Saturday, April 25, 2015

To donate or not to donate...

Over the last couple of  years, I have been asked to donate a piece or class to local fundraisers & 
I have always said yes.

The other day, I was working at the local gallery & I asked one of the other artists there if she'd ever donated her work to fundraising events & she said no. She said that she feels that "auctions de-value the work. That pieces never go for what they are worth." 

I found this perception interesting & while I agree with her point about pieces never selling for what we, the artists, feel they are worth; I feel that the opportunity to gain exposure for my art is of greater value than the actual sales price of my donated work.
I think that if people are excited enough to bid against each other for one of my pieces, even for a fraction of the price, then maybe they will contact me for a commissioned piece or a class in the future.

Here are just a few pieces I have donated in the past:
Donating to Larkspur Elementary School's Boot Scootin' Boogie on May 2, 2015
Donated to Bradley International Elementary School Auction
Donated to The Stars for Douglas County Gala
Donated to Bradley International Elementary School's Auction
Donated to Larkspur Elementary School's Boot Scootin' Boogie
 I love to share my passion with others & will continue to donate pieces & 
classes for as long as I am able to do so!

Friday, January 30, 2015

Courage, Perseverance & a GIVEAWAY!!

the ability to do something that frightens one.

  1. steadfastness in doing something despite difficulty or delay in achieving success.

I have decided that these are my words for 2015.
So far, they have been a good choice for me.
How, you ask?
These words have helped me in at least two areas in my life already this year: my art & being on the Board of my daughter's elementary school PTO.

Let's start with the PTO aspect of my daily life…
Springtime is just around the corner & while for some that means warmer weather, flowers & longer days, for those of us on the PTO Board, it's time to focus on our biggest school fundraiser: The Boot Scootin' Boogie. We are going into our 18th year this May & we are chalk full of new & exciting ideas! But introducing new ideas to an event entrenched with tradition takes courage & perseverance because some of these parents that have older children, have been coming to these events forever & some don't like change! But we are soldiering on & so far, the feedback is positive.
On top of the new ideas aspect, I am also the "leader" of a fabulous group of parents who have stepped up to represent their classrooms & gather items for their live auction baskets at our Boot Scoot. They too are showing courage & perseverance in asking for donations all over the place! Kudos to them! I have to be a strong voice for them & continue to keep a positive attitude in helping them achieve their goals. It's been quite fun & rewarding so far! If you're local & would like to come & support our school, it's going to be quite the shin-dig!!

Now on to the art in my life…
As you may have seen in my last post, I am gearing up for a Spring Enrichment art class at my daughter's school beginning in a couple of weeks. I absolutely love teaching my passion, but I still get nervous about it - even with kiddos! I think I worry that I won't teach the steps clearly enough & it'll be a disaster! But so far, in you year or so of teaching at school & my home, things have worked out splendidly! Just gotta have courage that the kids will be able to do all the steps!

Clips from the 3 canvases the kids will do in class
Then, last week, I was having lunch at the local bar & grill (The Spur of the Moment) & was lucky enough to be there when the owner was checking in. So, I mustered that courage & asked her about using the restaurant's large back room for a "Paint & Sip." I was shocked to find out that she has had several patrons asking for such an event! YAY!!! We are hopefully going to sit down in the next couple of weeks & plan it all out! I am so excited for this venture as it will benefit us both! My students will hopefully enjoy the project, while spending money at the bar & then maybe they will want to come to more such classes there or at my home studio. A win, win, I believe!

Lastly, I have put myself out there again - my art that is.
There are two shows going on simultaneously here in Castle Rock…
The first one opens tonight at the art guild's gallery - Art on The Edge & the theme is "My Favorite Things." Artists were asked to submit their favorite work for the exhibit & while I love the pieces I entered, they are not my favorites because the gallery has a stipulation that you cannot show a piece that has been seen in the area before, so I wasn't able to enter my big blue "Beyond" piece since it was in the National Arts Program exhibit at the library late last year. It's all good though! I was just happy to be accepted with these three pieces:
($$ denotes that this piece is for sale. If interested, please email me at

House in the Field 18x24 $$
House on the Hill #1 12x24 $$
Pavot (Poppy) 12x36 $$
The other show is a regional juried show called "Romancing the Arts". I was over the moon for getting accepted to this one & even more thrilled with the curator's words of encouragement: 

"I am very pleased to let you know that your 3 pieces, "From Within," "Aspens in  Fall" and "La Cathedrale," have been accepted into the 11th annual Romancing the Arts Exhibit. This is, by and large, a very creative and competitive show. I’ll be excited to see your work in person."

