A couple of family portraits

Since taking the portraiture class, it seemed the perfect time to practice with some familiar faces. These will be Christmas gifts for my family.

This seven year old is dear to me, and I wanted to make her as beautiful as she is in reality. (inside and out) It was painted from a photo. I could not imagine her sitting still long enough for me to do a sitting.

This is her four year old sister on a Christmas morning when she was actually getting tired of opening gifts. I think it can be a little overwhelming.

A couple of family portraits

Back to life drawing

This was the last drawing of the evening, and we actually had twenty-five minutes to work on it. It is great to have and know you have a time limit, as it helps you consider how much can I get done in this amount of time. In a life drawing session, there is not teacher and no input from other students. You can take the medium of your choice and try to draw what you see. It is challenging and a learning experience. I have fairly good drawings and some not so good drawings.

With this drawing, the model asked to see what I had done, and asked to take a photo of it. I have drawn this model before and she now always asks to see my work. I consider this an honor, as she did not ask to see any other work in the class.

I’ve drawn her in the past, and this was before the recent portraiture class I just took. This was a twenty minute sketch where I think I captured her essence, but the proportions are off. Her eyes kind of moved a bit off too! I just left it as it was, as it looks a bit abstract.

Life drawing sessions are good for improving a quicker drawing, and fun to have the camaraderie of different artists. It is fun to see the variety of styles and levels of expertise. I hope to do more in the future. Join my blog and hopefully we will see improvement together.

Back to life drawing

Why do you want to sell your art?

I’m wondering if anyone else has ever been asked this question? If you were asked this question, how would you respond? I’ve told a few people I was asked this question not long ago. I know I did not give you the best response at the time. I said art materials are expensive. This person considers painting and drawing my “hobby”, not my passion. I know with the answer I suggested that I was not being honest, as I felt it was an insult.

I took some time to look online to see if there could be reasons not to want to sell your art. Here are some of the results I discovered:

  1. Someone told you you should.
  2. Somesone told you you shouldn’t.
  3. You need to justify expenses on materials.
  4. Do you need to monetize everything?
  5. To prove your Art is good enough. For what? For whom?
  6. It isn’t a natural step just because you have a lot of work stored in your home.
    • Give it to Charity
    • Paint over it
    • Give to friends
    • Abandon it
      • I’ve done all of these!
  7. There is no quick win for easy money.
  8. Because you enjoy it for fun and selling somehow takes that away.
  9. Because you’re still learning and refining your unique voice.
  10. Because you don’t want to!

I can say I do NOT agree with any of the above statements! But what are good reasons for selling your artwork? Here are answers from the internet:

  1. Creative expression: For artists, creating artwork is a way to express themselves and showcase their creativity.
  2. Financial gain: Selling artwork can provide a source of income for artists.
  3. Exposure: Artwork that is sold can gain exposure and reach a wider audience, potentially leading to more sales and opportunities.
  4. Emotional connection: Artwork can have a deep emotional impact on buyers, creating a sense of connection between the artist and the buyer.
  5. Provide an additional source of income for artists.
  6.  Gain exposure and increase their visibility in the art world.
  7. Validating for artists, as it shows that their work is valued and appreciated.
  8. Can lead to feedback from buyers and collectors, which can help understand the reception of their work.
  9.  Can build name recognition where you reside.

People often ask: When should you start selling your art, not if you should start selling. If you can answer yes to the following statements, then it is time to start selling your artwork.

  1. Have you been drawing regularly for a year or more?
  2. Do you draw at least once a week?
  3. Do you have more than 10 friends or followers on any of your art related social media accounts?
  4. Are you working to get better with each drawing you make?

I have been creating art for many years. I have sold , donated, and gifted to family and friends. I have taken and continue to take classes from experts in many fields. It is ludicrous to ask me: “Why do I want to sell my artwork?” The real question is “Why not”? It is not a hobby. It is my passion. I love creating something that someone else might treasure or enjoy, make them happy, cause them to think or look at something differently. My suggestion to anyone reading this, is to never ask an artist why they want to sell their art! It is a very insulting question and tells you the person asking either does not know much about art and/or artists or does not care that what you do is important to you.

So with that said…. Buy art, the artist will treasure that you appreciate that they created something you will enjoy and want to have in your life. You are buying a tiny part of what is very important to them!

Why do you want to sell your art?

Portrait class

I think one of the most challenging types of art is the portrait. It is difficult to capture the essence of a person in a painting. You can paint all the parts, and they can fit together nicely, but do they really look like that person. I have started taking a portraiture class and decided even if my painting does not look exactly like the model, I am going to enjoy the experience of drawing and painting. The first day of class we learned proportions and worked on value. We did not get to far, so I finished this at home.

