Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Kalanchoe painting - much progress...

Okay, we are still not finished yet, but the end is in sight now. If you look at the progression of this piece you can see that it isn't really much until the blooms have been added. Now it is a warmed up and inviting scene.

My job now is to get the finer details (not hyper realism, just crisper bits to focus on) and to mesh the plants, pots and backdrop all together.

I have been holding off on the flowers till I tinkered enough with the setting that it has been driving me crazy with waiting. I knew things would look so dramatically different once they went in - I'm glad the time has come.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Red Haired Night Mermaid and Details

Here is an idea of how detailed an ACEO can get. Remember, the original is only 2.5" x 3.5".

I like keeping it a painting 100% through so I had to figure out how to get super fine lines without using pens. It took over 100 ACEO to really get the hang of it. Even then, I can only do so much a day before I need to take out my contacts and give my eyes a break.

I hope she does well at auction, I really had a great time playing with the colour gradations in her hair and the background. She's pretty saucy too. LOL.

You can find her here:

Kalanchoe on Windowsill - Basic Layers

These canvases are WET. My client loves a deep textured look and so in order to build the image I like to play with colours settling into the grooves and just really experiment with switching the base colour (that your eye is reading) with the wash and the grooves (that totally doesn't make sense, LOL)

Anyways, after placing all my items and working out really basic colour layout with shadows I am now starting to refine the imagery. This is when I find I get glued to the painting and keep puttering - the first few layers always get soaked so much I need to do bits here and there and occupy myself with other work in the meantime.

I'm getting quite pleased with my curtains. Today I waited till the sun was directly hitting them and painted them from real life. Always such a fun challenge.

More updates to come.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Night Mermaid

Okay, so I'm experimenting with a few subtle changes here.

This painting is all about things travelling visually north and south. The bluey purpley background is all vertical lines. The posing of her body is straight up and down.

One change is the flower garland. Instead of being the weightless free flowing decoration as it has been in other pieces, this time I decided to make it weighty and hanging straight down. Her hair, instead of dominating the composition by leading the eye in every direction is subtle and pinned up with a tiny pearl.

Overall I'm very pleased with this piece, I hope it does well at auction. You can find her here:

Friday, January 26, 2007

Sneak Preview....

I have been working on a little something on the inbetween times of this Kalanchoe painting (which I do need to post an update on)

This particular item will be going up on ebay at around 9 pm EST this fine Friday evening.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Kalanchoe on Windowsill - Rough Sketch

I have a triptych commission from a dear customer of mine. The original idea was a long painting of terracotta pots housing geraniums. I couldn't find geraniums and ended up with a flower called Kalanchoe. It has the same deep pinky red colouring, but with separate lush little flowers in bunches.

Instead of terracotta, it has evolved into light creamy pottery in a variety of shapes and will be lit by the sun from behind. I can hardly wait to get in there and detail all the shadows.

All of this will be done with a thick lined texture, an extremely fun technique to do lots of thin washes over so that the colour settles into the grooves and gives almost a two toned effect.

I'll keep you all updated. When the canvas dries I will be working on some ACEO to keep up on auction. I find I like to switch from larger canvas to super tiny trading card to keep things hopping. I think it should be a very productive week.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Brunette Mermaid with Wavy Hair

I love the little flecks of yellow on the end of her fin. I've really been trying to have a very rounded and linear kind of composition with these lately. Although the lines are fine, I like how commanding they have been getting.

Thank you, Ivan, for reminding me to post the link:

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Valentine's Day Goth Girl

This sultry lass is all about the stripe. I really enjoyed doing the super shiny highlights on this piece. I think her laces came out very well. This kind of detail is always quite fun for me to work on.

You can find her on auction here:

Friday, January 12, 2007

Shhhhhhh! Redhead Mermaid with Secret

I enjoyed taking the rusty orange colour of this mermaid's hair and carrying it throughout the picture with varying degrees of orange, red, brown or pink. I really limited the palette on this one and I think the outcome is pretty sharp.

I decided to keep the background a clear bright blue to make the orange that more orangey.

