Friday, September 29, 2017

Manhattan Magazine artist's profile!

So excited to be featured in the artist's profile section of the Manhattan Magazine: My feature appears on pages 26-27. Enjoy!

Sunday, June 4, 2017

CoLab show at Baker Arts Center in Liberal, Kansas

A couple of weeks ago, I, along with artists Brian K. McCallum and Michael Kent Knutson, hung a show at Baker Arts Center in Liberal, Kansas. The display includes works by each individual artist, as well as 18 collaborative mixed media pieces by all three of us. These works are both all of us, and none of us, and they are quite interesting and fun to look at. Please be sure to check out the show; it will be up through June 30, 2017.

This photo shows me in front of two of my paintings: Bloom and Kiss from a Rose. Both are mixed media on paper and can be purchased presently by calling the Baker Arts Center: (620) 624-2810. Partially pictured is Baby Elephant, which is acrylic on hand-stretched canvas. To see the painting in its entirety, you should go check out the show!

Friday, March 3, 2017

Printmaking! Hand-painted linocut prints

In October of 2016, I began making linocut prints. It's still a new process for me, but I've been having fun with the different directions you can take it in. If you follow me on Instagram (@LadydeanArt), then you know what I'm talking about!

This photo shows eight of twelve one-color linocuts from January. The idea was to carve and print the one color (black), and then paint them, as opposed to doing the full color-reduction process for the colors. This was a solution to a time-crunch issue, and allows for a lot more variation of color in the final product. Half of these are painted in acrylic, and half are painted in gouache.

If you are interested in purchasing one, please send me a note! They are each $75.00 USD (unframed), plus shipping.

Saturday, July 9, 2016

New Work: Metamorphosis

My most recent finished painting. Metamorphosis. 30 x 30 inches, acrylic on stretched canvas.

Monday, June 13, 2016

Mental dissection of an older painting

I made this painting, Llora y Llora, back circa 2009, before I'd started selling my art. If you've been following any of my recent work on this blog, my official art website, my Facebook Business Page, or my Instagram account (@LadydeanArt), you'll know that my style and composition have evolved quite a bit since this painting was completed. I don't even have this piece logged in my inventory, and I don't actively show it.

A few months ago, tired of the painting sitting in a corner gathering dust, I got the brilliant idea to re-purpose it while maintaining the basic composition. I'd bring it up-to-date by adding more bold shapes and colors and marks to it... I'd make the background more interesting... I even figured I'd cover the frame in foil to avoid having to break it out, thus enabling me to paint on the canvas as-is.

Since then, I've read a few internet articles regarding the different options available to an artist to deal with old inventory, including this interesting post on red dot blog. It got me thinking about my as-yet-unfulfilled plans for Llora y Llora, and I found myself questioning whether I really wanted to alter the work. I decided to hang the painting on the wall in my bedroom and spend some time with it... staring at it... contemplating it. The more I looked at it, the more I realized that I don't want to change a thing about it. I don't want to enhance the background, or add contemporary shapes, or brighten any part of it. To do so might threaten the charm that it already has; a charm that goes beyond the hand-built frame my dad made for it that I stained myself with a beautiful green.

This painting captures a moment in my development as an artist, in terms of use of color, placement of line, treatment of composition, etc. The brushstrokes have a particular boldness that I was trying on as I painted on this canvas; it may not immediately seem like I was pushing myself artistically as I made this painting, but the marks remind me that this was the case. Furthermore, the manner in which the subject matter was treated appropriately reflects a sadness I was feeling as I lost my cat, my romantic relationship, and then grandmother, and was in the process of losing one of my favorite friends, who I managed to show this painting to before he passed a few months later. He loved the wispy look of the tip of the nose, and the way those brushstrokes danced with the background. I suspect that to alter this painting would also be to compromise its emotional integrity...

Llora y Llora, 40 x 30 inches, acrylic on stretched canvas with hand-built frame. Photo by Steve Lundberg.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Fall in love with the process

Recently, a friend was trying to explain to me his philosophy about making art. The term he used to differentiate a true piece of art from the noise out there was "flow". Does the work reflect the artist's flow? But how does one define this concept?

