Wednesday, January 30, 2019

The Sound of 100 Cowbells

Something to Crow About
Can you believe we are approaching the end of the first month of 2019?  I mean most of us, if asked to put a date on something are still writing 2018 by force of habit.  How long does it take you to make that transition?  By now we have all probably settled into our new year routines and have more than likely already broken some of our New Years resolutions made in earnest just a few weeks earlier.

Rather than a resolution this year, I made the decision to embrace a “Word” that I want to define my 2019.  I wanted to choose just one word but a word that has significance when considered.  I have decided that my word for the year of 2019 is “Focus”.   Focus on my art business, focus on my health, focus on relationships and my walk with the Lord.  Focus is something I often find lacking in my life now that I am retired from the traditional workforce. I had a stressful, demanding job for years and when you have a career and face constant deadlines you must focus on the tasks.  I also kept notes and to do lists be it how sloppy they appeared they helped keep me focused.  Now that I am retired, I find myself sometimes struggling with creating the urgency to spend time in my studio.  There is no longer board meetings, inspections, audits, payroll or a million other things needing my attention, so staying FOCUSED at this time in my life has a new challenge to it.

There is also a real balance that I must maintain because I never want my art to become boring or a drudgery.  I don't want to loose the joy in creating but I must stay creating new art and plenty of it if I want to see growth in my bottom line.

#100- Cowbells Sold
Always Greener
Nothing ignites that creative fire for me like a few art sales and January has been on FIRE!  I have had the joy of parting with 4 original paintings and the sale of my 100th COWBELL.  What a month! What is amazing to me is that all of the 4 original art pieces that sold came from connections I have made directly or via Facebook and not from the assistance of a gallery.  Only the cowbell was sold with the aide of the Boulder City Art Gallery.  This is what I want to see.  I want to see more and more of my income generated from online or direct sales because after all, who better to promote me than me?

In closing, I just thought I would share a last look at each of the original paintings that I said farewell to in this month.

Morning Reflection

Edge of the Herd

Sunday, January 27, 2019

The Rooster Wins

#3 drawing- the Rooster
I love the creative process.  From the idea to the sketch to the final composition.  Oh at times it can be frustrating but over all I find joy in "Pulling it all together". Often, I find myself becoming consumed with the process that I am working on.  You know, waking up in the middle of the night thinking about painting cows or a cute image popping into your head at the craziest times.

That is how this little fun project turned out.  I had seen a picture of three cows peeking out behind a barn door and I just couldn't help but think I wanted to adapt that concept into my own artwork.

#1 drawing of the cow
It all began as 3 separate and rather simple sketches in my sketchbook.  Oh, I could draw all 3 together but I like the freedom that I feel when I just draw separate elements.  Photoshop allows me to arrange my composition and clean up the little mistakes that a pen and ink sketch won't allow.  Now that I have it figured out I just might offer a colored pencil or painted rendition.

#2 drawing of the pig
It started with this little cow sketch I began on Thursday night and finished it up on Friday afternoon.  Since I was responsible for the art gallery in Boulder City all day on Friday I even had time to finish the pig sketch, the second sketch in the series.

Yesterday, I found myself in one of those "CONSUMED" moments.  My goal was to clean my house and I kept trying to stay on task with that goal but my mind kept wondering back to the fact that I needed a third farm animal. I knew it must be a feisty rooster that was in my head but I just hadn't met him yet.  Needless to say, the mopping just had to wait.   I didn't even take the time to take a photo of the rooster while he was still in my sketchbook.  The minute he was finished, I ripped him out and threw him on the scanner so that he could join his barnyard buddies in their digital PNG world.

So here are a few of the final images all put together.  I arranged them in reverse order of the usual "Farm Animal Stack" we see.  The cow, then a pig and finally the rooster on top.  I even played around with adding a mouse in there but decided that it made it too busy and beside it breaks the hard and fast rule of odds. (Odd numbers are more interesting than even numbered subjects)

I used the images to design not only a poster but added a greeting card and sticker to the lineup.  I've already made them available on my Etsy Shop for purchase and they will soon be showing on my Website Redbubble (this site allows you to order all kinds of products with my art on them) and EBay, hopefully later today.

