Wednesday, December 28, 2016

A Story in the Round: "While We Are Sleeping"

This fall my husband placed his game cameras to photograph any animals that might be coming in for apple snacks. It turned out to be an amazing collection of animals came in the night. When he turned it into a video, it became almost a dance of comings and goings. Of course there was our horse, Lil Bit, but right along with her were deer, bears, raccoons, foxes and skunks. It was pretty fun to see who was out there night after night. We discovered that not only bears, but also foxes climb trees.

Being an artist, I started thinking about making this into a story of sorts. I knew our grandchildren would love seeing it someway other than on the computer screen. I had seen the beautiful lazy susans made by a company in the mid-west and thought that I might be able to do something similar, but telling our story, "While We Are Sleeping."

First I needed a 29-inch wood tray. Looking on the internet I found a nice looking birch plywood tray with a laminated edge, covering the plywood edge. Naturally the maker of the tray lived across the country, so I had to place an order and wait for it to arrive.

With Christmas just around the corner, I had to make good use of my time, so I started practicing with my wood burning tool to see how I might put it to use in this project. (I'd never used one before!)

I made 29-inch circles out of brown craft paper, and started to plan out the story. It's harder than you might think to put an idea out on a round surface. I asked Mike to produce some single images from his videos. (The ones you see from the photos above.)  I then made drawings from those and made cut-outs of the animals to move around my round shape.

Finally the tray arrived and I started my wood burning with great trepidation. I am no expert, but I managed to outline my images, write my carefully chosen words, and make animal foot prints around the tray.

I had never used my acrylic paints to stain wood before, but I watered them down, and away I went.

Like a gift should be, this became a labor of love. I was pretty tickled with myself as this gift turned out to be truly one of a kind and personal.

And here it is in use in Arizona! Merry Christmas Carters!

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

What is a Painting Worth?

What is a painting worth? There are so many ways of looking at this. Are we talking about a dollar amount? Are we talking about building an art collection? Are we talking about the enjoyment of looking at a piece of art day after day and seeing something in a new light?

The topic has come to mind recently as I have made some sales, created new art, and have put prices on the new pieces. I'd like to use a painting I hung this week as an example of the different thoughts I had on pricing it.

Tam Giang Lagoon—Laundry Day
Transparent Watercolor on Paper
22" x 20"
Since our trip to Southeast Asia, every time I push the button to start my washing machine, I think of this woman and the other women I met on this trip. I not only think of the conveniences of my life, of all that I have, but also of the connection I feel to the women I meet in my travels. 

I am thankful to be invited into a home to use a flush toilet which is a source of pride for the home owner. I enjoy being allowed to peel garlic in preparation for the up-coming festivities. I am honored that a woman wants to touch my pale skin and wispy hair. These are all ways we relate to and touch each other. We are communicating and saying we are women and understand each other in the deepest ways. We are the mothers, the cooks, the washer-women. We have a universal bonding because of our gender. (Although in our country, men are now taking on much more of the domestic duties, that is not a world-wide trend.)

So how do I put a price on this piece of art? It is full of meaning to me and I trust it will touch someone else. This painting might speak to an American who has traveled the world, a woman or man who can relate to the daily tasks we all participate in. It might attract a viewer who loves the background neutrals in contrast to the bright colors of the human figure and sees it as a beautiful piece of art. It might go to the home of a collector, who has seen my work mature over the years and wants to add to their art collection.

I once read that to price your art, an artist must consider the money paid out for education, supplies, time spent, etc. And then would I include my travel, my life experience? If that were the case, this piece of art would be worth thousands of dollars!

But, of course, this is simply a work on paper where I tried to capture a moment and convey a bit of everyday life of a woman halfway around the world from me. It's size is somewhere between a half-sheet and full sheet of watercolor paper. This is reality of how I price my work. A painting this size, whether it includes a trip around the world or a 2-hour crazy inspiration, I price at $750-$800 framed and ready to hang on the wall. It seems like a bargain to me!

Saturday, December 10, 2016

My Own Art Sale and A Sneak Peak at My New Series

Living 42 miles from town, in a rural area, makes it difficult to sell my art from home. I have been envious of all my art buddies who have been involved with studio sales and smaller gallery opportunities. So what I have done to encourage some of my followers and collectors to buy original art this holiday season, is put a 20% discount on all my paintings hanging at Excelsior Restaurant and Inn. It is here in Eugene, Oregon, but I would certainly ship any work that was chosen by someone out of area.

I am posting some of my favorite paintings hanging there on facebook, for any of you who have an account. We'll see if my experiment in marketing as a rural artist brings in any sales!

Yosemite Trickster
Matted and Framed
22 x 18
All About That Vase
Mounted on a cradle
20 x 14
The Collector
Matted and Framed
11 x 15

Sneak Peak at what I'm working on in the studio. For the last couple of months I've been concentrating on my "Night Sky" series. Here are 2 recent pieces I consider finished. More of this series is brewing in my mind!

The World Is My Oyster
29 x 21
Teen Dreams
29 x 21

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

The Snowball Effect: Signs of a Full Life

I used to think of the "snowball effect" as the crazy time post-Thanksgiving through New Years Day. But this year I've been "snowballing" since the first of November and, as I look at my calendar, I don't expect it to end until the end of January. Let me say that this is not a complaint, it is a appreciation of a full life!

November started with two trips to the Oregon Coast. We enjoyed the music of the Newport Symphony and the company of relatives. Then in a quick turnaround we spent a couple of days in Yachats with our Alabama friends, Adrienne and Russell, who became engaged while there.

We raced back to Eugene to attend the opening of the current show at the David Joyce Gallery, where my painting "The Nineteen Percent" is hanging.

We just settled back into our home and studio for a few days before it was time to fly to Gilbert, AZ to have a week in the sun and celebrate Thanksgiving with our younger daughter and her family. We were delighted that my sister, Janice, traveled with us. Here is a photo journal of our trip.

Before Thanksgiving, Marin and I painted a chalkboard on her bedroom wall. Here she is prepared to run the sander.

Auntie J. enjoying the lively kids.
Our hosts, Rachel and Josh.

Hannah now has 2 more missing teeth--she's a Jack-o-lantern!

Noah is a meat guy!

The fancy "turkey" tray Rachel and Janice put together.

We were lucky to meet so many of the Carter's friends--
they hosted 25 family members and friends for Thanksgiving dinner.

And, of course, a little pool time.

I talked the kids into some photo shoots for future night sky paintings.
Art News:

I received the good news that "Will She Be Allowed" will be hanging in the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art, Eugene, OR as part of the WSO Spring 2017 Exhibition.

I also have this award sticker from Artist's Magazine for having a painting selected as a finalist in the animal/wildlife division. The painting I entered was "Herons' Winter Dreams."

And now we've moved into the December Christmas tree hunt which only required 4-wheel drive and chains. I am ever thankful that I found this Yankee on the East Coast and coaxed him to the West.