Sunday, March 31, 2013

Where Are The Male Craftsmen?

The other day I received a very nice note on Etsy from the ESR Team captain (the Etsy Senior's Rock Team) that told me that an item of mine that was included in a treasury she created. (For those that don't know, a treasury is a grouping under some theme that highlights others work.) I thanked her and noted that there were so few men on Etsy. The team captain replied: "I've been wanting to do something about that for quite some time. I will continue to seek ways to promote the men's shops, and their unique products and handy work. Should you happen to know any senior gentlemen who are crafters and have shared interest in selling online, please help direct them toward Etsy and the Etsy Seniors Rock Team."
Men of Etsy Logo
Suddenly, her reply made me aware of the fact that there were far fewer men on Etsy than they should have been. When I looked The Men of Etsy team up I discovered there were 904 members. I was surprised. It seems that they were not as active as the women, team or not. On further investigation though, I discovered that less than 4% of the sellers on Etsy were men, of any age, let alone seniors.

I was stunned. I grew up with a father who was always making something in his shop. He wanted me to work with him and for whatever reason I resisted. I did learn though how to use his tools and he made me many wonderful things, mostly for my bedroom. Tables, shelfs and such. He created a playroom complete with bar in our basement that all my friends and I would use on the rainy, wintry days of Portland. My grandfather was even busier. He, with my dad's help built a house on the property next door in Roseburg, OR and he had quite a wood shop I was allowed to use. His specialty was making things out of Myrtle Wood, a wood that only grows in Oregon and Lebanon. My mom and her siblings were each given beautiful desks and chairs of that wood. He made us a snooker table that went in the basement playroom where many an hour was spent playing with friends when it rained outdoors!

I really didn't realize how much I had learned until after my father passed away between my junior and senior years of high school. As a senior I had to design and make pieces of furniture for my architecture class and was one of only a few that knew what to do. It was both a proud and sad moment.

Even my father-in-law had a shop and was always tinkering with something. I used his shop more than a few times and he helped me set up my own when we got a house. So, when I started my craft painting and such, I just assumed that everyone did these things. All the men in my life did!

I can't even begin to describe the shock of attending my first Las Vegas Painting Convention and finding that in 11 classes, I was the only man in about 6 of them. It wasn't any better the second or the third times either. There were men teachers and assistants (usually husbands for the women teachers) but well over 99% of the attendees were women.

I can't begin to express the joy my crafting brings to me. Its something I wanted to do my whole life and now I have the opportunity to do it. When I was ill last month and couldn't teach my first classes the sorrow left a deep hole in my heart. I viewed that as a opportunity to grow and expand my talents and skills. Hopefully I will be given another chance.

So, where are you men? I know you are out there. Come on board...somewhere. Let more than just your spouse and your family see your work. It isn't always easy but the waters fine and there are many out there that are willing to help! And for those lady readers forward this to the crafter men in your life. There are more than 4% of all crafters.

Happy Easter to all!

Thursday, March 28, 2013

What Do People Want?

There is a cool program for Etsy sellers called Etsy Item Hearts. It can be found at http://www.craftcult.com . It gives you the number of views, the number of times items are viewed and the number of times each item in your store is "favored." It gives you, as a seller, a view of what items are viewed the most and more importantly, the ratio of viewed to favored. The information is here for you to judge the success of your creations of each item people look at, but more importantly, what items they especially like is at your fingertips. The one bad part though, is that once an item is sold, you don't have an historic record of it. It would be nice if they could add a tab that showed the history of your items. Its free so one can't ask for everything.

Mailbox Birdhouse
Is it accurate? Yes, it records the number of people who have looked at an item and the number of times it is favored as long as it remains on sale. However, is it a predictor of an item being sold? I have had many discussions about this; I think that my answer would be no. The irony of this whole process is that nearly 500 people have viewed one item, my Mailbox Birdhouse; 54 people have favored this birdhouse yet it remains unsold. It was such a favorite of mine that I use its image as the avatar on my Etsy store and it appears on my business card.

