Saturday, June 03, 2006

Pricing your work

This is a pen and ink stipple drawing that I started months ago but didn't get around to completing. Several people have seen it and were interested in it, asking what I would charge for it. I really don't know. I have ball park figures for art, and use a sort of size/medium formula, working on a per square inch in most instances. However, I always wonder if that is the correct way, if I'm charging enough or too much

What to charge for art is a constant question for many artists. You don't want to undersell yourself, but you also need to ensure that you don't price yourself out of the local market that you are targeting.

From The Painter's Keys a 'Ten Commandments of Pricing' caused a lot of discussion.

Artists young and old--particularly those who have the intention of staying in the game--ought to strategize for the big picture and honour their strategy with Biblical tenacity. Here are the Ten Commandments of art pricing:

Thou shalt start out cheap.
Thou shalt publish thy prices.
Thou shalt raise thy prices regularly and a little.
Thou shalt not lower thy prices.
Thou shalt not have one price for Sam and another for Joe.
Thou shalt not price by talent or time taken, but by size.
Thou shalt not easily discount thy prices.
Thou shalt lay control on thy agents and dealers.
Thou shalt deal with those who will honour thee.
Thou shalt end up expensive.

I did a little research and found a couple of links that are a good jumping off place for further reading and thinking.

From Self Representing Artists, another view on pricing.

Alan Bamburger's article on Pricing Art Realistically

There are as many articles and discussion on pricing as there are pieces of art.

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Thursday, June 01, 2006


A while back I tried my hand at a miniature drawing. So many people were talking about ACEOs (art cards, editions and originals)that I thought I'd see if I could work on this scale and produce something recognizable. Here it is.

These days are filled with meetings, but never the ones that I want with the people that I want to meet. Instead I am confined to rooms discussing programming and marketing and processes and policy - all things that have their uses but my mind would rather float into the past or future of my memories or imagination.

A colleague is in town from Ottawa and is staying at my house. We get along well, almost too well at times, so work isn't the chore that it could be. We connect on a different level, that is rare, but when it does happen, it is to be treasured, either in life or work. The next few days will be a whirlwind of meetings and activity until Monday takes her away again and brings back a semblance of normality to life once more.

Blogger has been difficult the last couple of days and won't load images, so tonight's may have to wait for another time. However, I will try. There have been similar problems with Blogger in the past and it becomes frustrating when you're trying to update regularly. Perhaps its time to consider Plan 'B' - a back up blog site in case this one decides to take a nosedive.

Also, the ocnsideration of archiving all those posts, photos and drawings. I haven't really considered it til now. What do I do with them? I write as the mood takes me and I don't save copies so I am trusting the ether to ensure that my words are always there and available. I should not be so naieve and back them up I believe.

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Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Moving day

This week has been a time for geese to change over from winter to summer housing. First to go are the Embden geese. They've been moved to an enclosure in the old paddock and I watched them almost smile as they felt sun on their heads and soft grass at their feet. They soon discovered that if you pressed hard enough, you could squeeze through the livestock fencing - and squeeze back in again. Animals always teach me something. This time, to buy more chicken wire. I left them chuckling to themselves and preening. Now at dusk will be the challenge to see if they will go into their new goose pen for the night. Geese are usually big enough and ferocious enough to ward off predators, but there are some predators that are a challenge such as mink or coyotes that have killed birds in the past. So into their little house they'll go - with coaxing if necessary!

The Chinese brown geese sauntered past the Embden's pen, taunting them and exposing their own freedom. Little do they know that they'll be enclosed soon too. At last, no more battles with me pretending to be a large goose challenging their initial charges. Adult geese really can be horrible...lovely to look at, but horrible.

Lady, the quarter horse, has passed her probation at the riding stable with flying colours and will be purchased by the stable. She fitted in so well that she won first place in an event at the horse trials this past weekend. Lady responds so well to young people and not so well to adult males so she's in her element with little girls flocking around her, pampering her at every turn. The Princess has found a good place to live. Here she is, on mowing duty, in the front garden.

Now Kit remains. There is someone interested in her, or was. He'll be contacted and we'll see if that pans out. If not, she'll stay where she is and we'll find a companion animal for her, as horses really do need company.

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Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Grow your own pharmacy

I thought I'd share a little of how I became a herbalist and also a little knowledge of some simple herbs that are often overlooked as simply 'weeds'. The article is one I wrote several years ago for an Atlantic gardening magazine. I found the piece the other day and it brought back memories. Click on the image to enlarge it for reading.

