Art and Reality

Posted by on Jan 15, 2018 in Oil Paintings, the business of art | No Comments

Art and Reality is referring to the fact that I earn my living with art and have to be realistic about things.

The economy has definitely picked up. People are buying larger paintings and more of them. Paintings sold very well for me in December (perhaps I’ll do a blog post showing all the ones that are GONE, after I hear definite totals from the galleries.) 

This means it is time to paint new things and be realistic about old ones that haven’t sold. 

I think I have saturated the market for little fruit paintings, with the exception of pomegranates and of course, oranges! Sequoia trees, Mineral King scenery and oranges are my mainstay. Time for a do-over on paintings which I am the only one who likes. Hard truth, but still better than job hunting. . .

It hurts a little to go from looking good to the stage shown below, but it is temporary.

It’s all part of the business called art.

Merchandise and Marketing Sense

Christmas is coming, and if I had any marketing sense, I would have been telling you about merchandise that is available all through the month.

I do have sense, and I sense that it would be irritating for me to keep pounding the sales drum. However, if you need a reminder or an easy idea for a gift, and I said nothing, I would have neglected my duty to serve you, my readers.

Choices and consequences. . . here we go. . .

  1. coloring books: there are 5 designs available. Heart of Agriculture, Heart of the Hills, Heart of the Parks and Heart of Exeter are $15; Heart of Mineral King is thinner so it is $12. They are available here: Coloring Books
  2. The Cabins of Wilsonia: the price has been reduced to $50. They are available here: The Cabins of Wilsonia
  3. 2018 calendar: all gone.
  4. pencil drawings: plenty of these available, both originals and reproductions too, some framed, some not. (Did you know I love to draw?) Pencil Drawings
  5. oil paintings: landscapes, still life, lots of sizes, 27 19 paintings available at last count (which could be fewer by the time you are reading this). Oil paintings
  6. notecards: lots of designs available (I still write by hand and use stamps and the U.S.Post Office – do you?) Notecards
  7. commissions: too late for this year, but there are always gift certificates. You may use the contact dealie or email me using cabinart at cabinart dot net (someone smart in computerizing told me to always write it that way in the blog. . . I just work here.)
  8. ornamentsthere is no page to sell these ornaments, but there is a story here. There are 2 that I painted like the one for the White House 10 years ago, as seen in the photo above (the center one is sold). The one on the far left is $150 (plus tax) SOLD, and the one on the right is $75 (plus tax).

P.S. If you live in the area, we can figure out a way to exchange currency for merchandise in person. If you don’t live in the area, I believe in using the U.S. Postal Service, accept checks in the mail, Paypal and can use Square.

Incremental Studio Improvements

Posted by on Dec 14, 2017 in the business of art, Three Rivers | 4 Comments

I am a big believer in incremental improvements, little changes adding up over time. If I wasn’t, I wouldn’t be able to draw in pencil, paint in oil, or even be a knitter.

My Three Rivers studio was just a little storage shed on our property until it got gussied up in December 2001. It was thrilling to have a place to work at home!

Over the years little changes have been made. They all add up, and here I am, 16 years later, with a studio that looks like this:

Next will come new siding. 

Realville, Not Maybeland

Posted by on Nov 28, 2017 in Oil Paintings, the business of art | No Comments

I have referred to myself as “A Realist from Quaintsville”, but most of the time I am more of a realist from Realville, because Tulare County isn’t really all that quaint. Really.

This definition means not living in a dreamworld, a place of what-if, maybe and perhaps. This sounds like “What if I put more time into it, maybe I can fix this oil painting, perhaps it will sell. . . “

The bald truth about this lantern oil painting is that I don’t like any of these things: working on it, trying to see detail that is ambiguous, and attempting to make paintbrushes behave like pencils. More time probably won’t fix anything, make me like it, or cause it to sell, because it has been in a time-out for 7 months, and none of these things have changed.

I’m 58 and I don’t have to finish this if I don’t want. So there.

Sometimes it is good to just act on a decision instead of waiting to be sure. I’m sure I don’t want to paint this, because I’ve been waiting to work on it for 7 months, hoping I might be able to turn it into an appealing painting.

Reality is that I like painting pomegranates, can actually see the detail, know how to paint them, and know they will sell.

The business of art requires frequent reality checks, and remembering to live in Realville rather than Maybeland.

I’d really enjoy drawing the lanterns, but am not convinced that this would be a good use of my time. Pencil drawings are my strongest artwork, but the reality is that oil paintings sell better.

Realville is where I live.

Poultry Paintings

The poultry paintings are inching along. They might be a little bit too hard for me, so I am taking my time. Productive procrastination is a good way to get through some difficult tasks. I take breaks to rehab frames, blog, touch up old paintings, answer emails, make a new schedule for drawing lessons, sweep, or water plants. All those things need to be done. I’m the boss of me. There is no deadline on the poultry paintings. They aren’t commissions. I have a commission to work on but it is a secret, and the recipient of the project might be a reader of this blog. So, poultry paintings in increments are what you get to see.

