Thursday, October 27, 2016

Do You Know your Subject? Part 3 - Painting and Drawing Tips

NEW WORKS FROM THE STUDIO OF ART BY WENDY

Have you a Body of Work?  

Is it focused on a subject, issue, theme?  

Have you considered working in a series or theme?  "Do you know you Subject" is a series of posts that examines this issue.  The first post, Oct 13 , looks at it from the artistic point of view; benefits to the Artistic Soul.  The second post on working in a series or theme, (Oct 20) looks at the benefits from a Marketing point of view.

Today I would like to introduce you to Jane Appleby.  Jane has spent the last year working on a series of Plein Air videos, publishing one each week on Social Media.  Yes, we do have mild winters here on the West Coast of Canada but still I am sure there were a few challenges for her to paint outdoors all winter.

I have asked Jane to comment on her experience in terms of both a contributing factor to her artistic growth and affect on her marketing.
Jane Appleby painting in Stanley Park

Hi Wendy, Thank you for this opportunity to share working in a series for growth and for marketing.

I certainly believe there is a benefit to working in series and one of the main aspects of doing this is understanding your own process of painting (even though it may be influenced by others). To actually do something for a dedicated time means it is important to you and you will discover during that time what that actually is. For me I knew I liked the outdoors and painting but I did not realize that I had to learn a few more disciplines in my work such as notans and reading values or shapes better. While working through my 37 minute and 37 stroke paintings (doing fast and purposeful paintings) I gained expertise in my intuition and brushwork while also working on specific elements or aspects. It also helped to be inspired by the landscape I so loved and that’s why I chose places already close to my heart.

The marketing aspect was not the main reason I took a year to do a series. I wanted to really embrace outdoor painting and see what I actually did while I painted, and with the videos I could watch and learn from them. I was able to document and follow my progress as well as share it with those that may be interested in it also.

As it turns out after a year of filming and sharing I have over 130 subscribers which I feel is a nice following. My goal of posting weekly and having 100 subscribers was met and I have to thank my videographer Peter for keeping me on track with all that. He does all the editing and posting (VancouverVideoProductions). If I did not set this goal I may not have posted on Facebook and or my newsletters as much and only enjoyed the videos as a keepsakes of my journey or practice in painting. In completing the year of painting for video, I have a nice series of Plein Air landscape paintings (11x14 to 16 x 20), some which I am making into greeting cards and a good body of work that has helped me get to where I am today.
Jane Appleby: Lighthouse Park - Oil on Board
At the same time, I am very pleased that my own journey can also be helping others. I recall before the halfway point I was ready to just stop, finding it too difficult to get out there and be focused for another video.  A painter friend said she looked forward to my weekly videos and that I couldn't stop (I recalled her words on the many occasions I felt like cancelling the day's work). As for sales - that happens but its a small part the work. I hope to have a show with these pieces but haven’t decided where yet. What really keeps me going is to become a better painter which is always a challenge (like a series) and sometimes means changing directions, such as doing abstract work from my plein airs.

Jane will be speaking at the Surrey Art Gallery on Jan. 5, 2017 on doing abstract work from Plein Air. 
You can see Jane's work at www.applebyart.com. And www.janeappleby.com.

A few of Jane's favourite videos:
A. Port Moody-Walk in the Park  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=469TzCq3tGk   (fast motion)
B.  Lighthouse Park - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QpNn97XPwVU   (painting explained)
C.  Third beach - 37 stroke which was dedicated to my dad on the 10th anniversary of his death and meant a lot for me to be doing what he had instilled in me (being outdoors, arts and putting our best efforts out).  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vdPhG_ldMW8   (37 stroke painting)

Still having a few reservations about trying a series, focusing on a project?  

On my next post I  have a few parting thoughts and other examples of what a series or project can look like  I hope you will join me.

To read my first post on working with a series see:  Do You Know your Subject- Part 1, Oct 13.   


My Series Constructive Organics  Premiering at The ACT Art Gallery- 11944 Haney Place, Maple Ridge  Sat. Nov 5 - Wed. Dec 21 - Reception: Sat. Nov. 5 2-4pm
7 of my pieces will be featured.  


