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Sunday, January 24, 2010

Deja vu, I did a Monet!

If these two painting look familiar, it's because they are. Didn't Monet paint waterlilies over and over? Well I painted my zoo friends of last week again. This time in a different size from the color versions and they are done in grey scale.

This week I had a show entry deadline that was due yesterday. It was for the Eccles Black and White Competition. If you recall, one of my goals recently was to have a piece ready for a show earlier than the deadline date. With that in mind, I tried to think up something I would like to paint for this black and white show. My mind was blank (that was last Monday). The next day it was blank, and by Wednesday, blankety blank blank! I was getting a little frustrated. So I thought I ought to see if I had any frames around that might stir my imagination. (I tend to buy frames when they are on close-outs). I found two that I have had around for awhile but never felt inspired to paint anything for. They were heavy, nice black frames with a linen liner. I thought they looked like a jungle animal should be in them. So... I thought hmmm, what if I just took my giraffe and monkey drawings and resized them and painted them in black and white/grey)?

I spend quite a bit of time working on my compositions for paintings and always save my sketches and drawings. Anyhoo, I thought the giraffe and monkey would go very well in the black frames. They are a little different from the first ones. I wasn't out to paint them exactly alike. I gave the paintings different names than the color versions too. The giraffe one is 'Standing Taller' and the monkey one is titled 'An Unexpected Friendship'. I used charcoal, acrylic paints, watercolor markers and a crackle glaze.

Guess what? I even had them all finished by Thursday night and delivered them yesterday (Saturday). No last minute frenzied painting for me this week!

Now I have to wait and see if they get accepted because it is a juried show. Speaking of juried shows... I got one painting juried into the zoo show, the monkey one. The award reception is this coming Friday. I am crossing my fingers it wins an award. I will let you know ok? Well... I will let you know if I win something... if I don't, I probably won't say anything ;-)

Monday, January 18, 2010

To Friends!

This morning, my day began with an email from a dear friend who had lost her mother this past week. Then an hour later another very good friend dropped by to pick up some of her paintings that I had picked up for her at a show. She invited me to go get a hot chocolate (but I had this hot vanilla milk thing - yum!) and we visited for two hours! I love talking to artist friends. While we were visiting, another friend called to let me know his mother had passed away on Sunday. I couldn't help but shed a few tears for the second time today.

Friends are so precious! So as I went to work to create a little art today, I was thinking about all my wonderful friends, sharing good times and sad times with them. Sharing is what makes the best of friends. Do you ever get with an old friend and it seems like you could just talk for hours?

I made a little ornament with a piece of a collaged page from a 1937 book titled "Behave Yourself!". It is an etiquette book for young people. One of my favorite excerpts is where it talks about personal hygiene; "Plan on at least one bath a day, but don't limit yourself."I had to laugh because I have been lucky if some of my teenagers would take even one bath a day. There are alot of other fun tidbits that I am sure will make interesting collages on my art in the future.

Anyway back to the ornament I made, it's from Chapter 12 "The Gift of Gab" and it is dedicated to wonderful friends that can't stop talking to each other!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Hi Ho it's off to the Zoo!

Today was the annual call for entry for the Hogle Zoo World of the Wild Art Exhibition. As usual I put off painting my entries until the last minute. I had decided what I wanted to paint and had it sketched out on Friday, but with it being gallery stroll that night and having miscellaneous things to do, I didn't get them painted til today. So I got up early and watched (or I should say listened) to Pride and Prejudice with Colin Firth (yes!) and painted. Naturally the paintings were due today, and I arrived 5 minutes before 4:00, just before the doors closed. Yup, I was the last one there.

I don't know why, but I am always a last minute painter. I know plenty of time ahead about these deadlines, but it always seem I wait til just before to start painting. After today's experience, I decided I would start on Monday to paint for these kind of things each day, whether it just be a painting for the galleries or an entry for a show. I tend to focus on ebay first and then do the other things last. So I am going to try to be a little more balanced.

I entered 3 paintings in the zoo show, but don't have a picture of the third since it was an older painting that was already framed. When entering a show, I usually am rushed and don't get a picture of whatever I just painted. But today I did! These pictures of the new ones aren't great but at least it will give you an idea what they looked like. They are titled 'True Love' (the giraffe and frog) and "Best Friends" (the monkey and toucan). Not great titles, but hey! I was lucky to have got them done.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Dolls Anyone?

Ever since I inherited my mother's bernina and babylock serger, I have felt I need to use these things in my art somehow. Once upon a time I used to sew all my kids clothes, but now all I would use a sewing machine for is repairs etc. Which would not be sufficient use for these lovely machines! So, I figured it would be fun to give dolls a try. Throughout the past year I have experimented and tried different ways to make dolls, but nothing that I felt satisfied me with a final product. Also I didn't want dolls to be my whole art experience as I love to paint paintings. I wanted a simplistic doll that I could paint!

I tried to make armatures and sculpt, but that didn't work for me. In fact I spent this whole last month researching and experimenting. Nothing that rang my bell... got a little frustrated several times in fact. Selling on ebay, you run into some really clever artists. One that I have long admired for her folk art paintings is Jane DesRosier. In the fall of 2008 she started making folk art dolls. I loved them for their simplicity and for Jane's creativity in them. She offered online classes but I purposely didn't take them, I didn't want to make a reproduction of something she designed. Something about the artist in me... wanting to create my own 'thing'. In reality, no artist creates their own thing, inspiration comes from other things and artists and we are just fortunate to give it our own twist.

