Sunday, January 24, 2010

Words of Wisdom

"Painting is just another way of keeping a diary"

I love this quote. I try to keep it in mind always. These exceptional words of wisdom were spoken by our dear friend Pablo Picasso.

When I'm not sure what direction to take with my paintings I try to remember that it's my diary. I should paint it the way that pleases me. Everyone has a different taste in art, and you can not please them all.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Ten lessons I learned my first year at art shows and festivals

Last year I entered a daring new world. I bought a tent and a bunch of other equipment, and I started looking for art and craft shows in my area where I could try to sell my watercolors. I had a great time, and I can hardly wait until spring, when I'll start another year of shows! Here is a list of the top ten things I learned last year.

1.Only sign up for shows that are specifically for arts and/or crafts. (Or whatever you're selling.)The more targeted the show is toward your particular art form, the better. Shows with lots of entertainment and food and cotton candy draw a big crowd, they are fun, and you meet fun people. However, the people coming to those shows are there for the food and fun, and maybe a little shopping, but they are not there to invest in art.

2. Put lower priced items out front where they will get people's attention, and stop them from assuming that all your art is expensive, which is what they will do if you have expensive art where they will see it first.

3.Don't stand out in front of your booth doing nothing. People seem to get the idea that you are waiting to "pounce" on them if they stop, so they don't.

4. Don't sit in your booth staring at people. The same reason as number 3.

5. Don't assume people understand what your artwork is. The difference between different painting mediums or what the functions are of your various pottery dishes, etc. may seem obvious to you, but that doesn't mean that the people who walk into your booth know what it is. Be friendly and tell them! If they stop to admire your artwork, you could say something like, "Hi! Just for clarification, the paintings you are looking at hanging on that wall are all original watercolor paintings." You could also point out what other things you have, if any (briefly! You don't want to smother them!)and then tell them that if they have any other questions you're here to help. Doing this accomplishes several things; you have opened a line of communication, helped them understand what they are looking at, and given them the idea that it's ok not to know about your art form, and that you are informative and helpful.

6. Bring lots of "backup supplies" like tape, safety pins, string, scissors, basic tools, and a step ladder. You never know when they will come in handy, and they are likely to be used at every show to help make sure everything looks perfect. They may even, at times, stop a bad situation from becoming a disaster

7. If you are doing outdoor shows, go ahead and plan for bad weather. In doing this, make sure you plan not only for precipitation, but wind.

8. Don't be insulted when occasional passerby comment on the high price of your art. A certain number of people will do this. They don't understand it's rude or don't think you can hear them, or something. Every once in a while they may even say something to you. Be prepared to smile through it. If you've done your research and feel comfortable with your prices, then you can explain to them that your prices are comparable with similar products from artists with your level of reputation in your area. If they don't agree, so be it. Don't sweat about it. Just make sure to always do your research on pricing.

9. Bring lots of business cards and/or other promotional materials, and hand them out liberally. Many of them will turn into later sales, especially if you have a website and also especially if you offer commissioned art.

10. Dress nicely, but wear comfortable shoes. You will be standing a lot. You don't want your smiling and greeting and chatting with potential customers to be hindered by a terrible pain in your feet!

To see my art or contact me, please visit my website

Saturday, January 9, 2010



If you enjoy watercolor painting, you have to check out this website. The main page claims " the world's finest guide to watercolor painting", and I cannot disagree. This site is created by Bruce MacEvoy. You can learn more about him by clicking on "FAQ" from the main page, and see his artwork by clicking "recent works" from the main page.

If you are new to the site, I suggest you hop on over there, (after you finish here, of course) and click on "intro" at the top of the list of links on the left side of the page. From there you can read a info about the site, and explore the site map.

The site map on this site is an extremely long list of all of the content within the site. You can click on anything on the list to see the page containing the information which interests you. This fabulously detailed list begins with links to a wealth of information about the tools and materials for watercolors. Paints, brushes, paper, pallattes- even including things like explanations of how the paints are made and guides to the many choices and brands available. There's also tons of instructional info like color theory and mixing, composition and design, drawing and watercolor technique, and lots more "how-to"s. Unbelieveably, that's just half of the list! They also offer an extensive directory of instructional books available, complete with full reviews, a directory of retailers for the watercolor artist, and one more incredible thing: a large online watercolor painting exhibit. Artists are chosen from the 18th century to today, and works and stories of their lives are there, on this amazing website, for you to study and enjoy.

Have fun!!

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Making note cards from your art -Part 3

So you've decided to make note cards from your art, you've decided whether you're going to make them at home or have them printed elsewhere, and you have all your supplies. You're ready to get started designing your cards. I think this is the fun part, and the easy part. (If you have not done the above steps, please see Making note cards from your art-Part 1 and Making note cards from your art-Part 2)

You'll need a computer program that allows you to create cards with images and text, like Print Shop, which is what I have, and I'm happy with it. I can select different styles of cards from a menu, so I don't have to worry about creating my own formatting. The program has many different templates I can choose from, and all I have to worry about is how I want to design them. Style your card any way you wish. You can make them in horizontal or vertical format, depending on the shape of your paintings. If you wish you may crop your images to make them better fit in the card shape. I have not found this to be necessary, but if I had one that was very square-shaped, or very panoramic I might do it if I thought it would improve the look of the card.

It is up to you whether or not to add text anywhere on the card. One suggestion is to add the name of the painting either on the front or back of your cards. I recommend that you at least add your name and some sort of contact information, such as your web address, on the back of the card, in the center, at the bottom. If you want to add the © symbol beside your name (you do own the copyright), and you use Windows, you can do so by typing 0169 while holding down the alt key on your keyboard. If you have a Mac, or it doesn't work for another reason, you could try copying and pasting the symbol from this article, as well.

When you have completed designing your cards, it's time to print! Save your work, and either print it from your home computer, upload it to the custom printing website of your choice, or take the files you wish to print to your local print shop. If you choose to have them cut and folded by the printer, you're done making your cards. Otherwise, you'll still need to cut each sheet of paper down the center to separate it into two pieces, and fold the pieces to make cards. The best way to get a professional look is to use a bone folder, or paper folder. Fold the card perfectly in half, then use the flat side of the tool to press it down and smooth it out. If the cards wrinkle at the fold, or don't stay folded well, score them before folding with the other end of your bone folder, or with a separate paper scorer. (Usually they're sold either as one tool with two different ends, or as two tools packaged together.)

Finally, you have your own note cards featuring your artwork! It's time to decide how you will finish them. You'll need envelopes, of course, which you can find at most office supply stores or online. You'll also need protective packaging, such as boxes or clear bags, if you plan to sell your cards. I use clear folding boxes, and sell them in packs of 8 cards and envelopes. Some are assorted, and some are packages that contain the same image on all 8 cards. If you wish to order packaging online, has an incredible assortment of different sized boxes, bags, and other packaging choices and accessories. There are also plenty of other choices out there that may have a better value for your location, so I recommend you shop around, but at least check them out, simply because their selection is really amazing, and may help you get a better idea of what you're looking for. If you do sell your cards, don't forget include an insert or label that tells the customer (very clearly) exactly what is inside the package!

So that's it! I hope you love your cards, as I do mine. Enjoy!

See more cards on my website