In fact, this is so much of a favorite item, if I ever was able to find enough of the blank mailboxes I would submit it to be taught in Las Vegas and as a kit online. It is a delightful piece. Don't ask me, ask the 500 who have checked it out!

The fact remains, I have been looking at these figures now for a few weeks trying to understand the market forces that work. I remain completely and totally unable to figure out what works.

For awhile, I was doing multiples of a project. I would buy three of something and make one design and hand sketch that design on each one. As you
Hearts At Home Birdhouse
might have guessed, they looked somewhat
alike but since I am not a robot, each one had it own character. The rationale was that by the time I painted whatever color I was using on the last one, the first one would be dry. I am impatient and was ruining single projects by not allowing the paint to dry. As I found out, even acrylics take time to dry! I thought this was an elegant solution and would increase output. And, it did. But did it increase sales? Only in one case.

The Red Hearts at Home birdhouse has been a success story. I adapted a quilt pattern I saw in one of my wife's quilting books. Taking the raw outlines, I filled in the rest creating a kind of 3D Pennsylvania Dutch design. The clay color was new for me and it was the first time I used a design on the roof.

For whatever reason it worked. I have sold two of the three. One even went to Australia. Was it the most popular design? No. But they were the ones that sold.

I guess that what I am saying here is that we may never know what will sell. You can create and hope but unless you are pandering to a very specific audience, in a very specific style, (I don't and it shows in the multitude of styles I create), your are throwing the dice with each new item and seeing what "shakes" out. For awhile I got discouraged but then realized I enjoy what I am doing, love creating in a wide range of styles and when the time comes probably will, like everyone else, settle in to what sells and forget the rest. In the meantime, I will continue to create what I want and hope that people will find me and enjoy what I have created as well. It only costs a twenty-cent listing fee, my time to create, photograph and post online.

Check out my store at KrugsStudio.etsy.com . I have a new section of photography that many of you might find interesting.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Our Debt To Monet

In life, its funny how we get caught up in one fad or another. In art it can be a Andy Warhol, the resurgence of Peter Max, an icon of the 60's & 70's, David Hockney in California and a plethora of other artists, new and old alike. Its the same for authors or singers even movie genres and stars. Everyone seems to have their day in the sun. However, even if you don't care one bit about the arts, it influences us in so many ways, ways that we usually are not aware of.

Monet - Under the Rose Arbor
Poking through my Pinterest "pins" and seeing what everyone was pinning. one of the people I follow had "pinned" this painting of Monet's, one that I really wasn't aware of. It struck me as post modern and reminded me of the pattern's I had seen on women's clothing and in fact the colors that are the rage this spring. I believe this painting was painted before WWI. I wonder if Monet ever thought what his paintings would do to not only the art world, but the world of design and how these colors would change our lives, forever.

Rather than the Expressionist's harsh and primary colors, or the classic colors that colored our world in the Victorian times that the Impressionists rejected, Monet chose what we now associate as spring colors painted in a way that seriously borders on the abstract. Its too bad he never had a chance to see what the art world was to bring forth. Or how after WWI, color and design would change forever. It would be interesting to know what he would think of Braque or Picasso and how they turned the art world upside down. Yet, like Van Gogh in his final paintings, they themselves had planted the seeds of what was to come.

Monet- Water Lilies
It is interesting that these paintings show no fear of color. Friends that I know that have been to Giverny, the garden that Monet created,  have told me that the gardens he created are amazing. The colors at certain seasons are beyond description and that it wasn't much of a stretch for Monet to paint what he saw. Those colors really are there. What amazed them was how well he could capture the spirit of the setting if not the truth of it.

Of course, not all of his paintings are this colorful or striking. He captured many scenes from everyday life but even then, there was always the tension of color, even in the most gritty scene. He used flashes of color that added interest and depth to what could have been a boring scene. It was his injection of color that made the entire scene so immediate both then and still today.

