Thursday, December 31, 2009

Off to the Races

Here is my friend heading off to a barrel race event that will go from tonight through
Sunday. I wouldn't want to haul that rig or stay in it in this weather -- but more power to her and Best of Luck in the races.

Below is a before (prepainted panel to fit in a large mural image) and after mural panel I did (one of three for an ill fated horse related project -- another story) in which my friend and her mount, Raz were the inspiration.

I am currently in the design stages of a poster for a poster competition for a local art fair and wine festival. You can read about it here. I may post the preliminary drawing later tonight. I have an idea in my head, but really don't know if I can pull it off. I have done many sketches. Hope to have one finalized, if not enlarged, tonight. I have the next three days to work on it with not too many interruptions.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Accomplishments and Goals

"Babe" 5x7 colored pencil on board, 2007, "Babe" has been one of my most successful pieces in that Babe's owner was very touched and has become a interested collector of my work.

As 2009 grows to a close I have been thinking of my art and art business accomplishments over the past year as well as where to aim in the next year. Though I have made several handwritten scribblings on these topics over the last several weeks, as I sit here, I have not formalized/finalized anything, so will attempt to do that now.


Improvement in my Art:

As to accomplishments, one of the first goals of last year was to work larger in colored pencil. I entered a magazine cover competition, for that I did my first 18x24 piece. Throughout the remainder of the year I did several 12x16 and 11x14. I did one 16x20 and liked that size very much.

I wanted to prepare my own hard board supports and did. I also worked on velour at least twice.

I worked on doing more detailed backgrounds and worked on a more complex piece which included more landscape and buildings than animal subject matter (My Friend Chicken Farming). I explored using Neopastel II's.

Research colored pencil and lightfastness issues -- joined CPSA and got the lightfastness book.

Expand my Marketing

Early in 2008, I applied to a local art festival and was successful in being accepted. Organizing my work to participate in this festival, and future ones, was a major focus for me in 2009. I got one half of a trimline tent (display walls) and gallery covers for these walls. I have a portable table and a print rack now as part of my display. I framed all of my work. I develped sources of giclee printing, greeting card printing, precut mats and bags. I got a guest book and started a mailing list. I have the essentials (for example, tools, signage for the work, rain gear for myself and the display, change) for displaying my work for festivals packed and ready. I was able to organize myself to demonstrate doing my work at the festaval.

I developed a relationship with a store in a tourist destination and displyed there. I also displayed at a local pet expo event.

I distributed my brochures and cards for commisssion work at at least twelve venues.

I wrote to everyone on my mailing list at least once.


I organized my mailing list.

I organized some expenses and receipts and claimed them on my taxes.

I got proper licenses and collected and paid sales tax.

Solicit Feedback and Develop Exposure

I wanted to enter some national competitions -- I entered the Art Show at the Dog Show, the LSU Veterinary Medicine Annual Animal Art Show and recently the Colored Pencil Society of America "Explore This" art exhibit. I was not successful in being acceped in the first two last year, will not find out about "Explore This" until January of 2010. I was accepted for a second time in a a local exhibit and won a first place prize in an animal art exhibit held in an art supply store in Columbus, the state's captial city.

I started my blog and joined the Art with a Bark blog.

I maintained my website and memberships in the Equine and Canine Art Guilds. I joined my local arts organization.

Commissions and Productivity

All of my commissions this past year came from marketing efforts above, whereas the previous year, word of mouth by family and friends was more a factor.

I worked regularly in the studio during the spring, summer and fall. I prepared twelve pieces of new work for the art festival, completed four commissions and three additional pieces.

Participated in Scribble Talk, Wet Canvas and Pet Portrait and Wildlife Art Forums.


Improve My Art

Organize my pencils by lightfastness -- get some other brands to add to the lightfastness range and to try out.

Take at least one workshop.

Get Claudia Nice's book on animal work pen and ink and water media and try some animal work in this media.

Try some expressive work in oil pastel/Neopastel II.

Try some water soluable oil painting.

Expand My Marketing

Add the rest of the tent along with some weights to my outdoor display. Improve packing (air float or similar bags) and framing.

Apply to at least six, ideally ten, local art festivals.

Display in person at a minimum of six venues: festivals, storefronts, pet expos, horse or dog shows. Develop a regular presence at at least one monthly art display event, i.e. final Friday in Newark, first Friday in Zanesville or Coshocton.

Place work regularly in the local arts organization shop and local frame and art gallery. Expand to a Columbus gallery (two possibilities for application) and a Zanesville gallery.

Get in the local art organizations annual publication.

Get brochures in more veterinary and animal related locations as well as frame shops in local towns and Columbus.

Get and read Art Licensing 101, consider a licensing course.

Solict Feedback and Develop Exposure:

Keep up my memberships: CPSA, Equine and Canine Art Guilds, and local Arts Organization. Maybe join Zanesville or Columbus affilated arts organization.

Post at least once a week to ScribbleTalk, Wet Canvas and Pet Portrait and Wildlife Forums. Post on the blogs I follow at least once a week. Post on my blog at least twice a week.

