Tuesday, March 5, 2013

I Speak, You Speak

Wouldn't you know it, I am blessed to have another dream come true. When I was in high school, a pastel artist came to our art class to talk about her work. I cannot remember what she said at all but I do remember being inspired to one day BE her and talk about my art to students. And wouldn't you know it, a relative of mine who works at my old high school was speaking to the art teacher about me. Not long after the art teacher contacted me to invite me to speak about myself, my work, my inspirations, and to give a small workshop. Had I not been DOING the work I need to be a successful painter, I would not be receiving opportunities to live out my dreams!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

You Didn't Do It

How many times have you looked at a piece of "art" and said "I could that!" or "My kid could do that", and became jealous that the artwork was selling for half a million dollars?

The fact is - you didn't do it. If you want to sell you work for that price range than you need to just start working at it. Doing = success.

For example, I have the opportunity to start working with a second gallery but I didn't have any pieces available to sell. Why? - because I didn't work hard enough to make more. Why? I can make excuses (or rather valid reasons like a full time job and family to take care of and being totally exhausted at the end of the day). But it's just a fact that I didn't make time to make more paintings. So it is my goal this year to produce as much as I can to receive a second gallery representation and also produce a set of works to be show in a public gallery (not just private galleries).

It's time to stop the whining and "just do it".

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Perfect Strangers

My latest paintings are situated in a local cafe that is in partnership with The Stall Gallery who represents my work. You'd think this isn't the best place to show work as the majority of people who go to cafes are not art collectors, but this precept may be damaging to not only art sales, but art quality.

There are tactical ways of selling artwork in a cafe. First, you, the artist, need a way for the potential collector to be in contact with you or your gallery in order to purchase the work, or find out more information about you and your work. So to just label the artwork with the title, medium, and artist's name isn't enough. Leave your contact information in the form of a pamphlet strategically located for clients to find (perhaps by the artwork, or by the cafe entrance/exit, or by the register). Or if you don't care to print, leave your email address at the bottom of each label and/or a coded scan that a smart devise can decode with your contact info, prices, etc.

Here's an example of how a perfect stranger affected me and my work. Just lately, a coworker was entertaining her sister-in-law from the UK who was visiting because she grew up here and still has family here. Her sister-in-law suggested going to this local cafe (City Perks, Saskatoon, SK.) because she researched local culture and really wanted to see my work. This perfect stranger became a fan and is now a "friend" on Facebook. Although no sales arose from this encounter, the potential is there because we're now connected. She has affirmed that the direction of my work is affecting perfect strangers in a positive way and that's the direction I can continue to strive to get better at.

Not only have I sold artwork through cafes, but encounters like the one above are the most inspiring because it's not a friend or family member that "likes" your work - it's someone you've never met before! Compliments like these can get the artist to produce more work (and increase the quality too) because it's an absolute joy to capture the intellectual and visceral attention of others. I personally couldn't imagine keeping every idea or thought to myself. Some artists can. Some artists paint purely for the joy of painting and that's great. I too achieve great joy through the physical act of painting but there's another joy that occurs when others feel the same about your work as you do.

There will also be those who don't share your point of view, or who don't like your style of work but are we here to please everyone? No, we're here to share our opinions, listen the opinions of others, understand the world around us through conversation, and continue this cycle our who lives. It's perfect strangers that can shift our paradigms and change our point of view. How often do we actually heed the advise or opinions of our mothers, fathers, brothers, or sisters without skepticism? But when we read it in a book, listen to it in music, see it in art, we confirm or disprove our mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, and ourselves.

So not only can showing work in public places like cafes introduce you to perfect strangers and gain potential sales, it can also change the quality or perceptions of the messages you create. On a similar note to end off with, having your work in cafes also creates conversation between visitors. Only a small percentage of people visit galleries (public or private) so perhaps something you've created has sparked a topic that is meaningful to a greater amount of the public and opens up their thought pattern to accept or disprove the artworks point of view. You've then become the perfect stranger who may have changed someone's life. Food for thought.

As Promised

As promised - a peek into my latest works. All acrylic on canvas. The first image is vastly different from the others because I wanted to experiment with texture and colour (or lack thereof). It's title is "Less is More" and it not only reminds me of Saskatchewan winters but also speaks about the affect a statement can have when not surrounded by rhetoric, white fuzz, or other distractions. It allows one to contemplate the message through a subconscious form of listening.

"Risky Business" - All businesses have been born by entrepreneurs. At any time a business can be flooded by unexpected turns of events that are potentially out of our control. Farming specifically is difficult because the weather often dictates how well or how poor the farmer's success is. Sometimes it's purely competition that causes smaller business to barely stay afloat.

