I've recently seen some of my paintings AFTER they are in their new home.....framed and hanging on the wall. Sometimes it even surprises me......I glance at it and then all of a sudden realize that "hey, that's my painting!"
I especially enjoy when people send me photos of a piece (often a gift) with their new owners.
I sell most of my artwork in a white standard size mat that can easily be framed (11x14, 16x20). Places like Michaels and Home Sense have so many interesting frames. Others choose to have the art custom framed and matted. I can paint any size, but find it's helpful to most people to stick to these standard sizes.
Why don't I frame them for sale? Well, a couple of reasons.......
#1. Framing is a very personal choice and I would rather the customer choose the art that they love...on it's own.....and then find the frame that they love.
#2. I don't want to invest in the cost of framing. I would rather keep my painting prices lower....you're paying just for the artwork not the frame. The new owners can then choose to buy ready-made frames....or have it custom framed.
#3. I don't want to haul framed artwork around to shows. It takes up too much space, is heavy, and they are easily damaged.
But because of that, I don't often see my art framed. If you do have one of my paintings, please know that I would be very happy if you sent me a photo of it in it's new home!
What a difference a frame makes!
Watercolour scares and intrigues a lot of people. It's true that it can be difficult, but as with anything, you learn how to work with it. Generally speaking, you work from light to dark.....and you can't paint over your mistakes like you can with acrylic or oil.
BUT......there are ways to fix a problem area ........sometimes
I was working on a painting the other day, and realized that I had gone way too dark and blobby. Instead of filing the painting under 'G', I remembered about the Mr Clean Magic Eraser
Did you know that you can remove watercolour with Mr Clean Magic Eraser? Cut off a small piece, wet it, and rub the painting carefully. Let it dry. Re paint....carefully :)
See! It's easy!
I have such a collection of watercolour brushes. And most of them I don't like. It's frustrating that you have to buy them without knowing if they will work for you or not. Will they hold enough water....will the point hold......how does it feel. So, I have a collection of them!
I've been buying brushes lately for the watercolour classes that I've started teaching so I'm trying to pick brushes for my students that are not too expensive (to keep costs down) but that will still work for them. Pet peeve of mine is giving learners substandard tools.....they need the good ones!
So while I've been doing that, I've been thinking about my own brushes. I have heard that the Escoda brand is a favourite of watercolourists, so I thought let's try them. I bought a #12 round last month and have just started using it. Wow. It's great! It holds so much paint and keeps that point. It's a workhorse brush for me know. But, I thought if that one's so good, maybe some of the other sizes are too. So, time for a little treat for Debbie. I am so pleased with them. I think I'm just going to get rid of almost all of my old brushes. Hmmmmm what do you do with old brushes that don't work so well.......hmmmmm
A couple of weeks ago, a visitor to my booth at the Hespeler Village Market commented "I'd love to see the walls in your house! They must be so nice." I replied "actually I only have a couple of my own pieces of art on the walls!" It got me thinking about what I do have on the walls. I'd like to share them with you.
And if you're not totally bored yet......here are a few non-art items. Memories of the ocean.....a metal art piece that I liked....and a Cross Stitch picture I made for Dennis about 20 years ago.....when I had nothing better to do obviously! It took forever.
So as I ponder on these, I see that for the most part, everything is on my walls because it means something to me. (I say me, because I'm usually the one that does that sort of thing LOL ) And that is what I'm finding out as I'm selling my artwork. It means something to them....it's not just a piece of decor that matches the furniture. It really is something that is a part of their life. I like that.
I have SO MANY photos in my 'to paint' pile. Every time I see something that looks interesting I take a photo and put it away. When I start a new picture, I like to have a variety of subjects available, because I never know what will catch my fancy that particular day.
I'm trying to expand my collection of local architecture to include Galt, Preston, Guelph, Kitchener, Puslinch areas. I try to think of what would be of interest to people......what buildings or places give identity to the community.....what buildings are gone now, but would be nice to remember in a painting.
However, I've been working on several commissions these last few months, so I don't get to pick! I enjoy being able to do the commission work, because every time it challenges me to paint something that I would not have picked myself. And that is good! I recently completed this commission piece which was a gift for a couple getting married today at Ellis Chapel. They already have my painting of the outside of Ellis Chapel so the gift giver asked for a painting of the interior! I have never painted the inside of a building before.....but....why not. You just paint what you see in the photograph. I'm quite happy with this piece and look forward to maybe picking some other interiors to paint!
July 1st.....to me that seems like we're REALLY into summer (although some people think it begins on May 24th weekend). Kids are out of school, the towns and cities seem to empty of people, many people head to cottages or vacation places and take a break.
Every year, the enthusiasm and excitement about Canada Day seems to build. As I put together my display this past Friday for the Hespeler Market, I decided to highlight all my Canada paintings. Of course, almost all of my paintings are Canadian...but I have many that are of specific places that people are familiar with.