Wow! Who doesn't want to hear something like that?!! This show will hang at the library for the month of February with an opening reception on Feb. 2nd & I am so excited to see all the work side-by-side! If you are local, I hope that you will come either to the reception or stop into the
Phillip S. Miller Library at 100 S. Wilcox St, Castle Rock, CO & browse the exhibit.

Aspens in Fall 36x48 $$
La Cathedrale 18x24 $$
From Within 16x20 NFS

So, in between fundraising & painting, my 2015 words have turned into somewhat of a mantra: "have courage & perseverance & dreams your will come true!"
Do you have words or a mantra that get you through tough times? If so, I would love to hear what they are!
Leave a comment here or on my Facebook Page & if you are a local, I will giveaway "admission" to my next class - either at The Spur of the Moment or in my home studio!! 
(Giveaway closes on 2/7/15)

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Sharing the Fun!

Hello & Happy Tuesday to you all!

I just finished 3 projects for a 6 week class I am teaching at my daughter's elementary school starting next month! YAY! 
I can't wait to play with these kids! 
{See full images HERE!}
If you are interested in having your own class or party doing any of these projects (or others), please contact me at! 
I am always willing to work around your schedule 
for studio time!!
Have a fabulous day!!

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Seeing the Forest for the Trees

Simply put, I love teaching! Though when I start off with my students, I worry that I might miss a step or not explain something clearly. But in the end, I am always pleasantly surprised by the end results & the smiles on my students' faces! Read on & see what I mean...
my class sample
The start of the day had me a little worried as the snow started falling around lunchtime & the last time they forecasted a "trace of snow," we got 6 inches & blizzard-like conditions! So I was afraid I'd have to cancel class! But I have some brave & determined students! All but 3 of them made it! YAY!

After trying to find just the right size canvas board for us to work with, I decided to hit the local Home Depot! I had some lumber cut down into 12x20 lengths for us to work on instead!

Then I set about gathering scrapbook papers from my stash, paints, stamps & inks. I have my moms old Cricut machine & borrowed my sisters so that everyone wouldn't have to hand-cut all their circles! What a life saver those things are! Cooked up some yummy food & we were ready to go!
I didn't snap any photos during class, but of course I got everyone's finished work…

And one of some happy students…
Throughout the evening, several ladies said that this was their favorite class so far. How sweet is that?!

Oh & here's the one I worked on in class…
I just love sharing my passion with people & I love that the work seems to make them happy. Art can be totally therapeutic  That said, I have to share with you all that one of my students is going through a rough patch right now. She brought along some images & mantra's to put into her tree. She's treating it a lot like a vision board while she tries to move past this hard time. She said that my class came along at just the right time for her & I hope that her tree helps her "grow" in new directions!
It's things like this that make teaching my little classes every now & then so worthwhile!

If you are on Pinterest & would like to help me come up with new ideas for future classes, I would like to invite you to pin to my "Class Inspiration" board! Let me know if you'd like an invite!

I can't wait to get to work on the next class!!

Friday, December 26, 2014

Playing Catch-up…as usual!

Hello all!
Once again, I have neglected you all here!
No real excuses…just life!

I hope to catch you all up on what I've been up to lately, but for now I just wanted to let everyone know that I just posted a new class {INFO HERE} on 1/3/15…sorry for the short notice! We will be collaging a tree similar to the one below...
(Pinterest Credit: Studio Shirel)
Please contact me no later than 12/31 to sign-up. 
**Also, if you are on Facebook, please visit The Laughing Magpie FB page, as I do a lot more studio updates via this page.


