1. What is/are the name of your shop/s?
I have two shops. TheCreatorsPalette is my original shop where I sell my artwork. TCPJewelry is a newer shop where I sell Medical Alert ID bracelets, along with other fun earrings, regular bracelets and necklaces.
2. What kind of items do you sell?
My artwork is mostly watercolor and I sell sizes from small ACEO’s up to larger 12x16 and an occasional 16x20. I also sell watercolor painted on canvas – ready to hang. Some of my artwork is matted and framed, but most is not.
In TCPJewelry, I make affordable Medical Alert ID bracelets. I sell them cheap because I want them to be a service to others. I have also begun to make earrings, which I enjoy a lot. I also have some regular bracelets and necklaces. My signature on many of my jewelry pieces are metal swirls – either wrapped or attached as a dangle.
3. How long have you been engaged in your art/craft?
I’ve been painting for a little over 4 years now. Jewelry and beading is about 2 years old. The past two years, I was nominated and won several Artist Choice Awards! I have yet to enter juried art shows, but that is coming very soon!!!
4. Do you consider yourself a hobbyist or a professional craftsperson?
My art is definitely NOT a hobby – as it pours out of my soul. Since I have sold quite a few large sized pieces, I guess I can call myself a professional artist.
5. What inspires you?
There are people who inspire me – mostly through their writing: Larry Crabb and his book “Shattered Dreams”, Joni Earikson Tada and her beautiful paintings that she’s learned to do with her teeth, Laura Hildebrand and her story of writing “Seabisuit” in the midst of dealing with ME/CFS… but mostly when my days get tough, and they often do, I am most inspired by my HOPE. Hope that God loves me know matter what I do or don’t accomplish today, Hope that God loves me no matter what I look like or how I feel. Hope that nothing in this world can take away my two main purposes in life – to Love God with all my heart and to Love others. Hope that one day, I will be free of health issues and the real me will live in my real body! That’s what keeps me going when life throws rocks at me!
For my paintings, in particular, I am most inspired by the outdoors. I have always loved to be outdoors, and I love to paint landscapes, gardens, and flowers.
6. Please share with us what a typical day is like in your workshop or studio?
Well, first of all, I don’t have a studio. I have a recliner with a bookshelf on one side, and on the other side is a cabinet with lots of drawers and lift up side tables that hold all my art supplies. I also have a round table to set my current projects on and a tiny side table for my laptop. All are within reaching distance from my recliner!
Once I’ve got enough fluids in me to stand up, I move out to the living room, into my recliner. If there isn’t anything else pressing – I pull out my current project and begin working on it. If I don’t have anything in progress, I look through all my painting ideas on my computer (I keep a list) and I look for something that reaches in and touches my heart and soul. This is what I’ll begin working on. If that doesn’t work, I take my 9x12 painting block and use my pencil to divide it up into ACEO’s and just start painting. Sometimes I toss them, but usually, once I get going on ACEO’s I find that I can paint a whole page of them! Other times, the beads just call to me and I grab my tray of beading supplies and sit in my recliner with music playing and create jewelry.
7. What keeps you company while you’re working on a project?
First and foremost – is our little lapdog. He’s a MaltaPoo and his name is Taran. He’s my son’s dog, but he’s my lapdog! He can’t wait for me to get out to the living room so he can sit at my feet on the recliner. The only problem I have with that is when he decides it’s time for a bath or gets an itch right when I’m doing some very detailed aspect of a painting!
I also LOVE music!!!! It depends on what mood I’m in. But I’m almost always accompanied by music!
And nothing is more comforting to me than a perfectly made cup of tea!!!
8. What is your favorite 'task' related to your art/craft?
I love planning my paintings, and I love the putting on the final touches. I also enjoy helping people choose a Medical Alert bracelet – especially when it’s their first one.
9. What is your least favorite 'task' related to your art/craft?
The middle-time of paintings is SO frustrating. They look horrible and I find myself so intense and focused that it kills me to have to set a painting down when it’s half done. I’ve finally learned not to panic, because every painting goes through a stage where it looks like crap – but I know that the final touches will make all the difference!