Enter poster contest for local art festival (January 13 deadline).

Enter Art at the Dog Show, LSU Veterinary Medicine Annual Animal Art Show and CPSA exhibits. Enter local show at Bryn Du.


Organize inventory method business records. Develop for accurate filing and recording of all purchase receipts and utilize them as purchases are made.

Do not miss an opportunity to add to your mailing list.

Commissions and Productivity

Schedule doing art sessions at least three times a week if working a traditional job and no less than five times a week if not doing a traditional job.

Be working on demos at all in person venues.


I am proud of some of my accomplishments over the past year. I do let myself be diverted by traditional job participation and household chores, however, and, thus, I do not believe I am yet giving 100% to my art or art business. I think I have far, far less business success than I hope for as a result.

I lost all of last winter to working as an instructor in non art related courses. I lost part of the fall to taking courses on being a tax preparer. I will find out soon whether or not I will be working fulltime during the tax season and also will be teaching one course in the spring, but at least have the book early, and am teaching one instead of two. So I do plan to be better at giving myself an art schedule and sticking to it. I am rationalizing that this year I will use all of my earnings to improve my display. Somehow other work seems to take more out of me than I expect it to beforehand, though.

The bottom line is that even though I have a secure income from a pension and investments, I still fear taking a risk when it comes to money and the business of art -- something which I have struggled with most of my life. I very much would like to earn the additional money I still need in my life through art. I love working on art more than anything else. I find much personal satisfaction and sense of purpose in doing commissions, also. This is the ultimate goal with which I find myself still sitting on the fence in 2010.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Dressed for Christmas

Here is this year's Christmas card. It is a portrait of the latest barn kitty to find his way to the farm. He is a little grey spitfire. I thought he was a half grown kitten, but he has only gotten a little plumper with time -- so he is a little cat. He was named "Slim Pickens" because he was so skinny when he arrived. Though he is a little cat, he unfortunately chases the bigger barn cats out of the barn. He better be good at mousing! He likes to playfully chase the dogs and chickens. I will try to get some photos/videos of his antics to share. I made up his outfit--I think his portrait shows a slight bit of disdain for such un-cat-like duds. It is 5x7 on colored pencil on board.

The Christmas Season is fast approaching! Are you ready? I am getting there, slowly but surely.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Giving Thanks

An 8x10 commission that was a Christmas present last year.

I hope you all had a Happy Turkey Day! I had a nice one with my family. I am most thankful for family and friends along with having my health! Though I worry about my finances -- I feel very fortunate in the big picture way -- I am not worried about losing my house and can currently meet my, as well as critters', every day needs without going into irreversible debt if I am careful.

The coming of the end of the year means I need to review what I have accomplished during the past year and formulate goals for next year. If I don't know where I am trying to go, it is not likely that I will get there. It is important to make art business goals that are specific and measurable. If you are an artist looking to grow your business, do you do this?

Friday, November 20, 2009

Pet Portrait Commissions

Here is a commission portrait from last year around this time. He is a pitbull mix who was a Katrina rescue. His happy owners live in Florida. I am busy right now with a commission of two dogs, a MinPin and a German Sheperd/Huskie mix to be in one portrait. I do love doing commissions, though there is always a bit of anxiety about whether it is what the customer wants/will like.

There is still room in my schedule for a Christmas commission -- don't hesitate to contact me for a surprising and delightful gift for someone on your list!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Contemplating Winter Finished and Entered

This piece was entered into "Explore This" 2010 as pictured above. In the eleventh hour I found that scotch tape worked really well for removing unwanted pigment. In restrospect I am not happy still with the foliage around his head. I was too married to giving him a symbolic halo. I will be waiting for the exhibition results, but am likely to change this part further. Any comments are welcome now.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

My Friend Chicken Farming - Finished

Here is the final version of My Friend Chicken Farming which I hope to enter in the Color Pencil Society of America Explore This Exhibition by tomorrow. I am hoping to finish Buddy's portrait by then also. Will be working on it the rest of today for sure.

I spent some time experimenting with whether I could comply with the entry requirements of preparing the photo of the work. Turns out that if I had not had to get a new computer I might not have been able to prepare the photo of this piece as required. The instructions talk about using Adobe Photoshop, I was about ready to give up when I saw that a free program to accomplish the required tasks, Paint.Net was available. Not only was I able to prepare the image as specified, but I now have a more powerful photo program at my disposale for free! It is amazing that this program was available for free! Check it out. It did take me awhile to figure out how to do what was needed, but after spending some time, I was able to do it. I am glad I spent the time early, because I would have been pulling my hair out if it was the deadline day. The instructions do require an entrant to enter all pieces at once, so I am waiting until tomorrow to hopefully enter them both.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

New Computer - WIP 3

Last Saturday my old computer finally died. I was not looking to get a new one just yet, but like TV used to be (maybe still is), -- can't live without it, it seems. It is taking me some time to get used to the new features and to the loss of some programs that I no longer have because they are incompatible with Windows 7. At least the timing of the need for a new computer has allowed me to skip Windows Vista. Also, quite luckily, I have been able to save most of my documents and photos. I have lost some in the previous crashes of my old computer. I am hoping I don't have to mess with this one for quite awhile!

