Monday, August 31, 2009

Woodinville City Hall Art Exhibit

It is very exciting to hang an art show!

Today I hung eleven watercolor paintings and watercolor collage paintings in Woodinville City Hall. They do a fabulous job to make sure the art shows well, and Brenda Eriksen is very helpful.

My first rule in hanging an art show is to take more art than can possibly fit in the space allowed. This way you can arrange paintings as you see fit. Be sure to ask ahead of time about art identification cards and if price information is acceptable.

Second rule is to work with the person who hangs the paintings and not just drop them off. Besides getting to know more about the person and their role, you are able to see that your art is shown in its "best light".

Third rule is to set aside plenty of time to take in the atmosphere and visit with people passing through as well as staff. It is just good publicity!

Remember to bring a camera to take pictures of the art exhibit. It is nice to have photos for your records.

Bring cards and a bio or artist statement; more publicity.

Also, have an inventory list of the art with titles and prices to leave with the person in charge of the art exhibit.

Take a step back and take in the feeling of success!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Watercolor Pencil Techniques

Watercolor pencil is a new medium for me.

In previous blogs, I have discussed how different they are from regular watercolor paint and my challenges, but they are my medium of choice when traveling.

Today, I came across an excellent video by artist, Tim Fisher, who shows how to do various techniques with watercolor pencils. I now have an arsenal of techniques to try next time I travel with my watercolor pencils.

I love Tim's British accent. Check out his video.

Snowy Lane, Frisby
Tim Fisher

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Olympia-Rafah Solidarity Mural Project (ORSMP)

The Olympia-Rafah Solidarity Mural is an inter-disciplinary, interactive, multi-site public art project that will innovatively make use of new media and social networking technologies to increase the strength and visibility of movements organizing for social change in Palestine, Israel, the US and the world.

ORSMP crosses borders, recognizing and exploring the relationship that exists between the people Olympia, Washington, the people of Rafah, Occupied Palestine and all people who struggle and work for justice. ORSMP will move from the local to the global by bringing people together across social justice movements. The images in the mural will articulate how the social and political struggles in Palestine and Israel connect to local and national and international issues that include environmental justice, racism, colonialism, rights of indigenous people, and anti-war movements, to name a few.

ORSMP uses creativity in public space to cope with and mourn traumatic losses in resilient and transformative ways. Inspired by Rachel Corrie, an Olympian killed in the Gaza Strip in 2003 in a non-violent act of civil disobedience, the mural serves as a reminder of the thousands in Gaza and elsewhere lost in struggle, and, also, as inspiration for those who carry on quests for justice and for the unity and peace that the olive tree represents.

For more information about the project

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Artist In All of Us

There are sparks of inspiration all around us - all we have to do is look.

Each day brings something new, exciting and inspiring. As artists, we have to train our minds and feel in our hearts to see these things. Lighting, color, emotion, drama - all these things add to the excitement of being an artist.

An artist will create from this place of joy.

Next time when you feel this spark of inspiration, take a paint brush in hand and paint from your heart with happiness.

Remember, DO NOT allow the inner-critic any air time.

Penny Soto
The Rose

Penny definitely captures light, color, emotion, and drama in her painting.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Excerpt from "Starving" to Successful

Jason Horejs' new book, "Starving" to Successful | The Artist's Guide to Getting into Galleries and Selling More Art was written to help artist approach galleries in an organized, systematic and professional way. The book is newly published and here is an excerpt:

Mistake #1: Presenting an inconsistent body of work.

Artists generally love their freedom. They want to experiment. They love a challenge. They crave variety. All good things, except when you are presenting your work to a gallery.

The work you present to a gallery needs to be unified. It doesn't need to be repetitive or formulaic, but it must present you as a consistent artist with a clear vision.

Often I feel I am looking at the work of multiple artists as I review a single portfolio. To avoid this problem you need to find focus in your work.

If you work in several media and a variety of styles, focus on just one for the next 6-12 months. Create a body of work that feels like a "series". Once you have 20-25 gallery-ready pieces in this series, you will be ready to approach a gallery.

You can further create consistency by presenting the work in a consistent way. Use similar frames for paintings and photographs, similar bases for sculpture, similar settings for artistic jewelry. Make it very clear all of the work is by the same artist.

