Artist Blog by Sheep Incognito Artist Conni Togel

Category Archives: Sheep Incognito at Home

Surviving As An Artist During Covid-19 Pandemic Times

Being an artist is definitely one of the more “interesting” career choices one can make in life.

It is hard enoguh in what we used to consider “Normal Times” to sell our work, connect with buyers, get our work into galleries, apply to all the juried shows, and then travel to those and take on herculean efforts to set up our mobile galleries for a few hours.

Throw weather events, poor turnouts, high gallery commissions, high material costs, huge travel costs into that equation, and many of use were simply “living an earning”, more than “earning a living”.

And now? Covid-19 Pandemic Times? Um, yes – we now see the value of “Normal Times” so much clearer, don’t we? Having to pivot to online shows takes a LOT of time, a steep learning curve, and more expenses just to keep up with the needed technology.

And then the galleries closed. For example, two weeks after I delivered a set of my paintings to a popular gallery i downtown Charleston, covid closures happened. And then, protests happend in front of the gallery. And then they re-opened, but with boards in the windows – and without tourists, because: pandemic times.

“Pivot” ( remember the couch scene in ”Friends”? Yup, that is now real life, folks.

It is time to pivot – and to get good at it. Can’t sell your work online? Create a line of work that you CAN sell online. Don’t know how to do that? Watch some good tutorials to learn the ropes. Don’t have the technology for it? Ask around – someone in your circle is bound to have some sort of webcam setup or know someone that does.

But where do you pivot to? Ah, yes, excellent question!

Just like us artists, people are stuck at home, wondering where their “normal” went – so to get your work in front of them, you need to meet them where they are: online.

Whether you set up a virtual classroom on Zoom, or run a live art show booth video on your Facebook page, or set up your booth in your front yard for a drive-by art show – making it work is what keeps us from being quitters. It is, after all where we “live our earnings” – so giving that up does not just cut our income, it also cuts our heartstrings in the process.

The past two weekends we participated in two online fiber festivals with my Sheep Incognito artwork. It was not easy setting up the technical side of things: we subscribed to Zoom Pro level, only to find that my laptop/ browser combo is a bit outdated, and would not run smoothly and, I have yet to figure out how people would register or sign into my zoom meetings. With that challenge, and a timed slot for my live session, we pivoted to just using Facebook Live Video instead. We had added new products with my work on them right before the event – but did not have time to get it all uploaded there, and ready to order on the website. Pivot again: we set up one listing for three different product types, and just added a field where buyers could enter the title of the image they want on their products. We then place the order with our printing providers, and have things shipped directly to the buyer. It costs a bit more in production and shipping costs, but frees up time instead.

Time we then can use to create other products, or paint new paintings (on a smaller scale than for the show booth – pivoting again!).

So, how DO we survive as artists in these strange, peculiar times of Covid-19 pandemic? We get dizzy, we keep going, and we gain energy from seeing what CAN be done, rather than letting the “what we can’t do anymore” bring us down.

On that note, an ecnouragement to all you artists out there panicking right now: keep pivoting, until your pivoting skills turn into a beautiful dance with adversity. It might just be the ballet performance your buyers have been waiting for anyway.

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Merry Christmaaahs From the Sheep Incognito Flock!

A Baaahrtridge in a Bear Tree Wall Art

Fleece Navidad Prints

Fleece Navidad Prints

We want to take a moment to thank all of Ewe for being faithful flock fans for the past year – and years before: because of you, we can continue to bring smiles, happy giggles, and a few heartfelt “awww”s to your world and the art world at large.

This past year, we were so lucky to get to meet so many of you in person – we LOVE getting to see smiles in real life, and hugs make our day, and bring back some warmth to the world, so THANK EWE for stopping by!

To those of ewe that have placed orders on the website, or called in, or snagged art in our #SheepFling events on Facebook and Instagram: thank ewe for giving the Sheep Incognito such maaahvelous friends to hang out with – I consider myself blessed to know that so much of my art is getting to bring smiles to peoples’ lives every day, instead of just hanging on a museum wall for brief glances by passerby visitors.

Starting in January, there will be workshops and training sessions available – whether painting on canvas, or intruductions to ProCreate App, the studio will be buzzing with lots of learning getting done.
Also, though it is taking much longer than I wanted it to, I am working on my first adult/kids book.
Or maybe two. Not sure.
What I do know, is there might be monsters. And sheep. And some smiles. And the color pink. Who knows where that might lead…

I might start a Patreon account for that purpose – it’s become almost impossible to keep up with the business side of things while we travel, so we have cut wayyy back on shows for the first quarter of 2018, to give us time to work in the studio, get the book written, add some wholesale connections, try a few new painting techniques, add some workshops, and all that fun stuff.