Here is the latest WIP for this portrait of Buddy that is awaiting the name of "Contemplating Winter" or "Indian Summer". I have cropped it, the flank area was too close to the edge (I know better, but plunged on for awhile) and thus not working in the compositition. I have a ways to go on the background. I hope to tie in the yellow foliage better but still leave it as a symbolic halo for Saint Buddy. This is a quick shot from my drawing board, so the details and colors are not as clear as they could be with better lighting and a tripod. Getting a good photo for exhibition entry/documenting will be the next challenge. The deadline for the exhibition is November 15 -- I don't know whether I will make it or not. I will be working furiously the next few days to try to, though.

Thank you, very much, Donna B and Erik, for becoming followers of this blog. I am looking forward to taking some time really soon to visit your sites and learn a little about you.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Buddy, WIP 2

Here is an update after many more hours Tuesday and yesterday. I am going to work some more on him this morning. The deadline for the exhibition entry is next Sunday -- and between this afternoon and then, there are several things scheduled for me -- I need to see if I can streamline any of the chores and duties that will distract me. I also have to finish My Friend Chicken Farming, or something similiar for the title, for the exhibit. It does not have far to go, though, I think. The exhibition is a juried online exhibition with the Colored Pencil Society of America. The exhibition is called "Explore This". It must have some other media or a support which would make it ineligible for the annual international exhibition also sponsored by the Colored Pencil Society of America. The "Explore This" exhibition is in its sixth year.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Election Day, 2009

Here is a work in progess of Buddy that I mentioned in my last post, you can click on the image above to see a closer up version. I am working on velour board, 11x22. I am very inspired by the photo I took of him and my feelings looking at him a couple of weeks ago. There will be fall foliage in the background. The wind is blowing his mane and he has a heavy winter coat coming in. His gaze will probably appear inward. I worry about how he will do this winter -- he has had so many health problems this past year. The whooly worms and the horses coats seem to be forecasting a fierce winter. I think about the title as "Contemplating Winter". Maybe more me than him? I could call it "Indian Summer" as it was one of the last days the fall foliage had not fallen due to rain. It was breezy and balmy. The horses were having a great day.

The velour is giving me fits, and though it takes many layers, I still have to be careful to not over saturate it, as their is no taking off the colored pencil or pastel once it is laid on. I do have a vision for this piece, though. and will struggle on with it. It is a good week for working on art for me. Should have most of today, Thursday and part of Friday to work.

I cannot accept any constructive comments at this time as I am planning on entering it in an exhibition. The rules state "no collaborations". I have come to learn from reading on the net that means no online suggestions.

Thanks for Looking!!! To be Continued......

Friday, October 30, 2009


Happy Halloween Everybody! The above photo was taken at a festival in southern Ohio that my friend and I wend to when I spent some time with her a couple of weeks ago.

Sorry I haven't posted this week until now, sometimes I really don't know where the time goes. I have been trying to get some art in when not doing things for my new job -- I know I have mentioned it before, rather mysteriously, but right now it involves taking classes for a "maybe" job involving, can you believe it, taxes. Nuff said about that for now. At any rate I was working on a drawing this week. I had originally planned to start doing a Christmas card this week. The one I have in my head involves a newer barn cat we have. However, the day I took some reference photos, his did not turn out -- I did get one of my beloved Buddy, that I started working from -- not Christmas card related. The preliminary drawing has taken me quite awhile -- first off I got a head on him that I was quite pleased with, but it was a tad too small -- it has taken me forever to get another preliminary drawing that I am pleased with. I decided to do it on a piece of black Hahnemuhle Velour board that I sent for quite awhile ago. After seeing Mona Majorowicz's work in progress on suede, I said to myself now is the time to get that board out and try it. I had used Hahnemuhle velour paper for the tiger below and enjoyed it. However, since there is no possiblility of erasing, the preliminary drawing must be near perfect. I have barely started to lay in the color -- is seeming quite "sticky". That is the pencil is not going on very smoothly like I remember with the paper. I have tried a little pastel also since I have always been curious about how it feels on velour or suede, since so many artists do gorgeous animals with pastel on suede/velour. It also seems to not glide/go on easily. I am doing an irregular size (I usually do standard sizes) which I cut from the board making it 11x22 inches. Sorry, I am not ready for a WIP -- need to charge up the camera for one thing and also it is not going easily. I am thinking of maybe entering this in the CSPA Explore This competition also. I will tell you more about that in my next post.

Have a Great Weekend and a Happy Halloween.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Catch-up "Swinging on a Leash" expo

I am delayed in posting. I did this pet expo and then felt ill Monday and Tuesday. I feel better today. Here is a photo of my booth with some expo participants. Also below is a WIP of a puppy I demoed there.

It was not as well attended as I would hope. But these things do have a way of growing sometimes.

I am going to work on my chicken farming piece today, it is almost finished. I hope to start something else. I have an idea for a Christmas card and took some photos earlier today in prep for it. I may start something else, though, as none of the pix were what I was hoping for and may have to take another batch.

