30 October 2006

Trying to Say No

I know I haven't written in some time. In part, it's because I got a cold. Then there's the part that involves my inability to say 'no'. It's such a simple word, but I just can't do it sometimes.

So, here I was, working on 7 portrait commissions, trying to do a painting a day, listing new auctions daily, and trying to blog every day. That was a full plate. But, I just about had everything under control.

Then I get an email from an alpaca farm about custom knitting. Email is followed by large package and insto-presto I'm in the knitting business. Now, I've knitted for people off and on for a few years and I have taken on small projects for non-knitters here and there. But this is a bit more serious. I do admit -- alpaca is pretty fun to work with.

But wait, there's more. Roughly at the same time, I get an email from another alpaca farm about designing a logo and building a store and website. By 1 Nov. Surprise! Now this isn't quite as bad as it sounds since I had originally done some preliminary designs back in April, so I just had to redo one. The store is just a matter of filling out things and editting. And the website doesn't have to be done by 1 Nov -- just the logo and store.

I have nothing against doing either of these two new things, but the timing is bad. There's a part of me that wishes I could just say 'no', but then I look at the checkbook and say 'yes'. While I'm doing pretty well on eBay right now, I feel like I need to take advantage of these opportunities. I'd like to take over some bill-paying from my art so we can use hubby's pay to pay down the credit cards and house, so he can retire (and make me lemonade).

So, until 1 Nov (thankfully that's only 2 days from now), I'm a knitter and logo designer. Once I get these two things done-ish, I'll go back to a painting a day and working on the portraits.

Oh, like I had promised, here's ACEO in oil which I did last week:

It's a spray of delicate pink phalenopsis flowers on a near white background. This is really a terrible scan, but I played with it for over an hour -- adjusting the brightness and contrast -- and this was the best I could get. It has another 3 weeks to dry before I can sell it, so maybe I'll be able to figure out how to get a better image.

25 October 2006

Bad Timing!

Yesterday, I was feeling good. I sent out a newsletter. I emailed Talk of the Nation (an NPR radio) and had my email read on air.

And then I went to the poll working class. Since that, it's been down hill. The class lasted almost 2.5 hours since I was the only one who had worked the polls before. (My punishment for missing the regular class and having to take a make-up one.) I tried to find double-pointed size 8 knitting needles in town and couldn't. I got home to cat puke in the hall because some cat who shall remain nameless insists on eating parrot pellets. (Cats can't digest parrot pellets, so they....well figure it out!) I tried to knit a scarf for a lady and after 2 hours of piddling with it, I gave up. Actually, someone called and talked on and on for over 1 hour.

So, I didn't do any painting yesterday. I didn't do a blog entry, which was one of the links from the newsletter. And then my cactus print didn't sell on eBay.

But wait -- that's not all!

This morning, I wake up with a sore throat and a slight fever. The sore throat has gone slightly away, but now the fever is worse, I'm achy, and I'm cold even though it's hot in here. To top it off eBay is having a 20-cent listing day, and while I would like to list some more expensive pieces (such as portrait commissions) I better not since I have several waiting for me to finish them now.

Talk about bad timing!!!

So, I basically spent the day being a cat pillow and reading. I'm hoping that if I take it easy for a day or two, I'll avoid getting real sick. I guess this means that the painting a day will be suspended for a few days. (That's going to create some problems down the road, but if I do any art, I have to work on getting these portraits done!)

23 October 2006

Not Bad...For Monday

For a Monday, today wasn't too bad. I got a lot of painting on a couple of portraits done, I did some cleaning, and I finished a painting today. I'm also tired from all this, but I'm very pleased with my progress.

And my Nibblefest entry is doing pretty well. It's up to $20.50, which makes it tied for 4th in terms of money. Admittedly, I won't win the contest because all the bids were from two bidders, whereas some people have 8 or 10 bidders. But I'd rather have the money than the bidders. (It's hard to pay bills with a virtual trophy!)

Tomorrow, however, isn't looking too good. I have to go into town for election clerk training in the afternoon. While that's good since I can mail a print, it's not good since I won't be able to paint in the afternoon. The training lasts about 2 hours, so I won't get home until 3:30 or 4pm. I probably won't get a painting done tomorrow -- not unless I start it tonight. (Hmm, maybe do a quick llama in pastel on handmade paper?)

