“How can I differentiate myself?” The question I wrote in my notebook on my flight home to Indiana last month. I was flying home for my nephew’s wedding but also, always one to make the most out of a trip, had been able to talk myself into an appt with a calendar publisher in Indianapolis. Sad that I don’t have a 2013 Calendar to hang on my wall (or the walls of friends, families and others who have bought my calendars since 2006) I’ve been trying to come up with other ways to have a calendar published. I passed by the TF Publishing booth at the NYC Stationery Show last May. Stopped and chatted. I didn’t get to meet the person who works with licensed artists then because it was the last day of the show when I stopped by their booth and she had already flown back to Indy. I did contact her, though, after the show. Sending some examples of my work she replied along the lines of “nice work but we are not really looking for another watercolor, inspirational calendar. ” Therefore the question. I had to come up with another idea to propose or my chances of calendars in my future were slim to none. So I began….
I love to brainstorm…ideas start pouring forth from my pen. I started thinking about all the various products I’d love to see my artwork on (wallpaper, sheets, kitchen towels, ceramics, tile for kitchen/bath, the list goes on and on…) then slowly circled in on the calendar idea. I was challenging myself and that brought me to my own “creativity challenges” I often create as a way to not only motivate me to get the pencils, brushes and watercolors out to play with but I often find I end up with some pretty cool pieces of art! I started dreaming up different ways one could challenge themselves each month. January would be a great time to clean out the closets and organize yourself! Or maybe if the challenges were strictly artistic ways to express oneself the challenge could be to write about your dreams for the New Year or draw/paint what you’d like to see yourself doing in the New Year. At 30,000 feet, or however high you are in a plane, I felt I was up in the clouds, literally, and the angels were pouring in all sorts of challenges for me to capture on paper. I was scribbling so fast afraid I’d miss something. Before I knew it, I had about 5 pages complete. Certainly I can present from this, I thought to myself.
And present I did. Thankfully I had a quick sketch of a recent watercolor challenge I did for myself, a beautiful old fountain at Golden Gate Park that I captured in an hour one sunny fall afternoon, to show plus other work and my notebook full ideas for each month. I began reading them to her and we both got excited! I left promising that I’d collect thoughts into a more coherent Word document proposal. Though it’s fall of 2012, they are considering calendar titles for 2015. I’m not surprised given that I worked 2 years out on my previous calendars. After receiving my document last week, she thanked me and said it will be in consideration and I should know mid December. So send good vibes! I think this could be such a fun calendar.
As I was scribbling, I realized that I had more than a calendar…I could “see” a book or a book/journal. Last week I had a meeting with Maggie, the minister at Unity SF. I’m going to be doing a Gratitude workshop on Sunday afternoon there…a 2 hour writing/drawing workshop with the subject of Gratitude for Thanksgiving. I told Maggie that I had seen her endorsement on a book I had recently picked up. She asked if it was “Imperfect Spirituality”. “Yes!”. She explained that it was published by the same publisher who is doing her next book (she’s written about 5). Her next book is on Crafting and Spirituality. I got excited and told her my idea of a Creativity Challenge Calendar. She suggested I contact her publisher and said I could use her name. I realized it was the same publisher that was 2 tables away from me at the NorCal Independent Bookseller Trade Show I attended last month. That’s where I had gotten the book AND I had talked to the publisher! So I sent an email to Brenda. A few emails back and forth and I’ve got a meeting scheduled for the first week in December! WooHOO!!! Fingers crossed that these opportunities pan out and I can help challenge lots of folks to open up to their creative natures!
I’ll close with a sketch/watercolor I did the other day. Inspired by the large clumps of Pampas Grass I see around here. A friend and I walked out to Heron Heads Point on Tuesday afternoon, at the time of the eclipse. Of course we knew we wouldn’t see anything but I wanted to acknowledge that we were aware of the eclipse energy…I took a photo of this huge Pampas Grass that stood well over 7′ tall. This was my interpretation of it. Go challenge yourself to creating something!!