Thursday, March 26, 2009

wip update and art business ideas

Peony work in progress, detail, coloured pencil on Stonehenge
Copyright Teresa Mallen

It probably doesn't look like I have made much progress, but I have. :-) This is one of my slow pieces. I am choosing to build up the layers of colour using very light pressure. I love the results that this sort of control and patience brings. The transparency of the layers create unique colours. Of course such subtleties are not evident on a computer screen, sigh...I have cropped the image in order to just show the stamens as the rest of the flower is pretty much undeveloped.

I recently read an article in the April issue of 'the Artist's Magazine'. The title of the article is Surviving Tough Economic Times and it lists 12 tips from artists and gallery owners. The ideas are not exactly big revelations. I am sure most artists are already engaged in these activities. Ideas such as being active in your community, creating smaller works to accommodate a lower price point, maintaining our blogs and building a patron list are already in the works for most of us. What I did want to share with you was some information regarding doing commissioned work. Jan Lukens, a North Carolina artist reported that his horse commissions are his cash cow because as he states, "show jumping is the second most expensive amateur sport in the country (USA)". So if animal art is your thing, you might want to consider marketing your skills for equestrian portraits to show jumping enthusiasts.

What is the number one most expensive amateur sport in the USA? You will never guess...yacht racing! So, if boats and ships are your forte, this might be the market to go after.

I believe that staying positive is essential to our success (you can read more on this by clicking here) and I was happy to see that keeping a positive attitude was their twelfth strategy for surviving tough economic times. I hope this quote attributed to Louis M. Salerno will encourage you: "Through the Dark Ages, the great famines, the plagues, world wars and the Great Depression, art has been shown, sold, stolen, collected, criticized, condemned and cherished." They also end the article with this data, "In 2003, worldwide art sales were estimated at $5 billion." Hang in there folks.

One of the reasons my progress has been slow on the peony piece is that I am starting to teach a new session of my Coloured Pencil Basics course this weekend. The location is here, in my studio. That means that that my bohemian, hedonistic lifestyle of being surrounded by all of my treasures has to be set aside and room has to be made for my students. The tables are covered with goodies that need to find another resting spot. Where do I put the wonderful Jade plant that my mother-in-law just gave me? My drafting table will have to be moved out of the way...goodness...

You can click on the pictures to see larger images.

The deer antlers, my snake skin, the logs covered in beautiful fungus, birds nests, the willow branches that are rooting in water, all have to be moved. I wonder what my students will think of my decaying pumpkin and zucchini? Have you ever seen decayed and dried veggie skins? The mold can form the most amazing patterns. I plan on using some of these skin segments in some abstract paintings later this year. I need to find some time to play this summer.

So the studio sort out is underway. I am not keen on my studio becoming so civilized but I guess it is necessary (and thankfully temporary). It has been cold this week and there is still snow left in the forest. Here are some determined daylily shoots. I lifted off frozen leaves for the photo and then placed them back on. It is has been rather chilly here this week.


Teresa said...

Thanks for the great info and uplifting thoughts... and what a wonderful studio you have!

Laure Ferlita said...

I love how the peony is progressing! It amazes me that you can begin to see the dimension this early on. Your studio looks like a fun place - very inspirational!

Perhaps the students can use some of your objects to draw? Good luck with your class!

Teresa Mallen said...

Hi Teresa, thanks for stopping by...and yes my studio is wonderful. The former owners built this house and the wife was a print making artist (she had a huge ancient press in the room). She was delighted to learn that another artist would be taking over the space.

Hi Laure, I like your idea...tomorrow I can have them draw a rotting vegetable or a well preserved snake...good thing the photos didn't show the mouse skeleton and some of my other goodies. And if any students are reading this, I am just kidding...

Jan said...

You really lucked out with that beautiful studio! It's a great space.

You're always so upbeat and helpful and it's so much appreciated. We have some Steeplechases around here & quite a few horse farms - now if I could just paint horses!

Teresa Mallen said...

Thank you Jan. You do great dogs so I have no doubt that you can create great horses. I say go for it!