Twas the 2nd Day of the (29 Faces) Challenge and I barely managed to do a quick little painting; scan it, blog it and post it - get it online before the clock strikes 12!
This painting was done in watercolor with colored pencils and a stamp.
After being the child care provider for my little granddaughter for the past 5 years, Miss Lily started Kindergarten! That has freed me up to make a heck of a lot more effort towards my art adventures.
Hooray! I will miss my daily dose of Lily Rain, but I still get to see her a lot as she lives right above my place.
A few years back I joined a facebook group called 29 Faces with Ayala Art. Currently there is a September Challenge to paint a face a day. I painted one yesterday but didn't get a chance to post it.
So here it is.... I love challenges because they help me to paint daily and explore mediums.
A Few More Days of Summer
One thing I wanted to experiment with is painting on a DIY absorbent ground.
I had a book of watercolor paper that I didn't like the way it absorbed the paint, so I decided to paint the ground on it and see what happens. The ground is not as absorbent as paper of course, but I liked the way I could lift off the colors. I think I will paint all my 29 faces with this ground and see where it goes and what I learn about it. I am also trying to paint a bit more loosely.
Are commissions scary? Well in several ways they can be, especially if it is a portrait of someone. I have done quite a number of portrait commission and I still worry about getting a good likeness. I can't help but wonder if the person who commissioned me will be pleased with the painting. So yes, I kinda think doing commissions can be scary, but not enough to say "no" to one!
This past week I completed a commission of a darling little girl named Alice. The painting is done in watercolor and it was commissioned locally, but in the past I have had quite a few requests from online. Over the years I have come up with some guidelines that I follow to insure success with the client.
1.Get to know something about the client and the subject of the portrait.
Whether I am meeting with them in person or am corresponding through email, I ask about the person they wish me to paint. Getting to know something of the personality is helpful, because I rarely get to meet the subject in person. I also find out what is the occasion for the commission. In this case it is for Alice's birthday and she is the client's granddaughter.
2.What does the client want included in the portrait?
The client gave me a photo of Alice and I asked if he wanted me to crop the photo so that it was a more traditional portrait of face and shoulders, or would he like the pose as shown? As they often do, he asked me what I thought. I explained my preference for the whole pose because I thought it added more of a story about Alice. He agreed (obviously!). I then asked what size he wanted it done in. The client was going to get it framed himself. A lot of times people are not familiar with standard frame sizes, so I showed the client how different sizes would look. He ended up choosing an 11"x14" painting and it would fit in a 16"x20" frame with mat.
I also asked if he wanted the same background in the photo or would he like to choose other colors for the background. He wanted to keep it the same as the photo. It's best to confirm what you are going to paint!
3.Keep the Client updated.
I asked for the client's email address with a promise that I would email him the drawing to get his approval before painting it. I also asked when he would like it finished by. It was the third week of June, and he said Alice's birthday was in mid-August and they were going to California to celebrate it with her. I estimated my commitments for the next little while and told him I could have it done by the first of August. It is best to make sure you allow yourself enough time. Then if you get it done sooner, the client will be pleasantly surprised.
I asked Mr. Client if he would like me to email a photo of the finished painting. He chose to be surprised and see it when he came to pay for it.
Normally I charge 20 -25% of the purchase price upfront (non refundable) and collect the balance when the painting is finished. A lot of work can go into doing a commission and this insures that your efforts are covered in the event of a cancellation. Don't forget to mention that you will collect tax on the purchase price.
4.Drawing the subject.
This is where I spend the most time of the whole process. It is very critical to get the best drawing you can do before you start painting. I usually draw it, then wait til the next day to look at it again. It seems with a fresh view I can fine-tune the features so that I get a very good likeness. I used to not do the second step and quickly realized how important it was. Once finished I take a picture of it and email it to the client for approval.
Don't be too discouraged if the client suggests a few changes. For this commission it was approved as I had drawn it, but in the past I have had suggestions given. I found this was very helpful, especially since one of them was a commission from the internet. I usually only get to see one photo of the subject, but the client knows the person and their personality so their suggestions help me create a better portrait.
5.Ready to paint!
Tips on materials: Make sure you use quality paints and paper/canvas for your commission. If you use a student grade paper or watercolor paint, you will fight with the lack of quality and it's just not worth your time and can affect the quality of your painting.
Make sure you don't rush through the painting process. You owe it to your client to do your best work and it should be fun!
Once I was finished, I made sure I had fulfilled all the client's requests. For the Alice commission, the client requested a Certificate of Authenticity. Some artists always include these with their artwork, but if you don't there are numerous websites that offer templates to download. In this case I used a COA from an online group I belong to.
Because this was a local commission, I placed the painting on foam core that was cut to the size of the painting. As previously mentioned the painting was 11"x14" and I allowed an extra 1/2 inch on each side so that I could tape the paper down for painting. That way no white edges would show through the mat when the tape was removed. I then either use clear plastic envelopes to protect the painting or wrap it in cellophane. I sign my name on the back of the watercolor paper with the title and date it.
On the back of the foam core I attach one of my business cards as well as the Certificate of Authenticity.