"So That's What Happened" - As serious as this painting looks, have you ever reflected on the possible demises of our pioneers homes? We may assume they were poorly built, or years of neglect causes leaking and wood rot, or a tornado ripped through and crushed the house. Any of these things are an adults' reality to these homes' destruction. But have you ever heard the "ramblings" of a child's explanation of any particular event? If you know my latest work, then you know a hay bale must be involved. Maybe a giant hay bale rolled over one of these homes and crushed it. Maybe this is not so far fetched. Maybe the business of farming overcame the ability of the farmer and forced the pioneers to move leaving the house to become neglected. Maybe.....just maybe. What theory can you come up with?

"Untitled"  - There are some homes that just stand out. They may not be the best built, or best decorated but they tell their own stories. Again, if you know my work, then you know that a house isn't simply a house. It's a reflection of people, individual or as a community, or as society. These houses reflect certain individuals that just stand out. They are not rich, not famous, or not perhaps as beautiful as magazines say they should be, but they are the foundations to which communities grow.

"Urban Consumption" - This painting shows 1/4 of a hay bale that's overshadows an urban modern home. How much money went into building that home? How much waste was developed during the construction of that home? How much energy was and will be used for that home? Is it worth it? The hay bale reflects the consumption that one home can create in comparison to the size of the home itself. This is simply my viewpoint and does not reflect statistics but the imagery captures the idea. I'm glad to know, however, that there is alternatives to modern building. I am sad though, to know that not everything is being done to reduce the energy wasted.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Plan B

Not so long ago, Jack White wrote an article for FASO about falling into the trap of "Plan B". This is not just detrimental to artists but many people wanting to fulfill a financial dream based on the things they love to do. Plan B is supposed to be our fallback just in case Plan A fails. Sounds like safe thoughtful way to go......or is it? Does Plan B continually set us up for failure? It seems our just-in-case options become our Plan A and then our initial Plan A gets left in the dust. As Oxfam says, "Plan A.....because there is no plan B.".  Will plan A ever work if there is plan B?

What if we reversed Plan A and B? Here's the scenereo: Bob wants to paint full time but right now he doesn't have enough time to paint in order to produce sales to earn revenue to support his overhead because Bob uses Plan B, a full time job, to support Plan A, his painting, and his overhead. Bob is so tired from his job that he tends to put painting on the back burner until he finds more time to paint. Sound familiar?

Let's reverse that. Bob wants to work full time but right now he has too much painting and marketing to do in order to keeps his galleries and clients satisfied. So Bob reduces his work hours in order to paint more often. Wait a second.....did that just work?

So that's the plan. I've just done that. No really, I quit my full time design job to spend more time with the kids and painting. I now work part time retail hours to fulfill my goals. What's your plan?

Thursday, November 8, 2012

It's About Time

It's been just over a year since my last post so it's about time I update you on my yearly adventures.  Maternity leave is up and I had one major art event since then where five new peices were featured in a group event at The Stall Gallery for the National Parking Day celebration. The parking stalls down the street were closed off and decorated by street vendors and business owners.  It was pretty awesome.

I did go back to work full time as a designer which has been more exhausting than being sleep deprived on maternity leave.....well, maybe not equally as exhausting. So it's left little time, and energy left to paint let along get everything else done around the house. Enough complaining.....the good news is that another gallery is interested in taking my work so that means I have to work doubly hard and produce some more amazing pieces to support two galleries....so exciting.

So the first four pictures in on this website are my latest works shown at the event I told you about above. The fifth is not on there so when I'm not posting from my ipad I will post all five in another blog. Enjoy. Criticize. Comment. Purchase:)

Thursday, October 13, 2011

The Trinity - triple time

So, here they are. The Trinity. Finally. I was approached by Ebeneezer Baptist Church three years ago for this commission and I estimated a time frame of about three months to completion. Each piece is 36" x 60" and I didn't anticipate the amount of distractions I would have with family and another full time job. Perhaps those are just excuses.

This has to have been the most difficult commission I have done so far - trying to depict who I felt each part of the trinity was. There are so many metaphors and descriptions of each that compiling them all was overwhelming. So I meditated on the word and discerned for months over each one.

Jesus - our saviour. Breaks the shackles of our sin if we let him. We fear the unknown and think the shedding of our past will be painful and it just might be, but it will never get better until we line up for past to be forgiven and forgotten.

The Father - our father. When one imagines, God, we fear the greatness of his power and think about the almighty being who can smite us down in the blink of an eye. But rarely do we think of him as who he is - our father. Other parents will understand this painting perhaps greater than anyone. A true and loving parent is one who always forgives and lends a shoulder to cry on, and brings great comfort in any time. Our Father in Heaven is like this and we are comforted by him when we trust in Him completely.

The Holy Ghost - our guide. I could find no better depiction than the dove showing the right path. Some notice and follow, some only notice, but most will not even look.