Alaskan Artist - Elise Tomlinson
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Friday, November 30th


Well, all that fretting was for nothing. I was so afraid that everyone would be bored by what I had to share or that it wouldn't be relevant to their businesses but that didn't turn out to be the case. After my presentation (which focused mostly on creative uses of business blogs) nearly every one of the participants approached me afterwards to tell me how helpful and inspirational they found my talk. That made me feel great!

I *really* appreciate all the wonderful advice you gave me. It made my point exactly, about how blogs can create a community, to help out with brainstorming when needed. It has been such a positive experience for me personally.

I attended the first workshop of the day where we practiced visual journaling and I'd like to share what I made.

visual-journal1 (35k image) visual-journaling2 (31k image)

They are not very polished, just how I've been feeling lately.

Thanks again!

Elise on 11.30.07 @ 02:14 PM AK [link]

Tuesday, November 27th

Creativity in Business

When I was first approached to lecture at a workshop on creativity in business, I politely declined. I didn't think I had anything much to offer in that area. I'm hardly the model of a good business woman.

But the woman setting the thing up for the Alaska Small Business Administration talked me into it. She said that she had actually found and read postings on my site before moving to Juneau with her husband and that she'd found it helpful. That the session was more about "creativity" than good business practices anyway. We talked about a few vague possibilities and I said "I'll do it!”

I mean, it wasn't going to be held until the end of November and that was a lifetime away. Only, it's now just 3 days away. And I'm realizing that "creativity" isn't the easiest thing to define. There will be 20 people attending this workshop, all small business owners, none of them artists as far as I know. Some of them have service based businesses. Some have websites and some do not.


I feel really stuck. I'm not sure how to make the best use of these people's time. I can talk to them about my experiences with having a blog (though I have been a bit neglectful lately) and why they might consider starting one. I can talk about the things I do to generate ideas (mostly by visiting other people's sites or asking you guys for input). I just don't know.

The woman setting it up said if I could show them some other business sites that were creative or innovative in some way that would be great, I just suddenly can't think of any.

So, I am basically begging for any help from the blogosphere. Have mercy on me. And if you can think of anything interesting I might include in this session that would be fantastic. Anything at all. Just brainstorm if you like I'm open to all suggestions. Just remember the theme is creativity in business and it's not geared towards artists. So, how about it? I have a little over an hour to fill and I'd like for it to be useful for them. Thanks in advance for any ideas you might share.

Elise on 11.27.07 @ 02:12 PM AK [link]

Thursday, November 15th

Should We "Paint What We Know"?

Awhile ago a collector sold a few of my paintings because she wanted to be surrounded by images that were more representative of her hopes and dreams (of a man and possibly children) and the images of solitary women were not the best way to visualize that desired future.

At the time I was hurt and disappointed in her decision even though I could sort of understand it.

Then a couple weekends ago I decided to take down the three Hedwig and the Angry Inch paintings that had been hanging in my bedroom for a similar reason. They are images of the intense pain born out of unrequited love. I used to identify with these images so strongly, and though my memories of those feelings are still strong, I don’t want to fixate on them any more. Maybe one day I’ll get dumped and have to unceremoniously drag them back out of the closet…but I hope not.

Today I ordered 20 canvases online, ranging in size from 16”x20 to 30”x40”. I’m feeling the intense need to start painting again. The problem is that I’m not sure where to begin. This is an age-old problem for me. I now have (at least I think I do) a somewhat original “voice” but I’m no longer confident that my work is still representative of “me”.

At my last show (I shit you not) a woman came up to me and asked me why all the women in the paintings were “thin”. The women in the paintings weren’t *that* thin, and I felt like it was a critique on me…I wonder if she would have asked that if the artist had been skinny too? I felt like she was saying “Why don’t you paint fatties like yourself”…ok, I’m maybe reading too much into this but…why is there this notion that we have to “paint what we know” so damn much? Or that our work has to be reflective of some aspect of our inner lives? Is that the most important thing? Can’t it just be about making a painting that makes me feel good because the forms and colors work well together? Or is that a total cop out?

I don’t know, honestly I’m confused. But I look to the Boneman, who paints constantly, everything around him without so many existential breakdowns. At the end of the day, he painted. Which is more than I can say as of late.

Elise on 11.15.07 @ 04:13 PM AK [link]

Monday, November 5th

The first snow, the last winter...

"It's snowing!"

I looked outside and though there were only a few icy specks drifting along, it was true. My heart seemed to race while I drove to work; the world was completely white by the time I arrived.

Aaron came on campus for lunch. We kissed outside, fuzzy snow flakes falling on nose and eyelashes. On the way back from the cafeteria we had our first snowball fight of the season. I laughed out loud. Snow makes me happy! It makes me feel hopeful and light hearted and like nothing bad can ever happen. Snow is like magic for me.

Which I really need right now. My back has been hurting worse than ever and on top of that, I've started *really* following the news again. It's so damn depressing but I can't stop myself.

Speaking of which, Sat. night, Rob and I went and saw the eerily disturbing film The Last Winter that takes place in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. EEEeeeeh...I prefer zombies. I loved this film about accelerated climate change, but it was scary in a way that hits way too close to home.

Think of it, the *last* winter! I can't imagine life without winter or a winter without skiing, snowshoeing, skating, sledding, or snow angels. And no standing in the blinding brightness, all pink cheeks and sparkling tendrils, eyelashes closed and waiting.

Elise on 11.05.07 @ 09:20 PM AK [link]