I was about to give up on the whole art doll thing when last night I stumbled upon Jane's dolls again. She had recently started a ning group for clay and cloth dolls. Since the armature sculpting thing wasn't working for me, mainly because it was too time consuming. I thought, ok, I give up I will join Jane's group. I am still hesitating on taking a video workshop for reasons given above, but have very much appreciated the things she has shared on the group site. What the heck, I guess I will give it a try doing a version of the way she constructs her dolls. So today, I am going to try and make a doll Jane's way. Then I will have something I can paint and collage and sew on to my hearts content... I hope! So Kudos to Jane, a very creative, inovative artist.

I posted a pic of the corner of my studio. My studio is in an unfinished basement, but I like to call it home. On the shelf is three dolls, two are unfinished Raggedy Ann and Andy dolls. Ann's hair is 3 quarters done and Andy is still bald. My mom started making them when I was like, 10 and never finished them and I waited forever for her to finish them! So I inherited those as well. I have had them for over a year and a half and haven't finished them either... they are still partially bald and naked. Oh well, maybe that is their heritage. But at least I have them now! The other doll is a cabbage patch kid "koosas" named Lovealot. I got that from my mom too. She collected cats, figurines etc. and she had to have that doll when it came out. As I write my blog, I am finding how much she influenced my art. Thanks Mom!
I will keep you posted on my latest doll venture.

Thursday, January 07, 2010

I love working without interruption!

I really enjoy days when I don't have a meeting to go to or have to run any errands. I happily head to my studio and spend a creative fun filled day making art! I have been mainly focusing on art for my online sales, but now I need to get busy as new show deadlines are coming up as well as needing to take some new work to the galleries. So my brain is busy planning some new paintings.

I read an article in Art Calendar magazine the other day about selling on ebay. It was written by an artist named Jack White. The tips he listed for finding success on selling art on ebay I agreed with as I had found them to be true over my 9 years of selling there. One thing he suggested that I never tried though, was that he started all his auctions under $1! I have seen a lot of people do that, but never had the guts to do it myself. He stated that some paintings go for only that much, but for the most part, it often starts a bidding frenzy. He said that people like the excitement of bidding and that he did much better with a bidding auction than listing it as a 'buy it now' because of that. I have found that to be true, that bidding auctions have done much better then a fixed price auction for me over the years.

Ok, so I have been thinking about what he said on starting auctions below a $1. I don't think I want to start that low! Maybe $9.99 as a starting bid, then you at least cover your supply costs and listing fees. Interestingly enough, I found this past month that starting auctions at $9.99 was very successful and profitable for me. I only listed the ornaments that I have been making and every one sold, the highest reaching $41, and many averaging in the $20 range. There were several benefits that I found starting auctions at this price; Most all of the ornaments sold first time around and there were very few that had to be relisted. This resulted in lesser ebay fees. The economy has had it's effect on my sales this past year and too often I had to list things several times before they sold. Because I was asking a higher starting bid, the fees were much higher per auction, so as you can imagine, my ebay fees for the month were building and with fewer sales to show for it. (Can you say frustrating?) It was very economical fee-wise to start at $9.99.

Another benefit of starting at a lower bid price is that there is a better chance that more people may see your auction as everyone is looking for a deal and will seach by lowest price first. This can build up a new customer base as most people are willing to bid on lower priced items. I have also found out through the years that items that get at least one bid draw more views. I think the reason for this is people want to see why that particular item is being bid on, are they going to miss something if they don't look?

So have I talked myself into starting my auctions at $9.99? Let me see... here are the possible benefits- lower ebay fees, less re-listings, more sales, new customers? Hmmmm seems like it would be worth looking into to. Oh, one more thing that Jack White said about selling on ebay, you have to be pretty prolific, if you take a week to paint a painting, you won't make any money.

Ok, this is what I have decided to do, I am going to list on ebay everything I make at the starting bid of $9.99 for one month. Then at the end of the month I will evaluate my sales and decide if this is going to work for me. I will report back here, so be sure to tune in then.... it's a date ok?

I am going to keep with my commitment I made yesterday about putting my contemporary folk art on ebay.

The painting featured today t is 'Love Angel' and you guessed it, it's on ebay at a starting bid of $9.99.

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

A New Year!

Ok, so I have neglected my blog dreadfully! I have been so busy with the holidays, but mostly I am guilty of neglect. One thing I have been doing is working on some new projects for ebay which has taken me longer than I expected. I hope to have something to show by the end of the week. I also took a little break between Christmas and New Years. Now I am doing ornaments as they make cute little Valentines. I hate to think that far ahead already, but they need to get done now if people want them for decorations a couple of weeks before the holiday.

I have often been torn between my more folk art work and my fine art work and what should I promote online. Yesterday I decided that I will feature my folk artsy stuff on ebay and my fine art work on etsy. At least that's the plan for today. I allow myself the option to change my mind, since it will probably happen anyway.

Today I am featuring an ornament that is currently up for auction on ebay - "I Love Ewe".