Alaskan Artist - Elise Tomlinson
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09/25/2006: "Picking up the pieces..."

So, on Saturday I went down to Two Crows and picked up my unsold paintings from the summer. It wasn't until I was packing them all up into my car that I realized how many hadn't sold. It was pretty deflating actually. Especially since that magical moment I’ve been waiting for (to get started on my new show) still hasn’t arrived.

It reminded me of the blog Thomas (from London) used to write “Confessions of a Failed Artist” (where are you Thomas?) and I couldn’t help feeling a little like a failure.

Anyway, this morning I got two amazing emails back to back.

First email was from someone I’ve never met…it was incredibly long and detailed where he told the story of how he’s been reading my blog for 2 years now and how what I’ve posted on my site (about living in Alaska, etc.) has impacted his life in a variety of very cool ways. It made me feel even better about my decision to stay here.

Second email was from someone I’ve never met…who told me in *great* detail, all of the incredible thoughts they had about several of my paintings and about all of my work in general. They wrote "if I ever win the lottery, I'll buy every unsold painting you've ever made".

Wow. I guess when you put stuff out into the blogosphere you never know who is going to be influenced by it in some way, large or small…but being reminded that I’ve actually inspired at least a few people, I mean, that’s what artists dream of, to have their work mean something to someone. Sales are great but just because you load a ton of unsold paintings up into your car doesn’t mean you’re a talentless hack.

Anyway, to the writers of my two emails this morning (and you know who you are) thank you! The timing was perfect. And now *you've* had a similar impact on me. I'll press on to paint another day!
(really, I'll get started any minute now)

Replies: 14 Comments

on Monday, September 25th, berry bowman connell said

Yeah, doncha just love it when rainbows find you hiding in a dark corner somewhere?
Shine a lil light on ya, make y'feel like things are OK and, well, they really are, eh?

Glad y'stopt t'see the memorial picture I painted, though it has me confused a bit, now.
Turns out that there are several dozen folks wandering through all the blogs that had a memorial and, I ain't sure how long I should leave that up.
Kind'a like having a show where everyone likes t'come by and look, but, nobody's buying, but with all the folks likin' t'see, y'end up leavin' yer stuff up longer.

The show in Thorntown sold four, and I did something that I wasn't sure about, but, am glad I did.
I stuck t'my prices.
I know that's an old battle with a lot of us artists with less sales, but, thanx to you I held t'my prices and the ones that sold got just that.

'Course, they were already priced too low, I'm thinking, but, until I actually win some competitions, I reckon I'll stick t'what I got.

Went on another Saturday, called "paint a masterpiece in a day" held in fountain square in Indy.
I must'a misread the instructions, though. Thought it said the paintings had t'be from that area, which mine was, had t'be in good taste, many weren't. But, the thing is, even though I didn't win anything, I've come to think that my paintings aren't "exciting" enough.

Y'know what I mean?
Like, I see folks look at my paintings and almost see them look through the actual painting on the wall, sort of.
Like they're thinking of errands or something.

So, I figure I gotta make some excitement "things" happen to the paintings...though I'm not entirely sure what those will be.

And, by the way.
Many times after reading about yer adventures up there in the northern country, I run home, grab a brush and paint.
Many times.

I do have good news fer ya though.
It wasn't Romeo that got shot.
A wolf, none the less, and it still makes m'blood boil, so the painting I did will still be going to help wolves "on the edge" as I call them.
Battle Ground has an auctioneer that handles things like that, though, at last word, both of us are at a standstill till Brian Wallace writes back a release.
The darn thing is, the painting I did is so that wolf, I ain't lookin' t'get sued, y'know?

Well? What are y'doin' still fiddlin' around with this here 'puter?
Get back t'paintin', eh?

on Monday, September 25th, Elise said

Berry, as for people loving your painting (and I was impressed by the response!) I noticed that you didn't have it priced or a means (PayPal etc.) for people to purchase it. Getting that going will probably help with online sales.

Congrats on sticking to your pricing structure can be tough during the lean years.

Finally, how did you find out that the black wolf that was shot wasn't Romeo? Did the DNA results come back?

on Monday, September 25th, Kasia said

And i am another person who would buy anthing of yours if I had some cash on me!!:) But I will one day. I'd love to have a nice study in the future. And there will be your paintings on the walls. :)
Btw - is it real autumn Juneau right now?

on Monday, September 25th, Elise said

hey Kasia,
That's really sweet of you to say!

As for Juneau, yes, it's autumn right now. We just had our "Autumn Festival" downtown on's kind of a celebration of the end of tourist season!
But, we don't have the very colorful falls here like they have on the East Coast of the united states...but down in marine park it was really pretty, lots of falling yellow leaves, in fact, I think I'll take my lunch break down there and take some photos.

I'm working from home today but I still have to eat!

stay tuned!

btw, when is it autumn in Poland (or in Sochaczew anyway)?

on Monday, September 25th, Amanda said

I came across your blog on a Google search about relocating to Alaska. I just wanted to tell you that I think your art is absolutely beautiful! You are truly talented.

on Monday, September 25th, Elise said

Thanks Amanda,
I checked out your site, thanks for the link! I'll add one back next time I update my blog roll.

So, are you thinking of relocating to Alaska then?

on Tuesday, September 26th, subi said

do you have any winter paintings with doubles? (as in two women...perhaps she is the same woman even?) i need some cover art for a book--- can you send me the price info???


on Tuesday, September 26th, subi said

do you have any winter paintings with doubles? (as in two women...perhaps she is the same woman even?) i need some cover art for a book--- can you send me the price info???


on Tuesday, September 26th, Kasia said

Our autumn is almost here. It is extremely bright and colourful. :) I'll send you a photo from the last year. :)

on Tuesday, September 26th, Elise said

Hi Subi!
When is the deadline? I don't think I have anything like that already done.

Is it for one of your books or one that you're publishing?

I'm trying really hard right now to finish my commissions.

And Kasia, I'd love to see a photo from your autumn! thanks!

on Tuesday, September 26th, subi said


it would be for a book entitled, stunt double in winter... not by me but for my dusie press. while i couldn't afford to buy it, maybe we could work out some kind of publishing cover fee or something similar? i hope to publish the book soon, as in fall... obviously the painting would play on the title, loosely... double, winter...all up to interpretation my fine artist.

on Tuesday, September 26th, Elise said

ooooh, that's tempting Subi, I'm not sure I can get something done that quickly with all of my other committments right now. I'll think about it though, in the mean time, you probably want to keep looking around.

on Tuesday, September 26th, subi said

well anytime still in fall would work, but i will keep searching...i have some ideas. do let me know if you whip something out! i was suprised tho, when i looked through all your pics that you only have 1 or 2 in must be that you are inspired by the long light summers!!!

on Tuesday, September 26th, Elise said

I hadn't thought of that, I guess the winter (snow and all) really creates a subdued pallet. But, that might be nice for a change. That reminds me of another idea I had...oh goody...

thanks subi, I think I know what I want to work on now (after I finish my commissions) and yes, if an image for your book cover comes to me in a bolt of lightening I'll send it your way! It's an intriguing title (no, I'm not spell checking, what cha gonna do?