Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Away from the studio

photo of Liam

I had to take some time away from the studio yesterday. My dog, Liam, sprained his ankle (wrist?) and had to take a trip to the vet. After an anti-inflammatory shot and some rimadyl he's feeling better.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Feeling like Geppetto

I've been really busy this year, rarely taking time off for Non-Art related activities. Even when I do take a few evenings off, there is a art related tie in. This week I've been re-stringing marionettes that I have purchased over the years to use in my still life. This repair work is not necessary for my paintings but the puppets have served me well and deserve a little TLC

Saturday Matinee

Friday, December 3, 2010

Must Paint Faster

Gumballs and Stripes, detail, work in progress

I have to finish 3 paintings in the next 3 weeks

Friday, November 26, 2010

Miniature Show in Santa Fe

Shalako Mana, 8 x 10. oil on board
Don't forget the annual miniature group show at The Gallery at 822 Canyon Road. The opening reception is tonight, Nov 26, 5-8.

Hope to see you there!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

I'm thankful that another painting sold yesterday and that I get to start a new creation.

I hope everyone has a wonderful day.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

My Magic Painting

Red Globe II, work in progress

I have a magic painting. I've been working on it FOREVER. It's complicated and I'm using lots of layers of paint. Why is it magic? Every time I put it on my easel to work on it, one of my galleries sells 1 or 2 paintings so I have to put it aside to paint a "faster" piece for the gallery. I guess I should hope that I never finish this magic piece. Every time sales are slow, I'll just put it back on the easel.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

The Artists Diet

I just sent out an email to my customers, galleries, artist friends, etc. One of my artist friends wrote back "Your newsletter is also a major inspiration, it's something I must do. Hard to find the time while trying to supply galleries/enter shows."

To me that is like saying, "It's hard to find time to brush my teeth because I am so busy eating". I happen to know that this artist friend has several wonderful paintings in each of her galleries. Filling the walls of the gallery is like over eating. You are more attractive if you eat a balanced diet and don't stuff yourself. People find it easier to buy your work if they are not over whelmed by too many choices.
My suggestion is to Go On a Diet. Instead of sending more and more work to the galleries, spend time creating a newsletter and communicating with the world.

I actually quit sending my monthly newsletters because I was getting little, if any, response. Instead, I send out emails when I have news (accepted into shows, won an award) and when I have a new painting. I try to send something out once a week. This brings in lots of response. I also like to keep images on several website and keep up with my blogs.

And how much time does it take? As little or as much time as I have. If I sit down and do this all at once it can take me 2-3 hours. But I usually breakup the task into small bits. I have my email addresses in different folders: customers, friends, galleries, media. The first people who get my email are my customers. I use Mozilla Thunderbird for my email and am able to personalize the emails, click "Send" and I'm off to the easel while the computer is sending all the emails. Later, I come back and send emails to the rest of my contacts.

If you have time to post on Facebook, you have time to send an email.

My blogs and images on websites are done in a similar fashion. I prepare an image with description and put it on my own blog (sharing the info on Facebook and Twitter) Then over the next few days I put the same info on other website where I show my work. It really take very little time each day.

The trick is to get in the habit of doing it. Yes, sometimes you really DO need to stay in the studio and paint and the blogs and emails get neglected. And that's ok. Just get back on your diet as soon you can and stay in touch with the world.

Monday, November 1, 2010

This week in the studio

I hope to finish a small painting today and then on to a 36 x36. Or finish a still life. Or work on a commissioned piece, Decisions, decisions

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Using Trademarks in Paintings

Red Indian, 30 x 40, oil and gold leaf on linen
Since I started my Indian Motorcycle painting series I've had a few people ask "How is it that you can paint a design like this and not be in worry of a TradeMark infringement?"
My answer is this:
I've read several articles on this and this is my understanding:

You can use a trademark as long as you are not trying to confuse your product with someone else's product. That is, I couldn't build a motorcycle and call it an Indian, make a soft drink and call it CocaCola etc. Trademark law is only intended to prevent one producer from misidentifying its product as that of another.

