Thursday, October 29, 2009

Painters of Etsy (POE) Part IV: A Treasury Showcase of Talent!


I found it interesting during the last painting class I taught how difficult it was for me to express how to load up a paint brush with a lot of pure paint and apply it thickly. It is one reason I like to introduce the palette knife as a painting method, as it's a little easier to understand that "painterly" concept using something with less accuracy.

For my latest POE (Painters of Etsy) treasury, I focused on those artists who like to load up the paint and create interest with layers and texture. It was difficult for me to choose these paintings - I couldn't find a lot of artists using these techniques. I also tried to look at the overall quality of the artist's Etsy shop to see if there is consistency to their work as well as a nice "look" to their shop (images that weren't all blurry or with flash marks from their camera; a decent banner; a focus on original art). This too, was difficult. It made me realize how many people of varying skill levels are selling paintings on Etsy. Also, how many different styles are available on Etsy. It made me appreciate the art galleries that sell high quality art, and how many portfolios they must reject, and how they might quantify the art they choose.

Not to worry if I DIDN'T choose your Etsy shop, however, I may have just missed it! (Or, already featured you a few times and tried to get some new people showcased).

I hope you enjoy my "painterly" painter choices!



Friday, October 23, 2009

Auction Sites - How ART do they Compare?

"Birds in Red"

That's what I plan to find out! I used to sell on ebay when I first started out painting again. It was a quick and easy way to sell my new art as an "emerging artist", and it was FUN too - that is... until the art category became overloaded with non-original art and even fakes, and the fees started going up! As I was making a little name for myself and gaining a local following, I decided to leave ebay and focus on selling my originals elsewhere. What I did discover, was ETSY. I like etsy for its clean image, low cost, and good traffic, with a consumer base who is used to paying a reasonable price for quality work. It still isn't a great place for selling originals, however, with the average selling price being well below $100. I am still happily selling there, and last year ran my "Painting a Day" holiday promo by listing my artwork daily. I found it difficult, however, to schedule daily listings to be around the same time every day, allowing all my customers equal opportunity to purchase my deals. THIS YEAR I decided to rethink my promotion and see how it would work going back to an auction style site. As many of you saw, I just tried using the Artbyus.com art auction site. The price is certainly right - FREE to list a basic listing. However, I found completing payment and communicating with my customers difficult. The cost of shipping was not obvious. And the traffic (even being featured on the front page) was not there. SO... HERE we go again - back to ebay (after not selling on there for a couple years). So far it actually DOES seem improved, and the prices seem to be back to a more reasonable level. NOW... to see what the traffic is like. I'll test it out with a couple listings over the next week and see how well it works. It will most likely be my choice for my 2009 "Painting a Day" promo, but we'll see. In the meantime, check out what's for SALE!

November 10 - December 10
An ORIGINAL painting (by me!) will be painted and listed DAILY for 30 days - starting for LESS THAN $20.00!

Watch for more info coming soon!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Re-learning Screen Printing with my Favorite Little Birds!

I feel very fortunate that my kids attend a public elementary school that has dedicated money and resources to providing a full-time art teacher (who is an actual working artist) at their school. In many communities it can be difficult to generate this kind of support for a subject that teaches intangibles, often which are very misunderstood. However, I am not only grateful for her efforts at teaching art, I am ALSO grateful for her generosity! When I mentioned that I was going to delve back into screen printing after not touching the process for about 20 years, I found out that she had many supplies (including screens) that she was looking to clear out of her home studio after many years of being a screen printing artist - How lucky am I!

So... here I sit trying to decide WHAT to screen print on my first little pristine screen that I've dutifully coated with photo emulsion and what do I see? My birds peeking at me! (OK, too many rhyming bed-time stories in my household.)

Wish me luck and look for this little pair to show up soon!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Back to my usual Style...

