Bridging the “Gap”

Checking my “On This Day” on my personal Facebook account has become somewhat of a habit. And by that I mean, when I’m laying in bed, unable to sleep, I look at the clock, see it is after midnight, and think, “oh, at least, I can check my ‘On This Day’ now.” I regularly have difficulty falling asleep, hence the use of the word “habit.”

This past Friday, I was a bit behind in checking it. However, I did make time in my day to post a new business card I designed. It is a joke card I designed about my dog, who I have decided needs to stop whining in my ear, getting hair on my carpet, demanding food, and instead get out there and make a bigger contribution to society. There is also a resume I created for him, which you can see here. After I posted this image of the business card, which includes a portrait of the pooch, Facebook reminded me to check my “On This Day.” As it turns out, five years ago, I also posted a portrait of Renegade. It was created much in the same way the one on his business card was — I drew out a quick sketch, transferred the hand drawing to my computer, then outlined it and colored it using a couple of Adobe’s programs. The process being the same, the end result is certainly not:

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What adds to this coincidence is that on a different year from either of these dog portraits, I ALSO posted  on this day, the embedded video below. It is two minutes of audio of Ira Glass speaking about what he calls, “the gap.” (It also has some beautifully animated typography by David Shiyang Liu)

For a very long time, and sometimes still, I get an idea in my head, get very (quietly) excited about it like a dork, research if I need to, sketch it out, possibly sketch it out a second time, transfer it over to whatever media I will be creating a finish in, complete it, and along the way have arguments and make compromises with myself over how this is not looking the way I intended it to. As a result of this, many of my canvases have multiple paintings within the layers of paint as I try to get it right. Even if you go through my files of digital work, most of those pieces have more than one version of a finish.

This happenstance, of both these portraits being shown to me at the same time, along with this video, is an inspiring and much-needed reminder of how far I’ve come. Not necessarily in a monetary way, or worldwide renowned way, or even being settled into life way, but a deeply personal, building-myself-into-the-artist-I-want-to-be way. I do not feel like I have yet to completely bridge the gap Glass describes, but I think my bridge is coming along very nicely.

For anyone who is undergoing any type of creative endeavor, or even just trying to get through life and developing their ideas of who they are as a person, this video applies to you.

Ira Glass on Storytelling from David Shiyang Liu on Vimeo.

“What nobody tells people who are beginners — and I really wish someone had told this to me . . . is that all of us who do creative work, we get into it because we have good taste. But there is this gap. For the first couple years you make stuff, and it’s just not that good. It’s trying to be good, it has potential, but it’s not.

But your taste, the thing that got you into the game, is still killer. And your taste is why your work disappoints you. A lot of people never get past this phase. They quit. Most people I know who do interesting, creative work went through years of this. We know our work doesn’t have this special thing that we want it to have. We all go through this. And if you are just starting out or you are still in this phase, you gotta know it’s normal and the most important thing you can do is do a lot of work.”

“It is only by going through a volume of work that you will close that gap, and your work will be as good as your ambitions. And I took longer to figure out how to do this than anyone I’ve ever met. It’s gonna take awhile. It’s normal to take awhile. You’ve just gotta fight your way through.”

“Victors of Survival”

Finding My Peace of Space #1This Saturday morning I will be riding over to Port Jeff to drop off two pieces from a currently five piece series I started this summer called Finding My Peace of Space.   

Able to submit up to two pieces for this show, I selected #1 and #3 from my series (number two is kind of tiny, and I wanted to present with larger works). When given the option, I always submit the max allowed to increase my odds of getting something, anything in, and as luck would have it, both were chosen.

THE SHOW: 

It is labeled as “Victors of Survival: Artists United Against Breast Cancer,” an Art exhibition and Breast Cancer Victory celebration benefiting Fortunato Breast Health Care Center at Mather Hospital, Port Jefferson. The location for it is the Port Jefferson Village Center and it has been put together by the North Shore Art Guild.

The prospectus for this show describes the theme to be, “not just about breast cancer. [But] about personal transformation, the person you become having faced the experience. It’s about the emergence of the warrior within you, and the struggle that brings it forth. It’s about you, the artist, and how you choose to transform that passion into expression.

With that said, I am looking very forward to the many ways people have been able to visually translate this concept.