I am not a lawyer so don't take this as legal advise. This is my interpretation of what I have read.

What to paint?

Today's conundrum:
1) Do I work on a painting for a gallery that has sold almost all of the work they have hanging? The work I have started for them is going well, I can have it finished in 2 more days,I'm excited about it and I know it will sell but there are things I would rather be painting.
2) Shall I work on a painting I have promised another gallery? I'm more excited about this painting but it is an elaborate piece, will take longer to finish and the gallery has several paintings on their wall.
3) I'm passionately wanting to start a series of small paintings with toys as the subject matter. But I never get around to it because I keep having to "paint for my galleries" to keep work on their walls. Now, I'm certainly not complaining about that!

Today, practicality will win out and I will paint the work for the gallery (#1). But this Saturday, watch out! I WILL start on one of the small toy pieces.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Catching up - Work in Progress

Strawberry Reflections, oil on linen, 30 x 30
September was a crazy month with lots of deadlines. In fact this whole summer was that way. I have 4 paintings that I have set aside for various reasons and I'm trying to finish them up before I start anything new. The 4th set aside painting is really complicated so it may have to wait a bit longer before I tackle it again.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010


Just got back from the Oil Painters of America show in Jackson, WY.

While I was there I took a trip to Yellowstone! Wow! Makes me wish I painted landscapes and wildlife.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Gallery at the Windsor

Strength and Freedom, 40 x 30, oil on canvas
Hurray! Gallery at the Windsor just sold 2 paintings and maybe another one today.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Tick Tock

Bladder Bag, Work In Progress, detail

I've just sarted the 5th painting that I need to have finished by the end of the month. The good news is that I should have one of the 5 today!

Monday, September 6, 2010

Always Read the Fine Print

One Eyed Jack, detail

Yikes! I have a juried show I want to enter. The deadline is Sept 13 and the entries must be Mailed. No problem. I had planned to send it priority mail tomorrow, Sept 7. Just reread the prospectus. All entries must be sent First Class Mail Only!!!! Will it make it on time? Tick Tock

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Sunflowers - Work In Progress

Sunflowers, step 1, 30 x 20

I have several paintings started because I have several juried shows coming up. 

This is how I'm starting this painting. I have the drawing on the canvas and I'm blocking in the colors. This is a simple composition but complicated elements with stems going every which way so blocking in the basic colors really helps me sort things out.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Vintage Toys and Sunflowers

Mypainting of vintage toys is resting this morning while I start a painting of sunflowers

Monday, August 30, 2010

No Rest for the Weary

I have four juried art shows and one publication I have to have art work for during Sept. Who could ask for a better life?

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Indian Market - Santa Fe

Since 1901, oil on linen, 30 x 40

Gallery 822 on Canyon Road will be having their Annual Indian market show this weekend. You are invited to attend the Artist's Reception on Aug 2o, 5-8pm. Artists will be in attendeance with new art work. I hope to see you there!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Bosque Art Classic

Cowboy and Indians, oil on canvas, 18 x 24

I have been so busy painting! I'm hoping I can get a few hours at the easel this morning before I have to pack my paintings for the Bosque Art Classic in Clifton, TX. I entered 4 paintings in the show and had all four accepted.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Rare Gallery, Jackson Hole

                        Diamond Bar, 36 x 36, oil on canvas

I was on Facebook a while back and found another artist I like. I went to his website and saw that he was showing at RARE Gallery in Jackson Hole. I've been wanting to get back into a Jackson Hole gallery for some time now and after looking at the gallery online I thought we would be a good match. Of course I put it on my To Do list. I'd get to it eventually. In the mean time, I was on facebook  and saw that another artist I admire was accepted into this same gallery. Aaargh! Why did I wait. Could they possibly have room for me too? Still I waited. Last week I finally emailed the gallery with images, a bio and resume and a note saying I wanted them to represent me. I immediately got a call from the gallery and an hour later I was in! 

