I am going in for a very small surgical procedure tomorrow. I tend to react very heavily to sedation, so I’m not expecting to be up and about until Monday. If I am up earlier, awesome! But please know that if I don’t reply to anything… it’s just till I am back awake and about!
Update: out of surgery, it went well, still woozy doozy so I won't be available, but doing great.
So much art is happening. The kickstarter funded successfully, printed without a hitch, and I am now cutting the mats to send the art out. The great news is... I overfunded, and so was able to finance a print run of my wisteria dragon! I'll be offering those prints for sale once I am through taking care of my kickstarter friends.
The DD came as a HUGE surprise for me, and a welcome one while I'm sitting here boxing up the kickstarter the DD painting was for. Thank you so much everyone!
I have some new art that I cannot post till after this weekend, due to special 'someone has to see it first' requirements, but it's very different for me and I hope you all like it.
The meditation deck is about a quarter of the way done. I'm hoping to have it all finished by august, so that I can start the kickstarter on it. This deck is a collaboration with my beautiful daughter who is an incredible poet, in the hopes of helping those who suffer from anxiety and stress to find a way to calm themselves and bring themselves to a more stable state of mind. I am not a psychiatrist, nor a psychologist, but I am applying all the meditation and healing techniques my doctors have taught me, to create a deck that is as soothing as possible. I can't wait to share it with you all.
There is more art coming but I am under some NDA's right now, so just know.. big, amazing things coming.
Friend and family art
You might notice I have uploaded the art of my daughter and my stepmom. I'm on a mission to help them see their dreams come true, and so am collaborating with my family members, as well as doing all I can to show off their skills. I am so proud of them, and they have been there for me through so much. I want to share them with you all as well.
Well on a health front, I am getting better. For the first time my doctor has not raised nor changed my medications, so I'm fairly stable now. I do have my down days, but they are few and far between, and generally have to be triggered by something to cause them.. rather than just happening randomly. My artistic drive is back and I am painting every single day.
I have also become a minister. What does this mean? Not a whole hell of a lot seeing as I am an atheist as far as religion goes, but what it DOES mean is that I am licensed and registered to perform marriages. I did this so that my friends and family members who are gay will be able to have a *wedding* and not just a courthouse ceremony. I had the courthouse thing and it's something that I have regretted my whole life. I don't want my loved ones to feel that same regret, so I made it so that they don't have to worry about finding a minister who will accept them. I will. It is legal, and if you are wishing me to perform your wedding ceremony I *will* need at least three weeks notice to register my ordination with your county clerk (as that's part of the legal paperwork to make the wedding legal) and we will need to go over exactly how the county requires your paperwork filed, as I do NOT want to have anyone's wedding ruined with poor management of red tape. I am eclectic and non denominational (being an atheist), but I have no problem with using ceremonies that the couple desires.
All in all, things are going well. I hope they are going well with you all too.
As of yesterday, my daughter became a world record holder in the guiness book of world records for the largest swim lesson ever given. She says it was terrifying, so many small children, and it was just an excrutiating length of time of neverending saving kids from drowning. But she did it, and she and her colleagues are now in the record books!
First off, there is only six hours left on the kickstarter! So hop in while you can my friends! I’m excited!
Secondly, I am proud to announce that “Once Upon A Time” is now available for purchase through Amazon! I am one of the illustrators for the anthology this time around.
This charity is very close to my heart. They provide assistance and education on rape and abuse, and also run the military’s hotline for those who need to report such things and need help. They are incredible. www.rainn.org/ If you need help or a place to start looking for information if you have been harmed, they have a plethora of resources.
Come check out the interview with me on One Fantastic Week! www.onefantasticweek.com/jessi…
So if you're in Utah, we'll be having a one day event to benefit the Christmas Box International charity. It will feature live musicians, local artists, and great drinks at Sunset Coffee! THIS IS TONIGHT COME VISIT ME.
Here's a link to the event page, with the address and more details. It will be hosted April 30th, and I'm really excited to be there. I'll have a lot of new art that no one's seen, and some crazy fun things to share. So do please come down if you can.
So. My work was submitted to a museum at the end of last month, in the hopes of joining their longest running exhibit. On April 2nd, I found out that I had failed, and I was not accepted into the exhibit.
I went through the full flood of emotions, crushing failure, hopelessness, certainty that my work is just a hack and I really shouldn't do art anymore. Failure always seems to bring out the worst in me, the certainty that I will always fail because I am not good enough. I didn't write a post immediately on finding out, because I wanted to really experience the full range of emotions I feel, not just the initial sting of depression. I gave myself that first day to mourn the failure, and to acknowledge that I felt sad, rejected, and generally not great about things.
The following day, I picked myself up and decided to really look at the failure and see what went wrong. Was it truly that I was a shitty artist? Or was there another reason. Why exactly did I not succeed and what could I do in the future TO succeed? I took that moment say that I am not a failure in and of myself, that I can change my future, and I will.
