Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Happy Holidays!

Another Holiday season is upon us...
I plan to take the next few weeks to spend quality time with children and grandchildren and just 'reflect' on what the season means to me.
I have some 'projects' in mind to do with the they can make those gifts for their parents that really are 'priceless'. That should be great fun.
And...Christmas just is not least to me...without all kinds of baked goodies to munch on and enjoy.
We'll have dinners, games, gifts exchange and family time.
And...we'll be mindful, no matter how big or how small our 'Christmas' is, that we are among the very fortunate. Because, it's not about the feast, the games, the gifts or even the's about the gifts we have been given to share with one another...and our greatest gift

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Yikes!!! I can't get on to ETSY...and I have a feature today...

I have not been able to get onto Etsy for a couple of hours now...and I need to list my last ACEO Original.

I don't know what the problem is but, I think it might have something to do with the sellers who intentionally inflate the number of hits for their shop listings. Why they do that...I don't know. It doesn't make any sense. Anyone who has visited Etsy more than once or twice can spot the deception... doesn't bother me that other people inflate their hits...unless it prevents others..not just me...from being able to get onto the site.

Here is something NEW...a 2008 Calendar...featuring my cute little characters...and...I will PERSONALIZE your special dates for you!

It's in my CMZart Etsy Shop.....hopefully folks will be able to get in before too much longer!

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Doing the ART FEATURE on ETSY-- Monday and Tuesday

I love that I have found a new 'start' on Etsy. Yes, I could have continued the way I was going on eBay...I don't think so!

It had just become too grueling on eBay..trying to put enough items on to pay for everything. It felt like I was constantly working, without a day off.

Now, I work, pretty much at my leisure. I even had time to put up my Christmas tree. Well, I didn't actually put it up....Jaime did. But, she likes doing that sort of thing a little more than I do. I do like that it is up though. That little corner of my dining room is just so cozy and festive looking.

I had her take a picture of one of my egg ornaments. We did the 'farm animal series' the last year that we did eggs (2003)---I thought they were so cute...and very good sellers...that we did a few for our tree.

Be sure to check us out on ETSY...the direct links are at the bottom of this blog.

Jaime's (BellatrixArt Shop) and my (CMZ Art) shop are doing art feature on Monday...and I am doing art feature with my (Rustic Goth shop) on Tuesday.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

A Couple of New Pieces...

Here are a couple of my newest pieces...Aria and Malcolm.
The first piece is entitled 'Oops'...the second piece is 'Malcolm's Bluebird'.
I listed them tonight and they are already gone...thanks Tina!
I will be listing Limited Edition ACEO prints of these two precious pieces in my Rustic Goth Etsy Shop. I'll do 25 prints of each piece and that will be it.
Watch for more of these precious little folks as I plan to do a lot of these cute little characters. I'm toying with the notion of calling this series, "Bug's Ear" know the saying...'cute as a bug's ear'...some how it just fits!
I've got a couple more series 'up my sleeve' stay tuned for those pieces coming soon!

Monday, November 26, 2007

I am looking forward to doing some fresh new pieces..

I like these little pieces...not great sellers for me though. I am looking forward to doing some fresh and fun pieces over the course of the next few weeks. I want to simplify as much as possible.
For one...taking care of a four year old and a two year old..Monday through quite a challenge for someone whose youngest child is twenty five...and I raised six of my own.
These are my youngest grandbabies and they are precious! They can also be a handful...luckily, I have Jaime to help me and she is just GREAT!!! She does do a lot of the 'sitting'...bless her heart.
We now know the tunes that go along to Dora the Explorer, Thomas the Train (including some of the sing along videos), Calliou (what an unusual name for a little boy).....and we have learned words in Spanish, Swahli (sic), and Mandarin---on Noddy. We ARE getting an education!!! point being...even though I stay up until the crack of dawn...I do take Sundays off of painting..(I usually catch up on a lot of computer work on Sundays...but they are also 'family days'...I fix dinner and the family come over to enjoy it!)...I don't have quite as much time for my art as I used I've got to make every moment count. For this reason...I need to least until after the holiday season is over!