How will this gallery work out for me? Only time will tell. I have great hopes.

The lesson I learned from this 1) social networking can provide valuable leads. 2) Don't wait about making contact with folks and galleries. 3) sometimes it really seems like a struggle getting accepted into galleries and then suddenly thing will fall into place. The more galleries you contact , the better your chances are of getting into one.

Friday, July 2, 2010

My New Business Cards

We all know we should have business cards. But do we? I usually find them boring to give and to get. Recently I went to the opening of a weaving studio, Sacramento Mountain Weavers in Cloudcroft NM and I really liked their business cards. They were good quality and were printed on both sides. They told me they were printed at gotprint.com

To make a long story short, Hubby designed cards for me for both my contemporary still life paintings and my American Indian paintings. Obviously, the one I have posted is the American Indian card. And, yep, Hubby forgot to put the phone number on the card! LOL. Ah, well, I still love the cards and can't wait to pass them out.

PS The opening at the studio was great in addition to the business cards. Nice studio, great work and lots of folks in attendance

Tuesday, June 29, 2010


Trying to see if my "Tweet This" works. Doesn't seem to

Thursday, June 17, 2010

I've got the Blues or My Failure

Well, this painting isn't a failure yet but I'm putting it aside for awhile. Maybe for a long while.

I don't use a lot of blue in my paintings yet I seem to have about 20 tubes of blue paint, various brands and colors. But I just can't get the midtone blues right in this painting. When I try to lighten it up it's either too purple, too green or too gray. Don't know if it's me or if I need to buy yet another tube of blue paint. 

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Frustrations in painting and Greeley Stampede Art

High Noon, 24 x 18, oil on canvas, at Greeley Stampede Western Art Show

The past week has been frustrating for me. If I don't get a full day of painting in I get cranky!

First, we've had to have work on the truck. Since a round trip into town is about 2 1/2 hours it took a big chunk out of the day when we had to drop off the truck. And since we drove all that way, we took advantage of the trip and did grocery shopping. The next day we showed up when the truck was suppose to be finished. Of course, it wasn't so we had to wait an additional hour.

Then the next evening, June 9th, I was going through my folder of upcoming shows and found a copy of the invitation to the Greeley Stampede Western Art Show. I had accepted their invitation in December but hadn't heard any more from them. I thought the opening was July 4th weekend. But on a closer look I found that the show started on June 24th and ended July 4th. PANIC!!! Emails were sent, phone calls were made. They hadn't received my acceptance letter! To make a long story short, I spent Thursday, boxing up 5 paintings (fortunately, I had set these paintings aside for the show) made arrangements for the FEDEX to meet me the next day(they don't come to my house) the paintings got shipped and hurray! the paintings arrived by the June 15th deadline!

Whew! I'm sequestered in my studio this week hoping to get some work done. And to top it off, I'm working on 4 (!) complicated paintings so I don't get the satisfaction of finishing a painting anytime soon. Ah, well. It sure beats having a "real" job!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Split Personality

Apples and Stripes, Oil on board, 9 x 12, currently at Atlanta Art Gallery

I've been painting American Indians forever. Maybe longer. I still enjoy painting them but lets face it, painting the same subject matter in the same style day after day can get tedious. And when that happens the paintings start looking tedious.

A few years ago I started painting still lifes which I have always loved. There is a myth in the art world that your customers will abandon you if you venture out beyond your (or their) comfort zone. To that end, I started a new website that just had my still lifes. I even considered painting under a different name. Here is what I learned.

1) I felt schizophrenic painting under two names so that was abandoned pretty quickly.

2) Painting still lifes got me into juried shows that I'd not been able to get into with my American Indians. I won awards.

3) The galleries I'm in only want my American Indians. That makes sense. They took me into the galleries because of my American Indian paintings.

4)Although my second website (http://www.fineartoils.com) has just still lifes, my original site (http://www.khenderson.com) has both subject matters. I also post both subject matters on Facebook and several other websites. It's just easier for me to do.