Look at these two paintings. The vibrance, the depth is mesmerizing. Never before in the world of art had anyone dared to use color this way. I remember seeing a Gauguin exhibit and was struck by how his Polynesian paintings had the colors all wrong and yet, they looked so right. Red sea, green sky, purple sand. Yet, somehow you knew exactly what he had created and only on closer examination did you realize he had it all wrong...or did he? We are taught many dictums about how things are "supposed" to be. Yet, in every advancement man has achieved, it is those who break or bend those rules that lead us to a new advance.

Never be afraid of color. Mother nature certainly isn't. If you are into color be sure to check out the colorful items on my store: KrugsStudio.etsy.com

Alan

Monday, March 25, 2013

Tale of Two Boxes

I don't know about you, but when I am roaming craft stores, I am always looking for something a bit different. I will pick up things I have no clue on what I am going to do with it. Even better if its on sale. In fact, it was that crazy birdhouse I made into a saloon that is a perfect example. I didn't know what to do with it until cow skull in hand it suddenly fell into place.

These two wooden obelisks are another example...what on earth do you do with them?

After a trip to the Museum of Metallurgy in Memphis, the wrought iron doorway seemed a natural. It was a devil to do let me tell you!

The second one stared at me accusingly and finally I decided to try another crazy quilt design. It was either that or the newer patchwork look I tried on a plate. It has taken people a bit of time but there are starting to pay attention to it now.

It is fun creating the two different styles. One a formal, metal art form, the other a fabric based creation that is instead fabrics that are created in paint. At least they never have to be washed! In any event, they are very different and you might not even realize at first glance they are the same shape. Both are distinctive and can be used in a variety of ways in ones home decor.

Its not a bad thing to buy something and let it percolate in your mind. Somehow some event will give you an idea and suddenly you realize you have the perfect thing on which to do it! Always keep that in mind! I did and its been fun.

To see more photos or even purchase either of these boxes check out Krugsstudio.etsy.com


Sunday, March 24, 2013

Rethinking A Painting Method

Last Thursday I began the fourth in a series of cactus painting. As I did on paintings 2 and 3 (a process I covered in a series of blogs), I sketched it on the canvas using a fairly detailed pencil sketch, painted all the cactus parts a dark DecoArt Black Green leaving a thin canvas gap between each part and painted the void spaces black.

Here is the old method. Oh dear does it take LOTS of time.
As I was painting the unpainted gaps a combination of pink and cad yellow, my mentor said, "Why didn't you just paint the whole canvas Black Green then ketch the lines on the canvas in white pencil?" To tell you the truth, that idea, for the first time, had flitted through my mind as I started painting that day.  However, the memory of painting white calla lilies on a black background a few years before at the Las Vegas Painting Convention, made me dismiss that idea. I did find it strange that this suggestion came on the heels of the last painting in the series.

Suddenly though, I realized that if I used a black canvas and traced the pattern in white on it, I could save a great deal of time if I taught the painting. The students could concentrate on filling in the cactus flutes and not spend the time on what I realized, now, of painting the background in. This was acrylic and not oil, so depending on the paint color, one, at most two coats would cover the black yet allow artists to dry brush the blending of dark and lighter portions of the painting letting the shapes form out of the dark background. Sweet.

I will have to wait awhile to try this out but I have several subjects that will be perfect to experiment with. I think it would be akin to the what a sculptor faces facing a block of stone hammer and chisel in hand. Rather than chipping away, you are painting a form onto the blank surface. I guess, just like everything else, there is more than one way to do something. Will it work? I can't wait to find out.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Saving A Disaster

This is my third attempt at trying to capture the beauty of cactus. After painting two fairly successful cactus paintings, each one more involved that before, this was nearly thrown away. It was started before my back problems. When I came home and looked at it two weeks later, I could not see a way out of the mess I had made. In some ways I failed to address the issues I listed in earlier blogs, especially the series that traced the evolution of a painting.

Oh there was a dark background, space between the flutes but this time (I saw this in a dream) I painted the open spaces red and then closed in around that. Because I didn't put much contrast between the foreground and the background (the original photo was pretty flat) the painting lacked any kind of dimension. I had painted what I saw but then I realized that the negative spaces were missing. There was really no real dark and light. Tote bag in hand along with this miserable painting, I trekked down to paint class to see what I could do.

