Ever heard of a studio yard? In my case, it is the yard area around my studio, a shabby little shed on the property. I suppose the proper and popular term is “garden”, but that feels wrong to me. The place is only partially planted, definitely not professionally landscaped; I’m not growing tomatoes and zucchini around the studio, and I don’t “putter about”. It is a haphazard yard, and sometimes it has flowers in it.
The iris are little things, a dwarf variety, blooming 3 at a time in an otherwise bare pot. They mostly just look good in photos. This is because I don’t know what I am doing, other than occasionally succumbing to impulse buys at the grocery store. “Hey look, bulbs, I wonder if there are any iris. . . look, here are some iris, must be fate that I buy them”.
I’ve left Mineral King and have now entered Birdland.
(If you grew up in Visalia, you may remember an area on the north side of town called “Birdland”. This was because the streets were named things like Dove and Robin. Birdland might still be in Visalia, but the name is seldom used, now that the town is 125,000 instead of 35,000.)
What in the world am I referring to when I say I have entered Birdland?
So glad you asked. Here, have a look and see for yourself.
By now you may be accustomed to how terrible my paintings look during the first layer. If you are new to this blog, rest easy. The paintings improve with time and layers.
“Artspeak” is a word I made up for all the stuffy pretentious insider terms used by professional artists. Some of the words are useful, because every profession has its own vocabulary. But for some reason, the way some artists talk just gets up my nose.
One of an artist’s more dreaded tasks is writing an Artist’s Statement. If it was allowed, mine would say “I saw it, liked it, photographed it, and painted it BECAUSE I THOUGHT IT MIGHT SELL!”. Instead, an artist is expected to be articulate, and even fluent in answering questions such as:
What informs the color in your work?
Is the subversion of closure an important element in your work?
What are the paradoxes in your work?
What are the paradoxes in the practice of painting?
How do your cultural roots inform your practice?
I think artists are expected to say things like this:
I’m constructing a framework which functions as a kind of syntactical grid of shifting equivalences.
Imagine the possibility that painting might take root and find a place to press forward into fertile new terrain
Instead, this is more my style of questions and answers:
1. What do you want people to see in your work? reality and the beauty of Tulare County
2. What is a distinguishing characteristic of your art? it looks real
3. Based on your conversations, what do people find delightful or surprising about your art? the level of reality.
That’s me, keeping things real, just an ordinary realist from a real rural place of realistic folks.
Do you like the title? I feel quite pleased with it.
Last month this painting sold:
The happy customer asked if I had a matching lemon painting, to which I replied, “No, but I can paint one for you”. Then I couldn’t find the photos, so I went to the 26,000 photos on my computer and found just what I needed.
I wasn’t focused on tight detail that day, because I was doing big picture thinking about large quantities of small Mineral King paintings. But, the citrus needs to be squeezed in. Squoze in. Something.
And since I am working on citrus and have run out of orange paintings, it was a good time to begin two more orange oil paintings.
There you have it. Three new citrus oil paintings, squoze right in among all the Mineral King oil paintings. I kept them on another wall for drying. Didn’t want any orange juice to drip on Mineral King.
P.S. Two days later, they were all finished and drying.
As promised, here are some finished Mineral King oil paintings from my Phactory Phases. Factory Fases? Too much cuteness for you? I’m sorry. Must be the oil fumes.
They are all oil paintings on wrapped canvas, which means the sides are painted so they don’t need frames. The prices don’t include 8% sales tax; if you live outside of California, you don’t have to pay it, lucky you. If you want to order, you can go to the sales page and use shopping cart and Paypal or you can send me a check in the Real Mail, the US Postal Service, my favorite way to reach out and touch.
I love to blog, to post here on my web log, weblog, blog, online journal. Mostly I just run on about the business of art, but sometimes I show you things for sale. I don’t wear plaid pants, assault people, lie or talk fast; instead, I just provide opportunities for my handful of readers to buy the things I make.
It is my hope that you enjoy my blog, and find enough opportunities to buy my work without feeling sold to.
Too much variety means all of this could take up multiple posts, so a list will be the best approach today.
- There are now many new paintings listed on my website – For Sale–Oil Paintings–Landscape. If you sort by newness, you can see them.
- I finally finished coloring the grapes in my coloring book Heart of Agriculture.
- I started 2 other pages in the same coloring book. The ag coloring book is fun to me because there are so many colors besides just normal landscape colors. (The plum is light colored because that is how plums look hanging on the tree. The white stuff is called “bloom”.)
- I found a web designer! I will withhold comment until the job is finished, but so far, I am impressed.
