The Elephant in the Room

Important Update & A Heartfelt Farewell

Thank you for popping in here - I know it's been a while. Let’s address the large, colorful elephant in the room, shall we?  It’s obvious that lately I’ve been quiet.  Not a lot of art has been posted, and my VIP emails have basically slowed down to the pace of a tired sloth.  And like I mentioned before, it has been somewhat intentional – between two jobs, planning a wedding, and now moving, my life is crazy busy!  But I do at least owe it to you to pop in and give you an update on two fairly major items – the first being my new residence and what that means for my art, and the second being the retiring of my “forever favorite human,” Patrick Sharp.  (Hey, you guys asked, so here I am, talking about it, okay?!)

First, and most importantly, let’s talk about the moving thing.  For 10 years I have lived in the same place.  My 2 bedroom condo played host to many visitors, three Stanley Cup hangover parties, a bazillion art projects and one super cool cat.  It has served me well, but it’s no secret I’ve been trying to get out of it for a while now.  And that day has finally come!  As of June 1, I leave behind my Bensenville home.  I’ll be moving to an apartment with my fiancé that’s a little bit further east.  It’s a little stressful, but mostly exciting!  So what does this move mean for my art?  Well, from now until the wedding is over, it will have an impact on a few things:

Commission Timelines: Normally, I’m pretty quick with getting things done and shipped out to anyone who orders.  I’m still trying to do my best, but with half of my life in boxes, and with most of my time spent either working or packing up things, my timelines are a little different.  My rush orders are not a possibility right now, and each commission is taking about twice as long as it normally would.  Not because I’m slacking, but because I just don’t have the normal amount of time.  So if you have an order you’d like to place for this summer, I urge you to please get in touch with me, like, now.  The timelines are very different than normal!

Discount Codes in my Store: If you follow me on Twitter or Instagram, you know this already, but I have quite a few art pieces that are just hanging out in my house. As much as I enjoy looking at them, I would really like to NOT pack them and bring them to the new place.  In order to get these out of my hands and into yours, I have created a discount code that gives you 60% off of EVERYTHING.  You can use it as many times as you’d like and it doesn’t expire.  So if there’s something you see and you want it, pop in the code “MOVINGSALE” at checkout and take 60% off your piece.

Deadlines: Coming back to the first part about timelines and whatnot, I have to mention a few deadlines.  My moving date is June 1.  If you have an order you’d like me to start before I move, the deadline for all contracts and deposits to be turned in is May 19, 2018.  Anything received after May 19 will not be started until after I have moved and my new art space is set up.  And also, even though it’s 6 months away, my wedding falls right in the middle of my normal “art orders for the holidays” deadline.  This year, I will NOT be taking ANY commissions during September or October.   Any orders place before September 1 will be worked on during those months if needed, but no new orders will be started in September or October.    No exceptions. So – if you have a crazy detailed or large piece you’re thinking about for a Christmas gift, you should probably start talking to me about it in July or August!  Commissions will open up again once my wedding is over and the dust has settled.

New Location, New Classes! My new location is just a few train stops away from where I took my most recent oil painting class. Being so close, it would be totally silly of me to not take advantage, so hopefully this summer and fall I will be taking even more classes, learning even more new stuff and doing more crazy and adventurous things.  Can’t wait!

Things that are NOT changing because of my move and/or wedding: Commission requirements, deposit policy, contract policy, how to contact me, my website, my pricing structure, my shipping policies, my website address, my social media outlets, all other standard practices.

So there it all is, broken down into bits.  This move and the wedding are coming up fast, and I just have to make sure everyone who reads this knows that I’m still here, still listening, and can’t wait to be back to “operating as normal!”

So let’s move on.  This topic is less business and more personal – although it has a healthy blend of both.  I would guess that about 90% of my followers  have found me through Chicago sports art – but specifically the Blackhawks.  Somehow I got wrapped up into that little world and this art gig of mine took off like I never imagined.  I have done so many cool things, met so many amazing people and been able to give my artwork to people I never thought possible.  I have kissed the Stanley Cup more times than many, I have celebrated wins, memorialized moments and been on hand to witness some incredible things.  If you had asked me in high school if “hockey art” would ever be something I did (and did well) I would laugh and say no.  Even up until one cold, February day in 2010, my art was just something personal.  Something I did for fun for myself and a few friends and family.  But then one name showed up in my life, and my art career really started.  That name was Patrick Sharp.  
The first documented evidence. Ha.

