Monday, October 25, 2010

Art Festival Musings

Well, the art festival I told you about in a previous blog post was this past weekend and I actually enjoyed it.

It was held in a large barn out in the country and I'd wondered if anyone would find their way out to us.  But, the show was well publicized and we had a surprising (to me) number of visitors.  There were numerous events scheduled for the same time frame but I think that actually worked in our favor as people were out and about and stopped by on their way to or from other activities.

Did I sell a lot?  Not really, a few note cards and magnets but no original art.  That doesn't surprise me though as most people don't carry around the price of an original painting with them.  But, I did have considerable interest in pet portrait commissions and hope there will be some people who actually follow through.

As I said, I normally don't like to do street fairs or these kinds of festivals.  Most of the time you work yourself to the bone in preparation, set-up and tear-down and generally, for me at least, barely make back your costs.  This time it was sort of fun though - it was fairly small as it was the first time but all the vendors were very congenial and the people who attended were in good moods.  The weather was gorgeous and we were surrounded by farm animals, including 3 gorgeous horses.  There was breathing room with real fresh air instead of crowded city streets filled with gas fumes and the sometimes unpleasant blending of food smells.

So, this festival was fun and, while not exceedingly profitable, at least I got an opportunity to give out business cards and get a little name recognition.  Hopefully it will pay off with future commissions but, if it doesn't, it was still fun!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Diabolical Eyes

"Diabolical Eyes"
About 6x2 inches
Pastel on PastelMat

I'm supposed to be preparing for this upcoming art festival but, as usual, I got distracted when I saw a little scrap of PastelMat lying on my work table.  Thought this closeup of a cat's eyes was suitable for the upcoming Halloween holiday.
Now, somebody get the whip out and make me get back to work!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Exhibition Title Cards

I mentioned that I'm busy getting ready for an art festival in a couple of weeks and one facet of the preparation is designing those cards that are placed beside a painting to give viewers information about the painting.  I didn't even know what they were called until I went searching to see how other artists were handling this aspect of showing their work.

I guess I was fortunate to have stumbled onto a couple of mentions of them or I may not have found any information at all as there doesn't seem to be
much about them on the internet.

If you show in a gallery, most of the time the gallery furnishes these cards and they're usually plain white, simply functional cards.  However, many art festivals and shows leave this part up to the artist and I've seen some very eye-catching cards out there.

I do want to catch some eyes, of course, but I also want my paintings to attract more attention than the informational title cards so I wanted to keep it attractive, yet simple.  I've posted three designs that I've come up with but nothing feels quite right so far. 

It's also been suggested that these cards contain a thumbnail image of the painting on display so that there's no confusion as to which painting the information belongs to.  I've also heard that a card with the thumbnail image could also serve as provenance or a certificate of authenticity with additional information on the back of the card.

Have any of you had experience with these cards or do you have any thoughts on them and how they can be used to promote your art?  What about thoughts on what they should be called?  lol

Let me know which you like best (or if you hate them all) or any suggestions you might have.

I'll be checking the comments here but may not be posting a whole lot as it's a lot of work to prepare for these shows.  I'll let you know how it goes.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Framing Paintings on Suede

A couple of posts ago, I was singing the praises of using suede paper as as support for pastel painting.  This post will tell you how difficult it is to frame paintings on suede supports!  lol

I'm participating in an arts festival the weekend of the 23rd of this month and am trying to get paintings selected and framed and just stuff ready for the event. 

The painting of the dog (Chevy) that I'd painted on the suede paper gave me a very hard no matter what I did, the pastel would fall off.  I sprayed it several times with fixative and even that didn't seem to help. 

I ended up tapping the back of the painting to get rid of as much loose pastel as I dared then I attached the hanger wire holders to the frame and attached one end of the hanger wire.  I left the frame in an upright position, cleaned and inserted the glass into the frame, added the top mat, then the inner mat turned to face the painting (to capture any pastel dust that might still fall).  Finally I added the painting and the backing board. 

After trying several times to frame this painting and cleaning the glass numerous times after each failure, I finally got the dog framed!  I guess the secret is to leave the frame upright during the whole framing process!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Quick Draw II - Pumpkin

We took a car trip to Kansas from North Carolina a couple of weeks ago and I took the small Conte sketch kit I bought at Jerry's.  I also took some of the pastel paper that I don't particularly like as I thought it would be good enough to play on.  It was really difficult to paint in the car but I did a series of quick sketches of things out the window or from my imagination or, as this drawing, a combination.

