Musings from the Moonroom

Thoughts on Art, Inspiration, Creativity and Spirit


Tuesday’s Business: Be Prepared

Last week members of the Bolton Artisans Guild were offered the opportunity to submit a picture of their work along with a brief description for inclusion in the local newspaper’s holiday gift buying guide.  Three categories were offered under which we could include our work.  This was a great opportunity to have individual member’s work featured in the paper.  It was also very likely that our work would be featured on the front page of the paper…IN COLOR.

Wanting to take advantage of this opportunity I pulled up the Finder on my Mac and went about searching for the best photos to submit.  And there was the problem.  I was searching through various folders and files looking for the desired pictures.  I sensed another a-ha moment coming on.

More than a year ago a friend found herself in a similar situation; searching for some pictures of her work to submit to a publication.  Deb commented at the time that she needed to create a folder specifically for publication photos.  Brilliant idea, I thought, especially because I didn’t have anything of the sort myself.

And apparently I still don’t!

Well, it wasn’t quite that bad.  Sometime after Deb shared her idea, I did start a folder for publication photos…but I haven’t kept it current.

Here is what I’ve learned from this experience:

  1. Start a folder for publication photos if you haven’t already.  If you have one, keep it current; consider having sub-folders for each year too.
  2. Choose your best images; the ones that really capture the essence of your work.
  3. Give each photo a name that makes sense.  Make it descriptive.  Pick a naming scheme and stick with it.
  4. Start a folder (or sub-folders) for various publications.  This will help you to remember what photos you’ve sent in the past so you don’t repeat yourself, especially if you submit photos to a variety of publications.  It also helps you keep your work looking fresh.  If you need to put your name on the file for submission purposes, do it to these images, not the original files.
  5. If you’re unsure of the required image size and you haven’t time to ask (or specs aren’t provided), err on the side of “bigger is better.”  The image should be a minimum 300 dpi.
  6. If you want to be doubly prepared, save two versions of the image; one at 72 dpi for web and one at 300 dpi or larger for print.
  7. Get into the habit of putting pictures into your publication photos folder on a regular basis.  When you need to submit an image, you’ll be ready to go.
  8. If you haven’t written an artist statement, a bio, or some other descriptive text about you and your work, now is a good time to do so as you’ll most likely need to include something with the photo(s) you submit.  Much has been written about statements.  Some places you can check include Alyson Stanfield’s blog, and Ariane Goodwin’s site.

In the end, I submitted four images; individual pictures of four specific items I sell.  One was chosen for the gift guide (the editor contacted me and asked if a particular picture could be used as she could only use one.)  Had I been even more prepared, I would have had one picture that contained several of the pieces in one shot.  I was pleased, however, that the editor chose the picture below to be featured in the gift buying guide.

Fortune Pyramid Box

Fortune Pyramid Box

The gift guide for the first week focused on Unique Handmade Gifts and Home Accessories.  You can read the text of the ad, without pictures, here

Over the next two weeks, more Guild artists and their work will be featured in the following categories: Jewelry and Other Wearable Art, and Gifts That Keep On Giving.

And the ads did appear in color on the front page of the newpaper!


Gifts, Gains, & Gratitude

One aspect of the Great Big Dreams seminar that has really touched me is the creation of a Gratitude, Gifts, & Gains list.

As someone who spent many years moving through life taking things as they came and not truly appreciating what was happening around me, the act of writing gratitudes is indeed powerful.  However, it was not easy to get started.  I’ve tried writing gratitudes before but I never got very far; a couple days here and there.  Perhaps I wasn’t truly ready for this task.

In January, shortly after starting Christine’s seminar, I wrote about choosing a word (or words) to guide me through the year.  Out of three choices, I settled upon the word Gratitude because I knew it was something I needed to work onThis was well before Christine introduced the Gratitude, Gifts, & Gains assignment.

And I believe Christine’s approach has made a difference because it is not only gratitudes that we are asked to consider but any gain we’ve made each day or gift received as well.  Afterall, if we don’t acknowledge our small accomplishments, who will?

Part of our ability to recognize each small gift or gain has to do with setting small goals, from washing the dishes to scooping the cat box to changing the oil in the car.  These may be tasks we dread and therefore put off.  These may be tasks we silently complete without recognition.  But when we complete them and write them down, we recognize how much we’ve accomplished and can give ourselves a pat on the back.

Pay It Forward

A motivating component to setting goals and completing them is to share them with somebody.  I found this to be very motivating in the first Art Salon I participated in two years ago.  And it has been very motivating during this seminar.

So I’d like to make you an offer.

Because I have really benefited from Christine’s seminar and feel it making a difference in my daily life, I am offering to be your “to-do list, goal accomplished person.”

What does that mean?  It means that I’m willing to help you focus and feel a sense of accomplishment.  I’m willing to be that person you verbalize the goal to.  The catch is you have to set a “due date” to complete the goal.

For example, if you need to clear out your closet and you decide you’re going to spend two hours on Saturday doing this, you would send me an email stating the goal and when you will complete it.  When the goal is complete, you send me another email telling me you achieved your goal.

And there will be much rejoicing!  And you will have a sense of accomplishment. 

I’m going to limit this to four people at this time.  If this interests you, post a reply to this blog and I’ll contact you.  These don’t have to be “woo-woo” goals.  It is usually the small tasks that we avoid and that drag us down.  Yet getting these tasks off our to-do lists is really liberating.  It helps us move on to bigger and better things.