It's my hope to post entries here about my life and experiences as a trans-woman who also happens to have bipolar disorder. This is my way of making my voice be heard, and bringing attention to the issues that myself and others like me, face every day.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Trying New Things

I finished a painting today, and it's definitely different than any I've done before.
I decided to give the whole thinkism art movement a try. The basic idea is to bring attention to certain social, political, environmental issues and so on. I kept this one simple and to the point, although I'm making the next one a bit more complex. I like the idea of using my art to make people think about issues that are important to me, so I started with one of the biggest. It pretty much explains itself, I'm thinking of calling it "Our Reality" but I'm open to other ideas. Anyway, here it is.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

A New Lead

I hung out with a couple of friends yesterday and we randomly decided to take a trip to Richmond. We walked into this tattoo shop and I talked to the guy in there a bit about my artwork and he told me that they display stuff on the first fridays at walk. So I get a chance each month to possibly get something displayed. He was telling me that it's a lot easier to get stuff showed somewhere with that, and said to get in touch with him on facebook to see about getting some stuff in on the next one. This may be my chance to make some more cash on my art. He said most of the people buying stuff are art students so 50 bucks is usually the most a lot of things go for. So if I can get maybe 10 pieces to put up for sale, something like some 16x20s, put $50 on each and that's 500 bucks if I can sell them all within a day. As far as I know I keep all of the profits, even he agreed with me about that gallery asking for a 50% commission rate being just ridiculous. It's the small shops that are looking for almost anything that are going to get me out there right now, so this sounds like a big opportunity for me. I've got 2 paintings in the works now and plenty of canvases left, with any luck I can get enough stuff ready within 2 weeks to get something in for this month, and if not there's always next month. There were paintings on the wall in the shop, so who knows, maybe I can trade paintings for some tattoo work if he's in the market for anything.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Expanding My Work

It was a good weekend for me. We stopped by Michaels on the way home yesterday to see about getting a few more art supplies. They had a sale on canvases and I managed to grab a 5 pack of 16x20s for 15 bucks. They also had a coupon to get 40% off of any one item in the store, so I picked up a 30 dollar beginners glass etching kit for 15 bucks. It's got everything I need to get started, and I played around with it some today. I've got a bit of learning to do, but I got fairly good results from my first try considering I just freehanded some doodles on a piece of test glass. I have stencils, but they're one time use, so I only want to use those on something I'm going to sell. It's as simple as sticking them on the glass like a sticker, smearing the acid paste on them and wash it off after 5 minutes. I can take a 3 dollar wine glass from Walmart and turn it into a 25 or 30 dollar glass for next to nothing. I also picked up a little 6 inch tall poseable wood drawing model for something like 3 bucks. I'm set on art supplies now, I've got 9 canvases, 2 new brushes, a #1 painting knife, portfolio bag, glass etching kit, and the little wooden drawing model, and my aunt gave me a binder with plastic sleeves that I can use to turn into a pretty nice portfolio. I just need to grab a business license and order some business cards and I'm ready to take my stuff to the VA hospital and sell them.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

New Prospects

I went and checked out 5 different places today about showing my art. Being a Saturday I didn't have amazing luck with actually showing anyone any of my work. Everywhere I asked they either wanted me to submit stuff online or not everyone that needed to see them was there. I did get the suggestion to go check out a coffee shop across the street from one of the places that has monthly art exhibitions of local artists. I actually talked to the person in charge of that and got her email to send pictures and she can get back to me. It sounds promising there at least, the girl was even kind of cute. Luckily there were about 4 different places all within a block of each other on both sides of the street, so it made getting to a bunch really easy.

We went to this art supply store that actually has a gallery and framing shop upstairs. My aunt could see that I was looking like a kid in a candy store and offered to get me a few things. I got a bunch of stuff that was on sale. I got a painting knife, a couple of really good brushes, a 16x20 canvas for less than 4 bucks, an 8x24 canvas for 7 bucks, and a big 24x24 canvas for another 7 bucks. These a good canvases too. Triple gesso primed for oil and acrylic, back stapled double framed and the bigger ones even have middle frame bracers. On top of that my aunt decided to get me a portfolio bag that I could use to carry my paintings in to a gallery. It's really nice, I can fit a painting up to 24" wide in it, and I can fit up to 4 16x20s in if I put 2 on each side. The best part was I got an artists discount since I was talking to one of the employees about stuff I'm working on. Everyone was really nice and helpful there, so if you're an artist in Richmond VA, I highly recommend Main Art Supply and Gallery. They have reasonable prices on a lot of stuff, and I thoroughly enjoyed the atmosphere and people there.