In addition to this show bringing people out to support a worthy cause with their presence, all of us artists are not only putting our paintbrushes, but our money where our mouth is — a portion of every sale goes to the Benefit.

Finding My Peace of Space #3The show will be opening to the public this Sunday, August 30th and remain viewable until October 31st.  Allowing plenty of time for everyone to make a stop. According to the Village Center Gallery webpage, gallery hours are 9 am to 9 pm daily.

The formal opening reception will not be held until October 3rd, from 4 – 7 pm (where you will find me walking around admiring all of the art).

From Quick Sketch to Gallery Wall

I am the owner of many, many scraps of paper: whether they be stuck into a sketchbook, on my dining room table, my purse, my back pack, my messenger bag, my other purse (yes, it has been mentioned to me I have quite a few bags), my closet, my night stand, my dresser, and finally my desk – the only place they are actually supposed to be. On these scraps are sketches, doodles, thoughts, and emotions jotted quickly down in order to get them healthily out of my system. A lot of the time these scraps are placed down, snapped for the sake of an Instagram post, and then not so much forgotten, as they are just left where they are as I have to get up and go about the rest of my day. From this, you can imagine, many of these sketches do not get to become the complete illustrations I would like them to be. Unfortunately, I have not yet discovered a way for there to be enough hours in the day for me to accomplish that task. But I am working on it.

Elastic Sketch      Cross My <3 Sketch

It was with this idea in mind, of looking back through these scraps, that I pulled the above two sketches and decided to make them something more. The sketch on the right is minimum three years old, and the finished piece created from its beginnings was not completed until two months ago. Both these “scraps” have been sitting around with potential, and I am glad I was finally able to make them something more.

It makes me even happier that they were both completed in time to be accepted into the Huntington Arts Council’s Juried Art Show, “Artie Techie.”

Both works have been printed, framed, and will be on display in their Main Street Gallery from July 2nd to 18th.

Elastic      Cross My <3

Holidays. Abraham Lincoln. Stubborness.

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“Yesss signed and numbered! A retirement investment”

That’s right. For anyone who did not understand why there was a little #/100 on the bottom of their card: it is there to pretty much seal up the deal that you have a limited edition card from me.  While I will not go as far as to say it is yet worthy of a retirement investment ::fingerscrossed:: perhaps one day it will be. I’m sure I could fast track it by hacking off an ear and spiraling out of my mind — but this is the holiday season, so lets stay with the positive thought that over the years I will be putting in my continued amount of hard work to insure that anything I have ever created holds some monetary weight in addition to its sentimental value.

“I just received ur beautiful card with its beautifully written words that hit at the best of time when I need it!”

I will be the first to admit (and please everyone lets not jump in agreement at once) that while I keep an active presence on social media, I am a terrible, no good, very bad, person when it comes to one-to-one correspondence with those I care about. And so, one of the ways I attempt to make it up to you all is through this small postmarked token. It is one of my highlights to sit and personalize each one with words always floating in my head regarding everyone of you. Not so fun is writing my return address, over and over and over again, but I think it looks better than a printed label and also, perhaps this way I can assure I will never lose my way home.

“I’m so happy you are living your dream. You have worked hard for it.”

Heartfelt words such as these, which I have received in mass over the last week in response to my mailing, mean far more than any physical gifts I may receive (not to say I don’t like those too — love em!).

On my Facebook profile, in the quotes section – which is not so prominently displayed with the layout nowadays – I have for years had the following:

“I am a success today because I had a friend who believed in me and I didn’t have the heart to let him down.” -Abraham Lincoln

The older I get, the truer I feel those words are, and the truer I hope to make them. A big lot of my time is spent working and creating, creating and working. If I did not have the people behind me supporting what I make when I do bring it out into the world, I would be standing places alone, with a much smaller voice and an even smaller presence. There is the likelihood that I on my own would be too pigheadedly stubborn to ever quit, but the idea doesn’t enter this head much — because far too many people are watching and hoping the best for me, and I am not in the habit of letting people down.

Thank you.

