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Adventures of a Closet Video Gamer

Yes, I have to admit it.  For the last four or five years I have been and am a closet video gamer.  After a day of creative creating, these games relieve my mind.   I’ve gone to exotic lands with Nathan Drake of “Drake’s Fortune”…traveled the planets and fought battles with Star Killer in the “Star Wars: Force Unleashed” games, wreaked havoc in the Infamous games and taken

Trionna of Defiance

Trionna of Defiance

care of the Joker in “Batman: Arkham City.”  If my real work day has been a little hectic, I can take it out on the monsters who try to kill me. It is a whole lot of fun being a warrior especially one with super powers.  My newest character can do back flips, land on her feet and still put the bad guys in their place.  I’ve always wanted to be able to do back flips!

Up until this summer, Bob has gamed with me a little.  He Motor Stormed with me for a few months racing around Australian Badlands in wild and crazy racing cars.  We also raced fancy cars in the ProLogue game and Paradise City.  But as all video games go…they lost their luster.  So, this year,  Bob would go to his “Man Cave” and watch Syfy while I played video games.

This past year a new type of video game was launched along with a television show on the Syfy channel.  Being a Syfy junkie, Bob loves “Defiance” and was interested in the game and encouraged me to buy into it.  I was apprehensive about playing an MMO (which means Massive Multiplayer Online game).  The name itself is intimidating to me.  I had been playing single player games all this time and the thought of being the player that occasionally shoots her own foot and ending  up the laughing-stock, I wasn’t so sure playing with strangers was a good idea. But, in the middle of summer,  we found the game at GameStop for $18.95 (down from $59.95).  Bob convinced me to give it a try, so we bought it.

I set up my character and played for a few days.  It was such fun….. and I was a really, really good shooter, thanks to Drake’s Fortune’s point and shoot practice.  The other players were so nice and I was invited to join a clan and a group.  Other players healed me when I got shot and it turned out to be a great community.

In the meantime, Bob loved watching the action and figuring out how to increase your weapons, your health, how to get a vehicle and all of the intricacies of the game.  I convinced him that he should join in the fun.  Back to the store for another game and gaming system and we were in business together

Dartaan of Defiance

Dartaan of Defiance

Since then, what fun we’ve had.  We’ve laughed at each other’s antics until we cried.  I turned my character around one time and Bob’s character was ablaze.  He had accidentally blown himself up with his own pyro grenade.  Together we feel elation when we team up to defeat some of the biggest, baddest characters of the game.  It would be so cool if we could actually high-five each other!  We fight alongside and interact with other warrior friends and everyone is having a great time. It’s not real life, but it is a very rewarding experience.  A lot of people bash video games but if they are very well written and executed, they inspire you to do and be a better person.  Our kudos go to “Defiance!”



Spending a Saturday Morning at the Farmer’s Market

Saturday Morning at the Market

Organic produce

A really cool place to find unique photo opportunities as well as organic produce is to spend a Saturday morning in Sarasota, Florida at the Sarasota Farmer’s Market.  Individual booths line the streets of Lemon Avenue and State Street filled with colorful locally grown produce, plants, trees and orchids, tantalizing foods for immediate consumption, intriguing books by local authors and delightful treasures from local artists and craftsmen.  Friendly dogs of all shapes and sizes stroll the streets with their masters. Market hours are from 7 a.m. until noon.

The mission of this not-for-profit organization is to educate consumers and share knowledge about the products and services of our local farmers, local businesses and local creatives.  This venue encourages foot traffic to downtown Sarasota sustaining the economic viability of  the entire downtown.  It’s a really fun way to start your day as well as supporting the community.



Our American Way of Life

Last Wednesday on my way to work on Longboat Key I was listening to a DJ  interview one of our armed force heroes asking him questions about military life.  The young man shared that he was God Bless Our Troopspreparing to deploy to Afghanistan.  The DJ asked him, “How do you prepare to deploy?”  He answered, ” I get my will and papers in order to take care of my wife and family…..”  He went on with other details but his first words deafened me to anything else he had to say.  Here I was driving along through paradise, heading to a high rise condo on the beach to paint furniture, one of my favorite things to do.  This young man was headed to a war torn country with the thought that he quite possibly would lose his life leaving his wife and children all alone.  I felt ashamed of how much I take for granted.

Unless you have been in the military or are the family of someone in the military, most of us go along with our daily lives never giving a second thought about those putting their lives on the line every day. This Fourth of July we all need to take a moment from our joyful Fourth of July  celebrations and give thanks to God for the brave men and women who fight and have fought to assure our freedom and our American way of life.  God bless our troops!



Shrinking Violet Art Marketing

I’ve never been one to shout from the rooftops about my art and tell everyone how wonderful I am. Shrinking VioletsI am somewhat shy and stumble around when someone asks me about what I do.  I get bashful when someone else talks to strangers in front of me about my work and how much they like it.  That is who I am…a shrinking violet who loves to create art yet shares it with the world.

For the past year I have been reading a lot of blogs, taking all kinds of business webinars and am currently in the first quarter of an marketing bootcamp…and you know what?  All of these things have made me realize that I’ve been doing it right all along.  If I follow someone else’s rootin’- tootin’ promotion formula, I will not be the artist I was born to be.  So if there are others out there who feel like me, take heart.  You can be successful by being yourself.  The following is some of the insights I have discovered along the way.

