If a picture is worth 1000 words, here are 3000 words for you to see. No, wait, these aren’t finished! Maybe they are only worth 1500 words at this point. . . You be the judge! The top one is HUGE – 18×24″. It is fairly close to being finished – all but the trees on the far left. The other 2 are a modest 11×14 each, and they are a good example of how my paintings look on the day they are born. (no, that is NOT a telephone pole in the bottom one!)
I am pleased to report that the collage drawing of Redwoods was very well received. It is awaiting colored pencil application, and I have very timidly put a touch of color in. What holds me back is that color messes with the values, which is Artspeak for darks and lights. Meanwhile, I have begun drawing #2. Turns out the photos supplied by the customer are horrible aren’t of a quality that is useful to me. So, I set the drawing up and then set it aside to await better photos. Yes, I know this looks like a mess, but so do blueprints to the untrained eye! (#2 is the one in the middle)
Next, I began drawing #3. In case you haven’t been following this project, this is a set of 3 large 18″x12″ pencil collages depicting scenes of the area for a local B&B. If you are a painter, you might laugh yourself silly at the idea that 18″x12″ is “large”, but let me gently remind you that the point of a pencil is a very small tool for covering real estate quickly.
Now, check out today’s work. This is a drawing I would have declared impossible, even 5 years ago. (Growth is a good thing, unless you are a cancer cell.) This is the vertical scene on the far left of the drawing. It was to be something else originally, but we discussed what would and would not make a good drawing, and the sycamore won. Actually, C & P are the winners, because they will be owning this in the fullness of time. I feel quite pleased with this, and need to log off in case I get struck by lightning for the sin of pride.
Central Coast Pier – sold
My friend Debbie and I have known each other since high school. She returned to college a few years ago after raising her children. She had a desire to be an art major, and she has absorbed knowledge like a sponge. We have attended workshops, shows and seminars together, and bounce art ideas off one another without stopping the entire time we are together. Before I was a painter, she used to remind me over and over, “black is my friend”. This was to encourage me to get my darks as dark as possible in my drawings. That was inspiring, because it showed me how to make better art. HOW is big with me. . . anyone can spout criticism, but it takes an insightful and knowledgable person to have a way to fix the problem and to be able to articulate the solution. Debbie also inspired me by encouraging me when I was wavering on the decision of learning to oil paint. She told me exactly what to buy, answered many basic technical questions, and never let on how shocked she was at my total ignorance!
She was so weird – here are some pictures of how she drank water. (So I might be a little weird too, taking pictures of my cat drinking!)
One of the scariest parts of finishing a commission is showing the customer (or if one is feeling snooty, “client”. I never use that word seriously.) What if he doesn’t like it? What if she says “oh.” (not in an excited way). The biggest deal is when the customer cries, although that always mystifies me! I just followed directions, and there is no surprise in that, but it is touching when the customer is so very pleased. It is such a place of vulnerability, the big What If, the Moment of Truth. It is the time of my life when I make a sudden transition from not caring about other people’s opinions (one of my strongest and possibly most annoying character traits) to desperately seeking their approval. But, no commission is finished until the customer is satisfied, so I am all ears, listening for any comments at all that might help the piece become exactly what they hoped for. So, for C & P, here you are (as I hold my breath in anticipation):
In an earlier post, I talked about how long it takes to do a piece of art. The conclusion was, “Who cares, as long as I meet the deadline?” But since time supposedly is money, let’s talk about money.If I kept track of my time in order to price artwork by the hour, many different things could happen. The customer could think I was overcharging. The customer could think I was undercharging. My students could be discouraged that I draw 3x as fast as they do. I could get discouraged that the work was taking FOREVER and I was only making. . . waaa, waaa, waaa. I could get a big fat head and start calculating just how much I could earn if I would just keep cranking them out. My accountant could have a heart attack. (Actually, he doesn’t know or care. I just said that to appear as if I have a team of people monitoring my large and prosperous business. tee hee hee.) So, I calculate my prices based on the size of the piece rather than by the hour. This makes it much easier on the customers, who then know what to expect. Sometimes I make a ton of money per hour, and other times it would make you (or my accountant) weep. Usually it just averages out. Some people say “Wow, that’s a lot of money!” Other people say, “Why don’t you raise your prices? You aren’t charging enough!” (Often those are other artists, ones who have a “real” job on the side and don’t mind toting the same pieces to show after show.)
