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.”

A wish of peace and warm toes this holiday season.

“Peace. It does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble, or hard work. It means to be in the midst of those things and still be calm in your heart.”

I am really not quite sure how it has become that time of year again, but oh boy has the tail of the end of the year come up fast.

Screen Shot 2015-11-11 at 12.24.24 PMMany, many changes this year for me, with even more coming as we enter the new year — however, one tradition is staying the same:

The SamSketches 4th Annual Holiday card is finished and on order.

And as the tradition holds, this limited edition card print (signed and numbered) is free to anyone who trusts me with their address, allowing me to mail it to them. It is a token of my sincerest thanks to followers and patrons for supporting me once again throughout the year.

I am delighted to have been able to already have added new addresses my constantly growing card list. But, not to worry there are still a few slots left!

To any interested, you may email me, info@samsketches.com, with your request for one. Or, reach me via any other form of communication at your disposal.

SamSketches: A 2016 Calendar

For the third year running, there will be a SamSketches calendar.

It is my hope for this third year that it will be gracing even more homes than its predecessors. The pieces selected, for the most part (not going to lie and say every single one), were done so with a special meaning behind each month assignment.

For instance:

  • July includes an illustration of Gader because it his birth month — his birthday will also be noted on each calendar as well, you’re welcome.
  • August’s image and words refer to music, a reference selected for the birth month of the man responsible for my eclectic taste in and knowledge of music.
  • October’s words come from the artist I share a birthday with in that month — Picasso.

And the rest — have fun trying to figure out and guess … or don’t and just enjoy the imagery. :)

I am currently awaiting my draft copy of the calendar to make sure it all comes out exactly as I would like it to. After I have held it and am okay with it, it will formally go on sale — $15 (w/ free shipping to your home).

For now, I am keeping a list of those interested in securing a copy from my first shipment of calendars, which has been impressively growing each day. (thanks!)

If you have not yet contacted me about making a calendar yours please do so to be part of the first shipment to go out!  — simply email, text, FB comment/message, tweet, stop me in person

calendarspreadAD

Getting ready to “Paint the Great South Bay”

Amidst the several other projects/goals I have set for myself this month and going forward into fall, I signed up to participate in an event taking place this week that will be a new experience for me.

I am half excited, half nervous to be one of a number of artists painting the Great South Bay “en plein air“** for an event led by the South Bay Art Association aptly named, “Paint the Great South Bay.” Myself, along with other artists from around Long Island, will be setting up our easels to capture and create views of our island’s beautiful Great South Bay.

Rain or shine (I hope to get out early to avoid the rain) we will be creating artwork on location this week from Thursday, the 20th, thru Saturday, the 22nd. I will use all the assorted social media outlets to post where I am, as well as document my progress. I plan to be setting myself up in Gardiners Park, right at the edge where I can grab both a view of the Fire Island lighthouse, the Robert Moses bridge, the *raincloud-less* sky, and of course the bay.

On Sunday, August 23rd, from 1 pm to 4 pm, there will be an opening reception at the Paper Cup Studio art gallery (139 South Country Road in Bellport), displaying all of our work from the week. The pieces will be available for viewing and for sale from then until September 20th, with gallery hours being Thursdays to Saturdays from 11 am to 5 pm, and Sundays from 12 pm to 4 pm.

There has been a Facebook group created for any one interested to check in and see where other artists will be located: Paint the Great South Bay FB Group.

**en plein air: a French expression which means “in the open air” and is particularly used to describe the act of painting outdoors, which is also called peinture sur le motif (“painting of the object(s) or what the eye actually sees”) in French.

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.