Monday, 20 February 2017

Another Busy Week

My husband and I are always saying that it is a good thing we are retired because we don't have time for a job. We also don't have time for that other problem - boredom. There is always something to do!

I currently have three private students and, although the snow two weeks ago cancelled classes, we are back on schedule. Most of the time I don't get a completed painting when I am teaching because I am demonstrating the techniques. But, last week I was able to do a painting that I really liked.
#1009 - Sunset Memories - 7 x 10 watercolour
We worked from a photo my student found on the internet. I made some changes to my painting while Ed stuck with what he saw in the photo. BTW - Most of my students don't like me taking photos of their work - especially a WIP.

Something else that has kept me busy for the last while is adding labels to my blog posts and putting hashtags on my Facebook and Google+ posts. Using hashtags is new to me and I have trouble remembering to use them, but I think they could be a good tool. When someone clicks on a hashtag a number of posts from different people, who also use them, will be accessed. This potentially gives me a wider range of people who will see my paintings, not just my friends and followers. The labels are a bit different; they only refer to my blog. However, this can be useful too. For instance, when I briefly mentioned starting my bedding plants this year a couple of people asked me about that. Now, the labels will take them to a previous post all about that subject.

I have also been doing a bit of quilling lately. Using some photos from the internet as reference, I made some new Christmas ornament designs and some new cards.

Quilled Dragonfly with Poppy Card

Quilled Dragonfly with Primrose Card

And finally, I have signed up for Kat Sloma's Liberate Your Art postcard exchange. If you haven't heard about this you can find out about it here - Kat's page  Luckily I have lots of cards on hand that I was able to modify to fit the postcard guidelines and they will be in the mail later this week.

That is just a few of the things that have been keeping me hopping. I keep wondering when life is going to slow down but I figure that busy is better than bored - lol.

Thanks for stopping by and please leave a comment.

Friday, 10 February 2017

Promotion and Snow

This is a long one - lol.

It seems that this year a number of my artist friends are thinking about promoting their art as well as creating.

Last week a friend asked me about having a Facebook art page or a web page. Another friend is finally sharing some of her paintings on Google+. One of my blogging friends has started a web page with FASO and is also trying out for design stuff.  Then on February 1st, Leslie Saeta wrote a blog about blogging.

All of these things got me thinking (again) about how to promote my art and how to get my name out there. How do we go from being artists to being business people AND how to we do it cheaply? Lets face it, most of us do not make enough at our art to spend big bucks on promotion: neither do we have the skills to do the work ourselves. Plus, do we want to spend a lot of our time on promotion?

Is social media the answer? Here is an excerpt from Leslie's blog on blogging,

"Another big difference is that social media has made it a lot easier for bloggers to build a following. Create a blog and then share your message on Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest. Find followers and entice them to follow your blog. Ask your followers to share your message and the next thing you know your blog has thousands of followers. With some work you may end up with tens of thousands of followers. For the hard working bloggers you may end up with over a million followers."

I think the key word above is "entice" which is not easy to accomplish.

Out of curiosity I decided to do a Google search of my name. Then I did a search for Mellowood Studio which is the name of most of my social media pages and my home gallery. I found my name 11 times in the first 5 pages and the Mellowood name over 10 times in the first 2 pages. BUT, the questions remain: how do people know what name to search for? and, how do you get them to follow you, once they do find you?

These are a few of the links where people can find me and my art. BTW, my Etsy shop is empty but is still getting new followers which I find amusing.

Link2Creston, My Handmade at Amazon store, my GoBC entry, my Facebook Art Page, my Blogmy Pinterest page, my Web page, an entry in artsillistrated on-line magazine, my Esty shop, my Google+ page, my Creston Arts Council profile

I could probably spend many hours a week on promotion but I think I would rather paint!

On another note, I haven't been doing any painting lately as my time has been used shovelling snow or recuperating from the shovelling. Here are some pictures of my yard.
the courtyard last week

the front walk 3 days ago

icicles hanging from the snow above the courtyard

the courtyard from the kitchen window 2 days ago

the view from Bob's office 2 days ago

the front walk today after the snow came off the roof

the view from Bob's office today after the snow came off the roof

the courtyard today
 This past week has been a real challenge; trying to keep the 200 metre long driveway through the forest clear has been the hardest part. Here is a picture of part of the driveway from a few years ago.
heading to the road
And, a couple from the same spot today.
heading to the road today

Heading to the house today
I am so looking forward to spring!

