Sunday, February 15, 2009

Illustration for the Day: Domestic Goddess

Back in the early days of the web, before Etsy and other online stores were available and cost effective for small merchants, I self-published a small line of postcards under the name "Goddess Greeting Cards" and sold them on a very rudimentary system (a buyer would print off the order form and mail it to me with a check).

"Domestic Goddess" watercolor dyes, original approx. 4.5" x 6"

The watercolors of these little full bodied women were inspired by "goddess" figures down the centuries (such as the ancient figurine Venus of Willendorf, 'Birth of Venus' by Botticelli, even Jean-Auguste Ingres' ' La Grande Odalisque' (which if you squint just right shares some pose with 'Domestic Goddess'), and also by good friends in my life. I liked including humorous details: in this one, the goddess delays her arduous chore of ironing lingerie so as not to miss Oprah, which she enjoys with grapes, strawberries, fruit filled cookies, red wine (antioxidants, y'know!) and scented candle; tucked under the coffee table for later is a box of chocolates. She luxuriates on her all-cotton futon in the good company of her two contented cats. Her stack of reading material includes the latest issues of 'Spin Dry' and Vague'.

It was an interesting* experiment and I think over time I made my printing investment back and broke even (maybe just). With the new year looming and seeing a fair drop off in graphic design work, I'm wondering if this venture might be something to try again, this time perhaps as blank greeting cards. Any thoughts from my art comrades out there?

*(a footnote on 'interesting'-- what was most interesting was that comments left to my little website were either wildly enthusiastic, or sputtering in outrage. I had women AND men thank me for portraying fun, loving images of women who were not held to a model-thin ideal; and others directing me to the 'fires down below that await sinners' such as myself, apparently, for portraying such evil decadence!?!?! (ummmm.....because they were 'nekkid'? Or because they were relaxing and enjoying themselves)? The most outlandish of which said something to the effect of I 'should get down on my knees and pray for eternal salvation'.

And, oddly, from the other side of the spectrum, a note from a self-proclaimed 'goddess-woman' who thought it was inappropriate that I make a meager profit on the name of the (nameless) goddess-- I wrote back and pleaded that surely the goddess would not want me to suppress my talents and thus starve? ?

So. Given that, as much as I still like these images and might enjoy rounding out the collection, I will ask my fellow bloggers:

  • Is It Worth It?
  • Am I just asking for trouble?
  • Or is it just the use of G-word??

P.S., I'll probably post a few more of these watercolors this week, if anyone's curious.


  1. Hi over here again, R!! Love the goddess idea, but my sales of greeting cards in the co-op gallery were dismal over the last two years. Six years ago, I made my monthly rent with card sales ($140), but in the past year I was lucky to sell a couple of cards a month. I think it's that everybody is emailing now???

    Re: following your blog -- for some reason, there is no link to sign up when I view your blog. I've seen this same problem with other blogs lately too. I can see the current followers, but it doesn't say "follow this blog" so I can sign up.

  2. Hi Chris,
    Wow, $140 for rent-- was that for the co-op gallery space? It's been a few years but I now recall card sales in a co-op for me were not great, either; better online, oddly.

    Thanks for your input; there is truth in the email part.

    On the blog thing, maybe it's an issue between Feedburner and the Google blogs; I've had some difficulty adding blogs to my list from artists using different services. I'll post a trouble ticket and see if I get anywhere.

  3. I personally like the idea of cards although I agree that now if people have the chance to be lazy they will take that road henceforth e-mail being more the norm now instead of cards but that been said. I love good cards especially blank ones. Akiko started a give away and her formula is asking for people to mail a card to her and she will pick from that, the winner. I like that idea because it promotes the real thing of getting a card and mailing it. Maybe if more incentive like those were done would help things.
    About your card I smiled when I saw it , but I can see someone being offended by the self indulgence portrayed.
    I hope this helps.
    I answered about the dream on my blog.

  4. Wow! Isn't it amazing how people react to things?! I agree with Chris that everyone emails, but you could always do Cafe Press and then have no $ outlay. I love the image! You should link to more on the blog.

    I'm finally posting my seven "tagees." Some new, some old and probably tired of getting tagged, but I love their work.

  5. Hi R. Love this extra large lady pic! I had cards made at the end of last year and they did reasonably well, but since Christmas, not very much, so maybe thinking seasonally is the way to go?

  6. Thanks Dominique, Cheryl and Liz; all thoughtful comments.

  7. Some months all I sell in the gallery that has my work is note cards. I package them in singles and clear boxes of 4. I think your "goddesses" are really wonderful and I would say...go for it. Cafe Press might be a good way to start so you don't have a lot of money invested.

  8. I love you Goddess idea. Just remember that you're not going to be able to please everyone.

    I think you could even sell mini-prints of these. Yes times are tough and people are looking for ways to spend their money frugally.

    People probably don't use note cards as much as they used to but how about gift tags, bookmarks, notepads, mugs or other things people still use all the time?

  9. Hi R,
    The co-op rent was for a huge wall per artist and no commission. But on months with poor sales, it was brutal.

    I am also using google and feedburner, so the glitch on the followers gadget must have a different source. Be interested to hear what you find out.

  10. Hi R,
    Sorry it has been so long. Hope you are doing great. I adore your goddess images. As for notecards, I have had cards in the past, but not for a really long time. I do have a friend who puts her images on cards, selling them at local venues - the mail box store, small boutique shops - and has done fairly well. I do remember when I was part of a co-op that they did not do very well. I had better luck on-line and in local shops.
    I will look forward to seeing more. Very fun and whimsical.

  11. Well, I don't know why or how, but now the "follow this blog" link appears and works just fine thank you!! I just signed up.

  12. Thanks Joyful, Sheila, Cyndi! More food for thought.

  13. Good grief... You're kidding right???
    Those were fun...

    As for causing an uproar.... Well, unless you think you're REALLY going to H*&%, any publicity it good publicity and you DID make lots of people smile!

  14. Hi Marianne,
    I wish I was kidding! People will say anything if they beliee themselves anonymous.
    "In a Hand Basket"


Thank you for your kind comments! They always make my day.