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Archive | Art Business

Paddy and the Wolves, an illustrated children’s book

I’m excited to announce the arrival of my newest project…an illustrated children’s book and coloring book! Written by Steve Nagel and published in America by Gracewatch Media, “Paddy and the Wolves” imagines the life of young Paddy, way before he became St. Patrick. Unable to sit still for prayers, his mother sends him out to help Barra the shepherd, where he learns to trust Jesus in all his adventures. The book also contains prayers for children, facts on St. Patrick, a board game (back cover) and a recipe for Paddy’s mom’s oatcakes.

Paddy and the Wolves by Steve Nagel, Illustrated by Jen Norton. Softcover and coloring book edition shown. Hardcover version also available.

Softcover and coloring book editions of “Paddy and the Wolves”

I have a limited number of softcover books and coloring books in my Etsy store. Hardcover editions are also available and I will list them in March.

If you are a bookseller or Catholic school and want to order a larger number of books, please contact Gracewatch Media directly for the best deal. They are good people and will be happy to help you out. They also offer a digital download, and full pdf previews of the entire story on their site.

And you can also buy the titles on Amazon, of course! If you do buy on Amazon, we would love it if you can return and leave a review. This not only helps the book sell, but “unlocks” the book-viewing capabilities for other buyers.

And finally, if you would like to own any of the original artwork, I have listed the available pieces in my Etsy store (original art section) here.

May you find God in all your daily encounters, just like Paddy!

 

A Merry Round-up for Christmas

Everywhere I go, people keep asking if I’m ready for Christmas. I am. What I’m not entirely ready for is for my child turning 18 on Christmas Eve! Boy, did those years go fast. Still, as my business grows, I know it’s time for her to fly and find her own way to make her dreams come true.

Looking back over this year, I thought I’d share a few fun dream-come-true moments from my 2015 art life. First, a thank you to all of you who purchased pieces during my recent 50-50-50 sale. Many works found new homes and because of you, I was able to donate $327 to Catholic Relief Services. The poor and vulnerable people of the world thank you too.

So, a few highlights from my art life:

Catholic Gifts by Jen Norton and Dickson's Gifts

• I had the opportunity to work with Dickson’s Gifts this year when they licensed several of my existing pieces (and commissioned a few others) to create a new line of Catholic gift items. These items will be available to the trade beginning 2016, so you might see them in stores later in the year. More on that as it unfolds…

My artwork appeared in several editorial publications and events all over the world this year. Some of these appearances include…

• “Hail Mary”used in a book cover design for Word by Word by Sarah Reinhard, published by Ave Maria press

• “Beloved St. Francis” graced the pages of the September 2015 issue of Tui Motu Magazine in New Zealand

An illustration for a fiction piece about a modern woman finding comfort in St. Julian of Norwich. She is sitting in a rocking chair by the fire with her orange cat, contemplating the words "All Shall be Well" attributed to the saint. Acrylic on paper.

• Franciscan Media hired me for a commission for a fictional story about a woman finding kinship with St. Julian of Norwich in the November 2015 issue of the St. Anthony Messenger

• Our newest Saint, St. Junipero Serra, traveled to the pages of the Winter 2015 edition of Catholic Extension Magazine. I was originally hired to do a cover image…but then got pre-empted by the visiting Pope! Can’t fight that…

• I also created special St. Serra prayer cards for the San Carlos Cathedral in Monterey, CA to be given at an event surrounding his canonization.

 

Mural art by Heather Gentile Collins at St. Andrews, inspired by artwork by Jen Norton

• Over the summer, Chicago area artist Heather Gentile Collins used my “Sacrifice” artwork as inspiration to create a mural in collaboration with the school children of St. Andrews Parish.

Canticle of Mary event banner

• St. Pius X church in Maryland ordered a “shower curtain” from my Fine Art America store to use as a banner at their Advent luncheon. (I was happy to find out no one was really showering with Mary!)

