The final opportunity remains – the final opportunity to own a piece of the 85 8x8s Collection. Pieces of Me is the final 8×8 available in the Online Etsy Shop.

Pieces Of Me - motherhood painting by Katie m. BerggrenIn January of 2009, I had an idea to expand upon – I knew about all of the Painting A Day painters who created a small painting each day and placed it out into the world for everyone to see. I liked the idea, the challenge, the rhythm and the motivation – but I knew I’d be crazy to set myself up with something like a painting a day. I have trouble coming up with a new idea for dinner every day.

Plus, I wanted to make it special, make it my own. So, I took a month to ponder and came up with the 85 8x8s for $85 Collection. It had a nice ring to it, and was fun to brand (and I love to brand) so I went for it. Crossing my fingers that I wouldn’t wilt somewhere within the process, preferably not at the beginning!

Beginning February 1st I was releasing 1-3 8×8 inch paintings each week – some day of each week – until I realized that it would be even more rhythmic to make it the same morning each week. Thursday became the morning of choice. So each Thursday morning between 7 and 7:30am the paintings hit the streets! Via Etsy, Email, Blog, Facebook and my Website.

This collection was introduced as 85 pieces infused with my attention & passion ~ many may blossom into larger pieces, while many will be too intimate to recreate. Many will beg to be coupled, or hung in 3s & 4s.

Several collectors took advantage of this idea and purchased a multitude of 8x8s – displaying them lovingly in couplets and groups. With many of my valued collectors now owning up to 20 8x8s each.

These small intimate paintings did indeed inspire larger paintings, as you can see throughout this post.

I was staying up late on Wednesday nights, finishing the paintings, getting them scanned and ready, then updating the website, blog and the Online Etsy Shop, for Thursday morning’s blast.

Not only did I not wilt shortly into the process, I found it increasingly exciting! By the time I had released the first 10 paintings, a couple sold – when I reached somewhere around 15, a couple more sold and before I knew it the idea was catching on. Mothers all around were liking the idea, and so was I.
Song in My Soul (sold), 8×8

At several points the paintings sold within 3-20 minutes of being posted into the Etsy shop.

I felt like I was a part of a little community – a close-knit group of mothers who also wanted to catch and hold onto those tiny quick moments of motherhood. The kinship is warming.

We were chatting, we were sharing ideas and they were giving me feedback and inspiration that I could barely keep up with. All the while I was living with two little boys and experiencing the world with them, and the ideas kept pouring in. One simple day could yield the ideas for 5 or more paintings – the question was whether or not I could get them down or if I would need to try and recall them once in the studio at night.

Crush (sold), 16×20 ~ inspired by Song in My Soul, 8×8

The 8×8 Collection gave me the opportunity to get so many of my ideas OUT of my head, OUT of my sketchbook and OUT into the world! The challenges kept coming and the inspiration and confidence that bloomed was phenomenal. I would grab a canvas and begin a composition, not knowing where it would end up, then leave it alone and work on another. All the while the first one was growing in my mind.

This process strengthened my confidence – my ability to feel my way onto a canvas – not needing each piece to be perfectly planned – but letting the compositions take shape, the paints mix directly onto the canvas.

This process required and allowed me to make a complete mess of my studio – to give into the process, to surrender to the pull and the eagerness of my mother friends who kept asking for more.

This collection spanned three studios, as well, as our family moved twice during the process!

Nine whole months were required to produce these 85 pieces, The 8×8 Collection coming to a close at the end of October 2009.

My thoughts on the closing of the collection where these:

“It seems sad and isolate to let go of this collection that has opened me and closed me, stretched me and compressed me, delighted me and stressed me for 9 straight months.

I am happy with the finished family of 85, but is it really about the outcome? The finished pieces? Or is it about the process?

The stumble, the path, the walk, the doors that open pulled by inspiration and insight – pulled by experiences and quiet meditation – pulled by time with my boys that I know I will never retrieve…

Fresh young years of their life that have this one chance to be lived…I look forward to seeing what lies ahead in the long run, while I feel my way onto the canvas, as though my heart and soul is gripping the brush and my mind is but an extra appendage…I love what I do, and if I follow my soul I’ll be completely free to do what I am divinely called to do. The rest will be taken care of.”

Quench (sold), 8×8

I took a month off from weekly paintings to release a series of Limited Edition Giclees, then decided I must start a new collection.

By December 2009 when The Forty Minis Collection began, there were approximately 15 8×8 paintings remaining in the 85 8x8s for $85 Collection.

Keep (sold), 16×20 ~ inspired by Quench, 8×8

Today, four months into The Forty Minis Collection (a series of 10×10 inch paintings, one released – you guessed it – each Thursday morning between 7-7:30am) there remains just one 8×8 painting.

Pieces of Me was released on June 25 of 2009 – just about exactly half-way through the collection. She was first released as a cooler painting, then later warmed up and infused with Springtime.

Here are the thoughts about this painting:

“The time has come for me to pass my Maya Wrap on – the piece of motherhood that has been the source of some of my paintings, and allowed me to carry my little ones around with me – as if they were still a part of me.

pieces of me, 8×8 – detail

My boys keep growing and I’m becoming more and more of a “Mom” and less of a “Mommy”, but knowing I’ll no longer use my wrap is truly affecting me…”

I feel uncommonly grateful to the men and women who have lifted me up over this last year – who have provided their feedback and support – who have found connections in pieces (some of them down-right uncanny and almost spooky how the connections fit together) and took them home to share or keep.

But, now I know – I know that when you have an idea to expand upon, you better do it – and let yourself get tangled up in the challenge, the rhythm and the motivation – because great results come from good hard work.

The beginning of April 2010 marks the 16th month of producing at least one painting per week (I was pre-producing during the month of Giclee releases, preparing for the beginning of the Forty Minis Collection) – the challenge has been remarkable and at times unbearable – the way this has stretched both myself and my collection of friends and collectors has wowed me.

Thank you so much for your support, time, purchases, inspiration, feedback, kind and loving words and friendship.

Love & Sincerely, Katie

Oh Yes! The Free Cards Winner for last week… the winner is… Candi! Thank you all for playing – let’s do it again this Friday!