Blog Post 12.6.13 (Working on Art Commissions…)

I recently got my first painting commission.  I won’t lie, for a long time I thought that I would never do commissions, the thought just struck fear in me!  The idea of doing the perfect painting for someone just did not seem like something I could handle, after all, as an artist I always have that voice in the back of my head that makes me question a lot of what I do (I work hard on silencing that voice!).  But a few years ago I got great advice from a fellow artist.  He said he always does 2 paintings because it takes the pressure off.  It was a fabulous idea!!!  The idea of working on 2 paintings has lots of good points.  Beside just taking the pressure off of ONE perfect one, if the customer gets very specific with what they want (even if you don’t agree), you can do one their way and one with your vision.  Chances are they will like yours better, after all, they chose you for a reason! (They already like your art!).  Doing 2 paintings has an additional plus side to it… they may want to buy both, which is what happened with mine!

Now, I have heard horror stories from some artists, and I don’t think I would take on a commission if I get just bad feelings from the customer (like they would be difficult to work with) or doing paintings that are just plain not my style, I think I would refer them to a fellow artist that works in the style they want.  That would just be a pressure I don’t want.  I LOVE painting, and I want to try and keep it that way!

This is the painting that they saw and wanted a larger version of.  I did it 2 years ago and it sold this past spring.  I will be exploring versions of this painting further, it was really fun to do!

Bubbles

Bubbles

By the way, my work is abstract, so I don’t know if this would work if you paint realistically.  🙂

 

Blog Post 10.12.13 (Testing Technology)

I am extremely grateful & honored to be going to photograph a surgical mission trip to Guatemala. I am going with Dell Children’s Surgical Global Outreach and I am very excited!
I am now testing out the technology so that I know how to make it work while I am there. This is my first time doing a whole blog post from my iPad (with links & all). And I did not want to take a laptop, so I am trying to get everything to work w my iPad mini.
First I had to get my photos from my Canon 40d to my iPad. That turned out to be way easier than I thought! I bought a ‘lightning to USB camera adapter’, which I plugged my camera into and all my images show up on my iPad! I was worried that my raw format would not be viewable, but they are! I can import the images I want, then I can work on them with my photo apps. I did figure out that I need to convert my images to jpeg, which I did with a new app I got called Leonardo.
So far I posted an image to Facebook without any problems, so now I am trying it on WordPress!

20131012-161029.jpg

Lets see if it works!!! 🙂

Blog Post 9.2.13 (I Love my Smart Phone!)

My iPhone Photo Apps

My iPhone Photo Apps

I saw a post yesterday asking if the old master photographers were here today, do you think they would be taking photos with their iPhone?  My bet is yes they would!!

Vignette

Vignette

As a creative person, I find the camera on my phone so easy and handy.  It’s really always with me, and it makes it way too easy to just photograph any little thing I see.  I love the iPhone ad that shows how much taking photos with our phone has changed our lives.  Some may be silly or pointless, but some capture just beautiful moments that in a way we can keep forever.

FX Camera

FX Camera

I started taking photos with my phone with my old Android (Evo).  Some of my favorite apps were Vignette, Retro Camera and FXCamera.   I was very disappointed that they did not make Vignette for iPhone, but I have found plenty of apps to play with.  Have I used all these loaded on my phone?  Not really.  I got carried away, and I am sure there are some of you out there that have more apps than I do!  I do find myself using Instagram, Hipstamatic & Vintique the most.

Instagram

Instagram

Vintique

Vintique

 

Hipstamatic

Hipstamatic

 

 

 

 

Retro Camera

Retro Camera

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Of course most of these apps have many filters and settings you can choose from.  The options seem endless!

I would love to hear what your favorite photo apps are!  🙂

Blog Post 8.3.13 (Determination…)

Determination: firm or fixed intention to achieve a desired end.

I have wanted to be an artist for as long as I can remember.  It definitely has not worked the way I had originally planed, but I am determined to do it anyway.  Easy?  No way!!  It’s the hardest thing I have ever done in my life!! But I would not change it for the world! Creating art has been one of the most enlightening and gratifying things I have ever done.  Being an artist working a full time non-artistic job is tough.  It would be so easy to give up.  But I keep visualizing where I want to be with my art and I keep on going.

One of the things that has made a huge difference is spending the time really devoting to exploring my painting style.  When I am at the studio, spending time experimenting is huge!!  It would be easy to just whip out easy paintings just to sell, but I want that “something special”, something that will make my work stand out!  I am not happy with just doing a painting, I want it to “Wow” me, and if it does that, hopefully it will “Wow” others!

As my work has been developing, I have received lots of good feedback from fellow artists, collectors, etc.  My hard work seems to be paying off.  I am so glad I did not give up, but I still have a way to go.  I am determined to be a full time artist, making a fabulous living, better than I ever imagined!!  What a ride!! 🙂

If you are in Austin I hope you can come by!!

If you are in Austin I hope you can come by!!

Blog Post 7.15.13 (Creative Inspiration…)

Where do you get your inspiration for paintings?

In abstract painting that is a bit more challenging. I always figured that most of my paintings are inspired by nature, and I knew that once I saw the beauty in Yellowstone National Park, I wanted to include those colors in my paintings. When I created my last few paintings in my Cosmos Series, I used colors I had seen in Yellowstone. I had not looked at my paintings & photos together until just now, and I was moved by how they looked side by side!

Grand Prismatic Geyser- Glow

Grand Prismatic Geyser- Glow

Grand Prismatic Geyser

Grand Prismatic Geyser

This is truly nature’s abstract art!  The colors are so vibrant and almost do not seem real!  Below are my Yellowstone inspired paintings in my Cosmos Series.  They are in the order they were created.  You can see how they evolved the more paintings I created!

