Wednesday, March 19, 2014

New art! Bluebottle

 Here's my newest painting, "Bluebottle"!  The Common Bluebottle is a butterfly native to parts of Asia and Australia.  I just love the neon green-blue hues of this butterfly’s wings, so I painted this fairy whose wings were inspired by the wings of the Bluebottle butterfly, also known as the Blue Triangle.  I have painted her in a dark forest surrounded by tree roots and branches, an eerie blue glow shining through the dense trees.

Prints are always less expensive from my site since I don't have to pay a bunch of other companies to sell on my website!  8x10s are on sale for $9.99 and 13x19s are on sale for $19.99!

Prints of this painting starting at $9.99 HERE

Use coupon code newartfreeship in the cart to get free shipping on orders of $9.99 or more!  Excludes deluxe oracle decks and originals - sorry, but they're really heavy!

Of course I understand that some people really like to be able to leave feedback and get help from a third-party if they need it, so I have the prints for sale on my eBay and Etsy shops as well!

8x10 prints for $10.99 on eBay HERE

13x19 prints for $20.99 on eBay HERE

8x10 prints for $10.99 on Etsy HERE

13x19 prints for $20.99 on Etsy HERE

Use coupon code FREESHIPPING2014 on Etsy for free first class mail in the US!

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Oracle Deck Kickstarter: Part 1

I am not sure just yet how many parts this series of blog entries will have, but I've been asked by several people to share some tips and insight now that my first self-published oracle deck is a real, tangible thing.

I've been asked specifically where I got the cards printed.  I had a very unhappy experience with the company I used, and even though they fixed it, I won't be ordering from them again.  The company that I used was Printer's Studio (  They make it sound as if they are based in the United States, but they are not.  They are based in China and much to my dismay, my cards arrived from China.  They did a great job, but the problem with this is that I may end up having to pay import taxes and I wasn't expecting or planning to do that.

They also packaged everything very badly.  The first box they sent disintegrated during transit and arrived missing around 30 or more decks of cards, with several decks damaged.  After several late-night calls from China, they promised to send me another box of cards in time for DragonCon.  They did do this, and I was very happy with the product, but I am still miffed about the sneaky importing and feel that they are intentionally lying and presenting themselves as if they are made in America.  I also was not able to order boxes for my cards from them, which meant I had to go to another company for that.  I would have rather worked with fewer companies, but the shipping charges were already steep (now we know why) so it's probably a good thing given how it all turned out, that I worked with someone else for the other components.

Read the rest of this entry at

Friday, October 4, 2013

Dragon*Con Part 3: Bone Adventure in Bonaventure

I grew up in an old Victorian coal mining town, with one of the most organized historic cemeteries in the United States.  I blame this for my odd fascination with cemeteries.  I don't find it so odd, really, but other people tell me it's strange.  I've always loved ghost stories, statues, and quiet, overgrown places, so to me it seems fairly normal.  And visiting Bonaventure?  Well, that's been a dream since I found out about its existence.

I never really knew how I would get there, though.  I didn't know anyone in the area, and driving across the country to visit a cemetery sounds a little crazy.  But then I had the weird fortune of ending up married to a Georgian, and we planned our trip to Atlanta to visit his parents and go to Dragon*Con.  Savannah is 4-5 hours from Atlanta, but that's not far to go when you've already driven across the country, right?  I'm also working on a project for which I needed reference materials, and Bonaventure was perfect.  So, camera in hand, off to Savannah, Georgia we went!

Nothing about Georgia was very spectacular.  It's green and pretty, but no greener or prettier than my hometown in Washington, and the trees in Georgia are very short.  Nothing about it really captured my heart.

And then there was Savannah.  I only spent about 24 hours in Savannah, but I will remember them forever.  Everything there was gorgeous.  I wish I'd taken more pictures of just things in general in Savannah, but it was kind of a rush trip with the main focus being Bonaventure.  We stayed in this gorgeous boutique hotel, the foundation of which turned 201 years old this year.  The hotel was called The Olde Harbour Inn, and I highly recommend it.  Here's a picture I took on the walkway leading to our hotel room at night:
Here's a link to their website, in case you are planning a trip to Savannah, or just want to read about this haunted hotel: Click!