SamSketches: A 2015 Calendar

Now Available

It was last year around this time, that I came up with a Christmas gift idea for my older sister, Sylvia.  After a fun filled evening (as usual) with her in which we joked about how horrible she is with remembering dates, I decided to create for her a personalized calendar to supply her with many of the important dates she would need to remember.  I also filled each month with my art, which she has always been a supporter (and perhaps slightly bias fan) of.

It wasn’t until I started showing a few people the gift, that I realized there were others who would appreciate the opportunity to have a calendar as well.  I had a few more printed and debuted the 2014 calendar at some of the fairs and festivals I was glad to be a part of earlier this year.

I was not prepared for it to be one of the items I sold out of so quickly.

This time I decided I would be better prepared :)

And I am happy to say that 2014 has continued to be a year full of surprises, as the 2015 calendar is not yet off the presses and my preorders have already piled up.

I look forward to the first shipment arriving and sending off these little beauties to their new homes!

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With all that said anyone interested in a calendar it is available in my store, you may click the appropriate above link or visit here — also feel free to email me info@samsketches.com, text me if you have the number, Facebook me, or stop me in person when you see me.

Tis the season to be jolly

Tis the season to be jolly

Fa la la la la.  la la.  la.  la.  

(I sang it in my head a few times, the la’s should be accurate)

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For the past few years, I have sent a SamSketches holiday card to family and friends.  I started this because I remember watching for the mail when I was younger around this time of year to see what cards the mailman would bring to my home and the excitement I felt.  After my mother opened an envelope of sometimes red, sometimes green, sometimes extra large, and I got to see them, (my favorites were the ones with glitter) they would then be hung around our living room.  Above them would be a string of lights, that made each piece of rectangular art glow.  As I’ve grown older, and consequently had much of my holiday spirit beaten out of me as a result of working retail for 10+ holiday seasons, I find that I miss the excitement of this time of year.  It was with the hope of bringing to people I cared about this small bit of joy — going to the mailbox: bill, bill, bill, political mail article, credit card ad, bill, oh what’s this?! — that I first began my holiday card.

Three holiday seasons ago, 2012 marking the beginning, I ordered a mere 20 cards to send out to people.  If I check my closet today, I could probably find some left over, because I did not have many people to send them to.  I am glad to say that this year I have had to order 100 holiday cards.  Not only that, but they will be going all over the country, and some to lands beyond.  And not just to family, but to the people who have been following my progress, shared kind words of encouragement, and/or showed up to the events I have had the privilege of showcasing my work at throughout this year.

Over the entirety of 2014, I have been overwhelmed in the best way possible by the support so many have given me.  It is the least I can do in return to give those with interest in it, a holiday card: covered in my art, filled with my words, signed with my name, sealed with warm thoughts of gratitude, and sent on its journey to their mailbox with a smile.  From my heart to yours, happy holidays.

P.S. If you’re a person who falls into any of the categories of what I described above and you don’t think I have your address, you should supply me with it. I would love to send you a card, it’s just I also don’t love to come off as a stalker. I mean, I will if I have to, but I would prefer not to.

2014 Arts Festival by the Bay featuring yours truly

ArtFestivalOn the off chance you don’t already have plans for the weekend, more specifically on Sunday anywhere from 11 am – 6 pm; you should most certainly without a doubt come by and visit your favorite sketching, blogging, paint throwing, illustration making, Bay Shore resident artist. <– And you should also try to say that whole sentence out loud too in one breath :)   I will be set up somewhere along Main Street in Bay Shore among other artists, vendors, musicians, and possibly even live stock, the whole entire day.  The weather is supposed to be beautiful. Which reminds me I should really invest in some sunscreen within the next couple of days. Oh and there will be food! Not sold on showing up, yet? Did I mention I’ll be there? Because really that should do it for ya.

 

 

In case it doesn’t here is what will be there with me:

  • Paintings — a couple of new ones I just finished this past month
  • Postcard prints (w. quotes by amazing people who are not me on the back, my illustrations on the front)
  • Bookmarks — free while supplies last!
  • eBook info cards
  • Calendars (June 2014 – May 2015)
  • Coloring books (70+ illustrations inside)
  • Fresh copies of my newest title — Illustrated & Alliterated: An Alphabet Book
  • My favorite bearded guy in Ray Bans
  • Annnnnd some granola bars (but those are mainly for me, not you)

 

 

Arts Festival by the Bay exploreLI Info