Thursday, January 24, 2019

Trying to Smile When My Heart is Breaking

There are days that I just want to fall down weeping as my heart breaks for this country.  I can't even  imagine how grieved our Heavenly Father is.  We have turned our backs on God as a nation and run blindly to every foolish whim and distraction. Lifting up evil and mocking truth.  Worse yet, we sacrifice our children and call it "a beautiful public service", with cheers, celebrations and standing ovations.  My heart is sick.

What can I do as one individual in a sea of madness? I wish my written words just flowed smoothly and persuasively, causing all those that read them to pause and give reflection to my concerns.  I know I can pray more and help point those around me to the truth.  I can vote for the best political candidates at each election even though that has seemed a futile effort lately.

One thing I do know, that we all grew up hearing that a "Picture is Worth a Thousand Words" and so with that in mind I've determined that I'm going to use my talent and creativeness to bring a smile and maybe just a moment of happiness to this very dark world.  I know, it is probably just a pipe dream, after all it is just a little mouse with a donut drawing or a painting of a cow licking her nose.  I have no earth shattering revelations that can cause hearts to change but if I can make you smile, even if it is just a little smile, I feel I have done something positive to counter act all the negative.  It doesn't feel as if I'm doing enough to make any real kind of difference in the world but I must remind myself that "While it may seem small, the ripple effects of small things is extraordinary." (Matt Bevin)

This is one of the reasons that I've started in 2019 to bring together my artwork with scripture or impactful quotes that can be used as shareable memes.  Of course, marketing and branding of my artwork is also a motive for me but I'm finding my own day is improved greatly as I consider what my next meme will look like. 

This one is my latest meme and the title of this piece is so apropos to what I've been talking about in this blog post.  I call this painting, "Casting Out the Darkness".  Isn't that a perfect title to go along with Psalms 12?  "I lift my eyes to the hills, where does my help come from?  My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of Heaven and Earth." 

If you like my artwork, please consider following me on my Facebook Studio Page or visit my website gallery.  There is a tab above that will take you to both of these sites.  Visitors often turn into friends and that makes me HAPPY!

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

The Bluebird of Happiness

A happy little bluebird graphic I found
I drew this little bluebird below using my colored pencils just a few days ago and I couldn't help but think about how amazing all of God's creation is.  From the sunrise in the east to the sunset in the west and everything in between, this world shouts of His amazing gifts to us. 

It doesn't take an artist eye to see and appreciate the creation but I do think that the fact that I am an artist adds a unique perspective to my vision.  I find that I view things in more detail now that I paint.  I'm always thinking about what colors I would mix, how to paint the areas of darkness and light or what makes the perfect composition.  I find myself mapping out the process I would take to paint it as if it was the subject of my greatest masterpiece. 

The colors of blue and orange are so striking and beautiful on these little birds that I'm reminded in James 1:17 "Every GOOD and PERFECT gift is from above".  God has given us such beautiful things that surround us, make us happy and brighten our lives.  I am blessed just sitting here thinking on these things. 

I thought it was a prefect verse to use today and pair it with this little guy.  I pray today will be a Happy Day for you.  Find something to be grateful for and let your Father of heavenly lights just how much you love all your "Good and Perfect Gifts". 

Sunday, January 13, 2019

He Owns All the COWS, BIRDS and the BUGS too!

Psalms 50:10-12- Verse of the Day

Every once in a while it does us good to go back to the scripture and put things into priority.  We spend so much of our time acquiring, collecting, managing and maintaining our earthly possessions that we loose sight of the fact that ownership of things of this world is a farce. Yes, I might have the title to the car I drive and the deed to my home is in my files, but when I graduate this life, those slips of paper aren't coming with me.