As always, we LOVE hearing from you: how are the sheep in your home behaving themselves?
Any special requests for workshop themes? Any feedback is appreciated, of course.

We hope your holiday season is filled with fluffy things, big hugs, maaahvelous moments, and silly giggles, on top of good friends, good memories, and good things all around.

Thank you from the bottom of our hearts for your patronage over the years – and keep a lookout for many new things happening in the Sheep Incognito studio in 2018.

With that:

MERRY CHRISTMAAAHS and have a Maaahvelous New Year!

Conni & Scott at Charisma Art Gallery / Sheep Incognito Studio
email us: conni@charisma-art.com

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A Messenger of Peace

Anybody on social media, or even just talking politics with friends has noticed: Peace on Earth seems to be “muchly” a thing of the past…

Bring in the sheep!

They have no trigger fingers. They might be colorblind. They can’t use foul language. They don’t care whether their flock members are kneeling, standing or laying down. They also don”t care much, if the lead sheep has a mind of its own. 

They do, however, care very much for the good things in life.

Bouncing when happy. Eating corn until they are almost sick. Finding a good place to just sit and enjoy life and good memories. Hanging out with their flock. Being at peace.

We definitely should acquire some of their notions – I do think the world would be a much better place for it.

Ewe’s The Missing Peace

Original oils painting on canvas, 16 inches x 20 inches, $895 (frame not included)

https://www.charisma-art.com/ewe’s-the-missing-peace-original-oil-painting


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LOVEBIRDS – An Ode To Weird Couples Everywhere

LOVEBIRDS – A New Sheep Incognito Original Painting In The Flock, and Why Sitting On A Twig With A Rhino Is A Bad Thing.

Love is a strange thing, sometimes.

It does not always follow a logical path, and it most certainly does not always put ewe together with a mirror image of ewe either.

It seems that quite often, love puts two completely different personalities together – it is up to us to keep things in baaaahlance, not shake that branch too much, but stay close to each other to keep hanging in there.
True, with some it is easier than with others – one would not want to share a twig with an angry rhino, if one is just a tiny sparrow, for example. (been there, done that).

That scenario has all kinds of endings – most of them involving a loud crash and fall, often with thorny hindsights, and an even angrier rhino (also: been there, and done that, too).
Instead – something with feathers might be the softer side of good relationships. Something light. Slightly Quacky. And most definitely something sweet and harmless.

Finding that one weird creature landing on your branch might shake your world, but it also might be the start of a whole flock of happy things on that twig.
Look up in those trees – pick the one without a rhino.

Advice from the Sheep Incognito Flock.

Also available as embellished giclée reproductions on canvas in multiple sizes, or as archival prints on paper, matted, in three standard frame sizes.
Call me at the studio to order: (864)634-2150.

via Lovebirds Original Oil Painting

A Drop of Tennessee

Currently I am working on a rather large commission piece for some friends of mine.

I am trying to override my whimsical style for a more “grown up” flavor – it’s a challenge.

Here are a few work-in-progress pictures – would love some feedback on them.


This is where it’s currently at:


Oils on canvas, 24″x48″

Call me to inquire about commissioning your own piece of memories for your home or office! (864)634-2150

To see more of my “serious work”, visit my gallery shop under the “no sheep” section.

A NEW ALPACA PAINTING IN THE FLOCK

Trying Out New Things In The Studio

“Our heads are round, so our mind can change directions….”

That is my mantra lately – some call it “squirrely”, others call it “uncommitted”, still others call it “creativity”. Whatever it is that makes us think around the corner, it is what hit me recently.

Sheep have happened. and, I love pInting them – they make me smile. But why stop there?

So I’ve started to add new critters, new media, and new techniques to my studio.

Most recently, my easel has been my ipad, with a nice painting app, to explore the process of digital paainting. It seems a much more portable and forgiving media – not to mention, that the juried fine art shows offer a digital media category that needs some smiles as well.

So here are my first endeavors with the new roadmap I am following for a bit:

TITLE:”Cowllamaty” 

llama painting by Conni Togel

 
And this is one in progress, that I have been working on this morning a title to be determined….

 

A new Alpaca Painting in the making

 
Let me know what you think – I always love feedback!

