The Embrassing Thing About Being an Artist...

I met a lovely artist a few weeks ago who shared with me some important artist advice. 

”Don’t be afraid of trying to sell your paintings,” she said.

I don’t know about you, but I sometimes feel embarrassed that I want sell my paintings.  “Why?” You ask.  What if you don’t want one of my paintings?  What if they aren’t good enough? What if you think I’m greedy?  What if I’ve put you in an awkward position and you don’t know how to say no.  What if you don’t have enough money for essentials and do you really want to buy my art?  I probably can come up with a hundred more reasons if I try, but here’s just one more, what if I’m not dead yet, so my work hasn’t gone up in value?

Another thought just came to me.  What if you don’t know how to ask me if my painting is for sale?  Just say, “Is your painting for sale?  How much?” Hint; you can even try to negotiate with me if you think my price is too high. 

Which brings me to another difficult topic, taking photos of my paintings. If you ask me if you can take a photo and I answer yes, then go ahead and take a photo. 

This week, I plan to talk more about selling one’s artwork.  If any of you have any thoughts or advice on this topic, leave a comment in the comment box below or email me anywhereart4u@gmail.com  

 

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Home for Artists: Tired, Retired, Pre-Tired and Runaways

I found us artists a home yesterday and purchased it. It is suitable  as is, no remodeling needed.  I believe it has 14 bedrooms and quarters for our staff.  The plan is to fill the library with art supplies, good lighting and individual desks with storage and to fill the kitchen with Victoria Sponge cake, bloomer bread, peanut butter and jelly.  If you come by for a long or short stay, we’ll make art all day, plus we won’t have to cook lunch as we can have pb and j sandwiches. Every night we can go to a local pub for dinner.

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I’ve also purchased a car so we can all get around. We’ll take it to explore, find painting sites, mystical standing stones and car-boot sales.  Anyone want to move in or come for a stay? 

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Anywhere Artists Visit Oxford, England

Monday, the Anywhere Artists boarded the bus for one last day of exploring.  Our destination was Oxford and it did not disappoint. 

 Our bus fit all 12 of us comfortably and was small enough to navigate narrow English country roads.

Our bus fit all 12 of us comfortably and was small enough to navigate narrow English country roads.

We were guided around Oxford by a wonderfully knowledgeable guide named Bella. She walked us around to Trinity College and we were fortunate enough to be able to go inside  to see the inner workings.  We were familiar with some of the scenery from Harry Potter movies and the Inspector Morse BBC tv series.

 Debbie Allen shows her painting of Oxford in the bottom row.

Debbie Allen shows her painting of Oxford in the bottom row.

We parted at 2pm with some of the group returning home, some (including me) staying on and 2 of the members going off to Paris.

Parting is always bittersweet since we enjoyed each others company for 10 days, shared meals, conversations  and art making. Friendships are formed because of our like mindedness and shared interests. This trip, Katherine named us the Traveling Baggallini Sisters because almost all of us were carrying versions of Baggallini travel purses. 

The very good news is, we did not get enough of England and Wales and have decided to plan another Anywhere Art trip to see more of South Wales, the Lake district and the Cotswolds next year! 

Good Painting Day in the Cotswolds

Today was a very good day to be a watercolor painter in Chipping Campden. I sat in front of a beautiful thatched cottage and painted all afternoon.

 

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While I was painting an endless parade of interesting people walked by and talked with me. An entire high school class from Japan, a couple from Michigan, a retired gentleman, a lady riding in a wheel chair, a family from Austrailia and an engineer from Manchester were some of the people I met.  

Here is the drawing I did of the thatched cottage. 

 

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I painted furiously all afternoon, engulfed in a haze of creative euphoria.  I will show you the painting tomorrow.  The painting will spend the night in my sketchbook while I am sleeping and I will study it with fresh eyes tomorrow, add some paint blobs and such and then post it here. 

How To Paint in A Cotswold Village

Find a comfortable shady spot to sit with a view you want to paint.

Study the reflection in the river.  Note the water surface. Is it smooth, choppy, or wavy? Then make paintbrushstokes on the water that describe the movement in the water. Paint the water a in duller colors then the objects on the shore. 

Sketch, erase, sketch, erase, sketch, paint. Don’t give up, don’t expect a perfect painting.  You are slowing down, being mindful of your surroundings and creating a memory for yourself. Quit painting before you muck up your picture with too many details. Pack up your art supplies making sure you don’t leave something behind. Head to the tea shop or hotel bar and meet your friends. 

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How To Paint in A Cotswold Village

Find a comfortable shady spot to sit with a view you want to paint.