Is it haunted?  Uhmm, maybe?  One of the alarms in our room went off in the middle of the night.  The hotel is situated on a weird cobbled street called Factors' Walk.  There is a huge drop-off from the sidewalk above Factors' Walk, and people have fallen and died.  The railings around our room all say to be careful, watch your step, and so on.  It's a bit spooky, and you are very aware that one wrong step and you could be splattered on the cobblestone below.  Factors' Walk also has quite a history.  All of the slaves that were brought through Savannah walked down Factors' Walk, and its darkness and massive retaining walls along the street have provided the perfect setting for robbers and rippers to stalk their victims throughout Savannah's history.

I realized on the way there that I had left my pencils and sketchbook in our car in Atlanta.  Some quick Google-ing revealed that there was a Dick Blick store TWO TENTHS of a mile from our room.  Seriously?  Could this place be more perfect?  We walked down there after checking into the hotel and I promptly blew $200 in 10 minutes.  Like a boss.

We asked for restaurant suggestions and they suggested a restaurant where it turned out we were going.  My in-laws really wanted to show us Tybee Island, so we drove out there to see the sights.
Tybee Island is like a whole other world to me.  At first, it seemed not all that different from the coast I am used to.  And then we went to dinner at The Crab Shack.  It wasn't the best seafood I've ever had in my life, but it was the best seafood experience I've ever had!  It is hands down the most bizarre restaurant I've ever been to.  It's all pretty much outside.  You eat on a deck, or in a room that is basically just mosquito netting.  We ate on the deck, but not before visiting all of the alligators (yes, I am completely serious).  We only counted 19 alligators, but they claim to have almost 80.

We ate dinner in the company of Tootsie, a very fat stray cat who they caught, spayed and vaccinated, and then released.  She never left, along with 20-something other cats, and she lives a very hard life begging for table scraps in addition to her kibble.  As soon as we were done eating, she was off to beg at another table.

They also have a building for rescued birds.  The birds range from fairly mundane small pets to enormous tropical birds.  Some of them were abused, some had owners who passed away.  Many of them have lost or pulled out their own feathers to the point that their feathers will not regrow (stress causes birds to do this), but many of the birds were still willing to pose for me.

The drive back to Savannah was punctuated by the most spectacular thunderstorm I've ever seen.  I have never seen so much lightning in my life.  It was incredible.  I had hoped it would pass over our hotel and I would get to watch it through the skylights above our bed, but no such luck.

The next morning we were off to Bonaventure.  Finally!  It was crazy hot and stupidly humid, but I still walked around a fairly good chunk of Bonaventure.  I still haven't seen all of it, so I hope to go back some day.  Here are just a few of my favorite shots from Bonaventure, taken with my cruddy little pocket camera.

I'm not sure how long we were in Bonaventure.  Maybe a couple of hours.  I took so many more photos, but I haven't had a chance to edit them all yet.  I got a lot of material for my project, lots and lots of reference photos, and a ton of inspiration.  I'm sure you'll see Bonaventure popping up in my work a lot for a while, and its influence probably for much longer.

Before we left town, we ate lunch at Moon River Brewing Company.  This restaurant is supposedly so haunted the ghosts won't let them finish renovations.  By the end of our short stay in Savannah, it almost seemed like just another ghost story to add to the pile, but the food was delicious, and I am not sure I have ever seen an organic hamburger on a menu for $8 anywhere else.  So if you're in town, definitely give it a try!  I am not sure anything in Savannah can compare to the bizarreness of The Crab Shack, though.

And that concludes my trip to Georgia!  Phew!

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Dragon*Con Part 2: So. Many. People.

Note: The purpose of these posts is to record notes for myself and share information that might be helpful to other artists.  If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to ask!

The art show is down in the basement, so you only really see the people who are intentionally coming into the art show.  One day everyone was complaining about how much it was raining, so I wanted to go upstairs and look.  I wasn't prepared for how many people were on the next level of the basement.  It was way too much for me and we were still in the basement!  I have no idea what the rest of the convention was like.  After that, I stayed in my dungeon.

