2017 was full of new adventures and in a lot of ways, I’m sad to see it go. I started a new business, met some new friends and networked a great deal. I took a lot of really good photos and taught myself how to make them better through editing. I traveled as much and for as long as I wanted to (no time constraints). I spent more time with Moses my cat and also with friends and family. I actually started to socialize again after a lot of years doing the opposite. I enjoyed myself tremendously for the most part with the support of my very encouraging husband (he really didn’t sign up for this wild ride my life has become!). I also turned 60 last year, which rocked my world a bit until I realized celebrating it was much more fun than being depressed over it. I have a lifetime of experience to share and a long time left to do it in.
I’m looking forward to a more than interesting 2018 with more new adventures ahead. My first juried Art Show in the Spring, more opportunities for community Pop-Ups that will get me in front of new art lovers, more of the same great steady venues that provided me with just enough income to pay for supplies.
As far as challenges in 2018; doing my first taxes as a small business owner, finding new and exciting venues to present my art, honing my skills with both the camera and the computer (editing) and finding new subjects. I do know that I need to stay fresh, and so will be doing more camera work locally and everywhere else we go.
All in all, I have so much to be thankful for and I feel so blessed today to be healthy and happy going into this new year.
Graham Hickling is trained as a Wildlife Biologist in New Zealand before moving to the United States in 2002. He lived in Michigan for several years before moving to Knoxville, Tennessee, where he teaches at the University of Tennessee. Throughout his career he has combined his interests in photography and videography with his wildlife research activities. His primary interests are nature photography and macrophotography, however his eye for the quirks of humanity in the Southern landscape has led to a growing enthusiasm for street photography.
I’m looking forward to sharing his passion for photography with you soon as we grow his new collection.
About a month ago, I signed up for an evening market. I’ve been to this one before so it was easy to participate again. I then stopped thinking about it until last week when the event coordinators started the usual round of social media advertising. The normal music/food/market was being sponsored by a group called the 22nd Annual ChinaCat Sunflower Festival. How did I miss all that? It turns out to be a full fledged Jerry Garcia tribute evening complete with a Drum Circle at 4:20 pm.
I started planning for it yesterday! Ye Gods- not enough time. I created a limited edition art piece and almost ran out of ink printing it today. The miracle of the ink cartridge occurred and I only ran out of a color I had a replacement for. No last minute stressful trips to Office Depot.
Now I’m about ready. I went through my jewelry and found my Smiley Face Mood Ring. I have my Unicorn ring, my copper bear fetish earrings and a huge sun/moon/shooting star pendant. I wish I knew where my denim cap was but it’s too hot to wear it anyway.
Its almost exactly a month to my 60th birthday and here I am acting like a kid going to her first concert (which was the Dead by the way).
I hope the bands are good, but even if they aren’t I’m going to have a blast!
It feels so strange to be back in Verona. Almost a year has passed since we moved back to the US with our cat after living here for seven months. Coming back as “visitors” has been harder than I expected.
To start, we could not find an apartment in our preferred neighborhood, so we are wayyyyy up the hill in Veronetta. It’s quite pretty and very old ( being the first settlement of Verona in the 600’s). But it’s a serious hike from the city center. Uphill both ways! At least it feels that way. Next up we are visitors again, not residents. Being treated like tourists rankles a bit in our town!
The bright side is how many people we have seen who remember and have missed us. Nadia and Laura at the fruit and veg store. The cranky guy at the liquor store. The lady who rescues cats and her two dogs. The woman who owns the market and many restaurant owners and servers. All “felice di vederti” (happy to see you!) It’s just a little bittersweet.
The weather has been spectacularly gorgeous. Rain at night has kept the skies clear during the day. It’s been 70-80 and still cool at night. The Jasmine is just starting to bloom, roses are in full glory and the peonies are about finished. Strawberries are incredible, cherries just coming on. Last night we had fresh shelled sweet peas and mushrooms with our pork cutlets. Cooking here again made me so happy!!!
I am so amazed and uplifted by the people I have met in the last few months. As new as I am to this online and market business of selling art, I can already count many new friends and a few mentors. Nicole Butler was one of the first people I met at a pop up event in November held at The Honeycomb Salon (Nancy the owner has been a huge artistic support). Nicole has become a go to business mentor and a great friend (and you really must try her Mother Fudgin’ Mask). She makes vegan bath and body products that are amazing. She has sent me leads for markets and consignment shops, answered really stupid questions and just generally been a great contact. Kat Bush (she is on Etsy as KatBushdesigns) is another new artist in the markets I go to. We have been helping each other out as we go along and will be sharing a space at The Makers Market in Jacksonville April 29 and 30th. She is a super talented water color artist and I am proud to say I own one of her pieces!
There have been so many stories already that will be lifelong memories. Like the dead snake in front of my booth two weeks ago that another vendor kindly removed for me. Or the day the wind was so strong the vendor next to me was helping me chase my art down the aisle. Or the couple selling jewelry at the art walk who would not leave until I was packed up at a night market when I was the last one still working.
There are so many things in this world today that don’t seem right anymore. I can tell you the market culture is not one of them.
Last weekend was a learning moment for me. As I prepped for my local farmers/art market: Riverside Arts Market I thought to myself, why not make some new items. So I started with fridge magnets and ended with postcards. Now, lots of people tell me I shouldn’t waste time on cards and stationary BUT it sells. It’s a piece of art you can enjoy or share and you don’t have to spend a lot of money or worry about where to hang it. When I was young and trying to decorate an impossibly ugly studio apartment, I bought interesting note cards and framed them to hang. So, I have a history with cards. I also worked in the hospitality industry for years selling tchotchka’s to tourists and I know the power of a postcard.
So off to market I went with fun new art magnets and 30 postcards of differing subjects, mostly local shots of iconic things (statues, bridges etc.). Low and behold, I sold almost all the postcards, but only one magnet. Here is the lesson: at the end of the day a woman stopped by my booth and saw the magnets- “where are the ones that say Jacksonville on them?” she asks? I collect magnets and your art is perfect for what I wanted but I go home tomorrow. Oops! Big miss on my part. So Saturday I will have Jacksonville collectible magnets to offer. You only have to tell me once.
By the end of the day I had sold all of my matted prints of our memorial statue known as Winged Victory (official title: Free) and an art piece of a mural at an intersection in town known mostly to locals.
Local art is important to locals and visitors alike.