Monday, November 19, 2007

Identifying the ZOA Group Artists on other sites

I am both, CMZart and Rustic Goth on Etsy. ask?

My reasoning for both shops is that I felt the collectors of my 'dark, sad, surreal, macabre' art would not care for some of my 'happy, cute, abstract, Tuscan, etc' art and vice versa.
After losing the 'love of my life' a little over a year ago...I have been mostly sad. I cared not to paint anything hopeful or happy because, I didn't feel hopeful or happy.
And, though most of the art I have done since then has been very sad and surreal, I try very hard to find some happy and fun times as often as possible. When I find them, I paint them.
Maybe the 'separation' of the art is something I need to do for myself...I'm not yet sure.
For now, I will keep them separate...just know that I am one artist..with many dimensions.

Jaime Zatloukal Best is also painting under the 'brush' name of Bellatrix, for similar reasons...perhaps she considered my reasoning for listing different genres separately, perhaps she had different reasons.
Certainly, we thought it might help us 'break out of the rut' of painting the 'same thing over and over and over' again...because we knew it would sell on eBay. When painting began to 'feel like a job we really didn't want to go to'...we knew we needed to 'shake things up a bit' we decided to try different persona to see what would happen.
As it turned out...we loved the 'other artists' we had found inside...and it also brought some excitement back to doing some of our original pieces.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Check out our new sites...

The artists of our group were with the X Gallery art group for a short while and it turns out that what we actually needed was to all be out on our own. The group dynamic was okay for listing purposes, certainly we were more visible, as part of a group of eBay, for a while. Problem was, if one of the other artists didn't keep up on their obligations, it did affect the whole group...even those of us who were doing great.

So, it became apparent that while it might help with visibility, in the long run, being part of a non-family group just didn't work.

So, I have included a few links at the bottom of my blog, to places you can now find some original art, and prints, from a couple of the artists from the ZOA group. (Some of the artists are currently on 'hiatus')

Saturday, November 03, 2007

ZOA Group...going our separate ways!

After three somewhat successful years, the artists of the ZOA Group are going our separate 'ways'.

We are still a 'group' for all intents and purposes....we will just be offering our art on separate sites and venues. We will occasionally do shows, etc. as a group...but, with the tremendous growth of each of our artists, it is now time to pursue our solo endeavors.

Charlene has just opened a new site on ETSY.COM and will be listing originals, prints, and ACEO's over the course of the next week or so.

Here is a direct link to her site..

Merchandise and prints of her artwork is also still available at:

Cafe Press
All Posters.Com
Artists Rising.Com
and other online venues...links can be found at

We will list sites for all other artists as soon as they are up and operational.

Friday, November 02, 2007

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Hard to say good-bye...

I watched 'The Secret' and I believed, long before I viewed the film, in the 'laws of attraction'. How else to 'explain' why the 'have's' always seem to get more...and the 'have-nots' never seemed to ever have anything?
Certainly the 'have's' always seemed to be happier than the 'have-nots'.

I have long watched a few select artists on eBay sell pretty much whatever they listed...even the 'crap'. And, I wondered why some of (what I considered to be) my best work, just didn't seem to 'click'...I still don't know the answer...unless it has something to do with the 'laws of attraction'.
I mean..even the 'select' artists on eBay are able to take advantage of the eBay 'glitch' that keeps them on the first page of newly listed paintings, just by continuing to 'revise' throughout the day. Heck, it doesn't take anytime at all for my paintings to be 'buried' by their constant 'revising'.

I certainly don't begrudge anyone their just would be nice to have a little of that myself.

Perhaps I'm just a little 'down' today. I'm just not sure how much longer I can 'hang-on' before I have to 'throw in the towel'. I'm searching for the positive...but it is, somehow, eluding me right now.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

"Tiny Art" -- by Charlene

Here's a little video featuring 'tiny art' (aceo's and small canvas pieces) by Charlene. Hope you enjoy the 'film'.

Monday, October 08, 2007

I live to paint..and...I paint to live. is true. I can't imagine doing anything with my life except to paint. Sometimes that's a good thing...when my paintings are selling well. Sometimes not...when I wonder if I'll ever sell another painting.