It was a very productive day for me. I got a lot of information about about the particular galleries I visited and things going on in the area. Not to mention I'm set with my art supplies for a bit now. I have enough to do 4 more paintings as of now. I also found one gallery that I'm highly reluctant to deal with. They offer some classes there at reasonable prices, but oh my god they really stick it to the artists on commission rates. They ask for 50% commission rate, and also that you deal only with them and no other gallery in the Richmond area. Granted the cheapest painting I saw on display was 800 bucks, but if I'm going to sell something through a gallery I want more than half the profits. I mean I made the damn painting, it's my time and effort expended, I should see the majority of the profits. Oh well, I've got a few more options now, so we'll see where things take me. My fortunes are looking up all the time.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Busy Week

It's been a very busy week for me so far. I had my appointment with my hormone doctor in Richmond on Tuesday, which went pretty well. My friend and I had dinner at the Cheese Cake Factory before my appointment and I felt like I gained 5 pounds from that meal alone. We went by the mall next door afterwards and I got to check out an art gallery. I didn't have any of my work with me to show at the time, but I talked to one of the people that worked there and found out they deal a lot with local artists. It's definitely worth going back with some stuff to show sometime. They have online submissions set up, so I may just go that route. I had a pretty nice conversation with the girl I talked to, and most of the work in there seems to be very impressionistic. It seems to hold promise for the future. I did another painting on Wednesday since that was the only day I really had to do whatever this week. I'll post pictures of it at some point, I did a simple rather impressionistic red and yellow flower. I got the idea from some pieces I saw at the gallery Tuesday night.

I had my second doctors appointment with my new primary care doctor Thursday afternoon. That proved to be a real adventure and a half. The first news I got was that my insurance decided to bullshit my doctor like they did with me. She said she called them up and tried to get some information out of them about what exactly she needed to go about doing to get the surgery approved for me. They told her that it was my policy so it was privileged information, and the bastards wouldn't even fucking tell me. Someone is blowing smoke somewhere, and I'm going to find out who the hell it is. She said we can try again, but I need to call them up again and ask what exactly they want from her. If that doesn't work I'll ask them if they'd like to explain it to a lawyer. I'm sick of this shit, even my doctor got pissed off at them and agrees with me that getting a lawyer involved may help. ACLU here I come.

I also got taken off of my blood pressure medicine since my BP was down to 102 over something. At the suggestion of my hormone doctor they switched me over to a beta blocker to see if that can slow the heart rate down. She mentioned something about if it works too hard for too long my heart could become enlarged, so I decided it was worth trying to take care of it now instead of later. Both my mom and aunt have the same thing and are on nothing for it, but apparently my aunt's doctor tried to put her on the same thing as me and she wouldn't take it, so I don't know at this point. All I know is it may not be a problem now, but it could turn into one farther down the road if it's not treated now.

I came to my aunt's a day early this week, and so far it's been pretty fun. I went with my aunt in law to her physical therapy appointment at the VA hospital today and found out that I can apply to come there on certain days and sell some of my art. They only take a 20% commission fee, and the rest of my profits are mine. I just need to get a business license, which my aunt offered to pay for, and then I'm set to go turn my application in and show them some examples of my work. It sounds promising so far. She's taking me to check out a few galleries in the area tomorrow and show some of my work to them, so I hope it turns out well for me. I guess I'll update again tomorrow about how it all goes.

Monday, July 12, 2010

No Luck Today

Today was both a good and a bad day for me. I went to a couple of galleries in Williamsburg to see if I could stir up any interest in my artwork at all. The first place I went the guy said they just didn't have the space to display anything else for now, but he did suggest a couple of places to check out that dealt a bit more in original paintings. Luckily one was just a few doors down and I went there next. Talk about intimidating; I walked in the door and there are these two guys that I'm sure are at least in their 50s, pretty well dressed, and looked like your classic art critics and dealers. They didn't deal in photo prints, so I never got to show my photography portfolio, and at first he didn't even want to take a look at the pictures of my my paintings on my camera. I didn't give up and he said he would take a look at a few since I was there already. He seemed a bit impressed by the beach scene that I did, but said they didn't really deal that much in local art, but gave me the names of a couple of people at 2 other galleries that he thought would be more interested in my work. One was the same as the first guy gave me, so apparently these other places deal more with local artists.

I was kind of disappointed, but I told the guy that I was just trying to see what my options in the area are and trying to get a start. He said don't stop looking to keep trying, and wished me good luck, so I guess it's still a bit up in the air. I really need to get to work on more paintings. Today's experience proved to me that I'm going to make a much better impression if I show up with paintings in hand rather than pictures of commissioned works that I no longer have. I have a couple of canvases still and enough money to buy a few more, so it's all about getting ideas now. I'm not giving up on this, 2 galleries is hardly enough to say there is no interest at all in the area. I'm going to get turned away before things really take off anyway, so I was prepared for it. I can at least get some information and advice from people along the way though. Things will take off, it's just going to take some time.

The good thing about today is that I was able to do a bit of shopping with my commission money. I got my hormones for the month, and then hit up a couple of thrift stores. I got a pretty nice shirt and even nicer brand new pair of dress pants for less than 5 bucks, and a nice skirt at the second place for 2. I can definitely put together a good job interview outfit now, or even use it for taking my stuff around to galleries to look more professional. I picked up a small little table top tripod for my camera for a couple of bucks. It's not much and it's cheap, but it's something, so I'm giving it a chance. The best buy of the day though was a nice aluminum portable easel that I got for 20 bucks. It's fucking awesome considering I was using a drum stand and music stand to sit my canvases on when I was painting before. I love it, I can fit up to a 33" canvas on it, and lock in place so nothing wobbles around or falls off.