Time to gear up for Christmas.  Two things coming up that may help your shopping list:

1.  All day Marketing Workshop - Let's Get Your Art Out There - Sunday, Feb 26 or March 5, 2017.
This is an opportunity to work with a small group focusing on ways that work for you, to market your art.  Whether you are looking at full time or part Art Sales, there are effective, proven strategies that will get your work out the door. $70 Limited to 8 per session.  Art by Wendy Studio/Gallery, N. Surrey, BC.  REGISTER NOW  with Wendy 

Great gift for yourself or an artist you know.  Gift Certificates are available.

For more Marketing thoughts see my Points to Ponder Page on this Blog.  
  
2.  Paints n'Bloom Fall Show & Sale -  Friday, Nov. 25 to Sunday, Nov. 27, 2016, 10-4pm.
Gardenworks at Mandeville, 4746 Marine Dr., Burnaby.  Featuring Award Winning Artists Audrey Bakewell and myself, Wendy Mould, AFCA.  Proud supporter of Alzheimer Society of BC

Awesome opportunity to pick up special works of arts and art gift-ware for those special people on your list.
Special Show Features: Start your Christmas Fun early with a:
a.   Beginner Watercolour Class - Wednesday, Nov. 23 3:30-5:30pm
b.  Christmas Card Making Class - Thursday, Nov. 24, 2-4pm.
No Experienced requried,  All suppllies included $35 each.
REGISTER NOW with Wendy.   Space is limited.

 Be sure to like and share my posts.
You won't miss a single one if you follow by email or Like my Facebook Page.
 Keep up with all the art events by joining my email list (see sidebar)
Have a great artful day, Wendy

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Do You Know your Subject? Part 2 - Painting & Drawing Tips

NEW WORKS FROM THE STUDIO OF ART BY WENDY

Does your work have a Theme?

Are you working on a series? Do you have a major Project planned?

No. . . You like to be free. Exercise your artist freedom. Follow your heart. Be true to yourself.  You get bored easily and you don't like to be repetitive. . . .. 

All very valued emotions. 

But, . . .  you knew I had a but . . .

CAUGHT IN THE SUNLIGHT - 5 x 7, Ink & Watercolour
Part of my Constructive Organic Series

Working on a theme, a series or a project focused on a particular direction, that you choose, can lead you into new territory.   It allows you to explore and examine ideas, concepts, issues that you are interested in, in a much deeper and more meaningful way. 

More importantly working in series has a lot of benefits for Marketing your art.  Don't get me wrong, I am not just focusing on the monetary value and forgetting the artistic values.  My last post,  "Do you know your Subject?" Oct.13, 2016, explored the ideas of series as enrichment for the artist's soul.  Now I would like to examine its role in marketing your art. 

Marketing your art requires a Body of Work.  What does your Body of Work look like? Is it grouped into smaller cohesive units of work or is made up of up "onesies".  One of this and one of that.  Heading in all different directions with no unifying points. 

The human mind is one that constantly needs to organize things, make sense of its surroundings no matter where it is.  If things are unclear, the brain instinctively feels compelled to eliminate the confusion.  This holds true with Art.  Observers want to feel connected and understand the art, a cohesive body of work is far more compelling and effective than a hodgepodge.  

So what does this look like in real life?

You have put together a group of 10 or 12 pictures for show in a small gallery, coffee shop or pop up show.  Your pieces are each isolates, unrelated to each other.  To look at the show requires your audience to stop at each piece and reorient themselves as to what your are doing, where you are going, what your art is about.

If those pieces are a cohesive unit, you appear more professional.  You have moxie. You are the authority on the ideas embodied within the art.  You have something to say. This is an amazing place to be.  You have more confidence to speak about your work, your passion shows through, and your connection with your audience is more profound. This is a very strong position to be in when marketing your art.

Also, a cohesive group of work means the branding of your show is focused, your show has a message.   Suddenly you are able to provide answers to burning questions, cause your viewers to explore new ideas, make your audience see other sides to an issue.  There are reasons to come and look at your art.

