As anyone can see from your studio and blog fine art is your passion? Have you always created art? How and when did you get started?
Yes, art is my passion. As I tell it, "I have the art monkey on my back and he's relentless". I have been making art since I was very young. I love especially to make art gifts for people. As a child I was always begging my mom to buy me a craft/art kit. I would make the craft and give it to my mom. She has my art all over her home, and has saved the things I made as a child. I got started or "hooked" on art, in kindergarten, when I used fingerpaints for the first time. I still remember that day, standing at an easel with a paper apron on and being allowed to smear wet, cool paint all over the paper with my hands. I still remember the smell of the paint and the vibrant colors. I was hooked for life that day.
What is your favorite piece you ever made and why?
My favorite piece/s are two oil paintings I did of my children. One is of my son when he was little, walking down a path dragging a stick on the fence. The other is my daughter and her best friend sitting on a blanket in the park. Her friend is gazing into a mirror wondering if she's pretty.
Do you create Art full time or do you have a hobby that supports your Art?
I create art full time. I am currently unemployed so my husband supports my art. I hope to find a way to make a living at doing what I love, to find a niche, a place for me in the world as a working artist. So far, that hasn't happened.
Describe your typical day.
I wake up around 7 am, brew a pot of coffee and while I drink my coffee, I check emails, check my ArtFire account, update my blog, etc. Then I'm in my studio by 10 am and work until 7pm on current projects, etc.
What keeps you motivated?
That's a hard one. I get easily distracted and easily discouraged. Because of this, I joined a group of artists in a year long project called the 365 Art Project 2011, where we pledged to make a piece of art everyday for a year. It's winding down, as this is the last month and I've only just missed my first days this past Thanksgiving weekend. It's been tough trying to come up with art everyday for a year, but I have been able to keep up. I like to create Artist Trading Cards, and this group I joined is at ATCsforall.com Making small art, ATCs, has allowed me to make art everyday, quickly and efficiently. I'm going to put my pieces up for trade in January when the project is over.
Besides creating your art what else do you like to do?
Watch TV. I'm really a bad couch potato, especially in the winter. In the summer, I like to spend time outdoors with my husband, biking, kayaking, scooter riding and picnicking. I also try to read as much as possible as I love to read.
I admire artists who can figure out their passion and become successful as a working artist. Thomas Kinkade is one of those who has a very inspiring story of how he came to be known the painter of light. I also like Anita Davies. She lives in England and makes sketches everyday in her sketchbook. I love her style.
Do you feel it is important to have your own space to create or do you create anywhere?
It's not important to have a studio to create art, as art is portable. I do have my own space to create art in, and I am grateful for that. I can leave a mess and not have to worry about it bothering anyone. There was a time while our home was being built, that we lived in our 36' motorhome, and I painted oils in it, the largest being the 36"x 48" canvas of my daughter and her best friend. I look back now on that time, and can't believe I pulled it off.
What is the best part of having your own business?
The best part is being free to do what I want, when I want, and how I want. The worst part, is not bringing in a paycheck. This isn't the first time I have been a business owner. I used to be a photo retoucher and photo restoration artist and provided services to local photographers and the public. I did it for twelve years and loved every minute of it. When it came time to close, I mourned the loss of my business as if someone had died. It was very personal. My business provided a nice living for myself and my family. I would love to have that back again, through my fine art, but alas, it hasn't happened yet.
If you can do so financially, go for it. There's nothing like the feeling of being a successful business owner. But be prepared to work more than 40 hrs. a week. You have to do everything from the marketing, to the paperwork, to the making of the art, the shipping, everything; unless you are successful enough to hire employees. But at first, it's just you doing the work of five or more people. To me, that all doesn't matter as I love the independence.
As an artist how do you market yourself and your art to the public via web or other means?
Marketing myself is my downfall. It's hard to toot your own horn. Right now I have a website: www.robanstudio.com my blog: Musings on Art, and of course my ArtFire shop. I used to be on Facebook, but never found it to be worthwhile, plus when they changed the privacy policies, I didn't like it and so closed my account. Occasionally I will send out email newsletters to advertise my work, but that's only when I'm feeling good about things. It can be very discouraging not to be selling work.
Where would we be able to find you and your art?
As stated above, on my website, blog and ArtFire account.
I would like to thank Rhonda for sharing a part of her life with us here today. Be sure to check out her blog and her ArtFire Studio.
Posted for the Pacific Northwest ArtFire Guild by: Dana James of Dana's Jewelry Design