Have I convinced myself that it is okay to procrastinate yet?

This is the latest iteration of the rooster named Dinnerbone and the flock, with the appropriate and clever name of “Flock”. (And the rooster painting title is “Dinnerbone”, because I am creative that way.)

Samson discovered my friend’s car, which is named Hot Wheels. She is clever that way. (My car is named Fernando – thank you for being interested in such important personal details.)

Busy Today, Boutique Tomorrow

Posted by on Nov 3, 2017 in Events, the business of art | No Comments

A necessary element of the business of art is showing and selling. Art fairs, craft festivals, backyard boutiques, speaking engagements, demonstrations (not carrying signs of clever rudeness while hoping for teevee cameras – I mean showing people how I paint or draw)–these are all ways of reminding people of my products and services.

Today I am setting up for tomorrow’s Backyard Boutique. (Not officially called that, but I like the name and remember, I am 58 and this is my blog.)

P.S. I think it should read “29 crafters and 1 artist”.

P.S.#2 It might rain. If it does, I’ll have to cut and run.

2018 Calendar Special Offer

Posted by on Oct 25, 2017 in the business of art | No Comments

My 2018 calendar will be printed soon. The price will be $15 unless you order and pay for one BEFORE Nov. 1. This can be done from this page on my website: Calendar What’s the deal? $12.

Is it worth it to save $3? Only you can answer that question!

Kaweah Artisans

Posted by on Sep 28, 2017 in Events, the business of art, Three Rivers | 2 Comments

Kaweah is the name of the river (rivers – it is THREE Rivers) in town. Artisans are people who make specialty stuff; more precisely “workers in a skilled trade who make things by hand”.

For about 18 years I have been part of a group called “Kaweah Artisans”. We do shows, which we prefer to call “boutiques”, 2-3 times a year. We change venues, and our membership fluctuates. 

The rules are one maker per medium, be different from the crowd, be professional, and know how to display well. So, if you make something cool but not cutesy, are professional in your conduct, approach to business and display, and we have no other item maker in your category, we’ll take it to The Committee and decide. If your items meet the criteria and our space is not too crowded, The Committee will probably say yes. (But not if you have a reputation as a jerk; this is a very small town within a small county, and life and business are hard enough without personality complications.)

When I joined, there was a florist, a jeweler, a jam maker, a photographer and a weaver. Only the weaver and I remain of the original group. For our next show, we will be joined by a jeweler, a gourdista*, a cosmetic maker, a photographer, a small sculptor, a potter, and a chocolatier.

We still have our original banner, looking tired and worn out. It was time to update things.

When the banner arrived, I unrolled it outside to see how beautiful it is. Samson helped.

I FORGOT TO ORDER IT WITH GROMMETS!! The local hardware had them.

THE VINYL WAS TOO HARD TO PUNCH THROUGH! Our neighbor lent a hole punch.

And, Trail Guy put them in!

Kaweah Artisans marches on with lots of help from our friends, neighbors, family and pets. Our next boutique will be on the Friday and Saturday after Thanksgiving.

*Do you like the word “gourdista”? I just made it up.

Odd Job Completed

Posted by on Sep 19, 2017 in commissions, the business of art | 2 Comments

The odd job of painting a mailbox took about 4 hours. Maybe 5, but that extra hour was probably due to my own inexperience and lack of confidence. Oh, and another hour working on the colored pencil design. 

Will the customer be happy? As a friend, will she tell me the truth if she isn’t happy? I think she will – honesty is one of the things I appreciate about her. She is kind and professional too.

I have some wonderful friends.

She likes it!!

Now, will I start getting mailbox painting requests??

More will be revealed in the fullness of time. . .

Odd Job

Posted by on Sep 18, 2017 in commissions, the business of art | No Comments

Because I am an artist who has lived in the same area for over 30 years, making art the entire time, when people need something art related, no matter how odd, I often get asked. People ask me to do things that I am supremely unqualified to do, lacking skill and experience.

Sometimes, no, often, I say yes. I try to warn them that I am out of my area of expertise and that the results might not be what they expected. (“Past performance is no guarantee of future results” or some such disclaimer?)

Variety is good. Stretching one’s abilities is good. The trouble is, I have only been asked to paint on a quilt square once, a patio umbrella one time, an antique window once. . . is this because I didn’t do a good job, or because there aren’t enough of those types of jobs? 

This odd job is a mailbox for a property management company. My friend told me her idea and showed me a photo of her mailbox. I did 3 sketches for her, she picked one, I gave her a price range and some instructions on how to prepare the mailbox and then drew it again showing both sides and the top, using colored pencils. Then I warned her that trying to achieve tight detail with acrylic paint and small brushes might not produce my normal quality of work.

She said she liked the design and the price and wants the job done. We had to plan this for a weekend when she could remove the mailbox on Friday and replace it on Monday. No pressure or anything. . .