Wednesday, June 10, 2015
New art, new shop, new website! I'm so thrilled (and a little terrified) to launch the new Funnelcloud Studio. This has been a looong process and I've been so encouraged by everyone on Instagram who has followed along behind the scenes, put up with months of teaser photos and sneak peeks, and commented with their excitement over seeing the new work. It was back in December 2014 that I mentioned that the prints from my Etsy shop would be retired when they sold out and that Funnelcloud Studio would be taking a new direction in the new year. It's finally here:
Two new series of original abstract paintings are now for sale at www.funnelcloudstudio.com - The Dive In Collection and The Water's Fine Collection. The 71 new paintings in the shop are all gouache on 100% cotton rag and feature the bright colors and gestural brushstrokes that get me excited about art.
The new work is completely different from the prints and illustrations I sold in my Etsy shop when I first started Funnelcloud Studio in 2010. Abstract is my true love when it comes to art and I had always hoped and planned to sell abstract paintings, but Funnelcloud Studio somehow ended up going in a different direction over the past four years as I experimented with block printing, text-based art, and greeting card design. By the end of 2013, my work was feeling stagnant and Funnelcloud Studio wasn't exciting me any more. I decided to take 2014 off from vending at art markets and spent some time traveling and thinking about the future of Funnelcloud Studio.
By Fall 2014, I began to paint every day. For years I had wanted to create abstract art for the shop, as this is what I made in my studio for fun, but never had the confidence to sell. After years of selling prints of my work on Etsy, I was also interested in selling original paintings. I finally went for it. I experimented with acrylic, gouache, wax pastels, and mixed media. I tried different surfaces and brushes, I painted with my non-dominant hand, I made messes, I celebrated the surprises and unexpected results. By early 2015, I had discovered the media, surfaces, supplies, and techniques that worked for me, and most importantly, I had found my confidence and my style. For the first time in years, my work felt like me and made me excited. By late winter I had entered a painting frenzy, creating dozens of paintings, each one better than the last.
By Spring, I had enough new work that it was finally time to start creating a website to actually sell the art. Which brings us to the present: A fancy new website. Yay! My own original paintings for sale for the first time ever. Terrifying! After I launched the new site I had to jump in the shower to calm myself down because I was practically shaking. Putting new art out into the world feels so scary and personal - like someone reading your diary or seeing you naked. But the butterflies have subsided and now I'm just excited about the big leap I've finally taken.
So what does the future look like for the new Funnelcloud Studio? In the next few months I will launch illustrations, mixed media paintings, paintings on wood panels, and prints for sale in the shop. I hope to paint even bigger pieces. I'll be selling my art at art markets again. I'm more excited about my little business than I've ever been.
Big thanks to friends, family, customers, readers, and followers who have supported and encouraged me throughout the past five years of building an art business! I hope you'll check out my new shop on www.funnelcloudstudio.com and follow @funnelcloudrach on Instagram to see my process and progress.
Tuesday, May 26, 2015
Getting out on the water is a vacation must for me, so I was really looking forward to some sort of boat trip in Acadia. Taking the highly recommended mail boat trip to Isle au Haut wasn't feasible for us due to its distance from where we were staying, so instead we booked a sail with Downeast Sailing Adventures. We got up early on Wednesday morning and ate tomato and cheese sandwiches for breakfast on the deck at the cabin. (And I may have had some Jim Beam-spiked hot chocolate, since we were going sailing after all...and hey, it's vacation!) Then we drove into Southwest Harbor and took some photos of the boats as we waited on the dock for our captain to arrive. So picturesque, so Maine...
Our captain, Andrew Keblinsky, arrived aboard a gorgeous friendship sloop (single-masted sailboat), the 33' Surprise, which was built from Maine oak and cedar, and originally used as a lobster boat. "Oh good, you two look young and fit!", the captain exclaimed after we introduced ourselves. "Rachel, you'll be driving while Larry helps me raise the sails!"
He wasn't kidding. We got out on the water, and after a quick sailing lesson, using terms I'd never heard before and assuring me "you'll know what to do", he left me to steer the boat.
I did so like a true drunken sailor (so glad I had that Jim Beam for breakfast...) and no, I didn't know what to do. But we didn't crash. Or sink. It was fun, but nerve-wracking.
After Larry and the Captain got the sails up, I relinquished my position behind the wheel and we let the wind guide us around the islands off the coast of Mt. Desert Island. It was a perfectly gorgeous day out on the water. We saw lighthouses, and learned about the lobster industry and Maine's rich and famous (we even saw Martha Stewart's boat).
Larry had to sail back:
Anyone else have the theme song from The Voyage of the Mimi stuck in their head? (And how did I just learn that the kid in that show was Ben Affleck? Mind blown!)
After our morning on the water, we returned to the Cranberry Island Dock, and then set off for lunch and some afternoon adventures...
To be continued...
Monday, May 11, 2015
I mentioned that Acadia National Park is made up of many pockets of land, and some of them aren't even located on Mt. Desert Island. On Tuesday, we decided to explore one of the outlying areas of the park: Schoodic Point. To get there we had to drive off the island and onto the mainland and then down to a peninsula east of Mount Desert Island. Not many tourists make it over to this part of the park (which is one of the reasons we went!), so it felt private and secluded.
After checking out the views, we set out to hike the Anvil Trail. Or at least, we started on the Anvil Trail. Several miles later, I'm not sure what trail we were on, but it was a fun and scenic hike nonetheless.
I definitely didn't expect so much climbing and rock scrambling, but later found that this is pretty common for trails within the Acadia.
Thankfully, I was hiking with my own personal tow rope, Larry:
It was a very up and down trail, but the climbing was worth it.
The whole trail was dripping with Maine blueberries. I had certainly heard of the famed Maine blueberries before (and eaten them in blueberry muffin mixes!), but I never knew what made them so special. They actually looked pretty puny compared to the blueberries we're used to around here. But one mouthful and I discovered why: those tiny berries were the sweetest blueberries I've ever tasted. We picked handfuls and stuffed our faces as we hiked.
After a full day of hiking and exploring, we headed back to the cabin for the usual: reading, relaxing, and walking down to the lake in our pajamas and hiking boots with mugs of beer.
Using the rocks as a tripod, I attempted to take some long exposure pics of the stars over the lake in the dark: