View Full Version : Monthly Scumble August 2014

Shirl Parker
07-31-2014, 11:40 PM
Hi everyone! Welcome to the Scumble, our monthly chat thread where we share the happenings of our everyday lives! I hope you will all chime in and look forward to hearing about them.


08-01-2014, 10:30 PM
Purr thanks for starting up the new Scumble! I haven't done today's art yet but ordered my Ludwig Mystery Box so that's fun. Other than that mostly hung out online and chat with Kitten and pet the cat. He's been unusually clingy today, demanding a lot of attention and lap time.

Sarah Rose
08-12-2014, 05:36 PM
I miss you guys! I was so busy doing stuff for a show and then was depressed because nothing sold that I haven't been here for awhile. I "quit" painting (again!) but am really feeling the urge to do it. I think it's too late for me to quit, I think about it all the time, and always reading painting stuff online, daydream about painting when we drive, etc, etc. I might have to simplify my life to be able to keep doing this, but I have the addiction bad.

08-12-2014, 10:00 PM
Way too late to quit and so glad to have you back! The amount of spending money the buyers have in pocket at the time is maybe the biggest factor in whether sales go well at a show or not. I've seen it so many times.

At times when I quit, I went through the same thing, thinking about it and daydreaming of doing it, noticing things I wanted to paint. I'm glad the urge came back, it's wonderful to see you again and I look forward to seeing more of your work!

08-13-2014, 09:32 AM
I'm sorry you're feeling bad about not selling, Sarah (or do you prefer Sarah Rose?). It is depressing to have spent so much time, energy and money to produce art and not sell. The brilliant (?) solution to helping me be less depressed about not selling occurred to me one day when I was feeling the same way and came up with the realization that just because I love to paint and choose to make paintings does not mean that others are under any obligation to buy my work. I decided that the act of painting, the process, had to be the only reward I could faithfully rely upon. I had to chuckle to myself yesterday when I received an email with a call for entries to a show for professional artists only. "Professional artist" was defined as an artist who has a degree in art or is a grad student in art, teaches art for reimbursement, earns at least fifty percent of annual income from art, or who earns at least $500 annually from art. Now I admit they dropped the bar pretty low, at $500, but, still, I don't fit into that category. I whimsically thought they should have added a category for artists who have painted for 40 years and sold a total of $500 worth of art BUT spend at least $500 a year on art supplies and related art expenses like traveling to art fairs or other venues to show their work! Another useful category would be those who paint diligently and whose every waking moment is consumed by thoughts of painting--and who also spend the aforementioned $500 on art!

Of course, I must admit I make no effort to market my work other than showing locally. Perhaps you do spend some time in that very important aspect of being a "successful" artist? There is a wealth of information online about marketing, the most consistent of which that I have read being to develop a following, which one artist/marketing adviser called a "tribe," of people who like your work. He advised that you develop an email list, or snail mail list, of these people and keep them updated with current pictures of your work along with brief descriptions of your process in creating the work and the inspiration for painting a particular scene. In other words, you are selling, not just an impersonal piece of art, but yourself, your personality, letting your "tribe" into your world and letting them get to know you. I wish I could recall that artist's name but can't. He has a blog and is supposedly very successful in selling his work.

I would venture to bet that the majority of paintings sold, not the major amount of money spent--that amount would be spent at the big galleries-- but the actual number of paintings, come from the big box stores and are mass produced at very little expense to the retailer and thus can be sold very cheaply. A poll of the general population would probably show that fewer than 5 percent have attended an art opening. The general population are folks who have kids to feed and mortgages and car payments, and just want to make their homes look lovely with a nice picture over the couch that matches the decor. I'm not knocking them. They have sensible priorities and most would probably give your work generous compliments if they saw it, but they just can't afford it, as Robert said. I think the art world has become very divided between two camps, those camps being the young artists coming out of prestigious schools with an MFA and a flair for marketing who get picked up by galleries, and the rest of us who create art for the sheer love of painting (or sculpting).

