Another Art Tip
Most artists through the ages have shared what works and doesn't work for them. Aspiring artists study the work of others to learn and improve their own work. We stand on the shoulders of the ones who came before. I like to share anything I learn, figure out, or stumble upon so that I may help others as I've been helped.
The image above is a painting work-in-process I started yesterday. I'm working from a photo of an adorable baby Chihuahua. The photo has the Chi with a downturned mouth and sad eyes, which made me want to cry.
As I sketched in the features, I hesitated. Will folks want to cry when they look a piece of art? My instinct tells me, they may go Awwwh and smile sadly, but will they want to take it home? I did some research.
I found an article online from an English painter about which animals paintings had been his most successful through the years. You can read the article by click the above.
Paint Happy Animals
The artist listed the animals and wrote some insights about reasons people were drawn to some paintings and not others. In particular, he mentioned that paintings of apes were among his most successful. However, he wrote, photos of apes and monkeys tend to have forlorn, melancholy expressions.
His experience had been that, although avid collectors ask for "monkey" paintings (they request "monkeys" but they mean "apes"), they did not buy paintings depicting sad expressions. He suggested taking "poetic license" and alter the expression to look happy, or at least neutral.
Using other reference photos, I'm working on getting that expression "right" on the above piece. I'm not there yet. He said it was easy to do. I haven't found that to be the case so far. I'll update later and you be the judge if I was successful or not.
Thanks for reading! Please like, share or comment below.
I’m an extremely private person. Writing about this chapter in my life is not easy for me. However, I believe we must share any pathways to recovery we discover to help others who may be struggling themselves.
If we gain some significant insight on the journey out of darkness (or just grayness), our purpose then becomes, I believe, sharing that insight with others in any way we can.
All of us experience setbacks, tragedies, and disappointments in our lives One way out, perhaps the only way, is to view these difficulties as opportunities for a more peaceful, productive, joyful, and fulfilling rest-of-our-lives. Hence, I am now sharing my experience with you.
How I (Re)Found My Purpose In Life
Journal Entry 1
Sometimes, the Universe kicks us in the ass.
Oh, I had a few nudges, which I completely ignored. That may be why the nudges picked up in frequency and intensity as time went on. Shall I share with you my ultimate ass kicking and where it led me? OK, pull up a chair.
Like most of you, I've had my share of life's tragedies. Mostly, my suffering was for my loved ones, not me directly. The illnesses and deaths of my family over a relatively short period of time were devastating. Watching someone you love suffering is the worst kind of anguish. Unbearable though it is, their ultimate passing leaves a hole in you that never fills.
But life goes on, doesn't it? I became busy with life: struggling, trying to figure it out on my own. Almost completely on my own.
MY UNCONSCIOUS LIFE
I was busy. Oh, so busy. And fearful. I needed to make money, so I went about it in the most frantic, do-everything-all-at-once kind of way. That's when the ass kicking began showing up.
I had gradually entered a period of disfunction and disorganization. I have always been an organized kind of person. An everything-in-it’s place kind of person. Now? Couldn’t find my keys. Couldn’t find my glasses. Lost my purse. Lost my credit cards, etc. My house became messy. I was behind in my bookkeeping. My art room was a disaster.
During this time of increasing disorder and decay, other life tragedies happened. I had already put down my 35-year-old Arab mare. Sunda. Then, Barney, Bill’s old dog, became sick and had to be put down. My gelding, Sundance, at last succumbed to his long struggle with founder. My whole life had been emptied.
BIG AND SMALL BLESSINGS
There were blessings that came, though. All was not loss. I became closer to my beautiful stepdaughters, Leigh and Manette. Hanna, the Chi, showed up at that time. The Universe’s way of softening all the blows? Bill’s daughters and Hanna filled up some of those holes. What blessings! Which is fortunate because the nudges I was telling you about? They got personal. I mean, my person, my body.
What was the state of my mind at this time? A sorry state, that’s what. Anxiety had always been a problem. Now it was off the charts. Worry, anxiety, fear, more worry. You could say my mind was taken over. Completely. What happens when that happens? I will tell you, dear reader.
HELLO. THE UNIVERSE IS CALLING
Because I was lost in my head with what I needed to do and how fast I needed to do it, I was whizzing around at a frantic pace. Because I was not in the present moment, always worried about what I needed to do next when I got done with this, I was not paying attention.
On my way to pick up meds for my sick cat, I rolled right through a stop light that wasn’t lit for me. It was slow motion; I almost came to a stop before hitting the truck turning in front of me. Fortunately, no one was hurt. My Jeep, apparently not so tough after all, was totaled. I was so lost in my head, I wasn’t even aware I was driving.