If you simply can't rein your style in, consider creating multiple portfolios, one for each style.

Don't confuse the galleries you approach with multiple styles in your portfolio.

Good advice; I ordered his book.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Reasons to Paint Every Day

Since moving the end of June, I have been using my creative energy in designing my new environment. Needless to say, I have not painted since. As I am looking forward to painting a part of me is saying "can I still do this it seems so foreign?"

Today, another artist made these feelings I am having more clear to me. Loriann Signori states, "Painting every day is so much like taking your vitamins, exercising and eating right. Without it your health/painting health can suffer." Returning to painting after several days away she explains, "I felt out of sorts, as if I needed to re-friend my materials. When I paint every day I am in a groove, it's not as much about thinking as responding." She concludes, "Sure it's good to get away and rest your mind from burn out... but there's a price to pay. I feel like I am relearning how to ride that horse.

Having unpacked my last box.........I am ready to ride again.

Stay tuned........

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Puyallup Fair Art Show

The 2009 Puyallup Fair begins September 11th and runs until the 27th. I decided to enter the art show again this year.

It truly amazes me how organized and efficient they make the process of entering the show. In addition, the people are extremely helpful. I entered five paintings and brought my friend's six art pieces. Can you imagine me juggling all these?!?!?

The process begins with a check in to make sure you have filled out all the forms correctly for each art piece. The next station checks the wires and frames of the pieces. The final station gives each piece a number in the category entered and a description.

I am pleased to announce that all of my paintings were accepted! I entered these two watercolor collage paintings:

Creek at Whistler


An oil painting of my cat:


And two mini acrylic paintings 4" X 5"

Colorado Moment

Monet's Garden

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Beautiful Walk

I like to walk with my dog on a daily basis.

I never take the scenic beauty of living in Washington for granted. In fact, each time I start my walk on the Chehalis Western Trail in Olympia, I cannot help but smile at the breath taking entrance.

I hope you can get the feeling of these majestic cedar trees and the dramatic lighting.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Maritime Festival Juried Art Show

Celebrating Tacoma's working waterfront the Maritime Festival is Saturday and Sunday August 28th & 29th from 10AM to 6PM.

Free fun events for the whole family including: Hands-On Adventures, Exhibits & Competitions, Kids Activities, Art Show, Dragon Boat Races, Quick & Dirty Boat Building, Tacoma Rail Train Rides, Beer Garden, Sea Scouts Boat Rides, Port of Tacoma Boat Tours.

The art show opens this weekend, but will continue to be on display at Foss Waterway Seaport, 705 Dock Street in Tacoma, Washington until September 13th.

I am honored to have this watercolor paintings selected for the Maritime Festival Juried Art Show.

Here's Looking At You

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Luxury Art Marketing

Even as the economy is going through a recession, a market for luxury goods and services still exists. While American consumers are cutting back on extravagant spending, they are not willing to give up on indulgences altogether. It is entirely possible to sell your art in this marketplace even in this current climate, as long as you understand luxe buyers and their behavioral patterns, and can then develop and implement a marketing plan geared toward this audience.

I came across this five-part series on Luxury Art Marketing by Ligaya Figueras and Stan Fine, Ph. D. in Art Calendar, the business magazine for visual artists. I found it fascinating to read. It talks about the business of luxury and how to identify and research your target audience; how to posit yourself as a luxury brand; and how to tap into buyer sentiments, as well as some creative ways to increase your market position.

I especially liked the part about how buyers think and the elements of luxury.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Chinese Brush Painting

Today my art therapy client and I read about Chinese Brush Painting while we sat outside in the sunshine at Decatur Park in Olympia, Washington. What a fascinating discovery!

Best described as a "voiceless poem" or "soundless music," Chinese brush painting uses ink and color to paint direct studies of the natural world on paper or silk. It differs from western painting in having no particular concern about light and shade; instead, it uses special brush-and-ink techniques to combine the clear representation of the subject's structure with an attempt to express its internal spirit.

Chinese painting divides into three main subject areas: landscape, figure, and the painting of flowers and birds, which also includes all types of animal and plant life.