I quickly realized the red fruit was the center point. All the rest was peripheral to this. I then began darkening the lower right space leaving enough shapes to indicate ground but not so much that the central flute didn't stand out. I did the same thing to the space on the left. One flute hugs the edge, there is a dark space then the center piece begins. I darkened creases, tried to create the variety of greens in just this one single plant and before I knew it, I looked like what it should have been. Using a deep purple lavender to give depth to the dark spaces, I was able to gave the whole plant life and depth.

I don't know why, but as an artist I have become rather fascinated with cactus plants. On my morning walks they are everywhere, this being California and all, and besides the amazing colors, they also have a wide variety of shapes, sizes and as I have discovered photographing them, thorns. Growing up in Oregon there is nothing quite this exotic. Everything is green to be sure but never in these rounded, distorted, voluptuous shapes!

My first real contact with cactus came in my college years when my mother, recently widowed, moved from the rain filled skies of Portland, OR to the always blue skies of Albuquerque, NM. I came home to a totally new place between my sophomore and junior college years.

To reduce the load of units for my last two years of college, I took a summer class at UNM in the morning and my Mom, sister and I would explore our new surroundings in the afternoon. I fell in love with New Mexico but maybe even more, the desert. After nothing but green I couldn't fathom that a place so dry and seemingly desolate could be so colorful and yes, beautiful.

I wanted to paint four cactus plants so I would have a series. I'm not sure what the last one will be but I will continue to experiment with my style and see where it takes me.

Monday, March 18, 2013

What Art Means To Me

If you ask anyone who cares, and maybe even those those that say they don't, art is a very personal and emotional subject. I have had many a discussion with artists about art, what is art and who is it that decides what is great art. The answers are always a mixed bag. The simplest statement might be, "Art is in the eyes of the beholder."

Art, whether it is a painting or craft design or even a newsletter that I have designed, is an expression of how I want to world to be perceived. Gone is the terrible news, catastrophes, wars, violence that seems to surround us. Instead my art is my vision of a more perfect, beautiful and some would say more colorful, world. Art being the highest achievements of man, not his worst. Art is my means of expressing what I feel and or what I hope to feel about the world, my world, my being. Art is in many ways my attempt to become the best seer of the world.

I asked the question awhile back questioning whether Andy Warhol was an artist. Not only would most people today (and trust me, most didn't back in the day) would say he is a pop icon! The question that still remains though is Warhol a great artist, in the same league as Da Vinci, Michelangelo, Vermeer, Rembrandt, Titan, David, Monet, Whistler, Picasso, even Pollack? There can be no doubt that what he created is known by more than a few. But is it really art? Who has the right to say?

Probing more deeply into the subject though, brings forth the question, what is great art and who determines what it is? Does it really MATTER whether Warhol is great or not if he has an admiring public? Museums and private collectors that now pay millions for his art? Is money the determining factor?

If Warhol's art qualifies as great art then the next question has to be, what IS art and what makes one piece great and another not?

Take this plate here. Its an original design of what a plate might look like if you glued strips of cloth to its surface. If it had been cloth, is it art? In this case the "fabric" is painted on so there is no danger of the fabric getting stained. Being painted on, it will certainly last a long time (if not thrown away) in its near original state. Since this was acrylic paint over a wooden surface and sealed with an acrylic varnish, it could last a long, long time if the owner(s) feel that its colorful surface, its fabric like design is worth keeping. Is it art? Does it have some deep seated vision of the world?

Quilts are the perfect metaphor for art. They take a whole collection of fabrics (colors), are cut (laid out), sewn (painted) and somehow, miraculously become something. Something artistic.

The inspiration for this came from observing my wife laying out a variety of fabrics before making a quilt. The fabrics are all different yet somehow she manages to turn out a variety of beautiful quilts, table runners and such. To look at the beginnings though, it looks like "the house of chaos."