The things we think we OWN are just that, THINGS and they don't really belong to us.  In Psalms 50:12 God tells us that "for the world is mine and all that is in it."  That is a lot of cows!

There you have it... We are just borrowing all this stuff (and some of us have a LOT more stuff than other).  The world is here for us to enjoy and take care of.  We are kind of like the "STAFF" helping take care of the estate.

Me holding "Happy Cows" right after it was finished
The artwork here on the "Verse of the Day" meme is my original acrylic painting called "Happy Cows".  I made a few edits and added a some digital flowers here and there.  I felt it fit the verse perfectly.  If you are interested in owning the original artwork or a print than you can check it out on my website at I also have a Facebook Studio Page @JulieTownsendStudio that you can follow.  I post all my newest artwork there first.  Feel free to share this meme with your friends.

Sold at the Boulder City Art Gallery
One other exciting piece of news this week that also is "COW" connected...I sold my 100th cowbell yesterday at the Boulder City Gallery.  It has just been 4 years since I painted my very first cowbell and here I am hitting such a milestone.  I am so blessed by this.  Here is that very special bell that I just finished a couple weeks ago.  I'm so glad she is off to a new home.

Thursday, January 10, 2019

Is There Rain in Your Forecast?

There are many things I remember from my childhood growing up in the Missouri Ozarks and gentle rain showers was one of them.  Nothing could wash the dust that had accumulated like a steady rain.  Everything was made fresh and clean. 

I also remember singing this old hymn written by Daniel Whittle in 1883. (Read about the life of Daniel Whittle)  What a sweet and powerful memory. 

  1. There Shall Be Showers of Blessing

  2. There shall be showers of blessing:
    This is the promise of love;
    There shall be seasons refreshing,
    Sent from the Savior above.
    • Refrain:
      Showers of blessing,
      Showers of blessing we need:
      Mercy-drops round us are falling,
      But for the showers we plead.
  3. There shall be showers of blessing,
    Precious reviving again;
    Over the hills and the valleys,
    Sound of abundance of rain.
  4. There shall be showers of blessing;
    Send them upon us, O Lord;
    Grant to us now a refreshing,
    Come, and now honor Thy Word.
  5. There shall be showers of blessing:
    Oh, that today they might fall,
    Now as to God we’re confessing,
    Now as on Jesus we call!
  6. There shall be showers of blessing,
    If we but trust and obey;
    There shall be seasons refreshing,
    If we let God have His way.

Here is my Verse of the Day to share with you.  This color pencil drawing is titled, you guessed it, "Showers of Blessing".  It is available in prints, magnets and cards and I currently still have the framed original.  Please feel free to share.

Creative Space = Messy Space- NO MORE

I know I am probably the only artist, crafter or online seller that has this problem so I will just write this blog for myself.  For me creativity often leads to messy disorganization.  I know the two don't have to go hand in hand, but for me these two have become BFF's.  2019 is going to be my change year.

I need to feel that I can have spontaneous creativity without spending extra time just trying to clean off a space for it.  I don't need my studio "Pretty" but I do need it "Organized" with space to work.  One of the first things I have changed in my studio is the installation of slatwall display panels.  I picked these up from a gallery I belonged to that had to close in October of last year.  That was a sad event but these panels are a blessing for me.  The studio is still in transition so there is still plenty of messy at the moment but hopefully not for much longer.

I'm not so worried about the aesthetics of how they are hung as much as they are no longer stacked in the corner getting scratched, chipped or torn.  I can now have a view of what I have available and the framing I can use for future displays.  I've got about 20' in my studio and another 12' in a spare bedroom next to the studio.

This week I also added this beautiful workbench to the room.  My initial plan was to install about 6 foot of countertop with 2 drawer base units.  I did find one unfinished base until on the "As Is" section of Lowes and picked it up for $50.  So now I have plenty of drawers and work space to create.

One thing I wanted to use this work surface for was to have a quick set up area for taking product photos of my artwork.  I'm just using 2 sheets of white cardboard and diffused studio lighting at opposite corners of the room and this work bench is going to be perfect for that.  I can set up in a jiffy if I don't have to clear the space.

