Tag: ‘art’

Why do I love Birmingham? It’s complicated…

Saturday, February 19th, 2011

I was recently asked to document on video why I love Birmingham (and you can too, by clicking HERE).  The video testimonials will primarily be used to help attract new tech talent to our city which is becoming known for its tech entrepreneurs and innovation.  Scott Pierce,  the creator of the “Why Birmingham” video testimonials,  believes that Birmingham could actually be the next Silicon Valley!

Scott introduced this idea at Ignite Birmingham and his enthusiasm for its potential is contagious!  He got me thinking:   Is it the people, the climate, the award-winning restaurants, the beautiful rolling landscape, the emerging residential life downtown, or the new Railroad Park that provides our unique quality of life?  Is it the beautiful suburbs, the convenience, or the quality medical care and educational benefits provided by UAB?  While these are just a few of the reasons that immediately came to mind, I realized that my relationship with Birmingham is complicated and has evolved over the years.  Yes, all those things mentioned above are compelling,  but it hasn’t always been a love story for me and Birmingham!  And I realized the reason this city has kept me intrigued, interested, and involved  long enough to see the amazing changes occurring now, is analogous to one of my favorite stories, The Little Prince by St. Exupery.

To paraphrase, The Little Prince is asked by the wise old fox why he loves his grumpy old rose which is covered in thorns!  He points out that there are lots of beautiful roses in the world and many of them have a better attitude!  The Little Prince responds that it is special to him because it is HIS rose.  And he tells the fox that his rose needs him to protect it, and defend it, water and nurture it, and most of all to LOVE it above all others despite its thorns and its occasional attitude.

The wise old fox responds that The Little Prince has captured the secret–that you only love the things that you consistently nurture, defend, feed, and water – you only love the things you “tame” and that depend upon your consistent care.

So after 30 years, I guess this is why I love Birmingham!  It’s “tamed” me. Yes, I see its thorns…but I also see its amazing potential.  I always have!  And never more so than now, for all the reasons listed above!

For any detractors out there who can’t yet see what we have right here in Birmingham, my advice is to get involved (and here’s one way with a deadline of March 11th). Find something that you like about our city (if it’s art, some links to get started are HERE).  Write about  something that you want to see happen in Birmingham and nurture it (like this!).  I promise you, just like the rose, thorns and all, this city will take hold of you and never let go!  I believe in Birmingham…

“But my rose, all on her own, is more important than you altogether, since she’s the one I’ve watered. Since she’s the one I put under glass. Since she’s the one I sheltered behind a screen. Since she’s the one for whom I killed the caterpillars (except for two or three for butterflies). Since she’s the one I listened to when she complained, or when she boasted, or even sometimes when she said nothing at all. Since she’s my rose.”

–from The Little Prince by Antoine de St. Exupery

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15 Attainable Goals for Artists in the New Year

Saturday, January 1st, 2011

Bob and I work as a team, and it sometimes takes two of us to keep up with everything! Here are a few of the goals I set for myself to help him concentrate on his painting.

  1. Make a list of competitions and exhibitions NOW, both local and national that you want to enter this year and create a calendar
    1. I posted a blog about this, and now I’m creating a calendar on Google Calendars to add to it.  If you use Google Calendars, you can create several calendars for personal use, business use, exhibitions, etc. and then merge them or view them separately.  It works GREAT for us.
  2. Make a plan to document and organize your work
    1. I photograph everything he paints with my smartphone, then scan the ones we want to put online.  I try to organize them on my computer in file folders according to year completed, and subject matter.  When a painting is sold, I mark it with the name of the buyer.  If we consign paintings to galleries, we print two lists, one for us and one for the gallery.  The key is to just make a plan and keep up with it.  And that’s not easy!
  3. Contact other artists in your community and make plans for regular meetings
    1. Bob is a member of several local art communities but plans to pursue membership in national watercolor societies this year.
  4. Join an online forum group to share ideas – Here’s a good one:  Artist Daily or for technology, I love this one:  Tech Soup
  5. Experiment with new technology
    1. I’m trying to learn how to use Evernote effectively
    2. I want to start making video blogs showing Bob’s technique
  6. Take a trip for inspiration – This doesn’t have to be a big or long trip.  Just a change of venue with the goal of finding new material to paint will work!
  7. Teach a class – You learn lots when you teach.  We’re trying to schedule some seminars this year.
  8. Educate yourself via a seminar or online.  And conversely there are several seminars that Bob would like to attend.  Here’s one of the very best!
  9. Brand yourself with business cards, email signature, logos
    1. We’re still working on this one with a new website.  But I’m also rebranding Twitter, CafePress, email signatures, and am creating business cards and letterhead this year.
  10. Explore galleries and art representatives
    1. One of our favorite local galleries closed last year.  We need to find another one!
  11. Organize your workplace.  We both work better when we’re not buried in stuff!
  12. Update your mailing list.  We use Constant Contact but there are lots of good applications out there.  Don’t forget to add family and friends!  I still haven’t added all these names
  13. Find new vendors and compare pricing.  We primarily use the ones posted HERE
  14. Join organizations that are helpful to you.  A few good ones posted HERE
  15. Have a BACK UP PLAN!  We have so many images on the computer, this is imperative for us.  I’m exploring options this year, as we’re using Time Machine and an external drive but I want to consider another alternative.
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Painting in Siena, Italy – Moody’s technique

Friday, December 17th, 2010

Painting in Siena, Italy!  Here’s Bob’s version as published in American Artist Magazine…

Download PDF by clicking on image cover here>

Or view online by clicking on images below:

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