Tuesday, 31 January 2017

30/30 January 2017 Finale

It is January 31 and the challenge is over except for the Grand Finale. It has been a super month and I have learned a few new techniques, explored new subjects, dusted off some old skills and made some new artist friends.
January 2017 Collage
Joan mentioned in her blog yesterday that doing the collage is almost harder than doing the paintings. I tend to agree. I have so much trouble getting the curser to move the paintings where I want them! I tried to line the photos up in order but ended up just putting the last few where ever the curser moved them.

Stop by Leslie's 30/30 page to see all of the collages. Think about signing up for a challenge in the future; Leslie usually does them in September and January. They are a great way to expand your horizons and build up your portfolio.

Although I won't be blogging daily, I hope you will sign up to follow me to see what I am doing during the rest of the year.

Monday, 30 January 2017

30/30 January Challenge #30

Well, it is over and none too soon as I have run out of steam!

Today's painting was planned around another of the pre-cut mats I have.
#1008 - Chickadee in the Maple - 5 x 9 watercolour
Unfortunately, by the time I finished playing with colour, the pre-cut mat was all wrong. The tan mat just didn't work with the painting so, I painted it brown! I was rather surprised that it worked although the mat now almost looks like wood instead of paper.

I believe that tomorrow we are supposed to share a collage of our month's work and then the challenge will be complete. It has been great, seeing the work of old 'friends' like Sheila, Laurie,  Joan and Nelvia as well as finding some new artist friends to follow -  Cindy and Sharon to name a few. I look forward to seeing more posts from all of them as the year progresses and maybe, just maybe, trying to emulate their work.

Don't forget to check out the work by the many artists who joined Leslie's 30/30 Challenge and tune in tomorrow to see my collage.

Sunday, 29 January 2017

30/30 January Challenge #29

Although I do have two paintings done, I am going to share the one done just for the challenge. The other piece was painted as a demonstration for one of my students and will be saved for another day.
#1007 - Teddybear's Garden - 6 x 8 watercolour
This is so not my style! I picked up a bunch of old art tutorial magazines at Art Club last week and thought I would give one of the reference pictures a try. I don't think that stuffed animals will ever become a subject I want to paint again although it was an interesting experiment. I think this piece is too much like a cartoon but, it is a pretty good fit for the oval mat.

There is only one day left in Leslie's 30/30 Challenge and the month has been another great opportunity for artists to share their work and to find other artists to enjoy and follow.

Now, the question remains - "What am I going to do with 30 more paintings?"

Thanks for visiting - please leave a comment.

Saturday, 28 January 2017

30/30 January Challenge #28

After the detailed work with pen & ink in the last few paintings, I decided I needed to play!

#1005 - The Falling Leaves - 5 x 9 mixed media
I did a two paintings similar to this a few years ago and thought I would try it again. A pale blue-grey sky, a couple of layers of background and some simple trees decorated with some cut up quilling paper and it was done. The whole thing took about half an hour and that was because the layers had to dry. Fun and simple, just perfect for a busy day!

We have two days left in the challenge and I am definitely running out of steam. Besides, many of my seeds have sprouted and I am starting to think about transplanting and thinning - not painting.

Here is the link to Leslie's 30/30 page and, if you haven't already checked it out you should take a look and you will see some really neat art.

Friday, 27 January 2017

30/30 January Challenge #27

We are coming down to the wire with only 3 days left after today. In the past these challenges have been a chore for me but this one has been a breeze. I was able to find plenty of things to paint and each painting seemed to be easy to do - talk about lucky!
#1004 - Gnarled Stump - 6 x 8 pen & ink with watercolour
"Gnarled Stump" is another piece based on a tutorial by Claudia Nice - I really like her work!  A stump like this would probably be more grey, but I wanted the painting to match the mat so I made it in browns. I enjoy doing pen & ink art and really should do it more often but, somehow, I never seem to.

I am going to post this on Leslie's 30/30 page , then I am heading to my studio to plan a few more paintings. Have a great day and thanks for stopping by!