It's something I've been trying to describe to myself for years, ever since I watched George toss a gorgeous piece of in-progress bronze in the back of his car, unlocked with the window left down! If I had to take a gander at it, I'd frame it in terms of loving the process over loving the product. What do I mean by this? I mean allowing yourself (as the artist) to let go of the outcome, and focus on the mechanics that get the work done. This could include embracing brushstrokes you don't like; choosing not to work and rework a section of the piece in an attempt to get things "just right"; focusing on the qualities of the paint you are using instead of worrying about whether you rendered proportions perfectly; or letting the paint dictate the outcome of the session as one color grabs another while you drag your brush through space. And it certainly means believing in yourself along the way.

Such thinking allows the artist to be less invested in each individual piece, which should lead to better production and, in turn, a better body of work. It also allows for more freedom to be creative, because when you are less invested in a given outcome, you'll probably take more risks or perhaps be more playful in your execution. These actions should lead to more success overall. The more work you make, the better you'll get and, hopefully, the more work you'll sell.

But why is this so? I suspect that if an artist can decouple a certain subset of their emotions (mainly fear, pride, shame, hope, and love) from their actual work, and instead focus on executing the process with confidence, then they can achieve this so-called "flow", which will become apparent in their body of work as it becomes stronger. It's almost like you have to step back from yourself in order to bring out the best qualities of your art.

For the record, loving the process over the product and achieving flow are things I struggle with. I've historically been a lover of the product, and very rarely the process, which means that making art has at times been painful. So it has been in my best interests to change my way of thinking and learn to love the process, and to let go of much of the outcome in favor of, well, creating better art.

Pictured here is a new piece, Catwalk. 16 x 12 inches, acrylic on cradled panel. Painted with brushstrokes I didn't like, lines I wanted to clean up but didn't, and an energy that can best be described as... "flow". And I think it came out divine...

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

I'm on Instagram!

I finally got set up with an Instagram account. You can find me at LadydeanArt. I'm hoping to be able to reach a broader audience with this platform. Please follow me!

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Article in the Kiowa County Signal

During my Closing Reception at the 5.4.7 Arts Center last week, I was interviewed for an article in Kiowa County Signal paper. Please check it out!

If you'd rather copy and paste, here is the URL:

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Art Event: Spring Art Reception at Strasser Plaza in Manhattan, Kansas on Saturday, March 26, 2016!

I am planning to host a repeat solo art reception at the Strasser Plaza Meeting Event Space in Manhattan, Kansas on Saturday, March 26, 2016, from 4-6pm. Last year's well-attended event was a great time.

I will hang a few pieces of art in the adjacent Strasser Plaza Leasing Office and Nano Gallery the week before the reception. These paintings will also be available to view for several weeks afterwards, although I may rotate art during the course of the hanging. The majority of the work will only be viewable that Saturday, however, so don't miss it!

This photo was taken at last June's event by my art colleague Susan Rose. The featured painting is Flint Hills in March, 30 x 30 inches, acrylic on stretched canvas, which sold in the Fall as a result of the buyer having seen it at last year's reception!

Monday, March 7, 2016

Art Biz book resources for the artist who wants to start thinking like a business person!

In my blog post about inventory tracking from February 23, 2016, I mentioned that I would be writing a future post about resources. Today's blog post will list several book resources that I have found to be helpful over the past year; web resources will have to wait until a later day!

I have devoured as many books as has been possible, and I will now share with you my list of the ones I believe to be the most useful. Here are the categorizations I will use, in case you need to get to targeted information quickly:
a. Marketing and online presence;
b. Inventory nuts and bolts;
c. Taxes;
d. Working with galleries/ getting your art out there;
e. Pricing your work;
f. Motivation for women in business;
g. Artistic confidence/ goals/ believing in yourself as an artist;
h. Entrepreneurship/ business information.

