Small Successes

As a career move, I do not recommend becoming an artist.

Let's be honest.

Unless Oprah Winfrey stands next to one of your images and at the very least says how pretty the colors are, so now everyone wants that one picture on everything from curtains to a refrigerator magnet, it's really hard to get discovered. 

Small Successes.jpg

So, it's important to relish in those small, and what I prefer, organic discoveries (and by organic I mean not from someone related to you).

Recently, I opened a shop on Etsy, selling my nature inspired art on yoga mats, bags and beach towels.  I followed all the advice about tiles and tags, SEO and algorithms.  Posted great pictures, and then....crickets.




Until that one evening...

Congratulations!  You made your first sale!


And it wasn't by anyone related to me

or Oprah!

The small stuff may not be worth the sweat, but it sure is worth a happy dance or two.

Browse my Etsy shop, Off561Boutique here

5 People To Follow For Creative Inspiration

If you have been following my blog, by now you have realized that I get a lot of my inspiration from walking around outdoors.  On a stunningly gorgeous day, it's the shit.  However, I live in the Northeast, where we experience all 4 seasons, so somewhere around mid-November up until usually about April, outdoors is not fun.

I have to look for inspiration else where.

The following is list of some artists and creative people I find inspiring...

Linda Szabo is a photographer whose work I love.  Her botanicals are gorgeous.  I recently took one of her online workshops and it was worth every minute.  You will probably start to see her inspiration in my work.  Her website is

Mike Moats is another photographer I follow, admire and have learned from.  He is an amazing macro photographer.  I've taken one of his macro workshops as well.  Visit his website at

I follow Andrew Scrivani on Instagram (@andrewscrivani).  He is an amazing food photographer.  Really creative.

I follow Cherie Bosela on Facebook.  She is a fantastic mosaic artist.  She combines photography and other mixed media items in her work.

Another great way to get inspiration is to follow a gallery.  I recently started following a social media gallery (I'm not exactly sure what that is).  Toxic Tins Gallery.  There Facebook is  They appear to be local to me and even organize photography meet-ups.  I haven't been to one yet, but hopefully over the summer.

Pinterest is a great place for inspiration.  I have several boards dedicated to art inspiration.  If you want to follow my Pinterest Boards, try one of these..Crafty Things I Want To Try   Art I Love  Things From My Very Creative Friends and Cool Art




Boredom Is A Creative Killer

Now you know what my work space looks like.   It's a messy office, probably similar to yours.  How could I possibly be creative in that environment?  

Well, first I thrive in chaos.  Second, I leave the chaos behind.

I love an adventure.  When my kids were young, it was easy to go on adventures.  A ride to the zoo, or to go apple picking at the farm.  Once they got older, their friends (or quite honestly the tv) became more fun than my adventures.  I got bored.  Boredom is a creative killer.  I had to do something.  So, I started going on my own adventures, camera in hand.

Within 45 miles and no more than hour away; It's for me!

I have a list on my phone of interesting botanical gardens, public gardens and nature walks.  I pay to go on photo walks and I have recently found an Instagram meet-up group called South Jersey Adventures.  Meet-ups are great, because although I like going on adventures, I occasionally feel very conspicuous when I am alone.  There IS power in numbers.

For instance I recently went back to a place I have brought my camera before, the Morven Museum in Princeton, NJ.  I have no interest in the museum, however they have an 18th century English garden, that appears to be open without actually paying admission.  I went there about a year ago and took some great shots of the flowers in the garden.  This time around, they were setting up a huge tent for an outdoor party and there were a lot of gardening fellows digging around, so I turned around and left.  I headed to the President's Garden at Princeton University, a spot I found on a photo walk I took through the Digital Photo Academy about 2 years ago.  Still felt a little conspicuous, but there weren't too many people around staring.

Taken at the Morven Museum

Taken at the Morven Museum

Once I am home again, I upload my images to Adobe Lightroom and then the fun begins.  I choose which photos I like and start processing them in Lightroom.  Then I move them in to Adobe Photoshop where I further work with them using a variety of filters and textures and layers.  I play and add layers upon layers until I get the desired masterpiece I am after (well, hardly a masterpiece, but come on it is fun to say).

Then time to share it with the world!

Some places I like to shoot are: Chanticleer Gardens, Jenkins Arboretum, Leaming's Run Garden, Longwood Gardens, Grounds For Sculpture, and Hortulus Farm.   I'm up for suggestions.