There were many more uses of my work at church events and on church bulletins and you have all kept me busy fulfilling lots of orders on my Etsy store. But 2016 is already rushing in over here and as soon as the Christmas tree comes down, I’ll be working on inventory and new art to take to the LA RECongress event in Anaheim in February! I have enjoyed all the opportunities and people who have come my way and hope to continue on this path for another year…

I wish you all a very Merry Christmas. Whether or not your wishes came true in 2015 or flopped spectacularly, know that you are loved right in this moment just as you are. If you have managed to lighten someone’s day along the way, even better.

Happy New Year!
Jen

*all artwork was used with permission on these projects

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Do What You Love: Business Soul Sessions

Business Soul Sessions graphic

Until a few years ago, I thought my job was to be an artist. But then I learned I was really an evangelist, meant to inspire with paint instead of words. Art is my tool of communication, the language I use to inspire others to find joy through faith, family and service.

This revelation came, in part, from an online class I happened upon at a point of burn-out in my own career. What I learned about myself, my purpose and how I should proceed with it all was so valuable to me, I want to share the opportunity with you!

If you are a fellow creative entrepreneur (in any discipline, not just art!), and feeling burnt out or in a rut, I urge you to take a look at “The Business Soul Sessions,” as well as some of the other offerings at “Do What You Love for Life” for inspiration. Taught by former social worker-turned-licensed artist Kelly Rae Roberts and “DWYL” producer Beth Kempton, The Business Soul Sessions class gave me the instruction and insight to really delve deep into what my purpose is, and how I can use that to create a life and business I love that fulfills that purpose and betters the world. I had no idea what to expect, it cost a little bit of money, but it felt right. So I signed up. I’m so glad I did!

Through a number of weeks, the class will guide you and other students from all over the world on a self-guided journey to consider your purpose, the people you are meant to serve, what your product(s) will be, and how you will pull it off. The class is not just for artists…it’s for anyone with an entrepreneurial spirit who wants to create a sustainable business they can be proud of. And you can do the whole thing from your computer in your pajamas!

Sound interesting? Take a moment to check it out. The next session of The Business Soul Sessions course begins May 11, 2015. I have an affiliate link here, and I would be very grateful that if you do choose to sign up, you do so through my link (yes, I make a little money back when you do).

As theologian Howard Thurman once said, “Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.” Is this your time to come alive?

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Listen to your Mother: Pray the Rosary

The Joyful Mysteries by Jerry Windley-Daoust

Whoever hates his brother is in darkness; he walks in darkness and does not know where he is going because the darkness has blinded his eyes. —1 John 2:11

Do you ever feel overwhelmed by all the darkness? Turn on any news show and you’ll want to run to your nearest closet, lock yourself in, and declare the world a hopeless, evil place. But there is a key to unlock that closet, and it’s held by an unlikely girl, once a nobody, really. But then she was given a great task to become part of the salvation of all creation, and she said “yes.” She did not let darkness overcome her. She walked with it until it passed. And now she wants to lead you to The Way, to her Son. The steps on the path are the beads on her Rosary.

Pray one decade (1 Our Father + 10 Hail Marys + 1 Glory Be) on your couch with a cup of coffee. Pray all 5 decades x 20 mysteries on your knees in a monastery. Pray it on your fingers in the car. It doesn’t matter… as long as you pray it. Why? Because when you spend even a few moments of each day mindful of the feminine strength needed to bring God’s Grace to the world, you will begin to understand your part in overcoming darkness too.

When I was a child I was preoccupied with order and perfection. It’s safe to say I probably had a bit of undiagnosed OCD… and one thing I obsessed about was church rules. I would try to say the rosary before bed, but if I made one mistake, even in the last word of the last prayer, I’d start over. As you can imagine, I did some pretty heavy praying for a kid! My one reprieve was to recite it with my mother. Together, we could make all the mistakes we wanted and it was OK. Her inherent goodness was powerful enough to negate my imperfections. So I would trek down the hall to her room at 10 or 11pm, frustrated by my “prayer failures”, and wake her up from a deep sleep to say the rosary with me. And to her credit she did it. I’m sure her reaction was a mixture of happiness that I was so devout and complete annoyance that I was interrupting her much-needed sleep. Still, she was there for me. She didn’t leave me all alone in my darkness.