As well as being divided into three areas of subject matter, Chinese art can also be divided into two distinct styles - the Meticulous and the Freehand - which themselves developed from the historical "Academic" and "Literati" traditions.

Of all the plants, the plum blossom, orchid, bamboo, and chrysanthemum have become the basis of Chines art because of their beauty and characters. Chinese art has adopted them as symbols of the great intellectual ideals, and the are known as "The Four Gentleman."

We were in awe at the paintings displayed in the book, The Simple Art of Chinese Brush Painting by Qu Lei Lei.

Painting on Silk
Chuen Yue

Monday, August 17, 2009

Let Your Heart Dance

I like to receive the inspiring daily quotes from on behalf of

Today's quote was from an unknown author and I found it delightful. It thought I would share it with you.

Today, let your heart dance.
You will find no shortage of dance partners, as your feet join in.
And your eyes.
And your smile.
And every part of your body and your feelings.
Let your heart dance all day long.

Do you know the author?

Sunday, August 16, 2009

The Art of Blackberry Picking

My dog Ebony has the art of blackberry picking mastered! This evening a friend and I with our dogs walked the Chehalis Western Trail in Olympia, Washington, with the goal to bring home blackberries.

We scored big time and so did Ebony!

Who said dogs do not see color?

Apparently Ebony knows the ripe blackberries from those not ripe.

I sometimes do not know best when to stop eating the blackberries.

Ebony hung in there, too!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

History of Oil Paints

It is believed that oil painting has been used since the Middle Ages or earlier for crafts, decorative painting and furniture finishes. The first easel paintings were probably various vegetable drying oils and pigment painted over tempera.

Jan Van Eyck (before 1395-1441) and his brother Hubert have been credited with mastering oil paints. Modern historians have come to believe, however, that oil painting predates the Van Eycks by at least two or three centuries. The two brothers, along with other Late Gothic Flemish artists, are still credited as being the first to exploit the medium of oil painting to its full potential.

Oil painting first became popular in northern Europe and later spread to Venice, Italy, in the fifteenth century. By the early part of the sixteenth century, oil painting had surpassed tempera as the dominant, acceptable painting medium throughout Europe.

The current view of oil painting's development is that of a gradual evolution of techniques and materials rather than the sudden discovery and overnight employment of the new medium.

The advent of water-soluble linseed and other vegetable drying oils can be counted as nothing short of a revolution in the continual development of oil paint.

In the late twentieth century, artists-and society in general-became more aware of the dangers inherent in many long-used art materials. The idea of using solvents to paint with has become less popular. By the late 1980's most secondary schools and universities in the United States had banned the use of solvents in art departments and thus eliminated the use of oils in the academic setting.

Major manufacturers of fine art paints have begun to develop alternatives to solvent thinnable oil colors. Water-soluble oil colors is the "next generation."

Friday, August 14, 2009

Water-Soluble Oils

How can oil color be water-soluble? Can it truly be oil color? I thought oil and water do not mix. Is this a misnomer?

Water-soluble oils are the best of both worlds, combining the flexibility of oil painting with the easy cleanup and safety of acrylics. This option for artists has revolutionized the way people are thinking about painting.

All oil paints are made by finely grinding pigment into vegetable drying oils. Oil paint has been popular for centuries for a number of reasons:

* Oil in the paint allows the paint to spread easily.
* Oil can dry to a thin durable film for detailed work.
* Oil provides excellent adhesion for the pigment.
* Oil adds transparency to many pigments.
* Oil provides body to retain brush or knife strokes.
* Oil adds depth to the pigment not possible in its dry state.

The new oils are no exception to these benefits. The difference is that the oil vehicle has been modified to make it soluble in water, eliminating the need for harsh or dangerous solvents used to thin the paint and clean brushes and palettes.

There are four major manufacturers currently marketing the new oils in the United States. Each of them has developed their own formulas and methods of making the paint, which is mixable with water. Grumbacher: Max Artists' Oil Colors; HK Holbein: Duo Aqua Oil; Winsor & Newton: Artisan Water Mixable Oil Color; Royal Talens: Van Gogh H2Oil. Each brand of paint has its own consistency and the mediums offered by one company are completely compatible with paints from another.

