Interrupting my regular daily posts of the 30 in 30 challenge to announce that I am now live on Saatchi Art and Artfinder online galleries. I’ve been deliberating and marinating on the idea of putting my art on these websites. They have larger audiences and a great deal of traffic. For some reason, that made me excited and nervous at the same time.
Well I’ve been approved and you can now purchase my art on their platforms. So far, the platforms are pretty straightforward with how to get started. Saatchi’s site is a lot easier in my opinion and I love the layout and clean design. Artfinder takes a little longer to get set up, but they have a totally different vibe than most of the online galleries I’ve seen. It is very personalized and seems to focus on highlighting the artists more than anything else. That’s always a good change, especially when sites like Etsy continue to grow and reimagine their business model.
It takes A LOT of time to photograph, edit, and list artwork online. And with things like SEO and Adwords to consider, it can get really exhausting. Especially when I’d rather be painting in my studio! But, I’m happy to get some work done on these storefronts since it is a great platform for artists serious about getting paid for their talents. My strategy is to try and do a little each day, while deciding which art I will share with the world each day.
I am still trying to make my official website the best that I can, and this is always a work in progress. My goal is for my art to be found in search engines for companies, businesses, and art collectors interested in purchasing my original art directly from the artist.
And why is it good to buy direct from the artist? Well, for one, we’re easy to work with. Flexible. Can offer discounts and payment plans. And, I for one, am pretty relentless about making sure my customers are 100% satisfied.
It’s been a very busy and inspiring month. A few months back, I was featured in The National newspaper and then Time Out Abu Dhabi magazine and started garnering more attention in the capital and my new home.
When I was contacted by the Art Director of Brighton College to see if I would be interested in exhibiting my work with their gallery for a month. Of course, “HELL YES!” was pretty much my initial reaction. The only thing was, my entire show had to be ready by the first week in October. So, after my trip to Sudan for 10 days in September, I came back to a studio of empty canvases and nestled paint tubes and proceeded to do what I love and know most: painting.
My exhibition launched October 12th, and consists of a good portion of works I produced earlier this year, as well as several new works that I’m quite proud of in both the abstract and pop/fauve/abstract realism style I’ve been doing with animals.
I expected it to be hard work painting under such a tight deadline and it was. I spent many nights reworking some paintings, fine tuning things. But fortunately, much of what I painted were things that I wanted to explore for months now. I had them inside and they couldn’t wait to come out. What I didn’t expect was the emotional aftermath of the experience.
Without sounding overly dramatic, I definitely bond with my paintings during their creation and completion. Many of them were hanging in my home for my eyes to feast for months. So, to pack up everything and drop them to a gallery for a month on end, was bittersweet.
But, unlike some artists, I do create my work with the intention to sell. I love when I can make a piece of art that moves someone else just as much as it moves me. I love even more when they decide to take that piece of art and place in their home to enjoy for a lifetime.
In a year’s time, I’ve sold countless paintings and prints, made great friends, and established a good fan base. I now feel like my budding art career is ready to take the next step. With that said, preparing for this exhibition was good practice for my next endeavor: being a gallery-represented artist. I made sure each painting was produced with high quality materials. I varnished everything in the best fashion I could, and really treated them for what they are–fine art to be handled with care. I tried to have harmony between my pieces, color palettes, and styles. It was a beautiful ride, and I am very happy to have the chance to share my work with the Abu Dhabi community.
Since my exhibition, I’ve received three requests for commissioned paintings (one of which will be going to the US), and have sold one painting, “Humphrey’s Back”. He’s the first sell, and I shouldn’t be surprised. My camels are the first to go and I can’t quite explain the energy and emotions these creatures bring up.
A week after my opening reception, I got invited back to speak with the 5th, 6th, and 12th year students at the school on being an artist in the UAE. Just getting the opportunity to inspire young kids and encourage them to pursue art education and practice was really fulfilling. Every class asked me loads of questions in the Q&A, and one kid was so kind, that he stood up and told us how now, he is inspired by me just like I am inspired by so many artists living and passed. It was so much fun and I really couldn’t have asked for a better person to work with. Thanks a lot Kathryn Wilson for your support of the arts and artists in the area!