I continued to say parts of the rosary throughout my life, albeit less devoutly. Ten “Hail Marys” before bed, an “Our Father” on the way to a college test. No real devotion…more of a comforting insurance policy, really. It wasn’t until a few years ago when I really needed to turn to prayer for a difficult situation that comfort of the rosary became real to me. This time, it was my turn to accompany someone through darkness. In recitation of the simple prayers, holding each bead as I went along, I felt the Blessed Mother walking beside me. I was guided toward the help needed; I was given the strength to think clearly when things got scary. But most importantly, I was provided with an underlying sense of Peace. I was given the mantra “Let it Be”, which I understood to mean that in the end, all would be well. Just what a mother would say. And she was right.

“Have no anxiety at all, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, make your requests known to God. Then the peace of God that surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. —Philippians 4:6-7

Recently, two of my paintings, “Hail Mary” and “The Canticle of Mary”, were included in an Illuminated book of the Joyful Mysteries of the Rosary by Catholic author Jerry Windley-Daoust. From an artist’s perspective, it’s definitely a boost to the ego to be included in a published collection of work with the likes of Fra Angelico, Leonardo da Vinci and Botticelli! On a deeper level, I believe this author found me because we both share a vision to provide a new, fresh perspective to timeless traditions of our faith. Artwork can offer a deeper understanding for both children and adults; a good companion to the beads. Jerry’s book offers an alternative way to experience the Catholic meditative devotional to Mary: through the eyes of artists who have spent their own prayerful time at the canvas.

I hope you will consider making the rosary part of your spiritual practice, if you don’t already. They’re simple prayers, to a simple girl. And, quite simply, they can drive out darkness. The devil hates that, you know.

A preview, and copies of the Illuminated Joyful Mysteries of the Rosary can be purchased at www.pbgrace.com/joyful-mysteries 

Prints of my included artwork are available in my Etsy and Fine Art America stores.

The original paintings are part of the permanent collection at the Presentation Center in Los Gatos, CA.

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It’s time for those American holiday sales!

Happy Holiday Specials from Jen Norton
In honor of the great American eating and shopping holidays of Thanksgiving, Black Friday and Cyber Monday (yikes!), I’ve got some special Holiday Sales for you. If you’re looking for something unique and art-inspired, I may be able to help you check a few gifts off your list. So here goes…This is the week to find the perfect something at the best price in any of my online stores! Coupon Codes will be active until midnight on Monday, December 2!

20% OFF in my ETSY Shop:

In this shop, you’ll find small original work, 11×14 matted prints and Garden Charms made in my studio. Use Coupon Code “Holiday20” at checkout from Monday, Nov 25 to Mon, Dec 2nd, 2013 to get 20% off any purchase!
Enter here: www.etsy.com/shop/JenNortonArtStudio or use the “Shop” tab on this site.

20% OFF in my Fine Art America Print Shop:

In this shop you’ll find reproductions customized your way. You can even matt and frame here and have it shipped directly to you, ready to hang! Use Discount Code “GLUDTC” at checkout from Monday, Nov 25 to Mon, Dec 2nd, 2013 to get 20% off any art reproductions. Please note that this discount will not apply to any framing accessories purchased along with your art.
Enter here: http://fineartamerica.com/profiles/jen-norton.html or use the use the “Shop” tab on this site.

Daily Specials from Zazzle:

Sample Zazzle Products

Here you can shop for pillows, journals, clocks, cosmetic bags, cell phone covers and even matching postage and holiday cards made with my artwork. While I cannot offer discounts directly, Zazzle posts daily specials this week on their home page, or you can sign up on their site to receive them in your email. Applicable discounts are applied automatically to any purchase when you check out.

Entere here: www.zazzle.com/jennortonartstudio.

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving, if you’re in America. Happy Weekend to everyone else!

Jen

A Calendar of Healthy Eating

Calendar design © Jen Norton

I wanted to share with you a recent design and art project I completed for the Berkeley Unified School District in Northern California. In an age of school budget cuts, Berkeley Unified has remained committed to providing its students with nutritious, fresh foods, and they produce a beautiful art calendar for their families each year. That’s where I come in…I’ve been lucky to be the artist and designer to put this piece together for the last two years. This calendar features my artwork as well as healthy recipes from the students and staff of the BUSD. I just got my box of samples, so I thought I’d share it with you today!

