Archive for December, 2008

Goals For 2009

‘Til The Cows Come Home
Work in Progress
Oil Pastel on Arches 140# Hot Press

So now comes the hard part, setting goals for the new year. The important thing to remember about setting goals is to make some easy to attain and others that force you to stretch a little.

There has been so much talk about the economy and recession, it is now perhaps more important than ever to assess my art business. And for me the best way to do this is through goal setting. For some reason just taking the time to be decisive on this goes a long way in bringing them into reality. I’ve also heard that telling others increases this effect. So here they are for all the world to see.

  • Growth Increase gross sales by at least 10%
  • Write an article for every Apples ‘N Oats issue. (for the past 2 years I’ve been getting 3 out of 4.)
  • Also again this year, try to do at least 2 new events be it horse or art.
  • Update my mailing list. Technically easy but a major job (not to mention a real pain.)
  • Stretch my comfort zone. Teach a class, Give talk at an art group, Take on more commission work. All things I get asked for multiple times a year.)
  • Create 20 new paintings. This is a biggy, because most years I do half that number. But with the little handmade paper paintings it is now a do-able number. (with effort)
  • Do more Bloggy stuff. Continue to post 4 time a week. (much more than that could burn me out a little) Learn more about Twittering and Squidoo lens.
  • Business Expansion. Look into getting (though not necessarily get) some new framing equipment. 2006 I bought the new business van, 2007 I bought my gallery building, 2008 I rested (if you could call it that.) For 2009 perhaps an Under Pinner (costs about the same as a cheap used car) or computerized matcutter. (Costs about the same as a new, rather nice car.)
  • Remember to take “me” time. “Me” time can be hard to quantify, since coming into the gallery and painting all day (with the doors locked) is both work and doing something for myself. But taking more days off to spend with friends or Mike doing fun stuff are needed. (and of course at odds with much of the rest of the list.) I think I’ll aim for 1 “fun” day a month. “Fun” meaning doing something that good for the soul besides painting or starring glassy eyed at the TV.

So there it is. It looks daunting from this side of things.

Anybody else out there setting goals? Feel free to mention them in the comments or post a link to your blog or site regarding this topic.

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2008:The Year in Review

So this being almost the last day of 2008, it is time to set my goals for the new year. Todays post is last years goals reviewed. Next post is my 2009 goals.

I tend to be a short sighted individual when it comes to running my business, so goal setting is extra important. I know where I want to go but I don’t have all the details worked out as how to get there. A good analogy for this is a car driving at night. You know the destination and you set out only seeing a short distance ahead. But you can make the whole journey by continuing to move forward in this way. Frankly, I get overwhelmed when I have too many things to do at once. And since my art business is multi-facted, new ideas and new directions to explore can add up pretty fast.

First I’ll look back at my 2008 goals.

Part of setting effective goals is to look back and see how well I followed through. This year was difficult in so many ways that frankly I’m a little surprised how many of these goals I did accomplish.

1. Increase earned net income by $10,000 (Though I haven’t finished up my books for 2008, I’m pretty sure I didn’t quite make this one, but we did have growth. Which is like some sort of Christmas miracle since we had so many events get stormed out this year. Not to mention the economy)

2. Do 2 new events either horse or art (Done, we did 3 off the top of my head, Owatonna, Loring Park and the Kentucky Horse Park.)

3. Work more effectively with my husband Mike at the gallery and art related projects. (also done, though we had an extremely tough year together, I think in the end we are working quite a bit better together.)

4. Do energy work and visualization every day (Not even close to every day, but more often than usual.)

5. Blog at least 4 times per week. Create email subscription for it. My blog is new so this is a serious commitment for me. (done and done)

6. Network more. Join ARTSLIVE!/ Iowa Equine Directory/Art Calendar Forum/Blog Links. (All in all failed this one. Though I did get listed in the Iowa Equine Directory, thanks to Carol Eilers. Also, I did rejoin wetcanvas but have spent almost no time there.)

7. Write a full year of articles for Apples N’ Oats magazine. (Missed this one. This year I skipped an issue during my heavy season of summer art shows)

8. Submit at least 1 art article for another magazine (Didn’t even think about this one.)

9. Make 3 new contacts for wholesaling. (Back in the Saddle/ SF Zoo/ liscensing?) (Did 2, listed some work on Etsy and of course signed with a liscensing agency.)

