Wednesday, April 30, 2008

April Goals Update

"Into the Shadows"
Oil on Panel

I don't know about this painting - I like it better in real life than in this photo, but it just doesn't read how I want it to. Might be destined for a good sanding...

Anyhow, I'm sitting here updating all my financials and databases for April, so I figure I might as well status my yearly goals while I'm at it!! Is this getting repetitive yet? I apologize if my monthly goals post is too businesslike and boring, but this has done wonders for keeping me on track so far this year!

1. Get my work into three more galleries.

I finally got some time to devote to business this month, and contacted a few galleries. As of this week, I have two new galleries who have agreed to start showing my work for the summer season - I'll be delivering paintings to them towards the end of May, and hopefully they'll sell well! Nice to finally report some progress here.

2. Complete 100 paintings.

Painted seven paintings this month, even with a week off at the start for vacation/moving. One might be destined for the trash - it's posted at the top of this blog post - what do you think? I think it's just not "me". Anyhow, that makes it 31 down, 69 to go... I'm still having a hard time with having Aspen in daycare (even though she's just fine with it), but I do get a lot of uninterrupted painting time on the two days she's gone.

3. Sell enough work to pay our mortgage.

Still on track here, which is nice since we're still waiting for our house in Denver to sell!!

4. Update painting database and financial records monthly.

If I didn't have this goal, I would have totally forgotten to update everything tonight, so thank the Lord for goals!

5. Race in a minimum of three 5k's.

Um, I don't know - I tend to completely slack off when things get busy, and this has been one of those months. I did a bit of running, but not enough. Ugh...

So, April was a good month for the most part. Things are slow in the mountain resort towns in April and May, so I'm thrilled to have sold some paintings this month and gotten stuff done on the business end of things - better than expected!

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

HELP - Camera Advice??

"Below the Pass"
Oil on Panel

I'm totally scraping the bottom of the barrel trying to find decent pictures to post here. I've posted most of my recent paintings, and the old ones don't look good enough. Luckily I've got eight paintings sitting in my living room just waiting to be photographed today!!

Speaking of photographing paintings, I'm starting to feel like I need to upgrade my camera. I use a 5 MP Olympus with a big zoom that I love for taking photos outdoors and in all lighting conditions. Problem is that I'm starting to feel like I need higher resolution images.

Case in point? I've been working with an art consulting firm who were pitching my paintings to a couple of hotels. One of the projects was for guest room prints. I almost lost the job because I don't have high enough resolution photos of older paintings for them to use to make prints. Luckily, the client loved the actual painting I sent as a sample, so I was able to get a good enough image and got the job. But you can see why it would be nice to have higher resolution images, right?

I'm looking at what's out there now and there are a lot of affordable cameras in the 12 MP range. I need a good zoom and I like a camera where I can adjust everything manually (no point and shoot), so I'm looking at a minimum of $400, but I'm wondering if I should take the plunge and just get a Nikon digital SLR. Does anyone out there have a camera they LOVE?? I'd love to hear what you all use to photograph your paintings, and if you'd recommend something similar. I love my Olympus because it almost always gets accurate color, even with bad lighting conditions, but I'm willing to branch out...

In other news, I finally updated my blogroll and template. Of course, in the process Blogger reformatted half of my old posts, so now they all look kind of weird. Argh.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Art and Knowledge

Oil on Panel

I read this quote by Scott Christensen in the February issue of Southwest Art, and I've been meaning to write it down ever since. In an interview, they ask him what the biggest misconception is about artists, and his answer is the following:

"That we just paint and it just comes flowing out of us naturally. But it has to be a learned thing. Knowledge precedes execution. Most people think creating art is a feeling. That’s like saying Yo-Yo Ma must have just picked up the cello and started playing it."
I love that because it says in so few words exactly what annoys me sometimes about the public perception of art. People assume that painting is this touchy-feely relaxing activity that requires no study or thought. I can't tell you how many people have (with genuine concern!) asked me if what I'm doing now is keeping me "challenged" enough after leaving engineering. Truth is, I love to paint, but I keep at it because it's a challenge.