I know that I have a huge problem photographing my paintings...after four years I still haven't mastered it. And, unfortunately some of (what I consider to be) my best paintings don't photograph well...and, no matter what I do, there is no way to sell those online. They end up in a gallery.

Anyway...all of that said...I did up a bio at some point, though I can't really remember when or why. I decided to go ahead and post it kind of sums up who I a nutshell.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

The Time Really Does Fly

I really thought I had posted an entry for this blog just a few days ago...imagine my surprise to discover it has been more than a month ago!
It isn't easy being a 'starving artist'...especially when all income is derived from selling art!
I can't imagine doing anything else...

Monday, September 03, 2007

I've Added A 'Map'

I ran across this map...while visiting some other sites on Zazzle.Com. I have my Tuscan Art shop do each of the other artists. I am finding modest success, mostly through sales of mugs and magnets, featuring some of my Tuscan Artwork I have done these past few years.
Anyway..I ran across this map in one of my fan's site and decided to try to do one for myself. It seemed great I thought I'd give it a go:)

Jaime Zatloukal Best--Art on You Tube

Where Did the Summer Go.....?

Oh my's hard to believe I haven't posted anything since June...where did the summer go?

I guess we've been pretty busy...just trying to keep things going. Since eBay just got too expensive to keep up on our own...even with the good sales we've had...we decided to make some changes. We're doing more, for less output, on various sites....Cafe Press...Zazzle...our website...just to name a few.

We lost one of our vehicles...someone ran into Mike B. while he was stopped for a Metro Bus...totaled the car and he's still having treatments for a back injury...what a bummer!

A couple of the artists decided to supplement summer income..what with dismal summer sales...and now that summer is about over...we'll gear up for fall and winter.

I want to post Jaime's You Tube video in my next is very cool!

Thursday, June 28, 2007

You Tube Video---ZOA Group

We have put together our first video for You Tube...okay, it's a slide show put to the music of Pink Floyd...but, I am pleased with the results.

Certainly any of the other group members could probably have put together a cooler half the time...but, I'm proud of myself for taking on the task.

Now I need to figure out how I can clean up some of the pictures off of my computer without losing them on our sites. My computer is really running slow. I'm sure I'll get it figured out:)

Monday, June 25, 2007

What works...and what doesn't...

I like this saying...I put it on a close up of one of my paintings and then listed it on the Zazzle account that I set up to offer merchandise using prints of some of my late husband's paintings. Since he wasn't able to do very many pieces, I placed a few of my works on to fill in.
They sold one of these pieces today...and while I won't make much off of the sale...the site cost me NOTHING to open....and I've made 100 times more than I've made off of our Yessy site...which cost me $59.00 a year. I have yet to receive an email from the Yessy site, much less an order.
It brings me to 'what works and what doesn't'....I have another Zazzle site, which only features a select few of my Tuscan pieces...they've sold quite a few articles of merchandise from pics of paintings that were long sold...again, the cost to me....NOTHING!
I have a free site on Art.Com....they've sold a number of prints from pics of my paintings that were already sold. And if you Google my name...I come up on Art.Com as a sponsored site. It's true that they make money from my prints... a lot more than I do...but, what have I got invested...a little time to upload a few pictures.
I'm thinking about taking the annual fee from the Yessy site....when it comes due in August...and putting it over on a premium Art.Com account so that I can list more and actually be able to offer canvas prints of my paintings. It makes so much more sense. I'm certainly getting a lot more exposure from Art.Com than I am from Yessy.
Even though I sold a few pieces on ArtbyUs....I never seemed to have enough time to paint the originals I felt I needed to list on more than one online venue. I may check that out again, now that I am taking time off of eBay...just to see if it would be worthwhile to give it a go. It will depend on whether or not they are now charging fees to list.
Anyway...I'm getting a little bored, it seems I work better under pressure and we've taken the pressure off by taking the summer I'll have to get everything else I'm doing all set up for the late summer and fall months. Hopefully they'll be really good this year!

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Keeping Busy

Well, we are able to keep busy...hopefully it will pay off. I am rather 'missing' the daily 'watch' of eBay...I guess after three years, with only about three or four weeks ALL TOTAL off...not necessarily by's hard to 'change'.

