Dobra Tea in Portland. Number 20 was called "Green Is Good!" and the cause was Maine Audubon's conservation efforts. I wasn't sure exactly what I would be painting until the day before my "Paint-a-Thon," but when I woke up to the happy sound of cardinals singing, I knew what my subject would be!


the sketch...

I started painting at 10:30am, and just before 6:30pm, I was signing "Happy Cardinal"! 


...and the finished painting!


Tristan at Dobra Tea was kind enough to do the ticket-pulling duties once again (thank you!), and my niece, Ella Evans, was the winner of "Happy Cardinal"! I believe that's the second painting she has won, and both paintings have been of birds...I find this interesting. Anyway, I'm so grateful to everyone at Dobra Tea for hosting my work for two months, and for allowing me to have two different "Paint-a-Thon"s while my work was there! You all made me feel so welcome, and I appreciate it. Thanks to everyone's support, together we were able to raise $124.50 for the conservation efforts of Maine Audubon


congratulations, Ella!


So...now that it's August, I'd like to announce my 21st Brushstrokes With Impact (tm) "Paint-a-Thon"! This one is called "Library Love 3!" and it will be in a new venue for me: Twice-Told Tales (11 Pleasant Street, Brunswick)! 50% of the raffle ticket sales and 10% of all art sold (excluding magnets, but including totes) will be donated to the Friends of Curtis Library. Please come and see me from 10:30am to 6:30pm on Friday, August 11th! "Library Love 3!" will coincide with Brunswick's Second Friday festivities, so it should be a fun night to be out and about in town! 


a screenshot of the Curtis Memorial Library newsletter! 






Friday, June 30, 2017

over the moon in june

Yikes! A whole month has gone by without me writing a blog post here! I have posted twice on the Curtis Creative Spaces blog, though- does that count for something? Anyway, the reason I haven't posted here is because June has been a very busy month indeed...and since today's the last day in June, I better get on it!

My 19th Brushstrokes With Impact (tm) "Paint-a-Thon" was at Dobra Tea (89 Exchange Street) on Friday, June 2nd - First Friday, to be exact - and although it feels like a distant memory right now, it is certainly a fond one! "Do Tell" was my first "Paint-a-Thon" to take place in Portland, which was a milestone for me. Just to recap, my solo show at Dobra Tea went up at the end of May, and that show will be up through the end of July, so my June and July "Paint-a-Thon" events will be in the same location. I'm grateful for this fact for several reasons, the biggest one being how awesome a venue Dobra Tea is! The place is gorgeous, the staff is friendly, the tea is wonderful, and the clientele is laid-back and peaceful. It was a great place to spend the day painting, and I experienced something I've never experienced before: I finished an hour early!


the beginning...

"Blossom In My Driveway": finished! 

I'm happy to say that the winner of "Blossom In My Driveway" is Daniel Alperin! Danny is a very dear friend of my sister, Addie, and her husband, Marc, and I know he will give my work a good home. I even have photographic evidence:

proof!

Thanks to everyone's support, a check for $100 is heading out today to The Telling Room. Yay! I'd also like to take this opportunity to announce my July "Paint-a-Thon": yes, it will be at Dobra Tea, but this time, it will be on Friday, July 21st; I'm calling it "Green Is Good," because this month's cause will be the conservation efforts of Maine Audubon! Here's the link to the Facebook event page: https://www.facebook.com/events/1819678748346092/

Another thing keeping me busy in June was getting my piece ready for the Taste of Tidewater 10x10. The show isn't until August, but the deadline for dropping off work was today...and I managed to get it finished a day early! WHEW. I give you "Office Daffodils"! 

