A path towards recognition

Most people don't have a clue about how an artist becomes known. One important way is to compete in juried shows. It costs money, takes commitment and teaches one to grow a thick skin, while emptying the bank account. Since January, I have submitted to four juried exhibitions, while preparing for at least two exhibitions, to which I have already been invited. The first result will be posted tomorrow. 

After paying the exhibition submission fees that fund these shows, (anywhere from 25.00 to 175.00) and if I am accepted, I will be responsible for framing the art to the exhibition specs, insuring the art, packing and sending, as well as paying for the return shipping and cartage fee. Sometimes there are additional printers fees for an exhibit catalog. And I've recently used a professional photographer to get decent photos of my larger works.

If I win a prize or sell the original piece, great! If I sell some giclees of the original, awesome! But the main reason I do it, is to grow my reputation and my ability. The more invites, the higher the bar and of course, my work increases in value. I have been doing this seriously since 2010. Let's see what 2019 brings. Wish me luck!! 

PS. In case you're wondering why 'CPSA' follows the signature on my current artwork, it is because I am a 'Signature Member of The Colored Pencil Society of America’. I earned this by being accepted into three CPSA International Exhibitions within 10 years.  
https://www.cpsa.org

I am also an Associate Member of Society of Animal Artists. My portfolio was reviewed by a jury and accepted into this international society of animal artists.
https://www.societyofanimalartists.com

Finally, I am a member of Masterworks for Nature, a local to Cincinnati group of esteemed wild life artists, including John Ruthven. I was sponsored and eventually invited into this amazing group.
http://www.masterworksfornature.com

Home Grown

Home Grown

Marley

I recently started to teach Pet Portraits in Colored Pencil to the brave souls that also took my Pet Portraits in Graphite class.  This is my sample.  The photo reference is from a series taken while working on a commission.  The Border Collie Marley was particularly photogenic.  This piece is 9x11"various light fast colored pencil with solvents on Rag Mat Board.  I used many of my tricks on this.

Stonelick Covered Bridge commission is completed

Stonelick Covered Bridge in Clermont County OH is an icon for many. Recently restored, it is a beauty!  I spent hours trudging around the bridge, bushwhacking through the waist high scrub, scrambling from rock to rock in the creek-bed and shooting photos from every angle, at different times of the day, over a period of a month.  The reference photo used for this piece was taken at 5:00 on a fall afternoon. The sun washed bridge vs. deep shadows cast by the trees as the sun descended, made it interesting as well as a challenge.  My client is a covered bridge enthusiast, so every detail, down to the numbered sign, is meticulously rendered. The original measures 20x30" and was painted with various brands of lightfast colored pencils on rag matboard. Fine Art Giclees are available for sale. Contact me for details.

Sink or Swim

Here is Preston the Welsh Corgi, 12x14" colored pencil on linen, my reference photos.  This was a custom portrait created for the best of clients who expressly encouraged  me to paint whatever made me happy; thus the unusual angle and wet fur. The client, myself and her two dogs, spent hours walking and photographing at two different locations, until I had many beautiful reference shots from which to choose. My art needs a story and Preston provided one when he unexpectedly  followed his housemate, a Labrador Retriever, straight into the river. Corgis are all chest and no legs. Preston had never been beyond wading. He sank like a stone, then bobbed to the surface. The swimming technique, newly minted, added to the hilarity of  Preston's alarmed expression, but he arrived safely to the water's edge soaking wet and disgruntled.

I'm Having way too much fun!

You know,  this is the most fun I've had in months!  And the most interesting part is it is a custom portrait, not something I'm doing for myself or a competition.  This is a WIP of Preston, a very wet Welsh Corgi that just discovered that water can swallow you whole. During the photo shoot we took a stroll along the bank of The Little Miami, East Fork Branch. Preston followed his Labrador Retriever housemate straight into the river without a thought.  He'd never been in water over his head. He sank like a stone, then bobbed up with an expression of pure shock! Pres isn't entirely sure water is to be trusted ever again!  This piece will eventually be 12x14" Painted on lovely blue linen mat with CARAN d"ACHE Luminance, PRISMACOLOR and DERWENT COLOURsoft pencils.

Composition, composition, composition!

The question of all questions: What makes good composition? How does one crop, punch color, add or delete elements in order to create a piece of art that will resonate? There are rules to composition, which I rarely think about at first. If a ref photo grabs my attention, there is probably something there worth trying. Later, as I start the project, I will think about rules, where to crop and so forth, but I have to be careful to not sterilize the inspiration right out. That initial reaction, the one that made me stop and look, what was that and how will it translate? Over the years, I've paid attention to how my art is received and learned from that.  What draws the most attention? Rarely do I hear "I love this because it is so well executed."  More often it's "I love that red," or "wow, it looks like a photo (which drives me crazy by the way.  Why would anyone spend 6o hours of her life to simply copy a perfectly good photo?)

To break it down: color,value and a relatable story, are the three main elements to a successful image.  Detail is used to support the theme not drive it. For instance, if you have ever watched the reality t.v. show THE VOICE, how often is the vocal run used to show off vocal ability?  But if it is delivered without conviction and you can't hear the lyrics, it's just noise. In two dimensional art, if one does not manage to draw the viewer in with substance, what use are the details? On the other hand, taking the time and effort to render those details well, honors the idea. Don't skimp.

This is a very long blog entry.  I imagine you are wondering what it has to do with this landscape photo. Simply put, the photo reaches into my soul.  It is beautiful.  The colors are rich, the shapes interesting and there is nice contrast. The message is simple.  It calms me. I want to live in this image, where the only human touch is the evenly mowed field.