As I analyzed the show and what was going on, it was super easy to say 'well they were just jerks' or 'pft they couldn't recognize fine art if it bit them in the ass'. The usual cheer you up talk that your friends will often say. The reason those fall flat on my ears is that it feels too much like excusing a failure, rather than acknowledging what went wrong. Every time I found myself saying something like that, I stopped my train of thought and continued on to the next.
I sat down and really looked at the show first. Not what was in the show, but *who the show was catered to*. This is something that I had not done before I submitted, and I truly should have. My pride in my work is pretty considerable, so at times I forget that it is not always everyone's cup of tea. In this case, the target audience for the show was a group of older, wealthy benefactors who have a taste for midwest art. Lots of scenic landscapes of waving wheat and paintings of deer, etc. That right there told me where I made my first mistake. I simply do not match the target audience in the least. So for future shows, I will make a point to be aware of the target audience and know if my work will be a good fit.
That thought in mind, I took a step back to compare the quality of my work to that accepted at shows that have a target audience compatible with what I do, and reached the conclusion that I am well within the pack of contenders for fine art. Had my work honestly not been of a fine enough quality, then I would reconsider sending that piece at ALL. But stepping out of myself to look at it, I do stand a good chance of being accepted in shows, they just have to be the RIGHT shows.
Does it still sting to not be accepted? Yes. Picking up my rejected piece will make my pride weep and twitch horribly. Do I think the museum didn't know what they were doing? No, the fault was mine in not researching their demographic first and submitting something more appropriate. Does it devalue that piece of art at all? Absolutely not. But that piece will be sent to a show that's more in line with my demographic, and I believe that success will come more easily.
It always hurts to be rejected from a show, a publisher, etc. Let yourself feel that hurt, but don't let it control you. If it means you need to take a step back and do something entirely different to break the train of sadness, then do it. If it means you need a friend to help you objectively look at why you didn't get in, by all means do. But remember... you'll win some, and you'll lose some, but you're never a failure. You just keep going and learn from every experience.
Edit: OMG TWO HOURS LEFT! I AM POSITIVELY HUMMING WITH EXCITEMENT!
This is it guys. We have three days left on the kickstarter. Three days. It WILL fund, as we’re way past funding amount at this point, but this is your last chance to get a print of the jellyfish dreaming tree as it is ONLY with this kickstarter, for backers at the $25 mark or higher.
I am so overwhelmed. So overwhelmed and so completely excited. I wanted to do a big huge update but everything at the house is basically just stacks of mat board waiting to be cut! So the three bottom pictures are me experimenting with one of the test prints (done to make sure that the paper is actually good quality and the prints look nice), where I was gilding the gold parts of the dragon’s mane to mimic the original painting. No, the prints won’t come gilded, it takes about three hours to do ONE print, but this was fun to play around with.
I am so excited everyone. New art will be coming as soon as I make it through this kickstarter, but right now I am just FLAILING with delight! Dream come true right now, right here.
I love you guys.
This is a question that plagues me every time I work on something new, and is one of the reasons I was so hesitant to even DO kickstarter. What if I fail? What if I post up this project and you all watch me crash and burn? There is nothing I hate more than public humiliation and failing in public would be emotionally devastating. So it took me weeks and weeks to do a simple kickstarter and build up the nerve to post it.
It occurs to me, that part of why I feel this way, is that myth that if you are a 'real' artist, then everything you do must be a success. Everything you touch turns to gold, every sketch, every doodle is priceless. You cannot fail, for you are a master at your craft and even the worst of your work is more incredible than the average layman could dream of making.
This is a mythology that I think a lot of us buy into. Too many of us count the successes, only speak of the triumphs, and pretend the box of failures does not exist. We do not talk about submissions to publishers and our piles of rejection letters, until someone is on the verge of giving up art entirely. Only then do we mention it casually, a little 'oh yeah I've failed in the past, don't worry, you'll get there.'
Get where? To a magical point where failure simply does not happen? Where 'no' is no longer in our career's vocabulary? I feel like this is crippling, and maybe it is time to embrace the possibility of failure as real as the possibility of success. And that failure is not a bad thing. As the song goes, it's time to win some or learn some. Failure is just another learning experience and we gain from it regardless.
So today I share that I am nervous. I may fail, I have been rejected before. But tomorrow morning I drop off my art at the Springville Museum of Art, to undergo the jury process once more and see if I make the grade for display. I may, and I may not. But I am giving it a try. And if I fail, I will share that with you as well, and what I've learned from the experience.
Maybe now I can learn to get over my fear of failure, and take the big risks and the chances I wouldn't otherwise, because that is the only way to grow into all that I can possibly be.
Hey all! So I have some news regarding the kickstarter and I thought I’d update it here.
I said when I started that if it hit $1,000 I was going to do something special, and so I am! For all backers at the $25 or higher level (so you’re getting one of the dragon prints), I am including a limited edition print of my Jellyfish Dreaming Tree. I felt it was an appropriate thank you for helping me make one of my dreams come true, by sharing my favorite dreaming tree with you all.
This edition is special because I am specifically limiting it to THIS kickstarter. That means this is the only time you will be able to get this particular print, and once it is gone, it is gone!