I have recently been painting with Winsor & Newton's brand. Having fun!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Art Trivia

Did you know........???

Leonardo da Vinci spent 12 years painting the Mona Lisa's lips.

On 3rd December 1961 Henri Matisse's painting Le Bateau was put the right way up after hanging upside-down for 46 days without anyone noticing at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, America.

During his entire life, artist Vincent Van Gogh sold just one painting; Red Vineyard at Arles.

Picasso could draw before he could walk, and his first word was the Spanish word for pencil.

Impressionism was given its name from one of Monet's pictures, Impression: Sunrise.

In 1961 Georges Braque was the first living artist to have his work exhibited in the Louvre. In addition to painting, Braque also designed stage sets, costumes and illustrated books.

Paul Klee once described his drawing technique as "taking a line for a walk."

American artist, Andy Warhol, was a fashion illustrator for Seventeen Glamor magazines.

Leonardo Da Vinci invented high heels.

Frederic Auguste Bartholdi use his mother as the source of inspiration for modelling the face of his most famous work, the "Statue of Liberty."

People have been painting things for the past 20,000 years, but it wasn't until 1880 that you could purchase ready mixed paints.

The invention of collapsible tin tubes of paint in 1841 allowed the Impressionists to paint outdoors all day. Before that, an artist had to squeeze paints stored in sacks made from pig's bladders. According to Renior, "Without tubes of paint, there would have been no Impressionism."

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Chinese Painting

What is a Chinese painting?

A Chinese painting is mainly line art painted with a Chinese brush, ink and colors on rice paper of silk. Often, the painting is in linear perspective. On the painting, there is Chinese calligraphy that inscribes the name of the painting, a poem and the artist's signature, along with a red chop. A chop is similar to a rubber stamp that contains the artist's name or a phrase.

Traditionally, Chinese artists define objects with lines rather than surfaces. They mainly use ink to paint. The idea of simplicity from both Taoism and Buddhism deeply influences artist who consider other pigments a secondary media that serve the purpose of perfecting the ink.

There are three categories of Chinese paintings; figures, landscapes, and floral/bird.

During the Eastern Tsin dynasty (A.D. 317-420), Hsich Ho, an artist and the first art critic in Chinese history, established the Six Laws of Painting. 1)Vitality resonates from a painting that carry lively forces that touch viewers 2)Use bone manner brushstrokes, or brushstrokes that are confident, strong and elastic 3)Capture the forms of nature's objects with the intent to capture its forms and spirits 4) Apply colors according to each object's category 5) Properly place the objects to produce a well-organized composition 6) Transfer masters' techniques

The first law is most significant. It seeks to blend the artist's spirit with the rhythmic vitality of nature. A great painting should not only demonstrate outstanding technique, but should also express harmony and vitality.

In the book Chinese Painting Techniques for Exquisite Watercolors, Lian Quan Zhen borrows the best artistic elements from two different worlds - the traditional painting techniques of the East and the watercolor techniques and perspective theory of the West. He then weds them to create a unique style all his own.

Lian Quan Zhen

Monday, August 10, 2009

Beautiful Vistas

What a gorgeous day along King’s County’s most popular cycling, jogging, walking, skating and equestrian path; The Sammamish River Trail. The trail runs 10.9 miles along the Sammamish River and offers extraordinary views of the river, Sammamish River Valley, Cascade foothills and Mt. Rainier.

It was a busy day Sunday when my son and I went skating with our dogs.

Brian with Brinkley & Ginger

Joanne & Ebony

The trail is used as a corridor between suburban cities and Seattle. The beautiful trail winds through Sammish River Park, Woodinville’s wineries and breweries, Sixty Acres Park, and connects to the Power Line and Bear Creek Trails.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Art Marketing Guide

I have been reading Jason Horejs' blogs and newsletters about art marketing.

Impressed with the information I have been receiving, I decided to purchase his new book, "Starving" to Successful.

This book is the culmination of his work over the last 18 months as he has endeavored to give artists an inside understanding of what it takes to make it in the art business as a gallery-represented artist. This book is based on his seventeen years in the art gallery business, the last eight as owner of Xanadu Gallery in Scottsdale, Arizona. He also drawns from his interviews and surveys of career artists who have been successfully navigating the artist-gallery relationship for decades.