  • Let your art speak for itself.  Create lots and lots of art.  The more you do the better you get.  You develop a style and a voice that automatically tells the world who you are.  Without your art there is nothing for anyone to talk about and nothing for anyone to buy.  The ART comes FIRST.
  • GET IT OUT THERE!  As artists we live in a wonderful time.  Our culture craves art. It is everywhere you look. People have to see your art in order to buy your art.  If art shows make your eyes roll back into your head, use the internet as your showcase. If setting up a website scrambles your brain, ask a computer savvy family member or friend to help you set up your web presence. I have a Facebook fan page posting all of my latest projects as I finish them.  It is relatively easy to manage and provides a colorful and interesting timeline that my fans love.  If you’d rather not manage a website yourself, then there are numerous art showcase websites out there to show and sell your work.  The bigger your internet presence, the greater the demand will be for your artwork.
  • Let your friends and clients toot your horn.  For the past ten years I have been blessed with a wonderful client friend who believes in me and loves my work.  She has been instrumental in getting me thousands of dollars worth of work and has shared her Jane Crick excitement with her entire community.  If you have someone like this in your life, appreciate them.  Send them thank you cards or take them to lunch.  Send them flowers or remember them with a Christmas gift preferably something you’ve painted or made.  Make sure you arm these promotion angels with business cards and any promotional materials you have as well. They are allies to your success.
  • Be open to opportunities.  In 1989 I created and painted numerous samples using a craft product to be displayed at a painting convention.  This show board of samples caught the eye of a book publisher who contracted me for six instructional books.  Painting those samples opened up a whole new chapter of my life.  Watch for unusual opportunities to get your art in front of people.
  • Think BIG. Study your art. Canvas and watercolor paper are only one tiny way your art can be shared. The more ways your art can be used or reproduced on products, magazine covers and more, the more money you will make.

As artists we simply need to be proactive.  Seek and investigate ways to share your love of creation using the positive ways that are natural to you. We artists don’t need to starve.






It’s All About Fun at Tampa Bay Comicon!!!

Princes LeiaPrincess Leia and Boba Fett were just a couple of the numerous comic book fans wandering the showroom floor of the Doubletree Hotel last weekend in Tampa, Florida. It was as much fun watching the costumed attendees as it was being photographed with Darth Vadar and the storm troopers.Illustrator

Once inside the convention rooms, we found booth after booth loaded with new comic books, collectible comic books and memorabilia, t-shirts, costumes and more. Attendees  got the chance to get up close and personal with some of the illustrious comic book illustrators who worked on projects as people watched.  A couple other illustrators would sketch you in comic book style for a fee.

Boba Fett

Needless to say it was a fabulous weekend filled with fun and artistic inspiration….and maybe, just maybe, the Crick family will be dressing up and going to the next Tampa Bay Comicon being held at the Tampa Convention Center, August 24-25, 2013!

…Why Artists Starve…

There is such joy and satisfaction in being “artistic”… in letting the inner soul out from your heart through your hands, sharing your beliefs and secrets with the world.  A friend of mine likened art to having a baby.  Blood, sweat and tears go into producing this baby.  How could you not feel maternal about it?  You loved it into existence and it pleases you.  You want to share it with the world What is a Daybut you are so involved with it that to you it’s priceless….so you have a hard time pricing this art baby for what it’s worth.

I come to this crossroads over and over again.  I am much, much better than I used to be.  Awhile back I put pricing guidelines in place in my mind, but depending on circumstances such as did the water heater break and I really need X number of dollars to fix it or I know this person cannot afford the work but I really, really like them. Pricing simply goes out the window.

To defy the odds and be a successful artist making a living at making art, know your worth.  Too many artists undervalue their work.  Recently my eyes were opened to this fact when I visited a newly opened store filled with work by other artists and artisans.  Beautiful hand painted works of art on canvas were priced so low by the time the store takes their cut and the artist pays for the canvas and paints they will be lucky to be making minimum wage.  How can one ever think of leaving the  job they despise to pursue a life of art making less than minimum wage?

I have done a lot of research on how to price art work and I would like to share some of them with you as well as my own pricing structure. These are only guidelines and each artist must find that comfort zone that lets you feel the price is fair for both the buyer and the artist.

Canvas prices range from $ .65 to $2.25 per square inch.  Oils command higher prices.  Murals range from $35 per square foot to $50 per square foot.  Design work and sketches go from $100 to $500 depending on the complexity of the project.  One can also come from the hourly side.  I charge no less than $50 per hour.  Sometimes I make as much as $100 an hour.  I have years of experience behind me and and thousands of pieces of work floating around the country.  I have written 15 books and numerous articles for the craft industry and illustrated 5 books in the publishing industry.  I know that my work is worthy of the price I command and when I get the guts I will raise my prices again.

Artists…how much is a day of your life worth?

Newsflash … The Flamingos are coming to Osprey, Florida!!!

Wednesday, March 13 at 10 a.m. The Flamingos Nest opens its doors for business.  With the focus on artist and artisan works of art, furniture and decorative accessories, Bob and I delivered a van full of painted furniture to the store that will be for sale exclusively through The Flamingos Nest.

The Flamingos NextDarrell and Nicki Hoke have created a tropical paradise in Osprey, Florida.  Their wit and ingenuity will delight your senses when you walk into the 10,500 square foot store.   A custom-made boardwalk and beach area leads you into the store past the little beach car, flamingos and an alligator spitting water into a pool to the left.  Lights made from sand buckets hang over the bamboo checkout counter at the back.  Delightful touches that inspire.

On the floor you will find quality new furnishings by Tommy Bahama, Seawinds, Broyhill, Lexington and many, many more mixed with on-of -a-kind creations by hand-picked artists and artisans from Florida and neighboring states.  If you see it and love it you had better buy it right then as you may never  see it again.

Their sister store, Pelican Cottage, is just down the street.  The focus there is on new and used furniture and high quality consignment items.  Spend a day cruising these tropical retreats and then do lunch at one of the nearby restaurants to end the day.  Check out their websites at and and see what they are all about.