Though it was very cold and rainy last week, it has been sunny and gorgeous this week. This is the last week for the Quarter Horse Congress, held in Columbus, about thirty-five miles from where I live. I am planning to go this weekend. I will take my camera, though I have found it difficult to get really good pictures in the past.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

My Friend Chicken Farming -- 3rd WIP

Here is what I was able to do on Sunday. I am having some difficulty on deciding how to develop the light pattern as it is a bit diffuse in the photo. I have a little ways to go yet. I may get to work on it some more on Thursday.

Besides probably visiting with my mother on the weekend, I am planning to participate in a local pet expo with my booth on Sunday. It is outside, so I will have to watch the weather, though. I will not have cover. I hope to continue a demo piece of a puppy which I started when I displayed in Roscoe.

Friday, October 9, 2009

My Friend Chicken Farming Continued

Here is what I was able to do on Thursday. I forgot I had to be an exhibition volunteer, so was only able to get in a couple of hours. Usually I like to try to work the image as a whole. However, since I am not used to doing buildings or people in CP, I found myself concentrating on the buildings this session. I also moved the chicken closest to the viewer up a little so she won't be standing on the edge or frame. I may work with her some more before really work on completing the chickens or driveway.

I am thinking of maybe entering this in the CPSA "Explore This", so, I can't accept any critiques.

Running a few hundred miles now to see my friend. Do hope to get to work on this some more on Sunday. Catch up with you all next week!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Helping Paws Online Exhibit

The Canine Art Guild's Helping Paws 2009 Art Exhibit is now online here. I have three pieces in the exhibit, including True Blue, shown here.
The artists are all donating a portion of any of their show sales to an animal related service/rescue organization as specified with each piece.
I have designated FOTAS, "Friends of the Animal Shelter", in Coshocton, Ohio as the organization to which I am donating a portion of any sales from this show.

Monday, October 5, 2009

My Friend Chicken Farming -- WIP

Here is a photograph of a friend of mine who used to love her chickens. I decided to do a piece based on this photo. The buildings and background in southern Ohio are really interesting, don't you think.

Here is my work in progress. It is 8x10 on cradled hardboard primed with gesso and then green colorfix primer. There is just a tad bit more of the composition to the right than what shows in this scan. I am using prismas only at this point. I started doing it in a higher key than the photo and then subdued it a little. I also decided to not do the blown over red roof in my composition. Though I do think it is interesting. It is really nice to be working after an unintended break. I have another busy week ahead -- hope to work on it some more at least on Thursday. I will get 5-20 minutes here and there before then-- but not my best way to work. I am actually scheduled to visit this friend this Friday and Saturday. Had company this past weekend, also, though was able to start this. I plan to really get structured with doing art after this week of medical follow-ups, part-time job responsibilities and visiting my friend. Whew.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Getting Lost In a Stream of Have To's

Cold and blustery here the last couple of days. I have not been doing much art lately -- lost in a stream of partime job related activities, some fall (without the spring) cleaning, social obligationgs and helping my mother with some medical needs. I am taking my mom to an eye surgery tomorrow but hope to get to the opening of the Bryn Du Mansion Show in Granville tomorrow evening, though I need to drive back and forth a couple hundred miles to do so.

The Classical Art Forum on Wet Canvas had a project about the Fauves this month. I added my paintings. You can read some more about the Fauves here, if you would like.

I will have some time to myself this weekend -- will get out of the stream and into my studio then. I am starting to feel really depressed/crabby about not getting there.

Thanks for stopping by at my blog.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Artistic Style Part IV - Some Inspiring Realism

"Cute White Kitten" 12x9 inches, colored pencil on colorfix, $135 unframed, $165 matted and framed with plexiglass.
Giclee Reproductions also Available. Contact me.

In thinking about why I am currently working realistically, I will say the primary reason is choosing to depict animals and very much enjoying the connection with others that comes from a pet portrait commission. I do not seek to be what I consider to be "photo-realistic". I am motivated to bring the animal to life within the best of my capabilities without going down to such a minute/detailed level. Though intrigued by colored pencil when coming back to art, I was at first relunctant to try it because it seemed to be too "meticulous". I feel I currently work somewhere between how a soft pastelist works and traditional colored pencil techniques with my work. I was also taught that an artist needs to be able to do realism before finding/looking for another voice. That is, one must build an ability in speaking one language before attempting to translate that language into another. Or an artist should have ability with the basic tools and concepts and what has gone before in order to develop further in other artistic ways.

I never was extremely fond of the "photo-realism" which (pre-computers) copied a photograph in a very large format by using the squares or pixels. I did look at this art with a type of fasination at times, however. I just find some of these methods too miopic -- I don't feel I could get in a "zone" using them so exhaustively. However I am wondering if some of the works I currently admire wouldn't be considered more "photorelaistic" than "realistic" in style? I would like to know your opinion regarding this question. Here are some links to some contemporary realistic animal art that gave me chills when I first gazed upon them: a horse portrait on Wet Canvas by Linda Jonsson of Sweden,
and last but, certainly not least, all of the work by Melanie Phillips.