- It was good to be at Anne Lang’s for First Saturday February; I’ll return for First Saturday March.
- February is International Correspondence Writing Month. Ever heard of that before? There is even a website! They call themselves (who are “they”??) InCoWriMo
Before I finished working on this blog post, I accidentally hit the Publish button instead of Preview. I immediately took it back down, but those of you who subscribe received the earlier version via email. Oops. Here is the real post.
April 15 will be the tenth anniversary of this blog. That is TEN YEARS of writing five days a week about the business of being a Central California artist.
As far as I can discover, NO ONE ELSE DOES THIS. More accurately, no one I know or have encountered on the World Wide Web has posted five days a week for ten years.
Lots of people start blogs. Lots of people quit blogging.
Many started their blogs with daily posts; as life sped up, bloggery wisdom changed. Five days a week used to be seen as the best method; now posting less often, perhaps once a week, is considered better..
I ignored the advice, because I have too much to say and blogging is just plain fun.
More grow-your-blog advice was to read and comment on other blogs. I did this, and in the process, I made 2 good blogger friends that I stay in touch with, along with some nice virtual acquaintances. This increased my readership by two.
Other bloggery wisdom advised doing guest posts on other people’s blogs; I did that a few times, and while it was fun, it increased my non-art-producing work without increasing my readership.
Another piece of advice is to “monetize” one’s blog. (Since when did “monetize” become a word?) What this weird word means is to sell ad space on one’s blog and to talk about products and books that one uses and likes, in hopes of getting people to click on the links and buy the products. This method is called using “affiliate links”. Feels pushy and sellsy and a little trashy to me. By “trashy”, I mean it clutters up the site and distracts the reader, inviting them to leave the page.
Not my style, although I have tinkered around with this too. Never earned more than about 15¢.
My readership is low, few readers comment, blogs are considered old-fashioned (gimme a break!!), I don’t have many subscribers, it costs money, and it takes time. Why do I continue to blog?
BECAUSE IT IS FUN, I LOVE TO DO IT, AND IT IS NOW A DEEPLY INGRAINED HABIT!
Besides, I know most of my readers in real life; we have real friendships and real interaction, not just “virtual” stuff, where people “hang out on social media”. Authenticity is one of my core values in life. I need realism in art, in friendships and in life.
Thank you for reading. Here, have a nice picture as a thank you for listening.
P.S. If you enjoy my blog and know other people who might like reading about earning a living as an artist in a poor uneducated rural area, people who are interested in Tulare County, people who love Mineral King, people who like realism in art and life, then send them the link to my blog.
There. That’s about as sellsy and pushy as I care to be. A bit too sellsy, but I guess it never hurts to ask.
Cute little things? What is this about?
This is a post about 4 cute little oil paintings of various Mineral King scenes on boards, each one sitting on its own tiny wooden easel. (Well, yes, they are for sale – thank you for asking!)
The rectangular paintings are 4×6″ and are $50; the squares are 4×4″ and are $40.
Such a deal! They are available on this page. (Sort by price, lowest to highest, and they will appear on the first page.)
Now there’s a creative blog post title for you. . . just the facts, ma’am.
I’m almost finished with this phase. Paintings need to dry, get signed, scanned, and varnished. Have a look at the various stages.
Maybe next week I will have a host of completed, signed and scanned Mineral King oil paintings to show you.
This year I have set the goal of finishing all the Mineral King oil paintings well before the season begins. The Silver City Store has been selling my oil paintings since 2010, and it is good for them, for me, and for the customers. The past 8 years have provided a good idea of what sells and in what sizes and quantities. Why not look at this information and make a plan?
Phase I was finishing a large quantity of paintings in the month of January, some that were begun in December. The total was something crazy huge, like 2 dozen or so. I hadn’t planned on buying 4×6″ canvases or painting on 4 little boards that used to contain things like tomatoes, so the number went up. All this production forced me to figure out how to use my painting hours more efficiently, and in February, I am continuing with this plan.
(Do you need a nap yet? A cup of espresso?)
Phase II is filling in the gaps – do I have the right quantities of the best subjects in the most popular sizes? Nope, not yet. Here is how beginning another 8 paintings looks. It’s not that pretty, but it is not as gross as making sausage, I guess, although I’ve never witnessed that operation.
There are about 6 more subjects I want to paint. These are also Mineral King, but they involve new scenes.
If this seems a little repetitious to you, well, it is. It is a little repetitious to me to. That’s the thing about doing work for a seasonal business – it is repetitious because there are new customers every week, and they haven’t seen my paintings before. Or they saw them last year and want to add to the collection. Or, their friends saw their painting and wanted one too.