On choosing a hosting platform and why I shouldn’t build a house

Oh y’all! I wrote to you ages ago saying I was going to share my journey into the business side of the art world. And I still am, really! It’s just taking me a minute. When I left off I was in the process of trying to create a WordPress.org site. In case you missed that part, here’s a link to the post. In short, WordPress.org is actually a plug-in that you use on a website hosted by a hosting platform (more on that in a minute), WordPress.com (where we are right now) is like it’s own little world. So, it’s sorta like building your own house based on designs by a contractor named WordPress (.org) or living in a apartment building where you can decorate how you like, but you can’t paint the walls and changing the furniture is pretty much where your control ends (.com).

It’s a good thing I’m not building an actual house, because if so, we’d be sitting in the rain while I tried to choose a floor plan. First off, I had to settle on a hosting site. This just means the company with the powerful computers that gets your site out there on the internet and keeps it running. I started off with Siteground, based on someone’s recommendation. However, despite everyone else RAVING about their customer service, I found some things lacking. They were very nice, but I had problems like never receiving a callback, though I had scheduled one, etc. Also, I felt like they had a slight lack of understanding just HOW little I knew. So, then I went with GoDaddy. Their customer service is incredible. I never feel dumb talking to them. However, I’m also always aware of just HOW good their sales team is. I found out that I have to pay extra (on top of the already substantial amount I was paying) to get a security certificate, which rumor has it Google is going to start requiring. If you don’t have one (which I hear is really not a big deal) you get that little tag on the search bar that says “site not secure” or something similar. So, I switched again (I’m probably starting to develop a bit of a reputation in the hosting world). Finally, I went to Bluehost just because WordPress endorses them. Honestly that process exhausted me so much that’s the last thing I’ve done. I can’t even tell you if Bluehost is working out for me because I just had to step away from all that for a bit.

I did transfer all my posts, pictures, etc. from here to the new (not yet live) site. Now THAT was a thing that was a problem I worked out on my own (GooooO me!). I’ll tell y’all about that next time and we’ll continue this (longer than I anticipated) journey.

In the meantime, keep painting and I’ll see you soon.

Taking Art by the Business End:

I’ve been doing some heavy duty thinking. Thinking about a lot of things- what’s next for my art, both on the creative side and on the business side; what my goals are; and how best to connect with you (yes YOU), and just generally speaking how to be better at everything. That’s part of why I haven’t written in a while. I’ve been hiding out in my own head. But I’ve decided maybe that needs to change. Maybe I’m in my own head a little TOO much.

So, just to keep y’all in the loop, here’s what I’ve been doing. First off- this blog is going to be moving. Hopefully I can just slide everything over to a different platform with little to no disruption. However, it’s possible that that won’t work. I’ll give you a few more warnings before I make the switch.

Here’s why I’m making the switch. Currently, this blog is hosted through wordpress.com. However, apparently, I should have hosted it through wordpress.org. Stay with me here if you’re interested at all in building a website/blog and in building an audience. If this is not your thing and you don’t have any questions about computer stuff (which, frankly gives me a terrible headache), then here’s a pretty picture to look at.

Oil painting of my little wild child. Still working on a title.

If you are interested in the businessy, computer side of things, (or even more, NOT interested, but know you should be) read on and I’ll try to break things down for you.

I didn’t realize when I started this blog that there was a difference between wordpress.com and wordpress.org, but apparently there is.The way it was explained to me, wordpress.com is like renting a space, and wordpress.org is more like owning a space. So, just like renting an apartment, with wordpress.com the technical things aren’t really your problem. That’s the advantage. However, also like renting an apartment, there are certain limitations to what you can do (don’t knock down that wall!). So, even though the technical side of things can almost make me feel queasy at times, I’ve decided I’m ready to push through the limitations. I have big goals, big hopes, big dreams, and big plans and time’s a wastin’.

As I figure this stuff out, I’m going to keep posting about it. Maybe I can help some of you figure out your “next right step.” By the way, that term is from The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron. Have you read it? Just thinking in terms of, “What’s the next right thing?” really helps me when I feel overwhelmed.