"Office Daffodils"

What else has been happening? Well, I've saved the biggest news for last: I painted a piano and it's now living on the sidewalk on Maine Street in Brunswick outside of Cool As A Moose! This is a very long story, but I will try to be as brief as I can (which probably won't be brief at all, but whatever). Caroline from Cool As A Moose reached out to me a while ago to see if I'd be interested in painting their offering for the Brunswick Downtown Association's "Pianos on The Streets" initiative. Naturally, I jumped at the chance, and soon enough, the wonderful folks at Maine State Music Theatre came up with a piano they were happy to donate! You might remember how much rain we had in the early part of this month along with the unseasonably hot and humid days scattered in between...well, the initial plan was for me to paint the piano right out on the sidewalk, but due to the crazy forecast, I asked if there might be an indoor space where I could work. Again, the awesome staff at Maine State Music Theatre came through, and offered up their small rehearsal room at 22 Elm Street. Not only was I able to work in air-conditioned comfort during some very hot days (and work long after dark during some other nights), I was able to eavesdrop on rehearsals for "Tommy" and "Guys And Dolls"! What fun! 

priming, June 7th

June 8th

June 9th

June 12th

June 13th

June 14th

June 15th

June 15th


After 44 hours of work over 10 consecutive days (yes, I kept track), the piano was finally finished. You can see all of my progress photos on Instagram, if you'd like...here is the link: https://www.instagram.com/brushstrokesbymaria/


Like little angels in the night, the MSMT interns surprised everyone and moved the piano after hours (I've been told that there's a video of the big move, but I have yet to see it, and I am SO curious!), and on Wednesday, June 21st (Summer Solstice!), my piano made its debut. 

HOORAY!

I'm grateful to Caroline from Cool As A Moose for asking me to work on this project, I'm grateful to Curt, Kathi, and everyone else at MSMT for their hospitality and for making me feel so welcome, and I'm grateful to Patti, Trevor, and everyone else at Brunswick Downtown Association for all you do for this great little town I love so much! I've heard that there is going to be a celebration of all of the sidewalk pianos on Second Friday (July 14th)...stay tuned (no pun intended)!

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

tell me

Guess what? I'm having my 19th Brushstrokes With Impact (tm) "Paint-a-Thon" THIS WEEK! I know, I know...a little notice would have been nice...anyway, I'm excited about it for a variety of reasons...and now, I will list those reasons... :)

In case you're new to what I do, allow me to explain it here: I set up my easel and paint an 8" x 8" canvas for 8 hours straight. I sell raffle tickets ($5 each or 3 for $10) and at the end of the day, the completed painting is raffled off, with 50% of the ticket sales (as well as 10% of all art sold, excluding magnets but including totes) being donated to charity. I name each "Paint-a-Thon" as I go along (just so I can keep things straight), and I'm calling this particular event "Do Tell!" because this time, the cause I'll be raising money for is The Telling Room! You might be asking, "Where and when is this happening?" Well, those answers make up a couple of the other reasons why I'm so excited! First, the venue...I will be at Dobra Tea, 89 Exchange Street, Portland! I have a solo show that went up on Friday, May 26th, and it will be up through most of July, which means I will be having TWO "Paint-a-Thon"s there during that time period (but let's focus on one month at a time, shall we?)! Second, the date..."Do Tell" will be happening on Friday, June 2nd, which also happens to be First Friday Art Walk! The art walk isn't 8 hours long, though, so I will be starting my painting around 10:30am and (hopefully) finishing up around 6:30pm. I'm planning on hanging out a bit afterwards and having the winning ticket get pulled closer to the end of the art walk (which is 8pm). If you can't make it to "Do Tell!" and you still want to support The Telling Room by buying some art, don't worry: the 10% donation from all art sold will continue throughout the month of June!

side wall


back wall


a lovely place to enjoy some tea!


So...what else has been going on? A lot, actually! Some of you reading this might remember that back in late February/early March, I painted a Little Free Library for a silent auction at Curtis Memorial Library's "Booked For The Night" event. Well, now that the warmer weather is here and the snow is all melted, my Little Free Library has been installed at its new home: Crystal Spring Community Farm! If you're driving by, you can see it from the road, so please pay it a visit if you're in the area (277 Pleasant Hill Road, Brunswick, to be specific)! The front faces the farmers' market space...

...like so...

...and the back faces the driveway to the CSA pickup area...

