Thursday, July 28, 2011

Under-paintings Galore

Lately, I haven't been in the right "mood" to complete a painting. It's not that I don't want to paint, I do, but in the past few days I have wanted to start a bunch of pieces but not finish them. It's like I've had ADD and can't seem to stay focused on one piece long enough to finish it. It's weird. I keep telling myself that I just want to see all the pieces I'm working on at the same time and be able to work on multiple paintings at once. But that's not true. I just haven't been in a right state of mind to finish anything. It's funny how we tell ourselves lies in order to feel better about what we are doing "wrong".

At any rate, I currently have three under-paintings done and will probably complete another one tomorrow before I work on the next layer in order to finish these pieces. I'm hoping to have most of these done in the next week or two. We'll see if that happens. My non-existent ADD may kick in and I could have a dozen half-completed paintings in the works.

Let's take a look at what I have in the works:

Painting #3: 20"x16"

Painting #2: 16"x16"

Painting #1(which you've seen before): 30"x30"

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

When Self-Doubt Creeps In

Current work in progress...
As artists, we have all experienced the moment when, despite how successful we may actually be, self-doubt starts to creep in. It may be self-doubt about what or how we are painting. It may be self-doubt about whether or not we have that special something that will get us noticed and make us successful artists. Or, it may be self-doubt about a hundred different other things that have to do with having the life of an artist. I feel like self-doubt is always peeking around the corner, trying to sneak into our lives to knock down whatever it is we have spent years building up. It's a horrible creature, self-doubt, but one that is hard to get rid of completely. It happens to the best of us when we least expect it and can keep even the most confident artist out of the studio and creating.

Sound familiar? It certainly has been for me lately. In the past week or so I have been feeling pretty down about my sales. I currently have work in seven, yes SEVEN different galleries, which sounds really impressive. Most days I am very proud and impressed with my accomplishments. It's not easy to have this many galleries showing your work in less than two years, but then self-doubt starts to creep in. Self-doubt doesn't care how hard I worked in getting a cohesive body of work. It doesn't care that I worked my butt off trying to market myself and get my work out into the public. It also doesn't care how many gallerists like my work. Being the horrible monster that it is, it sees the tiniest bit of negative, and for me that's poor sales, and starts to feed on it until I feel so down that I can't be creative or function as an artist.

It's hard on me knowing that my work is out there, in galleries, but not selling well. I feel like I did what I was supposed to do. I created good work and got it into galleries, so why isn't it selling??? If they aren't selling, then it must be that my work isn't that good or perhaps not decorative enough, right? Maybe I should make my work more palatable to the general public? I hear color and texture are things people like and are buying. Maybe I should do that? It all starts to spiral down out of control from there.

Earlier stage of work in progress
Fortunately for me, I know what to do when I start to feel this way...after I have felt this way for a few days, that is. I have a great support group of friends/ artists and a wonderful husband who know that this is just self-doubt talking and can talk me "off the ledge". I also know to step back and look at the situation when I am more calm, because until I have calmed down, there is no way you can talk reason to me. This doesn't change the fact that my sales are still low but I can't let that get me down to the point where I am not doing what I love, which is painting. It is so important to stay positive and affirm the outcomes that I want, while also continuing my hard work, otherwise it's too easy to wallow in self-doubt and self-pity (self-doubts best friend that is always close by). It's not easy to do, I am slowly getting out of this funk, but I have to believe that if I keep putting out quality work, the world will finally figure out that my work is worth buying. In the meantime, I will continue to paint, improve the quality of my work, and make myself the best painter I can possibly be.

Speaking of's two finished pieces:

"Baby G", 14"x14", oil and encaustic wax on panel.

"Two Guys", Four panels, 8"x8" each, oil and encaustic wax on panel.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Expanding Studio Space

I recently expanded my studio space. The space in front of mine became available and I couldn't resist adding that to my space. I was getting pretty cramped where I was and needed more storage and wall space. Now I have it!

Here are the "before" pictures:
My easel is pulled out of the area so it doesn't look too crowded in this picture.
This is pretty much all the space I had until recently.