Honestly, this is the hardest job I've ever had.

Every day I'm striving to improve my work and learn something that will take me to that next level. And I know that I'll probably never feel like I've "made it", because I'll always see something that needs improving. Add to that the challenge of actually making a living at art, and you have a helluva challenging job! It takes work, and it takes knowledge. And when it comes to the knowledge part, I've got a long way to go...

Monday, April 14, 2008


Well, the sun finally decided to shine after what seemed like a week of snow! This is a snapshot from our walk this afternoon - now that it's warming up, things are melting and hopefully we'll be able to see more than the top rail of that fence in a few weeks... Anyhow, how's that for the view from my new backyard?

We headed down to Denver this weekend since I had to attend the opening of the Governor's Invitational on Saturday night. While I was down I stopped by Home Depot and picked up some color-corrected lights for my new garage studio. When there is no natural light, I like to hang a couple of 4 foot long 5000K flourescent lightbulbs above my easel - haven't found anything better for accurate color, and the lights are cheap and easy to find (unless you're trying to find them in a small mountain town). Now my studio is all set up and ready to go - I'm looking forward to a productive week of painting!

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Springtime in the Rockies

"View from Independence"
Oil on Canvas

It's supposed to be Spring, so of course it's snowing like crazy here in the mountains. Ten inches and more coming down, which made it a really nice day to stay inside and paint!!

For the record, putting Aspen in daycare proved to be far more traumatic for me than for her today. She had a great time, and even though I worried all day, I still managed to get four paintings started. The new studio space is working well, but I'm having some lighting issues. Nothing that can't be fixed though. Anyhow, it's nice to be painting again - I'm running out of new images to post here (this one's pretty old), so I'd better get some new stuff done!!

On another note, I've got paintings in a couple of shows that open this weekend. The Salon International opens at the Greenhouse Gallery with an awards banquet tomorrow night. I won't be able to attend, but if you're near San Antonio, it'll be a great show! Also, the opening for the Colorado Governor's Invitational Art Show is Saturday night at the Loveland Museum. I got to see a lot of the paintings when I delivered mine last week, and it promises to be a great show this year! If you're in Colorado, it hangs at the museum through mid-May and it's worth a bit of a drive to see it.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Mixed Feelings

"Alpenglow Study #2"
Oil on Panel

Well, tomorrow is Aspen's first day at daycare, and I'm totally dreading having to drop her off in the morning. She'll only be going two days a week, and she's old enough now that I know it will be good for her to be with other kids, but I'm still sad to leave her with someone other than family. Here's hoping it goes well, or I'm just going to be a big ball of motherly guilt tomorrow night!

On a positive note, it's dumping snow here, so it'll be nice to make myself a cup of tea tomorrow morning and shut myself in the garage (um, er, studio) with my easel for the day. I haven't painted in over a week and a half and I'm itching to get back to it.

I'll have to see how the new garage studio works out. I had to go buy lights today, and I have to admit it was a bit tough to find color-corrected lightbulbs in a small mountain town. And the garage, while heated, is not insulated so well, so I might be bundling up to paint. The good news is that is has high enough ceilings for me to properly use my easel with large paintings, and it's MUCH bigger than the loft that was my studio in our house.

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Don't You Wish You Were Here?

