Jack of all trades

Sometimes all you can do to amuse yourself is try to match the stamp to where it's heading.

Sometimes all you can do to amuse yourself is try to match the stamp to where it’s heading.

Before I moved to Maine I had an assistant. Whenever I had a particularly boring job, we would do it together. Alas, she’s working for a major Manhattan auction house, and now I have to stamp my postcards myself.

One of the problems with being a one-man shop is that you’re inexpert in so many things. Yet you’re still responsible for whatever back-office work gets done. At times that seems like your major job and the actual work you’re engaged with gets pushed into the corners.

On Monday I tried to print labels for my workshop postcards. I didn’t budget the time needed to suss out how to run Microsoft’s mail-merge, which I only use about three times a year. I never figured it out until after I came back from the post office that afternoon, still muttering.

The secret life of the artist. If you don't get one, send me your address and I'll send it out to you.

The secret life of the artist. If you don’t get one, send me your address and I’ll mail it out to you. And, yes, that’s orange juice.

Inevitably, your software gets senile before you’ve gotten your money’s worth out of it. I’ve lumbered along with Adobe Creative Suite 3 since 2007. I’m not sure why I ever bought such an expensive design package, except that I was used to it. It’s like using a GM LS Series engine to push my little Prius—total overkill. This year I hired designer Victoria Brzustowicz to build my ad for Plein Air magazine.  When I got her files, I found I couldn’t open them; my software had grown old while I was ignoring it.

While I was stamping postcards, my copy of my workshop ad arrived. It is really very nice, isn't it?

While I was stamping postcards, my copies of Plein Air magazine arrived. The ad is really very nice, isn’t it?

We artists, in particular, are incurable DIYers. Sometimes that’s cost-effective and sometimes it involves paying more for materials and tools than one saves. I’m trying to fight that impulse.

I’ve never had a plow service or snowblower. I have two good shovels and I like the fresh air and the exercise. But it’s not any kind of a savings to shovel your own driveway. Plow services are very inexpensive for the value they provide. Now I just have to get over my dislike of spending money and call one of them.

Maybe next week.

Carol Douglas

About Carol Douglas

Carol L. Douglas is a painter who lives, works and teaches in Rockport, ME. Her annual workshop will again be held on the Schoodic Peninsula in beautiful Acadia National Park, from August 6-11, 2017. Visit www.watch-me-paint.com/ for more information.