10. Take adequate me time. Walk daily/ actually take a day off at least once every 2 weeks/attends horse events for fun. (Walked daily but almost never took off consistently for “fun” time.)

So now that I’ve seen what I did do, I can set some new goals for 2009.

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How To Make Paper

The illustrated version.
So this is essentially a re-posting of a blog entry I made several months ago. Except this time we have some pictures to help illustrate the concepts. The instructions are priomarily in Connie’s own words, though I’ve added some additional information. The new input will be in italics.

About Connie Herring
My good friend Connie Herring (Photo Below is Connie “couching” a sheet of paper.) offered to show me how to make handmade paper after I discovered the joys of working with oil pastels on it. I particularly love those nobbley deckley edges that look so cool when framed out.

Connie is a multi-talented artist. She works in a variety of media and does all sorts of fantastical and technical creations. She is primarily an installation artist, though she creates sculpture, handmade paper and books, weavings on commission, and designs personal jewelry upon request. But arguably more important than that, she is a good spirit and one of the nicest people I know. Visit her website, www.connieherring.com. I encourage you to do so.

Steps for making paper
I make a variety of papers. I have paper made by recycling old library cards from card catalogs, (this paper can’t be considered archival I don’t think because of the ink they used at the time, but the cards are 100% cotton). I also make paper from Abaca, cotton, and linen linters. Linters are large, thick sheets of compressed fibers which I order from various paper making supply places.

Step1. I tear the linters up and soak them in water over night. (Photo Above is soaking linters) I usually weight the amount in each bucket so that if I have to add color, or a sizing I know how much to add to the amount of paper.

Step 2. The next day I “beat” the torn up paper. I use a disposal which has been mounted under a table which is open at the bottom. I put the soaked, torn paper by the hand full into the disposal and it comes out the bottom into a bucket as paper pulp. There’s lots of water involved so things get pretty wet all around.

Step 2.5 If I am going to be adding sizing or dyes, I do so at this point.

Step 3. From there the pulp is put into a vat of water. There is a lot of water in relation to the pulp and the ratio of water to pulp determines the thickness of the paper. The more pulp the heavier the paper. (Photo is Connie is skimming off some extra water.)

Step 4. To prepare for the stacking of paper sheets that goes into the press, first a board is laid in place. Followed by three sheets of wool. Connie used an old wool blanket washed many times and cut to size for the paper. The blanket is for water absorption and cushioning between sheets. So first the board, then 3 sheet of wool, followed by one sheet of felt.

Step 5. Next I get the mold and deckle that I want to use for the size of paper needed. The mold is a frame covered with screen. The deckle is like a frame that fits over the mold. Inside the frame, on the screen is where the sheet of paper is formed.

Step 6. Next I mix the pulp/water mix so the pulp is evenly suspended in the vat, by gentle running my hand through it. I hang onto the mold and deckle on two sides and cut it into the vat. I pull the mold/deckle up, and let it drain. There is a sheet of paper on the mold at this point.

Step 7. I carefully remove the deckle and “couch” the sheet of paper onto a felt. (A felt traditionally is a special piece of felt used specifically for paper making. I use a synthetic felt.)

“Couching” is the term used for the process of turning the mold upside down and putting the paper pulp onto the felt. (photo below is me “couching” a sheet of paper.) I will place another felt onto the paper, (then add another sheet of wool. Then I place another sheet of felt over the wool. And then) pull another sheet of paper and put that on top of the new felt.

Step 8. I will build a stack of paper like this until I have about 25 sheets. I then put three more sheets of wool over the last felt and add the board on top of the stack and place into a press.

I tighten the press as far as possible to eliminate as much water as possible. I let the paper set in the press for at least a 1/2 hour, (occasionally going back to squeeze the press a little tighter) and while it’s setting, I make another stack of paper.

Step 9.
After at least 30 minutes have passed, I remove papers from the press and lay the paper out to dry.

(Photo Right is me removing papers from the press.)