The second day of the class we had a lovely model for four hours. Once again we started laying out the proportions with burnt umber on the canvas. We just started to add color and it was time for the class to be over. I do not feel I captured the beauty of our model, but do not feel bad about the painting as a piece of art. I think I am starting to get the idea of making it smoother, and add only detail that is necessary. My teacher felt I need to add more of a highlight on the right cheek.

The third week we had a new model that was a different type of beauty, but had almost perfect proportions. There were only two of the five students in this class, so it was almost like a private lesson.

Of the three so far, I am most happy with this one. I feel she looks softer and more lovely than the previous paintings. It is fun at this stage of life to constantly be learning something new. I think it helps to keep us alive.

This is the result of the final class, and though I have a lot yet to learn, I am enjoying the process. I hope to continue learning and practicing by doing portraits of family memb

Portrait class

Our Culture

Sometimes when you are “out & about” you view a scene that makes you think about how different our culture is today, that it was twenty years ago. Before cell phones became such a way of life, we interacted in very different ways. Maybe in the good old days, we read the paper instead of talking with coffee, but that was the only time of the day that happened in most families. In today’s world we start the morning with coffee, email and checking the different social media sites. In my house, we don’t really talk. We get ready and walk to the gym or to pilates and chat along the way. Many people then go back on their phone to catch up with “what’s going on in the world” or play a game or are back to social media.

When I was younger, “social media” did not exist and I think it was a healthier way to live. You met your friends for coffee, or lunch and/or maybe a drink on the way home from work. You actually talked to one another and used a telephone in a very different way than it is used (by many) today.

We recently went to a wine tasting at the beautiful Domaine Carneros, near Napa. It is situated on a hill with beautiful views. As we were sitting enjoying our tasting, I looked over to see a younger couple enjoying the afternoon in a different way. She was talking on her cell phone and he was turned the other way looking at his cell phone. I don’t know if the sun was in his eyes and he could not see, or if this is just the new way of life. I see this all the time.

I decided this would make a good painting as a statement of how we now live our lives. It is no wonder that people don’t talk as much as they used to… They don’t think it is necessary? I think that is why I love and admire my best friends. Our phones are in our pockets or purses when we are together and only come out for fun photos!

Is this how you interact with your family and loved ones, or do you actual talk to them and listen to what they have to say?

Our Culture

My First Plein Air Paint Out

Life is about the experiences we have, not about what we have or often what we do. I’ve been painting for several years and never really entered a larger competition. I took a class in Mendocino and my teacher suggested I should join the upcoming Mendocino Paint Out; so I signed up. As the weeks went by, I collected frames and made sure I have enough canvases. I made an hotel reservation, and thought I was set to go.

About a week before I was set to leave, I thought I should check with the hotel about my reservation. I am glad I did, as I accidentally booked a room with twin beds and a bathroom down the hall. I upped it to another room with twin beds, but my own bathroom. In the interim, my husband decided to join me for the weekend festivities, so when I arrived I asked if I could upgrade a little more, so I would have one bed, not two. I ended up having a living room, bedroom and bath, which was large, but very old and very sad. The draperies in the rooms, had blackout shades in shreds. At one time they must have been beautiful, but today they were old and looked tired. Everything looked tired. It could have been spectacular with a little love and maybe a little money.

When I got back to my room after dinner, and discovered the TV did not work, I was glad for my IPad and was set to watch a movie on it. But as I pulled back the sheets I noticed a fairly small drop of blood on both the top sheet and the bottom sheet. That did not make me smile, but I was tired from the long windy drive in pouring down rain. I just crawled in, poured myself a glass of wine and watched my “Chick Flick”.

And then it began: The first day, we all (or those who started that day) lined up to have the back of our canvases stamped. We could enjoy viewing the one piece painted before the paint out, that everyone was to bring and hang. It was a wide of assortment of talent and style. The three main artists (the judges) had their work on display. The work was interesting and varied, consisting of two oil painters and a watercolorist. Although their work was artistic, it was not particularly to my personal liking. I would learn a lesson from this later in the week.

So we all took off to find out place to paint the first day. I headed to Little River Inn, where I has stayed before, and enjoyed the distant view. I finished my first painting in a couple of hours, and headed back to town to get a bite of lunch. Waiting in line, a nice young man informed me there was a spider on my backside, before he knocked it off. I had been sitting on a quite old and damp bench painting. As it turns out, I was lucky he saw it and ended its life, as it was a Black Widow. So that was how my week began?

View from River’s End Inn

My first painting was 20″ x 10″, and I painted it in an already framed canvas. I forgot to have this one stamped, so had to call to get permission for it to be allowed. They were very nice, and let me use this the first day. I had time after lunch and it was a beautiful day.

