This week I had a fun time with my "Mother's Day Draw" for a free print...for your mom or for you! I figure we all need a bit of a treat these days! It was for my Facebook Followers. I asked them to tell me which print they would choose, and why.....whether it was for their mom, or for themselves.
Many people entered the draw and I was quite moved by many of their responses....a favourite place, a reminder of something or...someone.......But the one that made the biggest impression on me, was actually the one that I drew. (Honestly, I did not look at the names as I drew them out). I did end up drawing names and giving out 5 prints.....I really wanted more people to win that painting that would mean so much to them.
The first winning ticket was Linda Ashfield, a friend of mine and retired Presbyterian minister. Her words emphasized the amazing thing that what I choose to paint says something to the viewer that I don't even think about when I'm painting it. This particular painting that I did this winter was from a photo that I took a couple of summers ago. I caught sight of this butterfly on the thistle and liked the bright contrast. I had to crouch down a bit to take the photo, so that I could see enough of the butterfly. Unfortunately, it was right in front of an ugly grey brick wall. I didn't worry about that...I knew that I could change it. I decided to make the beautiful blue sky as another contrast. It seemed to be a very happy picture (which I have to admit I like painting)...something that might make people smile. Here's what Linda had to say:
I would choose your butterfly and thistle print. There are a few reasons: personally the thistle speaks to my Scottish heritage and the butterfly my Christian faith. But it strikes me that it is very much a picture filled with hope. Covid has brought a lot of thorns and thistles into all of our lives - but in the shutdowns and sadness there has been moments of peace and hope that float in just when we need them. Your picture seems to be looking up towards the sky - which to me is a huge indicator of good things for the future (dare I say post covid?)
Thank you for sharing that Linda. I think that you are going to enjoy your new print! I might even put one up on my wall!
But last week I had a message from S. her boyfriend loved it! But he finally, reluctantly told her that there was one problem! Apparently when he lived in the house it was red brick.....and the current photo that I had to work with .....well it was white siding!
They wondered if there was any chance that I could change it! Well.....that's a funny thing about watercolour....Maybe you can...maybe you can't! Since watercolour paint that I use is transparent, you can only put darker colours over top of lighter colours (or white).....you can't go from dark to light like you can in acrylic or oil. Well weren't they lucky! Because it was an easy fix to make that white siding into red brick! Now he's happy to have a painting that really DOES look like the house that he grew up in! And I actually like the new version better too!
.....Commissions! As I was telling someone about them today, I realized that there are 2 things that I enjoy about them. #1 They almost always challenge me to paint something very different than I would choose, and #2 I like the way they reach people on an emotional level.
This past Nov/Dec, I was so pleased to be able to do several commissions, most as Christmas gifts. Each painting has a story about why it was important or what it meant. Or there's a good story about the ordering of it! Here is the best one yet!
Later that same day, the Mr. also ordered a painting of their amazingly renovated house for his wife for Christmas! What was I to do! I couldn't tell him that HE was already going to be receiving it! So, since I knew her better...and she was first....I told her what had happened. What a laugh we had, but what to do. She thought about it for a few days, and then suggested that SHE would give HIM a painting of the original house as it was when they moved in. Then HE could give HER the renovated version. And that's what happened. And they both loved both of the paintings! They now have matching frames and will be hanging on the wall together.
I love that! My favourite story!
This has never happened! Look at my January calendar! Of course, we're all probably still in the same boat, aren't we. Everyday is the same....although it seems like we get to Thursday very quickly each week.
But.....it turned out to be a good thing. I was so busy all fall, right up to a few days before Christmas so I said that I was going to "Do Nothing" in January. If you know me at all, you'll know that I never do nothing. Two years ago, on our 6 week 'holiday' on Vancouver Island, I painted 30 pictures! That was NOT relaxing.
So, I did it! No art business work (well, except for shipping some Etsy orders). I read several books, we've done 11 jigsaws since Christmas Day, trying to go for a little walk every day, watching a bit of TV, watching YouTube videos, puttering around the house, but no cleaning/sorting projects (although there are several to do).....
