Wednesday, December 21, 2005

This is No. 9 is the series, the one I like better than all the rest. But I think it may be because it's more of a portrait... and that's what I do best.

It's been a busy week!

We finally finished our Christmas shopping. There are still a few packages that haven't

shown up yet but there are still three more days left so maybe they'll get here on time. I'm catching up on my Colorful Nude series. I need to have ten done by the end of the year to stay on schedule and it looks as if I'll make it. I am thrilled that No. 6 sold for $91.00! I have listed no. 7 at $34.95- it's a 16 x 20 and I think it's only fair I charge $10 more for them but it really seems to discourage bidding.
I finished two more today and these listings will begin tomorrow right before no. 7 ends. Hopefully I'll get a bid because I don't really want to relist it and mess up the order I have them in. I am going to Front Page no. 9 because I really like it and I think it has some possibilities but you never know, I guess. One person's favorite painting is another person's trash. And an additional $20 fee is a lot for a painting when you start the bid out at $25.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Jake joined our family

We adopted a new puppy last Friday and I haven't had a lot of time to paint because I needed to spend some time with him introducing him to how things work around here. His old name was "Smoke". We re-named him JAKE.. well Scott did. I was just happy Scott accepted him because I didn't give him much warning that it was going to happen. We all love him a lot though. He is so different from Ebony, our lab-chow-shepherd mix. He looks a bit like her, meaning he is black and has brown eyes. But the resemblance ends there. Ebony looks very lab-like. Jake has a long tapered nose and fluffy ears. He is a mild-mannered little fellow who almost dances when he walks. He has light brown inquisitive eye and a very dainty way of sitting as if he is saying, "Please?" I love the little guy already. Puppies require a lot of attention though so I am thinking it's going to eat into my painting time. I have already had to block off my studio to keep him out of my stuff. The last thing I need is little paint-covered doggie pawprints all over my house.

NUDE 11.05.06 is finished

These nudes are selling pretty well on eBay now. Well, at least they all seem to sell, which is more than I can say for my still-lifes. I started another still-life this morning - then I knew I wanted to work on another of the Colorful Nudes. This one took about 3.5 hours. A bit long for offering it for $24.95. What does that come to-- about $7.00 an hour not counting materials? I just have to hope that it gets bids. The last one sold for $51.99 - it was a bit larger though- 20" x 16". On the other had, it didn't take as long to paint either. Here is the newest one- which I really think is the best yet. I am really accomplishing what I set out to do here: paint quicker and more impressionistically, yet retain the quality.

Monday, December 05, 2005

Pongo is Done

I have put the final touches on this horse commission and can call it done. He turned out rather well and his owner (who is 11 years old) really loves the painting. That's what counts! I haven't been able to find time to paint as much as I'd like though. Christmas parties, shopping and "life" seem to be getting in the way.

Saturday, December 03, 2005

A Little Progress...

Three eBay auctions sold last week (no. 3 and no. 4 in the series of nudes and the Lone Wolf in Moonlight). I also sold three paintings at the museum sale (an Angel nude, a landscape and a still-life) so things are picking up a bit. Thursday I listed two more auctions on eBay: No. 5 in the Colorful Nude series and the Cat on the Piano. I really love this painting, and I listed it pretty low so it will probably sell. But if it doesn't I am going to keep it. I just feel like I at least have to offer everything I paint as I am trying to make a living at this now. And I could always paint another one, I suppose. The Pongo painting is finished; I added a few more details and put in some more spots where the client's daughter wanted them. It's hard to paint a horse's back when the horse has a saddle on and they don't want the saddle on in the painting. I'll email the photo today and hopefully she'll Ok it so I can ship that out before Christmas.

I am hopeful that things will pick up after Christmas. I know that I'll have more time to paint then. We have to get some Christmas shopping done today and put up some lights so today is going to be a total loss, I'm afraid.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

I am creating these nudes from drawings I have on file from my life drawing classes. The drawings are in black and white so that leaves me lots of creative possibilities when I paint. My goal is to paint twenty of them on linen by the end of February 2006. I am going to stick with smaller sizes like 12" x 16" and 16" x 20" so I can finish them in a day or two.
I am selling these on eBay with a starting price of $24.95. So far they have all sold, although the first sold for more than the others. I'm not sure why these aren't getting more bids. Quality-wise, they are pretty exceptional for the price. Could be the holiday season is causing a slow-down on eBay as people are out shopping or spending their money on Christmas. I am almost reluctant to continue listing them- but I promised myself I would do this series and FINISH it.
My goal this week was to complete three paintings- this one, the cat on the piano, and a painting of a leopard or cheetah. I think I might actually make it!
This is a larger nude that I will list for $34.95-- she is almost finished- I have to go over the blue and kill some edges on it yet.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Cat on a Piano or ???

I don't quite know what to call this painting. It turned out really well. I used a Venetian Red underpainting to keep it warm because I knew the cool tones of the piano and the black and white cat would be overwhelming. I like the way the red shadows everything and adds drama. My step-daughter loves cats so I am going to put this one on Cafe Press and have something printed with it for Christmas.

