If you think about it, it has to be. Art is only created when the artist takes time to explore what they selfishly are interested in. For me it's flowers, for others it's political statements, or justice issues, or pastoral landscapes, or abstract compositions. Why do any of us make anything? Because it is interesting. It fulfills some desire within our curiosity. It's something worth spending time with. Which actually means that we are worth spending time with. After all the art that we make is a reflection of the person who created it.
Have you paid attention to the evolution of an artists work? Can you see a difference between current pieces and older works? Yes? That is the evolution of the artist captured in physical form. What you are witnessing is the artist making different decisions than they made in their earlier work. It holds true that the more work an artist does the easier the artistic decisions will become. Not that the work becomes easier to produce because likely the work gets more complex in time, but that the actual deciding becomes easier. Less distraction from the uncertainty of what to do next.
For the beginning artists all the decisions often lead to almost complete paralysis. Standing in front of that first blank canvas with all the expectations and desires to make 'great' art are standing there with them. Crossing those initial boundaries of what should I create, how should I create it, will it be any good, are challenging hurdles for sure.
For the more practiced artist the blank canvas no longer creates the same paralysis, however, the doubt and expectation are still present. What if they never quite go away? How does an accomplished artist deal with these two aspects? They get on with it. They simply do their work. They pay less attention to these distractions of the mind than they once did.
After all, the barriers to creating art are all made up within the artists own mind. The paint doesn't care about your expectation. The canvas has no input into what you put on it. Neither material cares if you create something great. Only the artist cares. What is actually created comes down to what the artist imagines is possible. Unfortunately what is possible is limited by what the artist thinks about their ability. It's a chicken and the egg situation. Does great art come by accident, or does the artist believe they can make great art, therefore they can.
Which brings me right back to the title of this blog post. Making art is a selfish pursuit. When an artist stands in front of the blank canvas they are really exploring the relationship they have with themselves, with their ability to make decisions. They are confronted with the challenge of managing their mind, while their creative curiosity just wants to get going.
On the flipside, if the artist doesn't really think they can do anything significant, then guess what they create? Pretty mediocre art that they are not really that happy with.
Let's peel this back a little bit further. Painting is very simply, in my mind. You mix some paint and you put it on the canvas. Simple. If you create a painting that you are not happy with, frustrated that it didn't work out, then you have a couple of problems. You have either used the wrong colour or you've put it in the wrong place. That's it.
Now I'm really simplifying things here. Clearly the great artists, Michelangelo, Leonardo, Titian, Sargent, etc. have some skills to create wonderful paintings. They practiced and were able to make decisions with their paint choices, and how/where they placed that paint unlike most other artists. But the theory remains. With practice artists get better at making creative decisions and their work, it stand to reason, will also improve from those decisions.
I think there is also a self-improvement that goes on because as artists make more decisions at the canvas, they also challenge the doubt and uncertainty within themselves. I have often said that painting is the greatest self-help that I've ever embarked on. Simply because there is nothing standing in the way of my creative successes on and off the canvas other than my own ideas about my success. If I can manage my mind in a successful way, then there really is nothing I can't achieve.
I'm not suggesting that doubt and uncertainty go away with good mindset management or that they should even be squelched. After all they are just as valid a feeling as anything an artist might experience. What I am suggesting is that rather than have the feeling state of experiences dictate what, if anything, will be produce, that we learn to work with the seeming obstacles.
If I can believe most artists that I've spoken to about their process, each and every one has moments of doubt and the thought 'oh no! I've messed this up.' It's part of the process. Some call it the messy middle. This is where things get hard, the decisions don't come as easily, the judgments rush in, and you basically don't know where to go from here. I would expect that even the great artists of old also had these same processes wreak havoc on their artistic production.
Let's agree that being an artist and creating art is a selfish pursuit and one that bring the artist into a greater relationship with themselves each and every time they create something.
Here comes the dichotomy. If art is a selfish pursuit then how does an artist connect to a collector to purchase that art? How can this self pursuit have any meaning to the end collector? Now in the case of the old masters they were often commissioned by the clergy or wealthy patrons to create their art so a transaction to purchase was established to secure the completion of the piece of art. That is not the case in modern times. Patronage is something rarely seen in the modern art work.