Should have woken me, right? It only made me more frantic and anxious.
I was trying to prepare for exhibitions in art shows. Bill and I had done them for years. It’s rewarding and can be lucrative, but it’s also very, very hard. And there had been two of us. Now, there’s just me. And I’m older.
Still, I was sure I could do it. I was struggling to create the art, gather display components, setting up the shows, and manning them. Because I was overwhelmed and tired, I started stumbling and falling. I was, again, not paying attention to the present moment, thinking about the next thing to do, and going on well past fatigue. I banged my knees and other parts painfully, fortunately not doing significant damage. But each fall seemed to get worse.
You can see it coming now, can’t you?
The latest blow, the tragic loss of Manette during this time, was profoundly saddening. She was always a pillar of strength and had been there for me when I lost Bill, her father. My physical and psychological toughness was further depleted.
Struggling to get inventory made for the area’s spring shows, I was loading up the cargo trailer with completed products for the show that weekend. It was late. I was dead tired. I was pushing myself to get my stuff loaded so that tomorrow I could just pull out, set up the show, then get home to make a little bit more inventory, etc., etc., etc.
While carrying a box down the steps, I lost my balance, stumbled, or something and fell from the top step, onto the concrete below. I could hear the bones cracking, then cracking some more as I bounced this way and that. My final flop brought my left foot into view as it swung overhead, bent to an unnatural angle, dangling loosely as if it was flying off the end of my leg. The bone sticking through the skin was obvious, though the pain didn’t hit immediately. Just a sickening feeling as I realized what I had done to myself. Then I started screaming.
The Universe had not completely forsaken me. My angelic friends next door heard my screams and came running to my rescue. They held my hand and kept me from going into shock until EMS came. I was now entering the most physically challenging episode of my life. Ever.
A NEW REALITY
Long story short, I had suffered a trimalleolar open break. Meaning, both sides of the ankle, and the small bone in the back were broken, with the inside ankle bone breaking the skin. The good news was it was pristine inside, no shards or loose bits, and no infection. After two surgeries, my ankle was all screwed and bolted back together. I thought maybe not so bad. Eight weeks I’ll be getting out of the cast and back in business.
You see, the worst problem with broken ankles is you can’t put weight on them. And since mine was broken every which way the all around, I wouldn’t be able to put weight on it for three months, which would be followed by months of painful therapy. My hurry-up life had been interrupted.
THE WAY OUT
Now, I’m not going to dwell on the struggle part of “my story”. Suffice it to say, the challenges of day-to-day life were enormous. But, with the help of my friends and emotional support from my stepdaughter, I made it through alive. Because I was forced into immobility and non-doing, I had a lot of time to think and study.
That’s the point of these posts. Through this awful experience, I reached a better place in my life. This journal is how I survived the ass-kicking and got my life onto a better track. Are you interested?
To be continued……. Journal Entry 2.
Using Art To Fall Asleep (?!)
Sometimes, when I have trouble falling asleep, I use a trick for relaxing. Looking with my mind’s eye somewhere in my consciousness, I let colors and patterns play across, like a kaleidoscope.
The colors are usually brilliant yellows, golds, and reds, and the fluid patterns are breathtaking as they pass my “eye”. The patterns change and churn and I cannot recall the pattern once it passes. No pattern is ever duplicated, nor can I re-imagine them.
Before I know it, once the patterns are forming freely without interference from my conscious mind – Wahlah! I fall asleep.
The patterns formed from working with fluid acrylics and the techniques of “pour painting” remind me of this process. There’s a spontaneous and organic method to the painting. And no matter how planned the result or how closely a formula is followed, each painting is unique – never to be duplicated. The images created seem to be infinite in their possibilities. They are (almost!) always pleasing and draw you in with wonder.
Learning Fluid Art
Each of my fluid art creations (on tiles, earrings, canvases) are one-of-a-kind because they are made from these dream-state, never-to-be-repeated patterns. I also use them to form backgrounds for animals and other scenes of nature by embellishing a dried “pour”.
I make the realistically rendered portions of the painting subject part of or emerging from the organic under-painting. The result takes on an added quality that seems to touch people in a special way. In this blog, I’ll explain my technique of abstract realism using fluid “pour painting” and targeted realistic over-painting.
Please comment below: Are you interested in learning about this dynamic painting technique?
Why People Buy
From what I've observed at art shows and online sales, the following seem to be the primary buying motivators (at least for women):
Pretty appeals to women. Now, it's true, beauty is in the eye of the behold, but we all know pretty when we see it. What makes something pretty? Whether it's a face, a room, a painting, a car, etc., the "elements of design" of the object observed is pretty if it obeys most, if not all, of the "principles of design". I'll do a post on these "elements and principles" next. Bottom line: Pretty sells.
