Monday, February 28, 2011

A dachshund triple portrait

This last month I've been working on another dachshund portrait, this time a triple study of Boomer and his two housemates. I was really amazed at how well this went. I'm not a fan of photorealism, but it does help a lot in creating likenesses. I wonder how many more dachshund studies I would have to do before the forms and proportions became engraved in my mind, and I could begin to draw them from my memories. Or any subject, for that matter—trees or flowers or clouds or mountains.

In any case, this one has been fun, and interesting, and time well spent.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Sunshine, snow, mudbugs—and Spring!

What a treat, to wake up to a snow blanket over everything, and yet know that Spring is coming soon! Not until the hydrangea buds have to make it through another two nights of brrrrrr temperatures, and some additional number of nights around freezing, but it's coming!

I know it by the hellebores who refuse to be cowed...

I know it by the sunshine lighting up the colored glass...

I see it in the glowing clouds shining through the trees...

and even in the skeletons of gardens past...

it's in the sky, the clouds, the trees, in the small things you only see under your feet, alive and growing. It's in the sun returning, in the birds going after mudbugs. It's almost here!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Publish book...check!

Two and a half years ago I wrote a book on menopause, and spent a lot of time looking for a way to publish it without breaking my budget. I looked at publishers, agents, marketing campaigns, and self publishing packages from printers. I read books on how to write letters to everyone in the publishing industry, I got lists of agents and what they handled, and lists of publishers and what they publish. I researched my market online, I went to Powell's and skimmed through every book they had on menopause, and still thought mine had possibilities. I got it copyrighted, wrote my first query letter to an agent, and sent it off into oblivion. I decided I would much rather publish it myself than spend an unknown number of years writing query letters. But self publishing, besides having the potential to be the fast track to nowhere, was still not free. Even if I did all the work myself that I could, it was looking like $200 to $2000, just to get into print. But then there was the Kindle.

Last year, I started studying up on how to publish on Kindle. Amazon had been adding more and more support for authors, and I found everything I needed to know—although some of it was a bit confusing and took a while to sink in—on their forum. So bit by bit, month by month, I converted it to Kindle format, tweaked and polished and read and re-read it, again and again, and thought about all the fun and the scary things that could happen if I actually got it done.

One thing a bit different about doing a book—I couldn't have done it without lots of help from friends and family. Not like a painting!

And last Friday, on the first day of the Year Of The Rabbit, I finally got it up there on Amazon, and it's live! And except for the copyright fee, it cost me exactly nothing. I guess the age of individual self-expression has really arrived.

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