At the time, my “partner in crime” and I had started going to various signings because it was something to do.  It was a lot of fun, and hey, who doesn’t like to meet “sports heroes,” am I right?  I was like many of you – waiting in long lines just to get 5 seconds with people like Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews.  So when Patrick Sharp – my favorite – did a signing near the town where I grew up, you know we jumped on the opportunity.  To all of these signings, I didn’t bring things like jerseys or photos – I was bringing artwork.  Why?  It was different.  It was something they hadn’t necessarily seen before.  It was personal.  It was something that I knew would, at the very least, get them to look up at my face and be happy to see something new and different.  It was my “thing.”  I showed up to this event on a cold, windy February day with a black and white drawing of Kane, Sharp & Versteeg (who you only realize is Kris if you are familiar with the photo and context).  We waited in line for our five seconds with Sharpy (and we got Sharpy Sharpie markers too – fun fact), watched him interact with the kids and parents, listened to him talk to the fans about the season, awaiting our turn to say hello.  When it got to be our turn, I carefully unrolled my art piece and set it down on the table in front of him.  His eyes bugged, and he just…stared at it.  After looking at it for a good minute or so, he looks up at me, and the first question was, “Is that…Versteeg?”   Not the question I expected at all! I laughed, I said it was, he said the sketch was awesome, and we chatted for a short moment.

 As he signed it, he asked me, “do you do this for a living?”  I said no.  His response was, “well, you should!”  A small, nonchalant comment.  A blushing compliment, really.  And though it was just a compliment made in an effort to make conversation, it was a 3 word launching pad to what my art life would become.  I never realized how important those words were until I heard them from someone who wasn’t my mom, or my dad, or someone who was closely connected to me.  They were words of encouragement from a total stranger – words from a rather famous total stranger. And though he probably doesn’t remember this or realize that he even said it, he did.  And it stuck with me.  Those words, “well, you should” were exactly what that "twenty-something" girl needed.  They motivated me to give this art thing a shot.  They turned my art hobby into a side gig and a networking opportunity I never dreamed could be possible.  

The "launching pad" for my art side gig. Who knew?

And now, this "thirty-something" lady is in a place she never dreamed would be her reality. Patrick is, in a strange way, responsible for MOST of my “crazy hockey life” and it started with three silly, little words.

 

This piece still hangs on my wall. The "thing" that started this whole journey.

And here’s the best part – ever since that moment, he has still been nothing but wonderful.  Every time I have seen him, whether at an appearance, out in public randomly, or even through the glass at the United Center, he has not only remembered me, but made it clear that he knows I am sitting there.  Through hugs, questions about my wedding (which I didn’t even realize he knew about…) or shooting a puck directly at my face during warmups (thanks for all of those heart attack moments, by the way…) 

Patrick Sharp always had a way of communicating that he was thankful that I was there – that we as a fan base were there.  If you’ve ever been given the chance to meet him, I’m sure you know what I mean.  One of my favorite random memories is when my friend and I were walking down the street, and this car slows down next to us, honks the horn, rolls down the window, laughs and drives away.  Scared the HELL out of us, but when we realized that it was Patrick, we couldn’t stop laughing.  He was, rather – he IS – special.  Over the years, he became one of my favorite people to talk to, someone whose events I wouldn’t miss for the world (and usually to bring someone new to meet him), and someone I hold close to my emotional little heart.  Him leaving for Dallas had me heartbroken.  When he came back, I literally jumped higher than I ever had before in the middle of a workout.  And when he announced his retirement – even though I saw it coming and had my suspicions for a while, I absolutely did get a little teary-eyed.  Patrick is special.  And for all he has done for me, whether intentional or not, the words “thank you” will never be enough.

Patrick was not my “bff” by any means.  I would never go as far as to claim anything close to that.  But here’s the thing about him, and here’s what makes his retirement super emotional.  When you had a conversation with him, no matter how small, no matter if it was the first time you’ve met him or the 50th time that week you’ve seen him, he listened to you and made you FEEL like, if just for a few seconds – that he was.

 

The most recent shindig in February. I'll miss events like this!
So congratulations on an incredible career, Patrick Sharp.  Thank you for everything – both in hockey and in helping this girl build a life she never thought possible.  Your impact has reached far beyond what you realize, and I am FOREVER thankful.  Thank you for making me feel important, thank you for making me realize my talents, and thank you for the opportunities you – without knowing it – had a hand in creating for me.  I wish you the best of luck in everything you do, and I sincerely hope that if in 20 years we cross paths again, I can give you a hug and thank you for the millionth time.  Thank you Patrick, this city loves you.

 

And to you readers, check back soon – I have a really special art piece in the works and I can’t wait to share it with you.  It’s something special!

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