If you love to make art, keep doing it. I firmly believe that a work of art that is beautiful, or is moving or captivating, will not get thrown on the trash heap. It will be kept and treasured by someone and, who knows, may be discovered in an attic 500 years in the future, sell at Sotheby on X-Planet for lots of money, and finally make its way into an art history book as a precious relic of the people of the Late Earth Period!

Sarah Rose
08-13-2014, 09:55 AM
Robert, Blayne, you too are so nice and thoughtful. It's sorta funny to me that I have been a sculptor for 30 years, and have been making a living (sometimes a very comfortable living) from it since the late 90's. For some reason, though, painting takes me on an emotional roller coaster, I go through these crazy highs and lows. It's almost like I am manic depressive when I am actively doing it. When I am sculpting I am even keel. It's sorta weird. I am so bored of sculpting, and painting is relatively new to me and there is SO much to it that my mind feels very engaged. I feel sorta immature in regards to my painting personality. In regards to the 'show' I did it was pretty lame, and once I got there I had no expectation to sell anything, but then got depressed afterwards and it's silly really. Blayne, I decided that painting IS the reward too, it's a kind of meditation, like gardening or fishing. No one expects to be paid money for those activities :) They are for enjoyment :)

Thanks you two :)

08-13-2014, 10:26 AM
Actually, Blayne, knowing who my tribe were all those years I supported myself entirely or partially on it - that's not true. I think the sheer numbers of people who can afford a daily painter's work or the one artist they know because they met at a fair ten years ago is a lot higher than people who buy in galleries, especially high end ones. Whether they can afford to get the one they loved is what's really up in the air when the economy dips and twitches. It goes in waves. But they will often buy more art from the same artist once they've bought any real art at all.

It's more that people's budget for non-necessities goes through ripples and waves. Market waves are random and unpredictable, either sellout shows or dead shows with no sales. The same people will come to the next one and wish they could buy it, often look longingly and say they'll come back later, but then they wound up getting something else or had lunch or check their budget and, no, we really can't go back to get that landscape that reminded them of the place dad took them fishing.

Professional or not is a lifestyle decision, not a skill thing or quality matter past a certain relatively low benchmark. Anyone who can do one popular subject recognizable to non-artists will start getting into the category it will sell if they find the right market. Living on it is a lifestyle choice weighing art sales and their uncertainty against steady check doing something else and how much you want to put time into marketing and business stuff.

The low mark is there for a reason, it's good the $500 or more is there. You'll reach it at the right show or art fair when people have spending money or by one serious buyer finding your work online. It helps to keep email lists and stay in touch with them and blog, all that advice is good. They have to see it to know they want it that much.

Selling art is like selling your kittens. They each have a personality and are unique. It does get that personal. You're not selling yourself, you're selling your works, but the more they know about you and especially about how you create art, the more they can personally engage with the art. It's a much more personal relationship between buyer and seller, a friendship with a focus, they are as interested in your artistic growth as you are. Usually less so in what you did to upgrade the garage and whether your cousin got married but that level's at acquaintance level.

Part of choosing to go pro is expanding your life to where a great many acquaintances and personal friends are your art buyers.

Art by non professionals that is that good does get cherished and sometimes discovered by the markets after death. In life it's a lifestyle choice. To live on it you need to be willing and able to run a small business of a particular type, live very open on one level, communicate about it and make it a big part of your social life. The up side is you are your own boss and get to make your own decisions. The down side is you are your own boss and have to make your own decisions.

I'd go back to it in a heartbeat if my health allowed me to work more than an hour a day and more than a couple of days a month for serious works.

08-13-2014, 12:00 PM
Welcome back Sarah Rose! I understand the whole rollercoaster thing. I never have any expectations to sell, and yet....when I don't, there is a real disappointment as well as trying to figure out what I am going to do with these paintings :)
and speaking of missing people, has anyone heard from keepingpure?

