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Saturday, June 25, 2011

I'm on a roll

Calm Surrender,
 the first stylised figurative painting I sold
 Ok, so things are going wonderfully. This is what I want to do. Sell my paintings. I am excited. First one painting hanging at the Senior Center in Corvallis is sold. The following month I sell a painting from my etsy account - The following month, the next painting I sell is one that is also hanging in town at a retirement village. I am pumped, 3 paintings in 3 months! I am on a roll.........

Well that's what I was looking forward to, however that is where it all came to a grinding halt.

So what was I doing right when they were selling? What am I presently not doing that I should be?

Well two sold to mature customers who more than likely have more disposable income. The third was a buyer who chose to buy anonymously, and although invited to, gave no information.

What subject matter sold? The first was more along the line of folk art, a series of four houses each portraying a different season. The second was a stylised figurative painting. The third was another set of three houses each painted blue, with postive affirmations on each.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Selling my artwork

One morning in my Tuesday art critique group at the Old Worlde Deli I am asked if I would like to hang my paintings in the Senior Center in Corvallis. I am chuffed, how lovely. So in I troop with my darling husband and we hang about 10 paintings. This is my first public display of several of my paintings, all at one time, in the USA. I feel proud.

What makes me feel even better is one afternoon when I get a phone call and someone would like to buy one of my paintings. It is a small series of houses, four in all, they are each painted in a different season. I am ecstatic! My first sale to some complete stranger! That is very important that they do not know me and means a lot to me.

I am now a member of the Corvallis Art Guild. There are several venues around town that have new artist hanging their paintings each month. I decide to just do it, forget about thinking it all over and tossing and turning about the whole thing. Just do it.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Revisiting my goals

I met a wonderful lady called Shannon, who used to work in an art gallery in Santa Fe, New Mexico. She is an artist, painting wonderful landscapes in rich warm colours and she sells her paintings. We get to chatting and I ask her if I would be able to visit one day, have a look at her paintings and pick her brains for ideas. Shannon is completely open to the idea.

When we get together, the very first question she asks is - what do you want to achieve? I give her my "I want to be famous" line. When asked why I want to be famous, I reply "because famous people sell their paintings". To which Shannon replied, "do they?" And then words to the effect of  "Or is it when they die that their paintings sell?"

She knew of a man who sold a painting approximately 30 times in one year - various sizes etc, however it was so popular that the gallery asked him to paint it over and over. That gentleman makes a six figure income from his painting, AND he is not famous.

I am floored, she might just be right.

Really, I just want to sell my paintings, so where does that leave me? Without a plan of action so far. Hmmm, where to next?

The wonderful thing about Shannon was that she didn't just drop me off with nowhere to go. She actually provided the direction as well.

1. Decide on a style I would be; happy painting and that I enables me to produce paintings quickly

2. Get together a body of work - 20 or so paintings that represent my style and me
3. Check out galleries in the state I live in - namely Oregon, and find ones that might fit with me.
4. Send out a pamphlet with photos of my artwork, plus a letter to each of these good fit galleries, then follow up with a phone call

Ok, so that sounds easy-ish. Now I just have to do it!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

What am I trying to achieve?

So here is the question. What is it that I want to achieve with my painting?

Now please realise that this is what is going on in my head. I have not talked to any artists about it - I'm kind of whakama about it, that means shy. So I make it up as I go along. First of all I think, well I want to be famous. Why famous? Because famous people sell their paintings.

Stairway to Heaven, based on the last supper with koru(spirals) and poutama
at the top and bottom to represent the stairway.

Then I think well if I want to be famous I should make a name for myself. How am I going to do that? Ok, I'll enter art competitions and exhibitions. So I enter and get into a number, it is exciting. It also costs a fair bit of money to enter. Anything from $25 + a time. Once you are accepted you have to parcel up your paintings and post them (more $$$). Then you have to pay for them to be returned to you if they don't sell. All up, it is a costly business.

Sea swirl, the first painting I create
that is accepted to an exhibition.
 My first painting was accepted into an exhibition in Independence, Oregon followed by another 5 paintings that went to Florida, Omaha Nebraska, and even in Corvallis, Oregon. I am excited and thrilled by it all. The bonus - I am recognised, with an honorable mention and special recognition merit award. Life is good and I am high on it all.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Art Class

I discovered a Figure Painting and Drawing class held at the Linn Benton Community College in Corvallis. Talk about wonderful!
For 10 weeks from 1pm to 3.30pm we had live models posing for us. Young, old, slim, voluptuous, all shapes, sizes and colours. Not only was the variety wonderful, the models took their trade seriously, many had trained, many were extremely seasoned models, all were pretty much fantastic.