......and I'm bored.
So now it's February!
I've got 4 commissions to do this month.
I need to get my website and Etsy shop updated.
I'm looking forward to new paintings (I have several ready to go!)
I need to think about online classes
......sounds like I need a holiday! :)
Well, 2020 is now a memory. When I think back to last January/February and how busy I was, I certainly didn't expect it to turn out like it did....who did! But for my little art world, it has actually turned out quite nicely although different than what I expected. Here's a look back at what I've done:
- had 3 "Porch Sales" and 2 "Pop Up Outdoor Vendor Shows" , all following safe COVID procedures.
As well, I revamped my inventory system, especially for cards, assigned SKU - bar codes for all of them, and bought a hand held barcode scanner......a week before the lockdown in March! Good timing. But I have used it several times and it sure saves time at checkout, and keeping track of stock.
Wow.....I think that was busy enough.
Thank you for your continuing support!
....and here we go to 2021!
I like to sometimes paint in a theme, especially for Christmas Cards. Not that it matters, because my cards are all sold separately, but it just ties the subjects together.
So this year, I kept thinking about "Silent Night". A beautiful carol that we all love.....I love the silence and peaceful feelings that it evokes. I wanted to paint something from each of the 3 areas in Cambridge, and also included a farm in Roseville, just outside of Cambridge.
These are the things that I wish for everyone as we quietly celebrate Christmas this year. It will be different for all of us.
Have a silent.....holy.....calm....and bright Christmas!
Well it might be the beginning of November, but I've been spending the last 4 weeks getting ready for Christmas! Yep....a bit of an update since my last chat with you
We all know that our world is very different this year, and what we know is not what we'll be doing this year. November and December in the past have been very busy for me, doing craft shows and meeting so many wonderful people. That won't be happening in the same way as before. But many organizers have found new ways to hold OnLine or Virtual Christmas Markets. We don't know how they will turn out, and we'll surely miss the face to face, but we're all hoping that it actually might make it easier for more people to see what we have. I am involved in 4 shows, and each one involves a different 'platform' to set up our work. Which I have to say is taking hours, getting the online store up. I've even made a couple of videos so there is at least a real person to see for a few minutes.
Here's Dennis cutting mats.......lots of new paintings & prints!
This is some fascinating video for sure (ha ha ha ha)
It might LOOK like I know what I'm doing. I figure if I have lots of cables, and adapters and tripods and wires, something will work!
I'd like to ask a favour of you and your friends,......please consider checking out these online markets wherever you are. The handmade vendors are trying to find a way to get their produce for you to see....and this is the way it will be this year.
An interesting plus, is that many of them are on for 3 to 30 days! Not just one day for 4 or 5 hours. You can take your time...browse.....come back in a few days...order something.....decide you want more....browse again.......24/7 for that time period. Should be much more relaxing for everyone!
Here are the ones that I am going to be involved in. Of course, you can contact me at anytime and also see all my work here on my website. But there's lot of other great work from many amazing vendors!
Check out my "Upcoming Events" page with links to each market that are active only during the dates of the 'market'
Will I 'see' you there?
Well, September had about 10 days, don't you think?
In a 'normal' year, I would be knee deep in getting ready for Christmas shows about now. That's not exactly happening.....but guess what....it sort of is!
I'm quite excited that there are some 'virtual' or 'online' markets being planned. And I AM actually busy getting ready!
How will this work? Well, each one is a little different. It's an attempt by organizers and vendors to reach their customers at this traditionally busy season. Bring lots of shoppers together to see the the wares of the local crafters. So on a specified website, or Facebook Page will be the "event". There will be a listing, or even a 'page' for each vendor, showcasing their items. There may be just a link to a website or facebook page or instagram page. There may be a video or a detailed description about the vendor and their products. It may be for one day for a few hours. It may be for 3 or 4 weeks, accessible by you, the shopper 24/7 for that time period. It may have a 'live' component to it.