I mostly paint from my own photographs (occasionally from other people's photographs with permission) so my paintings tell my story and of where I've been. As I pulled out the paintings from across Canada I realized that I am lucky to have been able to visit a lot of Canada from coast to coast. I've painted the mesmerizing mountains and oceans of British Columbia, the majestic mountains & wide-open prairies of Alberta, the beautiful cottage country and Great Lakes of Ontario to the amazing red shores of Prince Edward Island.
It is indeed a beautiful country.
Finally! It's summer. Sort of. And for many of us, that means it's time for summer art shows of some sort. Whether it is a Farmer's Market, a Multi-Vendor Show, an Art in the Park, or an Art on the Street, or an Art on the Bay......there are all kinds of outdoor summer art events.
But.....with that comes the uncertainty of the weather. We like to have a beautiful sunny day
We can even choose NOT to use the tent if we're sure! I liked that one.
But sometimes, the wind can be your enemy. We have weights and sometimes even extra weights. Never underestimate the power of the wind.
And then there is the sudden rainshower, or worse a thunderstorm. We have the sides of the tent ready to drop down, zip it up and get out if it's a thunderstorm. We've been able to take shelter in a nearby building or if we're lucky our vehicle is close by. A tent is NOT where you should be in a thunderstorm!
A sudden shower is one thing....but what do you do when it starts to rain early in the day....and you think it will stop......but it just keeps raining....but there are people wandering around......but nobody actually is paying any attention to the art........do you stay.....or do you go. Most of my artwork and cards are protected in plastic sleeves, but a misty rain, or windy rain will get the plastic wet. On this day, it rained all day.....and then I had to dry everything out........I should have just gone home.
But none of that compares to the challenge of a December show outside! At least it didn't snow!
But even with all those challenges, along with the lugging and setting up of the tent, an outdoor art event on a beautiful summer day is a wonderful thing. Be sure to visit one this summer!
One of the questions that I get asked the most at shows and markets is “do you teach?” My answer has been “not right now, but I will be”. I was waiting until I had more time available once I retired from my full-time bookkeeping job. Well that happened last October….and I’ve still been waiting for all that time! Ha! So I realized that I needed to just get going and set some dates.
You will see that I am starting with a Beginner Class - 4 week session this summer. We will be learning basic techniques and tricks each week.
If you have been considering learning watercolour, look for a teacher that has a style of painting that you like. There are many different styles…..loose, impressionistic, abstract, realistic, painterly…….which style appeals to you. Now you can learn some basic things from all of them, but I have found a frustration in making it work….if it’s not really ‘my style’.
When I started painting almost 20 years ago, I did not enjoy the teacher in my first lessons. The style did not click. I then discovered Margot Snow who was an amazing teacher. I loved the style of painting that she did back then. She taught us all the basics and I am still using those lessons today. I was very disappointed when she moved away after a few years, so tried several different other instructors in classes and workshops. Some I enjoyed and learned a lot from, others just so-so, usually because their style was so different. Although I enjoyed watching them paint, I just didn’t feel comfortable with painting the way that they showed me.
So remember, there are many different teachers…..and you may have to try several different ones before you find one whose style you really like. But the good thing is that you will always learn something from every one of them!
Click the link below for more information and to register
I was quite pleased to sign up for this new event! Having grown up in Hespeler, I love painting the landmark buildings and scenes, and taking part in the weekly summer Hespeler Village Market every Friday 3-7 beginning June 7, and the Hespeler Village Music Festival at Forbes Park on Saturday June 6 - 10-5. It seems like a great idea to have a 'neighbourhood' day, because Hespeler really is a neighbourhood. Let's hope for good weather!
You may have noticed that I sell Giclee Prints. "What is a Giclee Print?" you are probably wondering.
Well, it's a fancy term for 'ink-jet spray' but there's more to it than that! It's not your regular ink jet printer!
From Wikipedia: Giclée (/ʒiːˈkleɪ/ zhee-KLAY) is a neologism coined in 1991 by printmaker Jack Duganne for fine art digital prints made on inkjet printers....
The word giclée was adopted by Jack Duganne around 1990. He was a printmaker working at Nash Editions. He wanted a name for the new type of prints they were producing on a modified Iris printer, a large-format, high-resolution industrial prepress proofing inkjet printer on which the paper receiving the ink is attached to a rotating drum and that they had adapted for fine-art printing. He was specifically looking for a word that would differentiate them from regular commercial IRIS prints then used as proofs in the commercial printing industry. "Giclée" is based on the French word gicleur, the French technical term for a jet or a nozzle, and the verb coming from it "gicler" (to squirt out). "Une giclée" (noun) means a spurt of some liquid. The French verb form gicler means to spray, spout, or squirt. Duganne settled on the noun giclée. 
I am so glad that I discovered Pirak Studios in Kitchener 3 years ago. Jan Pisarczyk is a professional photographer who is specializing in Fine Art Reproduction. If you have purchased one of my prints, you will know that it is actually quite difficult to tell the print from the original. The quality of these reproductions is far superior to the digital reproductions that you would get from a print shop....as in my greeting cards. For the cards, that type of reproduction is perfect. But I chose to make my art work reproductions available to you in the best quality possible. Each Giclee Print comes with a Certificate from Pirak Studios. I hope that you will enjoy one of these wonderful Giclee Prints!