AND the price is right. From memory the 10 weeks cost about $115, I am amazed. Not only do I get to sketch these great models, and have an experienced teacher that answers questions and does a class critique of your work, it costs very little.

One of our classmates modelled
when our scheduled model was sick

As I have said before, I LOVE doing the quick warm up sketches, the more the better as far as I am concerned. Why? Because models do the most interesting poses when they only have to hold it for one to 5 minutes at a time. Short poses are a warm up, they are a challenge, plus make you sketch quickly and concisely.

I love to paint from these sketches. I like to use lots of delicious colour, sometimes more exact, sometimes more whimsical, sometimes realistic, sometimes not.

I also discover that Oregon State University has models posing twice a week. The cost is a pultry $5 a session. I'm not often able to attend since they are in the evening, however when my darling husband is home, I try to get in to class and sketch. Yeah!

Friday, June 10, 2011

Corvallis, Oregon here we come

So long story short, we win greencards on the internet and are soon winging our way to the USA. How exciting, nerve wracking and unknown.

I'd been here on holiday before and had a fabulous time. We all know though that having a holiday and living in a place are seriously different things.

So, in lieu of a few clothing items, I will pack my paint brushes and paints. You know, just in case!

I must say it took some time to begin painting. Nothing for the first few months, it was all a little overwhelming! Everything was a challenge, from being understood - despite the fact we were all speaking English, to driving to grocery shopping. The houses were all the same, lots of one way streets so we ended up going in circles a lot, and then my asthma returned with a vengeance - did you know we arrived in the grass seed capital of the world! Ugh, took some getting used to.

I know for our two children it was quite traumatic. The crunch coming a day or two after our arrival in Corvallis when our son had had enough and asked us to buy him a ticket home, from Auckland he would skateboard down to Nanny and Da's and stay with them.

Thankfully we are now all settled and happy with our surrounds. In fact, Corvallis has been somewhat of a lucky starting point in our American adventure.

 Sonme of the local landmarks - The barn on Bald Hill
The Corvallis Art Centre

                             This is the Oregon State University covered bridge

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Did you know?

The other two participants from my first live model painting class refused to paint with me the next time around. They showed their disapproval first by letting the guy who hosted us at his studio know, and secondly by not showing up.

Initially I was crestfallen, was I that bad? I had brought my finished paintings along to show and when I looked at them I thought, do they measure up? Are they worthy? Then I thought get a grip, my work is different to what they produce, there is nothing wrong with it, I held my own and should be proud.  Then my true nature shone through and I thought buggar them, I'll show them who is a good painter!

They always say pride comes before a fall!

So for this next session my dear friend Ingrid graciously modelled for us, she is gorgeous, curvaceous, oozes personality, has luscious long curly blonde hair. Another friend - Kathy who is also a painter, accompanied me.

So we are all set, a day of sketching and painting ahead of us .... my mission is to produce a fabulous painting or two. You know, just roll them off the end of the brush, easy as.

Except I suffered my first bout of painters block. It did not matter what I did, none of my sketches looked right. I had worked myself up into such a stew by first of all wanting to prove that I am a good painter, and then the pressure of my friend, a beautiful friend who is modelling for me. I want so badly to do a good painting for her.

It was hopeless, I was hopeless. Great expectations came crashing down around my ears, and no one put pressure on me, except me.

In the end I compromised to make myself calm down. Focus on something, a detail, just one part of the whole. So I painted her hand. Now I know that may seem a curious thing to focus on, however it allowed me to shut everything else out of my mind and concentrate. So although I was embarrassed at my inability, Ingrids arm was gorgeous. In fact it may have been a little insightful of me, not long afterwards, she broke it. I would have to check with her to be certain, I think it was that left arm I painted.

One thing I have learned, do these frustrating moments ever disappear for ever? No, that is the challenge. Putting yourself into a certain state of mind that allows your brain to paint/create from the creative Right side of the brain.

Here are a few more from my painting journey, enjoy. Desray

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