Thursday, April 24, 2014

I Only Need to Paint 1.53846154 Pieces a Week

These past few months or so I have been attempting to multi-task by switching back and forth using both my left and right sides of my brain. I took on a seasonal part-time job working as a tax professional for a well known corporation and continuing to paint as much as I can during my time off. It has been a challenge for sure and reminds me of the days when I worked full-time as an accountant and would try to spend a few hours in my studio each night when I wasn't too exhausted.

Well, I have been retired from full-time employment for a year and half and while I can't believe how quickly the time has flown by I have to consider if I have been as productive as I thought I would be.  After today I will be once again be unemployed and able to devote more time to my artistic journey.  

Recently, I've been greatly benefiting from an e-course that is being taught by successful Xanadu gallery owner and author, Jason Horejs.  This course is full of great and practical advice and this information is exactly what I need to get my artistic goals clearly defined and propels me towards my dreams.  

Mr. Horejs writes, "Having spent over 20 years in the gallery business, I’ve noticed a key common trait of financially successful artists: they are constantly in the studio, hard at work. I would describe these artists as productive and prolific.  The realities of the art market today are such, that in order to generate regular sales and establish a strong collector base for your work, you have to have significant inventory. To a certain degree it’s a numbers game. You have to have enough work available so that you can show the work in a variety of venues and get the work in front of enough people to reach the buyers. My research has shown that, on average, successful painters are creating nearly 80 pieces per year."

Okay...this probably goes back to the accountant and tax professional in me but I had to do the math on that.  80 pieces / 52 weeks = 1.53846154.  WOW!  That's a worthy goal and one I'm going to work to attain it.

An exciting side note this week as I work to build MY COLLECTOR BASE....I was so pleased that my piece, "Casting Out the Darkness" found a new home with a couple from Lake Havasu, Arizona.  When I spoke to the wife on the phone, She stated to me that she and her husband had seen the painting in January while it was hanging at the Boulder City Gallery and her husband just loved it.  So last week while she was here in Las Vegas for a seminar she contacted me and we made arrangements to meet up so that she could purchase the piece for her husband as a birthday gift.  Let's just say I was doing the happy dance right there in the parking lot of the Hilton Garden Inn!

24x24 Acrylic- "Casting Out the Darkness"

Sunday, April 13, 2014


I have recently had the great pleasure of going through a free e-course offered by Jason Horejs, owner of Xanadu Gallery and author of the book “Starving to Success”.  I know the information I am learning in this series of emails, reading his book and joining the free webinars is going to be key to me reaching my long-term goals as an artist.  

One of the take away points that I wrote down this week in my notes is:  "The most important thing you can do for your art career is develop a consistent style."  At first when I read this I thought that referred mostly to subject matter. For example when I think of successful artist Nancy Medina, I can't help but think of flowers.  She paints flowers of every shape and color with consistency and passion from her studio in Flower Mound, Texas.  Her work seems to sell before the paint even dries or her brushes are washed.  On occasion I see her paint a garden scene, a chicken or even her latest romantic dress series but her colorful and loose style is still present.  Check out her work and you will see exactly what I mean.   I have her website link listed below under my favorite artist links.

Another artist that I admire his work greatly and give all the credit to for my return to painting is landscape Tim Gagnon.  His basic landscape painting course was amazing and lit the fire in me to pick up my brushes and get to work.  He is a master at painting landscapes that contain amazing trees and clouds.  I can instantly pick out his pieces amongst a page of landscape images.  His method of painting dictates his style and even if he paints a portrait I can still see Tim Gagnon all over it.  His website link is also found below.
I have for a number of months now been sketching portraits when I wasn't able to paint.  I have a stack of what I think are pretty nice sketches and so you shouldn't be surprised that a number of my paintings this past year have included human subjects.  Granted they are usually old dusty prospectors, but human never the less.  They have also been getting larger and with more detail until lately they subject has become the portrait and not just a human form added to a landscape. 

Portraits are challenging indeed, but I find myself excited about the challenge. This week I had the amazing experience of painting a piece in a few hours that was wildly received on my social media network.  It actually sold within 10 minutes of me posting the picture.  That is a definite first for me and something I hope to repeat.  

