Friday, May 11, 2012

taking a leap

Okay, not to piggy back off a friend...
but I am going to piggy back off a friend.

Kim Salter of Design Thoughts (I may have mentioned her a time or two or eighteen) wrote a blog post the other day about taking a leap.  Eight years ago, she and her husband picked up everything they had and left everything they knew to move to the big city...New York.  The move was scary and exhilarating all at the same time.  In the story you can feel Kim's emotions as she embraced such a huge lifestyle change and came to appreciate all the amazing things she experienced.  Read more of her story here

Kim's story got me thinking about how life really is just one leap after another.  Some leaps are small, like starting a new hobby or taking a class.  Some leaps are huge, like packing up your life to live in a brand new place or becoming a parent for the first time.  Many leaps fall in between and catapult us through life.  Taking a leap can feel foreign and scary, but every leap has the potential to feel positive and good.

Taylor Swift is one of those artists who I have always admired.  To me she seems like such a normal person who, at a very young age, took a huge leap.  She titled one of her albums "Fearless".  During an interview I heard her describe that being fearless isn't about not having fear.  Being fearless is about moving forward despite the fear.

she doesn't care who is looking or what they think.
she is just leaping, colorfully, because it feels great

my latest leaps

As I am writing this, my heart is beating about 4,000 beats per minute.  I have the entire range of emotions running through my body as I am in the middle of taking a few leaps of my own.  The first leap is big and the second is even bigger....and I think there might be a little hopping and skipping in there as well.

big leap

My first leap is opening my own online store to sell prints and canvas reproductions of my artwork.  I have been working around the clock to get the store designed, get payment buttons programmed and to get as many high quality (and therefore printable) photos of the paintings as possible.  The paintings that I have a quality copy of will be available in my online store.  I have learned a great deal about photography and in the future should be able to print anything that is created through tiny by design.  Until then, I retrieve paintings from people when I can and take better pictures...and am working to add more every day.

I ordered samples of some of my artwork on canvas (they are coming today or tomorrow!) and as soon as I can approve their quality, I will be opening my store.  I also have the privilege of purchasing my "poster" prints through my family's business TBF Graphics.  I love working with people who care as much as I do about putting out a quality piece of work.

This store is a large part of the vision I had three years ago when I first started tiny by design.  I suppose I needed to build a gallery and gain certain experiences before I decided to take this leap.  The decision to go for it came out of the blue one day when I received an email from a small canvas print company out of Georgia.  They found me through a google search, if you can even believe it.  Little ole me and my tiny little business coming up on google!  It was this one random email on this one typical day that got my little internal voice telling me "you are ready".

My store will be called aisle 6.  For me it's a place where dreams go to come true.  More about this when I officially launch aisle 6.

a hop and a skip

Since the first tiny by design painting was created at my kitchen counter, I have always had the vision of giving back to the world in some way.  I feel so much gratitude to be able to pursue my dreams and would like to know that I am helping the dreams of others.  "tiny gives back" is a program that has been with me from the beginning.  I have donated paintings to fundraisers for people in need and will continue to do this.  Thanks to the leap into prints, I am able to grow "tiny gives back" as well.  Moving forward 50% of proceeds from print sales will go back to the charities where the paintings were donated. 

I am currently working to get printable photos of all the paintings donated so far and working with the fundraisers to decide where any money raised will go.

an even bigger leap

Okay, deep breath...
For the past two summers, I have been talking about getting into the art show circuit.  I know I need to put myself out there and get my work on display.  But I have gotten comfortable crawling down to my studio every night and thinking of reasons why it's just not the right time.  Inventory, money, lack of expertise, who will watch the kids...I can think of a hundred reasons to not do it.  The real reason is fear.  Fear of the unknown.  Fear of the general public judgement of my work.  Fear of doing it wrong and looking like a "rookie". 

I was having a chat with a good friend, Kati, about craft fairs and art shows.  She shared some stories about friends who have done them and made livings off the "art show circuit".  She then suggested I check out the Blueberry Festival in South Haven.  I knew instantly, when I saw the website, that this would be a great first experience for me.  So I applied.  Late.  Talk about looking like a rookie.  Kathy, the nice lady at the Chamber of Commerce was nice enough to accept my late application.  I sent samples of my work (minus the picture of my booth that I had to admit to not having - nice job rookie).  I should hear back early next week.  But either way, I leaped.  About an hour after I leaped, I ran down to the mailbox to change some of the samples I sent and re-review my application.  But it was gone.  So I leaped, whether I was ready too or not. 

Well, I guess now it's time for a crash course in how to have a successful art show - and yes, I am taking advice!  I am going to get myself out to a couple shows so I can get booth ideas  and I will talk to as many experienced people I can.  I really don't have time to waste so I need to know what the must haves and must does are.  Then it's all mine (and Kati's as she has selflessy agreed to work the whole show with me!!)  I am trying to keep my mind focused on all the great things that can come my way.  The fact that I will get an entire weekend to focus 100% of my attention on tiny by design - that's the stuff dreams are made of.  I also work well with deadlines and goals so to have a specific date to get paintings and prints ready...well, that's just great.  To finally get to talk to real live people about my artwork instead of just hoping people come to my website and like my facebook page (not that those things aren't important - just not as face to face as I would like). 

So every day, I take a deep breath and do my best to swallow the fears.  Everyday I start the day by thinking, "what will get created today that didn't even exist yesterday?"  Every day, I try to expand the picture of what the future of tiny by design holds.

And that, my friends, is my leap.  What is yours?

happy leap year,


  1. AHhhh!! I have tears running down my face reading this, not because its so emotional, but because SO MANY good things are happening to the people I love. I love this post, and I CANT wait until you write about Aisle 6 ;) can piggy back anytime! thats what Soul Sisters are for ;)

    1. thanks Kim! thanks for all the inspiration...and such a great friendship!

  2. I love it!!!! All of it!!!! You do such amazing work and I'm glad that more people are going to get the opportunity to enjoy it! Congratulations on all of your leaps!


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