I took a life drawing class in Sacramento last weekend, and enjoyed the experience. I had not worked in charcoal in several years. It took a while to get back into it. There were two very experienced models. We started out with five minute poses, which we erased, then went on to twenty minute poses. These are all twenty minute poses.
So a friend of an acquaintance of mine, whom I met briefly once, called and wanted me to do a portrait of her granddaughter. I told her that I did commissions, but that I was not a “Portrait Artist” per se. She looked at my work and insisted I do it for her. When I told her my prices, there was a long pregnant pause. I told her it would be $50 less if she framed it, knowing all too well it would cost her considerably more if she were to have it framed at a frame shop. She sent me the photo, and asked that I take out the toy in the hand and add a beach with palm trees in the background. I personally thought it was overkill, and let her know in a subtle manner. I did as she asked, and spent about four days on the painting. I was charging $400 unframed and $450 unframed.
I am finally learning at this point in life, not to be as trusting as I have been all my life. I did not ask for a deposit. Shame on me! I trusted she would like the finished product.
Well, it did not turn out that way. She did not like it; never came to see it in person and was pretty rude in her interactions with me.
I think I am a little upset, as I spent longer on it than I normally do on a painting, and basically wasted three days of my life. But did I really waste my time, or was this a message I needed.
I texted her back saying this was not a photograph, but was represented an image of her granddaughter. She stated she would pay me nothing, and that part is rude, but not unexpected. I added that I learned a good lesson: Don’t do commissions for someone you do not know, and get part of the money upfront. I wasted time and nice linen canvas. The thing I really cannot believe is that she could not bother to even stop by and take a look. I think she just decided she did not want to spend the money.
A family member in the interim asked me to do a portrait of her daughter, and she loved it. She did not ask for a background, which is usually nominal in a child’s portrait, but gave a photo that showed the whole head, without a huge hat.
I still do not call myself a portrait artist, and will not step out and take a chance with a total stranger. The woman who did not accept the portrait of her granddaughter did not say thank you for your time or even offer to pay for the canvas or my time.
It is one thing to accept negative comments, but something entirely different to be treated so rudely. How do I know, maybe she is just not a happy person or I did not make her grandbaby a beauty contest winner??
You can be the judge of that! I think I will just draw a mustache on the painting and deliver it to it’s proper home: The trash!
I signed up for my first ever Art Sale called the Crush, as it is held at a local winery. I paid for my space and went to put it on my calendar realizing I was out of town that week, at another “art first”! I signed up for a Plein Air Open Paint Out in Mendocino the same week. I already paid for that, and the week of lodging and am very excited about entering a contest, but disappointed I won’t be able to do both.
Trying to stay on top of everything you sign up for and want to do can be exhausting. Next week I am taking a figure drawing class in Sacramento, then meeting a high school classmate for lunch. It is a casual class.
In the interim, I decided to paint a couple of wine pieces. This one is 9x 12 inches and was fun to paint. I will start showing in Village 360 in Suisun Valley starting the 23rd. This piece is available for $450.00.
So many artists paint one thing, and I think it is important to experiment to see where you excel. I have been painting for a long time, with more in the last view years and love to try different things. At this point in my life, I like to go big or stay small, with nothing in-between. Just a random decision I made lately.
With everyone doing paintings of Sunflowers for the Children of the Ukraine, I decided it was time for me to do one too! So, off to Farmer’s Market last weekend, where they were selling beautiful Sunflowers. My husband bought two bundles for me, and I put them in one of my favorite vases. I do not paint very many flowers, so this was a new challenge for me.
When I put it on my page on Facebook, one of my friends said to “ditch” the arms on the vase. I am glad I did not, as I think they add character to the painting. Everyone has an opinion about art, whether intellectual or just a gut feeling. At this point in my life I only trust an opinion from an artist I consider better than myself. Everyone thinks you should listen to their opinion, but if they don’t have a background in art/color why would think how they feel is more important than how you feel about the piece. I have stopped asking the opinions of family and friends, as in most cases I do not agree with them. My sons grew up surrounded by art and design, so luckily they do have a good eye. My youngest son has made many suggestions that truly worked in art and in design. At the moment he works for a company designing furniture.