So here she is.... 11x14 Acrylic called "Marilyn-A Vision in Pink".  I used my Alizarin Crimson for her skin tone, Pthalo Blue for her hair and even highlighted her hair with Iridescent Gold.  She really pops on the black background.  For fun I also painted Audrey Hepburn in Blue just before my attempt at Marilyn and while many commented how much they liked her and how ARTSY she was,  I couldn't help but think she looked like a smurf...A cute smurf but a smurf none the less.  So am I still going to be painting Nevada landscapes and dusty prospectors?  YES....but this week I gave into my desire to loosen up and get wild with color and I'm having a blast!

"Marilyn-A Vision in Pink"  11x14 Acrylic

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Helldorado- Call For Art and a History Lesson Too!

 Every year the Elks Club sponsors a rodeo and fair here in Las Vegas and along with those two events is a western themed art show and auction that has become a showcase for some really nice artwork.  This will be my 2nd year of entering and I am excited to get together with my fellow artists and enjoy the artwork.  Maybe I will even sell something!  I've included a link to the festivities if you’re interested and in the area. Helldorado 2014

This event has a long and interesting history including ties to an old local outlaw Indian named Queho. One thing I know...I love learning about Nevada history ALMOST as much as I like painting it. I encourage you to take a minute to read about this bit of Southern Nevada History.  

On a personal side note....I have on a number of occasions visited the area that was once called Cathedral Canyon located on the "Hidden Valley Ranch" off the Tecopa Highway.  This is the final resting place of the infamous Queho.  I even had the pleasure of sitting at the ranch one afternoon and having a short visit with the elderly Mr. Roland Wiley.  Cathedral Canyon was his personal project and it was amazing place to see.  He had converted a ravine on his property into a place where you could sit, meditate and think about things.  It was complete with running water and 2 working restrooms.  There was even a suspension bridge hung overhead that spanned the canyon and it is near that bridge that the marker for Queho's grave can be found.  Sadly, when Mr. Wiley passed away the desert quickly reclaimed the canyon and vandals have done their share to speed up that process.  Queho-Renegade Indian

The artwork is due April 23rd, so I've been working on these two pieces for the past few months.  I apologize that I am breaking a very important blogging rule by posting less than perfect photos of my artwork but in reality I am more interested in just taking a minute to talk about each of these pieces and their obvious western flare.

"Best Friends"- 16x20 Oil

This first piece I’m calling “Best Friends” and my inspiration for this came from an old public domain photo of a little girl from the Navajo Nation taken in the early 1900’s.  Her smile just grabbed me nearly as tightly as she has grabbed on to her puppy.  This piece is painted in oil and is on a 16x20 canvas.

"Riding the Buckskin"- 18x24 Oil
The second piece is very personal as I painted it from an old photo of my dad, Gerry Diveley as a young rodeo cowboy.  Usually he would ride bulls and I even have a photo of him riding a buffalo but here he is riding in a bare back bronco category.  I don’t know if he made it the whole 8 seconds but I loved the action I’ve attempted to capture here and painting it was therapy for my soul.  Miss you Dad!  I’m leaning towards calling this piece “Riding the Buckskin” but like naming your children, sometimes you have to really think about the best name that fits the piece.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Yeah for those RED DOTS!

You just have to love when a piece sells...I mean there is a mixed emotion because when you have created something there is an attachment you feel so when a piece is sold there is a moment of hating to see it go but then you imediately come to your senses and jump up and down and do the "HAPPY DANCE".  

This is how I have felt this past week because not only did a sell a little sketch I did as soon as I had posted it on my facebook wall but I got a phone call yesterday informing me that my oil painting "On the Hunt" sold at the Boulder City Art Gallery just two days after it was hung. 

And to add to that exciting news, the couple that purchased the piece were here visiting from the Netherlands!  I think that might make me an INTERNATIONALLY collected artist!  YAHOO!

On the Hunt- 11x14 Original Oil Painting-Sold to a couple from the Netherlands

"Cowgirl Up"- 5x7 pencil sketch- sold to a friend in Texas

Drawing regularly really does make you a better painter.

I know I've read that from other artists and figure it is valid but just last week I was told by a very seasoned artist that my current painting that I'm working on was so improved and she ended by saying it must be because of all the drawing that I have been doing.  WOW!  It actually has worked!

These past few months I have been consistantly drawing when I find I don't have time to paint and so I thought I would just share some of the better sketches with you.