Saturday, August 29, 2009

Business cards for artists

Today I've been cleaning up the studio as my tables seem to be invisible under a sea of paints, pencils and papers. I finally have regained some space and between sorting I played around with a couple of small watercolours - trading card size. I rarely work this small but its sometimes fun to try to see what I can fit on a small card.

I'm still tossing around ideas for a new business card. I have a layout in mind, just looking for the right graphic for it. A small piece might work for a card, but it has to be the right one.

There is so much differing advice about how an artist's business card should look. Layout, graphics, becomes mind boggling after awhile. I want something simple, that will have impact. Something that people would keep instead of tossing, hence the thoughts around aceo size pieces and how they would translate into a business card. The image and name only on the front and the information on the reverse perhaps. Colour, paper, printing, embossed, plain, interactive??? There are so many possibilities now. Of course all come with a price tag and we all can't afford cards that cost $4 each to produce.

Here's an opinon about business cards.

What is your opinion? What do your business cards look like? Do you have a time tested card layout that works - i.e. people keep them? You get contacts from them?

Here are a few links to business card design and suppliers.

Live Studio: Artist Business Cards
Creative Bits

Print Business Cards
Vista Print

Thursday, August 27, 2009

One minute

I have a love/hate relationship with warm up gesture drawings. They do kick your hand/mind into the mode for a longer drawing but if they go on too long my mind starts to lose interest and want to get into the 'meat' of a longer drawing.

These drawings were done today at the Group of 77's life drawing session which are held on Thursday mornings and have done so for nearly 30 years. Unfortunately only on holiday time can I take part. I so long for an evening drawing session, but it seems that I need to start something myself if its going to become reality.

But back to gesture drawings. It always amazes me at just how much information I can put on paper in a single minute. I look at overall shape, not detail and try to put in place the lines that make up a curve and turn into a gesture. Only then does it become a useful exercise and not one in frustration.

And I got a note today from Elizabeth Scammell Reynolds, who is a fine art appraiser in St. John's and who was the /judge at an art association show last year that I took part in. She critiqued the three pieces that I put into the show and gave very positive feedback. One of pieces - Curled - which you may remember from back in February 2008, was given first place in charcoal on paper.

Why it took so long to provide the information, I don't know, but good news is always good news even if it is late good news.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Premature Harvest

The garden and greenhouse have done well this year and are producing lots of vegetables. A variety of different types of tomatoes were planted as well as hot and sweet peppers in the greenhouse. I love the heirloom tomatoes and cucumbers. These are seeds that have their roots traced back hundreds of years in some varieties, not being crossed with other plants to change/improve characteristics.

The fruit of the heirloom plants isn't as prolific but the taste is there in spades. And the names are always so exotic... Cherokee Purple, Green Zebra, Earl of Edgecombe, Black Krim...

I pick some of the vegetables most days and harvest ripe or fallen ones for my own immediate use. I had a bowl of my harvest on the kitchen counter the other day and with the sun on it, I liked the contrast and shapes and decided to paint it.

This is 11.5 x 9.5 on 300 lb Arches paper. There are still a few tweaks to make perhaps but overall it gives a good impression of the nooks and crannies of the pepper against the tomatoes.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Capelin companions

I started this piece a few weeks ago using 140lb stretched paper and it seemed so flimsy and just wasn't cooperating. However, I pushed through and the paper did, more or less what I wanted it to do, but I did go out and buy some sheets of 300lb paper which are wonderful.

This piece is 12 x 18 in watercolour. I drew random capelin on the sheet but when I was calling it done, it wasn't letting me say so. The botton left corner was too empty so I added in another fish over the blue background and now that fish has become one of my favourites.

The second piece is a companion of sorts and is 15 x 19.5 inches on 300lb Arches paper. I'm still not sure if its complete or not. Its sitting thinking about it. It was designed to be less 'busy' than the first. These were based on some photos I took of capelin from Middle Cove beach, taken in late July. These little fish are getting a lot of service and the freezer has a stock of them for when I want to do more prints.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Bluebird of happiness

This little ceramic bluebird caught my eye and fit nicely onto a leftover piece of 300lb watercolour paper, about 8 x 8 square.

I'm not a collector of knick knacks as they only mean something else to clean, so the ones I do have a sentimental value and are few. Some only come out seasonally. Lately I find myself looking at vintage pieces and recall a little ceramic eggcup that I received one Easter as a child and wonder what became of it. It would make a great little drawing or painting if I can track it, or something similar down.

Be like I, hold your head up high,
Till you find a bluebird of happiness.
You will find greater peace of mind
Knowing there's a bluebird of happiness.
And when he sings to you,
Though you're deep in blue,
You will see a ray of light creep through,
And so remember this, life is no abyss,
Somewhere there's a bluebird of happiness.
Bluebird of Happiness
Words by Edward Heyman and Harry Parr Davies
, 1934

And for those who want to visit (or revisit) some classic music of the 30s, have a listen to what was a huge hit at the time.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Yupo cat

I found a half sheet of Yupo in my stash and another couple of sample pieces in a box and wanted to try it again. Yupo is a unique surface to work on and has benefits and frustrations, depending on what you’re trying to achieve.

Its not for the faint of heart who like precision, that’s for sure. Yupo is synthetic plastic so watercolour sits on the surface instead of soaking into the paper. Strong, impressionistic work seems to work well for this surface , as you have little control over the paint flow, except to try to concentrate it in areas.

There is no need to mask areas because you can go back into a piece and with a clean damp brush, take it back to the white surface in a second with no paper damage. Yupo is virtually indestructable unless you decide to poke holes in it or crease it.

Water reactivates the paint so you need to do a little planning before you put down colour or try to add layers of colours as they will shift before your eyes. I found on this piece of yupo that on area in particular was being very resistant to accepting colour. I persevered and won in the end. Perhaps a fingerprint or similar changed the surface texture a little, I don’t know. But this paper has its challenges.

Overall, I like it for strong impressionistic pieces, but don’t think it would ever become a constant in my stash of watercolour papers. Like drafting film, it is something different to try with a variety of mediums. Experimentation is always fun and you never know what you’ll learn along the way.