Saturday, January 25, 2014

What's up with all the chickens?

Saturday and Sunday, January 25 - 26, 2014, the Key West Art Center is hosting the annual Key West Craft Show.  Every year fine craft artists come from all over the country to share their work and enjoy a little warm weather.  The Craft Show takes place on Whitehead Street between Caroline St and Greene St, just a few steps away from the Art Center.  If you are in town head down to see it.

The Key West Art Center
entrance 310 Front Street, Key West, Florida
©Maggie Ruley 2014

I don't have a booth there this year, but I did go into the Art Center yesterday with some cute small paintings for them to sell.  I have been adding some roosters and chickens to my small paintings because they are so much a part what makes Key West the interesting place it is.
Today's Key West Question
One of the most frequent questions people ask is,
"What's up with all the Chickens?" 
Visitors want to know why they are all over town, and if they belong to anybody.

I am not sure there is any one answer, but it is my theory that there is a direct correlation between the crack down on cock fighting in the late 80's and early 90's and the increase in the chicken population.

In 1986 my first studio was in the Blue Heaven building (before the restaurant).  The neighborhood is called Bahama Village and it was one of the few neighborhoods that had free ranging chickens at that time.  Young boys were always running through the yards catching the roosters to take home to their Uncles, Daddies, and Cousins.  After the cock fighting crack down, no one was catching the roosters and when you have more roosters you have more chickens.  But it's just my theory.  And, no, they don't belong to anybody, and yes, the cats and dogs leave them alone.

Dog Gone, acrylic 6 x 6 inches
©Maggie Ruley 2014
This little cottage is on Ashe Street in Key West and is really cute.  I have taken many photos of it over the years.  It used to have a red jeep parked in it's drive way.  I decided a red boat would be more fun.

Dog Gone, acrylic, 6 x 6 inches
framed to 12 x 12 inches

Dog Gone
you can purchase directly through me or
The Key West Art Center,
Address: 301 Front St, Key West, FL 33040
Phone:(305) 294-1241
Hours: daily 10am to 5pm

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Earthquake in Key West

Did you feel the earth move the week before last?  They say it was an earthquake off the Cuba coast, but I think it was a reaction to the sudden population boom here in Key West.  Surely the rhythm of all those happy feet on our downtown pavement could set up some kind of vibration that would shake up the earth's crust, right?

It's official, it's tourist season and time to share our island paradise with the world.  If you are visiting we are glad you are here and we want you to have a good time.

 I really do want you to enjoy our island, therefore while you are here.............. 

 1. If I see you standing on a street corner puzzling over a map I will ask if I can help you find something.

2. I will encourage you to get off the main streets and do a little exploring of our quaint streets and lanes if you have time.

3. I will answer your questions about Key West to the best of my ability. 
Today's question: Which is the best beach?  Well, our beaches aren't fabulous, but I think the best overall beach is Fort Zachary Taylor State Park, called Ft Zach by the locals.  It's the only beach where the water is deep enough you can swim. There is sun and shade, picnic tables and it's a great place to watch the sunset. But there is an entrance fee.

4. And I will paint some charming little gem paintings that you can take home to help you remember the fun you had. 

Duval and Greene, acrylic 6 x 6"
©Maggie Ruley 2014

Down town Key West takes on kind of a carnival atmosphere when it is busy with tourists, so Duval and Greene is painted in some fun bright colors.

Duval and Greene, framed 12 x 12"
Lucky, acrylic 6 x 6"
©Maggie Ruley 2014
 Lots of boats on the waters these days, I would call mine Lucky.
Lucky, framed 12 x 12"
Happening now in Key West
Quantum Race Week 2014  Yacht Racing. here is a great web site with live coverage and interviews.
Saturday and Sunday, Jan. 25 and 26 is the Key West Craft Show.  Wonderful artists from across the country bring their art to Key West.  On Whitehead Street between Greene St and Caroline, from 10am to 5pm both days. 
 Sponsored by the Key West Art Center.
See you at the Craft Show this weekend!

Friday, January 10, 2014

Fun face bead necklaces added to my Etsy store

Fun new molded and stamped face bead necklaces added to my Etsy store.

Each face pendant is 3 to 4 inches long with a 24" ball chain and connector.  Easy on and off.

Makes a great gift for your fun loving friends or treat yourself.

Shipping $3.80

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Income Boosting Strategy for 2014

I had the good fortune to listen to Alyson Stanfield's Income Boosting Strategy Webinar yesterday.  It was perfect timing.  I was in the middle of doing my 2013 review and in the right frame of mind to start planning for 2014. (or is it left frame of mind? I can't ever remember which side does what.)  The webinar was an hour and she described in detail her 5 Step formula for increasing revenue.  This was tailored for artists, but I guess it could work or any business.
If you would like to listen to a replay of the webinar, here is a link.  I think it will available until January 14.
Listening to the webinar is the easy part.  Implementing the strategy is the commitment part.
I decided to jump right in and make a plan with specific tasks written down.  I decided not to take the "it's all fabulous, let your inner-self guide you" approach.  Don't get me wrong the inner-self is often worth listening to, but not if it is telling you to "just go paint, you can do this later", every time the hard work needs to be done.  Which is what my inner-self says most of the time.
Here is what I am doing to make the plan work. Please note that this is a monthly plan. So I will need to pay attention to it.  I don't want to get to next October and realize I have 3 months left to meet my goals.
I made a chart with my income categories and columns to set goals for increasing revenue by certain amounts. Notice that I have set the increases in different amounts 20% - 40%.  I know that there are some categories that I will have to work hard to increase them even by 10%.  But, there are some categories I have paid so little attention to that I think 40% is very doable.
Notice that right next to the categories is a column for what my monthly average was is 2013.  I have spent the last 2 days doing the work to get me these numbers.  Shame on me.  I should have been  doing them on a weekly basis.  You can't implement this strategy until you know the numbers.
Here is what that unknown numbers formula would look like;
$??.00 x 20% = $??.00
Next I have added columns for;
1. the additional amount needed to make the increase
2. what that would total each month
3. and  how to get there.
Notice that I am not saying, "get more likes on Facebook", or "comment more on other people's blogs".  These are income related tasks. I have written these in pencil, so if they don't seem to be working I can change them.
So the easy work is done.  Now I just need the discipline to do the tasks and stay on track.
Did anyone else I know listen to the webinar? Let me know, we can compare notes.
My tasks for today;
1. take photos of the recent pottery
2. use photos to create new Etsy listings
(my Etsy store is in a sorry state)
When those tasks are done I get to paint! 

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Top Shelf

There was a fun still life set up in painting class on Thursday, all the detritus from a New Year's celebration. I can't remember the last time I painted a still life, so that means it has been awhile.

I got a pretty good start on it in class and probably could have left it alone.  But  after class I decided that the focal area should be the blue martini glass and grapes.  So I tightened that area by correcting the drawing and sharpening some edges and working the darks and lights. The other areas then got minor fluffs, because when you work on one area it affects the others, and then they need attention too. 
Top Shelf  (working title, not sure yet).  I was thinking of calling it Rex Goliath, because of the wine bottle.  But I'm not sure people will get it.  Oh well, I'll figure it out.  This is going to look great in someone's dinning room or bar.  It has a classical set up and a tropical feel.

Top Shelf
20" x 24"
©Maggie Ruley 2014
small print; yes it is a new year and prices have gone up.
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