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Archive for October, 2008

The Other Horses of IERAL

Or more appropriately: Some of the other horses of IERAL.

I thought I’d show you a few of the other horses at IERAL (Iowa Equine Rescue and Awareness League) that I had the option to paint for the fund raiser which is to be held this Saturday, October 25th. You can visit IERAL website for more details. or to see who is available for adoption, or make a donation at any time.

Thoroughbreds have such great faces and contours. Also I was liking the idea of a grouping. They were a little bony, though it was not so obvious to see in this photo. I really liked these guys. They were a very close second choice. If Colton hadn’t won me over with his sweetness, it probably would have been them on the print.

This is Bo. He is Colton’s father. You can see the family resemblance. Bo is another really pretty horse.

I have a soft spot for arabs. They were the first breed I fell in love with. Of course the Black Stallion helped that along quite a bit. For most of my childhood Arabians were my dream horse. How I went from petite and lovely, to Roman nosed and rotund, I’ve no idea.

How cute is he. This was Colton’s pasture mate when I was out taking picture. He was kinda stand offish but he and Colton got on well enough.

IERAL had several other horses up for adoption as well. But these (and of course Colton) were the horses I photographed the most.

Tomorrows post: When Good Dogs, Go Bad (It’s not what you think.)

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Fall Is Here (with a vengeance)

I haven’t posted in a few days, mostly because nothing too interesting has gone on. I’ve made “a little” progress on my giraffe, but my usual influx of customers and allotment of gallery jobs is keeping me busy. Since today is Sunday I was hoping to finish the painting today.

On the other hand, I had my art group over yesterday and so I am a day behind on framing and getting my orders out. I think I may just work this afternoon like any other day, (except with fewer hours and a whole lot more PS2 playing.)

It was great getting together with my art group again. We are all women with rather complicated lives, so this was only our second meeting this year. I brought my camera to take a photo and forgot to actually take the picture. (Picture me whacking head on wall. Heavy sigh) Perhaps next time.

Of course I did remember to photograph the horses in fog this morning. (typical mona behavior) Top photo is Chicory and the one below is my neighbors. Now isn’t this a photo just begging to be painted or what? You know, I think I just might.

The seasons, they are a changin’
This is my favorite time of year. I like bundling up in warm clothes and walking in the crisp air, enjoying the changing colors. I particularly love the wonderful aroma of burning leaves, (though not so much the raking of them.)

The past few mornings have been very foggy. I’ve had to scrape off a thick layer of frost (if I didn’t know better, I would have said it was ice) from my windshield. I’m pretty sure this is nature’s not so subtle hint, that winter is just around the corner.

So to celebrate the glory that is Fall, we are cooking our first turkey of the year. To be accompanied by homegrown potatos, corn, beans and tomato cucumber salad. I know the turkey is just about done when all the barn cats are sitting outside on the window sills of the house, looking in.

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A New Giraffe

I decided I needed a quickie, (in terms of artwork that is.) So I pulled out the photos from my recent Blank Park Zoo trip and selected a fun angle. I’ve done four giraffe paintings and am feelin’ the need to have another in the gallery, as the others have long since gone to their new homes. The upper left photo is about 1 hour of playing around. This again is another one done on the handmade paper, so it is 10 1/2″ x 13.”

Here, I have about 2 hours in. I changed the mouth. I had planned on having it open and chewing on acacia, but then opted for a more dignified look. Thus without the branches coming in on the right, my giraffe is now a little off center (kinda like the artist I suppose.)

I may well just change my mind again in the morning and have her blissfully chewing away by the time I finish her up, which hopefully will be tomorrow.

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A Question About Art Prints

To avoid any confusion, I am actually the one with the question. As you may remember Mike and I create my own prints in paper and canvas. We also do this service for other artists. We have been asked by a very large art group to give a talk on the subject.

Now, we often give tours and talks to large groups about every aspect of our business, so you wouldn’t think this would be such a stretch. But because the group isn’t coming to the gallery, we have no props, and can’t demonstrate how the printers work, or utilize any of my usual repertoire of amusements. Not to mention the fact that I am anti-social, hermit recluse type, and Mike . . . well Mike makes me look like a socialite. So we are like “Crap what are we going to talk about?”

So here’s where you come in. Does anyone have any questions about getting fine art prints done? Any question at all.

See the way I figure it, with your help we could hopefully put together some sort of outline about what artists are looking for and what their concerns might be. Any help will be greatly appreciated.

Oh and of course posts on the subject are sure to follow. This is the only other post I’ve done on having prints made.

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So, as discussed in Part 1, the big benefit of doing art fairs is that you get out there and get seen by the people who love art and those who have an art related business. All of the opportunities listed below, happened over the course of several years and from being in several locations.

  • CASH No need to elaborate on this one.
  • Exhibitions On average I get offered 1 or 2 opportunities to have a solo show with galleries or art centers a year. This is nice because there is none of that waiting by the mailbox for the return of my portfolio, while wondering whether they’ll like me. At the art fairs most times they just introduce themselves, hand me a business card and say “We’d like to extend an invitation for you to exhibit with us.” Very Cool!

    “In my opinion galleries should be judging the work before them. . . Alas, those kind of Utopian ideals rarely exist.”