I am currently intrigued with "the bringing to life" aspect of realism. It is an enthralling challenge for me to try to get it right. I am experimenting on developing facility with colored pencil techniques as I do this. I am most in the zone when using hand and eye coordination to develop the work as a whole. I think I am in one of those repitious circles of life by improving my work in the basics and going from there in whatever develops.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Artistic Style Part III -- Did you See O'Keeffe?

A very interesting stallion in a colorful field - maybe a pintaloosa?

So did you get to see the Georgia O'Keeffe documentary on the Lifetime channel? What are your reactions? Mona Majorowicz had mentioned it in her blog, Fur In the Paint. I got to see it last night. I wish they had shown more of her paintings when they were showing her life in New Mexico. Otherwise, I loved getting to see a film about an artist. It drives home the dedication that a true artist has for her for work. She was such a free spirit. I greatly admire how she remained true to her self in her art and in her life. She really did pave a way for women to be more recognized in Fine Art.

I did look at a lot of her work and read about her in the 70's and 80's. Spent this morning earlier looking at information about her on the net. I like the Wikpedia write-up. And here is a less than flattering review of the film, I don't agree with it all, but it does give a little more detail about some facts of her life and I think it is from an unsual blog. I may visit this blog again for a little more reading about other women.

So if you have any remarks about the film or about your feelings about O'Keeffe's art and life, I would love to hear them in a comment here.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Artistic Style Part II

"Woman Sleeping With A Cat", oil painting, 30x42

As promised here are some of my earlier works in a Fauvist vein. I have picked two works which I still have. Back in these days, I hate to say it, but the 70's, I surrounded myself with people who drew and painted. (Forgot to mention I started oil painting at age 2, LOL). We often drew/painted each other. We traded or gave each other many works. I actually sold a couple back then also. All of my Christmas presents were paintings in those days. I only painted from life or sketches from life. I think both of these works are definitely influenced by my admiration of Mattise. "Madeline", below, seems to be somewht influenced by "Portrait of Madame Matisse", which you can see at this link. and "Woman with a Hat", which you can see at this link.

"Madeline", oil painting, 24x28

Hope you are enjoying my trip down memory lane. I have another painting or two from memory lane which I may share.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Accepted Entries and A Prize

Last week I mentioned that I was accepted into the Bryn Du Mansion, Granvile, Ohio, "Colors of Joy" Exhibition opening September 30, 2009. Today I am sharing the three images that were accepted. The one which has not yet appeared on this blog before today, is the image above, "Burning Bright" This is done in oil pastel on 9x12 Colorfix.

Also accepted was "Proud Heritage", 24 x 18 inch colored pencil on panel portrait of my Appaloosa horse, Buddy.

"I Am Looking at You", 14x11 inch colored pencil on panel, was also accepted. "I Am Looking at You" also just won first prize at the Animal Picture Show at the Ultrecht Supply Store located in the Short North gallery district of Columbus, Ohio.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Artistic Style - Part 1

At the beginning of this month, Katherine Tyrrell on her blog Making a Mark, started a poll on style. She listed several categories with definitions -- always a debatable subject -- I think she covers this subject very well with brevity. I marked myself a realist, given the definitions.

I do wonder why I am currently in this category. My favorite group is "expressionist" or "fauve". For many years, I would say that my art fell in this category -- I will share some of those works in another post. I love the work of Vincent Van Gogh, (who technically is not listed as an expressionist -- but though he is listed as "post-impressionist" in most categorizations - his work has often been considered a precursor to expressionism) Matisse, and with animals in mind: Franz Marc (a representative, but certainly not exhaustive list of artists).

Though I am not currently producing work of this type, some contemporary animal artists who have produced work that I admire and consider to fall into this category are Amber Lowe (she has not been sharing her current work and I do hope she doesn't mind me making this reference to her past work - she knocked my socks of when I saw her work), Marion Rose, and some of the work of Mona Majorowicz. I love the use of color and expressive mark making that these works display.

I think my current selection of medium, colored pencil, has influenced my style somewhat. The majority of currently recognized colored pencil artists are realists. Also my desire to connect through doing commissions does not easily lend itself to a purely expressionist style.

I do not currently feel "capable" however of naturally (as opposed to forced) producing more expressionist work -- I think this has some sort of life history/psychological origins. I am currently reading about style to better understand how life events and personality effect style.

I do like to think that my work has a unique degree of colorfulness and has some indication of mark making (I do not seek to smooth out all of the pencil lines). More recently, Katherine Tyrrell, posted about the Scottish Colorists. I was especially drawn to F C B Cadell from the group and his painting, "The Red Plate", the first in the series in the reference link. One of the reviewers stated that his work was fueled by his joy and optimism.

I think the communication emotionally of joy and optimism in all of these works is what I most admire and what I hopefully also do in my art, no matter how it is categorized.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Ruby and Roscoe Finished

Here is the finished portrait of Ruby and Roscoe, which I delivered to my brother on Sunday. He and his wife were quite pleased, I am happy to say.