And here is the list of books (I checked almost all of these out from my local library), with the corresponding letter categorizations to the right of the title and author:
1. Art, Inc.: The Essential Guide for Building Your Career as an Artist, by Lisa Congdon: a, c, d, e, and g.
2. Starting Your Career as an Artist: A Guide for Painters, Sculptors, Photographers, and Other Visual Artists, by Angie Wojak and Stacy Miller: a, b, c, d, e, g, and h.
3. How to Get Started Selling Your Art, by Carole Katchen: a, d, e, and g.
4. Birthing the Elephant: The Woman's Go-For-It! Guide to Overcoming the Big Challenges of Launching a Business, by Karin Abarbanel and Bruce Freeman: f and h.
5. Escape From Cubicle Nation: From Corporate Prisoner to Thriving Entrepreneur, by Pamela Slim: h.
6. "Starving" to Successful: The Fine Artist's Guide to Getting Into Galleries and Selling More Art, by Jason Horejs: a, b, d, e, and g.
7. Living and Sustaining a Creative Life: Essays by 40 Working Artists, edited by Sharon Louden: d, f, g, and h.
8. Art & Fear: Observations On the Perils (and Rewards) of Artmaking, by David Bayles and Ted Orland: g.
9. How to Survive and Prosper as an Artist: Selling Yourself Without Selling Your Soul, by Caroll Michels: a, d, e, g, and h.
10. New Markets for Artists: How to Sell, Fund Projects, and Exhibit Using Social Media, DIY Pop-Ups, eBay, Kickstarter, and Much More, by Brainard Carey: a, d, e, g, and h.
11. The Crafts Business Answer Book: Starting, Managing, and Marketing a Homebased Arts, Crafts, or Design Business, by Barbara Brabec: a, b, c, e, and h.

I hope you find some or all of these books to be helpful. In most cases, each book deals with more topics than what I have delineated above; however, I wanted to point you in the right direction if you need a quick resource for a given hot topic that is creating stress in your life. Also, please note that I am still in the process of implementing much of the advice I have read... it was a lot to absorb, and many things simply do not happen overnight!

Stay tuned for a future post on useful websites! There are some really good ones out there.

Photo credit goes to my sister Jessalyn for snapping this picture of me in 2012 at a cafĂ© in Cusco, PerĂș.

Thursday, March 3, 2016

How many artists does it take to paint a painting?

A friend once asked me, "How many artists does it take to paint a painting?" The answer, it turned out, was, "Two. One to paint the painting, and the other to yell: STOP!!"

One of the challenges every artist faces is knowing when to call a piece of artwork done. For some, such as Willem de Kooning, perhaps no painting is ever truly done, while others, such as Bob Ross, will confidently know their work is complete as soon as they've included all their formulaic elements. For everyone in between, the concept can be a bit of a moving target, and the real task at hand becomes learning how to play both the role of painter and the role of artist who yells: STOP!!

In my experience, it has become a lot easier with time to know when a painting can be called finished, so experience with one's own evolution as an artist will help. This can mean focusing on developing a certain style, exploring a specific theme, or simply becoming better at using your tools and materials, to give a few examples. I plan and sketch out a lot more of my paintings these days than I did ten years ago, so I'm usually working towards something in particular and I have a much easier time sensing when I have achieved whatever goal is driving the work.

However, I still have my moments of not knowing when to call a work done, particularly if I suspect that I'm not pushing myself to fully explore the piece, in which case I actually have to say, "Paint, Tara, paint!". The first step I take is to step back and observe, think about the painting, and consider what might be missing or causing unwelcome tension. If I come up with something specific that is bothering me, I go back in and work on it.

But, what happens when there is nothing further to address? How do I recognize when I'm adding paint simply for the sake of adding paint? My simplest gauge is this: If I am still putting paint on a canvas but no further value is being added to the essence of the work, then it's time to yell: STOP!!

In the case of the painting seen here (and also here), I knew that I needed to differentiate the male figure a bit more before calling it done, so my final session consisted of applying more quinacridone crimson to the actual figure, and working some titanium white into the background section to the left of the bodies, both with the goal of bring out the contrasts, as seen in the final photo above. After I did this, I stepped back and wondered if I was finished. My first thought was, "I could do more!", but to what aim? I had resolved the problem, so what else could be achieved by continuing to work? It turns out, there was nothing more to say. Adding more paint or refining another area would not have contributed to the composition or the energy of the piece. At this point, I was just being mechanical in the service of anxiety, and the risk of continuing to paint would be to run in circles in the pursuit of a solution to a non-existent problem. So I decided to paint my signature on and call it done, in effect yelling: STOP!!

The Dance. 26 x 20 1/4 inches, acrylic on rag paper.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Some thoughts on inventory system tracking

Please note that this blog post does not constitute professional advice; for professional guidance, please contact your tax accountant. This post is simply my effort to share what I have learned about inventories over the past few years, and is intended to help other artists who may feel lost or overwhelmed, as I did. Although I hope it does not, this post may contain errors or inaccuracies; it certainly contains simplifications.