Interior Calendar Images

The original food paintings below are currently available to purchase or license. Contact me directly with your interest. Individual pieces are $250 each, 9 x 12″, framed acrylic on wood panel. The images are also available as matted art prints ($28). I’ve got four of them listed in my Etsy store… but just ask if you want one I have not yet listed.

 

Images for Calendar Design © Jen Norton

 

Calendar Cover Image

And finally, the cover image I painted is called “Bayside Gardens” and measures 24 x 24″. It is painted with Acrylics on gallery-wrapped canvas, and available for $950. Contact me directly to purchase or license this piece. It is also available as a matted art print ($28) or an aluminum Garden Charm ($45) in my Etsy store.

Bayside Gardens © Jen Norton

“Bayside Gardens” © Jen Norton

 

 

If I weren’t an introvert, I might not be a painter.

Yesterday I went to my daughter’s school to help with a teacher appreciation lunch. It’s the end of the year, and all the kids were gathered in the central lawn with a photographer to take the official group picture. It’s a pretty large school, so that’s about 700-800 kids. My daughter is quite popular and lots of her friends stop in at our home after school, so they know me too. So as I’m walking by this enormous group of teens I hear “Jen!”, “Hey Jen” over and over. I just started waving like a celebrity…but inside I’m thinking, “Boy, what a difference 30 years can make to your middle school fame!” I was such a painfully shy child at that age. To make things worse, we moved to a different state between my 7th and 8th grade years and I remember well-meaning friends telling me that this was my chance to “reinvent myself” at a new place. I think someone even gave me a book! Oh, if only I could pass on the wisdom of age to the children I know now and tell them they will find their way. They don’t need to change. It will all be OK. I do tell them, but you know how we humans are. We’ve got to live it for ourselves before we believe.

I spent years trying to overcome my shyness, but even in my most talkative moments, someone will invariably come up to me and tell me how quiet I am. More than once someone (who later became a friend) told me their first impression of me was of someone who was aloof or scary. Guess I’ll never be one of those people who cheerfully tell prospective employers they’re “a people person.”. Over the years, I’ve learned to embrace my introversion. Without it, I would not be a painter…a job that requires hours alone in my own mind pondering life, connecting to God applying layers upon layers of paint to express myself. I wouldn’t be able to soak in the wisdom of books, listen attentively to a friend in need or find deep joy in pondering patterns in nature. It is who I am, and I wouldn’t change a thing.

Are you a fellow introvert? Take comfort…I found this great Ted talk by Susan Cain (Author of “Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking”)

And I do step out of my shell once in a while. If you’re in the San Jose area this weekend, I’ll be exhibiting and selling work at the San Jose Made event in San Pedro Square. Here’s the scoop: www.sanjosemade.com

Home is where my Art is.

Painted Houses on wood

I’m in a short hiatus from my “Hello Soul, Hello Business” e-class. My fellow students and I are taking the time to go over our ideas and core values before resuming with actions to bring our visions to reality. As I refine my direction, I know I want to not only have fun and make great art, but serve you and my community with my art. So many creative ideas are swirling…it’s overwhelming! But one word keeps surfacing again and again: Home.

What is a home?

A structure, a shelter, a place to put your stuff, store your life, sleep.

It’s a place where you reside, hopefully with those you love. Some inhabitants have been there from the beginning, helping to establish your home. Others you invited, relishing the time they spent with you. Some stumbled in on their own, but you loved them and made them family. Some visit and then leave again. Some didn’t fit and you did’t invite them back.

Each transforms you as they move through your doors, sit on your couches or share your food. You make your home but then it starts to make you. Like children, it forms its own personality around those who knock on your door. Have you been conscious about who you let in?

What do you want your home to be? To say about you? How do you want to feel when you’re in it? Does it stress you out, or does it nurture you? Do your co-dwellers feel loved, or do they use the walls to separate themselves from each other? Do you make the effort to open those doors within the walls? Do you cherish the space?

What story does your home tell? Is it the one you want it to tell?

Clear Vision: It’s all about the editing.

Jen Norton's vision board

My vision for my art business, in pictures!