It will also serve as an area to use my laminator, my fancy new cutting machine and also a big enough surface for matting prints and putting together my greeting cards.  I'm super excited about the growth I've seen in my art business and I need to bring my little studio to the next level.

I'm going to close today's blog with a few new product pictures that I took last night using my new work surface and my iPhone 10.  They didn't turn out half bad.  All of which are currently available on my Etsy Shop and now on EBay  so head over there and check them out.

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

If You’re Happy and You Know It - Jump

Have you ever watched a video of little baby goats jumping around?  It is just as if they have springs for feet and are the funniest little creatures ever.  So you can understand when I read Act 3:8, my mind just automatically "JUMPS" to images of goats.

Enjoy and be blessed today.

Monday, January 7, 2019

Soon to be Cricut Crazy

I have a total of 24 Etsy listings that are for stickers.  I know many would think it is a waste of my time to make stickers but truth be told, I find the whole process fun.  From the design, the printing and even the cutting them out with scissors.  Well maybe not the cutting part so much.

I love taking my artwork and adapting it to fit onto different formats.  Another benefit is that I am able to have multiple Etsy listings and it has given my shop statistically a number of sales and good ratings.  That is a really good thing in the world of Etsy Shops.  I believe that it will eventually result in the increase of sales of my prints and original art.  Well at least that is my hope.

This year I have added several new items to my home studio and one of them is the addition of a Cricut Explore Air 2.  Of course I have no clue how to use it at the moment but I'm sure I will have fun learning the process.  I anticipate not only using it to cut out my stickers more quickly and professionally but I am anxious to create some new greeting card designs that feature not only my artwork but some fancy scroll cuts.  In 2018 I had $788 in greeting card sales and $104 in Sticker sales.  With the investment of cutting machine, I hope to at least triple my sales in both categories for 2019. 

Here are just a few of my stickers available on my Etsy Shop- Julie Townsend Studio on Etsy

Stickers really are a lot of fun.  They just brighten up any surface that you put them on.  This calf licking his nose is my number one sticker seller, followed closely by the little chickadee.

Saturday, January 5, 2019

Marketing My Art with the Help of Some Mice

Working on my first post that I plan to boost on Facebook by purchasing some advertising.  The goal of course is to get more followers to my Studio Art Page.  So one of my marketing plans for 2019 is to have regular art giveaways and drawings to generate an excitement.  Here is my first drawing for 2019 and I'm super excited about it.  Hope over to my Facebook page and enter today.

Yummy Scripture

God is good all the time 
He put a song of praise in this heart of mine 
God is good, yes He is, all the time 
Through the darkest night, His light will shine (Dean McIntyre)

This verse is a call to action.  I can't be satisfied with my Bible just lying on my nightstand or hearing an occasional Sunday sermon.  God is calling us all to be more than being a passive observer but rather He wants us to come pull up a chair, grab a fork and "TASTE" that He is good!

Friday, January 4, 2019

Time to Get Rid of the Dust and Cobwebs

With the coming of a new year, there are lots of resolutions and commitments made to improve health, making new goals and promises to finally get organized.  There is just something uplifting and inspiring about new starts, new beginnings and new calendars.  It is also the perfect time to give your online presence a good cleaning up.

That is what I've been doing the past couple days.  It is important for me to maintain the branding I have already created for myself so I want to make sure that all my online platforms have a similar look.  I'm pretty happy with the changes I've made so far.

First, I'm still considering changing up my motto from "Telling Stories with my Paintbrush" to "Telling Paintbrush stories To Make You Smile".  I really like the idea of working the concept of the Smile into my motto.  From experience I have first hand observed over and over the reaction that my art causes when an individual steps into my booth or views my display and I can honestly say there is usually a smile involved. 