Sunday, October 5, 2014

Sunday Musings - Thoughts About My Art & Business

In the Distance

Feeling blessed...
A couple of weeks ago, I will have the honor of delivering this painting to the new home of my good friend, Ms. Potts! (Her name is Becky too, so we've reverted to her last name, which is super fun to say with a British accent! LOL)

And just before the Larkspur Harvest Fest "show," my other friend & one of my biggest supporters, Rebecca (another Becky!!) bought this painting for her home...

Beau Pavot (Beautiful Poppy)
to compliment the other poppy painting she commissioned me to do…
Crimson Tide
I feel truly honored to have my artwork hanging in a few friends' homes! It's a very humbling experience to have someone like your art enough to purchase it & hang it in their home!

Fear of rejection...
Even though I put up a confident front about my art, like most artists, I fear rejection. Doing this first "show" has given me a little more confidence to try some more shows & to even look for a few juried shows, but it's scary!! (On Tuesday, 10/7, I will deliver the above painting, "Beyond," to The Phillip S. Miller Library in Castle Rock for The National Arts Program show! It's not a juried entry, but it is judged & I am hoping to receive at least an Honorable Mention from the judges!)  I am even considering approaching a couple local restaurants to see if they would hang a piece in their dining rooms! Now, THAT'S really scary to me! It's really hard to "sell" yourself!! It's hard to be near someone as they look at my work & chat with their companion because I know that not everything I create will appeal to everyone that looks at it. During the show, I tried to avoid hovering around as people looked at my work & I have to say, that in general, most of the comments were very kind. Thank you for that!

What's it worth?

Besides the criticism that comes about, there's the whole pricing your work issue. How much did I spend on materials? How long did it take me to finish? What is my time worth? What would I pay for that piece? What kind of client would I expect to hang this in their home, office or business?  I found a few formulas online before the show a couple of weeks ago on pricing in order to price myself fairly. My friend Michelle kindly spent an hour or two helping me adjust that pricing where we felt that the original price wasn't right. Then to be told by another artist that some of my pieces were too low! UGH! I feel funny pricing things higher as I am an "unknown" artist really just getting started & although I want to make money with my artwork, I also want it to sell & for people to have it hanging in their homes where they can enjoy it. But if I price it too low, am I devaluing my ability? When I chat with other artists, they have gone through the same struggle. I guess over time, I will get more comfortable with pricing.

The value for teaching...

Another area I struggle with is the cost & time for my classes. I was pricing my classes around the same amount that store-front Paint & Sips were charging - $35-45, but I found that I wasn't making much profit at that price point. So, I have raised them quite a bit & many people ask me why my classes are more expensive than the local Paint & Sips…well, in general my classes run longer (3-4 hours), we use more supplies (expensive paints, mediums, stencils & collage pieces) & I try to offer food as well as beverages. I like that my classes offer a relaxed, non-rushed atmosphere to create in & I believe my students enjoy it too! (Check out my last class HERE.)

As I learn & grow as an artist, I must try to learn & grow as a business person too. I have joined the local Chamber & have been researching ways to make my business grow & thrive in my small community! Wish me luck! It's a long road! LOL


Class Fun: Barns & Poppy fields

On Friday, 9/26, I held a small class to paint a barn & poppy field scene on a 12x12 canvas. During the Larkspur Autumn Harvest Fest, I had a raffle for 1 spot in the class & the winner brought 2 of her cousins to round out the class of 5! We had a great time & I really enjoyed working with these ladies! It is always fun to see how different everyone's scenes turn out! Thanks ladies for coming & making it such a wonderful night!
Brenda, Barbara & Kathy hard at work!
Bev & Charity working on their barns!
Barbara's finished canvas
Bev's finished canvas
Brenda's finished canvas
Charity's finished canvas - she always takes it in another direction! :)
Kathy's finished canvas
Happy painters!
I am currently working on my next class which I think is going to be a two day event! I am hoping to make the first day an "intuitive" painting day, where we will cover our canvases with many different marks & lots of paint & see what images pop out for us. These paintings below were all done intuitively…
Then on the second day, students will have the opportunity to work more on their intuitive piece or do the Aspens like this one…
Aspens in Fall
I am still working out pricing, but the dates for the classes are the evenings of November 7th & 8th. If you would like me to send you more information when I have it all planned out, please contact me at