Speaking of a painting-a-day, I did finish one, but it's not dry. It's an artcard of a spray of pink phalenopsis orchids in oil. I like it. And it was fun trying to do 6 orchid flowers on artcard. Unfortunately, since it is oil, it will be a day or two before I can show it off.

Well, I think it's time to go list something on eBay and then fix a nice supper. Maybe I'll even get a chance to read a bit tonight!

22 October 2006

Nibblefest Art Contest

Well, I finally have my house and life back all to myself. While I love spending time with my husband, having him and his d-o-g around does create a major amount of chaos in my life. For example, he had to take his truck into the shop again. This time for 'gunk' in the cooling system. While it was in the shop, we basically couldn't do much just in case the mechanic calls. (Hubby's idea -- me, I figure a cell phone is good anywhere.) So, for 3 days, we basically sat home doing nothing. Okay, one day we did sneak down to Palm Desert to get my oil changed, get a new phone for me, and buy some groceries. Other than that, we were just waiting for THE call. (This time it was only $600!)

Anyway, he went back on the road yesterday, so I got back to work. And today, I finished up this piece:

This piece is called "Natural Bonsai". It's watercolor with some rice paper collage on the rocks and trunks. The painting was inspired by the trees that grow along the canyons on CA-18, which is the back way upto Big Bear, CA. I rather like the zen like nature of it -- fits well with the bonsai idea. And it was fun to do because it was so different than my normal paintings.

Now, for the good part. I'm entering this in the Nibblefest Art Contest. This is a contest tun by a group of eBay artists. Each month they have a new theme and people can enter one piece each month. It starts on the 20th and ends on the 27th, but I can still enter as long as I do a 5 day listing. The scary part of this is that all listings start at $0.99. Cheap to list, but I'm hoping it doesn't go for that! The winner of the contest is the person who gets the most different bidders. (And if you want to help me win, click here and bid, please.)

Realistically, I know I have very little chance of winning, because most of the people in the group are friends and tend to bid on each others' works. But I'm doing this for 3 reasons:

  1. Having to do different themes -- ones that I never would do on my own -- is good for my artistic muscles.
  2. I'm hoping that the attention their auctions get will lead a few more buyers to my auctions.
  3. And I'm very curious as to what will happen with a $0.99 listing.

With a bit of luck, this piece will go for a decent price and I'll win the contest!

17 October 2006

We Interrupt This Show....

Yep, another interruption to my plans. This one occurred at 6:15am yesterday. Hubby calls and says, "I'll be home tonight." And sure enough, he came home last night. While he doesn't mean to interrupt my painting-a-day, he is a distraction. After all, he does expect food and he does need to go grocery shopping to buy stuff to take in his truck and.... So tomorrow, we go down to Palm Springs to get my new phone, get the oil changed, buy groceries at Trader Joe's, and get the d-o-g the only brand of dog food he'll eat at the pet store. (With a bit of luck, I'll get a milk shake too!)

So, for the next few days, like until Friday, I'll probably not get much done. Although I did get one done today -- one which I had started yesterday. And I do need to get one done by Friday night for a group contest on eBay. (More on this on Friday.)

So without further adieu, here's today's painting:

It's a scrub jay in watercolor on handmade paper. I know I'm doing quite a number of these, but they are quick to do and then sell (not like oils having to dry for a month) and they sell well (the meadowlark went for a nice price last night). Anyway, it came out pretty well. The wrinkles will be removed once I flatten it. And it looks more purple-blue in the photo than in real life. But these two things will be fixed before I auction it.

And now, back to hubby...

15 October 2006

My Day Off???

Some time ago I decided that Sunday should be my day off from most things art. Sure I would check an auction or two, or put one up, but basically that was it. Afterall, I can't do and think art 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, without burning out on art.

So, what did I do all day? I spent it on this computer, looking at art auction sites, posting questions to groups, reading archives, etc. Basically, I spent it all doing the business of art online. Not very relaxing!