Somehow, an artist has to describe/present their art, their self expression in such a way a collector can connect to it and wants to exchange money for that piece of art. Is it as simply as "Ooh, it matches my couch"? I don't think so. It can be that a piece fits into the decor of a room, and you may conclude that is the sole reason for purchasing the art. But I just don't buy it. There are any number of things you could hang above the couch that would work. What is it that actually has a collector purchase a particular piece?
I have a theory. One I haven't definitely proven in any scientific way, however, a theory it is. Let's go back to the ideas of art being a selfish pursuit. If the artist is successful in capturing what their imagination is guiding them to create, and their art is a mirror of the mindset and intentions they held while they created it, then those same characteristics are steeped into that piece of art. Could it not also be true that the viewer senses and reads the piece of art for the intention that it was created with?
This theory also helps support the idea that there is a collector for every style of art that has been created. Just take a look at social media, for example. I paint flowers, and on any given day I can scroll through my feed and see 15, maybe 20 different styles of flower paintings. Some are really great, in my mind. Some not so much. What I prefer in a flower painting, I guarantee, is not what everyone prefers.
Any artist new to creating art and thinking of selling their art has thought "This isn't good enough. Who's going to want to buy this?" There is a buyer for all types and styles of art. Please don't let that mind trick stop you from believing there is a market for your style of art. Does this mean that every piece of art is saleable - heck no. Bad art is bad art, and who decides on bad art? The jury is still out on that one. It may sound like I'm contradicting myself here. Bear with me. It's a tricky idea I'm trying to get across. Being skilled at creating art that is pleasing to look at, takes time, and effort. There are some conventions that assist you in creating a great image. Conventions such as composition, atmospheric perspective, convergent and divergent lines, perspective, proportion, shading, the relationship between lights and darks within the image and so on. These take time to learn and even longer to practice. If for instance you create an image with one object stuck smack in the middle of the canvas with very little attention to the surround area, it's likely not going to be very interesting.
I think where artists get frustrated is that they have missed learning about the tools that will help them create interesting images. Rather they keep trying to create something of interest using the same skills and ideas that they have always used and wonder why their work isn't improving. Wasn't it Einstein who said the definition of crazy making is doing the same thing over and over expecting different results.
In conclusion, yes, I do get long winded sometimes, I will wrap this up. Art making is selfish, for sure. When an artist is able to be with their process and their mindset while creating, they can create a piece of art that is steeped in that intention. Collectors feel it, and connect to the authenticity of the piece and may even want to purchase it. The key to this transaction is: Does the artist believe they can produce an interesting image? Do they believe someone will like it enough to buy it? Are they willing to do the work and practice making their art so they can move from uninteresting images to ones that hold the viewer's attention? Keep in mind painting is an illusion. It's creating something tangible on a two dimensional plane in such a way that it evokes a reaction in the viewer. In my case, I paint realistic flowers on a two dimensional surface. If the flower is flat, it might look like a flower but it's not going to be very interesting. If I can create that same flower in such a way that the viewer can smell the dew laden air and see the water drops scattered across the flower in the morning light.... now that's getting more interesting.
I hope you have enjoyed this little trip into my analytic brain. If you'd like to see the original paintings that I have available to purchase, I'll be publishing them in my magazine Direct From The Studio on the 28th of October. To grab your e-copy simply leave me your email address below. Feel free to leave me a comment in the comment box also.
First of all, who is Anna Wintour? She is best known for your role as the editor and chief of the fashion magazine Vogue and later as the artistic director for the entire Condé Nast suite of magazines. She is the daughter of Charles Wintour, the editor of the London Evening Standard newspaper.
Amy Odell has written an interesting biography on Anna's life which I found thought-provoking. Being the editor and chief of Vogue magazine is more than simply fashion curating. It includes creating opportunities for up-and-coming designers to be seen, to monitor and encourage connections between influential people, to understand the ongoing political environment, knowing how publishing fits into that mix, and being of service to non-profit fundraising events for meaningful causes.