The client was very pleased with the painting, and noted that he loved my style and felt that I had carried it across to the commission. He chose two of my blank cards with images of my artwork for family birthdays, etc and I told him that they were my gift to him for giving me the commission. With my online sales, I usually include one of my blank cards as well when I ship a commission. I always feel very grateful when someone purchases my art, so I like to give them a little gift!
So is painting a commission scary? Not if you do the best you can and communicate well with the client. Oh and one more thing, I charge a little more for commissions than I do for artwork that I create for the gallery. I do this because of all the additional steps that are involved when working with a client.
One more thing... I practice drawing people all the time so that I can improve my skills and I would recommend that to anyone who is interested in doing portraiture.
My largest commission ever?
The largest commission I have ever done was a cow painted on a 4'x8' piece of plywood that a client wanted for the side of his barn in New York. Shipping was a bit tricky but I managed!
May is slipping
away, but before it's totally gone, I need to tell you a couple of exciting things!
First I have been working very hard for my show up at the University of Utah's
Pioneer Theater Company's Loge Gallery (whew! that's a mouthful). It's now in
full swing and here are the details:
Featuring the art from Irene Rampton and Catherine Darling
This collection will be on display during PTC’s production
of “The Count of Monte Cristo,” May 6 through May 21, 2016.
Please note that you do not have to attend the production,
the theater is open during business hours Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday.
The Loge Gallery is on the 2nd level.
So, enough about me! I have another exciting thing to
announce... Do you like night photography. What's that, you ask?
On May 25th, Shayne Shaw, an award winning photographer will
teach how to photograph the amazing night skies. Shooting almost any
subject at night can add mystery, intrigue, and a special beauty that shooting
the same subject during the daylight can’t match. In particular you will learn
how to capture the beauty and majesty of the Milky Way along with light
painting an interesting foreground landscape feature.
Topics covered include:
Best lenses and equipment for shooting at night
Proper camera settings
How to find and forecast the position of the Milky Way
How to compose and focus at night
How to properly light paint foreground landscape
Don't miss it!
Date: May 25th 6:30 pm
Location: Local Colors of Utah Gallery in Sugar House (1054
E. 2100 S., Salt Lake City)
The past couple of months have just flown by! My workshop "Follow Your Inspiration" was a lot of fun and I got to know some really wonderful ladies from it. That was in February! Since then I have been busily painting for an upcoming show in May at the University of Utah's Loge Gallery.
But what I really want to tell you today is that I have been a featured artist at Local Colors of Utah this past month. There is a reception this Friday during the Sugar House Art Walk.
The gallery is located at 1054 E. 2100 S. in Salt Lake City.
Over a year ago I came to the conclusion that I needed to make some changes in my life. I am an artist, used to be full time until I started doing daycare for grandkids about 4 1/2 years ago. Although doing childcare full time, I could still get a little art time in here and there.
As my darling granddaughter turns 5 this year and kindergarten looms ahead, my thoughts turned to making better use of my art time. For several years, I told myself that this is the 'season' for grandkids and my art was put on the back burner, so to speak.
In order to get more organized with my art, I started reading books geared for success and self improvement. I soon realized that my life could be whatever I chose it to be! I begin to think about what I wanted to accomplish with my art, something that I hadn't thought about since pre-child care. Surprisingly I found my mind blank regarding art goals. As I studied more, goals began to emerge and I began to take control of my life, rather than life controlling me.
So, I started dreaming big, as big a dream as I could think of. I continued to study and as I focused on my art dream, ideas and opportunities started coming my way. It is all pretty exciting!
This Friday, I am teaching a workshop for the Utah Watercolor Society (in case you missed my earlier posts!) and it is all about zero-ing in on becoming the artist that you want to be and branding your art with your unique flair.
There are still a few seats left, it's not too late to join the fun. Come on, take charge of your art life and dream big with me!
Catherine Darling Hostetter February 19-20 Learn how to use your imagination to personalize and add the unexpected to your watercolor style. Catherine focuses on animals and people in her artwork and often combines them with a whimsical twist. You will learn how let go and use your imagination with fun exercises. Follow your inspiration; where even the most traditional artist can incorporate creative ideas into their style!
I am preparing for my workshop this Friday and Saturday and I am really excited! I have so much to share! This workshop is not about teaching you how to paint like me, but it is about teaching how to reach into your subconscious mind and really make your artwork you! I have always thought that in order to stand out in the art world, you either have to paint exceptionally well, or you put yourself into it so it stands out uniquely from other artwork. Not that you can't do both, but perfecting our craft takes much practice. Meanwhile...
We can arrive at being unique in our art now. My students will deepen their understanding on how to listen to our inner voice and have the courage to paint what we think, This can apply to the most traditional artist. We will do fun painting exercises that make you really think.
I believe goals are important and we will talk about our goals as artists. Lewis Carroll wrote: "If you don't know where you're going, any road will get you there". I love that each of us are beautiful, unique individuals and when we apply this to our art, we share that beauty!
Only a few seats left! To join me for this workshop adventure, click on this link!