A patchwork quilt is even less structured than a crazy quilt coverlet. You can just gather whatever fabric you wish (except those fabrics you REALLY WANT?) and sew away. Or, in this case paint away.

So again, what is art? Is what you and I create any better or worse than a Van Gogh? He was considered crazy in his own time and one of world's greatest painters in ours. Does your vision have any more or any less relevance to what you think and feel than some artist people may know?

I would guess, that the ability to convey what you create is the secret. Or, if you are Thomas Kincaid, "the painter of light," how your promote yourself as well. What do you think?

Alan

P. S. Check out this patchwork plate at krugsstudio.etsy.com




Tuesday, March 12, 2013

What Is It About Color?

One of the things I do, is check out the competition on Etsy and Pinterest too.  I like keep up on trends, not just of style but more than anything, color. As I began to realize in starting to investigate, color seems to be the hallmark of each generation and even more each decade.

There has been a revival of color and design of the middle 50's that moved into the 60's. There is even a retrospective with additional new material from pop icon Peter Max here in Los Angeles. Bright and brash was his signature!

When I designed this "patchwork plate" I realized just how strong that trend was. Bold colors, strong design ruled the day. There is nothing quite like it today either.

The challenge was deciding which colors to use when I painted this plate. Sure, I wanted red and blue and white. But then, what next? I opened bottles of paint and literally laid the tops on the piece just to see what would work. No, I didn't just pick anything but those that offered interesting, colorful contrasts.

When I worked for a patio furniture company, we paid close attention to color. Each season the Pantone color council made a prediction of the next years colors. Where they got that information always remained a mystery to me. However, we did play very close attention to the colors the manufacturers of outdoor fabrics offered (who apparently did pay attention to Pantone) because the painted frames we offered had to match or compliment those cushions and slings in some way. It was easy when white frames ruled the field for years, one of the longest runs ever. The oranges, avocados, and egg yolk yellows were a thing of the past. To repair one was literally a blast to the past! They made things that color we would ask? And people, well, bought them?  They were replaced by sedate tan and chocolate, then white. Oh sure, there were sea foams, pale blues, pinks and even black. They never dominated the market. It appears casual people play it safe too.

When the acrylic fabrics really took off, so did the use of color. Chartruese, melons, bright blues became popular but were always offered against quiet white, tans, metallic coppers, browns and muted beige frames with these same colors woven through the fabrics with browns and blacks maybe even a splash of gold and red. It was fascinating. You'd go into a store that was bright and white and turn 180ยบ to see dark and sedate.

Color is important in our lives. It can make us feel good and alive, or it can make us calm or even bored. Who has ever sat in some bland government office where the bilious green walls seemed to stretch forever? You have to wonder, how can these people come here to work? No wonder they are so grumpy. I'd be grumpy too. Seriously, consider the colors around you. Do some make you feel peppy? Do others bring you down?

Find what your color is. Play it safe but then don't be afraid to add a splash of color in your home, on your person. In every room, on every outfit. Its the contrasts in life that make it all the more interesting.

Check out my store, krugsstudio.etsy.com. There are plenty of colorful objects there!

Alan

Sunday, March 10, 2013

The Life of a Color

Reading the Sunday paper, always a ritual around here, I happened across and article about the color of all things, kitchen appliances. It seems that stainless steel reigns supreme still have after more than a few years but that there is beginning to be some movement in colors of yore. White and black are also considered "safe" colors. You have to wonder about stainless steel though. It shows everything. Every fingerprint, ever water spot, to keep it shiny its best not to use it or have a maid to immediately clean up the mess you made simply washing your hands.

Could there be a return to the colors of my past? Who of the boomer generation can forget Harvest Gold, or antiqued Avocado, or a brown that looked pretty much like, well you know. That along with gold, orange and avocado shag carpeting pretty much sums of my memory of colors, colors that make me actually flinch to see today. However, I must say, whoever the salesman was who sold enough avocado shag carpeting to cover the world, must have had a grand retirement. It was everywhere.