"Sunflower Couple"

I couldn't help but bring my cheery favorite green and yellow into my little sunflower painting. One of my favorite things about painting with acrylics is that I can easily make these kinds of changes - hence, I am not meant to be a watercolor painter (although I did many sweet little animal/duck paintings with watercolors as a kid - AND a painting of various pets from my family's past as a present when I was fresh out of college). Other than that, I'll stick to my acrylics! Although... I am tempted to get out those oils again! Soon... soon.

I hope you enjoy!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Pre-Release Notes: A Return to the Holiday Story


Yes, it's that time of year. The time of year where my husband and I carefully think over whether or not we can commit to creating a Christmas/holiday story for our family and friends (He writes, I design). It used to be a given, in the days before kids, job changes, and before several moves. It was our little contribution to the holidays - our gift. We have made many stories over the years, and we have a few relatives who still surprisingly have copies of them all (after we couldn't find all of ours and had to ask around so that we could get at least an image from each one). Unfortunately we chose not to make one these last couple years. It is always a hard choice for us, and we can count on one hand the number of years we've missed. We have sent our elaborate holiday card/books stories to anywhere from 25 to 50 people in a given year, but doing so does not always fit into our plans, especially when our idea(s) come late in the year leave little time left for final production.

THIS YEAR - we are happy to report that the idea is in the final working stages, and production is already going into the planning stages. We hope our family and friends enjoy our efforts!

Based on the story of our beloved Husky, Juneau, this story was our sad goodbye to her and left us (and many of our recipients in tears) but was one of my personal favorites

Friday, October 16, 2009

Artist's Block: What makes a painter freeze?

(photo courtesy Carson Lommers)

I had a great conversation with a Mom today during a field trip for our 5th graders. We hiked to the top of Bald Hill (Corvallis, OR) as a part of a topography study and had a beautiful view of the valley. The other Mom asked what I do (I paint), and she mentioned her attempts at learning watercolor. One of the tips she received was to paint a scene of clouds every day for several days in order to help her master particular watercolor techniques. She didn't feel it helped her greatly improve. WELL...

Painting is an interesting study in human nature. Certain subjects/objects are particularly difficult for beginning painters because they cause them to freeze up and focus solely on the object rather than the painting itself. I have found CLOUDS to be one of these objects. Part of the problem with painting clouds is that they make such interesting and breathtaking formations on their own, that if painted, they wouldn't look believable. It can make even the best painter doubt their efforts. It almost works best if your painted cloud formations are NOT believable. Weird, huh?

Painting people, birds, pets and buildings will often have the same effect. We freeze. We worry and fret. We no longer are working on a painting, but doing what we can to try to make a realistic person, bird, etc. Suddenly our big arm movements and freestyle brushstrokes become tight and tentative. RELAX!

I have found 2 solutions to this problem: Paint often and paint FAST. Don't let yourself dawdle on the specifics of an eyebrow. Keep the big picture (aka composition and style) in mind. It's not easy. It takes practice - so DON'T BEAT YOURSELF UP about it! Keep painting and have fun!

And - I hope I encouraged the Mom to keep trying... at least with something other than clouds!

You might even try a floral! (They don't seem to engender the same effect)

Happy Painting!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

A NEW Auction - more ORIGINAL Art for sale!

Watch for more auction items to come over the next couple weeks as I clean house and prepare for my Painting a Day special starting in November!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Reminiscing about Murals past...

As I was looking for some old pictures for a project my son was doing for school, I ran across these mural pictures from several years ago. I had forgotten about this one! It came somewhere in between the farmhouse mural (when my son was first born) and the race car mural. I actually made the bedspread too (which just recently finally started to fall apart). Wow, how time flies - but of course, that's what my parents keep telling me!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Unicorns Rainbows and Swans

Today I'm working on the design of a mural for my daughter's new bedroom (7). Do you think there is ANY chance she'll still like unicorns and rainbows when she's 16?? I can only hope...

(I'll post pictures of the undertaking of the mural next month... the plan is to use an overhead projector to put the image on the wall while I work - we'll see!)

Monday, October 12, 2009

More NEW products coming your way...

I now have stationery available on ZAZZLE.com!