There’s a bit over two weeks left on the kickstarter and I am just.. so overjoyed and happy about it, I can’t babble enough. If you’re just hearing about it now, you can find it here:
And it is for the Out of the Ashes, beaded dragon that you’ve all seen on my blog. But here’s a little reminder:
So, a few months ago I asked you all to tell me what you thought about your art. There were a few people who were happy about their art, but the overwhelming majority felt a sense of disappointment, frustration, upset. They were unhappy with their work.
That's a hard thing to feel, to be unhappy with the thing that you do out of love. I've felt that before so I know how crushing it can be and how hard it can be to pick yourself up and continue trying. One thing I noticed, when I feel that way, is that it's often born out of a lack of direction, and a lack of understanding of what I've done right in the past. It's so easy to see all the wrong choices you've made, we're practically hardwired to go 'oh god that was so awful'. The problem is, how can your artistic career (be it writing or drawing) grow into a beautiful tree, if you don't have faith in the roots that support it?
So I'd like you all to do a little exercise. I'd like you all to take a step back into your past, and pull up an older piece of work. This time when you look at it, and this will be really hard for some of you so if you need help feel free to message me. But when you look at it, I want you to look at what you did *right* in that drawing.
It doesn't have to be done perfectly, it just needs to be the first step of the right things you do in art. The things you liked about it, the things you may still like about it. What did you do right?
I'll kick us off.
This is a really, really old piece of mine. The first thing I want to do is talk about all the things I did wrong, but every time I get the urge to point them out, I'm going to take my hands off the keyboard and just stare at the picture until I focus on something I did right.
This was my first time doing an off balance composition, where the flowers jut higher to one side, rather than being perfectly symetrical, and I really feel I pulled that composition off. In fact I think I did a great job with the flowers overall, not too cluttered and an interesting variety. I also did a great job with the tones, not making the background the same tone as the foreground figures, so nothing gets lost in a blur of 'sameness'. And I was clearly on my way to great floaty hair!
You don't need to write a whole lot about your pieces. Even just one thing is fine. But find something good about your old art. Those are your foundations of understanding, the things you grasped first and are often strongest at.
I have faith in you guys. Together we can all come to have more faith in our art, and our abilities, no matter what level we're at. Be good to yourself. You are amazing.
Tarot I've finished the 78 Tarot Queen of Pentacles card, but am not able to post a full piece until they update it. So please keep an eye on their tumblr and facebook pages for updates! The new deck is looking simply phenomenal. If you are in Seattle, keep an eye out as a gallery exhibit is in the works and you may be able to see the original painting first hand!
DRAGON PRINTS I will be doing a kickstarter in the next week, for fine artist prints of Out of the Ashes. The paper will be bamboo paper, so it's a bit richer and has more character than normal printing does.
Museum I've sent in for another museum exhibit so keep your eyes open. I'll know march/april if I got in.
Conduit Those of you coming to CONduit this year, where I will be the artist guest of honor, will have another treat. My dad has gotten his tickets and will be attending as well! So please come and hang out with us, we're a weird lot, but we do have a lot of laughs and that's what counts, right?
Anthology I will be one of the illustrators in the new Cliches for a Cause Anthology, with the proceeds going to the RAINN foundation.
So... keep your eyes out, more things are coming!
1 pm: Creating Backgrounds and Layouts
5 pm: The artistic Road to fame
1 pm: Designing the Dead
2 pm: Fantasy vs Science Fiction
9 am: Making creatures realistic to their environment
2 pm: Buildings and structures
5 pm: Myth & Symbol, History and Fantasy
I still don't know what time I'll be there tomorrow, for the art show set up. Expect me 'at some point' lol. Between panels I will probably be wandering around aimlessly, or squished in a corner somewhere arting. Please feel free to waylay me to chat. If you want art crits at all, bring the art with you, if you want *redlining*, bring tracing paper cause I'm all out, and I'll redline on the paper so you can take it home.
The amazing Ayla Albertoni was the winner! Congrats!!
How do you paint a fish, when it darts away beneath your brush to hide behind the kelp? How do you lay down the golden scales when the dragon is perpetually in motion? Sometimes I don't paint at all, because I'm sitting there staring at the painting and falling into it. It feels as though I could just... reach my hand out and rather than touch paper, my arm would go through it and I would tumble into the artwork and be lost forever.
At this point I have no idea what my finished art looks like, and that's troubling. So I'm asking a favor... please don't critique my art for a while. That is critique in the sense of message me to tell me what's wrong with it. It's not that I don't appreciate the intent to help me improve, it's that I literally... can't see it. I can't even ask for redline help during the drawing process because it just moves on me before I draw it and I'm frustrated all over again. I've got a doctor's appointment where hopefully they will put me on some decent antipsychotics so that I can get this under control, because how the hell am I supposed to grow and improve as an artist under these conditions?
I'm so frustrated.
And you are more than welcome to voice any opinions at all, like or hate, about the art. Just understand that as far as critiques go, they're pretty much worthless to me until my brain is functioning again.