what’s it all for, anyway?

OMG. Sounds ominous, doesn’t it? Actually it’s the second part of my lesson from last week…”What in the name of **** do I really want to get out of this?” Or in simple down home country speak “why are you doing this Anni?”

Oh, in case you didn’t know, my mother calls me Anni from time to time, mostly when I’m being a pill. They named me Anastasia originally, after my great-grandmother but never put it on the birth certificate, in favor of Staci, a popular name back in the mid-sixties. This will surely contribute to much consternation years from now when I am gone and my paintings become worth oodles of pennies. You see, for a while, back when I was wrastling with inner demons and sorting thru the mental hoops of maturation, I went thru a phase whereby I signed my paintings “anastasia”. It was way back in the days when I was just starting to sell my work and I think I was hiding behind the name to be honest. Alas, after I took back my maiden name a few years ago I had this new found confidence and slapped that “Swider” moniker on anything and everything I could touch with a paintbrush and here I am. 

(I’m writing this at the moment on my back deck, beautiful South Carolina day out here, water flowing by on Johnson’s Lake ((really it’s just an extra large pond)) and the sweetest sparrows are flitting around at me feet. Let’s take a moment to pause and express thanks for this gift…) Ok. What was I talking about? Oh. Said Blog. It started out as a way to share my thoughts and ideas with other artists back when I wasn’t coming into contact with them on a daily basis. Back in the days when I lived in a cave. But that was eons ago and I’m happy to say that slowly but surely I’m building a network of friends and acquaintances who satisfy that side of my social cravings so I think I can tick that one off of the list. 

It helps me to keep to a schedule?  If you’ve been following for any length of time we all know that I’m full of horse poop on that one:~) My current yen is to write every Monday afternoon and schedule a drop into the ether in the wee hours of Tuesdays. Somebody call me on the carpet on that one in a few weeks:~)

Alright. Enough BS. These poor folks have work to get to and coffee to drink and you’ve been at it for what, like 4 paragraphs already and still haven’t made your point, Anni. (I can hear my mother’s voice as I’m typing.) I write because I need a way to stay in touch with potential workshop attendees. But more than that, who I am, what plays in the narrative inside of my head, is 100% a part of the artwork that I produce and I think the blog is a way to share that with people, both collectors and students. Some days I will share a bit about process, some days I’ll share a bit about inspiration and maybe inspire someone else. And almost always I will share a little bit of me, the person, the goings on out here on our old pond or down the street in our neck of the woods in our corner of the world. It’s that simple really. 

If you haven’t seen it already, here is a link to a talk I gave a few weeks ago. This will really give you food for fodder into who I am and why I do it. Enjoy. Hugs. ~staci

Blog Triage!

You’d think I’d have started this 2 months ago. I had a Eureka! moment several weeks ago and decided to sign up for help from Cynthia Morris and Alyson Stanfield thinking “Well, you’ve invested in this fancy new website. Better make the most of it and keep the ball rolling.” Sounds simple in theory, right? I mean, it’s not like I don’t get to sit here in my husband’s sweatshirt and my slippers every morning, laptop atop said lap, coffee next to me on the bed while I watch the morning news and listen to the cat play with her toys. Right?

So it’s time to stop making excuses and get down to brass tacks and make the most of my investment. I still haven’t figured out RSS feeds and spam comments on my blog that all seem to be coming from Germany, but dammit! At least I can figure out who I’m addressing when I write and what I want to get out of all of this. Can’t I?

(Cat update: we bought her one of those feather toys with the bell attached and she is currently wrastling it around from one end of the carpet to the other. And Big Boy Waldo is barking to be let in. I really don’t think they make a Kong feeder big enough to keep him busy for more than 5 minutes. Maybe a smaller hole? That’ll be next on my list of inventions for the future…)

Ok. Fresh coffee in hand. Dog in. Cat entertained. Other dog in her bed. Where was I?

Lesson 1: Who am I writing for? You’d think this is obvious but when you get down to it it’s really not so simple is it? On the one hand I am talking to the sweet sweet ladies on the west coast who enjoy taking my workshops. I love these gals by the way. All of them. There are 2 pairs in particular that I call to mind. All 4 of them are in their 50’s-60’s, creative in their own right, funny and charming as hell, and like to make art as gifts for people and to keep themselves busy in the off times. I’m not sure if any of them make artwork to sell but certainly they are all capable. I write part of my blog to keep them thinking and on their toes. There are other students out there that I’ve had and I hope to do the same for them as well. I think other professional artists who happen by here also fall into this category. While they’ve probably never taken a class or workshop from me maybe they will glean something useful from my process and make it their own.

I’m also writing for those folks who’ve invested in collecting my work. I want them not only to know when I’ve got new work coming but also to give them insight into how it all evolves. Who I am on the inside is so much a part of what ends up on the canvas, so to speak, and every time someone buys a painting or piece of sculpture from me they really are taking a part of me into their home or office and I like to think that we have some kind of connection.

I will promise to be more regular with my writing, now that the holidays are over and life is returning to somewhat normal. I need structure. So a big Thank You to Alyson Stanfield and Cynthia Morris for making these lessons available online. You can read more about them HERE and HERE. Let’s see if I can make the most of this!

Meanwhile, here’s a snippet from yesterday’s sketchbook. Organizing my thoughts re:dinnerware. I get to see the new samples today! I can hardly wait!!

Hugs. ~staci

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