The colors shown on the appliances in the article though were not any color that I remember but kinder, and lighter versions that still were festooned with lots of stainless steel accents.

This brings up the matter of color. What IS the life of color?

Here is a vermillion tinted birdhouse accented with reds, yellows, purples and turquoise. Actual colors you might see in New Mexico or at least the Southwest. I have always been drawn to these colors and for at least 40 years of my life they were and still are popular. The copper roof adds a nice accent to the whole, the patina reinforcing the colors.

Why is it that some colors always remain popular and others ebb and flow? The wildly colored cars of my childhood, so reverently restored to probably better than new status, have been replaced by black, white, silver and grey cars. Look in any parking lot and its pretty boring.

Anyone daring to buy another color is told that they have to consider the resale value of the car. If I like it, I'll most likely keep the car until it literally falls to the ground.

The world around us is filled with color. I've noticed the past few days on my morning walk that the fruit trees have seemed to burst open almost overnight. Reds and pinks, and white dot many of the trees on my morning walk. The magnolias have already pretty much come and gone.

However, you better not pick too different a color to paint your house today either. Gone are the flights of fancy Victorian home owners used to paint their homes. Here is California it had better be off-white, tan, beige, something in that range. You might use a pale green but again, rarely anything resembling the rich, strong and often deep colors of Craftsmen homes of the early 1900's.

We have decided to be safe. Witness the number of people, especially men, wearing black. It doesn't offend and is actually easy to wear. I remember seeing a closet where other than the dress shirts (though even some of them, everything was black. You can get dressed sleepwalking!

Be daring. Wear some color! Put an accent piece in your home. Wake up a dull room with an accent of color. If nothing else it gives guests something to talk about, and you to enjoy. Color is around us everywhere, why not use it as well?

Alan




Thursday, March 7, 2013

Regarding Facebook, I Got Out Before More Ads!

Not to be too snide or "I told you so," but the buzz on the radio today, be it NPR, the local country station, even the all news station, has been the changes, yet again, to Facebook.

Now, you get to snoop even more into your neighbors files - music, photos and Lord knows what else AND get bombarded with even more and bigger, yes that's right, BIGGER ads that follow you at every turn. Isn't that we all want? More ads?

We are not even immune from them in the sky! Yesterday, even with rain barely over the horizon the folks in the San Gabriel Valley, just east of Los Angeles, had to listen to the droning of a small plane hauling a huge GEICO banner behind it as it labored, and I do mean labored, back and forth just about all day. When it was overhead conversation stopped. It was that loud.

One of my favorite movies is Ridley Scott's BLADERUNNER. It shows an L.A. of the future where the smog has clearly won, the immigrant population is the majority and still with all of this, we are making replicants, genetic people that have a lifespan of limited years. The city is awash with ads, name brands that you can't miss as you follow the hero, played by Harrison Ford, who is an expert at ferreting out those replicants who try to slip into the mainstream.

The movie is awash with ads and not unlike those that bathe our buildings at night now. Ever seen nighttime photos of Shanghai, China? It is stunning. It was an amazing, groundbreaking movie, and like 2001 A SPACE ODYSSEY, has stood the test of time.

Kubrick really was the leader in this branding business. Who will ever forget the Pam Am space shuttle docking with the International Space Station to the music of "The Beautiful Blue Danube?" The AT&T call home. The Howard Johnson restaurant and the Hilton hotel?

Ads are everywhere today. Stadiums that used to be named for people are now named for corporations. I noticed that the Kodak Center in Hollywood is now the Dolby Center...same building but due to the misfortunes of Kodak they got a new sponsor. We can't even get away from them on the highways. This mile is sponsored by "The Local Bar" and what not.

So, I guess in retrospect, poor Facebook has to come up with some way to make some dough. It will just have to do it without me.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Just What CAN You Teach? Selecting Classes for Las Vegas

Since I've been home, there has been some interesting events. On the artistic front, I had a student who had planned to take one of my classes in Las Vegas, who reached out to me through Etsy.com asking if I had kits of that class available. Like I mentioned earlier, I too had stared at the materials I had already created and thought, well, I help my teacher and mentor create hers, why can't I do the same thing? I gave her a price, got the postage to Canada and I have a sale.