Oh, and, of course we will offer these as prints on paper and as hand-embellished giclée eproductions on canvas soon!
Keep an eye on my website: Charisma Art Gallery Website

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A Happy New Year!

HAPPY NEW YEAR AHEAD!

The year has already shown itself to be going in a good direction – a few days off between shows, is always a very good thing, seeing that I am usually on the road more than I am at home.
We took several weeks off to be home with family, celebrate Christmas, hang out in PJ’s at home, and just not do much of anything.

Christmas was fun, filled with laughter, good people, marvelous cookies, food, hot chocolate, and I think I might be fluffier than any of my sheep ever are, now.

New Year’s Eve was  more of a “Retirement Home Excitement” evening – just hanging out, not doing much of anything, except watching movies with my daughters. Just the right speed after the hectic of the Fall show season…

Then, of course, there was the issue of our trailer going missing from the driveway, and being found in the woods about half an hour away, with all the artwork, panels, prints, and originals being tossed about rather roughly. And, our backup inventory of prints, some tools, and some parts from the trailer gone missing. Fortunately, we are working with a fantastic Insurance company to help us recoup and regroup, hopefully in time for the big show frenzy of Spring arriving.

On the upside of that: the thieves were apparently dumb enough to leave the original paintings on the panels, and to actually steal signed prints, that are very much identify-able. If you see anything pop up in your neck of the woods, or online, by all means, please let me know.

I would post pictures, but something here isn’t working – technical issues are persisting, and, quite frankly, my life is too short to spend hours on trying to sort all that out…I’d rather be painting and re-creating what was damaged in that event.

Not being technically savvy is problematic – but, I do have enough skills to add new discount coupons! And, I love supplying the world with sheepish smiles and happy thoughts!

So to help your year start off with smiles as well, here is a coupon code you can use on my website to “fluffify” your world for the new year:

Enter code “FLUFFY” on the cart at checkout at the Sheep Incognito website to get 15% off your entire purchase!

If you run into any kind of trouble – please drop me a line at the studio through the webform on my website…it’s the only way to ensure that I actually get the mail.

So here’s to a year

Filled with fun – do something silly that makes you giggle, every day.

Filled with peace – don’t sweat the small stuff, and forgive stupidity.

Filled with happiness – focus on good memories. good people. good things. good people.

And, filled with just a touch of sheepish outlook on life: sleep alot. eat as much as you need. hang out with peaceful friends. Bounce when happy. Burp so you don’t explode. Look beautiful in a sunset. Be wary of weird things. Explore new pastures. Eat lots of healthy greens. And most of all: make someone else smile. It’ s what makes everybody’s world better!

 

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WIP “GRASSHOPPER” SHEEP INCOGNITO

NEW SHEEP INCOGNITO PAINTING ON THE EASEL: “GRASSHOPPER”

 

this is a new painting I’ve started on this weekend – we have two shows happening this weekend in Nappanee, Indiana (Amish Acres Arts & Crafts Festival), and in Dublin, Ohio (Dublin Irish Festival), so we needed to beef up the walls of the booth…

 

Title: GRASSHOPPER

Size: 24″ x 48″

Media: Oils on canvas

 

Starting with a quick sketch of Burnt Umber thinned with orange oil, I first established the general shape and figure, then painted the background in.

Initially I thought a black sheep would be the best, but with the background being a bit darker, the contrast will be to weak – so I am adding a warmer, wool colored touch to the sheep, to make it look less cold and stand out more.

 

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Close-up of "Grasshopper"

“GrassHopper” close-up by Conni Togel

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A Different Kind of Christmas

Celebrating Christmas usually is my favorite time of the year – the lights, buying presents for loved ones, the food, the times together playing games, watching movies, doing puzzles, and laughing…

This year, all that was toned wayyy down in our house – a sick mom is really no fun for anyone…I spent five days sick on the couch, with no energy to do much of anything. The kids were troopers, and very caring and condiserate – but I know they missed the hubbub and joyful atmosphere we usually have in the house…

So the question is: fake it to make them happy, or just go with what is, and see it in contrast to the happier christmasses we’ve celebrated before and will be celebrating again?

Never quite sure what the better approach is for that…the good part is, that I am slowly on the mend and gaining a bit of energy back. We are making the most of the few days during christmas break to do all the things we had planned for Christmas…

And who knows, I might even get some painting done this coming week – it’s been a long while since I’ve had a chance to work in my studio.

New Year’s Eve will be a marathon of Hobbitses, Dwarves, and Elves – can hardly wait…

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