Here's another view...The space on the other side of my work table
doesn't belong to me. Both table that I had had panels and supplies
 packed underneath. BTW, that's my mother-in-law, Susan, helping me with the move.

Here are the "after" pictures:

This is the added space. It used to belong to someone else but now it is my storage and
shipping area. This is across from my original space.
Here is my original space...just cleaner and less cluttered. I got rid of the second table and
moved the painting rack and storage shelves. I now have space to add a  "lounging area" to my studio.
In addition to putting the final touches of my "new" studio space, I also completed my commission piece and did two more vellum paintings.

"Greffen" 14"x14". It just got the final approval so I will wax it tomorrow.

This one came out okay. I will probably go back and add some darker areas to it.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Twitter Discounts and Giveaways Experiment

I have recently expanded my studio space and am in the process of moving and cleaning things. Through this process I am starting to realize that I have a LOT of stuff, old and new, and am in need of some major purging. I need to get rid of the old and outdated, in addition to doing some major cleaning and organizing.

I kinda feel like purging and organizing my space helps me make room for new creative ideas to enter my brain. It's weird to think that by getting rid of some physical items (or by moving them around to make room) I am making space for something mentally to occur, but I can't think too well when my surroundings are cluttered. Clutter makes me feel anxious and stressed out and those two feelings are not good for the creative process.

So here I am, getting ready to expand my studio space and I need to get rid of some things. Now, I can't just throw older artwork away, but I also don't have a use for it AND keeping it around is not doing me any good either. So what I decided to do was use Twitter as a way to move some work. I'm thinking of it as a social media/ networking/ marketing experiment.

I don't really use my twitter account much, except to let people know when I have a new blog post, and I am not really sure what other people use it for, other than celebrities letting people know what they are doing/eating/seeing/etc. Who really cares what I had for dinner or who I am hanging out with, right? Nobody is going to care about that. So, I have decided to see if I could make better use of it and further my art career. What I want to do is have sales and giveaways through my Twitter account. These would be older works (so as to not undermine my galleries) that I would offer up at discounted prices EXCLUSIVELY through Twitter. First person to message me on there, or even through email, would be able to buy the painting listed and I would take care of shipping. I will probably post something every few days and I also will be throwing out the occasional/weekly freebie, drawings or works on paper and such, as an incentive for people to follow me.

I don't know how well this sales tactic will work or if it will increase my visibility and number of followers, but that's why I am calling it an experiment. I want to know how useful Twitter can be for someone like me, which is just the average person trying to make a career through art. Can it help my career? Is it worth the effort of having an account? We'll see soon enough and I'll be sure to update you on the results. In the meantime, follow me on Twitter and see what deals you can get from me!
Follow me at:

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Working on a Commission

The underpainting of this commission is done.
I am hoping to have this done by the end of the week.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Vellum Experiments

Today was a "play" day. After working on paintings for various shows pretty much non-stop for months now, I needed a day to just experiment and play without worrying about the finished product. Every once in awhile I need one of these days in order to keep my mind from going insane and to keep my work from getting stale. So far, nothing has come out of these experiments other than letting off some steam, although I am hoping that some day, one of these "experiments" will result in a new series.

I bought a pad of vellum a few months ago and it sat in my studio unopened. Today I decided to paint on it. My idea was to do quick paintings that were more expressive using the same two colors I have been using, raw umber and white. I didn't want to worry about the details so I tried to use my larger brushes. I don't know how successful I was about eliminating details though. Old habits are hard to break, I guess. At any rate, I started three paintings today. They are all 11"x14". I'm not sure if they are done yet, I'll evaluate that tomorrow. I did have fun playing with the vellum though.


Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Newly Waxed and Finished

Here are the two latest waxed pieces to be finished. I know the Monkey Bars painting was actually done awhile ago, but I was still contemplating it for a few weeks so I didn't wax it until now.