But, I am determined to make this summer...the summer of change...and hard as it is necessary.

This experiment for me...was one of the last pieces I sold before we went on 'vacation'.

It is painted on a 9"x 12" canvas sheet, with acrylics and be honest...I was rather surprised that it sold...but I was very explicit in my description...even my pictures...that this was done on a canvas sheet and would have to be matted and framed....still, it sold. I think I might do quite a few of these during my 'vacation' would be a real vacation if I were actually going somewhere and not just trying to working to put more paintings in the gallery and building up a painting 'inventory' for fall.

I am soooo praying that this all pays off.....:{

Sunday, June 17, 2007

A 'working' vacation...

We're taking the summer off of eBay, so that we can have a 'working' vacation.

For one thing...eBay is really least for us...during the summer months. It seems like we spend more money to sell fewer paintings...not good for us.

So, the opportunity came along for us to do some works locally...why not...we're not making a very good living we really can't pass it up. And, we can't do, I'm sure we'll look like we're 'starting over' when we come back in the fall...but, we've got to do what we've got to do!

In the meantime, we are going to keep much as we can anyway...take a few pieces to the gallery and offer the rest of our paintings on our website.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

This is really WHO I am

Someone, whose judgment I 'think' I trust, told me recently..."you're bio is ...'BORING'." So, I reread all of the bios I have out there, all over the place...and she's bio is boring.

"Who cares if you have sold more than 750 original paintings since 2005, or if you have paintings all over the U.S., Canada, Europe, Asia, Australia and South America?"

She's right AGAIN...

"Tell your collectors about YOU, what makes you think they care how many paintings you've sold, or where they are hanging? I think they'd like to know more about you...who YOU are."

I can't imagine why...but then, I've never really been one to "beat my own drum." Still...I find that I too am much more interested in the personality behind the painting, rather than the 'accomplishments'.
So...I'm rewriting my own bio, to introduce you to ME...rather than what I have done...or not done.

I am self-taught. I grew up in a very small community of 1,000 people. While we did have a public school...we didn't have art classes, girls sports, or a lot of other things most schools offer these days. I 'dabbled' in art, whenever the opportunity presented itself, but I didn't get "serious" until I was confined to bed while carrying my fourth child.

My dear husband, sensing how boring it was to just lie there and look at the same old programs on TV, bought me an art set, some canvas paper and "set me free". I came as close as I could to the paintings on the backs of Reader's Digest magazines. Every member of my family got an original painting for Christmas the following year.

Thirty years have passed and I have been painting ever since.

Now I am alone, my husband (and best friend in the whole world)passed away last year. I paint to survive. It is what keeps me going..not to mention, it is my only income. I'm not old enough for social security..and it will be a while yet!

I do have six children (five of them live close by) and nine grandchildren (again, five live close by.)

They are my sources of inspiration...truly! Most of the paintings I paint are directly inspired by them..and I include subtle references of them in most of my paintings, especially my Tuscan Landscapes.

Check out the number of trees...if you've nothing better to do.

You'll find groupings of two, three and four trees (representative of my grandchildren) in almost every Tuscan Landscape painting that I have painted...before my last grandchild was born...there was one, three and four. You can usually find, six different trees, in most of the same paintings, representative of my children.

Most of the two tree paintings I have painted are representative of the love my husband and I shared for almost thirty five years...and the titles are usually reflective of this.

It has been an extremely difficult two years. This past year, having to try to cope and adjust to life on my own, (it hasn't been pretty.)

The year before, we spent so much time at chemo and radiation centers, (cancer sucks.)

My husband spoiled me to the point that, I don't think I made a dozen pots of coffee total in the course of thirty five years. He always made the coffee and brought me a cup each and every morning when he woke me up.

His very last day at home, even though he could hardly walk on his own...he made coffee and poured me a cup before he woke me up!

I wouldn't be painting today if it weren't for my husband. Not only did he buy my first painting set...he encouraged me for thirty years to make art my just took most of those years to convince me that it was possible.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

The third year....