How does Anna do it all? She focuses her attention on the things that need her and she eliminates everything else. Including the pleasantries as she greets people in the hallways of her offices. Her demeanor has been criticized as chilly. She rarely gives compliments and can control the room of staff with a simple look. No one wants to be on the bad side of Anna as she is the most influential figure in the fashion industry.
As I build my career, focus is one of the things that I repeatedly question. What do I focus on? Is it what I want to focus on? Does this bring me a benefit- spiritually, mentally, financially, emotionally, etc. Now I recall saying to my Mom, many years ago, "Do what makes you happy because you are trading a day of your life for it." It was sage advice for her and for me as I mature.
Prior to this fine art career, my creativity had been all over the place, for years.
Whew. It was a lot.
In 2020, when I went full time into my art career, I soon realized that this career was going to take all my attention. My other creative activities would have to pivot to make room for that. The transition was a bit unsettling because I was so used to being super busy. As a result, I filled my art career with all kinds of projects. Teaching students all over North America and the UK online, producing PDF materials to teach from, creating videos, starting a Youtube channel, creating groups on Facebook, etc. I simply replaced my previous busyness with a new form of busyness.
Focus is an essential part of actually being effective and what we are doing. Now I'm focusing exclusively on producing great paintings and selling those paintings directly to clients.
Back to Anna. Being a leader in the fashion industry comes with its own set of controversy. Ego's that get bent out of shape, opinions about editorial decisions, casting the cover personalities that may not be widely supported. Through all the controversy Anna, outwardly, was not fazed. She knew why she was making the decisions she was making, and she knew that others may not agree. She didn't try to please everyone, rather, she stuck to her vision for Vogue and the fashion industry that has led her through her 40 year career.
Having an opinion may not be popular and it may not please everyone. That is not the point. When an artist is making decisions about anything to do with their art, it's important to have an opinion. Just this morning I sent an email to a fellow artist talking about safeguarding those preferences. She is having a show and wants to provide food, specific food, because it matches her vision for the event. The atmosphere that we create when we present our art influences how people experience what we have created.
I have been asked over the years to produce art that is outside my preference. It could be a different subject/style, or a variety of flower that I don't want to spend time with. It's been important to decide, or rather listen to what my soul wants to create versus trying to please everyone. This is creative integrity for me. Might not be popular all the time with others, and that's not my main motivation. Yes, it feels good when people appreciate my work, and that is not the first thing I consider when I'm beginning a new creative project.
Back to Anna. She has her hair trimmed every few days; she regularly plays tennis to stay fit, and dresses for her job, often opting for heels with her polished outfits.
Now I work from home, often not seeing anyone other than my family. Is my hair always styled - no. Do I sometimes paint in my jammies all day - yes. Does it change my experience - sometimes.
One thing Anna safeguards is that Vogue is a brand and with her at the head of it, she makes sure she dresses to represent that brand.
My art is also a brand. I have a style unlike any other artist. I'm going to consider how I'm presenting myself and my brand of art in all my interactions.
Anna Wintour has been a guiding leader in the fashion industry, the go to person to discuss all things fashion. Designers have relied on her opinion to help them guide their careers. Her life's work is iconic. I enjoyed reading the book and learning more about her and her empire. I may never have several million dollars to spend on an event, yet I'm inspired to think about events and my art in a new way.
I hope you have enjoyed this blog post. Leave me a comment below and let me know your thoughts. If you'd like to see my work you can go to my website. The button below will take you there.
This annual showcase of work by our Signature Artists is your opportunity to view and collect the best of the best! Featuring works in all styles and mediums, these artists show off their skills with blooming florals, seaside scenes, intimate portraits and dazzling abstractions. These brilliant artworks are sure to impress and inspire. Please enjoy the 2022 Signature Exhibition, on view at the Federation Gallery from August 29th t0 September 11th, 2022
I've just taken a look at the collection myself and what a pleasure to be featured alongside all these talented artists. I think you will agree that there are some amazing pieces in this collection.
I'm thrilled to disclose that the piece I have submitted has already been sold and will be off to its forever home once the show ends. My collector is patiently waiting to receive her gorgeous painting.
Having the support of collectors and the Federation Gallery has been a real boost to my career. Creating art, and more importantly creating a business from an art career is not for the faint of heart.