And I'm not thrilled about tomorrow. Yesterday, my cell phone decided it wouldn't charge. It works fine, but my battery is low and it tells me the battery is completely charged every time I plug it in to charge. It could be the charger. It could be a software problem. Or it could be some stupid chip in the phone. The only way to figure it out is to take it to the Verizon store in Palm Desert (50 miles away). Since I also need my oil changed, I'll go down early, get the oil changed, get the phone fixed (fingers crossed), and then get back to a meeting with the lady who makes my paper at 1 pm. I just have a feeling that I won't come home from all that and do a painting.

I really should start something tonight -- something that I can finish tomorrow. I've been having pretty good luck with selling on eBay and I really need to create more inventory that I can sell. But quite honestly, I'm tired from looking at this screen, so I'm calling it a night and making myself a nice meal.

13 October 2006

Moving On

On account of it being Friday the 13th, I did as little as possible!

Just kidding. Although it was another day of doing stuff on the computer that resulted in very little to show for except a headache. I would rather spend most of my day doing art or reading or gardening, but I have decided to try to figure out how to get more and larger sales on eBay. This meant a lot of reading in various groups. Then looking at my store and listings to see if the suggestions would work for me.

I still haven't figured it out -- and I'm not at all sure it's possible to figure out -- but I have a plan. I'm going to try to list something on auction everyday. I'll try to keep a botanical watercolor, a wildlife piece, and a still life up at all time. Other than these 3 pieces, the rest of the listings will be whatever I want to list -- some old and some new. Then on Thursdays, I'll be adding to my eBay store until I have about 35 pieces in there. Once I reach that number, I'll remove those pieces which get few visits and add unsold auction items, assuming there are some.

The one piece of the puzzle is what to do with the low-visited items after I remove them from the store. Do I try to sell them on auction? Do I put them on another art sales site? Do I just throw them in a storage box for a year or two? The crazy thing is I have sold several pieces, both at shows and on eBay, which I never thought would sell and got very few looks on auctions. Suddenly the right person comes along and buys them. But I'm not thrilled with paying to have them in my store with the hope that someone will buy them before I've paid more in listing fees than I get for the items.

No wonder I have a headache!

Anyway, I did get some art done today.

This is another art card in oil of a fall still life. I had started out to paint the pumpkin and the Indian corn, but them I added the shelf. Then the leaf. Then the window and the landscape. It kind of all just kept growing in complexity until I got something I liked. And I do like this one. (For what it's worth, the picture looks a bit duller than the original -- the corn is fairly bright.) So, in another month when this is dry enough to varnish, I can put it up on auction.

Note: Since I will only sell varnished pieces and it takes a month for oils (with driers added) to dry, this creates yet another headache for selling on eBay. In the meantime, if someone would like to make me an offer on either card, well, I'll consider it.

And here's the oil art card I did yesterday:

I'm still debating whether I like it or not. I'm so used to having very carefully blended paint that the chunkier painting style looks a bit sloppy to me. On the other hand, it was a lot faster, so....

I really am getting tired of painting these minatures, so maybe tomorrow I'll try a larger oil painting. The reasons I was doing these art cards were (a) there used to be a big market for them, (b) they were something new to me, and (c) if I ruined one, I wasn't out much in terms of materials. Now, however, there's less of a market for them, I'm getting tired of them, and I feel much more confident working in oils, so maybe it's time for me to try something larger? Maybe 6x8"?!

12 October 2006


Groan. This is going to be short as I'm tired.

It seems like all I have done today is play on this computer, even though I did get a small painting done. (More on that later.) I decided that since eBay sends out an email "New from Your Favorite Sellers" on Thursday night/Friday morning, I should put a few new items in my eBay store. And since my two botanical watercolors on auction have been getting a number of views, I put a couple of orchids in the store.

Then I made a few revisions to some of the store items, because I'm trying a more 'personal' touch to my listings. Someone in a groups said that people buy from an artist because of a personal relationship, either actual or preceived. Collectors like to feel like they know something personal about the artist. So I'm slowly changing listings to "my" and "I" rather than "the artist's" or "the artist". I had used the third person because another group said it gave the artist more of a professional look. But lately, a couple of buyers have emailed me and I got the impression that they appreciated the personal touches.

Then I had to list something new on auction today. I listed a small oil of a ladyslipper, similar to the one I did a week or so ago.

I personally I'm not thrilled with it, but hubby likes it as does several other people. So I'm listing it. (Click here to bid on this painting!) Some people say never to sell anything you are not pleased with. Others say sell things even if you're not 100% thrilled with them. Yes, this is another case of two opposing opinions. (Seems art is full of contradicting opinions.)

