Tuesday, December 16, 2014

The Biz Plan

calling me to tell me that if I wanted to get into their Fall Semester Class at Marist, I had to make an appointment to come in. The intro classes were starting in a few weeks, and I had to do all the paperwork and interview to see if I qualified for the program.

I knew it was a program to help women in business. I certainly was one. I knew a lot about business, after all, I had a home based business for years. But I figured that there is always something to be learned, and it was at a price I could afford. So why not? Little did I know...

The driving force behind the semester 60 hour+ program, was the Business Plan that I had to write for my new business in Rhinebeck. And the work that has ensued since August has been hmm....rather taxing, for lack of a better word. The presentation was to be delivered before a panel on December 3rd, with graduation on the 10th.

On the way to the presentation- a large buck hit my car doing 55 mph, in the snow and sleet. A traumatic evening, the car at this writing is still in the repair shop; $10,000 and counting work of repairs on my leased EOS. My husband rescued me and drove me to the presentation an hour and a half late, but I made it, albeit in a state of shock. The panel congratulated me on my very well thought out plan, and the only comment was: "well Patti, remember that there are only 24 hours in a day, and you will have to plan your days very well." My retort was: "it's all in the plan".

I never made it to graduation. Heavy rain and wind and a 45 minute drive in the dark was not appealing, and I was still recovering from the stress of the accident. I was satisfied with the work I did, and what I had learned. I didn't need a ceremony to give me another pat on the back, though it would have been a nice wrap up to what was a very difficult undertaking, and to hug my fellow classmates and mentor.

I am chomping at the bit, ready to hit 2015 with success and profit. My left brain is a finely tuned as the right, and I now have a guide map to my success.

Got questions about the program? Contact me. Need help with a vision or making a plan? Give me a call!
For those of you who are interested, click HERE and "like"  my Facebook business page, or go to my P.A. Gibbons Studio website!

Happy Holidays!  Patti

Monday, October 27, 2014

On Being Robbed

I promised you this blog, because, well, many of us creatives have found ourselves in the predicament of being robbed. Not of our money, or our purse, or our house. It's worse. Its the thievery of our brilliant original ideas, the raping of our muse.

I have had this happen one time too many for my likes, and they have always been in "my backyard".

The first time- I got a phone call from someone who had seen my work. She came over and bought some of my cards, asked about how I did them and where I got my ephemera, etc. Me, being the ever eager beaver, believing in honesty and transparency, told her the how, what, whys of my work.
 Shortly she and a few other artists went into business printing up cards made out of collages. Two artists were very different than me, but one of them, guess who, made cards similar to mine. I sulked about that for a while, then moved on. And, later on, after the business folded,  she and her daughter came back to buy from me, and all ended well.

The second time someone else saw my work and decided to make similar  to sell in her shop. At least she wasn't hitting the same stores that sold my one-of-a-kind pieces. I don't think she does it anymore - and because I liked her,  I just let it go. Besides, I liked her store and to this day continue to shop there.

Then the other day a friend calls me and tells me that she thought she saw my cards in a shop where I had been selling, but she noticed they were not my cards, rather the owner was creating similar cards.  WHAT? AGAIN? IN MY OWN BACKYARD? Why does she feel the need to do this...she has a successful business and art career blah blah blah. SHE DOESN'T NEED TO DO CARDS.
I thought of boycotting the business, but I like what they have, and I need to be able to be kind to this person as our paths cross, and again, I like her. 

We create our works of art/craft, whether card, collage, painting, etc., with our hearts and souls. As artists we are also doing the hustle, juggling a lot of balls to pay the bills.  So when your precious idea is stolen, and someone else making money on what you thought was your idea, in your own backyard, it is just a little bit annoying.

But wait, IS my work original, or did I piggyback off someone else's ideas? After all, I have the story of how I came to making cards on a sticker on the bag that holds the card, and it clearly states that I was inspired by the women of the 1800s who made Valentine cards with their families! Am I really that different, as I swiped their ideas! And didn't I get the idea for sewing some of my papers from another artist? And don't great designers and chefs get "ripped off" all the time? Do they sit and sniffle about it--- or do they go and create the next great thing?!