I enjoyed displaying and doing a demo in Roscoe village on Saturday -- there is supposed to be a blog post at some point on the Historic Roscoe Village site about me being there, I will provide a link if this materalizes. Crowds were reported to be low because of the Ohio State University football game that day. I did make some nice connections with shopkeepers and encouragement to return during the Apple Butter Festival in October. I also had several promises from viewers to be in touch about a commission.

Two of my pieces are currently appearing in an Animal Picture Show at the Ultrecht art supply store in Columbus.

Three of my pieces have been accepted at the Bryn Du Colors of Joy Art Show in Granville, Ohio. The opening is September 30, 2009.
Hope you all had a great weekend. I rested some yesterday. I plan to write a post about style later this week.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Finished Cat Portrait and Weekend Gig

Besides fluffing up the outline like Mona suggested, I reworked this portrait's nose, mouth and eyes. I am happier with it now than I was before. I am delivering it to the client tomorrow.
From the Y-Bridge Art Festival, I was contacted by a retailer in Rosecoe Village -- a restored canal town next to where I grew up and still travel to visit my mother. The retailer is doing a food drive for the county animal shelter and invited me to show my work in front of her store as part of the drive. Roscoe is a touristy place and their is a T-Bird car show there and an Air Show nearby this weekend -- so hopefully there will be plenty of traffic. I got some feet for part of my indoor booth from Flourish Canopy Co. which enable me to set up a single panel which is what I will do along with the print rack and doing a demo.
Have a great Labor Day weekend!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Ruby and Roscoe WIP

This is a portrait of two dogs, Ruby and Roscoe, that I started working on at the art festival. The WIP above right is where I was with it at the end last week. I would say that altogether it has about thirty solid hours into it. It measures 16 by 20 inches. Though a bit time consuming, I am really liking this size. My brother and sister in-law will be getting this as a surprise gift next week sometime. They have commissioned a couple of gifts for others, but not their own dogs. I took the photos I am using about a year ago. Ruby and R0scoe were both adopted as puppies from a rescue organization. Ruby is reported to be collie mix breed -- she is a medium-sized dog. Roscoe was also reported to be a collie mix, but my brother recently discovered a breed, Chinook, which he seems to greatly resemble. I have seen this breed dog, with which I was not previously familiar in two movies. in the last couple of years -- The Shooter and Cats and Dogs. He is a very large dog whom I find very beautiful. They are both quite attractive, actually. I am enjoying doing their large portrait.
I am a little under the weather -- developed a very painful infection in my mouth related to oral surgery last week -- an seeing the dentist this afternoon. Feel like I am losing alot of art time, as well as falling behind with housework and mowing once again. Hoping to feel better enough to resume work on all of these things tomorrow.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Cat Pet Portrait Progess

This is the portrait, colored pencil on Ampersand pastel board, 7x5 inches, completed to this point. I am going to let it sit for awhile. I do not plan to deliver it for another week or two. Any thoughts/comments are welcome. I am going to move on to the two dogs I was working on at the art fair.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

New Cat Commission and Feedback about Sanders

These are the photos I am working from on my current cat commission. The bottom one is a full bodied view. The order is for a 5x7 inch size so I cropped the image to the view in the image appearing at the top. This will be a gift for the client's mother. This cat has also gone over the Rainbow bridge. He used to love to ride in the car, which I know some cats do -- though I have never had one that did. His right eye had a defect, but is reported to still be blue. I will include this in the portrait, but not as prominently as in the photo, after talking with the client. The client said he was silver point, but darkened with age -- I will also use this information to choose the colors for his portrait. He also was reported to often stick out his tongue like in this photo. The client wanted a pose of him with his tongue sticking out; so that also weighed heavily on which photo to choose for the portrait.

I thought about showing a work in progress, but the phone line was no good all of yesterday and part of this morning -- so I had no internet. I have gotten it about three fourths done now. So will hopefully post a finished version tomorrow -- at any rate I will post the progress to-date tomorrow. I had hoped to have a full working day today, but since I did two minor medical procedures this week (Mon and Wed) --wanted to get them them out of the way -- I am much more whipped today, after the second one yesterday afternoon, than I expected to be. Moving slow, having a hard time getting necessary/routine tasks done today. But still may get a few hours in on the portrait.

I was very happy this morning to read the comments I was e-mailed by the recipient of the Sanders portrait, which I posted about yesterday:

"Angela, thank you so much for the beautiful portrait of my beloved Sanders. When Bob gave the present to me and I opened it and saw Sanders, I was so shocked. Unbelievable!!!! I have his portrait hanging in my dining room. I feel like his eyes are watching me. You captured his eyes and everything about him which is unbelievable...It is just a beautiful piece of art, and, of course, my precious Sanders! Thank you so much for putting so much time and feeling into drawing his portrait!!!"
What more could an artist want?

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Cat Pet Portrait Commission

I finished this pet portrait of a cat a little while ago. I had not posted it here or to my website yet because it was a birthday gift and was not being given until this past Friday. Though I doubted it would be seen if I posted it, I wanted to error on the cautious side.