Study the reflection in the river.  Note the water surface. Is it smooth, choppy, or wavy? Then make paintbrushstokes on the water that describe the movement in the water. Paint the water a in duller colors then the objects on the shore. 

Sketch, erase, sketch, erase, sketch, paint. Don’t give up, don’t expect a perfect painting.  You are slowing down, being mindful of your surroundings and creating a memory for yourself. Quite painting before you muck up your picture with too many details. Pack up your art supplies making sure you don’t leave something behind. Head to the tea shop or hotel bar and meet your friends. 

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Thoughtful Travelers

Recently at a board meeting of Anywhere Art LLC (which consisted of Rick and I, Becky and the beagles, the other members live out of town and Max was working), we decided the word that best describes who we are when we travel is “thoughtful”.  We strive to be thoughtful about the the country we are visiting.  We want to learn about new places first hand.  Otherwise, we would stay home and not have to pack and unpack. 

We try to understand and speak with as many of the local people as we can.

Yesterday, we followed Lindsey, a certified walking guide around Bath.  Lindsay explained a lot about the past and present and helped us appreciate and be knowledgeable about what we were seeing. 

As we stood in front of the Bath Abbey, Lindsay explained that the sculpture angels climbing the ladders up to the top of the church and beyond were designed by the architect to make the bulding appear taller by directing your eye upward. 

One of the thoughtful members of our Anywhere Art group was listening and thing about the climbing angel.   She asked, “Why do the angels need a ladder if they have wings?”

Isn’t that a “thoughtful question?” 

 Look just above the blue flag to see the ladder, then upward to see the climbing angels.

Look just above the blue flag to see the ladder, then upward to see the climbing angels.

Watercolor Trip Synopsis

We’ve been busy in the Cotswolds the last few days. We followed a walking guide on the wonderful paths thru the countryside, visited the town of Bath and the Jane Austen museum. We also painted pages in our journals of snippets of the scenery and had time to stop at the town of Stow on the Wold, visit  England’s oldest Inn, now a pub and stroll meditatively through a group of standing stones called Stanton Drews.  The cows are right in the field with the stones and walk up to you when you speak to them. I am bringing home the cow pictured below and plan to call her Buttercup.

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Cotswolds Village Painting

Because they are amazingly charming and quaint, the Cotswolds villages provide limitless scenery and subjects for watercolor sketching.  The Anywhere Art group members have been very busy! 

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 Nancy Holtz sketching with Marianne and Flo advising.

Nancy Holtz sketching with Marianne and Flo advising.

Opportunities for finding quality subject matter are not limited to landscape we had to taste the local tea and cake in order to find teapots to sketch.

 On the right above the teaot is tea cake which contains tea soaked raisins.

On the right above the teaot is tea cake which contains tea soaked raisins.

We are trying all sorts of local foods of the region.

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Learning British Art Terms

Travel is a wonderful education. Yesterday I learned the British term for the  “artist tissue” we use to absorb the excess water from our paint brush.

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Painting The Town in Wales

The town of Conwy in Wales is where we’ve stayed the last 2 days. 

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From our hotel there is a view of Conwy Castle. We sat outside and painted views of the castle walls and some views of the town. 

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Conwy is on a bay and this the view from my bed.

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The group had to do some bonding last night at the St. George & the Dragon Pub. 

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England Watercolor Workshop About to Begin

Can you guest which airport I had a stop over in from the photo below? 

 

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We arrived in Manchester England yesterday and were happy to find blue sunny skies.

 

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To combat jet-lag we ubered to visit a street faire and art supply shop in the afternoon. 

Off to Wales tomorrow morning. 

Missing Pencil Draws Alarm

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Last week I found a pencil somewhere in my studio that enabled me to create lovely pictures.  The drawings seemed to flow out of this pencil onto the paper. I called this pencil, “the magic pencil”.  

The magic pencil disappeared last Sunday at midnight. I looked everywhere for it but it was gone. Could it have been placed in my studio by a faerie I accidently brought home from Ireland or Scotland)?* Perhaps the faerie revoked the pencil or its time limit expired? Maybe my pencil was stolen by a highway bandit or rival artist? The possibilities were endless. I continued searching for my pencil everywhere. I even hired a search beagle who couldn’t find the scent of it anywhere.

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Last night I had a dream that told me to order more of these magic pencils. I remembered my beloved pencil was red and white striped and made by Stabilo.  

