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Sunday, January 30, 2011

ACEO Card Giveaway

Last Sunday's giveaway was so much fun I thought we'd do it again.  This week's ACEO is very new, and created out of music's inspiration. As before, simply leave a comment to enter the drawing. I will pull a name from my hat on Wednesday and notify the winner and request a mailing address to which this is to be mailed.

This little guy came into my head whilst listening to Rory Campbell's CD, "Intrepid".  I thought (hoped) it was an original idea, but it's not... I've found a couple of versions of Kokopelli with bagpipes online. None were consistent in style, though - while Kokopelli was done in the traditional manner, his pipes were shown with a great deal more detail, and in some cases accented with extra color to show even more detail. To me, I thought the instrument should be represented as primitively as the character. Here that concept is carried even further by placing him as a pictograph amongst others on a rock face flecked with mica. This has been created on heavy watercolor paper with acrylics and colored pencil, and is signed on the front and details provided on the back.

When I showed this on Facebook, one friend immediately dubbed him Koko MacPelli.  Michael, that was just too good not to keep!  This was fun, and I will likely try Koko MacPelli on a t-shirt later on.  But for now, the original little ACEO painting will soon go to one lucky person on Wednesday.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

What got you started?

When did you decide to 'go big' and really seek to make a go of art as a career? Who inspired you? Were you striving to drop the day job and throw everything you had into your art?

This hit me recently as I was rummaging through old binders in the studio.  I came across one dusty old green binder that I had not opened in quite a long time... several years, in fact.  It's interesting to say the least when you discover a time capsule of sorts from when you first got really serious about growing your art and taking it beyond "enjoyable sideline" and making it your career.

The bulk of these documents, all neatly categorized with dividers, wore the date of June, 2002. This truly was when I was really seeking to grow and expand.  There wasn't a whole lot on the internet for art business then. I'm not positive but I don't think that even Alyson Stanfield had her weekly art biz newsletters then. At least, I hadn't found her yet. I was a subscriber of Robert Genn and his twice-weekly emails, but beyond that I spent hours and hours searching and compiling and making lists from the internet.

Most of the material in my trusty old research binder was written by Geoffrey Gorman. He had produced articles under Art Matters and a really nice art business development packet under Tailwind. Sadly, I cannot find any of this online now.  Thank goodness I printed out hard copies of all that and put it in a binder! Note to self (and all of you!) Never trust that the good and useful information you find online will remain where it is.  If it's that useful to you, save it!

For someone who was just starting out, and more than a bit fearful, this stuff was a goldmine. Although I was showing in galleries and gift shops, and had been for 12 years at that point, I knew I wanted to do more.  By running Google searches for art shows in Western Washington, I soon found that we had a wealth of such opportunities in this region.  It wasn't long before I had a good-sized list of potential shows to try and enter.  What I still lacked at that point was courage.  It was easy to see that lack of knowledge was the cause of that and I began seeking the what and the how.  Geoff Gorman provided many detailed answers to this beginner's questions, as did Alyson Stanfield when I found her valuable information online, and soon I was attempting the local shows.  It was terrifying to make that plunge, but the rewards were big. I won some ribbons, I made some sales. And I gained confidence. 

As I tried more and more shows, soon trying larger ones that I never dreamed I would be able to participate in, I continued to seek more and more information online.  That art biz information was increasing in availability, as it still is.  I knew I had to build a better online presence and left Geocities for better options. I got busy participating in lots of online art forums.  It soon became apparent that the more places one could be seen online, the better. And if you're doing more than merely showing your work but actually participating, all the better.

It's been a long and continual learning experience, and I am still learning... at times learning as fast as I can.  I'm going to go back through that binder more slowly and see what's changed and what still applies.  There's not much call anymore for slide submissions for shows, but I do have that info in the binder.  One bit that was very interesting to revisit was the section in Tailwind that asks ""Where Do You Want To Be In Five Years"?  Now THAT was interesting, especially considering how much of that had actually been achieved in five years' time!  I wanted to be in print, to drop the day job, to be selling in shows and galleries, to have a nice studio,  to be well known for my work...

You hear stories of this happening when someone gets very specific about goals and intentions, but it really is something to see for yourself that it really does work!  It may well be time to draft another five year plan. ;-)
Happy Weekend! :-)

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

And the winner is....

Gina! I'll be in touch with you soon for an address. :-)

Thank you all so much! I was delighted to see such an interest in this, and to have eight participants for this first blog giveaway, holy smokes! One participant could not post to the blog and so contacted me privately. Her name went into the hat too.

If there is interest enough, I shall keep doing these on Sunday mornings - this was fun! Let's see, what sort of ACEO will be next?