We are into our third full year of online sales of our original art the first year, my husband (and father to several of the other members of the group) was diagnosed with cancer the month of May. Throughout the summer and fall, we had daily chemo and radiation treatments (and a couple of surgeries) to cope with (while keeping our online art business going.)
The second year, my husband passed away on Father's Day. The rest of the summer and fall...who knows what went on...most of us were so grief-stricken that we couldn't tell you what happened from one day to the next...still, we managed to keep our online art business going.
This we approach the one year anniversary of my husband's has been an emotional roller coaster...not just because of our very great loss..but, in trying to know what to expect from our online art business.
I wished I could say we were doing better than what we would sure make everything else we are dealing with, a lot easier....but, perhaps not...

Monday, May 28, 2007


It is our slow time of the year, which for us means, we have to work twice as hard to make half as these times we do a lot of 'brainstorming' for ways to do this. We decided to try our hands at ACEO/ ATC's....and for anyone who doesn't know....

ACEO's (Art Card Editions and Originals) and ATC's (Artist Trading Cards)
are miniature collectable paintings the size of traditional trading cards...3.5 x 2.5 inches in size.
Miniature art is one of the hottest new trends in art collecting. It is becoming an increasingly popular way to collect a wide range of original art at very reasonable prices.

I'm pleased to say that these have been fairly successful for us. While they don't bring in as much as our larger has been a fun way to break away from the 'norm'.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Maybe Next Year.....

Every year I wait later and later before I start gathering everything I will need in order to do my taxes. This year, I was saved by two extra days to file....
Bookwork used to be something I enjoyed doing...not so much anymore. I used to have dear husband would do the monthly books, keep track of the receipts...etc..etc..
He did the first quarter books this past year, but then the cancer had progressed too far for him to do anything past March. It was something he really enjoyed doing..and I really appreciated all that he did to make my job (of doing the taxes) so much easier.
I've been feeling a little down this past week....I suppose it might have something to do with doing the books all by myself..the first time in thirty five years.
Anyway...I have decided that I will take a page from my husband's book...and do the books every month..instead of 'every year'. I am behind three months at the moment...but, it will be much easier for me to tackle the first quarter...then turn around and get April done...than to put it off until next April before I get next year I will actually file my tax returns before April 15th, instead of giving myself an ulcer trying to get it all done in time for the deadline.
I thought it fitting that I display the last painting my husband painted and sold...aptly titled "Spring's Promise."
If it promises nothing else...we can be assured that every year, there is the promise of a tax deadline:)

Saturday, March 31, 2007

Zazzle Sites for ZOA Group Artists

It has been a quiet week, for the most part....including sales. We've done okay and I'm not complaining..

Because it has been so quiet, I've had the opportunity to work a great deal on my Tuscan Art/ Zazzle site. I've added a ton of new merchandise...some really great items I think. I've improved the overall look of the site so that it all comes together in a much nicer look. I'm really quite pleased.

I also started a second Zazzle site, PEZART. This site will contain quite a bit of merchandise using the images from some of my husband's best selling art. I've been looking for a way to offer some of his artwork and this seemed like a very good site on which to do this. We'll also run some non-Tuscan pieces on this site as well.

Jaime also worked on her Best Art/ Zazzle site and added a great deal of merchandise as well.

If you are interested in seeing any or all of these sites the links are;

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Confusion prevails...

I wish I had time to get everything organized, in order, straightened out, running smoothly...etc. etc. It seems, even as 'calm' as I have been lately, that there still isn't enough time to do everything I would like.

Last week, I took two days - in a row - off. I cleaned house, relaxed and just enjoyed my days and life in general. It was great!!

I fully intended to take today and Thursday off again this week, (I always take Sundays for family--but, those days aren't exactly 'quiet and relaxing'... I have small grandbabies who like to be heard:))

Anyway..the painting I had ready for listing just didn't 'speak to me' I had to redo it - or forego a listing for today.. so, I redid it...and I like it a lot better!

So, now I need to decide if I'm going to try to do three paintings I can take Thursday and Friday (same days I took last week)...or if I am just going to paint what I can...and go from there.