Life size -- 16" x 20"

Friday, November 25, 2005

Pongo the Horse

This is a commission for a lovely woman I met through an auction I listed on eBay last month. She was bidding on one of my paintings and let it go when the price got too high. She liked the painting so much that she sent me an email asking if I might be interested in painting her daughter's horse. I've never painted a horse "commission", but it can't be too different than painting anything else from a photo. Of course, a lot depends on the quality of the photographs as you can only guess at so much. In this instance, Pongo has many spots. Some of the spots are covered by his halter and I don't have a view of the left side of his head without a halter, so I have had to guess a bit.
The key to getting a likeness with any animal is the eyes, I think, so I've paid particular attention to Pongo's eyes and tried to add some sparkle to what I am told is a 28 year old pony.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Why Do Some People Need to Bleed You Dry?

I just feel a tiny need to vent here. I began offering a few paintings at auction on eBay in mid-October. Most of the pieces sold for the asking price or a bit more. One sold for quite a bit more than I expected and I was pleased as this was an award-winning painting of a horse that deserved to be somewhere where it was appreciated- rather than hanging unappreciated in a back hallway at my house.

I decided to paint a few more paintings especially for the eBay audience to get an idea of what might sell. I painted some nudes from studies I had made in life drawing. A few of these sold well. I painted some wolves, just because Scott said I didn't paint them as well as I painted people. Had to prove him wrong. I offered a few of my larger still-life paintings and they received no bids. I painted a super 12" x 16" painting of a pair of horses that was just drop dead gorgeous and offered it for a very low initial bid of $49.99 (no reserve). I crossed my fingers that this painting would at least bring $100 as I knew it was a $600 piece.

Well, this painting did get a couple bids on the last day it was up for auction and it went for a few dollars more than I had listed it- maybe $53.00 or so. My fault totally. I should have cancelled the auction. I've included a photo of the painting I titled Stand By Me.

The winning bidder was a bit odd and this is where the story gets really bizarre. She called me on the phone to ask me about the painting, which was fine. But she asked questions like, "What is linen? Why is it painted on linen and why is the linen on stretcher bars? How do I pack it when I ship it?" I think I was on the phone with her for half an hour listening to her tell me how much she loved collecting art and how many paintings she had purchased from different artists. I felt like I had to reassure her that she was getting a quality item. I assured her she could send the painting back if she didn't like it- I would find another buyer. Secretly, I just wanted her to say forget the deal and not pay me.

But she did pay me and I reluctantly shipped her beautiful painting out the same day and left her great feedback. Monday I got another phone call from the woman. She had been having second thoughts about paying the shipping and handling charges. She just knew it had cost less than $25.00 to package and ship the painting. Was I trying to rip her off? She was almost offensive and definitely a bit nasty. I tried to explain to her that I spend about an hour wrapping and shipping and driving a package to the UPS drop off plus I purchase cartons to wrap my larger paintings in. It was not sinking in. She thought she had been had- even though she told me how much she loved the painting and it was so much better in real life than on the web. I asked her what would make her happy and of course it all came down to money. She wanted a partial refund of shipping costs. After another 20 minutes of listening to her and trying to maintain some semblance of my sanity (she seemed not to be dealing with quite a full deck), I was able to get off the phone by telling her I would just refund her some money through Paypal. She made it clear she would leave negative feedback even though she loved the painting and had received it very quickly, if I did not send her $6.50. I was proud of myself. I treated her very pleasantly throughout the conversation, but did ask her not to bid on any more of my auctions.

After sending $8.00 to her via my Paypal account I thought I might check some of the auctions she had been purchasing to see if just maybe she was really tight and only purchased things she could re-sell for more money. Of course I realize some people just have to feel they have gotten the best of you. I'm not sure what that's all about but I know it's true, just from watching and listening to people.

I was shocked when I viewed her list of recent winning auctions. This woman obviously had money. She had just won four auctions for over $100 each for some little antique horse statues. I know nothing about antiques, of course, but these little horses were not originals; they were ceramic casts. Yet she had wasted a great deal of time talking to me about getting a refund on her shipping charges for an original oil painting that she had paid less than 10% of the real value for.

I was a bit discouraged after this incident. The on-line auction business I had envisioned where people find unique treasures they really want and sellers can actually make a living seems to be a dream I won't realize. Just the thought of having to deal with more flaky people like this woman gives me the willies.

Lantern and Skull

I started this painting at the museum in their art-room last week. I had to drop off several pieces for a show and a sale yesterday so I decided to work on it for a little while even though I arrived later than I wanted to. I was the only artist working and it was pretty peaceful. I turned off all the lights and the security guards locked the door, probably not even realizing I was inside. :)

I had the radio tuned to the classical station we always listen to when we're working in there and all the lights in the room off except for the one directed toward my set-up and the one lighting my canvas. The painting just seemed to come together all by itself and before I knew it three hours had flown by and the painting was done!

I'm not sure what the skull and the lantern have in common; they just seem to relate well to each other and the wonderful crimson reflections on the bone were just a lot of fun to paint. I think you can tell when an artist had fun with it-- there's just a certain glow and bravado to a piece. Below is a link to a larger view of this piece that I'm tempted to call No Light on the Trail.