Throughout this whole journey I've known that my only goal is to stick with it, keep going, and keep improving my skills. When worry came up around finances, or promotion, or shipping concerns, I was continually reminded to "Just go paint Ciel." This is my studio mantra. It's really effective to get me back in alignment with what the whole point is. Creating beautiful art that inspires and uplifts my viewers and collectors.
Recently I've received some push back around how I gush all over my paintings. How I exclaim that "this one is gorgeous" or "this is spectacular." I've been curious about these negative comments towards my excitement. I think my comments can be seen as bragging, which if you read it that way, could be offensive.
The real reason that I gush all over my paintings is not because I want to stroke my own ego but rather because I'm genuinely amazed and thrilled with the painting. I often feel like I am simply the messenger. That the painting itself has a life of it's own and I'm simply the hands that make it happen. It's intuition and spiritual in nature and I simply follow the lead that I'm given.
These negative comments have energetically set me back. I'm tamping down my excitement in my posts and trying to communicate in a different way. The comments have been hard to receive and the push to communicate differently is likely the growth edge that I was needing. Will I never gush over a painting again, probably not. My online presence is about me and my art, and if I feel that a gush is appropriate then that is what I'll do. However, I do feel a shift and a reservation to sharing how I feel about my work.
I think it's human to want to avoid conflict or criticism and yet isn't joy what we are seeking more of? Does my joy for what I'm doing not equate to something wonderful? I guess this is the boundary between the excited artist and the art marketing roles. I spend hours and hours bringing a painting together. During that time there is a transformation in me that mimics the transformation on the canvas. I love it. I do get excited to share and I guess if people take offense then I really can't do much about that. I'm simply going to commit to my creative excitement and keep going.
I'm rambling now, what I really want to gush over is that this Signature Show and the pre-sale of my submission is a big deal. It's also a completely new experience for me. I'm pretty proud of myself. I'm also thrilled to be featured alongside other artists who are on this same journey of finding their creative voices through artistic endeavors.
When deciding on the size, shape, and location of a painting within a room, getting it correct can make all the difference. Too small and the wall looks empty, too large and the room can feel small. So how do we choose the right size of a painting for the given wall space? It's a great questions and one I want to explore a bit with you.
First of all, how do you feel about the location and size of this first painting? the things I notice right away are that the piece above the fireplace has a really great relationship to the size and shape of the fireplace and wall above. There is a nice space border around the piece of the art, with the art being hung just below the centre of the wall while being up about 6 inches from the mantel, really works well. Both elements have a bit of breathing room.
In addition, the paintings on either side of the fireplace also occupy the space beautiful. They are not hung at exactly the same height, as they are smaller pieces. You can see that by the bottom edge of the paintings are at different levels.
This painting that doesn't quite get it right. In terms of placement within the space, it is sitting too low. There is no breathing room between the fireplace and the painting itself. In addition, the beam or mantel from the adjoining wall, on the right, cuts into the space. Perhaps an off centre hanging would have been better or a grouping of smaller pieces so that the eye isn't distracted by the line of the mantel intruding into the space.
In this example the painting is right sized for the wall space and the width of the mantel. In addition, the colouring of the frame and subject matter go nicely with the rustic wood interior. I think this is a great placement and choice for this lovely mantel.
If you are hanging a painting above a sofa or bed, how do you choose a piece for that space? In this photo I think the proportions are way off. #1 the size of the matt around the painting is too wide on the sides. It really doesn't enhance the image, rather the painting is a bit lost within that white border. The black frame is a bit harsh too. #2 the size of the overall artwork is about 1/2 the width of the sofa, which is too small. You want to aim for 2/3 to 3/4 of the width of the sofa or bed that you will be hanging the piece above.
Here's a great example of a painting that is the correct size for the sofa it is paired with. Its close to the 75% of the width of the sofa, hung with 6-8 inches room at the lower edge and centred on the wall beautifully. The minimal frame, likely a metal frame, around the piece complements the painting versus drawing your eye to the frame. The colour of the piece also works well with the soft toned interior colour palette. This is a beautiful painting for the space, the correct size, and hung to the benefit of the other fixtures.