The hours at the art show were also really long.  So we couldn't have gone to see anything anyway, really.  We had a lot of fun at the awards ceremony, but we missed part of the reception on Friday night since we desperately needed food.  We did find the best/cheapest food was in the mall food court.  We tried a couple of restaurants in the area but we weren't really impressed.  The restaurant in the Hyatt was okay, but $18 for a bowl of macaroni and cheese is pretty darn crazy where I come from.  I tried oysters at a local seafood restaurant (Ray's in the City).  They were the tiniest oysters I've ever had, and they were really overpriced.  I'll stick to Pacific oysters from here on out.

There was a restaurant selling gyros in the mall food court, and they were really, really good gyros.  The pasta salad and veggie stir-fry from the same place were also really good.  We also had some Chinese food in the food court that was really good.  Dinner at Ray's for 2 cost us about $60, but dinner for 2 at the Chinese or Greek restaurants was around $15.  You can guess what we ate a lot of during Dragon*Con!

The art show itself was pretty nuts.  My gallery and print shop stuff hardly sold at all, but my table was pretty steady.  With 2 people working at the table we almost couldn't keep up on Saturday and Sunday.  We had our best 1-day sales ever at Dragon*Con, and our best overall weekend as well.

We did have a lot of people who wanted to use credit cards, which was great, but at some point we had to institute a minimum order rule.  People wanted to charge $2 bookmarks and things like that, and we don't make any money after the credit card fees are taken out.  We'll probably put out a sign from now on that we won't charge any orders less than $10 to a credit card.

By far my most popular items were my cat paintings.  That's not really surprising, is it?  I'll definitely be working on more kitties this fall, since the demand was so incredibly high at Dragon*Con.  We made extra prints of the cats one night and still ran out of all sizes.

We took my printer along with us and I think next time we won't do that.  We did need it from time to time but it was back at our hotel room so if we ran out during the day it wasn't really helpful.  It was nice to restock at night though, so I am still torn about that.

We also took a lot of freebie postcards and gave them away.  I think we gave away around 1,500 postcards.  They were just printed on one side and had my website URL at the bottom.  I use them as if they were business cards and people really like it since they get some free artwork.  The postcards can be kind of expensive so I usually order them in massive quantities so I get a break on the price (2,500 or more).  I've also given away bookmarks in the past but I didn't feel like those were as well received and a lot of people commented that they have an e-reader and don't use bookmarks anymore.  So I suppose the bookmark is going the way of the dodo.

We had a lot of fun at the art show, though.  Our neighbors were all really wonderful guys and one in particular was so entertaining if we ever got bored all we had to do was wave at him and he would come tell us a crazy story.  So I hope that we'll be able to go back next year, but it's a juried show so we'll see!

Stay tuned for part 3 (oh yes, there's more!)...

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Dragon*Con Part 1: Over the Hills and Far Away

Note: The purpose of these posts is to record notes for myself and share information that might be helpful to other artists.  If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to ask!

Driving Vs. Flying

When I told people we were driving from Montana to Atlanta, a lot of people thought I was maybe a little crazy.  "Have you heard of airplanes?" I was asked more than once, but the fact is that living in Montana means airfare to anywhere other than Las Vegas is not cheap.  Most flights to Atlanta required multiple connections and a few flights on small commuter planes, and we were looking at nearly $1,500 just for airfare alone.

The next factor was the stuff we wanted to take.  With checked baggage rates going through the roof, and shipping costs what they are, sending all of the things we needed to get down there would have cost us several hundred more dollars.  We had someone local that we could ship things to, but if you have to ship to the hotel you are staying at, sometimes the hotels charge to receive those packages, so that is something else to consider.

We probably came out ahead on our travel and shipping costs by driving, even driving all the way from Montana.  We stayed in hotels on the way, and I found those through TripAdvisor.  We also used my husband's military ID to get the government rate, so that helped out a lot, too.

We could have done the drive in 2 days each way, stopping to sleep every night, but we were already sleep deprived when we hit the road and it took us 2.5 days to get there.  On the way back we went a lot slower and did some touristy things, so it took us about 2.5 days again.

The other benefit of driving instead of flying is the money we saved on a rental car and all of the things we got to see along the way.  If you stay in a hotel at the Atlanta airport, you can also get a 4-day MARTA pass and ride the subway back and forth.  This might be faster on days like Saturday, when the Dragon*Con parade clogs up most of downtown Atlanta.  I think we sat on the freeway for an hour that morning, just waiting to get on our exit ramp!

