Wednesday, November 9, 2011
EncaustiCamp http://www.encausticamp.com/ is the newest gathering. Today the new website goes online and registration for the summer event is open to the public. Of all of the gatherings, this one has been the most fun. The other conferences follow a traditional conference model with demonstrations, lectures and vendors. (More on those events in another post.) EncaustiCamp follows a real "adult camp" model that allows for three full days of hands on experiences working with nationally recognized teachers.
EncaustiCamp is held in a high school boarding school with college-like dorms, school cafeteria and classrooms. For those who don't like the "closeness" that sharing rooms entails, there is a nearby hotel. The closeness of EncaustiCamp, however, builds bonds of friendship that often last long beyond the week of creating. The numbers are smaller at this venue and the meals are prepared on-site, so the experience is more intimate. You get to know one another as only shared meals and learning or late night talks over wine and snacks can do. The vendor experience is also more intimate because each of the teachers brings work, kits or materials to sell. You won't be able to find these items in any of the art stores that vendor at larger conferences. Last year, one of the teachers who works with found papers and images, opened her own stash to the campers for sale! EncaustiCamp is a great concept and we thank Trish Seggebruch for having the vision and making it happen.
If you are fairly new to wax, have been working in isolation and want to get to know others who work in encaustic or want several classes in encaustic while only paying travel and lodging for one event, EncaustiCamp gives you the best bang for your buck. It has been held on the west coast, near Salem, Oregon, but there is some talk about opening a second location next year.
I'll see you there this summer!
Wednesday, October 19, 2011
It took several weeks to craft a great introductory letter and the materials for the proposal. It is a good idea to send this to a couple of your friends for feedback. The process of writing the proposal, outlining the chapters, talking about the audience, etc. was very helpful in really nailing down what I intended to communicate. When I look back now at that original proposal and the actual book, I am amazed at how the development changed over the last two years. I am pleased to say that the many refining steps I took led to a much stronger publication.
A lot rides on the proposal. It shows the acquisition editor how clear you are about the scope of the book, how well you handle the written word and how well you can follow directions. Actually, following directions is probably more important than your writing skills. If the guidelines asks for no more than 2 pages, don't try to impress by giving them more. A publisher is a partner. While there will be room for creativity and initiative on the part of the author, this partnership involves a whole army of editors, photographers, designers, printers, shippers and sales associates tied to deadlines and specifics of number of pages, number of images, etc. The proposal tells the editor that you can read the fine print and provide what is needed.
If you are lucky enough to know someone who has written for one of your selected publishers, then this would be the time to place a call or send off a polite e-mail asking for a contact at the company. I was fortunate to have Patricia Baldwin Seggebruch provide me with contact information to the aquisiton editor of Lark Press and gave me permission to use her name. My proposal would have eventually come into the editor's hands, but that personal touch got an immediate reply.
In the next post, I'll let you know what happened!
Wednesday, October 12, 2011
Writing a book is a year-long+ process, so I didn't make the choice lightly. I had to weigh the opportunities that a published book would provide against the time it would take me away from the studio. My husband and I had several discussions about this committment because it would also put house projects on hold. Charlie also knew that he would have to pick up some of my household duties at deadline crunch time. (Never once did money come in the picture. I'll talk more about the financial aspect of publishing in a future post concerning whether to submit to a commercial publisher or to self publish.) In the end, we decided that the benefits outweighted the difficulties especially at where I was in my career.
The first step, I believe, is to sit down with a pencil and paper and examine these questions:
- Why do I want to be published? What benefits will that bring to my career? (The more you are known, the more e-mails there are to answer, the more charities ask for your donated work, the more there is to the business of keeping up with blogs, newsletters, etc. Count on spending more time away from the studio.)
- If I needed to spend a year outside my studio, how would that effect my work and my career as an artist? (I multiplied the amount of hours I thought it would take to write a book and then subtracted those hours from the studio time and realized that my art production would be cut in half! In fairness to my local gallery, I had to withdraw.)
- Make a list of all of your weekly responsibilities with home and family. Which ones can you let go? (Do you need to play bridge twice a month?) Which ones can you hire out (Is this the time to engage a house cleaner?) Which ones can be delegated to other members of the family? (If your oldest could take over lawn care in exchange for more privileges, how much time would you now have?)
- What skills do I have to write a book? (You will need a high level of organization, a commitment to deadlines, self-motivation and good interpersonal skills.)
- Who would be my audience and what is unique about what I would be sharing? (Remember that you will need to sell 10,000 or so books. Even if you get a publisher to accept your book, the author plays a big role in getting books sold.)
Tuesday, October 4, 2011
I'm calling this Study 1, because I don't have access
to the titles of the works in the book. This will be
given away in a drawing open to the first 50 people who
purchase the presale book on Amazon.
I like a challenge so I am setting up an incentive program, beginning NOW. The first great incentive is the Amazon presale price ($8.50 off the retail price). You will notice, though, that the cover image is not yet available on their website. So, one of my incentives will be the "great reveal." For the first 50 people who pre-order the book from Amazon, and send me a copy of the receipt by email (email@example.com) I will give you a sneak peak at the cover. Your name will also be entered in a drawing for some of the art works from the book that I will be giving away. I plan to add new incentives until the Spring, so keep posted.