Here's another example. The painting is lovely as is the sofa, but the two do not pair together well. The painting is too small for the wall size and the width of the sofa. The width of the painting is closer to 40% of the total width of the sofa. The colours work pretty well, it's just the size that is distracting.
Here are two examples of using multiple pieces over a sofa to fill the space. They work really well. The overall width is appropriate to the width of the sofa and they are hung with a beautiful space between themselves and above the back of the sofa.
In the second living room 5 pieces have been hung with the centre of the paintings at eye level and spaced regularly across the wall. This is a beautiful symmetrical pattern and is proportionally relevant to the second largest piece on this wall, the sofa.
These pieces are also a nice combination to the sofa, however, they are hung asymmetrically and with variable spaces between them. I think this works really well because the colour palette is relevant to the room, the frames aren't too heavy and the entire grouping of paintings reads as one unit. Very nicely done.
Some helpful things to keep in mind. Leave 6-8 inches between the bottom edge of your artwork and the other large elements on the same wall. Your art should be 2/3 to 3/4 of the width of those other large elements which could be made up of one piece of art or several smaller ones. Keep the colours relevant to the room and choose frames that compliment without drawing all the attention to the frame.
When you hang art on a wall that does not have another architectural feature like a sofa, mantel or bed, then aim to hang your art with the centre of the piece at eye level. Eye level changes for each person however the ideal would be between 57 and 60 inches up from the floor. Aim for the lower end of the range if people in your household are shorter and the higher end of the range if they are on the taller size. Measure the width of the wall space and aim for the art covering 60-75% of that width.
These are guidelines and your interior is really up to you. Use your judgement and give these ideas a try in your own space. You might be surprised how moving your art around with these tips in mind could create a really pleasing space for you.
If you are looking for new paintings to fill these walls of yours you can view my available painting using the link below.
Leave me any comments you might have in the comment box.
A full-time art career, one that has you earning money from the sale of the art, is pretty easy. Make some art, find some people to buy it and viola, you have an art career. Easy.
Theoretically, this is how it works. In reality it is something a bit more involved.
The way I see it there are a few key steps.
1. Developing a consistent body of work does not mean you have to restrict your subject matter. You might be interested in landscapes and still lifes. That is totally okay. Simply present each genre as a group rather than a smattering of each. Think about collections. Group pieces by size, medium, subject matter, price, however you like. What is more important is to be dedication to actually do the work. If you are not willing to put in the time at the easel to allow your creative skills to develop then perhaps you want to keep it as a hobby. No judgement. Simply a truth. If you want to have a business from your art, you are going to have to treat it like a business, which means putting in the hours.
2. Your mental attitude towards yourself and your art contributes so much to the success you are likely to realize. Doubt is going to come up, fear is going to come up, that is normal. The questions is are you willing to believe something more productive? I like to suggest that you start collecting evidence of what you have accomplished. How many completed pieces do you have? How many pieces have you sold? This evidence becomes the antidote for the doubt. For example, if I am struggling with a piece and my doubt voice says "You can't do this." Then I'm able to look at all the other paintings that I have completed and change my doubt into "Yes, I can. Just look at all these that I have already completed." Ultimately our doubt is showing us that we are scared. We don't want to fail and we don't want to be ridiculed or criticized. Collecting evidence helps us change our own mind about what is possible.
3. A professional website is so much easier now days that it has ever been. If you are not techy, find someone to help you. If you can figure out how to upload an image from your computer and write some descriptions then take a look at Weebly (my #1 choice), Square, Squarespace (different than square) as a website platform. They are robust. In the case of Weebly there is a storefront built in so you can create items and connect to those items in your website. When someone clicks on an image of your art on your website, and that image is connected to your store, they will be taken right to the sales page where the purchase can actually happen. Very cool. Your website is your showroom. Clients interested in purchase art are going to search for your website. Which brings up another topic, wherever possible use your name for your domain name versus some unrelated name. Use www.janedoeart.com versus www.artbyjanedoe.com, or www.paintingsbyjamesdoes.com You make it difficult for people to find you when you put words before your actual name.