I also noticed my friends who were limited by what they could bring on a flight tended to have less to sell, which meant they had less profit.  If you want to make your money back at a show like this, you really need to have a lot of stuff with you for your customers to choose from.

Creative Displays

That said, I took too much stuff.  Next time I will probably just take things like prints, books, calendars, oracle decks and so on.  We took key chains, magnets, mugs, and bookmarks.  We didn't have room to display the key chains and while the rest of it did well (we're out of magnets now and nearly out of mugs), I think we would have sold more prints if we hadn't had those items.

Something else that really helped was having a vertical display.  We ordered 3 2'x7' gridwall panels and had them shipped to Atlanta ahead of us.  We got some picture frame hooks that attach to them and slide right through sawtooth hangers and provide a nice solid hanger for wire hangers.  We made a lot of sales of large, canvas, and expensive limited edition prints off of this display.  For Dragon*Con, you only have a 6' wide table, so this display fits behind it but doesn't leave a lot of room for sitting behind the table.  I was worried the 7' panels would be too tall, but I think they were actually the perfect height and maybe 8' would have been even better.  A lot of people used panels behind their tables and some of those displays were well over 8' tall.

We did get a lot of compliments on the set-up, and by the end of the weekend we had sold out of some things and the table was starting to empty out a little bit.  Some of the displays that worked the best were wrought iron easels I got at a craft store years ago on clearance.  I've also accumulated a lot of baskets from Ross and the dollar store, which I used for small prints, a little trunk that is just wide enough to stand my 16"x20" prints in and lean back against the lid, and a desk organizer with little drawers to store extra things in and shelves just the right size for extra books and tarot decks.

Another little trick is to use bulldog clips to hang prints from the front of your table.  Our tablecloth was a little slippery and occasionally a bulldog clip would just give up and drop the print on the floor, but it was a very short fall and everything was fine.  We also sold almost all of the prints on the front of the table.  A lot of people use that space for signage but I think 16x20 and 12x18 prints make much better signage, plus you can sell them!

The one thing I did forget was price tags, and then I accidentally bought clear ones at the office supply store, so most people couldn't see them anyway.  Oops.

I'll work on posting part 2 tomorrow!  I still have loads of unpacking to do and orders to ship!  :)

Monday, August 12, 2013



I told my husband the other night I'd be really happy if we got to $4500.  It would leave me enough to pay for the oracle deck and put some into savings for future projects.  Then he woke me up this morning and told me we got to $4601.  I thought $4500 was ambitious!

We're going to go ahead and order everything that we can once the funds are in our bank account.  We are still waiting on several payments that didn't go through the first time, and it actually adds up to a considerable amount of money.  So I am hopeful that those people who need to will login and fix their payment method so we can order more decks.

I expect that we will be done shipping the decks by the third week of September.  My husband is going to help me get everything ready to go, and our son will be going back to school regularly starting this week, so I am confident that everything will happen much faster and more organized this time.

Thank you all so much for hanging in there with me!  This summer has been pretty chaotic and it's not over yet.  In two weeks we're leaving for Dragon*Con in Atlanta, and we'll be driving over 2,000 miles to get there.  I still have a lot to do to prepare for it, and I'm trying not to freak out but I am pretty stressed out.  I've never been before and I have no idea what to take or what to expect.

I'll try to update regularly about what's going on and how things are progressing.

Thank you for supporting my art, and allowing me to keep doing what I love!

Thursday, August 8, 2013

One Thing At A Time

As overworked and over-stressed as I am right now, I have to keep reminding myself "one thing at a time".  It feels like I haven't really crossed any projects off my list in ages.  I am still packing up the 2014 calendar Kickstarter between phases of other projects and incoming orders.  I am finishing the oracle deck components this week since the campaign for that ends this weekend (already?!?).  I still have several paintings left to finish for DragonCon.

Today I have 47 prints left to mat, sign, package, and label for DragonCon.  Luckily we have machine-cut mats delivered now and I no longer cut the majority of our mats myself.  I also have several dozen e-mails to respond to, art shows to contact, orders to pack, and a watercolor painting taped to the table and practically screaming at me to get to work.  Two are finished, looking on, wondering when they will be scanned and shared with the world.

Ah well, might as well go cross those 47 prints off my list!