We saw countless fresh air markets and fields displaying pumpkins for sale.  I decided to take advantage of the orange Tiziano paper to do this quick sketch of a pumpkin. The little Conte pastel kit has 12 crayons in good, basic colors, a sanguine and a black Conte pencil and a charcoal pencil, a kneaded eraser and a couple of tortillions for blending.  It's perfect for painting on the go as it has a lot of stuff in a small space.  I wish it were in a tin of some kind though as I had to put stretch wrap around the plastic base to hold everything in.  Maybe I can find a tin of the right size one of these days.

It was fun and beneficial to do these little sketches - they not only saved me from total boredom riding hour after hour, I got to practice trees and rocks and other things that I normally can't get quite right in pastel.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Still Playing Fast and Loose

The challenge last month at Paint My Photo was to paint a photo in an hour or less and Teresa at Blueberries, Art and Life has been doing some remarkable paintings in 20 minutes or less.  I'm a slow painter so I've been trying these exercises to try to speed up at least some. 

The idea is to paint as quickly as possible and still retain the quality you want your finished piece to have.  That means deleting unnecessary elements and keeping the important ones.  It means making every stroke count.

This is one of the Cotons I've been commissioned to paint as a Christmas gift.  She's an absolutely adorable dog and I thought I'd practice quick painting with her.  I think I need more practice!

Watercolor on Kilimanjaro cold pressed paper

Monday, October 4, 2010

On a Painting Binge

I've been on somewhat of a painting binge here lately and just finished the portrait on the left yesterday.  It's from the Paint My Photo site and is from a reference photo by Carrie Layne Mashon.

This is Conte, soft pastel, and pastel pencils on some suede paper from a scrapbook supply store.  I've been wanting to try the suede matboard that some artists use but it's not available locally that I can find and it's pretty pricey to order since there's a 10 sheet minimum.  The paper I bought is acid and lignon-free and I thought it would do well for experimenting.  The size is about 8 x 10 inches.

I really, really like the suede for use with pastel and the painting went very quickly with little to no dust!  I used a brown color paper for this painting and the light-colored, harder pastels didn't cover that well and that's really my only complaint with the paper.  I have one Sennelier soft stick in white that works well so I can see that if I intend to use the suede much, I'll have to invest in some softer pastels!

Oh, just thought of the new suede paper from ColourFix!  It's still not available where I shop but I'm really hoping it's as wonderful to paint on as this was!   Just think, I can get new paper and new pastels!  I'd better hurry up and finish the commissions that are waiting as I see a shopping binge coming to match my painting binge!  lol

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Toddler and Chicken - giving up

Well, this looks a little over-saturated to me but looked good on my graphics software so I don't know how you'll see it.

Sue and Christine gave me some good advice that I tried to follow but am not sure how successful I was.  I guess it's not bad considering that I'm not a people portrait painter and it's terrible if I were!  lol  We'll just call it somewhere in the middle and also call it finished as I don't have the heart to keep messing with it.  It's already getting somewhat muddy.

I've not shown it to the parents nor to anyone else, for that matter.  I'll do some slight smoothing then email it to my vet and see what he says.

Now, on to other things - I still have the Rottie to finish and also have a commission for two Coton de Tulears to paint.  I go to meet the Cotons next week and I'm excited about that as it will be the first time seeing that breed in person.

Until next time!

Friday, October 1, 2010

Toddler With Chicken WIP

I don't know if any of you remember the pastel I was working on quite a while ago but I've picked it up again and made a small amount of progress.  This one is really frustrating me because I really like the reference photo but can't seem to get my painting to measure up to it.

For what it's worth, here's a small update.  Any help gratefully received!

Oh, one of the items I bought at Jerry's was a small Conte' crayon and pencil set.  One of the pencils was the color "sanguine" which seems to be working well for the ruddy complexion of the child when overlaid with a peachy skin color.  The skin color still isn't there yet but nothing is finished at this point.

Various pastels/pastel pencils on Ampersand PastelBord - 5x7" size.