“It is more important to live intensely 
and love wholeheartedly 
than it is to worry 
whether you’re doing the wrong thing. 
Trust your inner knowledge.

 Slow down, you will deal with the future when it is present.”
~Cassandra Lorius in Mandalas and Meditations

Last week a lot of snowmen melted, and so did my resolve.

photography by Maike's Marvels

Snowman cemetery

As inspired as I was/am from last week’s outings, the inner Gremlins also started acting up, telling me my aspirations are no good.

Even though I get positive feedback and I know I can do this, I’m afraid at the same time.

Art-making is not my sweet spot. Business writing is. So why don’t I go back to what I know I do well, and return to the career I have already established myself in?

“One artist, alone, isn’t going to produce
the rich culture of artists
that prompts the world to take notice.
It’s the variety and abundance of art and craft
that make people want to go to shows, stores and galleries
and buy handcrafted items. 

It doesn’t make sense to worry about competition or fear it.”
~Sandra McCall, the Savvy Crafter’s Guide to Success

I get super-inspired as I watch Ladies of WIN succeed, as I read about trailblazing women, as I ponder the sassiness of Goddesses and Divas gone before. I religiously read blogs by women artists and follow their account of how they reached success and are expanding on that success today. I’m thrilled to discover historical and current artists who are as inspired by nature as I am, and use it in their art work.

And then I get stuck.

“Try not to compare yourself to others. It’s the kiss of death.
It stifles who you are and makes you unhappy.

We are each on our own path, and the
more I pay attention to mine, the happier I am.”
~Susan Rios, Where Women Create Magazine Summer 2010

I know in theory what I need to do, and I am quite good at writing marketing spiels for other people, but when it comes to Maike’s Marvels, I get nervous (also known as Impostor Syndrome). Suddenly inertia develops because I feel much better art by better-trained and more experienced true FINE artists is already out there.

Even though intellectually and intuitively I know I have a valid place in the (art) world, it is still hard to shut those Gremlins down. So I am boosting myself up with a bunch of quotes from my readings, and fortifying myself with the knowledge that the only way to get over fear is to walk through it.

“Please don’t saddle yourself with the pressure of ‘finding your style’.
Just crank out as many experimental riffs as possible.
Your style will emerge
as you become a student of your own processes.”
~Suzanne Simanaitis in Exhibition 36

laptop skin by Curly Girl Design

New laptop skin by Curly Girl Design 

February will be my month of overcoming this inertia, and getting the resources and feedback to develop a viable marketing plan.

“May your sensitivity be a blessing to you and others.
May you enjoy as much as peace and
pleasure as is possible in this world.
And may more and more of the other worlds
open to you as the days of your life pass.”
Elaine Aron, The Highly Sensitive Person

sassy goddesses from 400 B.C.

“I prefer the title Goddess. 
Queens have realms that are entirely too limited.”
~Demeter in P.C. Cast’s Goddess of Spring

I submitted my love-themed collage to Dick Blick, which had me perusing my photos from Greece, where I photographed the Goddess of Love a few times.

This one, Sassy Aphrodite, will go up on the store wall February 6 to March 18. The Blick staff was very kind about her and treated her with reverence. Positive feedback is always a boost when putting art out there.

Sassy Aphrodite mixed media collage by Maike's Marvels

Sassy Aphrodite by Maike’s Marvels

I ‘met’ Her Voluptuousness at the Agora in Athens. She is from the fourth century B.C.

4th BC Aphrodite, Agora, Athens

The draping and the detail in fingers and toes is exquisite.

My collage is a companion to this one, which was a bit too personal to put on display (plus I didn’t think it would come out well 4-6 feet above eye level).

Pact with self mixed media collage by Maike's Marvels

Pact with Self by Maike’s Marvels

I explored several museums in Athens, Mikonos/Delos and Santorini last May. The art work created in ancient times is astounding. I was especially struck by the confident poses some of the statues had.