The reality is, we all borrow/steal/imitate in some form or another. It's what we do with it that determines how creative we can be.  It's been persistence,  the love of what I do, and my business savvy that has kept me in business for 20 years.  I figure if the competition's cards look too much like mine, I will shift gears and do something else.  Because in the end, no one is like me, no one can create or think like me! And maybe that is a good thing!

Monday, September 29, 2014

Art Along the Hudson

The weather has been stunning here in the Hudson Valley, prompting me to get outside to walk and make some art. Friday, after my student left his oil painting lesson, I took off to the Wilderstein Estate in the Rhinebeck/Rhinecliff area of Dutchess County, NY.  It was in the low 80's and the 2 pm sunlight was still pretty strong. It is not my favorite time of the day to paint because the light is so bright, but it is the most consistent light, I only had an hour to work. It was an exercise in observation and color.

Since I did not have to walk far, I just bought my paintbox, palette, a 5 x 7" canvas panel, and a large blanket.  I got a little sunburned in the strong midday light, but happily painted the Hudson River view.  Few trees here near the water had changed, and everything was lit in cool blues and greens. For one hour I was in heaven, undisturbed by any hikers or tourists. 

Yesterday, after my weekend visitors left, Larry and I had a few hours remaining of the beautiful afternoon, and we headed down to Rotary Park, in Kingston. It is the part of the river when the steamboats docked in the late 1800's, and thousands of visitors passed through the area. The steamship ran daily from New York to Albany.  Many who got off the boat took the train and headed into the mountains, on their way to one of the several mountain houses or another destination.  It was also an amusment park 100 years ago. Little remains of the original structures, save for a gazebo and some tracks, but it is a lovely place to picnic, observe the river activities, and make art. I did some watercolors, and above is one of my "painting photos" made with Snapseed on my iPhone 5c. It will be used as a reference for future work, but I love how painterly it is. 

I also met some of the female members of the Bruderhof, and we sat and  had a lovely chat for an hour before their dinner. I promised to visit them for one of their community dinners. They are a peaceful people, living in the true Christian tradition, and helping the poor and they work with the community in many ways. 

And today, I am in the Tibetan shop....It's been very quiet here, and looks like it is going to rain the next few days. We need the rain desperately, so I won't get to paint outside till later in the week. I have a commission to work on and a few dozen cards to make, to Patti won't be bored, or unproductive! Till next week! 

Friday, August 22, 2014


Calling all friends, locals, those who are interested in the arts! 
Next Saturday and Sunday, August 30-31st, from 11-5, visit art studios in Northern Dutchess County! The map of the studios as well as more information can be found here at ART STUDIO VIEWS.

In my studio at 18 Garden Street, in Rhinebeck, NY, above Hudson Valley Pottery (one of the sponsors) I will have greeting cards made with Victorian papers, some of my new photo cards made with my Smart Phone (I will be teaching a workshop on Smart Phone photography in the fall) as well as my collaged journals, paintings, mixed media works - at prices ranging from 40.00 and up! 
Or, just come by and see what  I've been doing for the past year now, and what lives inside of my head, and what classes/workshops I have to offer. 

Have a glass of wine or seltzer, much on some chocolate, or some cheese and crackers. 
There are many other talented folks opening their studios this weekend too, as well as stop up and see the Shahinian Fine Art gallery! 

You can shop in town  and get the best olive oil and vinegar at Pure Mountain, buy chocolate at Oliver Kita's or Krauses,  have a beer and a burger at the Beekman Arms, or eat fab French food at Le Petit Bistro.
There is lots in Rhinebeck, and it is a lovely town to shop/eat/take a walk in. Not far in between studios is Clermont, Olana, Montgomery Place, and Wilderstein.  I feel like a tour guide, but I LOVE LOVE LOVE this area and encourage others to discover its beauty. 