I have gotten into 2 galleries with my still life. They both know that I also paint western/American Indian. BUT while the western folks don't care that I paint contemporary still lifes I think that the Contemporary folks have a prejudice against western artists.

I'm now in the process of separating my 2 styles: A second  face book identity, new pages on websites where I post etc. I'm still painting under the name K. Henderson, but my New Self in some cases is KHenderson Fine Art.

My goal in doing this is to find Back East galleries for my still lifes, galleries that turn their noses up at western art.

I'd like to hear from those of you that paint in different styles. What has your experience been?


Saturday, May 29, 2010

Snail Mail vs Email

Sacred Heart, detail on postcard, original painting 36 x 36

Back when I first started painting I did a lot of art fairs and exhibits. The great thing about them is that you come face to face with folks and you can build your mailing list. On the down side, most fairs don't attract the original art collectors, they are geared toward the inexpensive print buyer. I was lucky enough to participate in Red Earth art show in Oklahoma City for several years and got quite a nice mailing list of my collectors. Most galleries won't give you the names of your buyer making it difficult to build your list. But that's a discussion for another post

I used to mail out newsletters, postcards of show openings etc. But with the ever growing popularity of email  the the outrageous price of postage, my Snail Mailing has really dropped. Some people just won't give you their email address or they mean to but never do or *gasp* don't have email. I've lost contact with some of my collectors by neglecting them. How could I let this happen?

So for the next few days I'm updating my Snail Mail list by searching the internet for current addresses. I'm happy to report that most of my collectors are still right where I left them the last time I wrote. Whew! I've also found a few on facebook and I will pursue that further

I will be sending postcards to all of these folks to try and acquire an email address. But I'm also planning on contacting the folks on my email list and try to get their mailing address. Why? I think folks like to get post cards from artists. Don't you? And most artists no longer do this. I'll stand out in the crowd. Email will continue to be my main source of contact but I'll also be adding an occasional post card to the mix. 

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Oh Well

Detail, work in progress, "Mine is a Long and Sad Tale"

So much for my anti-stress weekend away from the studio. I'm cutting the weekend short and getting back to my paintings a day early. I can't wait!!

It's surprising how a few days away from the easel really makes you appreciate your creative time.

I'd like to work on the Mouse Project painting but galleries are wanting new work. I love my life!! 

Thursday, May 20, 2010

I Quit!

No, Not really. I don't know what Quit means

Yesterday was a typical day. 

6:30 I wake up . I lay in bed and plan my day.

7am I'm up feeding cats, dogs, making coffee.

8 am Blogging, checking email, facebook etc

9am - 6pm in the studio painting (hubby drags me away today for a bit to look at a chipper shredder a local man is selling)

6pm checking email, planning my evening

7pm- 10:30 a quick dinner (if it can't be made in 20 minutes, forget it!)  updated my resume, prepared thank you 'packets' to recent buyers.

10:30 - 11:00 get in bed and read a book ( reading a mindless books about zombies)

Today: I don't want to get out of bed. I'm Burned Out! I had my day planned to go to town, ship 6 paintings and do some shopping. I dragged myself out of bed, spent the day in town. All was going well until the fedex person called and said I had addressed a box to myself! I wanted to cry. "Town" is 1 1/2 hours away and I didn't want to drive back and find out which box was mis-addressed (turned out, I was reusing a box and the wrong address was on one side and the correct address was on the other).

Time for a break! I have no imminent deadlines, no promises I've made . So I'm taking a 3 day vacation.

Vacation? To me that means that those  talavera Mexican tiles that I bought over a year ago for my kitchen counter tops WILL be put in. My flower beds that I've neglected for the past 2 years will be weeded. Yep, I have a type 'A' personality. I can't sit and do nothing. But it looks like I need to take a break from my Art Business  and get centered. I'll be back at my easel bright and early Monday morning.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

An Artists life

The Heart Fears Nothing, 40 x 30, oil on canvas. Shipping to Gallery at the Windsor,Del Norte, CO

When I started this blog I thought I would update it daily. But lets face it, most of my days are just like the day before and the day after. Today I took a break from painting to box up some art work to ship this week. I have a shed that holds all of my shipping supplies. It was such a disaster area that I spent the day reorganizing it. Pretty exciting, huh?