4. The most important thing you can do is start collecting email addresses from people who are interested in seeing your art. It's never too early to start this. Social media is great, but they are platforms that you do not own. They can disappear, they can change their rules, they can ban your site. If you are only growing your following on social media you leave yourself vulnerable. Your email list is something that is yours. You are in control of what you send out, when you send it out, and who you show it to. Very important. Now keep in mind email open rates vary, but you can reasonably expect 25-45% of the people on your email list will actually open your email. With Social media you have no idea how many of your 2000 followers are actually seeing what you post. The other piece of this is use an email provider that is designed just to send emails. Some websites have email services built in, but email sending is not their sole focus so the deliverability of those emails can be very low. A specific email service is much more reliable at actually getting your emails through the spam filters of your clients email hosts.
5. Have a way to collect money for the sales of your artwork. Now many people collect e-transfers when they make a sale. It certainly works. The drawback is that #1 clients have to be familiar with online banking, which a lot of people are not. #2 clients have to know how to set up a recipient in their e-transfer account. #3 setting all this up takes them away from the joy of purchasing and into the online maze that may have them decide it's not worth it. Instead, I recommend using Square. They have online credit card processing services at 2.9% + .30 cents per transaction, which is the industry standard. They also have a piece of hardware that allows you to use a tap device if you are making sales in person. (Cost= $50? This is a one time fee to purchase the device) This tap device processes credit and debit transaction. Debit transaction carry a little larger fee and take longer to process. However the ease that your clients can make a purchase is fantastic with this service. (Note: I avoid Paypal at all cost. It can be difficult to get your money from them, they hold funds for 5-7 business days, and there are hidden fees if you are processing US credit cards in Canada.)
6. Having a systematic way of showing people what you are doing and what is available is important. Figure out what feels good for you. I have no problem doing videos, so I'm choosing platforms that allow me to load videos and share content with my audience. I was considering using Pinterest as a platform recently and my gut feeling is that it's not a good fit for how I work. I prefer videos to curated still photo creation. The important part is to be consistent. How often do you want to post? What feels good for you?
7. What I find essential for the long term vision of my business is having goals that keep pulling me forward. This is a great way to avoid the immediate disappointments that may come up. If a promotion doesn't go exactly as you planned it can be easy to get discouraged and stop. With a goal in place you have something pulling you forward to complete. In my case, I have my work outlined for the next six months. I have paintings planned and my timing all figured out. Will I reach all these goals, no. It doesn't matter. I have a road map of what I intent to complete. This timing also helps me plan when a commission comes in. I can see what shows I'm committed to, or what I'm really set on completing, and easily slot in the commission once a juggle a few non-essential commitments later in the year. The other advantage to planning ahead is you can be thinking about and composing the emails that you want to share when it is time to start promoting your next series of paintings.
I hope this has been a help. Let me know if you have any questions by messaging me below.
If you'd like to speak personally to me about your art business, you can schedule a call here. I'd be happy to chat with you about what your goals are and what challenges you are having.
Once humans moved from being nomadic to subsistence farming, accumulated land and wealth, patronage was soon to follow.
Patronage, the financial sponsorship of artists by individuals or institutions, paved the way for some of history’s most enduring works of art—so much so, in fact, that history only began regularly recording the names of the artists themselves around the time of the Renaissance.
The first patrons were the religious organizations that were trying to share bible stories with a population that was largely illiterate. From there patronage moved to wealthy individuals who wanted to enhance their prestige and power. Art was the way they did that. They hired artists to create portraits that represented themselves, and their families in the best possible way. I've heard that before Anne Boleyn was beheaded a portrait of her with her family was created in an effort to show the French public what a devout mother she was. The effort was valiant and didn't change the outcome of her fate.
Art may have also been an early form of money laundering as wealthy individuals found ways to recycle their questionably acquired money into something tangible.
Two very well known names who had a strong patronage relationship was that between the Medici and Michelangelo; the Sforza family and Leonardo da Vinci. The Last Supper (Leonardo) and The Last Judgement (Michelangelo) being two pieces created under a patronage relationship.
In the 19th Century patronage relationship have evolved to support artists producing works without a predetermined buyer in mind. Artists making work on their own time and their own dime.