10. What are some of the venues you use to promote your shop/ware?(Do you blog?
I used to sell a lot on eBay – but that is over for me. I sell most of my art on Etsy, and second most on ArtByUs (though you can’t tell by my rating because, though people come to buy quality art, they don’t always stick around long enough to leave the feedback). I have two blogs – an art related blog http://thecreatorspalette.blogspot.com and a personal blog (though I share art a lot there too) http://melanie-journey.blogspot.com. I also put my art on http://artwanted.com and http://DesignStyleGuide.com . I have a Café Press store http://cafepress.com/melaniepruitt and I sell prints on http://imagekind.com
11. To which teams do you belong? Do you use other sites? Which ones? etc.?
BBEST is my favorite Etsy team. But I also really enjoy CaaT (Complimentary Art and Things) which is about to become a team and is a group from eBay that is moving to Etsy. I also belong to ACETSY team for ACEO’s, VAST for Visual Arts, and WWET – an Etsy juried watercolor team. InteriorDesignTeam is the most intense and focused team I belong to and I blog for them once a month as well as have items on their website. This team is focused on reaching the Interior Designers who search for items online.
11. Related to your craft, tell us about a funny, strange or unusual situation you found yourself in.
I had painted two blue Iris – lying on their sides and I had it up for auction on ArtByUs, all matted and framed. It was just after the Virgina Tech shootings and I received a bid. When the buyer contacted me, she told me a story that made me cry.
She belonged to a sorority and their emblem was a blue Iris. Her sister sorority at V-Tech had a member killed in the shootings. Her sorority wanted to send a special gift to their sister sorority as a way of sending their love and support. So they chose my painting. They added a plaque to the frame that honored the lost sister. It still moves me that one of my paintings is hanging at V-Tech as a loving tribute to one of the victims.
12. Tell us something about you that we wouldn’t necessarily know by talking with you in the forums.
Wow… there are a lot of things!!! Like – I shook hands with Muhamad Ali when I was in 3rd grade… I’ve flown an airplane… I love roller coasters…. I live in a tiny house (under 1200 sq ft)…I had 5 eye operations before the age of 9…
But I suppose the most surprising thing I’ve never told any of my BBEST friends yet, is that I am a Pastors Wife. It comes with so many assumptions and preconceived notions that I’ve kind of avoided telling it! I’m happy to share that I’m a Christian, but I don’t often tell people I’m also a Pastor’s Wife.
It’s not that I’m not proud if it – I just want people to know me for me! If you had dinner with us in our home, you’d be very surprised. My husband is not solemn – he’s the funniest guy I know! We don’t “talk” Bible all the time, we live it! (Or we try to anyway – but neither of us is perfect). We just love life and love people and if you spent time with us, I think we’d break all those molds that many people would try to fit us into!
13. What’s your favorite book and why, favorite movie and why, favorite kind of music?
This is WAY too hard of a question for me. I am a book-aholic, I watch a ton of movies when I’m not well enough, and I love music. Let me try to sum them up:
Books: I love “David Copperfield” by Charles Dickens, and I love many of Jane Austen’s novels. I also love George MacDonald novels because they combine challenging ideas with a novel about the old times in Scotland. My favorite Christian non-fiction author is Larry Crabb – and my own Aunt has written many books that I love. I have listened to all the “Murder She Wrote” novels from the library and I love the Artemis Fowl series!!
Movies: I love non-fiction, like national geographic, Nova and travel videos. I also love classics with Cary Grant, Humphrey Bogart etc. Much Ado About Nothing is one of my favorites along with Seabiscuit, Hildalgo, Second Hand Lions, Fried Green Tomatoes, Anne of Green Gables, The Hunt for Red October and Amadeus (and many more I’ve left out.) I also love the early seasons of The Waltons, Mr. Bean, and The Office. Oh… and my husband and I always watch a MASH before bed LOL!
Music: It really depends on my mood. I love instrumental, like Jim Brickman, Michael Allen Harrison, and many of the Solitdes CD’s (music and nature). But I also have moods that need music like Jack Johnson, James Taylor or Enya! A new favorite I’ve just discovered is Marc Enfroy – look up his website. He calls his music “Cinematic Piano” and it’s very moving music – perfect for painting!!!
14. Would you care to share any 'words of wisdom' with other aspiring artists or crafters?
Let your work come from your heart. I find the best art I create does not come from thinking about what a buyer might buy, but it comes from what is in my heart. Art should make a person “feel”. It doesn’t have to be a “good” feeling; one of my favorite paintings makes me cry. But it should reach in deep and touch the heart of the viewer. My hope is that one day – every painting I create will do that for at least one person who views my painting!
Please leave a comment for our friend Melanie! She would love to hear from you !