And if you stop by, let me know if you read this for a special discout!  

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

The Beauty of a Golf Course

Who knew there was such magic and beauty to be found on a golf course? 

I am staying in a condo community in Brewster.  The houses are surrounded by a beautifully kept golf course. The irony is- I don't golf.  But I do enjoy the nearly 3 mile loop I can walk, and photographing the landscape from the path. Last year I made the awful faux pas of walking on the golf cart trails, and was promptly chided how dangerous that was- from both the cart and ball perspective.  So now I stick to the bike path, and explore from there.  

I am rapidly chilling out from 12 days in a row of work, and a very busy year of reinventing myself. It takes an incredible amount of work....and is emotionally taxing at times. So having a week of sleeping in, writing, reading, strolling, some sun and lots of ocean inspired cuisine, is much needed and cherished. 

Off to Truro to find some adventures.......

Monday, July 28, 2014

Time for Plein Air....

Two paintings of William's Lake, Kingston/Rosendale area of NY.

 Watercolor sketch at Montgomery Place, Red Hook, NY

Late afternoon on a hot and hazy day at Olana, Hudson NY

In between work, classes, storms and steamy weather, I have managed to get out and do a few paintings "en plein air", which is a fancy french word for "painting outside".  

Plein air painting became popular during the Impressionist movement. With the invention of the paint tube, artists now had a method to carry their paints with them out of the studio into the open air.  Since impressionism was about the observation and notation of light/color, painting outside was the perfect way to paint the effects of light on the landscape. 

Monet painted the same subject matter and different times of the day and during various times of the year, the Cathedral at Rouen, haystacks, waterlillies, and more. 

I have been a studio painter for most of the past 10 years that I have been using oils, working from photographs I have taken on my journeys.  I have done many watercolor/ink sketches plein air, as it all packs very neatly in my backpack   This year I decided to explore plein air painting with my students and on my own as I wanted to see what all the fuss was about.

It is difficult as you have to have the correct set-up, and either be able to park nearby the painting site, or have a cart or strong arms to carry the equipment to the vista you are going to paint.  I work with what I have as new equipment just for painting outside is not in the budget.  Having done it a half a dozen times this summer, I have managed to narrow it down to bringing the following:
  • a 12 x 16" plastic sealable palette box with a disposable palette inside that I bungee cord to:
  • a wooden paintbox with a handle that functions as an easel and stores my paint/brushes/rags
  • a small folding light-weight camping table
  • a camping stool. 

I have bungee corded them to a luggage cart , or else I have carried them short distances. I have not hiked up any mountains, or done any long distance walking, because let's face it, I'm not into carrying a ton of stuff far distances. 

This summer I have plopped myself down in the shade of the cool woods by a lake, or at Olana where I did not have to walk terribly far to get a view of the Hudson River from the top of a hill.  What I have noticed is that by painting plein air, I have a sense of place that my photo paintings don't capture. I cannot use my wax method, in which I work in layers...as you have to capture a majority of the painting using a thicker paint in one layer of paint. I still end up taking back to the studio to touch up some areas, or do another layer of paint in some sections, but the paintings have a more fresh direct look.  

I am hooked...and will take my oils to the Cape this summer vacation. I am going to Barcelona in the fall, and though I would love to take my oils, it may be too complicated or expensive to pack/ship. I have been asked to give a class in Barcelona...the details not yet figured out. Stay tune for more info.

Open studio tour at my 18 Garden Street, Rhinebeck, NY studio is August 30 and 31st from 11-5. 
It will be a celebration all weekend of my being in business 8 months. If you are in the area, stop by and see what's been going on!  Paintings/sketches from 25- and up. Plenty of affordable art, handmade greeting cards, journals and more!

Monday, May 19, 2014

Weekend Update

This week was Rhinebeck's sidewalk sale. Friday it poured all day, so that was a wash out. Saturday and Sunday were lovely, but since I am off the main street, we had very few people wander over.