I think it's actually going to be an exciting time. Or at least I hope that it is. Since our world is going with more 'online' shopping and 'shop local' experiences as we deal with the COVID restrictions, this will fit in perfectly. It will be a new way of shopping actually.....for some of the 'shows' you will have lots of time to browse....you'll probably end up being able to see even MORE than you would have in person.
So far, I have 2 'shows' scheduled. And hopefully more to come! I'll let you know :)
An old saying....but oh so true.
A couple of months ago I talked about painting more than one 'original' of the same painting. Well, if it's my choice to do it, that's one thing. I'll gladly paint another 'original' for someone.
But......if you have an idea in your mind of what you want the painting to be....and it doesn't turn out, what do you do? I have had several paintings that I wanted to just stop. I seemed to be having problem after problem......or even one big problem. What should I do? Well, I used to just stop and say that's it. Never mind. (easy if it's not a commission piece!). But then I decided to keep on going.....and see what turns out. I have been pleasantly surprised many times, and very glad that I did keep going. Somehow I was able to 'save' the painting.
But......what if you get all the way through and take a good look at it, and say "that is not what I wanted to paint", then what to do? Well, as I was told many years ago, "It's just paper". Paint it again! And see what happens.
I had a commission piece a couple of years ago that just did not work. But I had to make it work. So I finished the first version. I knew that things that I needed to correct as I started the second version. Happily, I was pleased with the second version, as were my customers. (I am not going to show you the painting though, because I don't want them to know that I had trouble ;) )
Now, here we have a photograph that I saw on Facebook. I asked the photographer for permission to paint it and she said sure, but she'd like a print of it. Someone else said that they too would like a print. Oh yeah...I haven't even painted it yet. What if they don't like it......pressure mounting here.......all of a sudden this has almost become like a commission. I attacked the painting, figuring out the colours to match the photo (you know that I'm like that - I like to paint exactly what I see...I am not going to 'interpret' it).......and when I got finished I was so disappointed. My armchair critic and friendly advisors all agreed that it just wasn't there. So at that point, I easily could have said, oh well....and rip it up (because remember "it's just paper")...no big deal.
But I didn't. I decided to paint it over again, just being a bit stubborn. I lightened what I thought was too dark, I calmed the waves, I brightened the whole piece, I chose a bit better colours. And I was very pleased with what I came up with. So I was going to use my #2 painting as 'the painting'. But a funny thing happened as I was looking at them both (I like to sit them on the piano for a day or two and take a careful look noting what can be done to finish)....I ended up liking #1 as much as #2. They are different indeed. But obviously the same place....just a different time perhaps? Things about both of them draw my eye. So I'm calling #2 "MillPond Sunset" and #1 "Millpond Last Light".....because I think now that it's actually the same night, but 20 minutes later! Yeah, that's my story!
And maybe neither one actually is the same as the photo! But that doesn't matter at all does it! And I'm ok if those 2 people choose not to have a copy. We all have a picture in our mind of what a painting will look like.
Ha ha....I guess it IS my interpretation after all!
As we continue in this strange world, are you noticing that time has lost something..... day after day....everything the same.....just going to the grocery store seems to be a big activity. I know that it's different for those with children at home, or those who have been able to continue working. But as a larger group......we're just watching time go by.
I can hardly believe that here we are at the beginning of August. Summer half over. Only a few more weeks until 'school' begins again. I thought that I would possibly try teaching classes this summer, but realized that the logistics of COVID protocol really do not fit in my classroom space.....unless we wear facemasks for the 2 hour session, or I put up some sort of plexiglass screens between each desk. But for now, I've decided to just continue 'the resting'. Hopefully some of my students will be able to paint occasionally. I did send out a few video lessons a couple of months ago, but there are also countless excellent videos on You Tube. Although some have styles very different from what I do, here are some that I enjoy watching:
The Mind of Watercolour
Noelle Curtis Art
Anna Mason Art
Candice Leyland Art
There are several more that I occasionally watch. Take some time...in your 'spare time' and have a look at some of these. You might enjoy them too!
Here are some 'summer' paintings to enjoy while we're still in summer :)