But that's part of being an artist.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Do you really Need a website?

Quilled Moccasins, 12 x 9, oil on canvas

I've read all sorts of articles about 'How to sell on the internet', 'Bring customers to you Blog'. Does it work? Not much.

I find my websites are most useful to show my artwork to my galleries.  And the buyers that are already familiar with my paintings  stop by and look but still, almost all of them buy from my galleries. I don't think I'm going to Be Discovered through my sites and become rich and famous.

So, is a website / blog worth the trouble. You bet! This is what happened to me this weekend: I was participating at a gallery show and a buyer came up to me and said "I really liked that painting you did of the Moccasins but it sold before I could buy it. Do you think you'll be doing another one?"I happened to have another painting of moccasins on my website so the buyer and I went into the gallery office, pulled up my website and voilĂ ! I sold the painting. And as long as we were on my site, I showed them another painting I thought they might like. Sold! 

Because my website was up to date I was able to sell 2 paintings then and there. I've had that happen more than a few times. And of course, this is counted as a gallery sell and the gallery gets their commission.

I'd love to hear any success stories you've had with your paintings and your website.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Gallery 822 - Show opening

Sings with the Eagle, oil on linen, 20 x 30

Hope to see you at The Gallery at 822 Canyon Road, Santa Fe this Friday May 07, 2010, 5-8 pm. I'll be there with the other gallery artists. Lots of New work

Thursday, April 29, 2010

How to Box a Painting for Shipping

I ship about 50 paintings a year. Most of them are oils on Gallery Wrap canvas. Here's how I do it.

1. I put the painting in a plastic bag. For small paintings I use 2 gallon zip bag, for large I use giant bags I get at Home Depot. This is just a tall kitchen bag.

2. I cut 3/4" styrofoam sheeting from Home Depot or Lowes the same size as the painting. I cut side strips 3 1/2" wide (the width of the canvas plus the width of the styrofoam x3) . 

3. I build the styrofoam 'box' around the painting putting 2 sheets of foam on the face of the painting

4.I put extra pieces of foam on the corners and center sides for extra protection. If I'm shipping a framed painting I put 2 full layers on the sides.

5.I get Four Part Mirror Boxes from a moving company like Allied Van Lines. I like these because the largest paintings I ship are 30 x 40 & 36 x 36. Because of the overlapping of the cardboard I have extra layers in the center of painting. Makes for a sturdy box.

6. I fold and tape the cardboard box around the styrofoam box

7. Done and ready to ship. I won't guarantee that your painting will be safe with this method but it's worked well for me. The cardboard boxes cost me about $8 and the styrofoam about $11 plus tape so the total cost is around $20.  

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Pet Peeve

No, that's my Pet Liam. Here's my pet peeve:

I just got an email from an artist that told me he won some awards the The ABST Exhibit. Well that's great BUT What the heck is the ABST exhibit? What does ABST stand for? Where is it? Is the show online? If not, is it close enough for me to see the show in person?

Don't make people guess at these things. The more you tell folks, the better it is. Right now I don't care that he won awards because I don't know anything about the show.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Email List and Aggravation

Quilled Moccasins,12 x 9, oil on canvas

As you know, on Fridays I like to email folks about new work. I always send the emails to myself and Blind Carbon Copy (BCC) the emails to everyone else in groups of 25. I have about 500 folks on my list so I send out about 20 groups of emails. NEVER 'carbon copy' your list when you are emailing. Other people can see their names and email addresses. This is an invasion of privacy to you clients and can result in them asking to be removed from your list.

