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la villita – san antonio

imageMy family and I have been visiting San Antonio which apart from my hometown of Mckinney is really my favourite place in Texas and just a four and a half hour drive. We stay on the Riverwalk which is just a gorgeous place to spend time walking or sitting at one of the many restaurants. As well as the obligatory visit to the Alamo we spent a lovely afternoon at La Villita Art Village browsing in all the little art shops and chatting to the artists who run or work out of the shops and galleries there. Nice to see them keeping this historic little town (established 1722) alive with art and creativity. To read more about La Villita click here

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Poppies and inks bring me joy

Poppies are one of my favourite flowers not only to see in the countryside and gardens during spring and summer but to paint. The simplest of flowers it symbolises peace and sleep and since the battles in the fields of Flanders a symbol of rememberance also. image

I’ve painted poppies in watercolors and acrylics and love the simplicity of their structure. Although there are other colours it is the vibrancy of the red ones that I’m drawn to. This poppy was created using alcohol inks on a 6 by 6 inch ceramic tile. No brushes involved I dropped the alcohol onto the tile and blew through a straw to create the petals then worked inwards with layers of the red and white inks before creating the center of the flower using black ink.

Colours; Watermelon, snowcap and black. Only three colours but wow what an impact!

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Drawing is the new meditation 2

image Judging by the huge number of books and instructional videos available there are many people who are loving the joy of colouring again. Not just for children anymore, adult colouring books are hugely popular. Just a couple of years ago eveywhere I went people had their noses stuck in the hugely popular 50 Shades trilogy. Now any train journey or coffee shop is guaranteed to have someone colouring. I’ve always doodled on scraps of paper, while taking a call, at the bottom of homework but now am creating not only more structured drawings which is extremely relaxing and therapeutic but others are buying them to colour and create their own mini works of art. This is one of the first drawings I did and I had great fun. I guarantee you’ll feel more relaxed and less stressed. There are no rules; just draw and doodle and most of all HAVE FUN!

Available on Etsy 😜

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Painting intuitively

Bluejay - acrylics
Bluejay – acrylics

I often get too caught up in the details of a subject and if you look at my painting “Bluejay” you’ll see I spent a lot of time painting the individual feathers with the tiniest of brushes. While I really admire those great artists who are amazing at creating photo realistic art and completely in awe of the skill this takes I prefer a much more relaxed and abstract approach. That is if I can stop myself from doing it. Probably I need someone to stand in my studio and shout loudly “Put down the brush and walk away from the painting!”

So what is intuitive painting? Chris Zydel of Wild Heart Painting says that it is “a powerful intuitive, spiritual and creative practice” and that appeals to me. To be able to listen to one’s intuition, to paint from your heart and soul and not from your brain. It’s not concerned about aesthetics and creating art for someone else. It’s about painting what feels good to you and reconnecting with your creativity. Painting with serendipity!

So I’ve been watching a lot of videos on Youtube of artists who have a far more relaxed approach and trying to paint more intuitively. Often the colours and images the artists begin with bear no relation to the finished art as they continually turn and adjust the painting to see what the canvas is telling them rather than the other way. There are a couple of artists who I greatly admire; Tracy Verdugo and Susan Farrell both Aussies and if you know me and my love of vibrant colours you’ll know exactly why they appeal to me. The exciting thing is I get work with both of them soon and I cannot wait. I’ll be doing a workshop with Susan Farrell in September and believe me that is too far away so you can imagine how crazy I feel about having to wait to see Tracy Verdugo in Dallas in May 2016.

Work In Progress
Work In Progress

In the meantime I’m trying to relax into my painting a little more and my studio has become my sanctuary. I even light a candle each time I paint. I’ll post some of my creations as I go!

View Bluejay on Etsy

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An interesting read…

When I first started painting again it was purely for pleasure and the opportunity to be creative. When people suggested I sell my paintings I had no idea at all about pricing my work. Sure I had information about the cost of my art supplies and I knew how long I had spent working on a painting but it was still difficult to think of a price tag. Often people would tell me that I had priced myself too low. Initially I felt embarrassed asking anything above the cost of the paint and canvas. I just didn’t know what to do or where to start – did I price my art by hours I spent on it or $ per square inch? There is a lot of advice out there and it can get quite confusing. I have a whole library dedicated to art and small business and the book below is one of the first I read. Mine is the 2010 version but an updated 2014 version is available now from Amazon.

I’ve seen this book pop up a few times in recent Facebook feeds and it’s something I have found useful. Not only is there a section about pricing but advice on other ethical issues such asimage copyright; yours and those people whose work you may use as a reference for example photographs you may use to create your painting. As a novice to the “Selling Art” world I don’t want to price myself out of a sale but at the same time this IS a way of making a living as well as being creative so though I don’t see my art selling for a crazy $100 million as in the case of Damien Hurst’s diamond skull I would still like to get a fair price. Thankfully the creative part of it is far more important to me than making a zillion dollars. Then again if you are interested in some original alcohol ink paintings or prints (very reasonably priced ha ha 🙂 ) please head over to my Etsy store or visit The Mckinney Art Studio on Lamar in McKinney, Texas.

Here’s the blurb on Amazon:

Graphic Artists Guild Handbook: Pricing & Ethical Guidelines, 14th Edition is an indispensable resource for people who create graphic art and those who buy it. As the graphic art marketplace continues to evolve to meet the needs of both digital and print media and as clients struggle with shrinking budgets in the current economy, the need for up-to-date information on business, ethical, and legal issues is greater than ever. Find it all here in the 14th Edition. Click on the image for more details.