You can find her on auction here:

Thursday, January 11, 2007

More New Stuff on Etsy - Handmade Cards

The cherry design and the flannel diaper are two of my most popular styles, I have a few more but haven't put them up on etsy yet.

The above styles can be found in my store:

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Balancing Business with Creativity

This is a timely topic I've been discussing with some blogging artist friends. With the new year, I have sat down and evaluated my costs and my prices. I knew the inevitable would have to happen. I need to raise some of my prices for 2007.

Before everyone jumps ship here, I'll explain some of the reasoning behind this move.

In the world of painting there are a number of hidden costs that the patron may not realize. Lets use a painting that is 18" x 24" in size to see what some of these things are (mind you these prices are specific to my country and what is available to me currently, an artist friend you know might have access to wholesale boxes that I might not):

18" x 24" Canvas $150.00 (example sale price on ebay)

Standard size canvas $12.16
Paint $5.oo (approximately, more if textured)
PayPal fees $7.10
Box $2.50
Ebay Listing fee $4.57
Ebay Final Value Fee $5.18
($24.35 total cost here)
Total profit $125.65

Okay, that doesn't sound too bad... until you realize two key things here.

1. A painting this size can take around 10 hours to paint. Add in the time to scan/photograph, write up listings, answer emails, package and make trips to the post office... lets say another 2 hours.

125.65 / 12 hours

The artist is averaging a paycheck of around $10.00 an hour.

2. The buyer will most likely see a gain in the piece (as long as it is done with quality materials and is a well executed piece of art.)

Longterm, who knows how much it will be worth? One thing I do know, cheap Ikea prints or "mall art" will most likely lose value or hold steady over time. A good painting is a solid investment provided it is cared for.

Also, A painting can last centuries - $150.00 is three dinners for two at a decent restaurant. Maybe time spent in total.... 6 hours?

So, while I am aware that my customers may not be pleased about this, I hope they understand that a great deal of thought has gone into this. Too much thought, I've been worrying about reaction for some time now, but I have to do it.

If you bought a piece from me in the last while and then see a similar size going for a higher amount, I'm so happy that you got a great deal on that past work. I do not regret any sale, at any price - all of this has allowed me to learn, to continue painting and build my portfolio.

Monday, January 08, 2007

New on Etsy - Hand Drawn Gift Tags

A little while ago I was doing my usual rounds of reading all my favorite blogs. A particular entry sparked my memory....

I realized that I had a PILE of tags sealed in little plastic bags mixed in with my cards. They were being sold in a flower shop eons ago and I had leftovers.

I decided that now is the time to bring them out and share them with the world. Once they are gone, they are most likely gone since they are very time intensive. (each one was hand drawn in ink and coloured with prismacolour by yours truly)

They are on sale here:

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Mermaid Twins

Carrying on with a theme again. I found it quite challenging to paint twins last week, I figured I would practice this skill, mermaid style. This ACEO was more complicated for a few reasons.

1. Twice as many faces, flowers and swirling locks of hair.

2. I usually do not do very much of the actual tail, I prefer to focus on the fin as the accent that says "mermaid". To complete the composition, I had to break that rule and do a little more on the sister in the front.

3. I had to paint even tinier than usual. Since we are fitting two mermaids in the frame and more of each one... something has to give. This took a while longer to figure out.

They are on auction here:

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Blonde Mermaid with Orange Flowers

Here we have another mermaid. I've really enjoyed working in the smaller ACEO format after all that canvas over the holidays. Its a totally different direction for me and I am forced to think of different approaches to solve visual issues this way.

I tend to do more imaginative stuff in ACEO format rather than traditional art since I can really play with a concept and then move on. Right now I've been playing with shading and those swirling flowers. I kind of like taking an idea and redoing it in a variety of ways.

She is on auction right here:

Monday, January 01, 2007

Despair and Deception, Love's Ugly Little Twins

This was inspired by Nick Cave's "Let Love In"...

I tried my best to make thier dresses look like something you would wear to First Communion or a wedding. Don't ask me why, I just had to do it.

It is on auction here: