Showing posts from April, 2015

What's New Wednesday [#3]

Greetings!  Time for "What's New Wednesday"!  I've been swamped this week with assorted junk and I haven't been blogging for the past couple days, but it's all good.  If you've been reading my blog for awhile, you may notice that I gave the blog template a little Spring update :)  Here's what else I've been up to:
For your listening pleasure... a tune by my new favorite band, The Staves (they're produced by Justin Vernon [ie: Bon Iver] and their harmonies are gorgeous):
 "Teeth White" by The Staves via YouTube

Happiness is Happening

Happy Friday, everyone!  I totally junked up the little painting for today with yesterday's date by accident, and you can't unstamp a stamp so moving on....for today's post, I thought I'd share my investigation into the origin of one of my favorite David Bowie songs.  As I've mentioned before, music in an integral part of my painting process.  If my brain isn't groovin', my paintbrush isn't either.

I bought the album Hunky Dory many years ago, and framed a piece of the lyrics booklet to song No. 7, "Fill Your Heart",  because I fell in love with the lyrics and I clearly have a thing for hearts.  (The whole album is fantastic, actually.)  Bowie songs are the epitome of musical mastery because they craftily combine sentimental (and sometimes odd, but thought-provoking) lyrics with brilliant rhythms.  I've always been a lyrics person, though.  If the song has good lyrics, they'll linger in my mind long after the song is over.  

Now look clo…

I Wonder ...

In the past month, Arts Rapid City (ARC, for short!) has hosted some fabulous workshops that have helped me start navigating as an emerging artist.  I had no idea what to expect when I moved to the Black Hills in terms of the art scene, and I still can't believe how active it is here for such a small city!  What a great place to attempt a new artistic pursuit; seriously.  I'm feeling very fortunate to have local resources and support.

When I saw an open invite for an Art Critique at The Dahl Arts Center last week, I said to myself "I WONDER .... should I go?"  So I signed up!  Last evening I attended my first Art Critique and it was fantastic. 

The critique was led by local artist, Denise Du Broy, and the critiquers(approximately 10-15 people) were primarily art students and a couple of professors from the Black Hills State University.  I was blown away by the level of engagement and the meaningful feedback that was offered to each individual artist.  Beyond the feedb…

What's New Wednesday [#2]

It's "What's New Wednesday"!  (Yep, I still made a painted mantra: BE ELECTRIC.  I honestly haven't stopped listening to Oasis since I heard the rumor earlier this week about their possible reunion, and I figured a gender-neutral version of  the song "She's Electric" would be a fun thing to paint.  Plus I'm still really on a lime green kick, so there you have it).

This past week has been awesomely exhausting, and I'm learning a ton about the do's and don'ts of the textile design industry, the process of submitting original art to an exhibition, how to operate my new camera, and how to speak a new language: Photoshop.

Here's a recap of What's New at Olivia J Designs along with some smooth melodies by John Coltrane for your listening pleasure:  

"What's New" by John Coltrane via YouTube

Thanks for reading!


After hearing the GLORIOUS news (ok, rumor) that Oasis may indeed be getting back together, I knew I had the perfect topic to explore: how to REUNITE with the things we formerly despised!  Cheers to the wünder brothers for the inspiration behind this post. 

*disclaimer: As evidenced by their public display of brotherly banter, I can only assume and therefore do not claim to know that Noel and Liam have ever officially despised each other in the past.

To start, there are many, many reasons to give up bad habits, bad friends, you name it -- and most times, it's justifiable.  If it's something or someone that's causing you pain, suffering, anger, and you've tried to work through it to a reasonable degree without any luck, then yeah, by all means DITCH IT.  However, sometimes there's a unique situation when given the proper amount of time (& space), the thing that was once a source of negativity becomes a source of positivity.  How does this happen?  Cosmic magic?  P…

Brag Well


I'm learning that speaking confidently about my art is critical to promoting myself as an emerging artist.  So how do I "brag well" about my art without sounding obnoxiously delusional? 

I'm a bit of an old soul when it comes to matters of manners, and I reference Emily Post's Etiquette book whenever I'm lost.  The book is pretty fantastic.  I found mine on eBay for ~$10, and it covers nearly everything.  In addition to mealtime manners, common courtesies and assorted formalities, I always learn somethingnew when I crack open the 800+ page book, such as what to do if presented with an unpeeled kiwi at a fancy dinner, understanding that modern chauffeurs no longer wear livery (darn), or how to address a letter to an ambassador of a foreign nation (it's "His or HerExcellency" by the way).  I digress.  

If you search up "brag" in the back of the book, it is referenced on two pages, (pgs 8-9).

The segment is a mere two paragraphs in …

Don't Give In!

When it comes to tackling new obstacles (and there will always be obstacles), good old fashioned fear often creeps in....DON'T GIVE IN!  Personally, I know I'm really good at convincing myself of multiple reasons why I shouldn't take the next step (in anything new, art or otherwise), and I have had to teach myself to stop listening to these thoughts.  Sometimes it helps to simply remind myself, 'of course I'm uncomfortable!  This is all 100% new to me'Gil Fronsdal uses the phrase "cultivate capacity for being uncomfortable", in his April 12th podcast, and I lovethat. 

I think it's pretty critical to separate yourself from IT (the emotion) and see IT as an IT -- not as YOU.  You are not fear.  Fear is something you feel.  Fear is something you must simply make room for, acknowledge, and not give into.  

I reference fear specifically because I've been a little fearful this week about the direction I plan to take my art, because I know it's…

What's New Wednesday [#1]


For Wednesday posts, I decided I'll feature some of my latest works.  My main focus right now is creating original watercolors to sell, but I am also working on some side projects.  Cheers to the first "What's New Wednesday" kick-off!

Just for fun, let's fire up some Billie Holiday, shall we?  Billie Holiday via YouTube

To start, here's a glimpse of my sunshiny studio space:

Upcoming products:

Do It!

Technology is a wonderful thing, and there are a zillion different gadgets, tools, and services that I'm just itching to buy so I can explore new ways to make, modify, and market my art.  Plus, the more I continue to learn about what I can do with my art business, the more I want to DO IT.

Part I:
I decided to invest a bit, and buy ONE item to enhance my art.  After a little brainstorming, it was pretty obvious what my #1 upgrade needed to be.  Yep, it's time for a new camera!  I need to have quality images of my pieces for promo material, my website shop, prints, submissions for shows/galleries, etc. and my current set up just isn't cutting it.  I've been using a smart phone and $25 lightbox kit from Amazon to take photos of my art and promo images.  I know.  Horrendous.

So, a few requirements for the new camera:

-Ability to take up-close photos of my art (I work quite small; and I presume this is critical to consider if you create small pieces too, like earrings, neckla…


Over the weekend, I had the opportunity to attend an all-day creative workshop for Professional Development Training, and it was fantastic.  The event was hosted by Arts Rapid City (at The Dahl Arts Center) and the presentation was given by The First Peoples Fund.

I knew it was going to be a great day, because upon arrival we each got to a pick out a hand-made coffee mug from a local non-profit art studio (The Suzie Cappa Art Center).  Loved it!  This little beauty spoke to me:

As I mentioned, it was an all-day (9 AM-5PM) event, so a lot of material was covered.  I'm not sure where to begin (!!), so I created a list of the things that I learned over the course of the day; a combo of the presentations and through chatting with others at the event:
-Keep all your receipts for everything related to your art (supplies, shows, transportation to shows, food at shows, etc.), for tax purposes.  Regarding taxes, you need a license number to do direct sales in your state.  Say you want to sel…