...like so...

...and I couldn't be happier about it! 

...like so! 

Speaking of Brunswick-area events, the seventh annual Altered Couture was last Thursday, May 25th, and if you missed it, you missed one hell of a show! Altered Couture is the brainchild of the lovely and talented Christine DeTroy, and this year's event was entitled "Masquerade Couture"! It was my fourth time participating, although the first time was only as a last-minute fill-in model for someone else's entry, so that makes this my third time creating a costume...anyway, in case you've never been to Altered Couture, here's the rundown: roughly two dozen participants each make a costume based on a theme. You're not supposed to spend more than $25 on your outfit, and the emphasis is on getting creative with recycled/repurposed/inexpensive/non-traditional materials. You choose a song, and you "walk the runway" wearing your creation. It is the best example of "art for art's sake" that I have ever been a part of. Every year, Altered Couture raises money for a different cause, and this time, Christine chose ArtVan to be the recipient (and if you're reading this, you know I love ArtVan and their mission). My costume was based on the song I chose: "How Many People Are You" by PhishI wrote out different words that might describe me onto oversized paper labels and Mod-Podged them to the unstretched canvas skirt I made for last year's event (which I repainted). I kept those words to six letters or less so they could be seen from a distance. I duct-taped more labels to an old tomato cage, decorated it with ribbons and beads, and wore it on my back via elastic straps. I cut up and painted one of my husband's old, oversized tie-dyes as the top to pull it all together. It's always scary "walking the runway," but having Phish playing (along with having friendly faces in the crowd and wearing a mask) made it a lot easier (and no, I wasn't out there for the full 8+ minutes of the song, just the first two and change)! Also, all of the participants are super-supportive of one another "backstage", encouraging each other and calming frayed nerves...it's really a nice environment. Plus, Christine is awesome, and everyone wants to do a good job for her because of that fact! Here's a link to Susan Perrine's photo album of the event, and here are some pictures of my costume!

the front

the side

the back

backstage with Christine DeTroy!


I know this is already a really long blog post, but I didn't want to end it without sharing this great little video with you! My dear friend Rebecca Boothby Conley shot this piece for Maine Public featuring another friend, Tammy Neilson, hanging out in her kitchen and discussing her mad gardening/canning skills! It's the first episode in Maine Public's new original web series, "Living Off the Land," and my art makes a cameo at the end. Way to go, lovely ladies- and thank you for your support! 

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

VANtastic 2 wrap up boogaloo

I had my 18th Brushstrokes With Impact (tm) "Paint-a-Thon" (entitled VANtastic 2!) on Saturday, May 13th at Wild Oats Bakery and Cafe in Brunswick- and it was a blast! I set up my work on Friday evening and took it down on Sunday afternoon...and let me tell you, that place was busy, busy, busy - all day, every day!

This was my second time having a "Paint-a-Thon" at Wild Oats: the first time was in March 2016, and I was set up near the door to the patio (that month's cause was the Coastal Humane Society, in case you're keeping track). This time, I was set up in the hallway next to the dining room (and the cause was ArtVan), and it was the perfect place to be! I was in the middle of the action without being in the way, and the lighting was wonderful, thanks to the beautiful atrium and the sunny weather.


my racks


Wild Oats is one of the many places that makes Brunswick cool, and I'm grateful that I was able to be painting all day and showing my work at such a wonderful community hub. Plus, the friendly, helpful staff at Wild Oats could not have made me feel more welcome! I'd like to extend a special thank you to Valerie (who agreed to host me, who helped to coordinate the event, and who did a great job promoting on social media) and to Jen (who took care of anything else I needed, including raffle ticket pulling duties)- you guys are awesome!


the e-newsletter...thanks, Valerie!


I know that Wild Oats Bakery and Cafe is famous for their carrot cake (and who doesn't love carrot cake?), so I used that as the inspiration for that day's painting...I give you "14 Carrot Cake"!


"14 Carrot Cake"


The eight hours flew by (as usual), and soon it was time to draw the winning raffle ticket (drum roll, please):



Jen pulling the winning ticket...



