Thursday, August 30, 2012

Three 5x7 Cute Cows, oil on canvas

Three more commissions finished. (Sorry for the bad photos).  These three paintings were done for my neighbors up the road. It was a lot of fun since I love to paint cows! Now all they have to do is decide where to hang them.

Monday, August 27, 2012

What I learned on Ebay

I sold more than 200 paintings on eBay over the course of 18 months. It was thrilling. It was agonizing. It was exhilarating and it was exhausting.

 I followed to a tee all the advice I read in an article by Jack White (Making It on eBay) in the December 2009 issue of Professional Artist Magazine. It was good advice in every way.

I took a break from eBay last June (2011) and haven't returned, although that isn't an impossibility. I learned a few things about eBay and about myself as a person and an artist. I thought I'd share some of those things with you. The negatives first.

  1. I'm not as thick skinned as I'd like to be
  2. I don't like to, or want to, paint every day
  3. I need to set boundaries for social media just like I do for face to face relationships 
  4. I tend to let tasks become taskmasters
The Positives
My drawing board where I put paintings to dry
  1. Don't take myself too seriously
  2. I can paint a lot
  3. There are tons of people buying art
  4. I love my galleries!
  5. I still like to at least feel like a free spirit when it comes to painting
  6. How to organize my record keeping in a simple way
  7. How to establish a good work flow
  8. How to make and keep a schedule
  9. How to organize my studio
  10. How to stop buying art supplies I don't need
  11. Gained confidence in my ability to tackle new things
My desk at it's organized best
My framing/shipping center
 As you can see, a lot of what I learned from my experience on eBay wasn't in Jack White's article, but grew out of necessity and the overall experience of producing and selling so much work. Pushing myself yielded rewards far beyond the actual sales made.

I may go back to eBay sometime in the future. It has it's allure. If I do, I'll be even better prepared by my own experience, as well as Jack White's valuable information.

How about you? Have you considered eBay? Or other online selling venues? What have you learned about yourself through tackling new ventures?

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Commissions Welcomed!

Evening Watch 8x12 oil on canvas

The Homestead  10x20, oil on canvas

Morning Welcome 10x12, oil on canvas
These are three commissioned paintings I recently finished for some friends I met years ago at the Douglas Invitational Art Show in Douglas, Wyoming. Every year they would mention having me do a painting of their house on the river. They had designed and built the house themselves and when they contacted me early in the summer I was excited to do the painting. As the commission evolved it turned into 3 smaller paintings instead of one large. Before I had them finished it was learned this family would be moving to a new town, so it was even more sentimental than it would have been otherwise.

I delivered the finished and framed paintings to them a couple of weeks ago and was blessed to see their response. I hope the paintings are helping them make the transition to their new home a bit easier.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Going Grey, Looking Great

I have a book titled Going Gray, Looking Great by Diana Lewis Jewell. It's been very helpful for leaving the world of colored hair behind. And though that may seem unrelated to painting, it's not. I've also "gone grey" with some of my equipment and I like it! (I like my hair too).

The instruction for this is from one of my Virtual Art Academy lessons on plein air equipment.

I tossed my old white glass palette in favor of a grey one, added a grey color isolator to my equipment, and attached a value scale to the glass and the panel holder of my box. I'll show you how I did it.

For the Value Scale:
I used a Glidden grey paint chip from Hardware Hank and cut it in half lengthwise so I had two narrow strips of value scale. I used clear shipping tape to attach each half to their respective places. I was careful to make sure the one on the glass was in the same position -light to dark - as the one on the box.

My value scale from a paint chip and my new grey glass palette

For the Palette:
I got a piece of single strength glass cut to fit my box. I used a medium grey spray paint to coat the glass, after I had taped the value scale to it. When the glass was dry I dropped it into my box and it was ready to go.

For the Color Isolator:
I used the same spray paint to coat both sides of an old credit card. (A friend suggested coating the card with gesso first to really cover the numbers. I didn't do this, but you might want to try it. I'm not sure if the gesso would stick). I used a paper punch, which took some time, to put three holes in the card, evenly spaced. This is for isolating color and judging value when out in the field. It is my favorite new tool!

I've found this going grey to be one of the most helpful and simple changes I've made to my painting routine. It's been much easier to judge the values and colors as I'm working. I haven't spent much time actually consciously comparing things, but because my panels are coated a medium value (from the leftover paint scrapings) and my palette is the same value as the color isolator I don't have to mentally try to make adjustments for the different values, as I did in the past. And when I do want to make a conscious comparison I whip out my color isolator and line up my holes to see the actual local color and the color I have in my painting.

A comparison made easy. I usually don't hold the isolator right on the painting, but this worked for a photo.
Let me know if you decide to try this and how it works for you.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Something to Cool a Hot Summer

Muddy Creek                    Ginny Butcher
This painting is already sold, but I thought it would be nice to look at when the temps are 90's+.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Leftovers Again? What to do with Palette Scrapings

When it comes to food, I love leftovers. It's probably because I'm the cook around here. But when it comes to paint leftovers, it used to bother me terribly to throw all that good muddy paint away. Eventually, when it was too sticky to do anything with, I'd end up throwing it away anyway. How many times have you scraped your palette of mixed paint and thrown it away? Or left it in a great pile and wished you could put it to good use? Well, now you can.