As an artist, it is important to have a system to track your inventory. When many (if not most, or even all) artists first start creating, having an inventory is the furthest thing from their mind. Maybe your art habit began as just a sketch book and some pens 13 years ago, and snowballed over time; perhaps you signed up for a local watercolor class, and found yourself falling in love with painting on the weekends, and one day someone asked you, "how much do you want for this?"; or it's possible that (like me) you've been creating art since you were in middle school, and you couldn't conceive of an inventory until you were swimming in art materials and potential sales years later.

If making art remains a hobby or you never sell a thing, perhaps you don't need an inventory. However, if you do sell, hope to sell, intend to sell, or plan to sell, then you must eventually put a proverbial stake in the ground and start an inventory. You'll need one in order to have an account of what materials you possess, to determine your profit per sale, to know how you are using (or wasting) your materials, and to complete your federal income taxes adequately. Specifically, you'll need this information to calculate the Cost of Goods Sold (COGS) for the products that leave your inventory on your Profit or Loss From Business (Sole Proprietorship), also know as Schedule C (Form 1040). If you are declaring your sales but aren't tracking your inventory, then you risk paying income tax on the materials you have purchased; the goal is to properly reduce your taxable income by the amount of costs you have invested in your materials that have left your inventory (profits - COGS = taxable income), and to declare your existing end-of-year inventory so that you have information to work from in future years.

When you first start your inventory, you may be faced with the problem I had: how to account for everything you already have. This can be overwhelming, but it is possible to get through the task without losing your mind. First, focus on what your principal product is. Are you primarily a painter who dabbles in clay on the side? If so, start with cataloging your painting materials, and worry about the clay later. Next, break down your materials for your primary product into categories. In my case, I had to figure out exactly how much paint I had in tubes and how much I thought was on canvases, how many canvases I had (painted or unpainted), how many feet of hanging wire I had (in paintings or on the spool), etc., and then I had to assign a cost to these things. I am a fairly meticulous record keeper, so I actually still had most of the old receipts for these items, although sorting through them and figuring out what was what took some time. If you don't have the receipts or you can't read them, then use the internet to find out the best pricing guess if you had to go buy the material today.

After I had the rough overall cost of what was in my inventory, I needed a system to track the assigned costs for each product, because as I sell a painting, I need to be able to then deduct the cost of those sold materials from the current inventory. The first item of business at that point was determining what constituted the basis of a product; for me, it became clear that this would be a support, whether that support was a stretched canvas, a piece of paper, or a cradled panel. Upon this basis, I assigned chronological inventory numbers. As each canvas enters my inventory (i.e., as each canvas I buy arrives on my doorstep), I immediately slap an inventory number on it. I am committed to creating a piece of art as soon as I acquire the support, even if I don't get to paint on it in the same calendar year as it enters my inventory. As such, a painting I make in 2016 may actually have a 2015 inventory number assigned to it, because that was the year the support entered my inventory.

How do I handle the tracking of the minutia? Well, this is a case where I have to try and be as accurate as possible, but acknowledge that a guestimate is often good enough. It's simply impossible to measure every ounce of paint as you are working! But I do have a general sense of how much I am using, and so as I work through creating my paintings, I deduct the approximate amounts accordingly.

At this point, you may be wondering how I deduct these amounts and keep track of the actual numbers side of things. Truth be told, I built my own spreadsheet with automated formulas and calculations. When I sell a piece, I change the Sold = No cell to Sold = Yes, and all of the inputs and totals change according to the formulas. If you are not versed in spreadsheet programs, then the answer is simple: either contract this work to someone whose business is supporting entrepreneurs with inventory systems, or do it by hand. Yes, I mean keep a log book whereby each page is a specification sheet dedicated to each project, reflected by the individual job number assigned, and then track all related costs: supports, paint, wire, hardware, framing, etc. Then have a section dedicated to the calendar year starting and ending inventories for unassigned materials (such as paint in tubes, stacks of paper, spools of wire, stretcher bars, canvas rolls, etc.). You'll have to do some calculations at the end of the year to find out your sales totals, COGS, and remaining inventories, but it is possible to do this. And as you purchase new materials, you'll enter the costs into the appropriate section of the log book. For example, if you contract your framing work to a frame shop, you'll want to tie the expense to a particular job number; if you do your own framing, however, then you'll have framing materials that you enter into the unassigned materials section, later moving cost amounts to specific job numbers as you frame your own work. No matter which method you choose, the important thing is that you account for everything, that you maintain copies of your records in case you get audited, and that you simply stay on top of things so you don't find yourself lagging behind.

