Friday, September 26, 2014

"This is a test. . . . "

. . . . to see if my blog is linked to Facebook again. If it is, it should show up as a post. I am so proud of myself--I changed my header into something a little bit more interesting, all by myself! It's still not what I eventually want, but it's an improvement and I've learned to take things a step at a time.

It's been an interesting but not a terribly productive day. Tomorrow is Sanger Art Hop so I have some straightening up to do and preparations to make. Let's see if the "test" works!

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Saturday Art Hop in Sanger, California! Can you come?

"Oh my goodness, oh my goodness!"

Looking down on the gallery from above, it appears and I feel like Annie, shouting "Oh, my goodness! Oh, my goodness!" The last blog post that I made was on January 28th, at which time something happened and my blog address (a third party address hosted by some obscure someone, somewhere) was redirected to my in-progress WIX website. My blog was not lost to me, but access to others was no longer possible. I haven't written since January and I'm so excited to have just spent an agonizing but, apparently, productive few hours this afternoon in touch with WIX, Blogger, and obscurity trying to solve the problem. I think I can write on my blog again! Yippee!

It's been so long that I have no idea what to write other than to say that I'm extremely excited to have this avenue of communication back under my fingers and my control. I'm just going to say HELLO for now and bask in the revelation that I've solved what I found to be a big problem. I am now back and will write some real blog posts VERY soon!

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Advice from a "sage". . . .

We have all just learned that Pete Seeger just passed away at age 94, after a long and interesting life. I was reading an interview he did with Sarah van Gelder for YES! Magazine/Spring 2008. He shared something with her that got me thinking about my desire to open my gallery in Sanger because I wanted to "connect" with my own community. Read one of Sarah's questions and Pete's response here:

Sarah: What’s your secret to getting children singing, getting people even at Carnegie Hall singing together, getting people to fall in love with their river and take care of it? Are there some things we can learn about why people choose to get involved?
Pete: Well, it’s been my belief that learning how to do something in your hometown is the most important thing. It’s not just me who thinks this. Margaret Mead said, “Never doubt that a small group of people can change the world, indeed it is the only thing that ever has.” And the great biologist RenĂ© Dubos said, “Think globally, act locally.” And E.F. Schumacher said “Small is beautiful.” And now Paul Hawken. All these people are saying the same thing.
If there’s a world here in a hundred years, it’s going to be saved by tens of millions of little things. The powers-that-be can break up any big thing they want. They can corrupt it or co-opt it from the inside, or they can attack it from the outside. But what are they going to do about 10 million little things? They break up two of them, and three more like them spring up!

The power of "little things", mentioned once again. When I opened my gallery in Sanger a little over two years ago, my goal was to do my art in a place where I could connect with my own town. This Friday, I am invited to a luncheon at the local Rotary Club where 20 people (10 men, 10 women) have had the honor of thanking their town of Sanger on the 125th anniversary of it's existence. I am honored to be one of those 20 people. I'll talk more about it after Friday, but, for now, I'm going to ponder Pete's statement that "It's been my belief that learning how to do something in your hometown is the most important thing" a bit longer and harder. . . . . 

"My Dad's Home Town"

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Beginning of 2014--a call to artists and friends! I need 10 "Mixed Messengers!"

Here we are on the 8th day of 2014. The weather is gorgeous here in central California, rather un-winterlike. We desperately need rain and there is none in sight. I want it to stay mild but I know that it needs to rain.

I want to continue on the path that I've taken in my studio/gallery for the last 2 years, but I know that I need to do some different things to move forward. There is a difference between wants and needs and the challenge lies in satisfying what we want while providing for what we need.

I need to broaden my artistic reach and I want to enlist your help. I've thought of several ways to get more exposure and I'm starting to implement them. I'm going to be part of the 3rd Thursday Art Hop in Fresno on January 16th. I will be at the Vintage Market at 601 W. Shaw, at the intersection of Shaw and Wishon, between Palm and Maroa on the south side of Shaw. I will be starting to reconnect with the art scene in Fresno after a self-imposed period of time spent focusing on my gallery in Sanger.

Doing more events in Sanger and nearby will help me as will intensifying my advertising and social networking and blogging efforts. I am going to try really hard to blog every week the rest of 2014.

But what I am most excited about trying is to develop a group of supporters/friends/family/fellow artists and art lovers who I will call "Mixed Messengers". These "Mixed Messengers" will be my allies in helping me tell others about "Mixed Messages" ART, my gallery in Sanger, and about me as an artist.

I will attempt today to tell what being a "Mixed Messenger" will entail. To start off, each person who asks to be one will receive a small packet of items. The packet is a little folded "box" or cover with 3 different things inside.

The first item is a button that says 'I'm a "Mixed Messenger." You can be one, too! Ask me how!'

Each person who asks to be a Mixed Messenger wears his/her button or displays it as desired.

In the packet, there are also a dozen business cards, each different, made by Business cards can be handed out to people who like art and might like to visit Mixed Messages Art. If they bring a "Mixed Messenger" card (see below) into the gallery, they will receive 2 free greeting cards and so will the person who gave them the original business card and MM card.