First I pull off the wool sheet, then grasp both felts (upper and lower) with the sheet of fresh made paper between. These are then laid out on cardboard and allowed to dry for a couple of days. Air circulation is helpful, but you don’t want any direct air blowing on them. Be sure to allow them to dry thoroughly before handling or they will not set up properly.

(Photo Left is paper laying out to dry on cardboard.) After a couple of days of dry time you should then set them aside for a couple of weeks before using, just to make sure they cure properly.

It’s really very basic, but it takes awhile to get consistent sheets. I order a lot of my supplies from Twinrocker, and they have a web site www.twinrocker.com

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The Exchange of Knowledge

I hope you all had a good Christmas. Mine was nice and the weather held for both travel and the side excursion for paper making. All in all, a nice getaway.

I will go into greater detail (with loads of photos) of my paper making lesson in a day or so. But for today, you’ll have to settle for just a couple of candid shots.

The two things that surprised me about paper making:

  • It’s easier than I thought. (though Connie had everything set up and explained things so well, she probably made it seem easier than it actually is.)
  • It’s rather physically demanding. (Or at least after making 100 sheets, I pretty much collapsed into bed.)
  • The above photo is my husband Mike, (looking very cute) whilst stirring pulp.

    The photo to the right here, is of course me, (looking kinda haggard. Urm . . . I mean focused. Yeah . . . focused) while pressing out a fresh sheet of paper.

    And this last photo here is of Connie Herring, our paper making teacher (of the infinite patience.)

    We had a little information exchange over the weekend. She showed us how to make paper. And we showed her how to play Ninetendo DS. It’s a thing of beauty when artists come together and share their knowledge.

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    Happy Holidays!

    Everyone here at Wild Faces Gallery (meaning myself, Mike and Budda) wish you a very Merry Christmas!

    We are going to be gone for a few days, visiting my mother. And then perhaps (if the weather cooperates) visiting Connie Herring, the guru of all things regarding handmade paper, (and just about anything else dealing with the arts) for a little lesson on how-to make paper.

    I’ll see you all in a few days.

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    Cowgirl Prints Now Available

    Prints have been made from my Cowgirl Oil pastel original, done on handmade paper, and are now available.

    She comes in a larger limited edition print (of 500) as well as a smaller open edition that comes pre-matted to fit into an 11×14. You can also purchase her framed and ready to hang on the wall. Visit the Wild Faces Gallery website for more information or to place your order.

    Mention you’re a blog reader and I’ll throw in a free gift.

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    Isabell: Cow Painting Start To Finish

    Oil Pastel on Museum Board
    15 1/2 x 18

    So here she is, very nearly done. (Done enough to be signed anyway.) Oddly enough, posting work on the blog has become just another step in the process. What I mean by that is I kinda see the work from a different perspective. (Something about it being all shrunk down.)

    So I posted her even though I know there are a couple of things I want to change because I thought seeing her this way may influence certain changes. Basically, I think I’ll tone down the ear tag and some of the pink in the shoulder. Thats it. Well . . . that and I’ll probably slide my signature across to the corner. Since I was unsure where I would crop her I just sort of stuck it on.

    I had an ongoing debate with an artist friend (Barb McGee) about the dandelion. As you can see in the end I remained stubborn. Mike too thought I should put it, in but only for color’s sake. So my compromise was the green eartag. Which (now that I see it here) definately needs to be toned down a little. I liked the handwritten name on her ear tag and tried to make it look as much like the real thing (my reference photo) as possible.

    Early stages. Started to put in a “Baldie” blaze to add interest.

    Beginning to doubt the idea of a blaze.

    Removed the white white “baldie” blaze as it was too distracting (not interest adding.)

    Started changing the yellows to pinks. Liking the color combination better.

    This is pretty much the same as the final photo, just pre-crop.

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    Let It Snow, Let It Snow

    This was yesterday. I don’t know the official amount but I heard from more than one source that we got over 10.” (The thing about small towns is that all it takes is one person to give an opinion and pretty soon it has become a common knowledge reality.) At any rate it was enough snow that we actually drove the tractor to the gallery. And it was a good thing to. Just look at that snow pile behind our tractor. It nearly blocks out the veiw of main street.

