Artist Blog by Sheep Incognito Artist Conni Togel


Surviving As An Artist During Covid-19 Pandemic Times

Being an artist is definitely one of the more “interesting” career choices one can make in life.

It is hard enoguh in what we used to consider “Normal Times” to sell our work, connect with buyers, get our work into galleries, apply to all the juried shows, and then travel to those and take on herculean efforts to set up our mobile galleries for a few hours.

Throw weather events, poor turnouts, high gallery commissions, high material costs, huge travel costs into that equation, and many of use were simply “living an earning”, more than “earning a living”.

And now? Covid-19 Pandemic Times? Um, yes – we now see the value of “Normal Times” so much clearer, don’t we? Having to pivot to online shows takes a LOT of time, a steep learning curve, and more expenses just to keep up with the needed technology.

And then the galleries closed. For example, two weeks after I delivered a set of my paintings to a popular gallery i downtown Charleston, covid closures happened. And then, protests happend in front of the gallery. And then they re-opened, but with boards in the windows – and without tourists, because: pandemic times.

“Pivot” ( remember the couch scene in ”Friends”? Yup, that is now real life, folks.

It is time to pivot – and to get good at it. Can’t sell your work online? Create a line of work that you CAN sell online. Don’t know how to do that? Watch some good tutorials to learn the ropes. Don’t have the technology for it? Ask around – someone in your circle is bound to have some sort of webcam setup or know someone that does.

But where do you pivot to? Ah, yes, excellent question!

Just like us artists, people are stuck at home, wondering where their “normal” went – so to get your work in front of them, you need to meet them where they are: online.

Whether you set up a virtual classroom on Zoom, or run a live art show booth video on your Facebook page, or set up your booth in your front yard for a drive-by art show – making it work is what keeps us from being quitters. It is, after all where we “live our earnings” – so giving that up does not just cut our income, it also cuts our heartstrings in the process.

The past two weekends we participated in two online fiber festivals with my Sheep Incognito artwork. It was not easy setting up the technical side of things: we subscribed to Zoom Pro level, only to find that my laptop/ browser combo is a bit outdated, and would not run smoothly and, I have yet to figure out how people would register or sign into my zoom meetings. With that challenge, and a timed slot for my live session, we pivoted to just using Facebook Live Video instead. We had added new products with my work on them right before the event – but did not have time to get it all uploaded there, and ready to order on the website. Pivot again: we set up one listing for three different product types, and just added a field where buyers could enter the title of the image they want on their products. We then place the order with our printing providers, and have things shipped directly to the buyer. It costs a bit more in production and shipping costs, but frees up time instead.

Time we then can use to create other products, or paint new paintings (on a smaller scale than for the show booth – pivoting again!).

So, how DO we survive as artists in these strange, peculiar times of Covid-19 pandemic? We get dizzy, we keep going, and we gain energy from seeing what CAN be done, rather than letting the “what we can’t do anymore” bring us down.

On that note, an ecnouragement to all you artists out there panicking right now: keep pivoting, until your pivoting skills turn into a beautiful dance with adversity. It might just be the ballet performance your buyers have been waiting for anyway.


N o


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Dublin Irish Festival 2022, There Are Sheep Heading Your Way!

We are FINALLY on our way back to Dublin, Ohio, for the always maaaahvelous, always fun, Dublin Irish Festival 2022!

In tow: a whole trailer filled with happy Sheep Incognito paintings, smiles, giggles, and fun (alongside all the carp that is required to set up our booth at the festival – sooo many pieces to put together, to give the sheep art a decent place to hang out this weekend (Look for us in Coffman Park, Emerald Parkway, Dublin, OH, August 5-7, 2022).

Fly-by near Richmond, Kentucky – such a beautiful area of the Country!

Here are some of the new flockies heading that way:

BaaaagPipes, 24”x48”, acrylics on canvas.
Touched By An Angel
Sheep Toss
Family Gathering Prints

New in the Flock: “Mom’s World”

My kids are to this day the best thing I’ve ever accomplished – and they are now starting families of their own.

Three daughters – it seemed like a lot, when I was younger. Being a Stay-Home-Mom seemed like a lot. The messes in the house all day – every day. The bickering. The laundry – oh, the laundry! The sheer avalanche of smallish socks, that mysteriously lost their partners, never to be paired again (unless, of course, I threw out the lone socks…invariably, the other one would turn up again the next day…).

The sleepless nights filled with one, two or three crying kiddos (and sometimes a crying mom, too).