Oh, yes, I did do a painting today. It's an art card of a purple iris. But it's done in oils and isn't dry, so I can't scan it. I tried using my camera phone to take a photo of it, but that didn't work. The purple came out blue, no matter what I did. So, you'll have to wait a day or two to see it.

11 October 2006


Sometimes I run into a portrait that drives me nuts. Jackie was one those. Beautiful cat, but an interesting color. Version 1, I screwed up the color. Version 2, I didn't like the pose and while correcting it, I really messed up the paper. Version 3, had a tail and I only then realised that the 4 photos of the cat showed no tail. Yep, it's a Manx. So I tried a different layout -- only the head. Version 4a was too large. Version 4b was too small. Finally, version 4c was just right! Two days of work, but I did finally get it to my liking. (And the client loves the scan, so it's worth it.)

Now that this portrait is done, that leaves only 6 more to do. (Ended up with another one today.) I really wish I didn't have all these portraits to do, so I could focus on getting things done for eBay. But I've committed to doing the portraits, so I will do them. Besides, I'm looking forward to doing several of them in oils.

Back to eBay. For the past several days, I've had a lot of people looking at the 2 botanical watercolor paintings I have up on auction. I would like to have several other botanicals in my store, but I either have to unframe a few or I have to do new ones. As I hate unframing pieces, that leaves doing new pieces. I actually have an iris drawn out, so it's only a matter of painting it. I wonder if I can do it in one day? I think I'll find out tomorrow!

09 October 2006

I'm Confused

There's one thing about eBay that drives me nuts -- just when I think I have things figured out, something happens to confound my theories.

Lately, views to my auctions have been slow. Very slow. For example, my pink passionflower art card only had 22 views and no bids. Last April, a similar card got 85 views and 3 bids. All the eBay experts say October should be better than April, so go figure! So, I'm thinking it's the election, the mess in Iraq, the nice weather, falling house prices, and/or the new TV season. And then I accept the fact that things will be slow for a while and I probably won't sell much -- probably not until mid-December. I also was toying with the idea of removing all the relief prints from my store because they were getting few looks.

Then I turn on my computer and out goes all my thinking. Someone not only bid on the print I have on auction, but also purchased another one out of my store. And then another someone bid on a botanical watercolor which I didn't think had a chance to sell at all. (It's very well done, but it's not showy and is of a rather strange plant.)

So, now I'm totally confused as to what is happening on eBay.

But there's nothing like a few bids to encourage me to get to work. Here's today's painting:

It's another watercolor on handmade paper. This one is of a Gambel's quail, which is the quail species we have around here. They are just hilarious to watch because they follow each other, so if one jumps down here, the next one must jump down here. The floppy top knot doesn't hurt their comic appeal.

I'm rather enjoying doing these watercolor birds. Admittedly, part of the enjoyment is that I figure someone will buy them. But more than that, they are an interesting challenge for me. I've done so many watercolor botanicals that I know pretty much exactly how to do each flower. Doing feathers is a whole 'other problem!

Besides this quail, I also planned out two portraits to work on. One I need a bit more info from the client and the other I just need to transfer the layout to the final paper. So, tomorrow, I'm hoping to do one of the portraits and maybe start on a botanical watercolor (an iris).

Then again, I may turn on my computer and find another surprise from eBay which will confuse my plans again!

Doggie Be Gone

Okay, so this weekend I fell off the "painting a day" wagon. (I didn't fall off the blogging wagon, but just before I had finished an outstandingly wonderful blog entry last night, the lights flicker and off my computer went. I was too annoyed to rewrite it, so you get a summary this morning.)

And I'm blaming it on the neighbor's dog that I found. I tried to do the good neighbor thing and take care of the dog until they returned home. But they didn't come home on Friday, or Saturday, or Sunday. So, I called animal control. While they usually don't pick up strays on weekends, they do if it's an emergency -- and I must have sounded like I was at the end of my rope! (It whined/barked all night, snapped at my cats, had to be taken out every 3 hours, and whined if I wasn't in view. Oh, it also smelled like a dog!)