The third item (just mentioned) is a dozen "Mixed Messenger" cards to be given out one at a time to prospective visitors to the gallery. So when someone is interested in knowing more about the gallery and/or the "process", button wearers give them 2 cards, 1 a business card and 1 a MM card. When the interested person goes to the gallery, he gets  2 free cards and so does the person who gave him the card. We will start with 10 button-wearing "Mixed Messengers" and expand from there. Packets can be refilled as needed so that cards can continue to be passed out.

Talk to me if you have questions and please let me know if you'd like to be one of the first "Mixed Messengers"! Once I have 10 volunteers "in place", we'll have a meeting to talk about ideas etc. and we'll celebrate the beginnings of the new year and some new ways to reach artists and art lovers.

Another idea that is ready to be implemented is a "Loyalty Card" plan.The cards pictured above will be handed out and punched or stamped when customers purchase greeting cards. For every 9 greeting cards purchased, they will receive one free!

I am looking forward to a new year, with it's share of new ideas and new friends and customers to "Mixed Messages" ART. And I am looking forward working with a dynamic group of "Mixed Messengers" ready to share the "I Love Art" message with others.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

A Test to see if I can post a link to my newsletter here. . . . .

This is a test to see if I can publish my just-written newsletter here on my blog as well as send it out via email and post it on Facebook.

It doesn't work as a PDF or a JPG so now I'm trying it as a link to the URL that shows up when I open it.My Fall (October) Newsletter.

It looks like it works but I can't see a thumbnail of it or anything. If you try it and can see all the pages of it and it's fairly decently formatted, would you let me know? It's sort of a work around, just for now.



Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Excitement in many forms! rOne specifically today. . . . :)

Wow! Look how many months it's been since I posted here on my blog. WAY too many. I'm much more faithful about posting on Facebook, but I've been sorely lacking regarding my blog and my newsletter. It's time to catch up on both of those. I'll be posting about a lot of interesting things going on in my artistic life in the next edition of my newsletter but here, today, I'd like to focus on just one great and exciting accomplishment!

A little over a  year ago, I had the idea of publishing a small book of some of my paintings. About the same time, I'd started communicating with my second cousin, Wyatt Figueroa, in Texas. Wyatt is Cindy's son and Cindy's dad, Bill, and my dad, Jack, are brothers. So, Cindy, Becky, Debbie (her sisters) and I are first cousins. All 3 sisters live outside of California so I don't see them or their children often. When the opportunity to reconnect with Cindy and Becky and Wyatt came about on FB, I was grateful for it and we started getting back in touch.

Over the weeks that followed, I found out that Wyatt and Cindy both paint and Wyatt writes poetry and fiction stories. He was temporarily out of work and I suggested that he might be interested in writing some poems to go with some of my paintings. I picked out 20 paintings and he started writing a poem to go with each. I sent him a contract and agreed to pay him a small amount for each poem and format the collection into book form and give him a few books at the end of the project.

As the poems flew back and forth over the cyber highway, I had a good feeling all along about the project. There were dry spells with not much happening, but, overall,  the progress was steady and encouraging. Each poem I received was set up with the painting it went with in a double page spread in a book developing through Blurb books. I could tell that Wyatt struggled with writing some of them and others just almost seemed to fall onto the page, barely even guided by the pencil in his hand. They varied in feeling, mood, subject matter, emotive state, and style but all were very interesting and very well done.

Summer came and went, twice, and the 20 poems were almost 20! And then, they were. I scrambled to format them based on a limited number of templates available through Blurb. I published and edited a draft version and ordered us each a copy. I was very pleased with the look and feel (both physical and emotional) of the book. The first draft paper was standard quality paper and it looked good,  but  it was much nicer in the second, hardbound version with a better grade of paper.

So now, the book is available through Blurb in three versions--a pdf copy that comes to your computer for $14.99, a softbound copy for $20.00 plus tax and shipping if ordered through Blurb and $40.00 plus tax and shipping if ordered through Blurb.

All you do to order is go to and do a search for "Painting and Poems, A Cousin Collaborative" and pick pdf, softbound, or hardbound and it will be sent directly to you in a few days. I will have a few copies available at the gallery but I anticipate most orders will be through Blurb since it will save shipping to me and then me reshipping to the final destinations. If you are near Sanger and want to order through me and pick up at the gallery, that works fine. Just let me know what you'd like and I'll order it and you can pay at pickup at "Mixed Messages" ART in Sanger, CA.

I'd like to thank Wyatt again for his commitment and dedication to the project and for sharing so much of himself in his poems. He and I feel like we know each other much better now and it's been a rewarding project for both of us. We think you will enjoy the book--both the paintings and the poems--and will treasure having it on your bookshelf. Happy Paintings and Poems to you!

If you go to Blurb, you will see a preview of two of the poems included in the book. There are 20 all together, and the book has 42 pages.