"Caught in the Sunlight" part of my Constructive Organics Series is about the changing environment and how birds and animals are caught up in it.  Their organic world is shrinking.  Artificial, mechanical and plastic is now a big part of their world.  They must adapt to survive.  My work is intended to make you stop, think, empathize. View the changes in our environment in a different way. Explore new ideas.  This is a show that is easy to market, I have no trouble speaking out about, it gives me confidence. That is the place where you want to be when your work is on display and you are asked to speak about it.

Still having a few reservations about trying a series, focusing on a project?  

For my next post I have planned an interview with an artist who has just finished a year long project she was passionate about.  She will share with us how she feels about the project both as an influence on her artistic development and her marketing success.  I hope you will join me.

To read my first post on working with a series:  Do You Know your Subject- Part 1, Oct 13.   

Time to gear up for Christmas.  Two things coming up that may help your shopping list:

1.  All day Marketing Workshop - Let's Get Your Art Out There - Sunday, Feb 26 or March 5, 2017.
This is an opportunity to work with a small group focusing on ways that work for you, to market your art.  Whether you are looking at full time or part Art Sales, there are effective, proven strategies that will get your work out the door. $70 Limited to 8 per session.  Art by Wendy Studio/Gallery, N. Surrey, BC.  REGISTER NOW  with Wendy 

Great gift for yourself or an artist you know.  Gift Certificates are available.

For more Marketing thoughts see my Points to Ponder Page on this Blog.  
  
2.  Paints n'Bloom Fall Show & Sale -  Friday, Nov. 25 to Sunday, Nov. 27, 2016, 10-4pm.
Gardenworks at Mandeville, 4746 Marine Dr., Burnaby.  Featuring Award Winning Artists Audrey Bakewell and myself, Wendy Mould, AFCA.  Proud supporter of Alzheimer Society of BC

Awesome opportunity to pick up special works of arts and art gift-ware for those special people on your list.
Special Show Features: Start your Christmas Fun early with a:
a.   Beginner Watercolour Class - Wednesday, Nov. 23 3:30-5:30pm
b.  Christmas Card Making Class - Thursday, Nov. 24, 2-4pm.
No Experienced requried,  All suppllies included $35 each.
REGISTER NOW with Wendy.   Space is limited.

 Be sure to like and share my posts.
You won't miss a single one if you follow by email or Like my Facebook Page.
 Keep up with all the art events by joining my email list (see sidebar)
Have a great artful day,
Wendy

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Do you Know your Subject?- Part 1, Painting & Drawing Tips

NEW WORKS FROM THE STUDIO OF ART BY WENDY

 Can you paint that bird so it really pops?

Can you make it sing for joy?

Can you make your viewers feel towards that bird the way you do?  Enchanted. Excited. Enjoying that special moment of encounter. 

Can you make them feel like coming back for more?

Okay, make not all of that but certainly that is your goal.  You love what you paint and you want others to feel your fascination and delight. 
  
Robert Bateman does this in the Wildlife World.  But what about ordinary people like you and me.
PERCHED ON THE LINE -Ink & Watercolour
  A mix of Chickadees in the Gardens and Constructive Organics.

I have learned that my thinking is flawed.  I have learned that I can inspire.  That even I can have fans.

How to captivate an audience. 

Capturing  an audience is something you can do.  It can be earned through knowledge and technique.  I am a wildlife artist and painting and drawing birds and animals is my passion.  To inspire and enchant my audience I work on knowledge and technique to present my subject. 

So what does this look like in practise. 

This spring I was excited to see the chickadees return to our garden after the cold grey days of winter.  It was so much more interesting to look out and see them chitter and fly about.  It really made my garden come alive.  I decided to work on a series of works, I called it, Chickadees in the Garden.

Suddenly I was challenged, I needed to find different things in the garden that would interest my little birds.  I was out photographing the early spring blossoms: apples and cherries; the fruits and vegetables as they started to ripe: cherry tomatoes hanging on the vine, plums and grapes basking in the sun; now as we head into fall I am watching for other things my chickadees will love before they disappear with winter.  Working in this series inspired me; It gave me the impetus to learn more about my birds, their habitat and life cycle.