Mug Shot, colored pencil, 9×10″, $125 framed
This week was about animals. First, I had to bury Jones. Meanwhile, I have been taking care of the neighbor’s dogs. This is a stretch for me, because, as you may have guessed, I am a Cat Person (with a borderline Cat Disorder). The dogs are 2 beagles and a very old dachshund. The dogs are missing their people in a large way, despite the fact that I am over there 3-10 times a day! So the dachshund has decided she wants to hang out with me at my address. I look down below my easel and there’s Bugsy.
I hear some serious cat growlings behind me, and there’s Bugsy.
Zeke keeps saying, “Person, it is LOOKING at me! Make it stop!”
I go to the studio to get some stuff, look out the door, and there’s Bugsy.
Perkins is fairly tolerant considering he lost his buddy this week – no growling, just a stare-down.
I head back to the house for something, look out the front door, and there’s Bugsy.
I’m just trying to get a little work done here, and there is all this disturbance. Bugsy’s nails click when she waddles, she slobbers, she clicks when she breathes, and she is upsetting my cats. However, I did get a little work done before it was time to run back to the neighbor’s place and change the sprinklers again.
Three 6×6 paintings were begun and completed. In light of the week’s upsetting events, I returned to my favorite flower for comfort.
p.s. My husband killed rattlesnake in the lawn next to the sidewalk that leads from the house out to the studio. Stop with the animals already!
People say to me, “You must have a lot of patience to draw like that!” The answer is very simple: it doesn’t take any patience to do what you love. Think about your favorite activity – is it playing golf? It must take a lot of patience to chase that little white ball around! Is it watching teevee? It must take a lot of patience to just sit there! Is it playing music? It must take a lot of patience to learn to make it sound good! The mother of my Oh-So-Wise Dad taught me something about patience. She told me “Patience is not stifled impatience; it is love quietly waiting.” (Whoa! No wonder my Dad was so wise!!)
Antique Yard – graphite – sold
8 x 10″, $99 framed SOLD
This is a fine view of Farewell Gap, as seen from Timber Gap. Timber Gap is not as high, and it is only about 2 miles to the top. It is a good warm-up for the trip to Farewell Gap, because looking across the valley makes one want to visit the other places! i think the blue flowers were Flax. Some painting notes: this was from about a year ago when I was experimenting with a looser style. My tendency is to draw with the paintbrush and then be very frustrated when the results are less refined than my pencil drawings. On this one, I was determined to look like a Real Oil Painter instead of a Pencil Artist Who Paints. Some days I have to put down the paintbrush and deliberately walk away from the easel because I WANT TO DRAW!!! more accurately, I want my paintings to look like drawings, and that is not the nature of the beast. (Okay, fine, TAME THAT BEAST!!!)
Today I painted. This is Evolution Lake, as photographed by my old friend (since 3rd grade? 5th grade? can’t remember) Ken. He is a maniac hiker, an animal who goes by the nickname of “Moose”. (I’d be more inclined to call him “Cheetah”!) He hikes for a good cause, a camp for handicapped children called Camp SOCK, which is an acronym for Southern Oregon Camp Kiwanis – www.campsock.org is their site. I think Ken hikes for beauty, exercise, escape and Tremendous Physical Challenge. I can agree with the first 3, but as to the last one? Deep inside of me is a fat lazy sedentary girl who is always screaming to be left alone! She wants to be fed dark chocolate, but today I consoled myself about Jones with some new yarn. (better for the economy and for my arse)
Evolution Lake, 11×14, oil, $154, wrapped canvas SOLD