"Starving" to Successful was written to give an artist a comprehensive understanding of the gallery business, and a systematic way to approach galleries.

The book will advise you how to focus your efforts to create a body of marketable, gallery-ready work, how to organize your art, how to make a powerful portfolio, how to choose the best art markets to approach, and, most importantly, what the best approach is to get into galleries. The book will also give you myriad insights into the business to help you fine-tune every aspect of your art career.

The book includes samples of successful artist statements, artist biographies, and resumes, analyzes websites to help you fine-tune yours, and gives you actionable, concrete steps to take to grow your art career.

Purchase your copy.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Artist Statement

Most visual artists can talk freely and fluidly about their work: what inspires them; their composition, materials, and technique; what they’re trying to say with their art. When they have to put these ideas in print, though—which they inevitably must—they often find themselves at a loss for words.

Visual artists are generally not writers and writing per can be alien to them, because it relies on a far different mental palette. Writing, after all, originates in a different part of the brain. Indeed, writers see the world differently than visual artists and work with another set of tools, obviously. However, the radical differences between these two modes of expression may actually explain why they so often complement one another.

I have been learning about marketing from Jason Horejs owner of Xanadu Gallery in Scottsdale, Arizona. Recently, he has launched a series of free, mini-workshops. Watch this 25 minute session with New York arts writer Adam Eisenstat on writing an artist statement.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Watercolor NOT A Difficult Medium

It seems that I frequently get the same comment when I am a participating artist at an art show..........."watercolor is difficult!"

The art therapist in me understands that most people think this way because watercolors is on the very loose end of the art medium continuum. Pencil is at the other end because it is a medium that can be controlled. The majority of people like to be in control and are uncomfortable if not. Thus, watercolors place them in a challenging situation where they are "out of control" and have to do something about it. Most people do not welcome this feeling or the challenge.

Joe Garcia, a famous watercolor artist, does not believe that watercolors is the most difficult medium to use. In his opinion, "Anyone can learn to paint with watercolors; however, a person must be willing to start with the basics. That starting point is the wash. It is the foundation of watercolor painting. Learning to control the wash will open the door to the versatility and creativity of watercolors. This knowledge will allow you to tightly render or loosely interpret your subject."

Joe Garcia

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Why Cats Paint

Today I shared the book Why Cats Paint by Heather Busch and Burton Silver with my art therapy client who is no longer able to paint.

The photos in the book are phenomenal! There are twelve cats featured and each one has its own style of painting. The authors share the personal stories of each cat as well as the psychological implications of their paintings and techniques.

One cat paints en plein air. What I found particularly interesting was how the palettes the cats choose coincides with what they are painting from (one has Van Goghs around him) or their surroundings.

Many of the cats that paint spend at least ten minutes sitting in harmonic resonance prior to commencing a work of art. The authors inject that the cats derive some inspirational power from the invisible low frequency force fields. I always felt cats "space out," but maybe this is what they are doing?

I am not ready to let my cats loose with paints!

Monday, August 3, 2009

Art In The Garden Recap

Arts Alive,a non-profitable charitable organization, sponsored the 6th Annual Art in the Garden Juried Art Show this past weekend. The show took place at the County Garden Bouquets which is a beautiful rural setting just 1.2 miles off the main road of 244th Ave SE in Enumclaw, Washington.

It was a well attended event despite the over 90 degree temperature. As one of the artists who participated I received an e-mail from the organizers saying that Art in the Garden exceeded its revenue expectations once again. It was an incredible amount for an outdoor show! Twenty percent of the revenue returns to Arts Alive. Apparently, people have already inquired if it will be back.

I came home with several art pieces for my garden and house.

This was my first experience and aside from trying to keep cool, it was wonderful. The artists were outstanding and very helpful. I borrowed a tent from my good friend Judi Colwell. I must admit even though it says "easy up," I needed some assistance in setting it up and taking it down.

Here I am....

I had a fabulous response to my art and several purchases. One woman fell in love with my watercolor painting "Another Find" and added it to her home environment.