As a practising artist and an instructor, teaching two mediums, with variety of styles and different student levels, it could be a challenge to manage my time.
There is a lot of prep time I have to do in creating projects for each class. Depending on the level, I usually work together with the class, providing a step by step approach so that students can learn techniques to practise until such time that they get confident enough to find the techniques that work for them.
I move from project to project depending on the class schedule and work bits on each painting every week. Because of this, I could have 5-6 unfinished paintings at different stages, not counting my own personal projects.
After seeing how much inventory I could have at my studio at one time, I needed to have a system to get projects finished. So last year, I made a personal goal to manage work in a back and forth manner where once I finish a painting for my own inventory, I would go back to a demo piece that has potential to become a finished painting.
This system worked and soon enough I was finishing paintings from both sides, achieving realistic deadlines and discarding other demo pieces that will never become a finished painting.
Ahhh.... Such happiness!
I receive spam mail asking to buy my painting. I get this often and most of them are tweaking their emails to make it look more legitimate. These are not real people looking to purchase your work, but hackers that simply want to scam you for money or obtain your email to sell it to other databases that use email for other potential scams.
I work everyday to create art, to practise, devoting time and attention to work, to support myself and my family, to help put bread on the table (so to say), so when I hear or receive these random phishing I cringe. As an artist, this pains me to a great degree, as my paintings have a piece of me. It has my education, experience, time and hard work.
Scammers are everywhere, and everyone is a target, but my writing will focus on first time art sellers and art students to help prevent someone from this awful experience
So, what to watch out for? What are the RED flags!
1) First clue: The email does not address you by name. It is very vague. If they emailed you, they should at least address you by your name.
2) The email usually does not have their full name
3) They want to purchase your art, (perhaps several pieces) but say they are moving or abroad and would want you to ship your work to an address or a shipper will be in touch to pick it up at your home.
4) If you communicate with them, they may reference that they themselves are an agent or know of a shipper to transact moving/shipping goods
5) Very often the email has misspellings, or grammatically wrong sentence structures
6) In succeeding emails, they will ask you if you accept cheques or money order
7) Try to hover your mouse on the header, usually their name is not the same as the email address
8) Usually they will pay MORE than the amount you are asking for and give you a story that it is for your trouble, and ask you to take what is yours and to send the balance back through Western Union. This is then untraceable once picked up.
9) Some scammers are getting very good in their game by using paypal as a source of payment. How they do this, is sending you an image of the paypal confirmation that they sent the money to your account, but, it is NOT from paypal but rather a copy cat of the site. In the copy cat, they will send you a link to click on to log in which gets you into more trouble because now they know your log in ID and password. Very tricky!!!
Also, is if it sounds “too-good-to-be-true” it is usually a scam. No one just buys 5 pieces of artwork randomly and pays you way more than you have asked for immediately because they are in some rush.
Be careful out there.
This is a sample of the spam I received today:
My name is Thomas Jeff from SC. I actually observed my wife has
been viewing your website on my laptop and i guess she likes
your piece of work, I'm also impressed to have seen your
different types of works too, : ) You are doing a great job. I
would like to receive further information about your piece of
work and what inspires you. I am very much interested in the
purchase of the piece (in subject field above) to surprise my
wife. Kindly confirm the availability for
Thanks and best regards,
Many artists’ have their favorite colours and these are just a few of mine. They are essential and very important to me especially since I realised I like to paint in thin layers. I have for the past 14 years shared this information with my students on when and how to use them. Watch out for my You Tube video about this blog so you could see exactly what I mean!
Transparent Red Iron Oxide – I love this colour!!! Especially if I need to glaze this colour on top of another colour to bring down the intensity or to warm up a colour. You must experience it to believe me! As the name states, it is transparent, meaning you can see right through. It has a red-mahogany colour with a very warm temperature. If you glaze this colour on top of green, it warms up the green colour which makes it beautiful and makes grasses look warmer. On top of yellow, it warms up the yellow and brings about some sort of glow that you just can’t obtain with yellows. It is highly recommended for fall leaves. On top of red or oranges, it brings about the intensity of the red colour underneath. It is just beautiful! I used M.Graham brand in both acrylic and oil mediums.
Sepia - I fell in love with Sepia in 2004. Somehow discovered it and felt that I cannot do without. It is transparent and so versatile. As the name suggests, it has a brownish colour, (iron-oxide) yet transparent enough to look like a dirty green, without being dirty. I have combined this colour with Dioxazine Purple and came up with a beautiful black colour. Glazing this colour on to green and brown can warm up the colour and push it back.
I use the Tri-Art brand, which is manufactured in Kingston, Ontario… which makes me happy to support a Canadian Brand!
Dioxazine Purple – Although I do make a nice violet by mixing a red and blue, Dioxazine Purple is my go-to colour if I want to have a consistent purple mix, no matter what! It is transparent so it can be glazed on to increase brilliance to reds and blues… and I just love it as a tadpole when I make greys. I use M. Graham brand as well… for some reason I like the M. Graham brand because it has no solvents.