Its quite likely that most people are doing this already without even knowing it. Even if you don't have a single plant growing in your garden, its pretty likely that you have a dandelion or two growing in your lawn. Dandelions (Taraxacum officinale) are the much maligned plant of gardens and people are hell bent on destroying them. Yes they multiply like rabbits at a puff of wind, but there are also many things about dandelions that should make you think twice before digging it up, poisoning it or chopping it to pieces with the lawnmower.

Dandelion root and leaf are extremely bitter and are effective in promoting liver function. Dandelion tincture or a salad with young dandelion leaves increase bile production, which in turn, assists with the digestive processing of fat.

If there was one herb that I could choose to take on a journey to the far flung planet of X, it would be dandelion. Its versatility and healing powers make it the king of medicinal and culinary herbs.

Plantain, that broad-leafed plant found in wasteland, fields and lawns, is the layman's antidote to insect stings. The leaves, when crushed or bruised and placed on the sting, will relieve pain and reduce inflammation. Plantain is also great for disinfecting and cleaning minor cuts and scrapes.

Chickweed grows rapidly, winding its way round plants in flowerbed and vegetable gardens. We pull it out by the handful and toss it on the compost heap. But chickweed is an extremely valuable plant. An infusion of chickweed will assist with bronchial coughs and acts as an effective skin wash for eczema and other skin disorders.

The flower bed provides another source of plant medicine. Calendula, that beautiful orange or yellow member of the marigold family is a disinfectant and wound healer. It can treat common cuts and scrapes, athlete's foot and ringworm with antibacterial and antifungal properties. Thyme is a strong antiseptic and expectorant and can help clear a congestive cough. One teaspoon of thyme in a cup of boiling water, drunk two or three times a day while you are sick or it can be used as part of a steam inhalant mix to help reduce congestion.

A good starter kit for herbal home remedies includes many common plants found in your own garden or easily obtained form a nursery or herbalist. Safe use of home remedies is assured by using only herbs that are recommended and never collecting or growing your own herbs unless you are certain of their identification. Always stick to recommended doses. Self-diagnosis and medication can be safe if simple rules are followed. More than 90 percent of all illnesses taken to doctors are simple conditions that can be treated at home - just look at the 'over the counter' drugs available at your local pharmacy to treat nearly any symptom you can present. Coughs, colds, indigestion, muscular aches and pains, headache, insomnia, insect bites, eczema and so on. All these can be treated with herbs.

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Monday, May 29, 2006

Ramblings and rabbits

I've had a very busy day at work with issues coming at me from all sides and never enough of me to go around. So tonight I'm a bit brain tired and there seems little energy left in me to write espressively. I drew a little throughout moments in my day as I find it relaxing. A little early morning with my coffee, a few minutes around lunchtime and tonight during a quiet moment. Then I tune out the television set that seems to be always in the background and lose myself in the world of pencil strokes.

I couldn't resist drawing the little (well rather large actually) rabbit that visited the garden yesterday. I'm still tinkering with rendering fur effectively. I envy those who can produce the soft likeness of fur through pencil, pen or paint. It is something I strive for. I do it in part, having more of an overall feeling of fur than a detailed view of each hair that makes up the coat. I think this is why I prefere drawing shorthaired animals.

From Chad Everett's Don't Back Down blog I found the following snippet of information:

"Stumbled across this link somewhere. It uses the Technorati API, and calculates the value of your blog, based on the value of links, according to the AOL purchase of Weblogs, Inc. in October of 2005."

Not able to resist pushing a button, I had to find out. Your blog,, is worth $18,629.82, according to the script.

Offers anyone??

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Sunday, May 28, 2006


Today I explored the boundaries of another 8 acres of land that was just purchased - bringing the total amount of land to 15.5 acres. I walked the periphery initally then found a cut line through the woods that was used to mark the boundary by the surveyor.

I had brought my camera with me and found some interesting fodder for drawing. Part of the land borders on bog so the trees in that area are shallow rooted and many dying. Its a natural part of life in the forest and always leaves remarkable landscapes in its wake. This old stump was covered with moss and lichen and fungi and the colours were just amazing, also the texture.

Fallen trees blocked the way and make walking very difficult (how do moose move so swiftly through even denser wooded areas??). I love their textures and forms and on a warmer day I will be back to capture some of these elements in my sketchbook.

Back at the house, I glanced out of the dining room window and there on the edge of the garden was a wild rabbit. I have a love/hate relationship with rabbits. They are beautiful creatures, but very destructive in the garden and greenhouse, eating bark off tress in winter and destroying young crops in the garden. I still couldn't resist a few photos of this one who sat stock still as if posing for me, probably he caught my movement and froze on the spot.

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