The exhibition is on for two more weeks! If you’re in Abu Dhabi, please stop by Brighton College Main Gallery for a visit.
It’s that time of the year again: Autumn. Back to school. The days are getting shorter. The temperature cools. The leaves change. And our hearts change too. It’s always been my favorite time of year, literally the mark of new beginnings.
One thing I’ve been aspiring to implement into my creative practice is meditation. It’s not anything new. And even in our Islamic tradition, there is much on the topic of reflection, contemplation, and sitting in solitude–absolute stillness, and reconnect with The One. And yet, we seldom do it. Sure, praying five times a day is a spiritual discipline, but without a pure and undistracted heart, it can quickly turn into a chore.
I have to admit, I didn’t start meditating out of any religious encouragement. I see a lot of literature circulating on social media around meditation, but it’s mostly for the physical and mental benefits, which I can surely use.
There are so many benefits to meditating, and this post is certainly not the expanse to explain them all. So, I just thought I’d share a little of my thoughts on how it’s going for me.
Today, I decided to meditate for only the second time. I am using the Headspace app which I highly recommend because it guides you every step of the way without it feeling too “goo-goo gaga”. I’m not into that (or maybe, I am, but don’t realize it yet).
Some immediate things that have happened to me when I meditate:
I concentrate on my breathing. This is really important. I have recurring back pain and at my last chiropractor visit, I was instructed on how to breathe properly. Turns out, I’m not even breathing right! Meditation makes you more conscious of your breath, even if it’s just for a few minutes.
I realize exactly how much anxiety I’m feeling that day. Good or bad. I’m an anxious person. When I have a creative spark, I cannot rest until it’s out, expressed. On my best days, I am a happy, loving artist flowing colors from my magic wands. Today, in meditation I realized just how much I wanted–no, needed–to paint today. Which leads me to my next point…
I feel the colors that resonate with me the strongest when my eyes are closed. You know how it goes. You’re in bed, trying to fall asleep, and then BAM! Hoards of painting possibilities seem to fly through your mind endlessly. I am been trying a mental practice of staying in bed, sleeping yes, but before sleeping, take a mental screenshot if you will of the paintings in my head. In the morning, I can usually remember what I loved the most. Meditation helps me know for sure exactly where I want to go.
Today, I asked myself, my soul, my spirit, whatever you want to call it: “What do you need today? What do you want to feel? What do you want to love like, eat like, be like, today?” It’s a strange concept at first, but really comforting. Just saying to myself, I’m going to fulfill you. You are fulfilled. You are fulfilled.
You get this cool, hippie vibe of general chilled-outness that I love. I’ve always been a worry-wart, self-prophesed perfectionist. That was cool and all in college. But I’ve made leaps and bounds in my self-awareness since then. It feels great to be honest with myself, to relax, to say “You got this,” “you’re good.” I don’t have to prove anything to anyone. Taking 10 minutes to meditate each day is like giving life, society, people, the small voices in my head, whatever, a fat hand to the face. A pause. A complete stop, as I take a moment to…well, enjoy this moment.
How do you use mediation in your creative practice or in general?
I wanted to ring in the month of Ramadan with some new colorful paintings in my collection. I am offering these pieces and many more for sale in my shop at 15% off. I also have my limited edition prints on sale as well so it’s a great deal! Coupon code: SUMMER is valid until July 15th.
Meanwhile, I’ve been honing in on my abstract work to make way for lots of big things this fall. Really excited for the present and the future!
Hey guys! Hope you’re having a swell week. I will be posting paintings incrementally on my blog here to update. Feedback welcome 🙂
This one is titled “Prayer Rug No.2″ and is part of my tapestry series. I was inspired by the quilted, colorful patterns in found objects like prayer rugs. This painting is my largest one yet, measuring 48×36” on canvas.