Now that I'm free of a dog, it's back to work. I have no idea what I'll be doing today, although a pet portrait commission comes to mind, but I will be back working. And that sounds great!!!

06 October 2006

A Good Deed (Pending)

As the saying goes, no good deed goes unpunished.

Today, I found one of my neighbor's small dogs (he has about 7!) wandering lost on my property. So I picked the dog up and walked over there to return it. Well, the other 6 small dogs and the 3 large and vicious German shepherd crosses didn't want me getting anywhere near the fence. So, I put the small dog down and he walked towards the fence, but when this pack started to snap at him thru the fence, he came back to me and begged for me to pick him up. I stood over there for about 10 minutes hoping someone would come out of the house, since I really didn't like the idea of just throwing the little dog over the fence. No one came out so I came home. I would've left a note in the fence but I like my fingers!

So, I now have a whining dog that is driving me and my cats up the wall. I also have to figure out what to feed it and where to put it over night. Oh, yes, I suppose I have to take it out on occassion.

And just when are they returning so I can get rid of this doggie??? Let's hope they show up tonight or tomorrow, because I don't want to rearrange my life for their dog! It gets annoying to do the right thing and then have to suffer for it.

So, it was a bit surprising that I got anything done. And while today's piece is not a painting, let's just not get too literally on the "painting a day" idea.

This is a woodblock of a cone. (Actually, it's a cone from a Pseudotsuga menziesii, or a Douglas fir. I have a thing for the scientific name, because it's so fun to say.) The block itself is about 3x4" and is of soft maple. I had started this woodblock print a while ago, so today, with the dog whining, I figured it was time to finish it. Afterall, the design had been drawn out and the carving started, so all I had to do was cut away waste areas and not stab myself with the gouges. And I did both!

Anyway, the image on the left is the actual woodblock. The wood colored areas are the areas I gouged out (and will print white) and the black areas are at the original surface level of the block and will print black when inked. The image on the right is a computer generated version of the print -- boy does that sound fancy! Basically, I flipped the image as in a mirror and changed the tan wood color to white. If I wasn't so tired tonight, I would go ahead and print the edition, which will be about 10-12 prints.

One of these days I may try some woodblock prints of non-botanical subjects, since the botanical ones only appeal to a few people. In the meantime, I'm happy with my cone. I like doing prints on a limited basis and there are quite a number of potential techniques to try. My big hold-up is that what do I do with all the prints? I do sell a few prints here and there, but they aren't big sellers and even with very small editons (10-25 prints each) they take up a lot of space. Then again, maybe if I did non-plant prints or tried color again, maybe they would sell better. Another something to think about!

05 October 2006

Sammy's Fine, I'm Not

As I thought, yesterday was stressful but somewhat productive. The stress came from having to take Sammy, my tuxedo cat, to the vet to have two warts removed. He absolutely hates riding in a car, so he whined all the way up to Big Bear City. Basically, everything went well -- the one tiny wart on his eyelid was removed and the remains of the big one were also removed and that 'hole' was sewn up. He's on anitbiotics for a week -- not my favorite thing -- and then in 2 weeks the stitches come out.

The whole vet thing would have been better except for the vet tech. See, the clinic has 2 vet techs -- the old one and the new one. I like the old one -- very sensible, willing to explain things, and willing to bend the rules. The new one, --- well, we just don't get along. The problems began when she wouldn't let me pick him up at 3-3:30 like the old vet tech told me. That way I could get down the hill (with it's 16% grade and switchbacks) before dark.) Nope, the new one made me wait until 4:30. Then when I get there, she hands me this box and says to follow the directions. I ask what is it. (Seemed logical to me.) She snaps back that's it's antibiotics. Okay. Then I look at the bill and ask to make sure if the remains of the large wart were indeed removed and not just sewn up. She says it was debrided. That doesn't answer the question, but she refused to say anything more. So, I called up today to ask the old vet tech what had been done, since she had been assisting the vet. The new vet tech wanted me to tell her what my question was and then proceded to tell me that the area had been cleaned thoroughly so the wart was surely removed. (Cleaning is not removal!) She was suppose to have the old vet tech call me back, but, gee, surprise, I guess my message never got to her. I still want to know what they did for sure and what the note on his teeth means. The only problem is that I will have to go through her to get either to the vet or the old vet tech, so this is going to be a pain!