    And today it is snowing more, probably at least 3.” And here’s the best part . . . tomorrow we’re supposed to have 40mph winds. I did manage to go in today with a vehicle whose primary function is not to plow fields, but left early because the winds were beginning to start. Budda is running wild in the gallery, with 3 days worth of food hidden about. (I’m pretty sure he’ll have eaten it all by tonight, but what else can I do.)

    Also because no one came in today (imagine that) I finished up Isabell. Or more correctly stated, all that’s left is minor tweaking. I’ll post her tomorrow.

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    Snow Covered

    That’s right, the new banner is my horse’s . . . um . . . err. . . keister. It’s even more so appropriate now, as last night we got dumped on with even more snow. They were predicting 8″. I’m not sure what we got, but it’s deep looking out there.

    In the below photo, (it’s kinda dark here,) Chicory is looking back to see what I’m doing.

    I was actually standing behind him making weird noises so he’s stop stuffing his face and look at me. This is not a very flattering photo. (Does this photo make my butt look big?) Fortunately for me he doesn’t know how to run a computer, (no opposable thumbs you see) so he will never know just how bad he looks here

    Critter Advisory
    For the non-horse savvy among you, I feel compelled to give a safety warning. It is very (oh so very) important that you never, (never ever) stand directly behind a horse and make weird noises, especially while holding an object in your hand, that will shoot a bright flash of light in a dark barn. It’s a real good way to get yourself killed.

    Yes, I know I just said I did it, (like 6 times) but as my mother was fond of saying, “Do as I say, not as I do.”

    Chicory and I have been together for over 10 years and I know him like the back of my hand. (Hey, is that a new mole by my wrist?) Even still there is always a possibility he could have decided that, that day he’d had enough and nailed me with his plate sized feet.

    Fortunately, he just looked up and thought to himself, (as he so often does) “She is sooooo weird.” And resumed eating his breakfast.

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    Caring For Your Artwork And Prints

    This post is a spin off from the giclee print information posts. Basically caring for your prints is much the same as caring for your original works

    The four major causes of damage to artwork are:

    1. Light Unless you are storing art in the dark (which is actually recommended for artwork not currently out for sale or display) it will be in some sort of light and all light will cause damage. Light causes fading, and eventually destroys both paper and canvas.

    The order of UV damage from light is:
    Sunlight, (most harmful)
    Incandescent (least harmful.)

    2. Temperature. Quick shifts between extreme temperatures should be avoided. Ideal temps run between 50-70 degrees. Heat will speed deterioration and cold causes brittleness.

    “I know it (quality framing) costs more, but if your trying to convince a buyer your work is valuable, you need to treat it like it actually is.”

    3. Humidity. As with temperature, extreme shifts in humidity should be avoided. Too much dampness causes papers and canvas to expand. And when the humidity goes down, these items then contract which can cause cracking and warping. Ideal humidity is about 50%. 70% or higher promotes mold growth.

    4. Acidic Materials. Like cardboard, wood or non-conservation grade matboard are to be avoided for both framing or storage. The acids in these materials cause yellowing and discoloration and will eventually ruin the artwork.

    So with these potential hazards in mind you should never

  • Never store or hang art in direct sunlight. Also at one time it was very much the thing to do, but you should not have a light hung over a painting to showcase it.
  • Never hang art over a heater or fireplace that is used.
  • Likewise never hang art in a kitchen or bathroom, on an outside wall (kinda hard to avoid that one.)
  • Never leave artwork in a tube, (because it will bend the art, if left over time when unrolled may cause cracking and also because of the acidic cardboard) always store art flat surrounded with acid free materials.
  • Essentially the best way to protect your art is to have it framed properly (um . . . and then stored in a very dark, environmentally friendly closet. Just kidding . . . sort of.)

    I will once again remind you that when you’re framing your work, spend the extra $$ and get it done properly. I know it costs more, but if your trying to convince a buyer your work is valuable, you need to treat it like it actually is. Also it is a huge selling point. Trust me on this. Anyone who knows and collects art, will understand and appreciate your extra efforts.

    For a refresher on how to properly frame your artwork (as in which materials to use.) use the below listed links.
    Framing Artwork Part 1
    Framing Artwork Part 2

    Banner Hint for today
    It (the photo) was taken on the farm and involves critters.

    I will show you exactly what this is a photo of, in the next day or so.

    reference source: Wildlife Art News

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