I’ll talk to you soon. In the meantime, keep painting.

April Fool’s Tradition

My cousin Chloee (really she’s more like an aunt to me) started a tradition years ago. She spends all year searching for a recipe with a crazy, unexpected ingredient. Then, she bakes up these unusual goodies and sends them out to family members, always timing it so that they arrive on April Fool’s Day, and challenges us to guess the secret ingredient. IMG_1222

These are not mean April Fool’s pranks… oh no! These are delightful. They’re always delicious, despite (or because of?) ingredients that may not otherwise seem very appetizing. Pinto beans in your muffins? Velveeta in your brownies? Rose petals in your cookies? Hey, don’t knock it til you’ve tried it.

 

So, this year when I received my April Fool’s treats, I couldn’t wait to open the box. Tiny muffins awaited me. I looked carefully. Hmm… green slivers. I sniffed. A hint of citrus. I took a tiny nibble and held it on my tongue. IMG_1223

Nutmeg, maybe…not too surprising. What else? Pecans? That’s not unusual either. Orange peel. Delicious, but not weird enough. What was that green? Zucchini? Not broccoli… chives maybe? Wheatgrass. Finally I settled on chives. There was a slightly herbal taste. I peeled back the label on the back of Chloee’s note, beneath which she had hidden the answer. Asparagus!? I don’t even like asparagus. But I like these muffins! Just goes to show, you never can tell.

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What I love about this tradition isn’t just the fun of it, or the craziness of it, or the effort Chloee puts into finding recipes and making sure they get here on just the right day. It’s the attention it requires on my part. It’s permission to take my time and notice every subtle detail of my food from the smell to the texture to the nuances of flavor. It’s the reminder to savor and enjoy.

Scary Diversion

In our house October is scary movie month. Almost every night for the entire month (after the little one has retired, of course) my husband and I watch a scary movie, or at least a scary t.v. show. We run the gamut from campy silly to scary horror.

I know this is an art blog and way off subject, but I thought you might want to put down the paintbrush and grab some candy corn and join me. Here’s what we’ve watched so far and my rating, in case you’re interested. Ratings are shown with * on a 5 point scale (I hardly ever give anything 5 stars, so 4 is really good).

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By the way, who decided this looked like corn?

Cabin in the Woods: Fun movie. Kinda scary, fairly gory, very witty- a different view on the whole “scary movie formula” (you know- the dumb blonde, the athlete, the good girl, the goofy friend, the smart one, etc.) A Joss Whedon creation…he pretty much does no wrong, so his movies and show are always a good bet. ****

The Awakening: Really good. It has that quiet, creepy style of The Others. Not gory. Scary while you’re watching it, but it doesn’t leave you feeling afraid to turn out the light. ****

Hellraiser: Terrible. Supposedly a classic, but the acting was distractingly bad (I know that’s a campy scary movie requirement, but this one wasn’t even trying to be campy). *

Ghostbusters: What can I even say? It’s Ghostbusters! ***.5

I Sell the Dead: Witty, campy gory, fun to watch. Dominic Monaghan (you know, Charlie from Lost, Meri  from Lord of the the Rings) stars. ****

Intruders: Really really good. Another one that keeps you feeling creeped out while you’re watching it, but doesn’t leave you terrified. ****

Clue: I forgot how fun this movie is. Just quirky enough to watch with a group of quirky friends who don’t like actually scary movies. ***.5

Trick or Treat: Favorite Halloween movie. A comic book style movie involving several intersecting plot lines. Kinda scary, but not nightmare inducing scary. Good scary fun. *****

As for scary t.v. shows, we’ve been watching an anime cartoon called, Blood. We haven’t watched much of it, so I can’t rate it, but I like it so far.

Enjoy!

Just a little crush

Gallery

This gallery contains 6 photos.

I’m a little giddy… a little obsessed even, over something new. It’s slick, almost plasticky, and as you can see, somewhat transparent (which could lend itself to all kinds of cool tricks). Here are some of the mixed-media pieces I’ve … Continue reading