Ahhh - vacation....
What with moving to the mountains, selling our house, and getting work out the door for shows and galleries, I've been getting wound pretty tight and needing some time to de-stress. We flew down to Phoenix yesterday morning to spend a long weekend basking in the sunlight and warmth of the desert, and I'm already feeling 100% better after a day of rest. March and April always make me think I want to live down here - the weather is perfect, the flowers are blooming, and there's just something about the desert that feels like home...
While Nate golfed this morning, I spent a few hours perusing all of the galleries on Main Street here in Scottsdale. The Scottsdale Art Auction was today, and they were televising it in Legacy Galleries - I was amused to discover that high end art auctions sound the same as cattle auctions, fast-talking auctioneer and all! Because the art auction was today, a lot of the big-name galleries had Western art themed shows hanging. I'm not a huge fan of cowboy and indian art, so I was a bit disappointed, but there were still some gems to see.
At Trailside Galleries, I was stopped dead in my tracks by a Cyrus Afsary landscape - I think I stood there for ten minutes staring at it. He's quickly becoming one of my favorite painters - I just love the feeling in his landscapes.
Willow Gallery still had all of the sold paintings hanging from the Robert Coombs opening they held on Thursday night, and as usual his figurative work was just beautiful.
Scottsdale Fine Art also had a great figurative show hanging with works from C.M. Cooper and Nancy Seamons Crookston - two of my favorite female painters. While I was in there, I fell in love with a couple of small sunset paintings by Douglas Diehl - if Nate and I still had the dependable income of corporate jobs, I would have bought both in a heartbeat!
It was nice to just go and enjoy looking at art for the sake of looking at art. Now that I do this for a living, I often get caught up in the business of art, and when I visit galleries I'm often thinking about whether or not they'd be a good fit for my work, etc.... Sometimes it's nice to remember that I just LOVE good art, and that it was my passion before it was my job.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

March Goals Update

"Boreas Pass Gold"
Oil on Panel

You know you've moved to a small town when you're listening to the radio and someone is talking about the town's mayoral race and says,"And in Granby, Pierro won by a landslide with 264 votes!"

Anyhow, it's April, and I feel like I haven't gotten anything productive done this week so I'm going to status my goals from March to make myself feel better now...

1. Get my work into three more galleries.

Honestly, this really hasn't been on my radar this month. Too much other stuff to do!!

2. Complete 100 paintings.

Let's see - I'm pretty sure I painted 11 paintings this month, of which one was a definite trasher (I already sanded it down so I can reuse the panel!) and another two are questionable. None of them were too large, hence the bigger than usual number. That makes 24 down, 76 to go...

3. Sell enough work to pay our mortgage.

Still on track here, which is great. I know things will slow down a bit this month and next since it's mud season up here and I don't count on many sales in Winter Park, but I have a commission and some other stuff I'm working on in the meantime. Need to find a couple of galleries that aren't in seasonal markets!

4. Update painting database and financial records monthly.

I actually updated my financials early this month! So far, this has been the best goal I set this year because it's been doing me so much good to make sure I'm up to date on my records. There's no question about where I'm at, and that's great for keeping me on track.

5. Race in a minimum of three 5k's.

Started riding my bike and running this month, and even hit the pool once, which is better than nothing!! Exercising definitely makes me feel 100% better, so it's good to get back into things. This next month I'd like to be more consistent...

Overall, March was pretty good. I think I was trying really hard to make up for getting so little done in February!

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

A Long Day

"Alpenglow Study #1"
Oil on Panel

Well, here I am, happily lounging on the couch of the condo we're renting in Fraser for the next six months. I just finished reading the guestbook in the condo, and thought how cool it is that I get to live somewhere where most people only visit on vacation!

Today was a marathon. I woke up and drove up to Loveland (and hour and a half one way) to deliver my paintings to the Loveland Museum for the Colorado Governor's Invitational Art Show. Dropped off the paintings, picked up my packet, took a look at the art, then drove back home. Got home and immediately turned around and drove over to my old office to pick up a couple boxes of personal stuff and textbooks (I know - it's about time!), and spent a couple of hours there chatting with my ex-coworkers. Drove home, cleaned house, and packed to come up to the mountains. Got in the car (AGAIN) and drove and hour and a half up to get here. Needless to say, I'm sick of driving!

We're only up here for a couple of days before we head back down to Denver and then fly to Scottsdale for the weekend. I'm looking forward to a couple of days of settling in here, then spending the weekend laying by the pool, reading some good books and soaking up the sun! I REALLY need the break.