Titan Buff – My Go-To colour for lightening colours without risking the mix to become pastel-like. This colour is beige-like and can certainly be added or mixed into a colour to give it some added shadow or volume. When you mix this to a Cadmium Yellow, you can sortof dampen the look of the yellow which is sometimes what you need as Cadmiums can scream (if you know what I mean). When working on an abstract painting and things may have gotten a bit off kilter, you can brush or brayer in Titan Buff in areas to give it a chance to rebuild again. I use Golden brand.
Anthraquinone Blue – Anthra what?! Now say that 10 times real FAST! Yah, the name says it all. Its big, bold and blue. I am a blue person, but since this colour has a bit of red in it, it can be very dark if you want it to be. It is transparent with excellent lightfast qualities, love the greens this can produce and deep blue blacks when glazed onto rocks! I use the M.Graham brand.
I have many more favorite colours… but these are my top 5!! Have fun mixing!!! Please stay tuned to my You Tube video on my Marissa Sweet Channel for demonstration of these colours! and don't forget to subscribe!
So what is a Juried Art Show? Juried show is a competition in which participants' work is judged by a person or panel of persons convened specifically to judge the participants' efforts, either by the competition's stated rubric or by a subjective set of criteria dependent upon the nature of the competition or the judges themselves. For example, in a juried competition where participants compete against each other for a monetary prize, for inclusion in a show or publication, or for representation by a gallery, the work presented is judged by one or more persons, often experts, for such prize, inclusion, or representation.
This year marks the 50th Anniversary of the Oshawa Art Association, an association I have been a member of for 17 years. It is always an honour to be accepted into the show and of course much more exciting to have been a recipient of a few awards in different categories in years past.
From 2005-2008, I was the OAA Juried Show Chairperson and this role has made me more aware of the work it takes to pull this show together. Congratulations to all that helped to make this 50th Anniversary a memorable one!
In the 2 terms when I served, there were a few years that I did everything myself. Creating the 3-fold registration form, data-entry of registrations, gathering sponsorship, printing of catalogue and certificates, distributing flyers, and finally emceeing the show together with Linda Jansma (Senior Curator). I had 6-8 volunteers during the take in and pick up days, but I handled most of the back-end administration. So, glad to have been able to pass this on to the next volunteer(s) after my 2nd term was completed!
I have met wonderful regional and national jurours and learned their process of choosing pieces for the show. Everyone is different, but the common denominator is that they are looking for pieces that have creativity and originality. They are looking for something that catches their eye, unique, good composition and solid technical skill. Of course, art is subjective and different criteria’s must be met. Overall, do not be upset with being rejected for the reason has nothing to do with your artistic skill but rather how the juror (s) envision the show.
Continue to work, practice, work, practice and work.
Till the next time!!
Have you ever experienced struggling with one or two parts of a painting? Have you tried to work on an area for a long time but your vision does not translate to your painting? Or have you felt like throwing your painting out the window, or burning it to the ground? (not literally – or?)
Well you are not alone. Most fine artists, including visual, decorative, applied artists, including those in other genre’s such as; poets, writers, composers, print making, and anyone involved in the creative arts have experienced some sort of hump, bump, block, various forms of struggle with what they are working on.
What really defines a true artist, is how they respond to the bump and deal with it. French impressionist painter, Claude Monet was known to throw his paintings to the ground and sometimes slash them with a knife, while Dutch post-impressionist painter Vincent van Gogh, threw out and destroyed many of his paintings and drawings as well.
It takes dedication and commitment to be an artist. But there will be days when things are not going the way you would want it to be. We are human and we are not perfect. The challenge however, is how to overcome? So, what to do? I am not an expert, nor am I a therapist, so I will share what I do personally when I get to this stage.
a) Take a break – I usually either stop painting and go for tea, sometimes when I get back to my work, I see it with fresh eyes and can return to it again with vigor!
b) Take a picture – With the photo, I can see the whole painting and analyse what is working and what isn’t. I usually do not feel too bad after that and can work on the problem again.
c) Ask! Usually I rely on my spouse, a friend or a colleague – they can see things I may have missed and say something which will spark another way to approach the piece.
d) Determine what needs to be developed. Is it the values, the colour, the shape? This will help narrow the problem spot.
e) Breathe and start fresh another time
As an art teacher, I help my students, by showing them different techniques and methods of approach, much more I give encouragement and help them with their work. I can only give so much, as I cannot hold their hand and paint their work, nor does my vision translate to theirs. They, however, can rely on my support.
Overall, keep persevering, work and study, practise and practise some more.
Till the next time,
Chuck Close, an American painter quotes: “Inspiration is for amateurs, the rest of us just show up and get to work.”
This is what I do. I paint, practise, study, practise, research, practise, paint, practise and repeat again and again. It is part of who I am, what I must do, even when the day isn’t good, or I am not encouraged, or days when I have a deadline, am tired, or have a road block. I just show up. Sometimes it can be a struggle, when the painting is not going anywhere or I am struggling with an aspect of the piece. I cannot let these get me down. Sometimes, I stop for a moment to assess, reflect and plan my next steps. Usually, I start a new piece, while rethinking the current painting. It does help to have trusted friends in the same industry for advise. But my best critic is my spouse.
