The world we live in is ever-changing. That is probably one thing that we can be absolutely sure of.
Since the fall of Creative Woodworks magazine, Paintworks, and all of the All American Crafts publications, many of us who are in the designing and creative industry were dealt a harsh reminder of just how volatile being a free lance designer can be.
We have the freedom of choosing what we do with each day. We don't have to 'punch in' and account to a cranky boss or supervisor. We don't even have to get dressed for work some days. (Jammie days are rather awesome!) But with those privileges comes the responsibility of self-motivating and self-discipline, as things don't just happen to 'fall into our laps' like many others think. Any designer can tell you that it is sometimes more work than a 'real job' to keep our businesses going, and that means taking an active role in all aspects that help the business not only survive, but also grow and prosper.
I write here nearly every morning on a variety of subjects. Most of them (if not all) pertain in some way or another to the daily plights and victories I experience in my own small business. I try to paint as accurate picture as I am able as to the day-to-day ups and downs of being a designer, as I know I have many creative friends and readers who benefit from hearing first hand experiences from someone who like most of them aspire to make a living doing something creative. Even though I write mainly about scroll sawing and painting, I feel that many of the topics I discuss can apply to just about any small business. I know that I, myself have received a great deal of good advice from readers who own small and larger business that aren't even related to these two topics, and I believe that by sharing information we all will benefit and help each other and watch as our own businesses grow. I like that, and I feel that is one of the great aspects of living in a digital age where communication is at its best. For that I am very grateful.
But as I stated, things will always be changing. Sometimes for the better and sometimes not. I think that those of us who will be successful are the ones who embrace these changes and do our best to adapt to them as best as we can. That means we need to keep ourselves aware of changes and trends, and be willing to learn new things if necessary in order to stay on top of them.
I mention this because since the closing of the magazines, I have been branching out in many different directions and seeking new avenues for our business to head. There have been many things on the burner that I haven't shared yet, as I will enjoy unveiling them as they come to fruition. None of these are 'sure things' and I will certainly share the failures with you all as well as the successes. I want you all to be aware that things just don't 'happen' and that any margin of success is usually preceded by a lot of unseen hard work. There is no way around it.
Much of that work involves stepping out of your "comfort zone". For some people, that alone is the block that they can't overcome and for many it is the downfall of their business. But the longer that I am involved in things, the more I see that trying new things and taking some calculated risk is going to be the key to my future success. Then at least if things fail, I won't feel that I haven't given it my all and tried my best. I think I can accept that.
I spent the weekend doing something that I haven't done in quite a while – made a video of me teaching a painting technique.
It isn't that I don't LIKE creating teaching videos – I do enjoy teaching very much. But after creating my scroll saw class and series of videos that go along with it, I felt that there wasn't a lot more to show – at least in the woodworking and scroll sawing side of my business. After all – I had covered most of the cutting techniques that I use in my everyday cutting. I didn't feel that there was much more to do. I didn't want to make a video that would put people to sleep watching me follow a line with a blade. I think I had it pretty much covered.
But since I have taken some new avenues with the painting part of my business, there came a need to create some more videos. I will be teaching an online class later this year which will require some videos to support the techniques I will be doing. I look forward to that and will certainly be talking about it more in the future, as it is a wonderful opportunity for me to face a new audience and expand in that direction.
I have also been submitting to several online magazines and communities, all which have different criteria and guidelines for submissions. But one thing seems to hit a common note – most of them LOVE when projects have accompanying videos with them.
It makes sense to me. It is like having the teacher right in the room with you demonstrating. It helps new people learn better and that in turn helps the industry grow. That is a great thing for all involved.
While I am camera shy, I find that once I get rolling, I forget about the video and I once again am able to focus on the teaching task. It is much like when I write here to you all every morning. I feel my best blogs are those where I just 'talk' as if I am talking to friends over coffee, and in a sense, I am. I am learning that shooting videos is much the same. If I just "act" as if I am sitting with all my painting friends and explaining what I am doing, I lose my fear of the camera very quickly and get involved with the task at hand – creating. And fortunately for me, that is something I don't have trouble doing at all.
I spent the weekend creating a project for an online painting community called "Tole Town". I have mentioned them before in my blog here and I have been a member for many years. I have watched them also evolve and change their format and reach out to new painters. To me, anything that encourages new people to join in is a good thing. We all will ultimately benefit from it and it will help our industry and the skirting industries grow.
I was invited to become a member of Tole Town's "design team" and I eagerly accepted. With Creative Woodworks now gone, this would be a good opportunity for me to branch out to other things, as I said. I felt it would be a nice chance to be seen by customers who may have not heard of me. Since most of my print work was in the woodworking industry, I still have a way to go to make myself known in the painting sector. I was up for the challenge.
The project is a larger Venetian style mask that I am calling "Winter Blues". I have had much positive response on my previous mask patterns, but I had many requests to make larger ones. I thought this would be the perfect opportunity for me to do so.
Here is a photo of what I came up with:
It is a larger, wall-hanging sized mask that includes many different techniques. At is nearly 10" wide. This gives me a lot of great options for decorating:
I used some of Margot Clark's MUD texture paste to stencil on some snowflakes and swirls:
I also embellished the mask with hot fix rhinestones (from Rhinestone Canada – my favorite supplier!) And finally added some ribbon and feathers:
I used an "ombre" shading painting technique on the right side of the mask, and that is what my video will show. I love this effect and I think it has many applications in painting many different things. I decided that doing a video on this would be best, so I spent the day yesterday doing just that.
I admit to you, it is far out of my comfort zone to do a video. Especially since I have a new camera and had to learn all the functions. But after things got set up and rolling, I think things turned out fairly well. I have three segments shot that I need to edit into one clip. I will be doing that today and then posting it on my YouTube channel. I think it will be something that people can learn from.
By the end of the shooting process, I was actually having fun. By the time I sat down and watched what I had filmed, I felt good about it and what I had to show. It was certainly not perfect, but I think it will help many people understand the process much better and hopefully make their painting and creating experience much more pleasurable and less stressful. If I can do that, I feel successful.
I will let you know when the video is ready. Probably by tomorrow. I suppose the moral of this blog is that sometimes doing something that you aren't comfortable doing isn't always a bad thing. Sometimes it helps you grow and expand your thinking and fit a little better into this changing world. That can be wonderful.
Happy Monday to you all!
-- Designer/Artist/Teacher. Owner of Sheila Landry Designs (http://www.sheilalandrydesigns.com) Scroll saw, wood working and painting patterns and surfaces. "Knowledge is Power"