When you send each group of emails to yourself (with everyone else getting a BBC) you will get your email when each group of 25 is delivered. Am I making sense? Well, today I only got half of the emails I sent to myself. Something wonky is going on with my email server. I was unable to reach my server by phone. I suspect that something strange was going on and they were receiving numerous phone call complaints. Very irritating but something I must reconcile with my server before I can send out next weeks emails. If I weren't sending each group of emails to myself, I wouldn't have known that something was wrong


Wednesday, April 21, 2010

A Typical Day in the studio

I've been neglecting this blog lately because I've been busy painting. I'm trying to get some new works to my galleries and my gallery in Santa Fe, Gallery 822, is having their anniversary show soon so I'm trying to finish a few pieces for them.

And I played hooky yesterday to take a trip to the fantastic Carlsbad Caverns. Beautiful!

Today, I updated my other blog with some exciting news. I'm about to photograph a few paintings I finished last week and then it's off to the studio. This evening I will look over my To Do list and see what projects I need to pay attention to and I will prepare for a new painting.

That's my typical day 

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Who's in Charge Here?

Into a Slumber, 30 x 36, oil on canvas.  The painting on layaway

I recently left a gallery. It happens. It just wasn't a match. I asked for the return of my work in January. The gallery complied but said that one painting was on layaway and I would be paid in April. I contacted the gallery today and I was told that the buyer was having "financial problems" and I would be paid in May.

What's wrong with this picture? First, I have a contract with all my galleries that states that paintings will not be on layaway for more than 90 days and The Gallery assumes full risk of nonpayment by the purchaser.

Second, I own this painting until it's paid for. It's not up to the gallery to tell me when I'm going to be paid or change the layaway policy without my permission. I believe in being flexible with my galleries. Stuff happens. I have one small gallery that  consistently  has buyers that take 6 months to pay for a painting. BUT the gallery calls me first and I agree.

I also have no problem with a gallery taking a long layaway without my permission as long as I get paid within 90 days of the layaway. That is, I get paid first. The gallery can take as long as they want to get their commission.

I told this gallery owner that I would give her one more month. At that time I needed to be paid whether the buyer had completed payments or not OR I need to have the painting returned to me.

Remember, the artist owns the painting. The money collected for the sale of the painting belongs to the artist and the artist is paying the gallery a commission. Many galleries think they are paying the artist the commission. That's just not so. And I make sure my contract says just that.

What does your contract say?

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Monthly Newsletter

Redwing, oil on canvas, 30 x 24, currently at the Hubbard Museum Grande Biennale

I've been really busy the past few days so I've been limiting my time on the internet more than usual.  As you know, when you are on the computer one site can lead to another and before you know it the day is gone.

I do most of my Social net working and blogging in the morning. My goal is to be in the studio at 9:00 am (sometimes earlier). Painting is important, blogging is not. 

Now on to the topic of Newsletters. I send one out every month around the first. Are you seeing a pattern here? Emails on Friday, newsletters on the 1st, computer til 9am. I set deadlines and times that things need to be done. I make it a habit. I don't beat myself up if I miss the deadline but I know certain things need to be done and setting a deadline really helps me.

Who gets my newsletter? Everyone I can think of: customers, folks that subscribe, media, my galleries, galleries I want to be in, shows I'm in, shows I want to be in, folks that have inquired about my work, other artists. I know the politically correct thing to do these days is to "ask permission" before sending an email to someone. Well, I don't. I  figure if a gallery is in the art business or someone has asked about my art then there is no harm in contacting them about art. I also have a notice on the bottom of my email telling them that I will remove them from my email list on request. That's just my opinion. And to my knowledge , my newsletters comply with the spam laws.

I also put the newsletter on my blog. I then announce it on Twitter and Facebook.

What's in my newsletter? I try to stick with what's currently happening. In my April newsletter I tell about the shows coming up in April. Or awards that I've won in the past month. If I have nothing going on (which is unusual) I'll post images of paintings and tell a bit about them. You can see my current newsletter here

I have a place on my blog so folks can subscribe to my newsletter. Feedburner collects the info for me and I go to their site and get the email addresses.  

