Wednesday, April 22, 2015

How to Ship Artwork

Prairie Whispers - on the Road

Last fall I confirmed an art show for May / June 2015 in Weyburn Saskatchewan. Now that I live in BC, the challenge was how to get the paintings to the gallery?

When I agreed to the contract with the Signal Hill Gallery, it was stated that they would pay for shipping one way, plus pay me an honorarium. I stated that I would be sending between 15 - 17 paintings, the size would not exceed 14 x 18". I wanted to keep the sizes medium for two reasons: first - they would be easier to ship, and second - it keeps the selling prices in the mid-range.

Once the contract was signed, all I had to do was create a body of work. The show is called "Prairie Whispers...depicting the quiet beauty of the prairies." 

After researching shipping prices and insurance, I decided on Canada Post. They not only had the best rates, but there was no limit to the amount of insurance you could add. If you are a business and have a Venture One card then you get a discount. I found that sending individual paintings with Canada Post had always worked in the past. The trick I believe is to purchase additonal insurance, that way you have a tracking number and you can follow the path of your shipment.

I scouted out blue boxes that would fit my sizes, leaving a little room around all sides. Each painting has a piece of Reynolds parchment paper against the painted side so it won't stick (yes it has to be Reynolds as it is the only one with silicone). There is a piece of foam core (cut to size) between each painting. Then I took 3 paintings and wrapped them with bubble wrap. This 68 litre box contains 9 - 14 x 18 inch paintings.

More bubble wrap on the sides and top, makes it a nice snug box.

My smaller pieces, 12 x 16 inches, went into a smaller blue box. I didn't want to force them in, so the last two 12 x 14 inch paintings were wrapped in a cardboard box.

We put gorilla tape around the lids of the blue boxes. We also invested in a strapping kit ($55) from Staples. The boxes are marked with fragile stickers on several sides, plus each box has two shipping labels. The cardboard package is reinforced with copious amounts of clear packing tape. Can you guess that I use to work in a mail room?

Safe and secure the three boxes went out with Canada Post for $166 (below my budget of $200).

Note from gallery: Shipment arrived. All is fine. Will hang show next week.
I'd like to also add that is only took 4 days.

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

Monday, April 13, 2015

Voices in my Head

When I paint, I am constantly hearing voices in my head. I have taken many workshops over the past several years and I recall tips that I have learned.

Before starting a piece, I hear Brian Buckrell saying "Pick a battle that you can win." Hmm, can I do this painting justice? I often joke that 'I survived Brian's bootcamp', but in all seriousness this was the most comprehensive class I have ever attended. I think about foreground, mid-ground, background all the time, even when I'm NOT painting. Thanks for the good start Brian.

I can hear Donna Baspaly saying "Paint painterly and loose those edges." Yes Donna.

At the same time Mike Svob is reminding me to 'Look at the big picture and keep it simple."

Next comes the glazing technique that David Langevin embedded into my consciousness. Should I use a glaze to bring everything together or to push something back? "Learn to handle your tools", David says.

It's a wonder I can get any work done with all these voices in my head. One at time please.

Suzanne Northcott reminds me that I have something to say, that is why I paint. Hmmm...that's deep. There should be a dance moving between background and foreground, thick and thin.

Inevitably half way through the painting my own voice pipes up and says, "What were you thinking?"

But by the end of the painting, I have put my own twists on the painting and it is my signature at the bottom of the canvas. It is my voice that says "Good job. What should we paint next?"

Whose voices do you hear while you are painting?

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

Friday, April 3, 2015

Finding Inspiration in my Gardens

As far back as I remember, I have absolutely LOVED gardening. My house has always been full of plants, starting seeds early in the spring.

I thank my mother for my passion for gardening. Growing up on the farm, my mom always encouraged me to have a little flower bed of my own. There I could plant anything that I wanted. My usual choice were marigolds, possibly because they bloomed for a long time, but also because I have always been attracted to warmer colours. (as you might know if you follow my artwork)

Several years ago I made the move to Canada's West Coast. A good part of the reason to move from Sask. was in search of better weather. In terms of growing zones I was leaving a 2 and heading for a 7 zone. Now I can putter around the yard for 10 months of the year. Spring comes early on the west coast.

I often check my yard a couple times a day, just to see what I can see. It's also a good break from a day of computer work. I get up, stretch, walk outside and breath. Often a quick walk in the yard ends up being an hour or more. A little weeding, some transplanting, plans for future beds ....

If I have a difficult decision or puzzle that I can't quite figure out ... I go outside, start working in the yard, and like magic the solution pops into my head.

Gardening provides endless inspiration for my artwork.

Not to mention that I absolutely love it when my dinner plans includes something fresh from the garden. Plant something today.

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