This is a portrait of a cat named Sanders who recently went over the Rainbow Bridge. My photo is just a tad blurry compared to the original. This commission was created as a composite of two photos. I got an email on Friday showing photos of the gift being opened. The recipient looked very touched. It is very touching to me that her boyfriend put the thought and effort he did into having this gift created. The commissioner was very happy when I delivered it to him. Which was a fun experience for me.

This portrait is 12 by 9 inches, colored pencil on colorfix paper.

I have another cat commission which I am happy to work on this week.

My website has details on how to commission a pet portrait.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Mentors and Guides #4

Can you have a devoted patron and collector following and make a decent living from art living in the middle of nowhere - try Rolfe, Iowa -- using not oil paints but the more obscure media of oil pastel or water color pencils? On top of that make your art about animal images often presented in an expressive, colorful and spiritual way. Maybe you couldn't, but Mona Majorowicz can! (I didn't even add "and have a last name that is difficult to spell")

Follow the link to Wildfaces Gallery to see a multitiude of Mona's beautiful work. Her originals sell very quickly, but you can obtain a print online there, as well as an original, if you are lucky.

Mona not only makes uncontrived, unique artwork that emotionally touches the viewer, she does so with the same high standards that she puts into picture framing, supporting the giclee reproduction business her husband, Mike, manages, participating in beaucoup art fairs and creating illustrated articles for a horse magazine, Apples & Oats.

Read about her life and get down to earth advice on the business of art on her blog, Fur in the Paint. A post there that gives you a good introduction to Mona's success and attitude toward it is "All Good Things Come From Art Fairs, Part 2". Also, to understand the full of care and touching way with which she does all things, read "Customer Testimonial"

Mona has several squido lens that provide information on difficult to find information on subjects such as How to Frame Oil Pastels, Tips and Tools for working with Oil Pastel, About Watercolor Pencil, How to Make Handmade Paper, and Watercolor Pencil Technique.

I really cannot express in words the profound respect I have for Mona Majorowicz. I love her unique animal artwork and I find her to be an outstanding example of how work ethic leads to success in art. I am thankful for the personal friendship she has taken the time to show me. I hope the above photo of a Blue Ribbon Winner -- says some of what I am not adequately equipped to convey in words about Mona as an artist and as a person.

Monday, August 10, 2009

First Art Festival Report

I'm back -- tired, not much richer, but very happy for the experience. Here are some photos -- one shot of some fun visitors and a few shots of the festival and my booth.

First of all, let me say that the festival organizers worked very hard -- the tents were provided, there were volunteers who were great with helping to load and unload, bottled water was plentiful and provided to artists for free. There was free coffee Friday night and Saturday morning. There were plentiful booth sitting volunteers on Friday (but could not find any on Saturday). The portable restrooms were the best I have ever seen (on a big spacious trailer) and wonderfully clean -- this may seem indelicate mentioning, but it was definitley something that made the experience much more comfortable than it might have been otherwise.

I found setting up the framework exhausting -- much more pressure and less space than the driveway added to this I think. Volunteers were very helpful with helping me hang my artwork and with tear down/load up. I am very glad I took a demo piece to work on, not only did it attract attention like was intended, but it really helped me enjoy those long hours more. I did enjoy meeting people -- all of whom were quite friendly and complimentary to my work. Children, mostly aged six to twelve, were really plentiful and quite interested in looking at the work and the prints -- often much more thoroughly and with more questions than the adults. I had not really anticipated this and found it delightful. Several artists were quite complimentary -- and this was very much appreciated. Some aspiring artists asked for advice, and this was also flattering, and I did realize I have learned alot over the last few years and felt gratified being able to be helpful.

Sales -- I paid for my Friday night motel -- that is better than nothing. I would certainly have liked to have done better, but like I said, it was better than nothing. I sold a couple of prints (one a child chose -- her mother made her look at all the vendors before she was allowed to have it, but she came back for it -- and that was great!) and five greeting cards. The guy selling handmade brooms, six to thirteen dollors, next to me did great. The guy behind me, who came from Buffalo, N.Y. (his daughter lived locally) sold some big ticket watercolors to some doctors (there are two regional hospitals located in this town). I heard him say this, I could not see him once my wall was up. Otherwise, I heard some artists stating that the majority of visitors were lookers and the economy kept people from buying. I really don't know, I could not leave my booth enough to really look at at other people's booths that much, let alone talk with them. I was able to talk to my neighbors -- the broomaker and a fabric artist, alot, though.

Businesswise, however, at least ten visitors expressed an extensive (versus more casual) interest in commissions -- I believe at least some of them may actually follow through. A lady who runs a touring company expressed an interest in me showing and demoing (and she would pay me!) at her regional dinner destinations -- something I never would have thought about. I find that quite exciting and will call her this week. Several people expressed an interest in learning more about colored pencils. I have been thinking about doing some workshops and this really makes me think about pursuing that sooner rather than later.