At the same time I needed to work on my drawing skills.  How could I change their pose.  I wanted my chickadees to have a sense of action.  To interact with their environment, not just sit pretty on a branch.  Again I was busy with my camera, snapping pictures of those little guys in the sun, in the shade, on a branch, in flight, looking here and looking there.  BTW, that flight thing is very difficult, they really do flit about.  I am still trying to get good 'in flight' reference pictures.

Of course the learning didn't stop there.  Once I had gathered my ideas I wanted to execute them in watercolour.  The chickadees are a cute little bird, easily recognized by their black heads and white throat.  However, that sharp contrast of white and black means they really can command the attention in the picture.  Finding ways to 'sit them' in their setting without having them sabotage the picture was a bit of a learning curve. 

There was more.  At the same time I was working on my Constructive Organic Series.  This series looks at the world as birds and animals see it: a mix of mechanical and organic shapes.  My series suddenly merged; my chickadees flew into this constructive environment.  Up to now I had focused on larger birds and animals and hadn't really visualized the small birds there.  But on reflection I realized they were also seeing a world that was both artificial and natural.  It all made sense. 

Captivating your audience, happens when you capture their thoughts.  Give them many examples.  Give them new meaning.  Working in a series means work that will give them all of that.  It reaps hugh benefits for you as well.  Your knowledge and skill with your subject increases tremendously.  Your passion intensifies.  You become energized.  

What kind of series have you tried?  Did you keep it going for long?  What problems did you have with it.  I would be very interested to hear your experiences with series. 

You can see a few of my "Constructive Organics" pieces in the following posts:
a. My first picture that lead to this series, Oct 29, 2015
b. Bringing Christmas and a Stellar Jay together, Nov. 26, 2015
c. Celebrating the Sandhill Crane, June 9, 2016
d. Trying different palettes, Oct. 6, 2016.

You can see a few of my "Chickadees in the Gardens" pieces in the following posts: 
a.  My starting point, Sunflowers and Chickadees, Mar 10, 2016
b. Combining my chickadee with grapes in the sunshine, Mar 31, 2016
c. The chickadees were eating my seedlings in the garden and this sent me on a vegetables bender, here he is with tomatoes, Apr. 14, 2016
d.  The gorgeous cherry blossoms that welcome spring had to become part of this series, May 26, 2016

Working in Series has so much value for artists, not only in their growth and development but in a marketing perspective.  More on that in the next post. 

 Be sure to like and share my posts. You won't miss a single one if you follow by email or Like my Facebook Page. Keep up with all the art events by joining my email list (see sidebar)
 Have a great artful day, Wendy

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Fighting the Horrifyingly Crazy Battle of Colour Mixing - Painting & Drawing Tips

NEW WORKS FROM THE STUDIO OF ART BY WENDY

Is colour mixing a challenge?  Do you feel sometimes you are loosing the battle?  You start your project, everything is wonderful and then suddenly . . . .

Things are not working out.  Your colours are not doing what you want. Or you need to add a colour but nothing looks right. 

SITTING PRETTY - 5 x 7 Watercolour and Ink  - $130 Matted
I feel your pain. My background is black and white.  I love to work with black ink and graphite pencils.  The sculpturing of values in grey scales.    That really excites me.  The textures of graphite on paper, the sharp edge of an inked line.  They suck me in and devour me. 

But I want to work with colour too.


So my studio is often a battle ground; my black and white world fighting it out with colour.  Sometimes it can get pretty ugly.  My inks are permanent.  They don't give up easy. 
In the midst of battle a few secrets have merged. 
(Before I continue, I must point out that I work in watercolour.  Most colour mixing information is based on oils and acrylics.  Sometimes things apply but sometimes they don't.  Watercolour has its own magic that oil and acrylics just can't duplicate.  That's why I like it. )

So back to the colour mixing battle.

You have a better chance of winning if you have a bit of ammunition.  My first step is to limit my palette.  Yes I still keep warm and cold yellow, red and blues. There really is no set ones, most artists have their own combination.  This is based on their subject material and their own research.  These are colours they have worked with for a long time and know what they can do.  Putting together a palette and then painting with it for awhile is one of the best pieces of ammunition you will have.

