Kind of on a whim, but more inspired by Sybil Archibald, a local artist, friend, and collector's own daily practice, I finally felt moved to make this commitment. I've struggled for years feeling "not good enough" and wondering, "why can't I make this commitment to create every day"?
I am good enough, and my life has been very full of many responsibilities. But, that being said, I've increased my exercise practice, my meditation practice, but not my creative practice. I realized that I've been trying to encourage my students to do the same thing - but how can I if I'm not practicing what I preach? So . . . I've started. Officially on January 2nd, I made a commitment to minimally make art 30 minutes a day. To show up, because it's in the frequency and the work, that develops good work.
REALITY: I made it consecutively to day 39. It's not perfect, and some days I've allowed myself the compassion of counting a sketchbook session in front of the TV towards my practice. Other days I'm sneaking up to the studio after the kids have gone to bed while catching an episode of The Durrells in Corfu - a PBS program that I stream on Amazon. It truly makes me smile, giggle, and lets me travel to a beautiful place, if only for an hour. Then a few weeks later, we lost the boiler in our house, and we temporarily landed at my in-laws for a week. I didn't create much that week.
INSIGHT: I just took the CliftonStrengths test, inspired by some personal growth work my sis is doing and found out some incredibly affirming and enlightening things about myself. Created by Gallup, the test assesses your top ten strengths, and lists out a total of 34. My top tens are spot on, but the last one shocked me - consistency. It is a strength, but it is my weakest. This was freeing to learn - and explained a lot of the blips every time I attempt to complete a social media challenge! And, with that I'm allowing myself the space to skip days when I need to - because if I can't be consistent those days, it's because my other strengths, like being responsible to my clients or family, will win out.
The above artworks are only about 1/2 of what I've created for the month of January. I have another series going on simultaneously, as well as working on some intermittent commissions. At this point in mid-March, I've completed 16 new pieces - I've surpassed my production last year, so I'm thrilled with this.
The upshot for you? I'm going to be dropping these works in small groups every Friday, beginning March 19th, to my VIPS who subscribe to my newsletter. They will have 24 hours to snatch up these new works. Then, if the works are still available, I'll release them on Instagram. Much of the works will be unframed watercolors on handmade papers featuring my new TeaScapes. Additionally, I'm participating in the #ArtistSupportPledge which asks that I agree to sell works that are $200 or less, and once I hit $1000 in sales, I spend $200 on collecting another artist's work.
SOUND GOOD? Please sign up below to become a VIP to make certain you have early access and first dibs at these new wonders coming out of my studio. Until Friday, you can follow my Instagram / Facebook feeds, and you can explore all of the progress in my #ArtEveryDay Story on IG.
Spicy Sweet Seat, Mixed Media on Nujabi Paper, 5" x 7", ©2020 Jennie Traill Schaeffer
I've had personal struggles with mental health - both myself - and people very close to me in my family. I have seen first-hand how mental health support can move people towards and through recovery. But, that mental health support all too often is limited, out of reach - and even more so Black communities due to a variety of barriers.
Last week, I stumbled upon The Loveland Foundation, Inc. searching for mental health organizations that focus support on the Black community. As I browsed through their site I was taken by their mission to provide Black women and girls funding towards therapy sessions. They are a relatively local organization, based out of Newburgh, NY. but aim to reach a national audience. They have partnered with Therapy for Black Girls, Open Path Collective, National Queer and Trans Therapists of Color Network, and Talkspace, as well as networks and service providers that match their mission. Founded by Rachel Cargle in 2018 when she successfully raised $250,000 through a social media campaign for her birthday. Their current goal is to hit $600,000 to offer over 5,000 hours of free therapy.
This is just one way that I can be an ally to the Black community. My own TeaScapes artwork - which focuses on meditational environments in watercolor - has grown out of my experience through a personal mental health crisis. The making of art can be a therapeutic modality, as well as a vehicle towards mindfulness. It is my hope that the end result of my artwork also assists in a peacefulness to the collector. Throughout the month of June, I'm aiming to raise $480 (which equates to 4 therapy sessions for an individual) through sales of my work to benefit The Loveland Foundation, Inc.'s Therapy Fund. 50% of profits from sale of my original art and 20% of yoga mats / functional art will go to The Loveland Foundation, Inc. If you decide you'd rather donate directly to the fund you can do so through this link. Please join me in this initiative to help women and girls within the Black community.
Jennie Traill Schaeffer
Teaching artist from NJ making art, raising kids and helping people find mindfulness through making and collecting art.
Today is the final day to stop by the Twitter Art Exhibit in NYC. I was fortunate to squeeze in a trip to the opening reception before leaving for vacation to London last month. By the time I arrived, several of the works had been sold and removed from the wall, but many gems remained. Proceeds from the exhibit are going to support Foster Pride, an organization in NYC that supports teen girls in foster care to learn entrepreneurial and design skills. While I hadn't intended to purchase anything, I couldn't pass up the opportunity once I was there and saw the amazing assortment of work, all for $35 / piece, and know that it was going to a good cause.
The piece above, Her Ladyship, by California artist, Jill Allyn Stafford, I recalled seeing in one of the many posts leading up to the exhibit; it caught my attention when I scanned the show. After many walk-throughs, I decided I had to purchase it. There are definite links between some the imagery, the color palette, and subject matter to my own work, but done in a different medium. The composition and quality of the piece stuck with me.
The second piece, London, by Sophie Severn of England, was an early souvenir of my trip to London the next day and a great opportunity to collect someone's work from over the pond. My husband and I headed there on vacation alone, without the kids. I was encouraged by my friend, and my gut, that this would make for a great preview and memory of what turned out to be a remarkable trip.
Thank you Sophie and Jill for the opportunity to purchase your work and add it to my own collection of art.
If you're in the NYC area today, stop by the exhibit located at Trygvie Lie Gallery at the Norwegian Seaman's Church at 317 E. 52nd Street. The gallery is open until 6pm this evening for purchases. My work is seen below, circled in red. At the time of leaving the exhibit, it was still available. I'm not sure if it is as of today. Any works not sold are staying in the hands of Foster Pride and may be sold in the future for their fundraising purposes.
If you did purchase my work, At Rest, write me a note and let me know! I'd love to know where it has gone.
Jennie Traill Schaeffer
Sometimes called the Kitchen God's Artist, I'm balancing mothering two energetic sons, our new pup, Cider, while making and teaching art. TraillWorks is the apron under which I create and teach. My own art develops mostly in my home studio, but is often spurred through my teaching, and travels. I just relocated to Durham, NC, from West Orange, NJ, so my studio is in renovation right now.
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Want to read more from the past? Click here to read archived blog posts from my previous blog on Blogger.