This morning I decided to go on one last pencil search.  In the box at the top of this post starting with top left this is what happened. I took everything out of the black hole of my traveling art supply bag, and the pencil was not there.  I searched in all the little zippered art bags I have stashed around my house and I found my missing lipstick and some Pepto tablets but no pencil. I was ready to give up the search when I remembered one more bag I’d recently stuffed with supplies and left in the kitchen in case inspiration struck me while cooking or eating. 

I dumped out the contents of the bag and caught my breath! My pencil slide out of the bag. We are now reunited and going to draw again together after I finish writing this post. I am also going to order more magic pencils if Stabilo still makes Opera 2 1/2HB. 

*In lreland and Scotland I asked around about how to find faeries and  I was told you had to drink a certain quantity of Whiskey. 

Pre Trip Practice Painting & Review

Today I got out some of my favorite books on watercolor journaling. I am reviewing my favorite lessons in these books so I can share some of these ideas with my students on our May trip to England and Wales.  

 Still life to practice paint

Still life to practice paint

I’m also painting and drawing teacups and saucers in preparation for the trip since tea shoppes are wonderful in England. Usually in the tea shoppes in smaller towns the cakes and scones are homemade by a local and delicious. I am not practice painting cakes or scones because having them close by would make me eat them and I am trying to stockpile some calories for munching and sipping everything in the British Isles.

Learning About Composition From Me Might Improve Your Paintings

I think I mentioned recently that I wrote an article that was published in the March/April 2018 issue of Cloth, Paper, Scissors magazine.  The article was about how keeping a buffet of drawings organized by categories like animals, structures, chairs etc. can help you put together a unique, personalized  painting with ease.  I listed the basic rules for arranging your objects in your paintings too. 

Well, Jeannine Stein, the editor of Cloth, Paper, Scissors, who is also a writer, book binder and artist, read my article and took my concepts out for a spin.  She talks about the results in her blog post.

 Here is a link to her article:  http://www.clothpaperscissors.com/blog/drawing-composition-techniques-you-need-today/

Get More Artwork Done by Keeping a Watercolor Sketchbook?

YES! If you want to paint more often I believe buying a watercolor sketchbook (sometimes the paper inside is called mixed media paper) and recording your ideas, concepts, inspirations, sqiggles, doodles, scratch marks and scraps of pictures may help you.

WHY? Because: the sketchbook is cheaper than watercolor paper, it can be grabbed at a moments notice, you can close the sketchbook if you don’t want anyone to see your work, the paper is easy to tear out, bla, bla, bla, all these things will help lesson your nervousness and perfectionism. 

I got an email from Cheapjoes.com today and he has my favorite Aquabee Sketchbooks on sale in many sizes. I don’t get anything from Cheapjoe for talking about his products, it just happens he has a sale on my favorite sketchbooks. I took an Aquabee Sketchbook to Italy on my first teaching trip in Cortona, about 12 years ago! 

I like this watercolor sketchbook keeping so much that I am going to be teaching a class about it at Miracosta College in Encinitas July 14- August 18 from 9 am to noon. Another reason I like using a sketchbook is that it encourages practice painting and drawing but “keeping a watercolor sketchbook” sounds alot more fun than “doing your art class homework in a sketchbbok.”

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Curiousity Did Not Kill the Watercolor Artist

How many times have you saved something you want to use in your art and never gotten around to using it? Somehow I’ve moved from creating an artist lifestyle brand into the theme of “waiting or deferring till later or the perfect time.”  

I might have waited another 10 years to use this photo I have of some antique wooden dolls because today I thought it wouldn’t make an interesting subject for a painting. I was about to select something else to paint when my stubborn voice spoke up, (its usually quiet). My stubborn voice whined, “but you like that picture, please yourself + follow the advice you give to all your students, “It doesn’t have to be perfect.” 

My plan is to blow on this little spark of not waiting anti perfectionism, are you with me?

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Artist Lifestyle Brand Painting Shoes

I received some encouraging comments on my proposed Artist’s Lifestyle Brand, so I’ve decided to pursue creation of Artists lifestyle brand products. My products will be green of course, made from as many recycled materials as possible and must be needed items not fru-fru.

I developed my first product 5 minutes ago. It’s a kit to make your own painting shoes. 

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It comes packaged in it’s own attractive green case.

 

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It’s easy to assemble.

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It turns any pair of shoes into painting shoes in moments and may protect your shoes from paint drips and stains.  

Would you like to beta test my new product or order a kit? 

Beagle Drawing Model Will Be Missed

Socks our 14 year old beagle left the earth this morning. If you came to my house for an art lesson, I am sure you must remember the debonair beagle with the deep bark. 

 

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