Monday, April 5, 2010

How to Choose a Right Juried Show

Ball Jar and Marbles, 9 x 12, oil on board selected for the Salon International exhibit

There are a lot of juried art shows out there. It's always frustrating to have your beautifully executed traditional painting rejected from a show and find that only 'avant garde' or abstracts were chosen. I like to minimize that chance by doing some research before entering a  show.

Lots of shows have the previous year's exhibit online. You can get an idea of the style of work that is accepted. Even when they change jurors each year they still usually stick with the same type of work. 

If the show isn't online, Google the name of the show and you should find artist's blog and websites that were accepted and perhaps won awards at the show. See what kind of work they do.

Being a representational painter, I also avoid shows where All Mediums are accepted. All mediums include fiber art, installation art, videos, etc. These shows usually only choose 'Cutting Edge'. Not right for me but it might be right for you.

Find out who the juror is. If they are the curator for a modern art museum and you do traditional work you may want to pass on that show. 

And my favorite way to find shows is to view a show online (like Salon International) and find the artists that do similar work to mine, look at their website or blog and see what other shows they enter. That can be time consuming but it's always pleasurable looking at good art.

Do you have any way that you like to choose shows?

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Repainting an Image


Dance Stick, 30 x 30, oil on canvas.

Not all paintings sell the first time out. Could be the wrong gallery for the painting, wrong audience, global  warming or who knows why.

First of all, I like to think that I never send a painting out that has something 'Wrong' with it. But when a painting comes back from a gallery I take a long look and make sure I'm satisfied. If I'm still satisfied, it gets boxed up and is on to another gallery. Throughout the year I hope my skills improve so perhaps the painting was Good Enough when I sent it out but can now be tweeked a bit to make a better painting. 

I just got 2 paintings back. One of them I'm still happy with, the other I decided could use just a bit of work.

I'm sure this painting would have sold "as is" but I decide to add a little darkness around the eyes to give a more intense expression. I added some highlights to the feathers and hair. I darkened the shirt and shawl so the face would pop out more. More contrast in the red fabric on the shield, added two feathers for interest and added more detail to the Horse Dance Stick. All in all about 2 hours work. 

Better? Well, that's a matter of taste and opinion. A great reason to work in oils is that it can always be changed.

Do you have paintings that you'vereworked? I'd like to hear about it.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Why Enter Art Shows?

Cowboys and Indians, 20 x 24, oil on canvas

The next few posts will be about juried art shows. They can be expensive to enter and ship the work. Are they worth it?

Yes and No. It really depends are what you are expecting to get out of the show. 

1) When you are first starting out  it's a great way to get a resume. It's good to start with smaller shows and local shows to get your feet wet.

2) It gives you something to talk about. If you get into a show you can email your list of folks and tell them about it. You can email them again when the show opens. You can email them again to remind them the show is about to close. And of course you email them when you've won that award. NEVER tell folks in email, facebook, twitter, your blog etc that you've been rejected from a show. We all get rejected from time to time. But that's our little secret. We want folks to know about our success not out failures.

3)Think of the show as advertising. You may pay a $30 entry fee, and then another $50 to get the painting to the show and back again. $80 total.(more if it's a large painting and the show tacks on a "repacking" fee) But how much would you spend if you advertised in a magazine? A Lot more! If you get in the show it will be seen by folks that normally wouldn't see your work, in a part of the countrywhere you work isn't often seen. True, a magazine ad reaches more people but the folks that go to art shows are more likely to buy art now or in the future (that's my opinion)

4) You may win an award or sell the painting. I left this for last because I rarely sell at juried shows. I am more likely to win an award than to sell a painting. I think the reason is because the work accepted into shows is based on artist merit. The paintings people BUY are based on emotion.

What do you think?

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Salon International show at Greenhouse Gallery

Peanuts and Gumballs, oil on canvas, 18 x 24

I love looking at good artwork whether in person or online. It inspires me.