"Monkey Bars", 30"x40", oil and encaustic wax on panel

"Laying on a Blanket", 30"x24", oil and encaustic wax on panel

I also worked some on the first of my 4x4 grid of paintings. I am now thinking that these will work better linearly. The last image, which isn't pictured, is an enlargement of just the men's faces. Basically, I am enlarging the image for each panel and getting closer and closer to their faces. After discussing this will a studio-mate (Thanks Kellen Breen for the advice!), I think it will work better in a linear format since I am getting progressively larger and closer, rather than in a grid format. I am also going to layer them will very thick layers of wax...just cause I like the way it looks and I want to.

BTW, I have no idea what they are holding in their hands...anyone want to take a guess? 

Monday, July 11, 2011

A New Format

I have a featured artist show coming up in October and the gallery thought it would be great idea to include some small paintings so that clients could have the option of some more affordable pieces, along with my larger work. Instead of just doing a few small panels, I thought it would be a good idea to have three sets of 2 by 2 grids. I thought I would do a grid with 6"x6", 8"x8", and 10"x10" panels in them.

Now, to make the paintings even more interesting, I thought I would paint the same image on each panel of the grid. Sounds kind of boring, huh? Well, if they were all exactly the same, I'm sure it would be. What I decided to do was take one image and enlarge it into four sizes and then crop them differently too. It would be the same image, but different at the same time. Making any sense? If not, I started the 8"x8" panel grid today. These are extremely rough and one panel hasn't been painted at all, so you'll have to use your imagination. Let me know what you think of this idea.

In case you're wondering, it isn't easy to do the same image three times and make them all look the same. Now, this is still in the underpainting stage so I still have a lot of work to do and they may end up looking more alike when I am done, but for now, not so much. We'll see how they look tomorrow. 

Friday, July 8, 2011

Barring a Mouth

Check this out.... My painting, "Turtle Race" (which is at the JoAnne Artman Gallery) is in the Laguna Beach Coastline Pilot!

Meanwhile, back in the studio.... I finished the underpainting for another painting. The eyes are so pretty in this one that I am considering NOT covering the eyes. It could still happen, but I'm also considering Robin Luciano Beaty's suggestion of covering the mouth instead. I kind of like the message that it suggests...that pretty girls should keep their mouths shut. It reminds me of watching old "Kung Fu" movies when I was a kid. One, in particular,  had a Chinese princess, who was a beautiful woman that never spoke. The men would all literally fight for her, and when the man who won would get his "prize", she would start speaking and turn everyone off by her voice and senseless chatter. Suddenly she wasn't very pretty once she opened her mouth. I can remember my mom telling me I was like the Chinese princess and it took me many years to figure out what she meant (yeah, it wasn't a very nice comment). I may just cover the mouth of this painting in reference to that movie. We'll see.

I also worked on the other painting I started this week. I'm thinking one more day on this and I will be done.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Waiting for Paint to Dry

Today I finished the underpainting of the current piece that I started yesterday. My underpaintings are very thin layers of oil paint that enables me to figure out shapes and color, while "priming" the panel with some paint so that the next layers go on more smoothly. In addition, since I am working on a gessoed panel, it's usually hard for me to get a really dark brown on on the first coat. By doing an underpainting, the panel absorbs enough of the dark pigment so that the next layer goes on darker and less patchy.

I usually do three layers of paint: 1. underpainting, 2. second, more defining layer, 3. highlights and accents. I really need the underpainting to dry before adding the next layer, because if I don't, the paint just lifts off the panel when I try to add the next layer. It can get pretty patchy looking if I don't wait.

So, while I was waiting for the underpainting to dry, I decided to start the underpainting for a second piece. I can already tell I will be getting "hate" emails begging me not to cover the eyes of this next one...

This what I started with this morning.

Tehehe...floating head!

The underpainting completed. Final size of the painting is 30"x24". I
 really like having the large amount of white space on top.

Here's the painting I started while I was waiting for the paint to dry on the above piece:

This painting is 16"x16"'s a small one!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Two Beach Paintings Finished and One Started

Here are the latest two finished paintings, freshly waxed!

"Tide Pool" 24"x30", oil and encaustic wax on panel

"Taking a Stroll" 30"x40", oil and encaustic wax on panel

I also started a new painting today. It goes along with my beach theme that I am currently working on. I like how the guy on the left looks like he has a really big mustache but it's actually the hair of the girl in front of him.