Monday, June 24, 2013

Painting in the Garden Tour

This past weekend I had the opportunity to be one of 15 artists who were painting in a garden during the Bowser / Qualicum Bay garden tour on beautiful Vancouver Island. This was a fund-raiser for the Lighthouse Community Centre.

I was fortunate to have this glorious view to inspire me throughout the day. Although the weather was not cooperating, luckily I had taken photos beforehand to recall a sunnier day.

As I was taught be several instructors, always start with a sketch. I reluctantly did my due diligence and made several small sketches. "If it doesn't work on paper, it's not going to work on the canvas', echoed Mike Svob's words in my head. Don't you just hate it when they are right?

After a few thumbnail sketches, I had worked out some issues and had a plan to work from.

Working under an umbrella, I was able to capture the essence of the garden, while still visiting with the folks who were on tour.

At the end of the day, the painting was sold at a silent auction. Despite a little bit of rain, "that was a FUN day."

Till Next Time ...
From the Prairies, to the West Coast and Beyond...

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Working on a Doggie Commission

I was recently asked to do a commission painting of 4 dogs. My first instinct was panic, but once that passed, I said, "I'd love to!"

I had my client email some images to work with, and with a little Photoshop magic I positioned all 4 pups on a big chair.

Working on a 16" square Gotrick canvas I covered the entire surface with a thin wash of quin gold. Then I started blocking in some colour, only thinking about breaking it down into simple shapes (as I learned in a recent Janice Robertson workshop).

I worked one area at a time, trying not to get panicky about painting in every little dog hair and detail. Every now and then I would stand back from the easel and say "Wow, that's not too bad," (a phrase that I picked up from my nephew, which means, ha that's good).

About half way through this project I realized that the painting was to be a gift to my friend's son, who has many ailments. It was to help him "Get out of his funk". That made the process even more special for me, so I added a few hearts to the painting.

In the third image you can see that the doggies are starting to be recognizable.

At this point I wanted to add the Mike Svob affect, as discovered in a workshop that I took with Mike in April. By adding small bits of colour you can push your painting to the edge (hopefully not over the edge). Can you see the "punch" that the final painting has compared to the the third image?

Last but not least - what will the client say? After sending a quick email with a picture of the painting to my client, this is the reply that came back...

"You are fantastic...That is wonderful...I love it....."

Now just a few more finishing details and it is ready to get shipped off to it's new home and make a beautiful present for a wonderful young man.

Till Next Time ...
From the Prairies, to the West Coast and Beyond...

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Making Your Own Art Cards

A great way to spread your art and your name around is by making art cards. You can have them made up by a printer (which will cost you a little bit more) or make them yourself. It's not that difficult.

First I make the designs on my computer, which includes the image on the front with the description and contact information on the back. I then print them onto a card stock one at a time, using my Epson Printer.

Next I take an exacto knife, a ruler and a cutting board and start trimming them to size. It is a bit piddly and time consuming, but I do enjoy it, as it gives my mind a chance to unwind and go into a zen-like mode. (or sometimes I just watch something on TV like Dr. Oz. while I assemble them). The cards get scored down the middle, then inserted with an envelope into a plastic bag, ordered specifically for the size card that you are making.

Look how beautiful they are! 

I distribute them through galleries, gift shops, framing stores, etc. and sell them at my own art events. I don't make a huge profit off my cards, but I receive what I call 'mail-box money'. Every now and then a cheque from one or more of my distributors magically appears in the mail. Nothing wrong with that!!

It's also a super-great marketing tool, as each card has my contact info. on it. People can easily check out my website and see what else I am doing. I use these cards to send out messages to my friends, send birthday wishes, thank you notes, etc. It's all part of my marketing. Any questions?

Till Next Time ...
From the Prairies, to the West Coast and Beyond...

Sunday, June 9, 2013

What is Your Destiny

An impromptu hot dog and beer bar-b-q last evening with our friends, brought about an after dinner discussion; 'What is Destiny?"

As a creative being, which I believe we all are in one way or another .... what is YOUR destiny? Have you always wanted to write a book, learn how to sing, play an instrument, paint, be a master gardener ..... these are all rooted deep in your soul and need to come out in order to complete your destiny.

Our friend Lyn has been writing poetry for years and shoving them away in a box in her bedroom. Finally at the age of 81, with the kind help and patience of Jeff, she was able to publish "Soul Songs" a book of poetry. It was wonderful and very emotional to listen to a poetry reading she did in front of her friends at their Christmas party last year.

Several years ago I had a deep yearning to move to Vancouver Island to immerse myself into the arts. It was a tough decision as I would be leaving my family and friends and everything familiar to me. But  I kept thinking "If not now - when?" When those thoughts come to mind, embrace them, as that is your soul telling you that this is the right path to take.

As long as the decisions come from your heart .... it will lead you to your destiny.

Till Next Time ...
From the Prairies, to the West Coast and Beyond...