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.

Every Picture Tells a Story

This is Baby Monkey. My little girl’s best buddy. Her constant companion for the better part of her life. So loved is Baby Monkey that I worried about her safety, constantly checking to see that she hadn’t been left behind at stores, hotels, airports. The perfect size to clutch in a chubby little 3-year-old fist, she went everywhere with us.

But my little girl isn’t 3 anymore. She’s 6. Tall, headstrong, funny, bold. Baby Monkey stays home most of the time nowadays, no longer making trips to the grocery store and school. Recently, though, after a long day out my daughter said, “I want to go home. I want to go home and see Baby Monkey.”

Still special. Still loved.

In Full Bloom

I just finished this commission and I love it. It’s unlike anything else I’ve ever done. However, it began the way many of my paintings began.

It began with love.

A couple. A wedding in an exotic locale surrounded by the people that love them best. And flowers. Beautiful flowers.

Five years later, that wedding is a marriage- no longer just a celebratory statement of love, but a daily, quiet, steady, continual recommitment to a relationship with kids, a mortgage, and all the trappings. And through that weekday love, the memory of that wedding, and those flowers, glows bright.

Five years. The flower anniversary. As a gift to each other they chose this: a daily reminder to hang in the heart of their home of that beautiful day, that embrace of family and friends, and those flowers.

Hello, darlin… nice to see ya

It’s been a long tiiiime…

Hello there stranger! How the heck are ya? Do you even remember me? I’m sure that’s questionable. Remember in my last post I promised you that I would tell you soon what was keeping me so busy. Apparently I lied. I apologize.

See here’s the deal. I had a baby! I say that like it just happened. Oh no. It wasn’t recent. It was so long ago now I’m embarrassed to say. Embarrassed because while a new baby might be a reason to neglect a blog, a 20-month-old, despite the fact that he’s into everything, seems like less of an excuse. The thing is that while I expected that to mean extra work, no one told me that the craziness increases exponentially with each child so that 2 children is somehow through some mathematical mystery 4 times the work. I would imagine that people with 6 children never ever stop moving and never take in any sustenance but the last drops in the bottom of a juice box and the 1/2 a chicken nugget child #4 dropped on the floor that the dog failed to notice. So hats off to those of you that make multiple children look easy. But I digress. Where was I? Ah yes. Kid x 2= Work². However, it’s also Fun², so while there’s extra cleaning messes, laundry, correcting, containing, and refereeing, etc; there’s also extra snuggling, kissing, teaching, learning, and laughing. It’s good. It’s great! But it is busy.

I am very happy to say, though, that work as been busy as well. I’ve done several commissions which I have really really enjoyed. I love the collaboration involved in helping someone flesh out what they want in a painting and bringing it to life. My commissions have ranged from an oil painting done from an old photograph of the client and her mother, to a traditional portrait, to a portrait of a beloved stuffed bunny, to tiny boots and baby knees (plus a couple of pet portraits not shown here). The work has been varied, but so so good with each piece presenting its own challenges, learning opportunities, and rewards. I’ll probably go into detail about some of these in future posts, but for now here’s a brief glimpse of what I’ve been up to since the new kid came along:

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Sometimes Love Means Not Complaining

 

I love my husband for a zillion reasons. He can make me mad faster and laugh harder than anyone I know, sometimes simultaneously. He makes a mean hamburger, pot of chili, poached egg, margarita, or whatever else he wants. He’s solid. He’s trustworthy. He’s generous and loyal to those he loves almost to a fault. He’ll make you mad. He’ll drive you crazy. But when push comes to shove he’s got your back if you’re one the ones lucky enough to be called family or friend.

The reason, though, at this particular moment I so love my husband is the mess in our house. It’s my mess. It’s art mess. Our house is not big. My easel is. Currently three rooms of our house hold canvases that may not, under any circumstances, be moved. There’s an easel in our “dining area” right next to his chair. There’s a reference drawing tacked (literally tacked) to the wall beside the window. However, my husband (whose hyperbolic diatribes regarding annoyances inflicted by the rest of humanity are almost legendary) doesn’t say a word about the art supplies taking over our house. He just turns scoots his chair over, looks at the painting, and complements my day’s work.

Behind every artist is someone willing to overlook some mess.

Waiting for Spring 

  
It’s cold. Our flannel sheets make it hard to leave the bed. The air outside makes it hard to leave the house. This southern girl is spoiled. I know that Bostonians and Minnesota natives would laugh at me huddled here in my soft Black Crowes sweatshirt, hugging my coffee cup and longing to turn up the heat. Laugh away. I’m ready for spring. 

Flipping through my journal this morning I found this watercolor I painted last summer of my little girl and me at the water’s edge. I can feel the warm sand between my toes and the setting sun on my back. For just a moment I am there, and I am reminded that spring will come again.