Salon International has some of the best art in their show. This year artists entered 1288 pieces of art. 392 were selected for the show.

When I find an artist that I like in this show, I look to see if they have a website. I'm still shocked that many of them don't! But if they do have a site, I like to see their other art, what galleries represent them, what other shows they do etc. It often leads me to enter some of the shows they also enter and adding their galleries to my list of potential galleries for myself. 

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Off to the easel

When I started this blog I wanted to post something of interest everyday. But it looks like somedays I'm just going to be a bit light in content. 

Yesterday Hubby and I went to the dentist in Roswell, a 4 hour round trip. While I was there I shipped a painting to a collector. And went to an atique store looking for still life objects while Hubby was In The Chair. When I got home I spent a few hours doing a little research for an upcoming 'Mouse' still life. This is an interesting project that involves other artists. I'll tell you more about that later. Then I worked on my taxes.

Today, I'm back at the easel. I'm working on an 'experomental' piece. Someone suggested I try using black gesso and I'm giving it a try.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Finding Potential Customers. Maybe

Silver City Marshal, oil on canvas

Almost all the followers on my blogs, Twitter, Facebook etc are artists. And while I love my artist friends and find great value in what they have to say, my goal this year is to find more art buyers.

95% of my work is sold through my galleries and I love what they do for me. But I don't sit back and wait for them  to do everything. Especially since most galleries won't share their customer's names

I'm fortunate that most of my art fits into a 'Niche Market' : Western Art. Today I went over to Facebook and found a company that sells high end western decor. I looked at who their friends were and started requesting to be their friends. Now, many will not befriend me, and many will not be interested in buying my art. But my theory is that the more folks that know about me the better my chances are of selling more work. I spent about 45 minutes on facebook  connecting with people and will continue doing this a little bit at a time.

I also paint vintage toys. I belong to a few vintage toy groups on facebook. Other group member would be a good fit for my work.

What kind of art do you do? Where do you think you can find new buyers? Don't wait for them to find you!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Weekly updates

Cowboy Girl, oil on canvas 20 x 16

I have my paintings images on several sites: MyArtSpace, Art Wanted, artecomunicarte, artistdaily etc. My goal is not to sell through these sites but just to get my name and images seen by more people.

What works for me is to set aside a time once a week to add one new image (or one older image). I do this every Sunday morning.I've made it a habit so it gets done. All the sites get the same image, all the sites get the same text. And I make sure that my website or blog address is in the description to encourage folks to come see more of my work.

Cowboy Girl get more hits on these sites than any other image. 

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Preparing for Art Show Entry

Over the next few days I'll be looking hard at a few paintings I am planning on sending with an art show application. This is one of the hard things for me. A painting can never be perfect (at least my aren't) But when is it "Good Enough"?

The painting A Gathering of Nations has been sitting in my studio for a few days and I thought I was happy with it. But when I looked at it this morning I asked myself "When I look at the painting, do I want to pick up that small bowl?" The answer is no. That bowl is lifeless. 

So, back to the studio to bring it to life.I'll post picks as I progress.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Stay in Touch

When the Moon Rises, 36 x 30, oil on canvas

Most all of my paintings are sold in Galleries. But on Fridays I send an email showing a painting that is available  directly from me. I let people know that the painting is only available for a limited time. After that time, I send the painting off to a gallery or offer it to a juried show.

Who gets my email? Folks that have subscribed to my blog, customers, galleries, media, anyone I can think of.

And if the painting is purchased by one of my galleries customers I send the gallery a commission.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Welcome to my New Blog

There are many talented artists out there that are wonder How to Make a Living as an Artist or What Does an Artist Do All Day? I've been making my living as an artist for many years.  All artists approach their art and business in their own unique way. Starting tomorrow I will post the highlights of my day to give you an idea of what I do.

The painting shown is We are the Dreamer of Dreams. The reason I picked it for my first image is because I painted it 11 years ago and I still to this day get requests for it.

I would love to hear from you. Let me know what you think