They say change is inevitable. Of course it is. If we expected things to stay exactly the same, every year, every day, every hour, well… there wouldn’t be much reason to get out of bed in the morning, would there? Change keeps things interesting. It forces us to look forward, and to prepare. It challenges us… to find solutions… to be creative.
I’ve never considered myself to be terribly creative. Sure, I think I’ve always had a certain amount of artistic talent, but I tend to separate talent from creativity. I think talent in a certain field means one has an ability to learn things in that field quicker. Creativity means one can do those things in new and different ways. When the two come together, you get B.B. King… or Andrew Wyeth.
One good place to find creativity is at an arts & crafts show. That’s where the human mind shows its ability to do new and different things. Dust pans made from old license plates. Jewelry made from old buttons and odds and ends that most people throw away. I’m still fascinated by those fantasy flying machines made from old toilet bowl floats and a wild variety of small junk. Another place to find creativity is on Etsy. Spend a little time browsing on www.etsy.com and you’ll see the creative human mind at work. Or visit the site of a scrapbooker like my daughter, at www.cpzdesigns.com.
While my mind doesn’t work the way the truly creative minds work, I do produce a lot of art. Most lifelong artists do. And most of us are packrats extraordinaire. We produce stacks of the stuff and store it in drawers and bins and boxes, in closets and under desks and tables.
And then comes Change. The kind of change where one no longer has closets or desks, no places to store unlimited numbers of boxes or bins. The kind of change that comes with moving into a motorhome.
I lightened the load a couple of months ago by packing a certain amount of older work off to the kids, keeping one tub of older drawings and studies. And I destroyed most of what was left. It wasn’t all that great, anyway, and it was time to admit it. But as we’ve been making the transition, the adjustment to living in a very small space, the lack of storage is a very real challenge. I don’t want a rented storage space somewhere with boxes of artwork just sitting, gathering dust. But I don’t have any intention of ever not producing artwork of some kind, either. Something has to change.
There have been two things that have been part of our overall plan. We carry an entire 10×10 show booth in the basement of this home on wheels, and as long as we are physically able, we intend to use it. We don’t have a huge budget, so the high end shows that call for booth fees of $500 and up are not part of our plan. We love doing the little shows, the arts and crafts shows, the low cost town square festivals, the sidewalk and parking lot shows. The kinds of shows one can find in suburbia and throughout small town America. We love the passing parade of everyday folks. The reality of doing those kinds of shows is that high priced art is not the order of the day.
Another part of the plan has been to have an outlet that allows us to sell unframed work at prices that are attractive to those same everyday folks when they can’t find us at their local show. We won’t print, store and sell reproductions this time around. What we are doing is bringing the Etsy store back into play to sell small original art. At the moment, I’ve quietly reopened it with a handful of work. It will be small paintings, studies, sketches and drawings, all original, all at very reasonable prices. Most of it will be familiar work that has appeared on my blogs. We’ll make a big grand opening announcement soon, but for now, you can visit www.ralphparkerfineart.etsy.com.
Prices are being lowered across the board as I try to inventory what we’ve got. It will take a little time to get the website changed, so anyone who’s interested in a specific piece of work should just email me. We won’t give it away, although some of my artist friends think we’re already doing that. I’ve said before that I’m at an age where fame and fortune are not huge goals anymore. For quite some time, I’ve understood that I’d simply like to create a little beauty that people can enjoy, and generate a little income along the way. So we’re tossing conventional wisdom out the window, lowering prices, and looking ahead down the road.
Besides, we really don’t have a good place to keep all this stuff.