When Gustave Courbet had three of his 14 pieces rejected by the French academics for the "Exposition Universelle" claiming they were too large to be displayed, he boldly rented the building next door to the exhibition and displayed 40 of his pieces in his own exhibition.
Courbet turned the dismissal into his own opportunity. You see this all the time. Artists use their creativity to think outside the norms and create something unique that supports their work outside the normal structures. Courbet's exhibit is the first known solo exhibition. It led the way for Realism and Impressionist painters to have their own shows and have a greater stake in the sale of their artwork.
This fact is very interesting because it had not occurred to me that in my own career I'm following in the steps of Courbet with my solo show in the fall of 2019 and the direct sales to collectors through my studio and website. Very cool.
Ashley Longshore is a name that comes to mind as an artist who has paved her own way in modern times. She has been touted as a pop artist to rival Andy Warhol and who has challenged the business model of traditional art galleries.
She has partnered with Bergdorf's, the first female artist in the history of art with to do that. She has also paved the path for art and fashion to co-exist. I've included a link for you to check out her work.
So patronage, patron's support of artists has been an historical relationship that lives on today.
It's one that I have recently embraced in my business. I know I have raving fans all over social media and within my email list and yet purchasing an original painting is only one way those fans can engage with my work. I have just developed a 4 tier subscription that gives patrons the opportunity to receive beautiful stationery/gifts during the year or even an original painting - depending on the level of subscription they select.
I'm excited to walk in the shadows of Longshore, Courbet, Michelangelo and Leonardo. Continuing the legacy of great art getting into the hands of patrons who appreciate the skill, time and beautiful of the art that is created.
If you are curious about the subscriptions I have available, plans start at $5/month, you can take a closer look by clicking the button below.
First of all, brushes. A good brush is essential. I was introduced to Rosemary and Co Brushes a few years ago and they are the only brushes I now use. They are handmade in the UK, which you might think makes them expensive. Not the case at all. They are exquisite, and at $4-15 per brush, for the varieties that I use, I'm happy to have them shipped over.
What makes these brushes so delightful is that they hold their shape, they carry the oil paint really well, and leave very few brush marks behind. I love a smooth texture in my paintings so having a brush that doesn't leave each stroke in the paint is great.
Clean up is also really easy. I use plain old Linseed oil to clean my brushes with a touch of Murphy's Oil Soap for a deeper clean. With proper care these brushes will last a long time.
Next up: Paint.
Winsor & Newton Artists' Grade paint has been my go to paint over the years. I find the pigments to be rich and smooth. These paints blend really well with one another also. The only exception is the Titanium White, which is very stiff, so it requires a little thinning and more mixing with the pigments.
Winsor & Newton is not the most expensive paint, or the most exotic. Old Holland paint, for example, dates back to 1664 and the Dutch master painters like Rembrandt van Rijn, Johannes Vermeer and Frans Hals. I'm curious what it is like to paint with, however, at $109 for a 40ml tube of Cad Yellow, I think it will be awhile before I invest in this paint.
What I have explored is Gamblin Paint.
My idea is that the quality is a little higher than Winsor & Newton and the consistency of the paint is really lovely. The Titanium White from Gamblin is buttery smooth. My next painting I'm going to use Gamblin exclusively to see what difference it makes in the overall painting. Exciting. I'm looking forward to trying it out.
Mediums and additives.
This is a tricky topic in the oil painting world because there all sorts of conflicting opinions. There are those artists who have used additives for years and have no problem whatsoever. While others recommend not to use these same mediums because of longevity issues, delamination, yellowing over time, etc. To avoid the conflicting opinions and perhaps issues over time, I've decided not to use any mediums or additives beyond simply linseed oil. Linseed oil is the carrier oil the paint companies use for their pigments. This creates a harmonious union between the layers of paint that I use and will not have any trouble over time.
What I want to ensure is that when you purchase one of my paintings they are stable over time and if they need to be retouched an archivist can do that easily. If there are additives it can be difficult for a restoration to happen because those additives don't allow for future paint to be added or for the additive layer to be easily removed before the restoration.
My goal is to use fine materials, with my painting skills to create a painting that will become an heirloom for you and your family. I love that longevity piece. Creating things that will last over time.