I had discovered when I set up my palette to paint, that my plein air paints had all dried out, so I decided to drive to Fort Bragg to a local and wonderful art store to refresh all my oil paints to the tune of $260. Fresh and new, but an expensive lesson. Since I was already in Fort Bragg, I ventured to MacKercher Park, hoping to paint the lagoon. As I was setting up, a creature crawled out of the lagoon with a direct line toward me. I did not know what it was, but it did not look “friendly”! I had never seen, what I found out a few moments later, was a Crawdad, alive. Luckily a young woman in the parking lot knew what it was, as her father was a commercial fisherman. But I decided I would go to the other side and paint the beach!

When I got to the beach, the fog was setting in and I could not decide what view to paint. It was busy with lots of people. I generally like to paint quietly in my studio or in a more deserted spot for Plein Air.
I did spend a lot of time on this one, and I am afraid it shows. By the time I finished my first day of painting I was pretty tired and wind-burned. Nevertheless, I took it back and hung it on my wall. The Art Center provided free pizza that night, and they even had gluten free. That and glass of wine was perfect!

The next day, I decided I would paint one of the beautiful houses downtown. I worked on it most of the day, and wiped it clean at the end of the day, not liking it. The next day I tackled it again and upon finishing it called it “a day”.

By this time, I am beginning to think that I do not work as well under pressure. The next day I went to Fort Bragg with a very nice woman I met to paint at the harbor. I decided to paint something a little more simple. I painted the trees on the hill above the harbor.
It was fun and relaxing and we painted in an area where there were not many people.

The last day was a quick draw contest. They give you a location and send you out. You have about a half hour to set up and two hours to paint. This year it was downtown Main Street. You could paint the beach or turn around and paint the town. There were 50-60 artists all painting downtown. I chose to go quite simple and painted the distant shore. I never knew so many small bugs could fly into a painting. Apparently they like the smell of the paint. I still need to finish the piece I did, as a gnat flew into it after I hung it up on the wall.

You can see the bug and the scratch marks, where someone tried to remove it.

That evening they had the rewards ceremony. My lesson with all this was: If you are not particularly fond of the work of the featured artists (judges), why would not be surprised that you would not have selected the same pieces to win the awards? Of all the talented artists in the contest, I did not agree with most of the winners. Many that were by far better, did not win any awards. Of the awards given, often another piece by the same artist was more beautifully executed. One of the awards went to the husband of one of the judges, and it was the one I really thought was color straight from the tube, poorly drawn and actually a little ugly.

I did not go expecting to win. I went for the experience and an experience it was! I met a lot of really nice people, and a few that were a little too overzealous about their art. I ate some great food, and some not so great food. I could not find a good latte anywhere in town, but the raw oysters in abundance made up for it, even if they were flown in from Washington State.

Many artists do ten to twelve of these a year. I found it exciting, exhausting and challenging. Would I do it again? Maybe for a shorter duration? I might try doing another medium, as no one was doing gouache, there were only a couple pastel artists and maybe one doing acrylic. That might up the odds of having a chance to win. Some paint outs provide a free place to stay, so that might make a huge difference expense wise. There are so many factors that go into deciding what to do with your art.

My First Plein Air Paint Out

Life Drawing

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.

Life Drawing

Commissioned Art – Yes or NO!

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.

This is the photo that she emailed to me. She said she loved the hat, and wanted palm trees in the background on the beach. She wanted the green toy removed.
This what I sent her, then I redid the lips, but did not send. I did not hear from here the first week, the second week she said she was ill, and this went on for about a month and a half. I sent a note and said she did not have to buy it if she did not like it. Well, she certainly did not!
But rather than even stopping by to see it in person, she sent a “text” saying that: ” She did not like it all, and it looked nothing like her granddaughter, and her son did not think it looked her either. She NEVER saw the portrait itself.

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!

Commissioned Art – Yes or NO!

Life is confusing (sometimes)

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.

The other piece I am working on is 30″ x 40″, featuring grapevines and mountains and big sky. I worked on it all day, and forgot how long it takes to do big impressionistic painting. I am trying to expand my horizons on what I paint.

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.

Life is confusing (sometimes)

Redoing a Painting

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.

This is the original attempt and it seems lack-lustre.
So I gave it a little more life today, and now I think it is dancing almost too much and I really am not wild about the colors. The fishing boat is too centered in the painting and I think it is “dump worthy”. this just goes to show that you are not always successful with your painting. But if you do not try new things, then you do not grow. As I look at the composition, it is not my best.

What shall I paint tomorrow?

Redoing a Painting