Nike statuettes had wonderful flowing energy.

Nike statuette in Athens

I soon learned to recognize Aphrodite. She always seems to have a hip jutting out. I love the sassiness!

Hellenistic Aphrodites in Athens

 336 to 31 B.C. ‘realism’ statuettes at Athens’ National Archaeological Museum

Hellenistic Aphrodites in Athens

It would be lovely to know what her face(s) looked like, but without her head she does become everywoman.

“All the spiritual teachings emphasize
that the only place we will ever find God
is right here, right now,
in our unfolding present moment.”
~John Selby, Kundalini Awakening

How gorgeous and realistic is this sleeping beauty?

Sleeping Maenad, Athens

Sleeping Maenad in luxury residence, also kown as
Reclining Hermaphrodite from 138-117 B.C.

 Sleeping Maenad, Athens

Intricate coiffures indicated beauty in 400-100 B.C.

Sleeping Maenad, Athens

On Delos I noticed these cuties. There is so much realism and expression in these poses.

Delos statuettes of women

Statuettes in the Archaeological Museum of Delos, possibly 2nd-1st centuries B.C.

The oldest goddesses could now easily feature in a museum of contemporary art.

Cycladic Goddesses in Athens

Cycladic Goddess figurines, 2800-2300 B.C., at
National Archaeological Museum of Athens 

Speaking of Sassy Goddesses, Julianna Hudgins just announced the release of her line of Goddess dies for Spellbinders.

 Julianna Hudgins' Spellbinders Jewel Goddess Dies

Jewel Goddess image pulled from Julianna Hudgins’ web site

I love the voluptuous shape of these beauties and very much enjoy the energy around her product release, even though I haven’t gotten into die cutting (“forming material in a press or a stamping or forging machine”) myself. The creations her friends made for a blog frenzy are very inspiring.

“‘Enthusiasm’ means ‘of the gods’.
When you are enthusiastic,
You are working with divine support”
~Sonia Choquette, Your Heart’s Desire

All this product launch energy and female empowerment is very affirming to me. We are all divine goddesses (or gods) and should treat ourselves as such!

WINning in the UK

  “The best way to predict the future is to create it.”
~Valerie Beck, with help from Gayle Newcomb

Friday’s Women’s Innovation Circle was about doing business in the UK. The British Consulate-General Chicago’s Head of Trade and Investment Colette Buscemi and Vice Consul of Innovation and Economics Chipo Nyambuya spoke about how to best prepare for setting up a venture in the United Kingdom.

The British Consulate-General Chicago represents the United Kingdom’s interests throughout 14 states in the Midwestern United States. Carol Buscemi’s focus is on working on making connections with 5 sectors: Life Sciences, Engineering, Information Technology, Financial Services, and Energy and Environment. They work closely with the U.S. Department of Commerce to facilitate the establishment of business branches by U.S. Companies in the UK.

After the Department of Commerce has helped an entrepreneur or business entity identify their market and potential distributors, The Consulate can help with information brokering on what type of business to set up (UK establishment vs. private limited company or joint venture), help determine the method of trading (distributor vs. buy/sell agreements) and considerations regarding the real estate process.

Doing business in the UK

Ms. Buscemi strongly recommends researching the market with ‘trial’ customers and having a differentiator, or Unique Selling Proposition, prior to entering the UK.

The UK has a strong financial center with access to the Middle East and Asia. Its population is 65 million people, with access to 500 million people in the EU.

The top six reasons to establish a business in the UK (per Ms. Buscemi) include:

  1. Political stability: a coalition government that seeks to reduce the deficit provides risk mitigation
  2. 1 in, 1 out regulatory policy: for each new regulatory enactment another regulation has to be eliminated to enhance business growth
  3. Strong intellectual property protection, along with access to top research collaboratives with universities such as Cambridge and Oxford
  4. A flexible labor market: even though there is no at-will employment, Ms. Buscemi stated that labor regulations are easier relative to other EU countries
  5. Low barrier to entry due to language and cultural familiarity
  6. A firm legal framework: once all the preliminary work is completed, it only takes 13 days to set up a business

Ms. Buscemi mentioned that Tech City is on the rise, which is attracting more information technology firms such as Google and Cisco to the country.