The experience of writing a book has been fun and exciting...and yes, a lot of work. I've had several requests from aspiring authors who want more information about the process of getting an idea to market. I will be using this blog in two ways: to talk about my experience and provide relevant information for someone who might also want to get published, and to give a sneak preview of some of the techniques from the book.
Thanks for following! I welcome your comments and look forward to distributing all of the art created for the book to lucky winners throughout the world.
Wednesday, June 1, 2011
Things are a bit hectic here in San Antonio! I'm in the midst of packing for the conference and getting all of my demonstration materials in order. I'll be off tomorrow for a new adventure at the very tip of the US on the cape...at least, to a Texan it looks like the very tip of the world. I also have a major solo show opening at Southwest School of Art on Thursday, as well. SSA schedules their openings of all three galleries on the same day, and unfortunately, I'll have to miss the opening tomorrow. My show, Uncommon Elements, is at the Ursuline campus. I have an artist's talk and demonstration on June 18 at 2:00. The show runs June 2, 2011-August 15, 2011. If you are in the area, stop by to see this new body of work.
The above piece, Balloons and Butterflies 20"X 30", is one of the larger works in the series. All of this series is on dimensional and embossed handmade paper supports and incorporates the uncommon elements of roofing tar, resin, beeswax, torch and oil. The show came out of a challenge by Patricia Seggebruch to explore new materials on my paper supports. I used the Luminaria grant in 2010 to begin the work and finished the series for this show. As soon as I get back from the conference, I will get the images on the website.
I am going to try to blog from the conference this year, my first foray into "on the spot reporting". I'll see how the technical aspects of taking photos and uploading them will work. So...until tomorrow....
Thursday, May 26, 2011
The utter devestation created by the tornados that have been hitting in the mid-west this week has brought me to a new reality. While I have been speaking of the movement and excitement of a tornadic storm, the grim reality of the thing is something quite different. I have been using the metaphor as I am creating, producing and emassing. Those who have experienced a tornado can only describe it in terms of loss.I'm not yet sure of what this means for me, but I believe this new reality will have an effect on my work. There is something there for me about "quality" instead of quantity...something about "appreciating" rather than wanting....something about enough. What if all that you or I have created as a body of work, including the images we have on discs, are all gone in a moment? Would that allow more freedom to start over in a new direction? How do we carry our own history forward without historical data?
Wednesday, March 30, 2011
Friday, March 25, 2011
My first Pulp to Painting Workshop of the season will be near Dallas in Richardson at the Encaustic Center. The workshop is almost full, so if you were planning to attend, now is the time to register. I am really looking forward to getting to know some of the members in our sister chapter of IEA. The above work is from a new series Conversations in Paper and Wax that will be shown April 15-May 28 at the Encaustic Center. The opening will be a part of the workshop.
I wrote a few blogs ago about Corina, a Northeast artist, who began raising funds to attend the Dallas workshop. I got the news today that she has raised enough funds to attend the workshop and will be winding her way to Dallas this April. Congratulations, Corina! I look forward to meeting you. I am donating a piece of art from Grandma's Sewing Box for a lucky contributor.
The North Light contract has been signed and will be on its way back to Ohio today. Reading it is an education in itself. Looking at the imposing list of deadlines--front and center of the first page--makes the whole experience very real! I've learned about advances and percentages and artist/publisher responsibilities all in leagal-eze that is surprisingly readable. North Light works primarily with artists and takes that into acount. I am looking forward to the experience...that my editor assures me "is fun!" My intention is to share this experience through the blog so that others can get a feel for the process.
Monday, February 28, 2011
Friday, February 25, 2011
Wednesday, February 23, 2011
Monday, February 21, 2011
Saturday, January 22, 2011
When I began Nancy's book, I made a commitment to diet....to take in less media, spend fewer hours in front of the tv, and refrain from engaging my neighbors in political debate. The diet worked. I lost some baggage I had been carrying around.
This past week I went to the bookshelf to look for Nancy's book, since I will be taking a workshop from her at the encaustic conference this summer. I couldn't find her book, but did see The Artist's Way. And, as Hildegard of Bingen (my spiritual mentor) would say: "There are no accidents. All is ordained in God for good. So, this too." The book is exactly what I need right now. If you haven't yet picked up either of these books, I encourage you to do so for your own "art's" sake.
The morning pages (exercise from the book) has brought me back to my 30 year old practice --dormant for the last ten years-- of journaling. The "date with your inner artist" has put a new zest in my week. But, mostly, I am becoming more deeply committed to making art as a way of life.
If anyone out there is also working through the twelve weeks of the Artist's Way and would like to connect, I'd be delighted to form an "online" group to be accountable to.
But, this weekend, alas! is about getting to the bottom of a huge paper pile and getting things in order for taxes! Next week in the studio....
Wednesday, January 12, 2011
This year I am teaching at several locations around the country, but this one near the coast of Oregon has me really excited. If you have ever spent July in San Antonio, you will know what I mean! I think I am going to meet my newest 150 best friends!