There are clearly many related sub-topics that I could include as part of this post (such as a more in-depth explanation of the Schedule C as it applies to artists), but I have decided to keep this post limited to the nuts and bolts of my inventory process. I do hope to write a future post that includes the best resources I found while doing my research on inventories, including both books I checked out from my local library and websites. I am indebted to my friend Rebecca Sundermeier (Rebel Inn Studios) for her support explaining many of these concepts as they apply to the fine arts specifically, as opposed to entrepreneurs generally.

The art seen in the photo above is titled: Intimacy. 18 7/16 x 11 7/8 inches, acrylic on cradled masonite.

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Lean into the challenge

In art, it often helps to have a problem that needs solving. A challenge to tackle can make your work more interesting, and should be embraced. If you can lean into the challenge and see the problem as an opportunity (to borrow the language of business-speak), take the time to analyze what is and isn't working, and finally roll up your sleeves and fix what's wrong, you will often end up with a much better end product then had the issue never arose to begin with. The complexity of having solved a problem will often translate to the viewer (with no words needed), who can be drawn in by the subtle tensions that appear in the work of art as you stop, stare, consider, and re-approach whatever it is that is bothering you.

Although as artists we should strive to master our craft and execute our skills quickly, we risk falling into a trap of monotony if we are never challenged by the colors, composition, meaning, or technical execution of our work. As someone important once said, the moment your works stops challenging you is the moment you should quit and find something else to do with your life. So although having a problem can feel overwhelming, bring us to tears or anger, or cause us to freeze up if the solution isn't immediately apparent, if we can power through the anxiety and keep working, the outcome will be worth the struggle. And the less of a fight you put up with yourself or your art, the better off you will be. Say to yourself, "This problem is actually an opportunity. I should be excited by this challenge, because it will ultimately make this a stronger piece. Don't panic, Self, just calm down and look at things objectively. What do I need to do to fix this?". It may take a while to come to a conclusion, so give yourself the time you need to do so. Once you have it, roll up your sleeves and get to work.

I had several challenges arise while working on this painting. The biggest challenge is the actual support: rag paper. There are different absorbencies on this painting due to the way I prepped the paper, which made it challenging to layer paint on later. I almost panicked while working on the right butt cheek of the female figure (the paint wouldn't move the way I wanted it to!), but caught myself and said, "Lean into the challenge", took a deep breath, and was honest with myself about what was wrong. I knew the paper and the layers of supports were working against me, but that I had to be strong and apply the acrylic paint boldly and with confidence, in order to make the figures pop. I had to work quickly, so as to not tear a hole in the surface. I also knew I was committed to the colors [the quinacridone crimson and the phthalo blue (green shade) are high staining and once you've applied them to the support, you can't really turn back], so the only way to go was forward. This approach allowed me to get through the stressful pause, and I'm now quite happy with how the painting is turning out. It's not quite done, but it's almost there.

Working title: "The Dance of Love". 26 x 20 1/4 inches, mixed media (India ink and acrylic) on rag paper.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Lots of art being made lately... here's one sketch!

Here's a sketch I did tonight titled Getting to Know Each Other. It's 7 x 10 inches on sketch paper, drawn with a 9B Koh-I-Noor Progresso woodless graphite pencil.

Monday, December 21, 2015

What a difference a photograph can make...

Painting with reds invites certain challenges, one of which is getting a representative photo. All of my attempts were complete failures, with the reds and the oranges washing out against each other. I'm sure part of the problem is having the right camera, but equally frustrating is not quite understanding how the lighting influences the photograph. Luckily, a professional photographer stepped in to save the day, and now I have a picture that is as intense as the painting itself. This really makes all the difference in the world.

This painting is called Mexican Kitchen I, and it is inspired by my many trips to Mexico over the years. I have not been since 2012, which makes me sad, so I guess I had to start painting it out. The colors vibrate so strongly against each other that they almost jump off of the canvas, which is exactly the effect I was going for.