    I have done some solo shows several years back. But I haven’t taken anyone up on this offer recently. You all know that I am all about keeping the bills paid. I am fortunate in that my originals sell fairly quickly. And I would rather sell now, over setting aside artwork for an exhibit in hopes of selling it later.

  • Awards Currently, I have no real use for awards (other than it is always nice to have your work recognized,) as I am not actively looking for exhibitions. However, galleries like to see awards on your resume’ because then they don’t have to figure out if your any good on their own. (I know that sounds a little harsh but I can’t really see any other purpose for including awards and honors on resume’ when submitting for a show. In my opinion they should be judging the work before them. No other criteria should enter in. Alas, those kind of Utopian ideals rarely exist.)
  • Apples ‘N Oats The opportunity to write for this equestrian magazine came because the editor (the oft mentioned Carol Eilers) seen a write up on me (with image of painting) in one of the local newspapers, a few years back. The article was written to promote the the Iowa City Art Festival. I never did see the article but the weekend of the event I had dozens of people mention it to me. Anyway, Carol seen the article, went to my website, read my artist journal entries and apparently thought my quirky (and often grammatically incorrect) writing style was something her magazine could use. So she extended an invitation to write for her.
  • Patrons, Collectors and Mailing Lists My definition of a patron is anyone who buys original works. A collector is someone who buys prints but has yet to invest in an original. My mailing list is comprised of both types of buyers. It is primarily through art fairs that I have met these people.

    “…art fairs…allows me to work on earning an income, while getting opportunities presented to me, that I in no way have to after.”

    My previous post on mailing lists details the hows, whys and organization of my list. Nearly every name on my list has been a direct result of attending an art fair or meeting them at an event that I was invited to, because of an art fair. These people have seen my work, like it and requested to be added to my mailing list. Had I not been doing art fairs all these many years, I certainly wouldn’t have the large, well-defined list that I do.

  • New markets. I have been invited to horse events, zoo conferences and all sorts of expos because someone has seen me at some art fair somewhere. Many of these events I would never have known about or had access to without the benefit of an invitation. The most recent example of getting into a new market area is The licensing agreement.
  • Wholesale Accounts. In a like manner, many business’s and gift shops offer to carry my art when they see me at an event. Nearly every wholesaling contact that I have, has come where a business owner has approached me to sell my work. Once again it is participating in art fairs, that brings the customer to me.
  • Now I want to be clear that art fairs are not the only way to bring these things into your business. In fact, there may well be easier methods. What I like about doing art fairs is that it allows me to work on earning an income, while getting opportunities presented to me, that I in no way have to go after.

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    Okay, so after an entire summer of me talking about being rained out, stormed on and losing big $$$ at Omaha Summer Arts Festival, as well as saying repeatedly that the older I get the less I like all the hauling and toting, some of you may be thinking how can I say “all good things come from art fairs.” Well because in regards to my business, it’s true.

    I want to be clear that I am not promoting doing art fairs as the best way to grow your art business, (though it is certainly a viable one.) In fact, in my recent post “In this Economy” I described why making a living doing the circuit is getting harder all the time.

    “art fairs for me was a way to make some money without really having to know what I was doing.”

    On the other hand, when I started out I knew nothing of promoting my art. I had worked in the art business at a museum and gallery. But running a major frame shop is completely different than becoming a successful artist. In fact my lack of knowledge is exactly why I chose the art fair path. My degree is in Veterinary Technology, and I have no training in the arts. Back then I had no solo gallery exhibits to my credit, no awards, no portfolio of quality work and no idea of how to talk with galleries.

    Art fairs for me was a way to make some money without really having to know what I was doing. I mean if someone liked my work, they bought it. It can’t get much easier than that right? Of course the truth is you still need knowledge on how to sell your work, especially in these times of uncertainty. But doing art fairs allowed me to gain the knowledge I needed through experience.

    ” . . . doing art fairs allowed me to gain the knowledge I needed through experience.”

    I started out in small events, made some sales, gained some confidence and moved to bigger events. That is still my path. I continue to keep challenging myself with bigger venues. The truth is, in large part it was participating in art fairs that gave me the confidence to deal with galleries and clients. Art fairs provided me with the opportunity to earn an income while in my spare time I learned the art business and more importantly continued to create better art.

    So here is a brief overview of the ways in which my business has progressed because of my participation in art fairs over the years. I will go into more detail on these in tomorrows post.

  • Exhibition Opportunities
  • Awards
  • Columnist for Apples ‘N Oats magazine
  • Patrons, Collectors and Mailing Lists
  • New Markets and Wholesale Accounts
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    Colton
    16 1/2″ x 22″
    Watercolor Pencil Painting on Arches 140# Hot Press

    So here he is all finished. I waited to post him until I sent an image to Karla Siebert of IERAL. He is a little more portrait-y than I would have liked. But it is a pretty enough painting that it will hopefully make them some money. I chose to do a background very similar to Catch’s portrait because of the time constraints. (Meaning I had no time to start again if I buggered it up.)

    Progression of the painting,


    The early stages with only the nose completed.


    Head and neck are complete and shoulder is started.


    Body is completed.


    The mane is added.


    The early stages of the background. Many changes yet to come before the painting is declared finished.


    Finished image (same as the top most pic.) He is slightly tilted in this photo because I didn’t get it quite square in the camera lens. However, he is also leaning forward in the painting as that is how he stood much of the time while I was there. I imagine since he is blind, he does this when he’s curious about something.

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