In all it was a good day, in spite of the small disappointment with the galleries. Hopefully things take a turn for the better for me soon. For now I'm going to get to work on some more paintings and work on refining my photography portfolio a bit more. I'm headed to Richmond tomorrow night, so maybe I can check a few galleries out while I'm there. I guess we'll see what happens.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Looking For More Work

I finished my last commission that I had today, I'm hoping that tomorrow I can make it to a couple of galleries to try to see if there's any interest in my work. I should be seeing another aunt of mine too, so maybe I'll get some more work from her. There isn't a lot to talk about. I see my hormones doctor on Tuesday and my new primary care doctor on Thursday, so it should be a busy week. I'm hoping to hear some kind of decision about surgery from insurance on Thursday. I'm not holding my breath if my doctor hasn't called me by now with any good news. I guess I'll find out soon enough. Anyway, here's a picture of the painting I finished today.
Assateague Island Lighthouse

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

A Good Weekend

I’m a little late writing about it, but I actually had a pretty good weekend. I went to my aunt’s house Friday morning so I could have an extra day to spend with her before my mom and her boyfriend came the next day. She loved the painting I did for her; she even hung it up that night in the living room. I got my 30 bucks from her and the 15 from my mom the next day, so it was a fairly profitable weekend for me. My aunt even said she would talk to a few people she knows that may be interested in my work to help me out a bit. So I’m hoping I may have some more work coming way before long. My other aunt told me about this site I could join and get really good prices on photo prints. I joined that while I was there and I get my first 50 4x6 prints for free, so I ordered prints of my entire portfolio so I can make a hard copy to carry around to galleries. I just had to pay $3.61 for the shipping, but that’s pretty good for 50 4x6s. I got work done on sizing some 8x10 prints while I was there too, I want to have a small stock of them ready in case any of the galleries take an interest in my work.

Things are looking up right now with my art career. I made enough money on the commissions so far that I can start getting some prints of my photo work ready to sell and get some extra art supplies. I’m considering what I get at this point an investment in my future career. I’m hoping that at some point I can branch out into sculpture work as well. The more mediums I can do well in the more chances I have of making a living off of this.

My hand is feeling a bit better. I had apparently been putting some extra strain on it compared to normal with all the painting and my wrist had gotten sore. I can thank my many hours of self training with knives and swords for originally doing the damage to my wrist. It’s when I hold it in a very specific knife thrusting position that it hurts at this point. I’ve been wearing a brace on it and icing it at least once a day, so I’m hoping that continues to help. My aunt is a nurse and I talked to her about it while I was there. She said it sounded like some kind of inflammation of the soft tissue in the joint, so I’m at least going to bring it up with my doctor when I see her on the 15th.

On another note, my aunt brought up the possibility of me moving in there at some point, maybe in the fall. I don’t know what’s going to come of that, but if it works out it may just be break I’ve been waiting for. I would have my own room, cable, wireless internet, and the most acceptance I’ll get from any family member I’ve got. Not to mention there are many places of potential employment within decent walking distance of her house. It’s just an idea at this point, but I definitely won’t pass up the opportunity if it seriously comes my way. They seem to like having me there a lot more than my brother, which is no surprise. Having some time there without my mom and her boyfriend around I think gave my aunt and I time to get a bit closer. We talked about a few things we hadn’t before, and at one point were talking about psycho ex girlfriends we had each had. I think it would be a good thing for me if I do end up living there at some point; they understand a lot of what I go through and are completely supportive of me. I guess we’ll see where things go; I’m going back in a couple of weeks to stay the weekend again, so who knows where it will take me. I’m just going where the wind blows me for now and hoping it takes me in a good direction.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

One of My Best Works Yet

I finally finished my next commission, a beach scene for my aunt. This was the biggest painting I've done so far, an 11x14 wood framed canvas. I'm going to see her tomorrow and I should get about 30 dollars out of it, I'll be getting another 15 from my mom for one I did for her too. This stands to be a profitable weekend as of now. I'm hoping to go by Walmart or somewhere soon and make some 8x10 prints of some of my photography work and take them to some local galleries. I know a few in the area that deal in photography, so if I can get some fairly cheap frames and they accept any of my stuff hopefully I'll make some more money on them. I want to show up at these places with paintings and photos in hand, that way they can't blow me off. It also looks good on my behalf if I show up with examples of my work on the first visit. I guess I'll see where things take me, I stand to make quite a bit of money if my work gets some good exposure on the local level. There's even one gallery that's partnered with the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts that I really want to get some stuff into. It's got a long waiting list for applicants, but it's worth the wait since the exposure for my work would be priceless at a place like that. Anyway, that's about all for right now, here's a picture of my painting. I think it's one of my best paintings yet, it was worth the frustration I had trying to paint it.