As for me, I spent the day taking photos at the zoo up there and then hiking. And it was the latter that nearly killed me. Okay, 6 miles and 2000ft in elevation was hard on this short, fat, old lady! By the time I got down from the peak and then drove all the way home, I was so tired and achy I just collapsed. Today, I'm still sore, but I think I will live.

I did get back to work and here's my "painting" for today:

This is a pastel sketch of Tucker. It was commissioned by a friend of his owner after he passed on. It was done in soft pastel, over ink, with touches of watercolor, on hand-made paper. I had some trouble getting the details on him, since it's only 8.5x11". With the hand-made paper and the entire dog, it was tricky to get the fine points of his muzzle. This is way I used touches of watercolor to blend the pastel and add a bit of color. Overall, I'm pleased with it.

And now I'm looking forward to tomorrow and working on something fun. I don't know what that will be, but I'm thinking maybe another oil? or maybe oil pastel? Tune in tomorrow to find out!

03 October 2006

3 for 3, But...

Well, so far I'm 3 for 3. That is, 3 paintings in 3 days into my "painting a day" plan. That's not bad, since I spent most of the morning doing something. Other than checking my auctions (and hoping people would visit them), I really can't recall what else I did.

It wasn't until this afternoon that I got around to painting this art card:

It's a Downy woodpecker in watercolor. I had wanted to do this little fellow in oils, but since I wanted to list something tonight, oils were out. And pastels would have been impossible at this scale with the details I wanted. I can always do a similar version on a larger scale sometime. Anyway, painting around the white wing bars was fun! (Right now it's being flattened under those big art history books, but in the meantime, you can bid on it by clicking here.)

And yes, I put a lot of detail into it. I shouldn't as this was part of what I was trying to avoid with the a painting a day idea. The problem is I'm nervous and worried about Sammy's trip to the vet tomorrow. And doing very detailed paintings or drawings is a good way to distract myself.

And speaking of tomorrow, I'll be taking Sammy up to the vet in Big Bear City, so I'll be leaving here at about 8:30am. I'll spend the dy up there taking photos, or hiking, or visiting the zoo, and then pick him up at about 3-4pm. I seriously doubt that I will feel like painting when I get home, so I'll miss tomorrow's painting. I am toying with the idea of taking some paints with me and doing some plein air painting. I don't know -- I rather dislike painting in public. Getting a couple rolls of useable photos may be just as important.

02 October 2006

Distracted by Sammy

Today hasn't been the best of days.

First of all, my auctions are going nowhere. No visits, no bids. So I went to one of the eBay groups and asked for suggestions. One powerseller said my titles needed to be redone. Instead of "Wild Roses -- Original Floral linocut Relief Print LMH", she said I needed to have terms people search for. So the new title is something like "Rose Floral Contemporary Garden Wall Decor Art LMH". Not nearly as poetic, but it probably is better. After changing this one, I changed the other 3 auction titles.

Then because things were getting late, I just removed the morel print from my store, wrote a new title for it, and sent it to auction. I can feel it now -- with the new titling, hundreds of people are now flocking to my auctions! Ah, right, and I'll soon get a call saying I won the Noble Peace Prize!

I also spent most this morning getting photos printed out. Since my printer only works occassionally, I send my photos to Winkflash.com and have them print them out. It takes a few days and costs $0.19 per print, but it's easier than trying to keep my printer printing nicely. (The dry air dries the ink in the inkjets, so if I don't print daily, I have to spend an hour or more cleaning the heads.) Today was not a good day for uploading files. Prodigy, my ISP, kept dumping me on large files, so I had to rescale a few photos.

The big concern/distraction today is my tuxedo cat Sammy. He had a large mole on the side of his face, which he removed on one of my kitchen chairs last week. So, he has an appointment with the vet on Wednesday to have it surgically removed. Over the weekend, he removed most of the rest and now it's infected. I tried to clean it out with hydrogen peroxide, but it's hard as it's right next to his mouth. I called the vet and the vet tech said not to worry since my appointment is for Wednesday. But I'm going to worry anyway!!!