I had a mini-aha-moment today as I was putting together a vision board for my business as part of my Hello Soul, Hello Business e-class. I’ve believed in the importance of making a vision board for some time. I’ve seen other artists make them. I’ve heard about them being used for therapy. And I even made my husband make one a few years ago as he was struggling to reach some of his personal goals. But I never sat down and made my own. I guess I just figured I make pictures all the time, how different could it be? I know where I want to go, right? But a girl can change her mind.

Today’s board creation project is falling after four days of pondering and writing about aspects of our businesses like their values, characteristics and soul missions. Through guided exercises, we have been digging deeper into our own truths all week, seeking to define what we have been put on this planet to do. So today I sat down with my scissors and old magazines to craft my board. Thought it was just a fun way to wrap up the week. That’s when I realized it’s not just about making a concrete form of your vision or having it posted as future reminder, although those are important parts. The magic is in the editing.

As I went through each magazine, words and pictures passed before me that held meaning and relevance. With each temptation, I had to make a decision: Is it REALLY relevant to my vision? Or is it just something that fascinates me, but that could distract me from my chosen path? And then came the time to glue it all down. My board was only so big. My collection of stuff was about three times bigger. More editing! More clarity to my vision!

I don’t know why this is such a revelation, really. My best paintings have been edited and “fixed” to to my liking before I let them leave the house. Each of my blog entries can take me several hours of editing. In both processes, there is a lot of thinking time along with actual action. I absolutely believe half the worlds problems would be solved if people would just think before they speak. Why would my vision be any different? It isn’t…I’ve just been keeping it on the back burner for too long, never quite finishing the final revisions. But here I am in the here and now, glueing down a clear vision of my vision, and I love everything included on my board. I only allowed one tiny distraction: a little picture of a dog with the words “My therapist has a wet nose”. If only my dog had thumbs…I could use an assistant!

My name was Jenny.

Jenny © Jen Norton

“When I was 4, my name was Jenny”

When I was little, my name was Jenny. If I could type it correctly on a computer, the “J” would appear backwards the way I used to write it. Although it’s been almost four decades since anyone besides a few family members has called me by that name, it has taken me a lot longer to drop those two last letters and become just “Jen” than you might think.

Not that people haven’t called me “Jennifer” or “Jen” for some time. But inside, I was still very much “Jenny” for years. Jenny was terrified of the world and debilitatingly shy. She believed you could only be loved if you were perfect in every way. She never asked for help. Even when she fractured her back at the age of 13, she never told anyone, which gives you a clue to her strength. Unfortunately for a long time, that strength was only used to hold up her safety walls. Fortunately, her mom gave her lots of crayons and paper behind those walls, which allowed her imagination to fly where she couldn’t. Eventually, she started venturing out…

Today I started a 10-week online class called Hello Soul, Hello Business* run by licensed artist Kelly Rae Roberts and Do What you Love for Life coach Beth Nicholls. About 200 other creative women and I are beginning by exploring the “Why” of what we do. We were encouraged to give our business a name, which is how I ended up back in my childhood. I would be willing to bet if we really could do what we love, it would involve doing what brought us joy way back before paychecks and taxes were part of our lives. It would include a willingness to share the adult wisdom gained from overcoming our biggest life challenges. I know that’s true for me.

I may be a very different person today, but if I am to move forward and do anything of value, I cannot leave Jenny behind. To forget her or lock her away would be to toss away the seed God planted in my heart as I came to this life. Together, we are on a journey to find the other “Jennies” out there and encourage them on their way to finding their true names. The next ten weeks for me will provide a roadmap. I can’t wait to see where we’re going!

(I dug this painting out of a pile of work done at workshops. This was from a painting workshop by artist Katherine Chang Liu** where we were encouraged in a different way to find out the “why” behind our art. There I am, hiding behind my mom’s leg (yes, she really had those horn-rimmed glasses), peeking up at the scary chaos of possibilities out there. I had forgotten about this painting until today!

*Follow #HSHB on twitter or find out more on Kelly Rae’s website.

*If you are in the San Francisco Bay Area, Katherine is going to be doing an Artist Mentoring workshop through the Santa Clara Valley Watercolor Society in June.