Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Backyard Artist Date - Autumn

The past year I took few artist dates. But I did make time for small backyard artist dates where I wandered the yard and focused in on the nature that surrounds my everyday life.  I found some lovely things.

Backyard Artist Date- Summer

Backyard Artist Date - Spring

Backyard Artist Date

I never got around to an Autumn artist date, so I thought I would do that now. After this one however, I will be moving the Backyard Artist Dates to my personal blog, Tamarack Writes, and posting more than just seasonally. So stop by next month over there and see some more nature shots.  Better yet, get out and take your own pictures!!

Sunday, September 15, 2013

My Baby Has Been Birthed

My baby is a week old already and I forgot to send out an official announcement on our blog! Such a distracted (and weary) mother I am!

My baby is my book, my children's book "It Began with a Song." I pushed through with the self-publishing and after ordering and receiving 6 proofs of the book (each one an improvement over the next) I finally clicked the "I APPROVE" button on CreateSpace and the link became live to sell.

Here's the link: It Began with a Song

I am very happy about making this idea of a book into a real book. Very happy.

But, the details, the many details were so consuming! What price, what refinements on the story, the illustrations, and the music I wrote that is at the back of the book?

Oh yes, I wrote a song that is included at the end because I wanted children to be able to move, sway, and dance like all the plants and animals in the book. This book needed a song!

However, I am an illustrator, not a musician, so I took advice from my son, my neighbor, and a local music teacher and came up with a song that works and is written with the correct notation. Phew! I learned about the range that pre-schoolers could sing and their ability to learn and remember a tune. I learned about how the stems of each note go either up or down depending on where it is placed in written music.

Self-publishing means self-promoting, so that will be my next project. What is my plan for introducing my book to the world? I imagine I'll make more money doing school visits that I could ever make on books that I sell, so that will be one way I will try to market myself. I need to get a copy of my book to all the area schools and see if I can come do a presentation.

Self-publishing realities: I set the price for my book (which is paperback, 32 pages) at $9.95. If I sell a copy through Amazon, I get $2.32. The purchaser of the book has to pay $14.95 with shipping.

I can buy my own copies of the book directly from CreateSpace for $4.55 each including shipping. So if I do that and sell them locally, I can make $5.40 per book and the purchaser can pay $9.95 and avoid the shipping costs. Locally, my customers and I both make out.

I don't feel any urgency to start promoting my book too hard just yet. I'm just appreciating my baby just for being born!

One person so far has bought my book on Amazon. She is the parent of a friend of mine from high school who lives in San Diego. I only know that she bought the book because she emailed me and asked about the link to the song on my website. Where was the link? she wanted to know. Yikes! She got the book in 2 days from when it was posted on Facebook. I didn't have the link ready because I didn't expect anyone to be looking for it that soon!! (Now, the link is there.)

What touched my heart is the note she wrote me about the book. Remember, this is the mother of a high school friend. She is retired, but has her own multicultural music and storytelling program and provides enrichment in music and storytelling at the University of San Diego's Child Development Center.

Dear Katrina,
I love your book It Began With a Song! I will enjoy using it in my work with preschoolers. The art work is delightful and so child friendly. The mole is fun to watch and the pictures on every page inspire the reader to dramatize what we see!!

The Meadow Song and Dance will be fun as well!!

We feel so proud of your many accomplishments! Keep up the good work.


This note from Betty is just about all I need to feel that this book was worth it! Validation!

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

enjoying haiga

Though I haven't written much all summer with my son home from school, vacations, and more than my share of camping, the end of summer is here and I am finding my way back into writing. Slowly. One step I am taking is to begin writing haiku again.

Haiku is a short, 17 syllable form of poetry that captures one moment in time. (Though often there are fewer than 17 syllables in modern haiku.) Often there is a surprise or "aha" moment. And always there must be a reference to season or nature in some way. The form originated in the 17th Century in Japan. One man is referred to as the master of that time, and still carries the title today. Matsuo Basho. One of his most famous haiku captures the form perfectly:

old pond . . .
a frog leaps in
water’s sound

With all the nature I have been immersed in lately, and so many pictures to take, I have been enjoying haiga, Which is haiku paired with a painting or photograph.

blue sky criss-crossed
red-tailed pauses for a breath
a powerful viewpoint

I have written quite a few haiga at my personal blog, Tamarack Writes. And am writing them every Monday. Stop by there to read more, or share your haiku with me.

Or share them here in the comments! Let's spread the haiku love.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Growth and Success

And so we have come to the end of our Artist's Way process. A few weeks ago, Katrina had Diane, Johanna, and I over to her lovely home to celebrate our year long adventure together. We had wine, peaches, borscht, muffins, and petit fours to toast to our growth and success.

We each have had our challenges over the year, both with this work, and within our own lives, but it seems to me that all of us have grown considerably.

I see Johanna reclaiming her sense of self, achieving little ways to bring joy to her days, and reaching out for help when she needs it. I see Katrina going after her dreams, finding the people, the art, the spaces that bring her love, and seeking friendship and connection to her world. I see Diane learning to be patient, kind, thoughtful with herself, giving herself a chance to breath more deeply, and letting go of that which does not serve her anymore. And me... I see myself diving deeper into who I am, accepting change and all that comes with it, and grounding myself down into a new place of understanding.

What is success? Have we four achieved success this year? Be it in the form of an art show, a picture book, the art of parenting, or an essay, success, it turns out, is what we make it. Julia Cameron continues to remind us of that. We make art because we must. And it is in the making of that art that we find success. There is always further to go down The Artist's Way, there will always be somewhere else to get to. But for now, I think that we four can see that we are already there.

(In conclusion of our official Artist's Way program, we will be leaving this blog up and running as a place for each of us to contribute as we want or need to. It will remain an open space for art and creation, challenge and discovery, and growth and success. Stay tuned, the story is not over yet.)

Make your own ART!