...congratulations, Amy! 

Amy Finnen has purchased raffle tickets for many of my past Brushstrokes With Impact (tm) "Paint-a-Thon" events, but this was her first time winning! Thank you, Amy, for giving my work a good home (and for your friendship)! 


VANtastic 2 was a successful event all around: I met some cool people, I had the opportunity to chat with friends and friendly acquaintances, I sold a ton of magnets, 4 prints, 2 tote bags, and a bunch of raffle tickets...I even sold a painting for $900 (*gasp*) - a new record for me, by far! 


"Strawberry": SOLD!

Thanks to everyone's support, we were able to raise $181.50 for ArtVan! Woo hoo! What will happen next month? Stay tuned...

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

it's VANtastic


I’m having my eighteenth Brushstrokes With Impact™ “Paint-a-Thon” (entitled VANtastic 2)! On Saturday, May 13th, I will be setting up my easel at Wild Oats Bakery & Café (149 Maine Street, Brunswick) and painting from roughly 8:30am-4:30pm. At the end of the day, the completed painting will be raffled off, and 50% of the proceeds from ticket sales will be donated to ArtVan. Raffle tickets can be purchased in person for $5 each or 3 for $10. I will also have a small “pop-up” show of my art at Wild Oats Bakery & Café and 10% of all my art sales (excluding magnets, but including totes) from this show will be donated to ArtVan. Please contact me via email (maria@brushstrokesbymaria.com) for raffle information. Here's the link to the Facebook event page:


*cue announcer voice* "But wait, there's more!"

Here’s a NEW twist (due to popular demand from people who want to participate from a distance): Would you like a print of the painting I will be creating on Saturday? Do you like surprises? For $20 plus $5 shipping, you can get a signed, unframed, 6” x 6” giclee print mailed right to your door! Please allow 30 days for the prints to be made and shipped. The painting won’t fully exist until the end of the day, so I can’t tell you exactly what it will be, but if you’re reading this, chances are, you have an idea of what my work looks like! Prints can be purchased via PayPal (https://www.paypal.me/BrushstrokesByMaria), and of course, 10% of all print sales will be donated to this month’s cause, ArtVan!




Wednesday, May 3, 2017

catching up once again

It's May! A lot has been going on, and this blog post is overdue...

I've been spending a lot of time at Curtis Memorial Library lately! For eight hours straight on Friday, April 14th, I was painting in the library's lobby, raising money for Curtis. Rather than repeating myself, here's a link to the blog post I wrote for Curtis Creative Spaces about it: http://curtiscreativespaces.com/winging-it/


photo credit: Chris Tucker



Curtis Memorial Library also had me back on Thursday evenings in April for a repeat of "Playing With Paint," and once again, it was a blast!  Here's a link to the blog post I wrote for Curtis Creative Spaces about it (hmm...is there an echo in here?): http://curtiscreativespaces.com/playing-with-paint-part-two/. I'm happy to say that so far, the feedback has been positive, and I'd like to share a quote from one of the class participants, Betty McNally: "Mike and I loved the class. We will cherish the memory."


The McNallys and their Pollock-inspired paintings!



Speaking of repeat performances, on Wednesday, April 26th, I spent an hour painting faces at the Gelato Fiasco for the Brunswick Area Teen Center "Scoop-a-Thon". It's hard to believe, but this is the fifth year I've participated in this community event! Here are a couple of pictures of some of the many faces I saw that day:


a colorful kitty!


forehead bat through the window! (photo credit: People Plus)


One more thing before I end this blog post: I'd like to thank the lovely and talented Erica Kingston

for featuring my artwork in the brochure for SMCC's 2017 Preceptor Appreciation Seminar, entitled "All The Colors Of Nutrition"! Erica, you are awesome! Congratulations to you for all of your hard work (and your kick-ass GPA), and congratulations to Jennifer Moscone for her stellar speaking performance at the seminar ("Post-Bariatric Waistland")! 



eat the rainbow!