The very early morning wake-up call from the husband, traveling for business overseas, from his cushy, clean, expensive hotel, to complain how wronged he was, when his fancy steak in the restaurant the evening before was not cooked to perfection, the fluffy clean towels in the hotel room were too small, the conversation with the other adults there did not circle around his particular – and, even then, very strange interests…

It seemed like I was being buried, never to emerge again from an avalanche of, well, EVERYTHING.

but even in all of that, there were hugs from my girls. Snuggles in the morning. Teaparties with hats, and bears, and fishhie-crackers. Playground picnics. Hikes in the canyon, walks in the woods, butterflies, and horseback rides, bowling alleys and cookie bakings… soooo many fun moments with my favorite people on earth.

My duaghters always were – and in fact still are – my world (and the avalanche of missing socks is about to descend on their homes as well)- seeing their worlds emerge in their own ways, is nothing less than magical.

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“Throwback” – A new Sheep Incognito Painting Just Finished!

Meet the newest addition to the Sheep Incognito flock:

Title: “Throwback”, Size: 24” x 36”, Media: Digital painting on canvas, framed.

Contact me at the studio for aquisition information. Prints and smaller reprodctions will be available on the wesite next week.


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Sheep Incognito Returns to Maryland Sheep & Wool Festival 2022!!

Maryland Sheep & Wool Festival 2022 – IN PERSON AGAIN!!

We’re baaaaaahck!!

The Sheep Incognito flock of paintings is going to be back at the best fest east of the West – the fabulous Maryland Sheep & Wool Festival is back in session, in person this May, and we could not be more excited if we tried!

May 7 & 8, 2022
At the Howard County Fairgrounds
West Friendship, MD

Come find us on the Main Walkway, across from the building labeled “Dining Hall”
(Come through the Main Gate, walk all the way up the hill, look to your left – we have a big tent filled with Sheep Incognito Art to make ewe smile!

Don’t forget to nab your 2022 Calendar – only $12 this year!
Get a single sheep to make ewe smile, or adopt a whole flock with one of our maaaahvelous flock discounts – we are all itching to see ewe there!

Sheep Incognito is back on the road:

This time, we are heading back to Raleigh, NC for the always fantabulous Carolina Fiber Festival 2022 – all happening on March 11 & 12, 2022!

Mark your calendars, save your laundry pennies, and come see what is new in the flock – this whole pandemic shutdown has led to a whole slew of new crew of ewe – and we could not be more thrilled to get to introduce you to all the new fluffs I’ve created.

See all of ewe there!

NEW in the Herd: A Highland Cow Meeting A Soulmate: “Highland Rendezmoo”

A Lot had happened these past 2 Years: The mobile gallery for the Sheep Incognito has been parked, just waiting to get rolling again, after this pandemic is over. On the Family Front, there has been a graduation on the front porch, a wedding in the back yard, a birth of a beautiful grandson, and so many more things that all served to keep us from getting depressed about being stuck at home.

Painting had to take a break, with all those happenings going on – and it has evolved into more digital painting on the iPad, in ProCreate – because it’s nice to sit outside sipping coffee, while painting, instead of being cooped up inside.

Here is the latest of this new-fangled process I am still trying to master:

Highland Cow Kuh

TITLE: “Highland Rendezmoo” – available on the website in various sizes and finishes:

“HIGHLAND RENDEZMOO”, 24” x 20” on canvas. Frame not included.
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This week has been a lot of this it seems – at least in my head.

In reality, it has been a bit of a hustle, trying to catch up after weeks on the road.
Amazing how a house can accumulate stuff, even when you are not looking.
What does one do with all the odds and ends that keep wandering in? The stacks and stacks of mail, the junk kind and the other kind – the random things, like the recycled shopping bags, of which at some point, one has too many. Toss or keep?
The really cool book I found – keep it? Toss it? Sell it? (Selling sounds great – but I have a hunch that right now EVERYBODY is trying to sell their things…who does one sell unwanted items to, if they are unwanted not just by me, but by humanity in general?).

Every now and then I fantasize about just taking a few clothes, one pot, one pan, one plate, one fork, one chair, one bed, one little table, and just finding a small cottage in the woods to just do “Just Lion Around” all. Day. Long.

But until then, the hustle is real and continues…you can, of course help follow that dream by shopping online in my store.
Makes ewe AND me smile….lol

Just Lion Around Prints and Giclée reproductions on canvas.