WIN President Valerie Beck shared her Bulls-eye Goal Setting Tips.

(Speaking of goals, I finished the swallowtails last week as well.)

Swift Swallowtails encaustic collage by Maike's Marvels

Swift Tiger Swallowtails by Maike’s Marvels

  1. Think life: what do you want your life to look like in 1 year? Life goals drive business goals.
  2. Think business: where do you want your business to be in 1 year?
  3. Write it: write a positive goal statement. If you think it, ink it!
  4. Break it down: what needs to happen every month, week, and day to make those goals come true?
  5. Affirm it: create affirmations to support your belief in your goals.
  6. Start it: get into action! 2011 is over, 2012 is here.
    • #1 get started
    • #2 don’t quit
    • #3 eat chocolate
    • #4 buy L.K. Bennett shoes

“A positive affirmation guides your thinking”
~Valerie Beck

After some schmoozing and networking (pictures can be viewed here) we wandered over to Hendrickx Belgian Bread Crafter for a committee meeting (did I mention I became a WIN member?) where we planned out events for the coming year.

Sampling the fabulous Almond Truffle Cake made the process delicious.

Hendrickx Belgian Bread Crafter

I’m very excited about those plans, and eager to see how 2012 unfolds both for WIN and for Maike’s Marvels.

“Think big and then double it”
~Valerie Beck

ADDENDUM: As of March 10, 2013, I no longer support the WIN Board and its actions. However, I do support small business, women-owned businesses, and the gracious hosts of past WIN events.


This week has been about aspiration.

I’ve been working on a love piece for Dick Blick’s, which is filled with aspirations about love.

love goddess in progress by Maike's Marvels

On Thursday I attended a Chicago Artists Coaltion‘s Collector’s Circle talk at Perspective Gallery, where Katsy Johnson explained her process for creating her beautiful encaustic photographs in the “Schools Out Forever” series. The combination of encaustic and color photographs is lovely. Thus far I had only seen encaustic works with black and white photo transfers. Katsy Johnson photographs abandoned buildings (schools, churches, theaters) to preserve these structures before they are torn down. She feels the encaustic adds a connection for the viewer.

“To me the [unstaged] photograph almost looks fake,” she said.
With wax “it seems more honest.”

definition of Aspiration

We were also treated to a slide show of Contemporary Art Photography by Chris Schneberger, which had me ponder my own photography skills. While I have taken some formal photography classes, I currently think of myself as a snapshot taker. I love nature scenes but I do not set out to make a statement with what I shoot. To me it is a preservation of a memory, and a documentation of my life. So it was interesting to listen to a discussion of how professional fine art photographers use their lens as social commentary or to make a statement.

As Chris Schneberger referred to collectors, I felt a tug that I both want my pieces to be collected, and then when I make the big bucks (some photographs sell for six figures up to $1 million!) I’d love to become an art collector myself.

definition of collector's item

With that lofty goal in mind I set out to the monthly Women’s Innovation Network meeting the next day.

I was early so I browsed the third floor of the 900 North Michigan Shops. Lululemon had pasted hand-written 2012 goals in their window, which mesmerized me.

2012 Goals at Lululemon Chicago

I was glad to internally check off  ‘go to grad school,’ ‘sleep more,’ ‘eat more sushi,’ ‘become a published writer.’ I was touched by ‘live in the moment,’ ‘be bold,’ ‘listen to my lady,’ ‘use positivity to describe my body.’ And I identified with ‘sell 5 pieces of art’ and ‘fall in love.’

It made me think about how we all aspire to something, and no goal is too trivial or too big to commit to.