08-13-2014, 01:26 PM
You're welcome, Sarah Rose. I just came back from viewing your sculptures and wanted to say I can easily see how you could sell those beauties! I especially liked Lone star.

Robert, you seen to have taken seriously my remark about the "professional" category. Did you overlook the word "whimsically" in my sentence?:)

08-13-2014, 08:42 PM
Probably, Blayne. I just relax and rattle off on the keyboard a lot of times. It's frustrating to be medically retired, I miss it so I sometimes go on at length on these rants. If I can't do it any more maybe I can inspire others to. And I justify myself to myself, why I don't get out and try to market the stuff I'm doing now that's so much better and try to live on it instead of Social Security. Eh, when I'm 62 it'll be a good supplement to it.

08-13-2014, 11:06 PM
No problem, Robert, and you did make a good point about lifestyle choice. Not many of us have the confidence and courage to attempt a living at making art. At least you did that, and kudos to you! And don't we all spend a lot of time justifying our behaviors?:) That's OK, too, and a sign of mental health when not taken to excess. After all, if we couldn't justify some of those things we don't like about ourselves, we might become hopelessly depressed. Please don't think your rants are just meaningless. Your time on WC is given so generously to help anyone who asks. Don't stop being Robert!

Sarah Rose
08-14-2014, 01:22 PM
Peg that girl, Keepingpure, posted something about her family moving and her going to college and that she'd be too busy to paint for awhile. You know exactly what I mean then, about not having expectations to sell and still being disappointed when you don't and the trying to figure it out :) I can't even say that there is a pressing financial need for me to make any money from them, but for whatever reason I also don't want them 'just piling up' around here. I am keeping track of my pastel expenditures and sales and have this idea that when I make enough $$$ I am going to start buying other people's paintings. I'd much rather have other people's work on my walls. I do have some, in the past when I didn't do painting I traded sculpture for paintings, or found emerging artists who didn't charge much (yet!). I have always loved original artwork :) Really I should do a blog post about how original artwork somehow adds so much more to a home that, let's say, posters. I'd have to be able to define that 'somehow' though :)

Sarah Rose
08-14-2014, 01:26 PM
Probably, Blayne. I just relax and rattle off on the keyboard a lot of times. It's frustrating to be medically retired, I miss it so I sometimes go on at length on these rants. If I can't do it any more maybe I can inspire others to. And I justify myself to myself, why I don't get out and try to market the stuff I'm doing now that's so much better and try to live on it instead of Social Security. Eh, when I'm 62 it'll be a good supplement to it.

I am in that transition, too, where my physical issues are making it harder to work, to really work as in being able to put in serious hours. I have a doctor who will sign off if I decide to put in for SSDI, but wow, it would be a huge decrease in income. It is inevitable, for me....that's what sucks huh Robert? At some point you have to if you have a degenerative condition.

08-14-2014, 02:40 PM
Sarah Rose, oh I feel for you. It's worse if it's degenerative. At least all my chronic is pretty much the same year to year, dependent on weather and what I eat and a few things I can control like medication. I suppose aging will eventually take away still more function but it's not as bad as something degenerative would be.

I agree with you about original artwork versus posters, though original prints from an artist can be a good alternative if you love that artist and can't afford her originals. I have a really nice horse print from one of my favorite artists whom I couldn't afford, back in Arkansas with much of my collection. I think part of it with originals is that you may have seen it created, you know how it was done, you have a direct connection with the artist. It's something personal, not just decorative.

The day you bought it and the occasion. The person it's about if that's a portrait of someone you love, or the place you loved visiting, or grew up in. Everything about it is personal. I am a cat nut. I know what it means to my clients when I've done cat portraits. It's not just "Cats are so cool." They might have gotten a cat poster with similar markings. It's that I try to get the personality of Poindexter the silly kitty in one of his particularly cute and silly poses, it's someone they love. Not something manufactured that a million other people have, but something deep and personal.