Usually, something will happen to the painting. Sometimes it takes a complete detour and morphs into something unexpected. I let go and let intuition play! This is the spirit of creativity that takes me to a different place. I let a new direction take me there and with this new road to travel…. I continue on.
I woke up to my niece’s Instagram picture of her aunt’s home filled with beautiful Christmas decorations, twinkling lights and ambient atmosphere. Her quote “My Aunt’s Christmas decorations beats your Xmas decorations “made me think about uniqueness and the beauty of diversity.
We are all creative people and it makes us who we are. How we decorate, create, design, dress up, put our make up on, choose our clothes, style our hair, rearrange our furniture, organize, pick Knick knacks or not, choose lighting fixtures, interior design, paint, draw, our penmanship, take pictures, dance, act, compose music, sing, everything revolves around design, beauty and creativity.
This season, most homes, who are celebrating Christmas or Hanukah are decorating their homes to make each environment cheerful and welcoming for themselves and their loved ones. Helping the spirit of love come in and mingle. And guess what, everyone decorates differently, uniquely, individually! It does not matter if you have the same home model or even layout, or even the same decorations! It will all look different! This is the creative mind. Each inspired by the universe that surrounds us.
Therefore, I agree that her aunt’s decorations will never be like anyone else because it is her own unique stamp and personality that makes it work in the first place. Just like an original art can never be replicated, each should be enjoyed because of the uniqueness of the hand that created it.
I find myself thinking about the year, grateful for all the wonderful experiences and thankful for the ones that were not too pleasant. Thankful because when there is struggle, you learn and grow.
As an artist, I would consider myself a landscape painter. Almost all my paintings are of landscapes and sceneries, and it is a subject matter i keep returning to.
For the last 13 years, I worked part-time at an art store in their sales department and taught several workshops in the same location. My world was busy and although I was mostly happy, I felt something was missing. I wanted to paint my own projects, but did not have time. Previous to that, I worked in various corporate jobs which kept me from painting as well.
This year, I was fortunate to land teaching positions at 6 locations, have 2 open studio sessions in my studio and accepted private students. I enjoyed teaching and sharing but did I have time to paint for myself? Again, yes, but not enough time.
So, after soul searching moments, I have decided to unload a few classes so that I can slowly transition to painting full-time. Of course, this cannot be done quickly, I have signed contracts and still need the steady income. But hopefully in the next year or so, things may settle into a more manageable pace.
To work as a full-time artist will be a dream come true. Of course, with this dream, comes hard work. And I am ready for it. An enterprenuer will take a lot of effort, time and work. Some people may think - it will be easy to paint! YES, for those who have no idea what it takes to work on a concept, research for relevant material, create, study, network and manage administrative details are just some roles we will play.
However, I know in time with hard work and patience, I will get there!
So what is Plein Air? En plein air is a French term that translates literally as “in the open air.” The term “plein-air painting,” as it is currently used, usually refers to paintings that are completed on location.
Over the past 20 years, interest in plein-air painting has exploded in the West. Once considered revolutionary, when French Impressionists in the late 1800s, ventured out to investigate and capture the light of a given subject during different times of the day or season. Plein-air painters often contend that something is lost when a painting originates from a photograph as the sole reference material—that it just doesn’t convey the experience of actually being there.
Being a studio artist, going out into the open air seemed daunting, inspiring and adventurous all at the same time. Ever since I was 10 years old, I loved the French impressionists most particularly Monet and Renoir, so I gave it a shot. I sketched outdoors and tried to paint every now and then while in school and during summer vacation.
Years after, I painted whenever we went camping and somehow managed to finish a few paintings here and there. It was a challenge. With no training but pure intuition - just set up my easel and go! I realised I carried too much and after walking to find a particular site that interested me, I was bogged down with my gear. People were naturally curious with what I was doing and most stopped by to talk to me. It was nice, but could also be a huge distraction. Bug spray is important to bring as well as sunscreen! Bringing a bottled water was handy, primarily to quench your thirst and secondly to clean up brushes because at the time I was using acrylics. Having a camera records the scene and time of day. I had to paint fast, because once the sun moves, you will lose key light features that captures the landscape.
Two years ago, I joined East Central Ontario Art Association which is an art organization that promotes paint outs with a huge membership that spans Eastern Ontario, including artists from Metropolitan Toronto to the Quebec border and north past Algonquin Park, as well as some from as far west as the Niagara Peninsula. The largest concentration are residents of Scarborough, Belleville, Peterborough and surrounding areas.
This group opened up the flood gates to opportunities to paint out and learn new things! The opportunity to paint with fellow artists and learn more about managing your skills in the open air was exciting! I switched back to oils as my medium and I continue to learn more and more from every experience. I paint outside every opportunity and suddenly, I realised… I am addicted.