I wish I could do another festival or two sooner rather than later -- but without a complete tent and most deadlines past I do not think that is possible yet this year. I think I do need some grid like structures for ease of set up though for smaller venues. I may do some farmer markets and animal related venues yet this year, since I have inventory ready, but I think I need a less extensive set up for these. Dunno yet, maybe with more practice, that booth won't be quite so difficult.

There was a little rain, I packed up over night because of it. The guy next to me poked the tent roof with a broom handle in the morning and I got a flood on one wall, after I was set back up -- but salvaged everything o.k. The bugs (we were over water, remember) really gathered on those white walls. I had to work on getting them off in the A.M. and was also glad I packed up because of them, too. I also clamped up the bottom of the walls so they would not get wet. Overall, the weather was great, but I did get a little sense of how fragile one is in the great outdoors.

Well, that is my report. Summary: I am VERY tired, but VERY happy for the experience.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Dog Portrait and The Big Weekend

This is the dog portrait I finished yesterday. The reference photo was by Daisytree, forum name, from the reference liabrary at the Wildlife and Pet Portait forum. I loved the dog's eyes. The dog seems to exude so much loyalty and faithfulness -- I am calling the portrait "True Blue". It is 10 x 8 inches, color pencil on Ampersand pastelboard. Daisytree did not say what kind of dog it was -- she took many photos at a dog show. It looks like a young Bernese Mountain dog to me, though. What kind do you think it is?

Well the big weekend has arrived -- my first art festival. I am about three-fourths packed. I need to finish packing, do the barn chores, get myself ready and GO! I am leaving about noon. The set up is 2:00 P.M., think I will have lunch and be on the dot, as the town is only about an hour from me. The festival is taking place in Zanesville, Ohio, on the Y-bridge. An artist colony was started in Zanesville several years ago. The Y-bridge was the first of it's kind, and is thus an historical landmark. Pilots once used it as a major navigational landmark, prior to instrument navigation being common. I will post photos when I get back. See you all when I get back!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Art Fair How-to Information

As art fairs are so big on my mind and to-do list right now, I thought I would share two sites that have lots and lots of information about showing arts or crafts in fairs and festivals. The sites are Art Fair Sourcebook and Art Fair Insiders. Both sites have interactive forums, as well as access to specific show reviews. I bought my used mesh walls and gallery covers by looking at the for sale items on Art Fair Sourcebook.
Done packing prints and framing except for the one I am working on right now -- working on one more dog pictue to exhibit, and one to demo.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Mentors and Guides #3

All my adult life I have wondered how people really made a living as visual artists. One of the earliest mentors from whom I gained belief and concrete insight that this might truly be possible for me was Maggie Stiefvator. I discovered Maggie on the WetCanvas forum I discussed in the Introduction to this Mentors and Guides series. I also learned much artistically by watching her develop from a successful acrylic painter of city scapes to a successful color pencil animal artist. Maggie was a fantastically adept and prolific color pencil artist who developed a tribe of collectors. Her Greywaren Art blog was posted from June 18 of 2006 until December 30, 2008 when she morphed into a fulltime novel author and started another blog. I do refer to her art blog often, not only to look at her inspiring art, but to read her motivating posts about being a successful visual artist. As an introduction to her, from her blog in 2007:
I'm a 25 year old with a degree in British history, turned down by the college art department, and I'm making my living from my art. I'm not the best artist in the world and I've seen other artists far better making far less. The only thing that makes me any different from anybody else is that I tried and believed I could do it.
I'm a full-time, professional artist making a 5 digit salary that I'm not going to reveal on the world wide web.

One of her blogposts which I find the most inspiring is entitled, "How to Juggle and Other Parlor Tricks" This blog post talks in a very straight forward and Maggie humor way about how to motivate, prioritize, set goals and focus on being an artist.
When someone tells me they don't have time to do something, I don't believe them - I believe they don't have the motivation yet to do whatever that something is. If you want something, you make time.

She gave much helpful advice on her artblog, Greywaren Art, about time management, goal setting, finding one's style, and marketing. Use these as search terms on her art blog to find fantastic advice on these subjects.

From Wet Canvas she was a colored pencil colleague of Katherine Tyrrell, the unbelievably prolific online author artist who writes, among many other art related things, the blog,"Making a Mark". Katherine writes about the current author Maggie on Squido.

Thank you so much, Maggie.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Maude the Bulldog

Here is a portrait of one of the bulldogs that I have been fortunate to have lived with during my lifetime. Her name is Maude and she was in my life from 1997 as a two year old until the summer of 2006. She was a very sweet dog. I just finished this portrait. It is 7" by 5", colored pencil on Ampersand Pastelboard. I will show another potrait that I did of her in the past soon. I hope to do a montage portrait of all three of the bulldogs that have been in my life sometime in the future.

Stopped to do this in the midst of matting and packing prints. I am getting nervous as a cat off and on getting ready for my first art festival. I still have prints and greeting cards to package and signs to make. Ideally I would also do one more large dog piece. I am also planning to start another dog piece to demo at the festival. The clock is ticking away though. I am keeping up with the barn and yard chores, but the house is getting very dusty and I need to go to the grocery store. Have also had a couple of commission requests -- I am very glad, but it is true, "when it rains, it pours".


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