These sheets of paper are a perfect size for those quick notes to friends and family - 5.5 x 8.5 inches tall. Fold your note and fit it neatly in a standard size A2 envelope! Choose to have them printed on Recycled Paper for the environmentally conscious letter writer too!

Currently I have 3 new designs available: "California Poppies", "Chickadee in Summer", and "Camas in Bloom". Look for more designs to come soon, as well as larger 8.5 x 11 sheets for those longer letters!

ALSO available on Zazzle!





and MORE!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Thank you for Joining Me at Art Class!

Many thanks to the kind and talented students and artists who attended my workshop in McMinnville Saturday morning! I love working in Acrylics, and thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to share this passion with you. I hope you enjoyed your time, and I look forward to seeing you all again the next time our paths cross - maybe another class in the Spring? In the meantime, here's how my short demo ended for the day. I love the energy in this little sunflower painting, but the colors started to get a little muddy as I reworked it. I'll see what I can do about that during my next studio session.

What's next after that, you may ask?!? Just a little r&r until I start my "Painting a Day" original art sale in November. Nothing recharges the mind and soul like some time off! Watch for more information to come soon.

Happy painting everyone!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Superimposing my Art-Life onto my Home-Life

Yes, I am a full time artist. I am also a full time MOM! Tuesdays are typically busy, busy, busy, because it's my volunteer day at school, but life seems to have taken it up a notch today.

Like many people I wear many hats. As a self-employed artist I have found wearing those hats to be a little more crazy since I can go back and forth between work and home any time of day. I have to admit that my artist life came to fruition not only due to my need to create and be creative, but also my need to have a flexible schedule for my family - and for that I am VERY grateful. Today is a good example of that crazy life, and just for fun, I'm sharing. Feel free to share YOUR crazy day here too, as I know I had them when I worked full-time as a computer consultant as well as when I was a stay-at-home mom full time when my kids were born. It happens!

First of all, let me just say that I returned from an art show in Sacramento yesterday and am just getting over a bought of vertigo that hit me during the trip home.... not the best way to start my week. Also, I'm in the middle of buying a house. Ahhh the paperwork!

  • 6:45 am - wake up and get dressed and get kids up and moving before running the spouse to work due to his training schedule today.
  • 7:20 am - back from dropping off hubby, fix breakfast for kids, pack lunches, and drive to school (we usually bike, but my vertigo was having none of that today!)
  • 8:05 am - wait for 1st grade teacher to come out of room for the start of school so that I can ask her to discreetly deliver a few birthday invitations for my daughter's birthday party on Thursday. Take car to storage and unload supplies from weekend show/trip.
  • 8:30 am - back home - MAKE COFFEE and then pack two online card orders to ship today and print out documents that need signing for the house.
  • 9:10 am - back to school to volunteer for reading and then running program (note - still NOT showered)
  • 10:20 am - back home - place book order for school, write up a couple more online orders, order art calendars, discuss inspection report on house with realtor.
  • 11:30 am - SHOWER
  • 11:50 am - Walk the dog
  • 12:15 am - Off to post office, drop off rented car top carrier, run by husband's office to get papers signed, run over to realtor to meet/discuss/drop off papers, back to school to volunteer in art class and then help with afternoon crossing guard duty.
  • 3:00 pm - back home for a short break (hence, my writing this right now, when, admittedly, I should be doing something else, but what the heck I admit it - I'm a whiner)
  • 4:15 pm - off to soccer practice for son
  • 5:00 pm - pick up husband so that he can watch part of soccer practice
  • 5:30 pm - dinner while watching soccer match (and I'm looking forward to this nice family time!)
  • 7:00 pm - back home - make sure homework gets done, dishes get done, and pack 2 more online orders to ship in the morning before I leave for Seattle to deliver artwork for my show opening on Friday.

Oh yeah, I need to BAKE A CAKE for my daughter's birthday somewhere in there! At least my vertigo seems to be getting better!

Well, that's life. I love it.

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