In conjunction with Rhinebeck Historical weekend,  I  ran a seminar on printmaking methods of the 19th century and you could make your own greeting cards using my antique paper. One excited person showed. My mistake was to make it from 5:30-7:30, a time when most people were eating. DUH. Of course, us artists don't eat, we live on air, and don't think about simple things when running workshops...like interfering with people's dinners. I laughed when I realized it later.

But I keep in the forefront of my mind that it's only been 4.5 months that I have been here, most of them terrible winter months. I just have to show up when I am not working my other jobs, and do the work. Eventually the money will follow.  And since we artists live on air, money isn't the objective of making art.
Kidding aside, I have learned to give up a lot of things, and I have wonderful friends who bring me food or make me dinner, and life is beautiful.

Sunday I set up my small easel and worked on a few paintings outside.  It was lovely to be sitting in the sun on a cool spring day in a beautiful little town.  Nearly done with my small landscape of the notch facing Hunter Mountain, and took a paintbrush to another painting which I was not fond of, and decided to do some markmaking/pattening on it. Not finished, but it was a lot of fun working on something that I no longer had interest in by giving it a make-over.

The peyote stitch bracelet with Susan Spivak is running this Wed, the 21st, from 3-5.  Contact me to reserve a seat. Painting class full on Thursday Evenings, but am looking to open a Saturday session. Since I have been working non-stop, I am taking this weekend off from the studio. Though we live on air, artists need the fuel of inspiration, and I hope that I have some adventures this weekend to revitalize and fill the creativity think tank.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Featured Artist!

Wow. It's been two weeks since I posted last. Maybe three. That is a tribute to how hard I am working. I   get sucked into doing things on the computer-web work, marketing, Facebook, emails...I never realized how much  work it takes to run my little studio, and until I am known and the word travels.....I will be doing a heck of a lot of self-promoting.. 

Today I am the featured artist this week on the blog that was written by Rebecca for Manny's Art Supply Store in New Paltz How did I get this honor? By seeing a call for artists for Manny's blog. I sent my online links and portfolios, filled out a questionnaire, and voila! I am only able to do a fraction of what I see - someday I will have an assistant and let him or her do all this work so I can paint!

A quick work about Manny's. Its been there in New Paltz as long as I have been making art, which has been a long time. It has the BEST art paper selection around ! They have large sheets and also have some smaller pieces cut so that I can go home with a large selection of patterns, colors, and textures. Thanks Manny's for featuring me!!!

Today's photo is of a Jack-in-the-Pulpit. I went to Wilderstein to dash off a few quick watercolors. Then I realized that I forgot my brushes.  Not to be thwarted, I went for a walk in the woods, checking out the various baby plants and wild edibles growing along the side of the trail. Mustard Garlic, nettle, trout lilies. No ramps or morels however.  I was chased out by May flies or gnats....but not without getting a walk in the woods down by the river. Life is good.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Spring is in the Studio

I am like a kid in a candy shop when it comes to bringing new things into the studio. I have to be very selective and creative with my display as it is a small space, and I never want it to look overly crowded. It serves as both my display space, and my working and teaching space, so it is a delicate balance.

To celebrate spring and Easter, one of my fave artisans, Stephanie Stillwell - from Stillwillows, is being featured in my shop - adorable pin cushions made out of up-cycled materials and vintage objects, rabbits, carrots, and strawberries made from tea dyed fabrics, quirky folk art Dame dolls, funny stuffed chickens, and narrative wall hangings. Her work fits so nicely in the gallery, and I LOVE having it there!  In addition I have amazing handmade Easter/spring/flora/horse/cat cards,  a new selection of collaged journals, some lovely late 1800's fruit botanical prints, and the famous "Art for the 99%" bin.

Stop by Saturday evening the 19th of April, at 18 Garden Street, from 6-8, for a nip of chocolate and a tasty libation, and see what's been happening at the studio!