In a world where people get told to consume this and that, just impersonally work a job that's often miserable and spend money on stuff that was made by equally miserable people, buying a piece of art from an artist who is skilled and powerful is reaching for a different kind of life. It's taking your home into your hands and making it yours.

Real art, original art has nuances that prints don't capture. The colors and textures are true. I can't count the number of times I've done something awesome that flattens out in the camera or had to apologize for the color because the gamut range meant I could get the greens right but the blues would get too bright or the blues right and turn the greens brown. Or I'll lose three or four value level nuances on a bright colored subject as it flattens out to monochrome bright yellow or red. My bananas painting would take a much higher quality camera and photographer to become prints and even then might not work. My lemons worked well but my bananas didn't.

In person pastel painting is vivid and powerful. A good painting has all these little things about it that you don't notice till you've lived with it for a while. I bought an 18" x 24" mystical painting by my pagan friend Lisa, a Wiccan lady. "Cave of the Mothers" is surreal in the best way, it's dreamlike. A semi-formed clay man wades out away from the viewer toward the moon shining over a turbulent sea, inside the brown cave opening three or four distorted, dreamlike female figures and faces watch over him. The fourth is off to the right and might be a hooded crone or just a fold in the rocks, it's hard to tell. They're like faces seen in wood grain or clouds, but just heightened enough that you can see them once you do. Sometimes others emerge like that in the subtle random brown rock shapes. I see new things in it all the time.

I've lived with it for five years and I'm still seeing new things in it. Not usually true for a poster, even if it's really good by a great artist, it's harder for those nuances to come through in printing. Quality art prints are a good substitute but nothing is the same as having something original.

You could always trade some of your art with other artists to have something to hang in your home. I might be up for a trade once I finish the portrait I said I'd do for my home carer. He's in progress but it's a biggie literally because it's huge, he wants it 18" x 24" and that'll be a lot of work. I will probably finish this summer.

08-15-2014, 02:01 AM
Thanks for the update, Sarah Rose. and thank goodness I don't need to sell in order to survive, but you're right, there is a disappointment and as I said wondering what to do with all these paintings.....

08-19-2014, 07:20 PM
Well, made an ergonomic discovery today. I've got a nice field easel but don't usually work vertically on an easel. I had a beautiful Andersen Easel back in Arkansas and used that sometimes but rarely work vertical except on that. I've been a bit leery of using the Heilman easel arrangement or anything where I'd be reaching over the sticks - something about it bothered me, a gut feeling that I could spend a lot of money on the easel attachment and then find myself unable to use it.

I thought it was because I usually lean on something even while painting, usually my drawing board. That's part of it. But I realized the other half of it today - I used to work standing or sitting at an easel every day for most of the day during my street painting years. Today I would not be able to do that. It's my eyesight.

I move closer now to see what I'm doing and if I were bending over my pastels, I wouldn't be able to reach it or hold that position unsupported and still see what I'm doing. This did frustrate me a lot till I got the Andersen because I loved the idea of a French Easel where the sketchbox is part of it. If I get that box from Arkansas any time soon, I'll probably bring it with me going plein air. The walker also doubles as a kind of shopping cart for stacking anything I bring with on it, which is why I can haul around a backpack that weighs more than my cat. It has a basket under the seat or I just put the backpack on top of the seat.

Knowing that about the easels, I was drooling at the Heilman boxes today and half think the one I'd really enjoy is the tiniest... unless I had a stand for it next to me. It'd be pretty freaky to have a tripod and an easel but that'd actually work for holding up a huge collection of pastels. But a table would be cheaper for putting that inside the house.

Hmm... if I am not using my printer as a printer and not doing scans because I use my Kindle camera instead (better color and resolution), then why is my second folding table taken up with my printer? I could find a place to store the printer till I get around to getting a cartridge for it and keep it across the room on account of not printing often even if I do. I could rearrange what's on the big shelves and put it there, thus opening up an entire wooden folding table as The Place To Lay Out Pastels While Working.

