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Thursday, February 3, 2011

have you tried summing up in 6 words what you do?

ahhhhhh..... then you know, that is no easy task, I have just bought a pdf book on how to become a better blogger, and my first task is to write an "elevator pitch", a short description of my blog, it's purpose, my purpose, and what it is about..... yeahhhhh you say, that's not so tricky.... and then try... it is a lot more difficult than you think! If like me, you were told -"you have to have a blog" and then you started with some half baked intentions, and moved on to some practical tips and
some general moaning (if you could bottle moaning and sell, your's truly wold be a millionare) hmmm, I can't even spell millllllionare..... then you know where I am at....
So, fresh start, fresh intentions, watch out, here comes my NEW blog..... I am going to share practical tips on printmaking, and in the process show and tell, how printmaking changed my life, and made it possible for me, to work full time as an artist, making a living from my art.
A lot of people tell me I am lucky to be able to do so, and yes, I am, but it also took a lot of hard work, being seriously single minded, acquiring a thick skin, and realizing that at some point you have to create something that people actually want to buy.
For me it came down to a simple choice between 2 things:
Choice 1: Do I go to a place of employment every day, get a salary at the end of every month, and create on my time off?
Choice 2: Do I spend some serious time thinking about what people, and I am people too, would like to hang on their walls, and then fold that in to art that I can create and be proud of?
This is of course very very simplistic, lots of factors come in to play, circumstances, where you are, access too funds to get you started and most of all, that crucial time period of grace, where a small income can be possible.
I did not start out as a printmaker, my artistic career started in a much more craft kind of way,
I made things out of wood, trays, napkin holders, bins, lots of stuff for kids rooms, covers for tissueboxes etc, you name it, I nailed and glued it together,(literally in my living room) painted it and sold it once a week at an outdoor market in Spain. It just, and only just, made me enough money to live on, a very hand to mouth existence!!! Never mind the old banged up Toyota, or at times, more than once, going to the gas station begging 500 pesetas (that long ago) worth of gas on credit ( incredibly enough, in Spain, this is possible to this day) to get to the market every Saturday. Lots of Fridays were spent scanning the sky, in fear of rain, lots of Saturdays the bare minimum was sold to keep me and my 2 little doggies in spaghetti and the cheapest dry food..... and yet, I loved it..... it was simple.... and yes, I am person that suits simple, and that is lucky!
I met my husband, and like the 2 weary love worn adults we were, we took a long time deciding that we were ok, and worth a go....... and here, of course, comes my luck..... my first press, that I still have and love (a Praga), he lent me the money to buy, after having carted me of to Brunei to live..... I think he thought I would go crazy if he did not give me something to do, so I cut my teeth on the expat community in Brunei, and made the money back on my press in the first 6 months! I am sure it helped that there was little else to buy, and few "artists" around! My friend Mary Eisman, taught me the basics of etching, and books did the rest, trial and error galore, which today helps me enormously when giving courses, there is no weird question or silly notion, that I have not done or tried too, and have total understanding and sympathy with.
So my period of grace, lasted quite a while, and when we moved to Singapore, I was ready! I had tried this and tried that at the numerous markets and fairs in Brunei, and brought it all with me to Singapore, where the possibilities were, to my eyes, many markets, shops and eventually a gallery that took a chance on my big prints were found, and very quickly, I could not believe how my business was taking off, I could now proudly think to myself, that the amount I made would be more than sufficient to live on anywhere. Is that so important? It is to me, I have to be independent, I have to know, for me, that I am running a worthwhile business, and that it could carry me through life without anybodys help. Why is that so important? Is a post for tomorrow.......... if you have read this far, you certainly have the tenacity to do anything you want.... and I congratulate you on that, and hope that you will make my spending of 19.95USD worth while by sharing my blog with somebody else (ahhh, you see, there's always a catch!, that's what the etching at the top of the page is called... "the Hook") I send you a big SMILE!


  1. Mariann, I thought you already did share printmaking tips and teach people about it! You are a most generous artist, in terms of sharing ideas and giving advice, tips and, most of all, encouragement! I have already benefitted from your videos and blog posts; I have some of your wonderful work to admire; I aspire to make art as lovely as yours! Because of your encouragement - both general via your blog/videos and personal - I have taken one printmaking course and am now signed up for a second one later this year (if I get time, I will do more!).
    I hope that makes you feel that your blog is already successful in some degree?
    As for sharing - I already have a link to your blog on my own, but I'll be happy to share whatever extras you post here too!
    I can start by posting a link to this post on my blog's News column.
    Happy Blogging XX

  2. Thank you Lizzie, for making me feel great!! I am so glad you are "finding" printmaking, it's such fun, and so simple, and so wonderful..... I am great believer in sharing, it makes for so much fun!
    And thank see.... 20 bucks well spent then:o)))

  3. Hi Mariann, I love this post because it is so full of energy and sincerity. Please keep your blog as we love it. I also bought the book you're working on at the moment but did not do all they say in it. I felt it made my blog less personnal. But I surely got some useful tips and it started me blogging more regularly.
    I wish you the best for your new projects and I can hardly wait for your next post.

  4. This is quite the sharing post, I enjoyed it. I know you have already shared great tutorials on print making, very generously. I congratulate you on being able to make a living with your art, you are one of the talented fortunate few, I realize it took a lot of hard work and also some good luck. I will be watching to see what changes you make to your blogging.

  5. ahhhhh, yes, it is a bit sharing isn't it... not something I am so used to, sharing what i know, yes, absolutely, sharing who I am, a bit more reticent, but here goes......:o))