Thursday, October 31, 2013

promotional considerations

My friend Kathleen is a writer, and she just launched a blog called Suburban Scrawl ( I bring this up because although she created this blog in March 2012, her first post was yesterday. Did I mention she's a writer? I am not a writer, and yet I've been blogging for a few years now. Yes, I haven't been doing it as regularly as I probably ought to, but I am doing it. Why am I doing it? What business do I have even having a blog? I'm an artist. I'm a painter. I love my acrylics and I love the feeling of dipping my brush into a freshly-squeezed dollop of paint. I play around with mixed media and sometimes even oil pastels. I like to use magnetic poetry and Scrabble tiles in my mixed media pieces, and I occasionally use words in my paintings, but that's it. Words are not my medium of choice. Frequently, when I have to write about my work, the words "if I were a writer, I wouldn't be a painter" pop out of my mouth. So, when I hear about a writer friend feeling weird about blogging, a small part of me is confused...but a bigger part of me gets it.

Putting yourself out there is hard, no matter how you're doing it: painting, drawing, sculpture, music, acting, writing, whatever. If you're doing it right, you're exposing a part of your soul to the world. That's scary. Another friend of mine gave me some advice a few months ago. She said, "You need to shout from the mountaintops if you're going to go to the next level." Since then, I've tried to blog more regularly, I post more and more on Facebook, and I joined Twitter about a month ago ( @ArtByMariaCU, if you're interested). "Promote, promote, promote," everyone says. Am I annoying people? Is anyone even reading what I'm writing? Who knows? I suppose what it comes down to is the simple fact that you have to get yourself "out there," and you kind of have to do it through any and all means necessary. The more you do it, and the more ways you do it, the more you increase your chances of someone seeing your work and being moved by it. Promoting doesn't exactly feel natural to me, but it has to be done, and no one is going to do it for me.

There is a blog I follow called Danger Diary ( I really like the way Veronica Varlow writes and I find her messages uplifting. She makes me smile, even though she is a complete stranger. Here is a perfect example of someone who knows how to promote herself and who is making her dreams come true through a combination of hard work and connecting with others. She has a Kickstarter campaign going to finance her film, "Revolver"(, and she is halfway to her goal. How amazing! This is the kind of thing I need to keep in mind whenever I'm blogging or posting or tweeting or whatever: put it out there, or else no one will know what you're up to. It's as simple as that.

So, be kind to the artists you encounter in your life. Don't just delete their emails or scroll absently over their posts. Know that the promotional side of things might feel weird, foreign, or even downright scary to them. Smile and know that they're just trying to make the world a little nicer by sharing their work.

Thursday, October 24, 2013


WOW! Twenty-four of my magnets are going to new homes, thanks to your support of Team Brooklyn Boobays! That's right: 24! How cool is that? If you donated $50 or more (or if you donated on 10/9 and 10/16) to my dear friend Julia Villacara's Making Strides Against Breast Cancer walk, THANK YOU! Not only did Julia reach her fundraising goal, she exceeded it! 

I am really looking forward to finding out who chose which magnet, how many people are getting more than one magnet, and where my art is going to be living! If you are reading this blog post and you are someone who donated the designated amount (or on the designated dates), please contact Julia with your magnet choice and your shipping info so you can start enjoying your new little piece of my art sooner rather than later!

Sunday, October 13, 2013

art and life and art

Whew! The final Second Friday Art Walk of the season is in the books! I am happy to say that the season ended on a high note for me. There were several artists who didn't make it to 98 Maine once again, but that didn't seem to slow the rest of us down. The traffic was good, and people were in a positive mood. The evening began with a Prosecco toast of all the participating artists by Connie Lundquist, which I thought was a really nice touch. We were treated to some very fun live music and the food table was filled with lots of delicious goodies, which I really appreciated since I hadn't had a chance to eat anything besides a spoonful of peanut butter all day. Many friendly faces made their way into my little room, and I sold several magnets to both people I know and people I don't! Terry's mom, Pat, and her husband, Ken, even made an appearance, which was a really nice treat since 1. they live in Massachusetts and 2. they've never been to one of my shows before! The art walk flew by and before I knew it, the clock said 8:02 and it was time to pack up...which brings me to the next part of my story.

If you know me at all (or if you've been reading my blog for the past few years), you know that my brother, Frank, is a real-life Navy hero. Frank was the Captain of the USS Bainbridge, the ship that saved Captain Richard Phillips when he was captured by pirates off the coast of Somalia. "Captain Phillips," the Tom Hanks/Paul Greengrass film, opened on Friday night, and since it's not every day when there's a character based on your brother in a major motion picture, I think you can guess how Terry and I spent the rest of the night! We packed up my work as quickly as possible, loaded the car, drove home, unloaded the car, put everything away, scarfed down some dinner, and headed right out to the theater. To say it was a surreal experience is the understatement of the year...and I'm glad I had been told to bring tissues with me, because I used every one of them.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

booby prize

Do you love art? Do you hate cancer? What a too! I am excited to be teaming up with Julia Villacara, one of my oldest and dearest friends, as she raises money for the American Cancer Society by participating in the 2013 Making Strides Against Breast Cancer walk. Julia's team is called Brooklyn Boo!bays (did I mention she's a big fan of Halloween?) and their walk takes place on Sunday, October 20th. With every $50 donation, you will get one of my magnets! As Julia put it, "Make your home smile with magnets of her original paintings while fighting cancer." Sounds like a win-win to me. To support Brooklyn Boo!bays, please click the link below. You'll be glad you did. 

Saturday, October 5, 2013

hanging and healing

I have three of my paintings in a Five Rivers Arts Alliance group show at Coastal Orthopedics in Brunswick! The show went up on Friday afternoon, and it looks really beautiful. The title of the show is "Autumn Splendor," which nearly scared me off from even applying. I thought, "Well, I don't have any work that would fall under that category," and I said as much to Sheila over at the Five Rivers office. She insisted that my colorful paintings were exactly what Coastal Orthopedics was looking for, and I'm glad I listened to her!

The show itself is fun and eclectic. There is work on display by Bill Tomsa, Catherine Worthington, Angie Blevins, Karl Salia, Ed McCartan, and ArtVan students. Plus, Coastal Orthopedics is a beautiful facility, and the people working there seem friendly and excited to have local art on display. I love the idea of having my artwork in a venue where healing is taking place! 

Thursday, October 3, 2013

i had one of those flashes i'd been there before...

I hung a solo show of my paintings at Scarlet Begonias in Brunswick yesterday! 

The show will be up through the end of November. I am really happy with how it looks, and I am thrilled to have the opportunity to show my work there once again. My previous show at Scarlet Begonias was during the summer of 2011: my work was there for two months, but I changed the show from one month to the next. This time, I'm going to keep the same work up for the full two months. 

If you haven't had a chance to eat there, you should make the trip. Scarlet Begonias is such a great little Brunswick institution! The food is great, the prices are reasonable, the staff is nice, and they are very supportive of local art and local artists. Plus, they always play good music! They had a George Harrison playlist going while I was there yesterday, which made me very happy. I also met a very nice couple there who recognized my work from my show at Cafe Creme, so that put a bit of a spring in my step as well! 

Here's a link to their website:

Here's a link to their Facebook page: