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".

Friday, July 24, 2009

Colored Pencil Art Exhibit and The Best Horse in the Whole World

This is my portrait of my horse "Buddy". This portait, in colored pencil (prismacolor and neocolor II), is 24 x 18 in size on Ampersand pastelboard. This portrait is appearing in Ann Kullberg's From My Perspective Tenth Annual Member Exhibit which just opened last night online. There are 100 pieces of colored pencil art in this exhibit. This exhibit is a real feast for the eyes -- check it out!

This portrait of Buddy is called "Proud Heritage" -- primarily because his coat is an early classic Appaloosa type of coat pattern called "leopard" and his pedigree dates closely back to foundation appaloosa stock. As well as being registered as the horse breed, Appaloosa, he also is registered in what is called the "Sundance 500" and "Colorado Ranger". Suffice to say, his lineage goes way back to the earliest Appaloosas.

The Appaloosa is currently the third most popular horse breed in America, right behind Quarter Horse, first and Paint, second. It does seem though that horse people either hate or love them. Alot of horse people who hate them can tell some story about about an evil Appaloosa bred horse. I have found that they, in general, tend to have the postive trait of not being flighty or high strung -- read that as "will not usually run away with you". However, this trait can be interpreted/experienced negatively as "stubborn". My experience is working calmly and determinedly with them makes for a wonderful team.

I leased an Appaloosa, before buying Buddy, who was great for me as a beginner to learn to ride safely in a variety of situations on. Buddy has always treated me well and we have learned alot together. He is getting on in age, as are we all, now -- he turned twenty-five this past May. He will forever be the "best horse in the whole world" to me.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Mentors and Guides #2

I am back! I hope more than temporarily -- may computer is not 100% -- sometimes it is not coming on. I think I may have to get another, but I am going to stretch it out as long as I can.

I am continuing the series: Mentors and Guides.

Shortly after coming back to art after my "getting a country/horse centered life hiatus" I knew I would be concentrating on animals -- after all, it is well known artistic advice: "paint what you know" or that might be better put as -- "paint what you know and love".

One of the most inspiring animal artists I encountered eary in my return on this wonderous internet was Melanie Phillips.
Melanie's pet portraits are startlingly realistic. She had been very prolific and has succeeded in supporting herself as an artist through developing an international pet portrait business. She gives a view of her "storybook" life living in a cottage in Whales with narrative and photos on her website. It is important to note that in addition to the development of her outstanding pet art, she has developed a supreme ability to use computer based technology to promote her art and her business. Her website, which she developed on her own, efficiently catalogs years of pet portraits. Her pet portrait commission prices are listed in international denominations! Her blog utilizes the latest technolgy to show works in progress. She has posted videos of her works in progress, also, on her blog. In addition to her pet portrait business, she also does online instruction at the London College of Art and started the online forum: Pet Portrait and Wildlife Forum.

The Pet Portrait and Wildlife Forum is free to all who wish to join. Anyone can go there and look at a wonderful variety of animal art. An aspiring animal artist can find much comaraderie and excellent advice there. Much beautiful animal art is shared and critiques can be received, or not, for the asking. There is advice on many animal art related subjects including: the business of pet portraiture, how to use various media in pet portraits, upcoming events and exhibition in animal art. There is a monthly posting of a challenge -- a photo of an animal is posted and form participants can share their renderings of the animal posted. It is always fun and a learning experience to see how each piece of art from the same photo is unique and interesting.

In sum, an animal artist is very lucky to have a mentor and guide in the artist, Melanie Phillips, and her online Pet Portrait and Wildlife Forum.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Technical Difficulties

Well, as luck would have it, now that I started my blog and made some article promises --my computer becomes ill. I have had my computer at the computer hospital since Wednesday. I was supposed to get it back today, but the computer doctor is saying she may have a terminal illness. I will find out tonight he says. So, here I am at the public liabrary making a post to say I am having technical difficulties and I am sorry. I hope to back into regular action in the next few days -- hopefully with old faithful and not deeper in debt. I will get back to the Mentor and Guides article series when these technical difficulties are resolved.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Scarlet Macaw

This is another parrot, a scarlet macaw, 12"x9", that I have included in the wildlife portion of my display. It was my first feathered creature, so it was a learning piece. I had not used the reds in colored pencils much until I worked on this piece. The red feathers did not come out as brilliantly as I had planned. The ground, a green colorfix primer on gessoed masonite, was dark -- if I were to do it over again -- I would put down white prior to working with the reds -- and they would be much more brilliant. The reference for this image can be found in the monthly challenges at the Pet Portrait and Wildlife Forum,, which I plan to talk more about in my next Mentor and Guides series post on Wednesday.

I am busy with personal paperwork and working on framing today. Hope to be back to the drawing board tomorrow.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Flying High Now

This is my imitation of Rocky's happy sense of accomplishment dance in the movie Rocky. I feel a happy sense of accomplishment after putting up my indoor booth (actually part of a Trimline tent from Flourish Company with mesh walls and gallery covers all by myself in my driveway. I hung one picture (not mine, which I am standing in front of) to see how that works. I have alot of framing to do yet to hang mine. It may be quite elementary -- but for right now I am "flying high now".

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Mentors and Guides - Introduction

The internet has revoloutionized the ability of visual artists to connect and share ideas. Before the internet it was generally difficult to make contact with a variety of artistic ideas without living in a large city with a large thriving artistic community and art education system. It was also expensive to constantly buy books with color prints and to subscribe to an array of artistic journals in order to keep one's hunger for art and art education fed. One of the greatest sites for meeting artists and for looking at and sharing visual art and artistic ideas is -- "a cyper living for artists" website. This site has interactive forums and articles by medium as well as by interests such as "miniature art", "decorative art", "abstract art", "the business of art", etc. This site is free to all, but does accept donations.

I have learned about mediums I had not yet tried there. An artist can get critiques of their work on wet canvas. I can go there for artistic advice on just about any question I encounter. I have met artists who I have seen grow from starting out to internationally famous by reading posts there. Many established artists take time to share on wet canvas. One can make friends by posting regularly to chat groups in the various forums.

I have met or been led to mentors and guides to follow by reading and participating on

In a future series of posts I will focus on the mentors and guides and what I have learned from them. Most of these mentors and guides are authors of blogs I follow as listed in this blog.

Monday, July 6, 2009

More Wildlife

Here is another piece I have done for my wildlife category. The pose is from a photo in the reference liabrary from wet, the cyper living for artists website. However, since I currently live with a female blue and gold macaw - a rescue, fell for a sob story, didn't know the cage was so big, came into my life two years ago birdie - named Juaque (though a female), I have put her head, especially the eyes in the piece. It is 12 x 9 inches, colored pencil on Ampersand pastelboard. This piece is called: "Hello".

Thursday, July 2, 2009

First Blog Post for A Work In Progess Blog

Welcome to my blog! I hope you will be entertained and informed with my posts about art and animals. I have done some form of art since childhood. I did have about a twelve year hiatus, however, when I purchased my small piece of dirt here in central Ohio and started taking care of my horse at home as well as got chickens. I then commuted a long time to fulltime work in the city. I now get to stay home most of the time and work on animal art and the business of animal art, as well as taking care of animals! I am a work in progress, epecially in the development of art as a business. My business is Angela's Animal Art,

I have been doing pet portrait commissions for a couple of years, now. I will be in my first art festival this summer at the beginning of August. I am very busy right now preparing inventory and getting organized for this. I need everything but the outer part of the tent as the tents are supplied at this festival. Wish me luck!

I am working on four themes for this festival: horses, cats and dogs, barnyard animals and wildlife. I am currently doing most of my art in colored pencil. Here is one I did recently for the wildlife theme. I took the primary reference photo at the Columbus zoo. This piece is 14 by 11 inches on Ampersand pastel board in all colored pencil. It is called: "I Am Looking At You"


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