Tuesday, April 29, 2008

The photos are up. Check them out at my aunt's site.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Building your career as an artist

Building your career as an artist

1. Free Art Supplies
Businesses are constantly throwing away materials that artists go out and buy. What do the bicycle repair shops do with the flat inner tubes? What do the dry cleaners do with the extra metal coat hangers? How about the fishing stores that replace the customers fly fishing lines every year? Call up businesses and ask if they would save them for you. They will most likely love you for recycling for them.

2. Play with Friends at Sculpture Gardens
My new favorite gallery is the New Leaf gallery in Sonoma. It has a sculpture garden where you are encouraged to touch and play. There are things to sit on, giant balls to toss and knit hills to jump on. My recommendation is on a hot day, with a couple friends, rent a convertible and go play at this gallery. It is a beautiful and inspiring place to visit.

3. Artist residencies
A residency is an artist colony hosted by an organization giving space and time to create. Some places have free room and board and others cost money. Check it out; they are all over the world. The retreat varies from two weeks to one year. You can look for residencies at Alliance of artist communities.

4. Amazing Resource

The Foundation Center has free classes and a library for finding grants. Some of the classes are on “how to write a proposal,” and “how to write a budget”. They also have a free database listing grants for individuals, making it much easier to locate grants you are eligible for. The staff is super helpful and knowledgeable.

5. Game Plan
I was unsure how to approach sculpting as a career, until I read “Taking the Leap” by Cay Lang. Cay relieved my fear, that if I am not an amazing sales person, I won’t succeed as a free-lancer. Her book is full of useful templates for staying organized and practical information for getting your name out there. It was an encouraging read and exciting to use her resource list.

6. Recycled art supplies

Do you like garage sale hunting or antique shopping? How about taking that same passion for the hunt and applying it to your art? Go out and search for art supplies at creative reuse stores. In Berkeley there is a warehouse called Urban Ore and in San Francisco there is Scrap. Sometimes discovering something so awesome forces you to think of a way you can use it in a sculpture. Scrap is also a good place to look for brand-new slide page protectors.

7. 1st Thursdays and Fridays
In San Francisco, most galleries have new exhibitions on the first Thursdays of the month. Oakland has the same thing on the 1st Friday called Art Murmur. Sometimes there is free wine. In the evening, tons of people attend, making it great for networking. This is also a great way to scope out potential galleries for your art.

8. Personal Web Page
There are lots of options setting up your own web site to show your art portfolio. You can pay someone to do it for you, or you can figure it out (even if you are not a computer wiz). Check out “Taking the Leap” for more elaborate options.

With the guidance of my Aunt, I used godaddy.com to buy the domain and hosting. Then she used Wordpress, which is a free program with templates, to design the site. To bring in more traffic link your Twitter, facebook and blog to your web page.

The standard for artists is to use your first and last name for your site, like elizabethsymington.com. You will have to get creative if your name is taken. I could have used symingtonsculpture.com. It describes my profession and yet doesn’t limit me to any specific material, so I can change in the future.

9. The Page that has it all...

For the best deals for slides and tips on creating your artist's packet check out this site: http://www.artinsight.org/ It has artist resources, portfolios, websites, templates and classes.

10. Great discounts at massage schools
If I hurt, it impedes on me focusing on my art. Having tension headaches, being stressed and achy doesn't help either. For me it is so difficult to take a break because I feel like I should be doing something more productive. I trick myself by making weekly appointments for a massage. I go to the National Holistic Institute. For a 50 minute massage it's $35. I always leave feeling relaxed and more focused.

Network Blogging Tips is sponsoring a List Blogging Challenge. The deadline is April 20th, 2009. The prize is a“One Touch 4 Mini 250 GB external hard drive, worth $129.00.” Go here for all the details.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Solvang! Hearst Castle! Wine Tasting!

Last Thursday

My bf and I rented a car from Enterprise (click here for my review) to drive to Santa Barbara for his uncle's retirement party

He was in the police force for 30 years including working on the bomb squad.

His wife is a helicopter pilot.

We stopped in San Luis Abispo at midnight-thirty. Rooms where $100 for the last 8 hours of night, so we slept in the car. If it wasn’t for the prospect of getting an adjustment that day, forget it! I am too old to sleep sitting up in a car. Over a year ago, my first fencing tourney was there. The town has great energy. Pure excitement. Ian just wanted coffee in the morning. I gargled cider vinegar, honey and water in the parking lot. I felt silly. It was foggy with birds singing. Found the location to shot my music video of Bela Fleck at a British phone booth.


Saw billboards for Solvang. Still Foggy! Had to stop there! Saw Anderson's split pea soup Restaurant, but no windmill. Weird. I must have been to a different one. Solvang is a Danish town with windmills. My Aunt told me I had to visit it some time! I didn’t even realize that’s next to Santa Barabara. Tried on clogs, reminded me living in Europe, running around in them with my brother. Danish bakeries! Bought some licorice. Weaving and spinning store (office site): found out about guilds, weaving with recycled sari’s, bamboo and milk, the convention in May, a contact in SF and a book about untraditional weaving techniques.

Pick up bf's parents at airport. Lunch in Solvang. Ate lots of sausage with mustard. Went back to weaving store. Grocery shopping. I was introduced to another gluten-free granola bar called Kind. Off to the Aunt and Uncle's house. Nap. Retirement party at 4pm. Lots of plaques: 1 from the governor and another from the President. Very inspiring because I am starting my career. His wife didn’t even know all of that stuff. I met their adopted daughter, finally!


My Doc showed me how to make pancakes/biscuits, gluten, egg and dairy free. Had an adjustment! Visited with the 2 cats, 2 dogs and 3 horses. Went to the neighbor's vineyard and tasted Port wine! Saw the cellar that the husband handmade. Wow! Group of us went to Santa Ynez. Sculpture garden of reused metal. Intentionally left rough. Looked great! Wine tasting at another vineyard, my 1st time. Kept the glasses from Lincourt Vineyards. Nap. Delicious left-overs from the party. Knit and read in bed.

Gluten, dairy and egg free Pancakes

6 TBS organic white rice flour

1/2 banana mashed up

olive oil or macadamia nut oil

aluminum-free baking powder

real maple syrup


walnuts or pecans

1. Mash up banana on a small plate. Add a little bit of olive oil. Mix together.

2. In a bowl add flour and baking powder. Add banana and nuts to flour mixture. Mix. Add water until it is pancake batter consistency.

3. Preferably cook on a iron skillet at a low temp. These are thick and resemble biscuits. Cook slowly or else the middle will be raw.

4. Drown in maple syrup and enjoy!


Hearst castle (office site) garden tour! I’ve wanted to go since I was in middle school. I have to go back and take a tour of the house. Met old neighbors of my bf in Big Sur. We ate at an amazing restaurant called Nepenthe (office site). Soup, shrimp and fresh squeezed OJ. Drift wood sculpture with bronze feet, holding it up.

Drove on HWY 1 and 101. Super pretty! Showed bf's Mom how to cast on, knit and purl. She showed me things too. I knit a bunch of stretch cord tubes for my next sculpture!!! Dinner with bf's best friend at a sushi place in Daly City. Showed them photos of Tactile Color (photos). Drove bf's parents to their hotel room. They fly out in the morn. Bed time for me. I am tired.