Sorry I have not scanned in the completed versions of those feathers as of yet. For one, the double has yet to be completed! :-(  I am a bit surprised at how awkward this one is to work with, and so don't wish to rush it.  I do already have a frame and glass for this one though. The frame is 11 inches wide to accommodate this larger piece. It will be interesting to see this one once it's all pulled together.

I do have, however - at long last - an availability of prints for my Eilean Donan castle painting.  These are an open-run, and the image is 8"x10", matted to fit an 11"x14" frame.  Each print is signed, has a single mat and backing, and is $20 plus $4 shipping. If you are interested and not in the US, please contact me and I will get a shipping quote for you.

I was very pleased with the quality of the print. There are plans to do a canvas print in the future, larger, and limited to just fifty. 

I pulled the photo I took of the castle, from which this was painted, and am including it and info on the back of each print assembly.  My husband has a much greater grasp of MS Word than I do, so he took my info and created a nice document:.  I don't know about you, but when I buy prints, I love to have the story behind it and so have provided that for collectors. Click on the images for larger views:
Again, thank you for your interest. I love receiving your comments.  Stay tuned for another blog giveaway on Sunday!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

ACEO Card Giveaway

Here it is, my first-ever blog giveaway.  I'm hoping to make this a regular thing, but really it depends on you, the readers.

The only thing you need to do to enter is leave a comment.  On Wednesday I will put the names of all those who left a comment in a hat and draw one at random.  Then I will post the name of the winner on Wednesday. I'll ask for your email so that I may contact you for your mailing address so I can send you your prize. Easy!

The item up for grabs is an original ACEO painting. If you are unfamiliar with ACEO, it means Art Cards Editions and Originals. They began as trading cards amongst artists to collect one another's art. The general public felt a bit left out though, having no art cards to trade, and so artists began creating them for the public at very reasonable cost, and they've become highly collectible. 

This is one of Puss In Boots, and done in acid-free ink, colored pencil, and acrylic paint.  There is a lot of detail in this little guy, and he is a prototype of a larger painting that I am planning. The ACEO is signed on the front, and signed and titled on the back and will arrive in a protective transparent sleeve.

Please leave me a comment, and I will announce the winner on Wednesday!

Friday, January 21, 2011

Unfinished Business

One of the best things about doing art demonstrations at festivals, galleries, and events is it gives me the opportunity to explain and show to the patrons just how I approach painting on a feather.  Since that is just not possible for many of you reading, I thought I'd post a couple of unfinished works here so that you may get a sense of the process.

This was one destined for Whitehorse in the Yukon, one of several. While I do not yet have a scan of this finished feather, from this one you can see how the painting begins in silhouette, particularly those that use the natural feather as the background. All but the wolves are complete in this, they remain in silhouette awaiting their finishing work.

This next one is of a sort I'd not tried before, fusing two feathers together for a large painting surface.  It has proved to be rather unwieldy to work with.  I do a lot of glazing and layering, working from the background to the foreground, and you can see the mountains and forest are beginning to take shape.  I will post the finished versions of these Next Wednesday.

In upcoming classes we'll go into the process in more detail, students will be able to apply the technique to any subject matter they choose once we are done.  Our first class at Lucas Art in Graham will involve a winter scene with wolves, very like the scene above.

Sunday: Yep, gave it heavy text because I don't want you to miss this! Be ready for my first ever Blog Giveaway!  I'll post an original ACEO card giveaway, a detailed and fun painting of Puss In Boots. I'll post the card then, so leave a comment on Sunday's post for a chance to win.  On the Wednesday following, I'll put Sunday's commentors' names in a bag and draw and post the winner.  Do pop back in, this should be fun! :-)

Sunday, January 02, 2011


Just a short post for tonight, but my entries will be coming a little more frequently now.

It was the last day of our Wood Badge course, 2005 - banquet day, the celebration of our achievements, training, and what we'd become on the other side.  We arrived to the dining hall by patrols.  All the patrol tables were in neat rows across the middle of the hall, but our Bear Patrol table was at the other end, set apart from the rest but next to the staff table.  We looked at things in a little bit of puzzlement.  Then I said, grinning, "Hey, look at this! We're at the head of the class!" Another in our patrol countered, "...or in the back of the room!"  I shook my head. "Noo - it's all in your perspective!"

And I believe that. Everything is a gift. It becomes what we choose to make of it.  What circumstance have you decided to turn around?

"Where Eagles Soar",painted feather commission. Dad's an Eagle, Big Brother's an Eagle, and Little Brother is a Wolf Cub.  Unique art that made for a very meaningful Father's Day gift.