I find that I am much more creative when I've had a chance to relax a day or, I'm hoping that I can find enough inspiration, imagination and creativity to paint three 'masterpieces' in one day...that's pushing it a bit, so we'll have to see how it goes.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

In a 'quandry'...

I have been wondering what I really need to be doing with this particular blog. It is a group blog, started for the purpose of promoting the 'Bids for Kids' charity for Paul Newman's Hole in the Wall Gang Camps two years ago.

Since that time, it has become more of a 'personal blog' and a 'journal' of specific events in my lives and the lives of my family members...certainly as it mostly pertained to the group's art and sales...but, it has lately become...well...kind of a chore really...

I don't like that..since I am sentimentally attached to this particular, I am thinking that I will 'bring it back' to what it was 'initially'...I'm not really about doing the painting a day blogs...after all..pretty much every member of the group is doing 'at least' a painting of the day...and it is just too much to try to post four paintings every day..or every week for that, it isn't all that interesting.

If you want to see our paintings on a regular basis, go to eBay and type it ZOA under will bring you to our listings.

No...I think I will post...less frequently...probably once a week...but, I want to take it back to it's original 'roots'.... group you know, we are now Gallery Represented...and at this time we couldn't take on more than the one gallery we are in. We're doing quite well on eBay...for which we are all very grateful...but, it takes most of our energy just to keep the listings going on there.

...we had both cars go down at the first part of the car is no longer...the other is bravely trying to keep us transported but we are focusing on getting new transportation for all three households as soon as possible:)

...Jaime and Mike had a terrible flood in their basement last put them down for several days and also somewhat behind in shipping. Luckily they didn't lose any paintings, canvas or too many shipping boxes...just a horrible mess that took several days of work to clean and dry out...I think they are still a little 'damp'...but, should be caught up by midweek.

...Patrick is getting back to his routine of jogging to start his day, now that the weather is warming...we did have some snow to interrupt, but it is looking like spring might be right around the corner and he'll be able to get into daily routines....

...Charlene is practicing 'The Sedona Method' let go of a lot of old baggage, grief and a few other is working...I feel so much more refreshed and ready to paint some beautiful masterpieces:)

Saturday, March 10, 2007

ZOA Group eBay Store items....

This week's 'offerings' are from our ZOA Group eBay store. Several of these original paintings have never been listed as auction items, and will not be listed for auction.
To check out our store onto the link below...

In Morning's Zatloukal Best

Hall of Souls..'The Fearless' A. Zatloukal

No Way To Mend a Broken Best

Where We Used To Zatloukal Best

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Art and Life.....

I create...because I must. I was given a gift that I am driven to use. Still...I must consider what is 'commercial' and what is not...since this is how I make my living.
Sometimes it drives me crazy to create a really good work of art...only to have it rejected...but, I've learned that it 'goes with the territory'. If this is what I want to do with my life...I have to take the rejection with the praise. Luckily...I receive far more praise than, in the is all worth it!
I must also remember...the masterpieces of Renoir and Monet were spat upon in the beginning. Their audience didn't understand this new 'technique' of painting...and initially, rejected it. I can't think of too many people who wouldn't love to have an original Renoir or Monet hanging on their walls today.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Friday, March 02, 2007

A Few Words....

This is my very first blog. I have had it up for almost two years...and, in those two years, I doubt if many people have visited or read this blog. I guess that's alright...I still don't know enough about what attracts readers to one's blog to worry about it.

What this blog has done for me is to serve as a journal..if nothing else, I was able to update the doctors and nurses, during my husband's brave (but losing) fight with cancer, because of what I posted in this blog.

When he had this (or that) done, was hard to remember, because there were so many things going on...luckily, I had posted it, I had a point of reference.

It has been hard going, since we lost posts have certainly reflected the dark places I have been...simply by the lack of posts or, at best, posting pictures of paintings (without posts) of the artists in our group.

I don't know if I will 'pick up' the journal type of blogging on this site, or not. I have, since my husband's passing, started several other blog sites...that are more personal in nature. I should imagine I will post my 'journal' entries on one of those...if I feel that need.

I wrote this post, simply to share how important this site was to a time that I really needed it....

Monday, February 26, 2007

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Friday, February 16, 2007

Monday, February 12, 2007