I then entered the lovely L.K. Bennett store (Kate Middleton is known to shop in the London branch) where the Ladies of WIN gathered for our meeting. I promptly aspired to start earning money again so that I can purchase the lovely shoes and dresses on display in the store.

Linda K. Bennett could not find the shoes she was looking for, so since her father conveniently owned a shoe manufacturer, she set out to design her signature kittenheel. After that became a hit she expanded to ready-to-wear. The Chicago store was the first U.S. Branch to open, in April 2010, and other branches have opened in Atlanta, New Jersey and Houston (some Bloomingdale’s stores carry her too).

L.K. Bennett storefront Chicago

In addition to the guest speaker and innovative tips (which I will blog about next), we were given a Money and the Law of Attraction card, which gave me goodness and balance to aspire to:

The back reads:

The aspiration to be the best I can be will continue throughout this year, and I look forward to each day as I take more steps to become that harmonious and good self.

ADDENDUM: As of March 10, 2013, I no longer support the WIN Board and its actions. However, I do support small business, women-owned businesses, and the gracious hosts of past WIN events.


Dinosaurs at the Field Museum

Last week I returned to the Field Museum for another wing exploration. This time Evolving Planet  was on the schedule (a permanent exhibit, so come on up and see it for yourself with your kiddos). I also viewed a fabulous 3-D movie (T-Rex) about Sue, the most complete skeleton of a Tyrannosaurus rex found to date, discovered by a paleontologist named Sue in the 1990s.

Alongside murals from the 1910s digital animated screens and interactive displays bring the ancient world to life. Here are some snapshots from my journey back in time.

Field Museum Exhibit

I marvel that the Field is able to fit giant mammals such as whales and dinosaurs into the building. This Apatosaurus barely fits!

A 6-foot-tall Palm frond and herrings from 55-33 million years ago!

I chatted with some Ceratopsians.

Love this Archeopteryx.

I wonder if Jar Jar Binks was inspired by this this Parasaurolophus.

Entering the homonid wing, I ‘held hands’ with Lucy.

I look forward to my next Field Trip, which could involve the DNA lab, or more Nature Walking, and a special exhibit. You never know what discoveries a big museum like the Field holds!

What’s your favorite museum?

blackout day

Since SOPA is front of mind in the blogosphere today, I’ll hold my scheduled blog for Friday.

As a journalism major, both copyright and freedom of speech are important to me.

Here are some articles I read:

Understand Today’s Internet Strike: SOPA, PIPA and a Free Internet

Wikipedians hate SOPA, PIPA, and liver

We Need to Talk about Piracy

Why SOPA Is Dangerous

Google posted a call to action.

I’m not informed enough to voice my opinion, but it feels right to honor the activism of others today, especially since it could impact the existence of this very blog.

opening buzz

I’m on a bit of a high as I write this post. Apparently seeing your work hung among other very talented artists by a professional curator raises a boat load of endorphins. Maybe there should be an after-party for gallery openings. I’m so giddy!

Sunday was a lovely sunshiny day and I walked to the garage in a winter wonderland.

neighborhood photograph by Maike's Marvels

ice dragon photograph by Maike's Marvels

icicles photograph by Maike's Marvels

I drove to the Art Center which was also basking in light. Evanston’s lighthouse to the left can be visited during the warmer months.

EAC shines photograph by Maike's Marvels

Eighty-three artists had submitted metal and clay sculptures, etchings, drawings, paintings, collages and mosaics. I was given a badge as I checked in, and walked to the ‘sun room’ of the center and perused sculptural art there. As I made my round and stepped back up into the main hallway, my collage was right there in the corner!

Migrant Danaus by Maike's Marvels

It’s a billboard 🙂

I’m the person who analyzes the materials listed on those little name cards you see next to art work, and it was so neat to see my description typed up next to my name! It’s so credible.