I'm using one of the tables for my laptop and a little five drawer unit that's got silverware and smal still life objects and supplies in it. (Not the same drawers). It's too full to put pastels on it too. But the printer table could become the pastels table!

08-20-2014, 02:58 AM
It was always there, waiting for you to see it, wasn't it? :)

I have my table in the corner, under two large windows. It seems ideal (except for the light coming from my right), but I hardly ever use it. I love working on the floor. Maybe I haven't grown up yet.
I think it's the large space around me what I like and also the bigger distance from the paper. Plus I would hardly be able to stand in front of an easel for an hour. I get dizzy.
Good thing we can arrange things as we like! :)

Shirl Parker
08-20-2014, 11:10 AM
... the printer till I get around to getting a cartridge for it...
Robert, here's an inexpensive place to get a cartridge (http://eink2go.com).

Sarah Rose
08-20-2014, 11:23 AM
Thanks for that site, great resource! It costs me almost $70 to replace all my cartridges, fortunately I figured out that I like my iPad better for displaying reference photos, so I print less now. Robert, funny how sometimes things will just come together in your mind and then it's obvious huh?

08-22-2014, 12:05 PM
Shirl, thanks! I might still move it though. I've been putting off the ink cartridges for other priorities for a long time, got used to not printing things out a couple of years ago and don't have many occasions to. It would help to have a cartridge though. Once in a while. I bookmarked the site. IT seems really cheap but it's hard to tell if that is the right cartridge for this printer, the amount of searching is a bit tricky.

I used to print out reference photos but got used to not doing so and it hasn't really hurt what I'm doing, also the screen on the Kindle is even clearer than the laptop so I sometimes look at them right on the Kindle. I'll get around to it eventually.

Thanks so much for the site though! They seem very affordable, just have to be really careful in ordering and not get stuck with unusable ones.

08-22-2014, 01:37 PM
I once bought off label color cartridges on line for a canon printer...what a waste of money, they were terrible, some leaked and the ones that didn't leak lasted no time at all. Unfortunately, I have forgotten the name of them, except that I know the word "ink" was in the name somewhere. So "buyer beware".

08-22-2014, 03:37 PM
Yeah. I'd have to go look up again on the Kodak website and find out what the model number of the cartridges are and compare that to the ones they have. They probably do have them, it's just I'm not sure if they're the nice cheap ones. I didn't really use it much though except occasionally to print postage or to print out photo refs - which is how I used it up.

08-22-2014, 03:47 PM
[quote=getdusty] trying to figure out what I am going to do with these paintings :)

This is my issue. I only caught the drawing and painting bug about a year ago and already am trying to figure out what to do with all the "art" I have created. A few friends have invested in my efforts, but no luck else where. And everyone tells me sign, date and save everything. Good think I have an insulated two car garage... an only one car.

08-23-2014, 01:12 AM
It's still good to sign, date and save everything. Sometimes you can go back later on and rework some of it or get good ideas. Or someone will look through it and find something they love. You could always check out local art fairs too, or try eBay for sales, or Etsy.

I started doing a lot in bound journals and sketchbooks so my own collection takes less space, and I started framing the best pastels. Got some more frames coming soon too, which is going to rock.

08-24-2014, 10:48 PM
Big earthquake in Napa last night at 3:30am. It woke me up but I thought it was a small local earthquake, just shook a bit, beads on my lamp rattled. Swaying feeling and then it settled down but I was awake. No idea that there were 4 critical injuries and over 80 more people treated at the hospital, loads of property damage and trouble down around Napa.

Anyone further south experience it?

Shirl Parker
08-31-2014, 11:39 PM
Time for a new chat thread. Click here. (http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/showthread.php?p=20200361#post20200361)