30 x 30 inches, acrylic on stretched canvas. Note that I used naphthol red instead of primary magenta.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

My tool of choice...

I have bought and used many different brands and types of brushes over the years, and finally my preferred tool has emerged from the haze of options. While I've known for a while that I gravitate towards synthetic brushes, it wasn't until this past year that I really locked into which synthetic brush works best for my style of painting and how I physically use the brush.

And the winner is... the Utrecht 206 Tuscan Series! These brushes put up with a lot of abuse and maintain their shape superbly in the process. A lesser brush would have fallen apart by now. I use filberts and rounds frequently; however, my workhorse brush is the bright, particularly my #6 bright, which is shown here at the far right. I paint the majority of my acrylic works with these brushes. (I do prefer a different set of brushes to create my tiny tulip pieces on paper - the Utrecht Manglon Synthetic Series, in case you were curious.)

I think my next trip to the art store will include the purchase of a Tuscan #8 bright and #1 round. I'm excited to add them to my collection.

[Full disclosure: I was NOT paid to review this product. I just wanted to share which brushes work best for the creation of a majority of my work.]

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

The finished product...

Here's how this one turned out. I added a light mix of cadmium yellow medium hue and titanium white to the background; I had to scrap the carbon black and cadmium yellow medium hue mix as it was just too dark! I'm not sure why I felt the need to pursue the primary colors angle, but I think the work really pops! This is much better than the original version of this painting.

Paloma. 36 x 18 inches, acrylic on stretched canvas.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Re-working old paintings

I few years ago, I created what has alternately been known as Vuelo de Paz and Paloma. While I considered it done back in 2011, something about the painting never set right with me, and so last month, I finally got the courage to gesso over most of it. I knew I wanted to keep the line work; I just found it to be so interesting! But the rest of the painting (its colors, textures, and content) simply had to go.

Two layers of gesso, some new line work (i.e., a tulip!!), and a few color applications later, I'm very happy with where this is heading. I plan to paint the background in the manner similar to the sky treatment in my works Field of Red Tulips (which I sold already) and Field of Blue Tulips (which has not yet sold and is currently hanging in Garden City, KS), neither of which have been featured on my blog yet!

Paloma. 36 x 18 inches, acrylic on pre-stretched canvas.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

As an artist, there's only one person who knows your entire oeurve...

As an artist, there's only one person who completely knows where you've come from.

As an artist, there's only one person who is aware of every single piece of art you've ever made.

As an artist, there's only one person who knows about everything you've thrown out, re-worked, or re-primed and re-painted.

As an artist, there's only one person who knows your entire ouerve.

As an artist, there's only one person who fully understands where you are going with your work.

As an artist, there's only one person who can defend the development of your style.

This piece is part of my Put a Bird on It series that I'm developing in my mind and in my sketchbooks (never mind the fact that this particular painting excludes the actual bird). It aims to merge a few of my foci: abstracts, nudes, and tulips. By including the tulip, I can thus make a tangential reference to the final focus: landscapes. I call this merged style of abstracts, nudes, and landscapes (regardless of whether or not there is a tulip) abstracted nudescapes. It's the direction in which I'm trying to take my work in order to have one body of work that functions together. I think it's fun.

Untitled. 13 1/2 x 7 1/2 inches, acrylic on primed cardboard. If you are interested in purchasing this piece, I will investigate how it can be appropriately framed.

Monday, November 2, 2015

Art talk in Garden City, Kansas

Last Thursday, my friend James Taylor and I made the five hour drive from Manhattan, Kansas to Garden City, Kansas to hang our show, Body and Blood. The next day, we gave an art talk to students and a few faculty from Garden City Community College (GCCC). The show looks great on the walls, the art talk was well attended, and it was a neat experience overall.

The show hangs at Mercer Art Gallery through November 20, 2015. If you find yourself in the area between now and then, please check out the show! If you are interested in purchasing a piece, please contact me directly.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

No, your hand goes over here

I had some fun doing some sketches this weekend. This one is called "No, your hand goes over here."

It's the fourth of four sketches I did of the same composition, with different styles of execution. It's my favorite of the four. I may turn the third one into a painting, so stay tuned!

Thursday, August 20, 2015

The Columbian Artist News: Featured article!!

Last month, I was asked if I'd be willing to write an article about my recent career change. I was happy to oblige, and the result looks great: A decision to pursue a career as a full time artist.