Leave me any comments you have below. I hope you have enjoyed this foray into the materials that I use in the studio.
Bernard Callebaut. In a word, this is it, my guilty pleasure that I don't feel guilty about at all.
I was first introduced to them when I worked in Calgary, I used to take the bank deposit to the Scotia Bank down the street which took me right by the retail store for Bernard Callebaut. One of their practices was to have counter samples that would introduce you to new flavours. Oh my!!! Delicious.
Handcrafted chocolates with delightful creamy fillings. Not overly sweet, just flavour, flavour, creamy flavour. It has been a love of mine ever since. They feel so decadent and luxurious.
I think finding things that make our experiences better are important things to figure out. It can take some time to pay attention to what these things are. Our desires are important.
Despite our desires being important, it can be hard to allow ourselves to have our desires. We have been told 'no' thousands of times in our childhood and I think as adults we are accustomed to saying 'no' to ourselves.
Often we say no for the sake of family or other priorities. Sometimes it's necessary, but when and where we can, allowing our desires is important.
These chocolates are one of the those desires that I allow myself.
If you'd like try them for yourself I'll include the web address here.
If you live in the White Rock/South Surrey area you can visit the retail store in Peninsula Village located on 24th Avenue just east of 152nd Street.
If you do try them, them me a comment below. Perhaps you have already tried them or some other guilty pleasure. I'd love to hear about it.
Share your comments below.
Have you ever had an idea that has taken you a few years to complete on?
I have. This piece is a prime example. It was conceptualized in 2019 and I'm only now getting around to it. I love that feeling of completing on older projects. I was curious if I'd feel the same inspiration after all this time. I am. Very cool. I think I'm even more motivated now that I started to refine the shapes and colours.
There are a ton of details to paint in. While you see the line drawing on the canvas, the lines only depict major elements. There are subtle shifts throughout the entire piece. It's slow. It's rewarding. It's going to be stunning.
From deep fuschia to light pink and on to white. These six blooms are going to be amazing.
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Just the way I planned it.
We all know the summer flowers don't last forever, but someone there is still a sadness when they are gone. Part of my master plan is to bring those gorgeous flowers indoors so you can enjoy them all year long.
But really, what does it matter that you have a flower painting on your wall? In the big picture. Yes, it's pretty, but what is the lasting effect?
Just image you wake up and are greeted by one of these beauties. What's the first thing you do? You smile. You are in awe of the beauty, the colour, the lighting. Guess what? Even on the grayest of days, you immediately feel better.
What happens when we feel better? We smile more. We feel more confident. We greet our neighbours with a warm hello. We might even have a conversation with a random stranger. Who knows what could happen once you step outside feeling all happy.
We have an impact in the world, we may not always know what that impact is. We may not have any feedback about how we influencing others around us, but influencing we are.
My situation is unique because I often receive messages from clients once they have received their paintings. Like this one. This is the reaction from a client who was seeing her painting for the first time.
It still brings tears to my eyes to take in this impact. Can you feel it to? The amazing connection she had to the painting that I painted for her. Does she feel different? You bet.
Now just imagine what that feeling can do for a week, for a month, for a year.
We might want to change the world around us but really not know how to do anything to create that change. I know for certain feeling good is one thing that we can all do, and it has a big impact on what's going on around us.
Or this note from another collector of mine,,,,,
Why am I sharing all this, partly for me to be reminded of the impact that I'm having and partly to share with you, what it's like to own one of my paintings.
I really want to share beauty with others and by creating gorgeous paintings I have a way to do that.
Right now, I have a special promotion going on. For my VIP email recipients, I'm sharing a $100 voucher to use towards their purchase. (Good until 11 July 2022) Would you too like to be a part of it. It's easy. Simply join my email list. Here is the link to do that.
Maybe you'd like to see the pieces that are included in the Mid-Summer Clearance first. Before you sign up, because what if the paintings aren't any good. You don't want to sign up to a list if the paintings are bad. (They are not bad)
Just take a look. Don't take my word for it.
Yes, I can be a bit cheeky. Have a great day and let me know if you have any questions. You can message me here.