As I learned though, creating a kit is not simple. When you paint something, its often a trial by error event. I'm sure that I am not alone in saying that. Well, maybe because I'm an amateur, I am saying that.  However, my teacher noted that in teaching her class last week, there were errors in the instructions and she's been teaching over 25 years.

I literally chronicled a painting of cactus here showing the step by step agony (or is it ecstasy?) of that process. When I repainted my own painting with a student, I realized that I too had made errors in my instructions. It is not always an exact science, in fact, I wonder about the whole process. Can you actually instruct someone to paint like you do? If you go to any guild or painting convention, it appears that you can. YouTube is filled with videos of painters showing you how to paint. I think this is something that raises many questions. My intent in learning to paint was to create my own style. However, that said, I will also say that by taking classes from others you learn a great deal. There are tips and techniques that you may not have come across. Last year my painting took a very different turn. Each teacher had their own style and I realized that you pick out what you want and forget the rest, or forget it until you come across the same kind of problem and remember what they did and adapt it to your own situation.

Hopefully, after talking to the Creative Painting Convention operator, I will get another chance to try to teach. Looking at what I had done over that past year, I realized that I really didn't know what I wanted to teach nor what I could teach? Looking at the canvases, including the two cactus paintings, I thought that I would start small, and 8" x 10" still life, a slightly larger 12" x 9" still life, this lovely daisy, then moving on up to the two cactus projects and ending with some plumerias.

I realized though that there are several criteria here when making a selection of items to propose. One, can it be painted in the time given? From experience, I know I hate though classes where there is simply no way you can get the project done. I find that the unfinished project sits around unfinished and finally, its thrown away. So, it has to be finished in the allotted time. You want a success story!

Then, is it something that someone would want to paint? I think I would hate to be Jay Sharp, operator of the convention who has to make those decisions on what to offer. Its not only painting being offered but a variety of craft projects as well. Six days of classes in fact! He has to look for those projects that attract signups, are different enough from years past and are something that people really want to do.

In talking to him from my rehab home, I mentioned what I had been considering to submit anyway and he was amiable to them. Southwestern themes are hot right now and there haven't been many still life's in a four hour time slot. So, when I mail the proposals tomorrow, all six of them, all I can do is cross my fingers and hope!

The best part, if there is any good part is that everyone of these can be painted using DecoArts acrylic paints. No wet paintings! And, I think everyone one of them can be started AND finished in the time I allotted!

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Maybe There is Hope After Missing A Show!

What do you do with a whole bunch of canvases...25 in fact, that were all ready for two different classes? I stared at the box of canvases for a day or so after coming home from rehabitation and thought, well, there is surely a lot of work in this, maybe I too should make up kits and see if I can sell them online.

Here it is...all dressed up and nowhere to go!

Then out of the blue, someone on Etsy contacted me and said she had signed up for the class and was sorry I was unable to attend the show. "Would you be interested in selling a kit? Do you have a kit," she asked? I didn't but had already run the idea in my mind. All the pieces were there. They had to be. Each student in class got one.  Photos, instruction sheet, canvas and the outline to trace on their own canvas if they wished. All I hade to do was put them in a sleeve!

This class should be easy to paint as I taught it to a friend who had never painted before. He did great and finished much faster than I dreamed possible. Watching him I made modifications to my instructions that I think make it easy to understand. The lesson for me was that even though it was my painting even I couldn't create an exact duplicate. And maybe it shouldn't be. Just as a singer over the years modifies a great hit, artists techniques change as well.

The canvas is an archival polyester stretched over a wooden frame that is I wonderful to paint on. It doesn't need any preparation - its ready to start painting on. It has a smooth texture that allows the paint to glide across the surface yet allow textures to show through.

Maybe in great disappointment another door opens. We shall see.