In other art show news, I have art currently hanging at Arrow Coffee Co. in Manhattan!

Last week, I hung five paintings over at Arrow Coffee Co. in Manhattan, Kansas. Please make sure to head over there to have a fantastic cup of coffee and check out my art, which is all for sale. The art will hang through sometime in September; I'll post the take-down date when I confirm it.

The work you see here is called Snow in July and is 30 x 30 inches, acrylic on pre-stretched canvas. It is for sale directly through the artist.

Overdue Update: Junction City Arts in the Park Festival from June

I have been meaning to write a blog post about my first festival experience for over two months now; things have been busy for me, so my apologies for the delay.

It was the first time I've been on the booth side of an art festival or art fair, and I got to find out just how much work is involved to be a participant. I had suspected the level of effort would be as high as it was, but of course there are always little unforeseen things that can crop up. These little things add up, and my immediate conclusion was that there was no way I could have pulled the whole thing off myself! Luckily, my dad (seen in this photo) had offered to help me out, and I'm very grateful for that his presence, assistance, and ideas.

The immediate takeaways from the event were:
1. The vibe was good and the people were friendly and interested in looking at my art.
2. My art was well received and it looked good on display, even from a distance.
3. I got to display my art to a new audience.
4. The heat stayed away, so being outside was tolerable!
5. I tentatively booked another show for Junction City (more on that in a minute).

There were also a few negatives to the day:
1. We got rained out and had to close up shop before the day was done! That's Kansas for you; at least none of my work got damaged.
2. I didn't sell anything!
3. The Juneteenth celebration moved to an indoor space, so some traffic and energy was probably lost as a result.
4. Working a festival booth is... hard. At least now I know.

It may be a while before I participate in another art festival, mostly because I don't have my own kit and won't be able to invest in the necessary components in the near future. Also, I can't realistically do these things by myself, so until I know who I can count on to help out, I won't have all the resources and tools necessary to do a good job.

I'm okay with all of this, however, because right now my principle task is to be in the studio painting. I'll be sure to keep everyone posted if this changes, however.

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Here's to new beginnings...

I have big news! And lots of blogging to do, for the record...

After close to two decades of doing art on the side, I recently decided to take the plunge and focus on doing it full time. Yes, it's true... I quit my day job.

To be honest, I'd been thinking about doing this for about a year. Not the kind of wistful thinking that comes with daydreaming, but the kind of serious consideration required when asking critical questions: "Can I do this? If so, what do I need to do now to make this happen?" If you imagine that these are scary questions to consider, you are right, although I have to say that the feelings of fear were much stronger a year ago than they have been in recent weeks. With the exception of one late-night anxiety session about three days before I turned in my work keys, I've been calm and confident of my decision; there has been no backpedaling.

That being said, I've put a lot of pressure on myself: pressure to perform, pressure to deliver results, pressure to maintain constant levels of creativity... and these are all hard things. In response, I'm trying to take things one day at a time, forgive myself when the inner critic starts to bully, and stay focused on the reasons why I decided to make such a huge career switch. With time, things will fall into place. In fact, they are already falling into place. I've had so much to do to get started that I find myself wondering how on earth I was able to do both art and the day job for so long. Obviously, I wasn't as invested in my art even a few years ago as I am now, which means I'd reached a turning point recently; this is another way of saying that I wasn't ready to do this even a year ago! Timing is everything.

Now that I find myself on the other side of my big question, I am having feelings and thoughts that I couldn't have anticipated, which is I'm sure true of any big change or new life adventure, and I'm trying to adjust and calibrate. At the same time, I'm aggressively pursuing new leads, and so things are very busy. In the "adjust and calibrate" column are things like: figuring out my work schedule, ensuring I leave the house each day and interact with people, and creating my first true inventory of materials and artworks. In the "aggressively pursuing new leads" category are things such as: creating an art Facebook page (, if you want to like it), booking a flurry of new shows, submitting some of my tiny tulips to a juried show, and planning my materials purchases a little more carefully. I also sold five paintings in July, which is a good start. After all, I am running a small business here...

This photo is of a tiny tulip painting that I did a few weeks ago and sold right away. It's called Tiny Tulips & Berries I, and I'm working on two more in different sizes. Keep an eye out for future posts about these paintings!