I do have a regular palette too that I like for painting my wildlife on our west coast.  But I wanted something different for my picture "Sitting Pretty".  The grey I usually use is Ultramarine Blue and Burnt Sienna but it seems a little cold to me and I wanted something warmer.  And I wanted to try a few things I have been reading about. 

The palette for this picture was: Phaylo Blue (Green Shade), Burnt Sienna, Cad. Red, Cad Orange, Cad Yellow, Green Gold (Daniel Smith).  I hardly ever work with the Cadmium colours and I find Phaylo Blue gets way too dark for me.  So this was really a new palette for me.

My first job was to make sure I had complement colours so I did some mixing to find the greys. 
The winning grey was . . . Phaylo Blue with Burnt Sienna.  Yes, it had a bit of a green tone but some areas I could make more bluey (not sure if that is a word).  It just spoke to me. 

I was happy, the Stars were aligned, things were good.  I merrily sculptured Alvin, my cat.  However, once he was done, he did have a bit too much of that greenish thing.   Suddenly I was in trouble.  This is one of the battle points, right.  Suddenly colour doesn't work. 

Don't panic. Don't give up.  Take a deep breath, and evaluate. ( I really think this is the most important step.  Frustration and disappointment takes over and a clear head does not prevail.)
Spot on the right has no red glazing on it and the one of the left I glazed only half of it so you could see the difference it made.  More coats would of course changed it even more.  

First, what do you like?  I liked my cat, he had lovely shape and volume.  He had mass and really seemed fluffy.  Second, what do you not like?  (The order of these questions is very important.  Too often that critical side of your brain dominates your thoughts and you forget about the good things.) What I didn't like was the strong green tone of my grey.  So grey it down.  Get the complement.  (I know you read this all the time but do you remember in the heat of battle.) I took a very thin wash of the Cad Red and washed over all of my cat and extended into the white. I let it dry.  Oooooh . . . . .
I kind of liked that.  How about another layer.  Again, very thin, almost just dirty water.  Very wet so the colour wouldn't lift and run.  I let it dry.  That's it.

You know where I was now.  In Fiddleland.  Ready to fiddle a bit with Alvin.  The answer: Slap your hand and drop your brush.  Get out of Fiddleland.

When I was safely away from my cat, I picked up my brush and painted the rest of "Sitting Pretty".  I loved some of the colours I mixed with this palette and they really went well with 'my new grey'.  Filling in my patterning shapes really gave me a chance to 'test out' lots of combinations.  And once I was done I realized that my Alvin looked great just as he was.  "Sitting Pretty" was done. 

Each battle will churn up the paints and you will learn more about colour.  Don't hesitate to 'dig in' and go for it.  I find having a few books on hand helps me keep a cool head and provide ammunition.  Two that I find helpful are:
Stephen Quiller's book "Color Choices, Making Color Sense out of Color Theory"
Jeanne Dobie, "Making Color Sing, Practical Lessons in Color and Design"


How are your battles going?  What kind of palette do you favour?  Do you have any books/pointers to help you out?  I would love to hear about them.  I know you are thinking 'just take a colour course'. And I highly recommend that but even then, when you are hard at work in your studio, little skirmishes can erupt. You won't remember everything from the course and you need something now. 

Fall is coming fast but there is still time to paint and draw outside.  Check out my series of  Drawing Tips for Summer Fun.  It is a four part series starting here.  Great ideas for quick sketches in your journal or plein air pieces.  Best of all when the cold wind blows you can take these ideas inside and keep on going.

Looking for a starting point in your drawing?  I will be happy to get you up and running.  Call  now and set up a few lessons to get you on the road with your art.
For Commission Works see here
For Private Drawing Lessons see here
For Marketing Mentoring see here
For Marketing or Art Presentations Contact Wendy 

 Be sure to like and share my posts. You won't miss a single one if you follow by email or Like my Facebook Page. Keep up with all the art events by joining my email list (see sidebar) Have a great artful day, Wendy