Migrant Danaus by Maike's Marvels at EAC exhibit

Also in good company next to this sculpture, Bird Lover by Roberta Maltkin, that sold within hours of opening.

Migrant Danaus by Maike's Marvels at EAC exhibit

I then milled around the gallery hosting more beautiful sculptures and paintings–this side mostly still lifes and nature settings.

Evanston Art Center Gallery

The other side of the main floor had portraits, people paintings and small jewelry-like objects.

portraits at Evanston Art Center

I met both artists on this wall: Africa by Tineke Beckers and Victoria by Sally Neuert .

Upstairs the inspiration continued with metal sculptures, sketches, etchings, and prints. If you’re in Chicagoland, you can take the full tour until February 5.

still lifes at Evanston Art Center

The curator, David Gista, checked in to make sure I liked where my collage was (he had been up til 2 AM hanging everything the night before!), and introduced me to a Dutch painter. Another person joined the group and suddenly we were speaking Dutch and German, and analyzing my collage.

sculptures at Evanston Art Center

Boy do I need to practice explaining encaustics! The Art Marketing class I signed up for should help me get my ‘spiel’ down better.

It was so exciting to have a spot in a bona fide gallery. Up until today I still wondered if someone from EAC would call and say “sorry, your work doesn’t qualify as fine art.” I may not get the jurors’ attention yet, but I have another little notch to add to my qualification as a (fine) ARTIST.

I swung by Dick Blick’s on my way home and picked up their call for artists. Just getting out there is a huge step up from having your art sit in a corner somewhere. I highly recommend entering the local “free for all” shows. Your art work is valued, and people do enjoy looking at it. Don’t be shy.

Blick's call for art

To seal the deal, I took advantage of Curly Girl Design’s 20% off sale (through today) and rewarded myself with a laptop skin that says:

“We must absolutely do what we love,
or we run the risk of doing nothing at all.”

I’m hoping Migrant Danaus finds a new home through this exhibit, but if it doesn’t, I will treasure it as a piece that helped me migrate along my artistic path a little bit further.

Winter has arrived

We had our first snow storm of the year yesterday.

White shrubs photographed by Maike's Marvels

I rode the train from an outing and enjoyed the stress-free travel while marveling at the storm.

photographed by Maike's Marvels

The neighborhood transforms so nicely in snow.

photographed by Maike's Marvels

photographed by Maike's Marvels

photographed by Maike's Marvels

photographed by Maike's Marvels

Santa should come back 🙂

photographed by Maike's Marvels

photographed by Maike's Marvels

This Sunday is the Evanston Art Center’s Biennial Members’ Exhibit opening. Per the newsletter: “Curated by EAC faculty member, David Gista, the exhibit will feature over 80 artists.” It is also juried. I hope my Migrant Danaus fits in 🙂

photographed by Maike's Marvels

Wishing you a very cozy weekend.

photographed by Maike's Marvels

on my desk(s)

The past week was spent getting my house in order for 2012.

Mopped floors, clean clothes and the new shower curtain smell make me feel quite accomplished! I read a bunch of follow-up information and then ‘crashed’ a little Monday from the ideas mulling in my brain, the shift in goals from new years resolutions past, and absorbing all the familial energies over the holiday.

I highly recommend Susan Vreeland’s Clara and Mr. Tiffany. It has me perusing Tiffany lamp books to learn more about Clara Driscoll, a nature-loving glass artist.

Books about Tiffany Lamps

The Passion of Artemisia and The Forest Lover (about Emily Carr) are captivating too.

This of course is spurning more research about other women artists, along with reviewing the art work and science of their subject matter.

research about women in arts

I’m also mulling over a Swallowtail project.

My toner ran out of ink which gives me creative license with the color scheme. There’s no way to pass a ‘white’ Tiger Swallowtail off as a Zebra Swallowtail.

Swallowtail project by Maike's Marvels

Did you have any good holiday reads? What is your research topic du jour?