People buy color. Some colors are more popular than others. Some color combinations are currently in style while some colors never go out of style. Blue has always been the most universally popular color. Pink and gray combination was popular a little while ago. Gray is still hot, but turquoise and mustard seem to be having a moment
Study current trends, recent past trends, and popular colors when choosing your color palette. I know, this is cravenly commercial. But, come on, everybody just wants to sell, right?
If you're going to a show, have as many color choices as you can to increase sales. Some people specialize in one color palette and there's merit in that. In this case, make sure the show you're going to has a BIG attendance. Otherwise, I think it's best to have a variety of colors, with special emphasis on current tends. And lots of blue.
Subject Matter of Your Art
Know someone who collects owls? They can't pass one up. Live on the beach? Beachy scenes, critters, and objects are your decorating choices. People are drawn to certain themes, objects, or animals and they buy them (if they're pretty and the right color. See above.) Studying online shopping sites and catalogues will give you lots of clues as to what people are buying. For easy sales, paint stuff people are collecting.
Art That Touches The Heart
Whether people are collecting or not, if your art touches their heart, they can't resist it. Animals, children, and certain scenes pull at the heart strings and is something they'll want to take it home with them or give as a gift. Paint what people love or in such a way as to make them love it.
There you have it. My little take on making what sells. Now, go make some art.
Mt. Dora Art Festival 2022 Next Week
Today finds me feverishly preparing for the Mt. Dora art festival next weekend. This show has always been considered one of the top shows in the country, so I'm honored to have been accepted.
I'm taking prints of my acrylic equine paintings, but due to some glitches (one of many!), I won't have all of them available. Getting back in the swing of art shows has been a long slough and I think I was overly optomistic about what I could get done.
The thing is, you just start and do what you can. If you wait until you're ready, you'll never get there. I really didn't expect to get into all the shows I applied for, but that's what happened. Whatever I don't get done for this show, I'll be way ahead for the next one. By the time the season is over, I'll be farther along that when I started, that's for sure!
Check out this link for my art show schedule so far for this year. I'll be posting updates here and on my FaceBook page FYI.
New Embellished Macrame in Pink
I found this soft pink macrame cord and really liked it. So I added one of my new dream catcher pendants as an accent piece. Do you like the addition? If you don't, it's easy to remove, or change out for a different one.
This precious piece will soon be for sale now on my shop. Check back soon. Share via Pinterest or other social media, won't you?
Necklace With Original Mini-Painting
Just listed on my shop in time for Valentine's Day: One of my heart-shaped, hand painted mini-art pendants in metallic pink, metallic amethyst, and pearlized white. Comes with a black cord, but you can also change it out to your own chain.
The shimmering metallics sparkle and glisten (so hard to photograph!). Makes a great gift for a sweetheart, daughter, mother, sister, or friend. Or yourself!
I have these necklaces in various colors. Each mini-painting is unique and one of a kind that can't be reproduce because of the painting method I use. Painting is protected by a glass cabochon, which magnifies and intensifies the colors. They are selling fast so, check out online shop to see what is still available. They're ready to go!
Macrame, Jewelry, Coasters 20% Off
Been giving my hands a rest from the macrame by working on painting again. As a bonus, the technique I use gives me these micro-art pieces to set in pendants. It's so much fun!
Pour painting is very popular now but it wastes a lot of paint. Luckily, you can save some of it by catching it on wax paper. After drying, I look for interesting shapes and color. Kind of like "fractals". Very zen. I cut out these little micro-art areas and glue onto cubacons. Add a glass dome and you have some very pretty, one-of-a-kind necklaces, earrings, keychains, etc.
This jewelry set is a pink/gray/gray-blue color combination with a heart-shaped pendant necklace, teardrop earrings, and a heart-shaped keychain. What's so special about it is each individual piece is unique and one-of-a-kind, never to be repeated.
I'm adding more jewelry everyday to my shop, because, I have to admit, it's a little addictive. Like, share and enjoy!
Large Wall Hanging With Fringe/Tassel
I named this dramatic hanging after my late, great Arab mare who passed a few years back at the age of 36. She was so beautiful and graceful, as only Arabian horses can be.
This three-layer hanging has a lot going on, but it's still geometric and simple. The open weave in the center gives it cohesion. The tassel from a half-hitch spiral "necklace" focal point adds spice with grace. The fringed third layer softens the geometry. And a V-pattern bottom provides drama.
Size: 26" wide X 32" long
Available now on my Etsy shop. Won't you pin or "heart" this special-to-me macrame wall hanging? Thank you!