So with this as the background, here's today's painting:

It's a pink ladyslipper orchid on masonite. The picture is so bad because I had to use my cell phone to take the photo. Since the oils won't try for a few days, I can't very well lay it face down on my scanner! It actually looks better in life. But I'm not terribly pleased with the layout. Part of the problem is the shape of the panel -- 4x6". It's too long to really highlight the flower. It also would have helped, probably, if I had put more flowers in the background, but I had wanted to highlight the flower so I figured less was better. Not so in this case.

Well, I knew when I started this painting-a-day thing that not every piece would be a masterpiece. The point is to learn to paint faster. Still, it's hard not to feel a bit disappointed in the results. (Yes, I have the idea that every piece will be a masterpiece!) Tomorrow, I will take a little more time planning out the painting.

01 October 2006

The First Day's Painting

This meadowlark was the first in my "a painting a day" plan. It's watercolor on handmade paper. And it came out quite nicely I think.

In keeping with my idea to leave out all unnecessary details, the feathers on the back have more suggested detail than actual detail. See, I have a tendency to paint in each and ever feather shaft and marking. Then I would paint over them to create the shading. Instead, I started with the shading and then added enough details to make them look realistic. I will confess that I was more than a bit nervous, but it came out fine.

Right now it's being pressed flat. This handmade paper buckles when wet, so I have to carefully wet the entire sheet and then dry it under weights. (Large art history books do come in handy for some things!) It'll be dry and flat tomorrow, so I might just list it.

Or I might not. I need to figure out what I'm going to list on eBay. I had the idea of concentrating on still lifes, but the anemones I put up have 3 views after 4 days. I don't know whether it's the subject, the painting quality, or the lack of eBay surfers at this time. (September is suppose to be good, but who knows with eBay?!) Anyway, I don't know whether it's worth listing anything but art cards, which still seem to be selling for me. I'll have to ponder this tonight.

In the meantime, I'm off to give my self a gold star for doing a painting today! (I wonder what I win with my gold stars?!)

Painting a Day

Since this is 1 Oct and a Sunday (can't begin any new plan on, say, a Wednesday!), I'm going to try something new. Namely, I'll be trying to complete a painting a day for at least 2 weeks, if not longer.

The reasons for this are three-fold:
  1. To quit obsessing about details. I know I'm somewhat known for my detailed drawings, but when it comes to painting, I often get too caught up in the details. I will make corrections upon corrections for a lot longer than I really need to. In fact, I sometimes ruin a painting by making too many corrections. So, if I only have one day to do a painting, I can't spend days piddling with it. My style of oil painting will get more free, I hope.
  2. To get more work for eBay and shows. Right now, I only have a few botanical watercolors to sell. Fewer still lifes. And almost no animal art. Well, I would like to list something almost every day on eBay, but to do that I need stuff to list.
  3. To get my hourly wage in line with my prices. If I spend 4 days on an 4x6" oil painting, I can hardly list and sell it on eBay for $200. Not even a gallery could get that much for it! But if I can get that 4x6" painting down to 4-5 hours and then list it at $40-50, I'd have a shot at selling it. And at $10/hr, I have a chance to be self-supporting.

So there are my reasons for trying this. There also so should be the bonus that my looser painting style will more quickly develop.

Now, this doesn't mean that I won't do the very detailed drawings or portraits. They will be something I do from time to time, because I want to do them. My portraits will still be very detailed and I will be working on finishing the commissions I have as soon as I can. (Not all my day paintings will take 8-10 hours, so I will have time to do the portraits and get caught up.)

My biggest concern is coming up with ideas. Right now, I can think of a few paintings that I want to do, but I have this fear that after a week, I'll run out of ideas. The rational part of my brain says this is stupid as I do so many things that I will never not come up with ideas. But who said artists are totally rational?!

A related concern is the amount of energy it takes me to commit to a new piece. This works like this. I come up with several ideas and mull them over. Finally I pick an idea and really think about it. After sometime, I then commit to the idea and start working on it. While working on it, I become emotionally attached to my "baby". And when I'm done, especially if it's successful, there's kind of an "ahhh" feeling and a bit of fear that the next painting won't be as good. I'm hoping that painting a new piece each day will short-circuit some of this emotional business and I can get into each painting quicker and leave it quicker to move on.

I will try to post each new piece as I get done with, but since I'll be using oils and I don't want oil paint on my scanner, it may take a day or two before I get oil paintings up.

So, off I go to paint today's painting!