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Finding Inspiration Part 2

This is a painting that I did LAST  week that I had been itching to do. Sadly this week - no painting or  creative work as the week was filled with working on mundane things like course descriptions, my taxes, working on accounts etc. After next week I will be working from the right side of the brain again!

This piece was inspired by a turn-of-the-century postcard of the Notch, looking towards Hunter Mountain.
Normally I work from my own photograph, and when I can, plein air, but I was intrigued by this image and wanted to paint it. It needs a few touch ups here and there..a little more brightness and color in a few places, but I was totally inspired by such a small piece of paper, from a time where there were no billboards,  few cars, and the Catskills were far less marred by the existence of our culture.

Back to the grunt work of running a business. It's got to be done!

Friday, March 7, 2014

Finding Inspiration

Quite often I am asked "where do you find your inspiration", and what do you do when you are blocked?

First of all, let's get one thing straight - I am never blocked. I work in enough media that if I feel blocked or tired of working in one, I can move to another. I bounce back and forth between painting, collage/design and exploration for future classes; I am always working on something!

Regarding inspiration, nearly everything in life is a source of inspiration for me. I live life to the max, and when I encounter something that makes me say AH HA! I write it down, or let life's experiences simmer inside of me-and something usually comes out of it. I have learned not to push the muse. She is always there;  I just have to be willing to be part of the journey and it usually works out.  I had a conversation once with my accountant about this, saying: "John, EVERYTHING that I do should be tax deductible as an artist". My conservative, but kind accountant just laughed at me. "No, REALLY JOHN, I am serious." I understand that some things I can only take a portion of..such as food, wine, and chocolate (OK I buy if for the kids who come to the studio so it IS deductible) but nearly everything I do finds its way into my art.

An example is today's layouts of some collaged journals I am working on. I saw the movie "The Invisible Woman" about Charles Dickens and his secret lover  .  Thought I felt it lacked the passion that Dickens must have experienced, I was entranced by the costumes and interiors of the early Victorian era. Several days later I started laying out my journals, using 1840s prints from antique ladies magazines that I had been collecting, mixed in with incorporating 1920's French seed labels and other papers.  Mix them up with my perchance for the surreal, and your have very cool journals to document your own secrets.

Stop by the studio if you are in Rhinebeck. I can be found teaching/creating/thinking Wed thru Saturday, 12ish to 6 or later if I am in a creative flurry! When the journals are finished, they will reside here, and also be hosted in my pagibbons shop on Etsy!

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Local Greeting Cards

Today was a good day to prime a bunch of canvases, and I made some greeting cards made with antique local postcards. They feature various shots of the Ashokan Reservoir, as well as an old card of the Senate House in Kingston NY, under a full moon no less. They can be found in the "local" section of my studio, local being the Catskills from Phoenicia to Kingston and beyond. 

These are  pre 1930 cards. I love the colors in them and how everything is just so less cluttered. Someone should do a show of the old vs. new. I would, but I just don't have the time for every idea I have!

Most of my cards feature images from 1840-1940. These are 6.00 each, with none more than 8.00. Frameable and a very cool thing to send for any occasion!

Off to paint!

Monday, February 24, 2014


I have been in business for myself for many years, but this has been the first time I have had a public location, and did not realize how much work it takes to start, promote, and build it!  It's great as it adds to my repertoire of information for mentoring others.

I just built a website for the studio using a web building program from Go Daddy, which is SO easy considering I once did some web work on Dreamweaver.  I am linking this blog to the website, and for more information you can visit my P.A. Gibbons Studio website.  My own personal blog is great for--well, my personal writings, though my art and my personal life are so intertwined that it is often hard to separate the two.

This blog will be for studio events -what classes are being offered, workshops, what art I have been working on for the week. I can tailor any class to your needs, I offer individual and group instruction, and I have worked with multiple disabilities over the years, and can offer classes to suit a variety of needs. 

Stop by the studio sometime..we are at 18 Garden Street, above Hudson Valley Pottery, in the quaint town of Rhinebeck, NY