Two mud mixtures from palette scrapings

Some people put it in tubes. You can buy the tubes through art supply catalogs. But it always looks like a lot of work to me - and would I actually use those tubes of mud? My solution to the leftovers is to use it to coat or tone panels or stretched canvas.

Usually I use it on gessoed panels because I really don't like the extreme absorbency of the gesso. It just sucks the paint off my brush faster than I can reload. But if I coat them with these leftover mud colors it leaves a nice oil skin to work on. It gives me a choice of interesting ground colors which I can choose according to my mood or setting. Whether I'm outdoors or in the studio, the paint goes on smoothly and the color does interesting things for the painting.

Some panels with different mud mixes on them

To coat my surfaces, I simply thin the mud with a bit of gamsol and spread it on evenly or haphazardly using my largest brush which happens to be a #10 bristle. If I'm coating a larger canvas or panel - 16x20 and up - I use a house painting brush. I let them dry for a week or two before using them. I keep them in stacks according to size and just grab one or more when I'm gathering my equipment for outdoor painting.

A few more - varying sizes and colors

Now you know what I do with my leftovers. What ideas or practices do you have for your leftover paint?

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Blaze of Glory, 6x12, oil on canvas

Blaze of Glory                    Ginny Butcher
This is a painting I did last fall. I'm hankering after cooler temperatures and this was a nice reminder. The painting was originally larger; closer to 9x12. I decided to crop it. The result is a more intimate view. This is headed to Deselms Fine Art Gallery in Cheyenne this week.

Monday, August 6, 2012

What's it Like to be a Gallery Owner?

Harvey Deselms is the owner of Deslems Fine Art Gallery in Cheyenne, Wyoming. I've been represented by Harvey for a number of years and decided to interview him about being a gallery owner. He was kind enough to indulge me as we chatted over burgers in the gallery kitchen. I hope you learn as much as I did as you read the interview.

Harvey, how long have you owned the gallery?

I just celebrated my 20th anniversary this year.

Congratulations! How did you decide to open a gallery?

I had a degree in archeology and anthropology and was working at the Old West Museum in Cheyenne. I found I was more interested in fund raising events and the art at the museum than the curator was. As I dabbled in some art classes at the community college, I found there were a lot of people with more talent than I. With that knowledge and some business classes it seemed a natural drift into the gallery business. It was a good way to be involved in art and help those with the talent.

Harvey, you do a lot of promotion of the artwork, artists and the gallery. Can you tell us what sort of things you do?

Sure. I keep an online presence through facebook pages and posts, and a website with the artwork, which is going to be updated soon. I do a lot of print advertising and post cards as well as TV a couple times a year. We have A.D.D. here in Cheyenne which stands for Art, Design and Dine, every second Thursday of the month. That always features an artist or designer from the area and involves various restaurants. In the past we've hosted BYOB, bring your own brush, on Thursdays, during which time artists demoed their work. The gallery does a lot of community sponsorship of non art related events also.

Some of the work at Deselms Fine Art Gallery

Can you tell us why artists should seek gallery representation?

So they can have more time to create! If they have to do all the promoting also, their big creative ideas get eaten up with that process of promoting.

Most artists I know aren't comfortable selling their own work.

Yes, sometimes it does take some finesse.

As a gallery owner, what qualities do you look for in an artist?

Reliability - I like to see that an artist is able to furnish the gallery with enough pieces to replace them as they sell. I like to see their work is well done, as well as priced in an affordable range for the market here. I have limited wall space and the work must be priced high enough to meet the artists' needs, but low enough to sell here.    

What advice do you have for artists who are looking for gallery representation?

Check out the gallery first to see if your work will be a good fit, both style wise and price wise. Then make an appointment to show the gallery your work. My pet peeve is when an artist shows up with an armload of paintings and wants me to devote my undivided attention to them and its the first time they've stepped foot in the gallery.

That seems fair. We all have schedules to keep. 

You do a lot of work for us. What can we, as artists, do to help you sell our work?

Be organized! Any organization, such as consignment sheets like you have is a huge help. And if possible, participate in any art events the gallery sponsors. Also, links on your website, facebook page, and things like that are all helpful, as well as word of mouth.

You also do custom framing here. In view of that, is there any thing you like to see as far as framing goes from your artists?

Consistency is nice, but different artists have different ways. Presentable and consistent is good.

One last question. Have you ever had an artist ask you to price their work?

Yes, and I steer clear of that. If I make it too low and it sells too quickly the artist thinks it should have been higher. If I price it too high and it doesn't sell in a timely manner then the artist isn't happy with that. I let artists price their own work. Occasionally I'll give advice to someone who asks and is just starting out - like a high school student.

So there you have it. Interviewing Harvey was a very enjoyable, as well as educational time. We became better friends and I was most surprised by the answer to the question about how I could help him sell my work. Who knew being organized would help my gallery so much?

Harvey and Dot
Thank you, Harvey, for your time and a glimpse into your life as a gallery owner. I'm more determined than ever to do all I can to help my galleries be successful. How about you?

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Lazy Days of Summer, 11x14, oil on linen

Lazy Days of Summer              Ginny Butcher
Being serenaded by chirping crickets, and trickling water are some of the reasons I love plein air painting. And who can resist cool mountain air stirred with warm sunshine? Intoxicating in every way!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...