The other thing people almost always ask, is how long did it take to paint that piece. One of my dear friends, and another artist explained to me to always tell them it took years. That is indeed the truth, as you are working for years to perfect your skill. So this painting probably took thirty years and two hours!
When we were staying in Newport and having dinner, this fishing boat passed by the window. I liked the composition, but not the colors. I thought about it for a while and decided I would try to add a sunset behind the bridge. I painted this about a year ago, and still thought it looked a little dull.
Today is the first time l’ve joined a Craft Fair in Vacaville and realize people don’t buy fine art or even cards at an event like this. I am amazed what people do buy, mostly things i would not think to buy. They buy Sensy from the booth on one side, walk by and say “pretty” then buy a net wreath or fake flower arrangement at the next booth.
Okay, I take that back, I just sold five cards It will be interesting to see if I even cover my entry fee! I know intellectually you have to get your art out somehow, but not sure this is the venue. The lady selling cat toys gets a lot more interest than my art!
If nothing else, it is interesting to see this cross-section of Vacaville! And an interesting experiment that I will most likely not repeat! Its for a good cause, but hard in a new town to figure out where to sell your art?
The idea of painting something big and colorful without boundaries is exciting. It can look like whatever you want and/or how you feel that day! I must be feeling excited about life, as I think these two come out as vibrant and fun and happy!
Of course they are always for sale, as the creative process is what brings me joy!
Every time I go to San Francisco, I love to stop at Buena Vista and have an Irish Coffee. I have been doing this since before I was even 21. (Oh no). I only ate there once with my family when my sons were very young. I highly recommend the Irish Coffee, but not so much the food. (Although it may have improved in the last thirty years) The fries were good.
I recently went there with a group of fun women, where we laughed and loved our Irish Coffees. Can’t wait to go there again. It is always perfect, no matter what time of day! I loved the ambiance of the restaurant, even though the view was cut off by a tent outside because of Covet 19.
I painted this a couple of months ago and just kept looking at it, thinking it was just “too light” in color for a bar. I’m hoping to paint a few more bars in the future, as they just seem way too interesting to me.
All my artwork is for sale.
I am not a portrait painter by calling, as I find them challenging. Babies and small children are the hardest. I just spent two days working on a painting from this photo. It was not easy for me, as I do not do portraits very often. The grandmother wanted trees and surf in the background, so I made up a background with Palm Trees and surf and clouds in the sky. She did not want the block in the hand, so I formated the painting without the hand.
The more I have done commissions in my life, the less I want to do them. People either love them or hate them and there is no middle ground. I was told it does not look like her granddaughter and that she had too much “makeup”. I do wonder how you are to have roundness, depth and light without any change in color.
I did a little research before beginning and read that babies (i.e. young children) are the hardest to paint. I watched a few videos on painting babies and felt pretty good about the result. The person I painted it for is coming over tomorrow to see what she thinks. I think I don’t like doing portraits and am really an abstract or impressionistic painter.
Since the grandmother did not like the painting, I decided to work on it a little more. I thinned the face and lightened the eye. I think the trees in the background more of a distraction, but that was part of the request. The other was to take the toy out of the hand.
It was a last minute happening, so I have to take pieces that are already framed, as other than two inch canvases everything needs to be framed and ready for hanging. Fifteen pieces are now ready to go. In other galleries where I’ve shown my work and had my own show, you took your work in, hung it yourself and each one was labeled on the wall with information: Price, size, material & etc. At this one, there is a list to be made, someone else hangs your show and each piece has a rather complicated tag. It took all day to pull this together, and I still do not have a list of cards yet. Those need to each have a description, even though I put the name of the piece on every one.
It is about this point if you wonder if it is worth the work? Since I am new to the area, it will be interesting to see if anything sells?
This the largest piece I am showing at 36″ x 36″. It has been in my family room for the last year and I do like the piece, but needed a “Show-Stopper”. Hope it catches the attention of people coming into the gallery. It was painted after the fires in Vacaville and is called: “The Air is Clearing”. It is available for $2500.
Lagoon Valley was painted from a photo I took while walking around this lake. It is 24 x 18″ and is for sale for $750.00.
A River Runs Through is 12″ x 9″ and available for $450 at the gallery.
There are several other pieces.
Come visit the Fairfield Suisun City Visual Arts Association
1350 Travis Blvd, Fairfield, CA 94533