Making Art Every Day in 2021
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.
Yellowstone Calm, 13" x 8 1/3", Watercolor on Arches 140lb. HP, ©2018 Jennie Traill Schaeffer, AVAILABLE
A teaching artist is always giving to her students. Over the years I've taught, I've had students coming from many backgrounds, facing various adversities and illnesses. Since moving to eastern NJ, I've reduced my audience of students due to my own personal family's needs. However, I'm fortunate to live near an amazing organization, Arts Unbound, that aims to provide an art education to adults who are either seniors or living with disabilities. The goal is to help them develop a career working as an artist.
Each year, they host an ArtBender, a weekend long celebration of making to raise money for their art coaching program. Many opportunities to create are offered throughout the local area, as well as individual artists supporting the cause. This weekend I'm hosting a 20/20 Sale. What does that mean for you and for Arts Unbound? All work will be discounted 20% for the weekend, and I will donate 20% of all sales to Arts Unbound. My personal goal is to raise $200 for the organization, which means I must sell $1000 worth of art.
Can I do it? You betcha, but I need your help. Please share link to my online shop far and wide to art lovers. It's a great time since it's the weekend prior to Mother's Day - might be an opportunity to give Mom a very artful gift.
Couple of important details:
Let's make this weekend's ArtBender a success to enrich the lives of so many! PS - I'm continually updating my site, so check back often for new works. Use COUPON CODE: ARTFORALL at checkout.
Tonight marks the first of five art exhibits and opportunities to see and purchase my work this month. This show features nine works that focus on food gelato, aprons, appliances, and vintage cars. You can preview the work and purchase from out of the area, here. Any shipping charges will be determined after purchase.
Additionally, it's an opportunity for me to help Save the Children, an organization that is actively supporting children in 120 countries including the U.S. have a healthy start to life and have the opportunity to learn and have care when disaster strikes. Given the many recent disasters here and around the world, as well as the growing refugee crisis, I wanted to give back through my work. Throughout the month of September, I'm donating 20% of my profits of art sales from The Maplewood Grille, the Maplewood Art Walk and any direct art sales through my studio / web site.
If you're in the New Jersey area, please join me from 6 - 9pm at The Maplewood Grille, 144 Maplewood Ave., Maplewood. If you can't make it tonight, check out my other upcoming shows on my exhibit page.
Jersey Blueberries are on my Mind
Although I have found ways through our modern food system to incorporate blueberries in my diet year-round, I always anticipate Jersey blueberry season. Even growing up in PA on the border of NJ, it was a much-anticipated part of the summer. Back in 2012, while on our annual family vacation to Cape May, my husband and I discovered a local jewel, Beach Plum Farm. We rented bikes, plopped our then 3.5-year old on the back, and rode out to West Cape May in search of local produce. Not only did we enjoy the ride and the food, but were astounded by the beauty of the farm.
Upon entering, at the time, was a front garden, planted in an English-style, with herbs, flowers, and smaller vegetables. We were welcomed to follow the rustic seashell path to the back of the farm to tour the rest of the crops and stumbled upon ripening blueberry bushes. Amazingly, this was the first time I had ever seen them in person. The shades of blue got me thinking of my palette and which pigments I would use; surely manganese, a little ultramarine, maybe turquoise, definitely some pthalo.
The work above was created upon my return from several photos I took. We've been back to Cape May since, but have had another son in the meantime and haven't had the opportunity to take the bike ride out to the farm. Hopefully we can make it work this August when we take our annual trip, now that the youngest is capable of sitting in a bike seat and the oldest has the endurance to probably bike the distance himself.
In the meantime, I'm offering the above piece at a reduced price in honor of the start of Jersey blueberry season, now through Friday only, along with a summer print sale of my works available on Fine Art America.
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Our local ShopRite is selling flats of Jersey blueberries that I keep hoarding. I used to be able to freeze the extras, but with a family of four, and a 3-year old that could live on them alone, they aren't making it to the freezer. (Great tip: you can pop the blueberries directly in the freezer in the clamshell). Enjoy!
An email came through my inbox recently from a local charity, Oasis, asking for donations to support their moms. With mothers on our mind I thought now is the perfect time to launch a month-long mission to raise awareness about Oasis and donate 15% of profits from my art sales.
Oasis is based in nearby Paterson, NJ, a city that exhibits a child poverty rate of 42%, compared to a 16% statewide rate. I've supported them in the past due to their excellent programs and their rating on Charity Navigator, plus 83% of their donations go directly to the women and children they aim to help. I've worked with and donated to other organizations in the past that help moms due to the direct link in helping future generations. By helping moms become self-sufficient, their children benefit directly by a higher quality of life. Moms are important.
All of the art on my web site and anything in my studio qualifies towards my donation (with the exception of a few pieces going out to exhibit this month). A limited selection of works are available for online purchases in my store, and most other available works are in my portfolio. Shipping is available for anything not listed in my store, just contact me with the art of interest and we will determine shipping costs or delivery details. If you're within a 25 mile radius, I'm happy to offer complimentary delivery. Any commissioned works, including my Wedding Cake Portraits, also qualify towards my donation. I would love to aid in Oasis' mission to "change the lives of women and children by breaking the cycle of poverty through compassionate programs designed to feed, clothe, educate and empower women and children in need." Enjoy browsing through my works and I hope you'll find some art to love that will help me lift up a mom in Paterson.
A special thanks to my mom, my husband, and my kids as we approach mother's day. I'm grateful for my mom's unconditional love and lessons in becoming a mother, and for my husband in helping me through the ups and downs of motherhood, and to my kids who have taught me a new kind of love and become creative in ways I never thought possible. Happy Mothers Day to my mom, my sister on her first Mother's Day, and to all of the moms out there who work so hard every day to feed, clothe, and love your kids.
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.