Saturday, November 06, 2010

I want to be alone...

I ordered new art business cards today.  I usually order cards twice a year in batches of 250 because I go through a lot by including them with sales packages, in greeting cards as well as networking.  I also randomly 'drop' them in places like restaurants, stores, etc. You just never know where your next sale will come from.

I also order new cards twice a year, as I like to reflect new work and images in the cards. These show one of the gyotaku prints that I am using of a salt cod.  It represents the printing as well as the cultural aspect here.  The cards provide my basic contact information that can be found anywhere by anyone with computer access anywhere in the world.  So why are artists so afraid to publish their contact information in blogs or on websites?  Are there documented cases of hundreds of artists being stalked and harassed by allowing access to themselves?

I find that some artists are very reticent about showing contact information online and I find that a bit puzzling. After all, if the artist cannot be contacted, how can business be done?  Whether through a virtual business card or contact information on websites, blogs or social media, information at the minimum of how to reach an individual is vital.  I look at my art as a business and if I'm in business then people need to be able to reach me.  Would you open a store and not tell anyone where it is or how to email or telephone you? 

I did a little research of my own the other day on a dozen random artist blogs.  They all showed art, most of it for sale.  On eight of those blogs I could not find an email address or in several cases not even the full name of the artist.  Five of them did not show pricing but asked those interested to email them. In some I had to really work to find information, wading through page after page before finally drilling down deep enough to find what I needed.

These artists are losing sales and viewers fast. 

If I cannot see pricing, if I have to hunt for your contact information and if you do not provide your full name, I won't be staying and won't be coming back.  The world of art is about networking and communicating with other artists and with collectors.  If they can't reach you, or you put a dozen steps in their path to find the information, you will lose opportunities and yes, you will be alone.

Thursday, November 04, 2010


 Apple II - crop
Pastel  19 x 25" Canson paper

They're back.

You know the ones.  Those taunting voices in your head that tell you your work isn't worth the paper its on.  They argue with you that you're wasting your time.  They jog your arm to make you screw up.  They nag and torment and make you doubt yourself.  They keep you awake at night with snide remarks.
They're here in spades these last couple of days and I'm busily trying to evict them.

I think I know more now when to expect them and what they'll say.  It doesn't always mean that it makes it easier to deal with, just that I know how to brace myself more for their attack.

It usually happens when I'm pushing myself to accomplish a lot.  Right now I'm nearing the end of my gyotaku project and need to start finalizing pieces, framing, exhibition space, workshop, book, promotion, etc., etc.  And I also have a number of other pieces happening as well, some more important that others, as well as commissions in the run up to Christmas.

I don't need these doubts right now.   Early this morning as I tried to push a drawing into its final stages, the voices of self doubt were there, asking why bother.  Its only a stupid drawing.  No one will like it.  Its not good enough.  The had me so rattled that I grabbed the wrong can of fixative which turned out to be matte varnish.  Luckily only a light spray was done before I noticed and no harm was done to the drawing.  Of course that made them happier.  "See, we told you you were hopeless." they snickered.  I sprayed them with varnish and left for work.

The voices remain off and on but I WON'T let them get to me.  No, I'm not crazy.  Don't all artist have these same voices that appear from time to time to shove you around a little and make you rethink your role as an artist?  What's your fighting strategy?

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Red fish

Ocean perch are commonly known as 'red fish' in Newfoundland because of the colour which ranges from a pink to a deep red.  This colour fades after death, especially in the underside of the fish, so this one has a little pallor to him/her.  I've found it very difficult to obtain really fresh red fish so I haven't got a good comparison. This is my reality.

These perch are great for printing but I have also been doing some paintings alongside with the printings to document more of the fish colour.  These pieces tend to be 'portrait style' i.e. head and shoulders.  Why I don't know, they just to happen that way.  In the case of the perch, I love the bony shapes of the head with the serrated gill covers and the big eyes and really wanted to emphasize that.

This piece is 18 x 24" in acrylic.  Its not complete yet as I'm still building colour.  The skin of the fish is a complex mass of subtle colour variances overlaid each other to create an almost luminescent effect.  I don't know if I can recreate that but with glazes I will try.

Building up the shapes of the mouth and eye provides a wonderful lesson in fish anatomy and always amazement at just how well constructed these little beasties are.

Monday, November 01, 2010

Gyotaku workshop registration

This is a  lumpfish that I have been printing this past weekend.  They're such unique fish, a cross between a dinosaur and sea monster.  And a printing challenge.  It may be one of the fish that I bring for printing at my workshop in March.  That either has you worried or fascinated.  If the latter, now is your chance to register for this unique workshop in St. John's.

Ocean perch trio

I have sent out the initial information about my upcoming Gyotaku workshop to mailing list subscribers.  There is a reduced price for subscribers until the end of the year, so do consider signing up, if only to get the lower registration price.

If you would like to register, you can do by the button below and I will email you the details of the workshop.  I will be providing more details about the workshop on a static page on the blog very soon. 

Gyotaku Workshop
On March 19, 2011 I will be offering a workshop for beginners in the ancient Japanese art of Gyotaku - or fish printing. This technique is unique and very different from anything you've done before. We'll be using real fish as well as replicas and getting messy! Are you up for it?

If you are interested in learning more and going home with 3 or 4 very special pieces of art that you've created, then come along. I'd love to share everything I know with you!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

10:00AM - 4:00PM

Anna Templeton Arts Crafts and Design Centre
278 Duckworth Street, St. John's, NL A1C 1H3

Street parking near the building is available free of charge on Saturdays and should be easy to access in the morning.

  • Most workshop supplies will be included or available for purchase.
  • Supplies that you need to bring are provided on registration
  • Bring your own brown bag lunch.
  • Refreshment breaks will be provided.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Jellyfish progress

I love watching jellyfish float along in the water.  It seems effortless and the colours reflected as light hits them through the water is beautiful.

The tentacles that stream below the jellyfish twist and turn trailing into lines from almost lace-like masses.  Forming the substance and nonsubstance that is a jellyfish is a challenge and will take time. 

I've worked more on this piece in oils, building form and starting to add depth with layers of glazing. Glazing is a slow process, as I need the initial layer to dry reasonably well before I can glaze without destroying what is beneath.   Transparent colours give best results but opaque colours, used sparingly in very thin coats will work for the first layers.  The paint used must be extremely thin, almost a tint so that it barely shows on the piece.  Some artists can use up to 20 glaze layers to achieve the effect they want.  I may be at this for awhile...