Sunday, April 28, 2013

Selling Art Out of My Trunk

Selling my art is something that I have not yet gained much experience at.  Yesterday my experienced selling my first commission piece struck me just a bit on the funny side. It has been my experience that strangers selling things out of the truck of their car in public parking lots are usually up to NO GOOD.  You should be wary no matter how good the deal seems but here I was, meeting two strange guys in the parking lot of the local Hobby Lobby while I was out prom dress shopping for my niece.  The exchange of cash for my painting was to take place at noon. The whole transaction felt a bit strange but all went well.  They loved my piece that I called "Trail of Dreams" and I loved that I had sold another painting this year.

Hey Kid!  Come here!  You want to buy some art?

24 x 36 "Trail of Dreams"- SOLD

Monday, April 22, 2013

Faces and Feathers

At the beginning of April I started an oil painting that I found to be very fun to paint.  Using a reference photo that contained 7 or so roosters full of attitude, perched on a stone wall and the flavor of a favorite Robert Duncan piece I came up with my own creation of the scene.  I even used a palette knife to lay in the stonewall and that is a first for me.  I had to put it aside as I worked on a large commission piece and so this week I was finally able to get back to give these guys some faces and feathers.

I'm trying to remember to use brighter colors and I think that the mountains came out looking pretty good.  Even though they are close I laid the colors loosely and didn't try to focus not as much on detail as impression.  This is a technique I'm going to use again for sure.

I think a nice barn wood frame is in order and as soon as it drys a coat of varnish will finish it up.

If you are interested in purchasing any giclee prints of this particular piece visit my Fine Art America site at:Julie Townsend- Feisty Fowls

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Everyone Needs a Critic

I have one friend that I can depend on that will always tell me the truth about my artist endeavors. She will always tell me what she likes about my creation but equally she doesn't hold back with truthful criticism and since she has nearly 40 years of painting experience, I know that she knows what she is talking about. Sometimes it is hard to hear but it is EXACTLY what I need if I want to grow as an artist.

Right now, my week has been consumed with working on my very first commission piece and last night my friend had a great deal of sound advice regarding my progress. The issue with this commission piece is that the buyer has requested a combination of two of my existing paintings on one canvas. Both of these pieces were featured in the Mar/April 2013 edition of "Gold Prospectors Magazine". Now with many paintings that might not be a problem per say but in this case we are talking about two completely different landscapes; one is of a mining shack that I painted near Tonopah, Nevada and is smack dab in the heart of the Mojave Desert and the other one is of a prospector panning for gold in a mountain stream. The focus of both is gold mining but blending the two together is proving difficult.

I had followed her previous council and had created a rendering by doing a pencil sketch of the layout based upon the conversation I had with the buyer. The buyer said he loved the idea and so I proceeded to start my painting. Visually, I worked to combine the sky and mountains between the two scenes and then my plan was to separate the two scenes by using tall pines trees and shrub pine in the center as a division. When I was about 3/4 of the way complete, I sent a progress picture to my friend and she had a great deal to say about it.

First, she told me that it was breaking a huge compositional rule by having large trees in the center of my canvas and that these trees are the focal point when they shouldn't be. No matter if the buyer agreed, it was my job as the artist to direct him to a composition that works and while they may be buying the piece upon completion, I still owned this work. They will probably be in awe at anything you paint because they don't possess the artistic skill to paint anything and that is why they hired me. She didn't want me putting something out there that I might later regret. All I can say about this is that I sure have a lot to learn about this art business.

Then she gave me some helpful advise to consider a correction. She advised me to take a heavy bristol paper and to tape it on to the canvas in the problem area. Then re-paint the scene that better brings the two paintings together and that will minimize the center pine trees. This way I can visually see the correction before I start laying waste to my piece and deciding this wasn't going to work. Wise advice to be sure.

I have included the pictures of my original works and the current piece in progression so that you as the reader might learn along with me. After all, the purpose of this blog is to hopefully help other aspiring artists like myself by sharing my journey.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

NetWORKing is a lot Like WORK

I think every successful artist will tell you that at the beginning of your journey you have to work hard networking. Networking with other artists, potential customers and collectors. I would wager that almost all successful artists will tell  you a number of stories that include their days working the art show circuit.

So this past weekend I did my duty by sitting in a booth covered with my beloved artwork and surrounded by my artist friends. I didn't sell anything but then neither did many other very talented artists so I'm not discouraged. As a matter of fact, this month I have made the investment in grid display panels so that I could professionally display my artwork at future shows. I just have to remember that perhaps one of those many business cards I pass out and every conversation I have about places in Nevada that have inspired me to paint will someday result in a possible sale.

This economy makes it very difficult to sell your work and it is nearly impossible if you are only sitting in your studio at home. It takes constant work keeping yourself in the public eye by showing your work on the internet, in co-op galleries and yes, even at art shows. So today get up and talk to someone about your art and don't forget to pass out your business card.

Artists Jan Arduini, Lily Adamczyk and myself

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

A Year Of Firsts For Me

This may be my 51st year on this planet, but it is one marked by many firsts and yesterday was no exception.
1.  I retired from my position as Business Administrator of 27 years.
2.  More than doubled the number of individuals that call me "Grandma" after the birth of my 3 new adorable grandbabies.   Sept, Nov and Jan saw the Townsend Clan greatly multiply and if you have the joy of being a grandparent, you know just how exciting that can be.

These are personal changes but I have also experienced a complete career change.  It has always been my childhood dream to someday be considered and "Artist".  Now that I have time to pursue my passion I am seeing a number of exciting new developments in 2013 already.

1.  My art is hanging in a small co-op gallery down in the heart of the Las Vegas art district.  It's just a tiny wall, but it is a start to have my work publically displayed on a regular basis

2.  This past month saw the publication of the magazine article in Gold Prospectors Magazine that featured my love of painting Nevada and it's rich mining history.

3.  March also saw me selling my first piece of original work and 2 prints (thanks to the exposure that the magazine article provided) to STRANGERS.  Collectors unknown to me and are spending their hard earned money because they like my painting rather than buying it because they know me.
"Dreams in Shades of Gold" packed up and ready to ship off to a new home.

4.  It is only the 2nd day of April and I'm sitting here considering another first.  I have been contacted by a company in California that specializes in mining equipment to paint an original piece that they want to hang in their store and also use as the image on their business cards.  They have offered to allow me to add my website address to the cards for self promotion.  This is what I think you call a "Commission".  My FIRST!

You know when I turned 50, I thought that was a really BIG deal.  Who would know that being 51 would be SO much more exciting!