So let me show you what I've come up with for my website home page.  It is so important that the first impression you get is visually impacting.  You want your website landing pages to grab you and make you want to stay.  I'm hoping that from there the natural thing to to is to checkout the rest of my tabs and spend sometime in my gallery and not just immediately click on to the next site.

I've chosen Dancing Script as the font for my studio name and KG Be Still and Know as the second font.  It is really important that you stay consistent with the details.  I can make some adjustments with the layout of the artwork across the different platforms but the font needs to stay the same.

Here is an example of a page banner design that I created to use on my Facebook Studio page or on my Etsy Shop.  You can still see the theme remains the same.

business card front

Another extremely important marketing tool is that of your business card.  Here is currently the draft of what I have worked out for my new design.  I'm not quite ready to order cards yet so I will probably make a few adjustments.  I do have my phone number listed on the back of my card but covered it up here on my blog for privacy sake. 

business card back

So I encourage you to take some time to consider your website, Facebook Page or Blog and perhaps do some sprucing up of your own.    It is amazing how just a change of color palette, font choice or adding a few images can make such a difference.  If you don't have an online presence for your art or whatever creative outlet you do, then I encourage you to make that a goal for 2019.

Feel free to comment below or message me if you have questions about marketing.  Please consider following me on my Facebook Studio Page 

Thursday, January 3, 2019

No Looking Back

My Julie Townsend Studio Verse of the Day.  Feel free to check out my Studio Facebook Page or follow me on Instagram @JulieTownsendStudio.  I post all my newest work there first.

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Remember the Tortoise Wins

Here is my VERSE OF THE DAY!  My word for 2019 is FOCUS and what better to focus on than my relationship with Jesus.  Everything else will fall in line if we make living a life pleasing to Him our first priority.

Hold Your Horses and COWS...2019 is HERE

HAPPY NEW YEAR!   2019 came in with a bang...literally between the fireworks and the gun shots!  

Looking back at 2018 I can say it was a great year of growth that my little studio has seen in 2018 and I couldn't be more pleased. 

It has been my habit for the past few years to take a few minutes on January 1st to record specific marketing data on each of my social media accounts and on my Etsy Shop.  I do this so that I can make a comparison to the previous year.  My likes on my Facebook Studio Page  have doubled to 723 and on Instagram there has been a 35% growth in the number of those following my art. 

Here is something new I've decided to do.  I'm keeping a map of sales locations by state for 2019.  For 2018 I went back through my shipping records on where I mail out all my package orders.  This is both Facebook, Ebay and Etsy sales.  It doesn't include local sales via galleries, art shows or personal sales deliveries here in the Las Vegas area.  This represent mostly sales of cowbells but there were some print orders included.  Now I didn't start using until mid year so this is really a 6 month picture.  The purpose here was for me to see a visual of where my art is being collected.  I can see that I need to do some work to grow a fan base west of the Missouri River. I'm really anxious to start seeing the 2019 map fill up.   

One last thing I wanted to share with you this morning...I'm having a drawing on Facebook that I'm really excited about.  A few months ago I found a little set of 3 faux wooden books at the thrift store for $.50 and brought them home and painted little mice on them.  The set sold right away.  I decided I would try to find more of these little faux books to paint on.  That wasn't as easy as I thought it would be.  Apparently, these were made in the 80's and are not available for purchase online.  I managed to purchase one set on Etsy and another on Ebay so I have a total of 6 more I can paint on.  I'm hoping soon that my husband can make me up something scrap lumber that will duplicate them for the future. 

Because they turned out so cute, I thought it would be fun to have a little mousie faux book as a studio giveaway.  I decided to team up with my friend and distant cousin, Jolene Worm of Jolene's Gathering of Old Folks and add one of her cute as heck mouse dolls to make a "Mousie Duo". 

To enter the drawing isn't hard.  You must hop over and "LIKE", "SHARE" my Studio Facebook Page and "LEAVE A COMMENT'.  The drawing info is pinned to the top of my page.   If you don't have Facebook you can also enter by joining my Studio VIP list through my website.  It only takes a minute and you just might be the lucky winner!