Yellowstone Magic 14"x18" Acrylic on Canvas

Yellowstone Magic 14″x18″ Acrylic on Canvas

Magnificence 30"x48" Acrylic on Canvas

Magnificence 30″x48″ Acrylic on Canvas

Believe #1  8"x8" Acrylic on Canvas

Believe #1 8″x8″ Acrylic on Canvas

Believe #2  8"x8" Acrylic on Canvas

Believe #2 8″x8″ Acrylic on Canvas

Discovery 36"x36" Acrylic on Canvas

Discovery 36″x36″ Acrylic on Canvas

Majestic 48"x60" Acrylic on Canvas

Majestic 48″x60″ Acrylic on Canvas

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Blog Post 6.4.13 (A Painting at Home)

I love getting photos from collectors of my paintings, so I can see how my work is adorning their home.  This photo I just LOVE!!

Nature Reborn- at home

Nature Reborn- at home

He had an older painting of mine in there first, but when he got some flowers to decorate the space, he felt my “Nature Reborn” painting would work well with the flowers!  I also love the artistic shot he took!  (You can see my painting in the background)

Nature Reborn

Nature Reborn

Blog Post 5.19.13 (Teaching, Sharing & Inspiration)

People that know me, specially artists, know that I LOVE art.  I am in love with the process of making art.  I find so much joy creating art that I automatically share details freely with my fellow artists.  I think it comes naturally for me to share, so that maybe others can find the same joy I feel doing it.paint closeup 2

I had several friends tell me I should teach, that I am a natural at it.  Well, I can tell you that I never thought of myself as a teacher of any kind!  I guess the difference is that sharing something you love does not feel like teaching, so it does come naturally.  So I finally decided to give it a try and did a small test workshop.  I invited 4 friends to take part (several that encouraged me to do this in the first place), so I could figure out how to structure it for other students.

paint closeup 1I thought about what to name it and how to describe my workshop, and it’s so hard to put into words what I would like to teach.  Mostly I want to share fun techniques, tips, and play, to inspire those that are too afraid to “be” an artist, or remind those artists that lost the “fun” and “joy”, why they became artists in the first place.  I want them to come out of the workshop with their creativity wheels turning, ideas running through their heads and inspiration overflowing.  I feel it’s those little surprises that come out during play and experimentation that excite us and allows us to come up with something that no one else has done before.paint closeup 3

I also love working with other artists.  The inspiration you get from working with others is contagious, and in teaching others you come up with new ideas while you are explaining a process.  I know also that many artists do not share their ideas.  They are afraid that someone will steal or copy them.  Well, with the age of the internet I think that can happen anyway, without teaching someone!  Also I have seen that when you have a group working on an art project, each person has their own artistic vision in their work, which makes it different from the others.  I believe true artists want to come up with something uniquely theirs, that makes them stand out from the rest.

 

Blog Post 3.31.13 (Artists, Artists, Artists…)

Stevie Nicks at SXSW 2013

Stevie Nicks at SXSW 2013

A few weeks ago I volunteered at SXSW and was able to attend a couple of interviews with musicians (Depeche Mode and Stevie Nicks).  It was fascinating to listen to their answers about their artistic process.  They were asked about how they come up with the music and songs, their inspiration, and do they struggle with ideas, and they had a lot of the same answers as painters would come up with.  That got me thinking that I needed to get a dancer’s perspective as well, see if it was the same, so who better to ask than my father (Eugene Slavin)!  He was a ballet dancer, and choreographed many dances in his career, and a lot of his answers were the same!  I found out that ideas, inspiration, creativity is very similar no matter what your artistic outlet is.  Here are several of the answers I heard:  I play the music and the lyrics just come out, I read or watch movies for inspiration, I look at art and listen to music to get inspired, I see a dancer or hear music that inspires a dance.  I think when the creative brain is engaged, when we see or hear ‘it’ we just instinctively know it.

It was interesting asking my Dad about his artistic process (I had never spoken to him about it before).  The one difference it seemed was that a lot of the choreography was dictated by the talent the dancers, or what their strengths or weaknesses were.  I guess if us painters were limited to just paint with specific materials it would be the same thing, or a musician only able to use specific instruments.  Getting creative with what we have is what we have to do when the creative bug strikes!

Blog Post 3.1.13 (It’s going to be a Great Year!)

So far this year is starting out pretty good for me.  In January I started out with my first really big solo show.  I set up this show about a year ago as a way to force myself to create a good size body of work, so I can start submitting to different galleries around the country.  As it got closer to the date of hanging the show, I started panicking, wondering if I had enough art!  Well, the amount of work turned out to be just perfect!

"Beyond Limits" North Hills Gallery 2013 Panoramic photo shot with my iPhone 5

“Beyond Limits” North Hills Gallery 2013- Panoramic photo shot with my iPhone 5

At this event I sold 3 paintings, and was pretty well attended, which was just wonderful!  I had lots of positive feedback on all my work, from artist friends as well an others that I did not know.  (I also got a video of the show but have not done anything with it yet. That will be a new project for me to learn how to do! 🙂 )  Once the show came down, I decided to take one of the most popular pieces to my office at my ‘day job’.  Well, it did not even make it up on the wall before someone decided they had to have it! (see it below)

SOLD- Desert Ruins Under the Stars 30"x40" Mixed Media on Canvas

SOLD- Desert Ruins Under the Stars 30″x40″ Mixed Media on Canvas

Then yesterday morning, during a break I pulled up Facebook and I noticed that SkinnyArtist.com posted their yearly 21 Artists to Watch in 2013 list, which I love to look at every year (I find great artists to follow on Facebook and Twitter), and to my surprise I saw my name on the list!!!  I feel so honored to be mentioned with so many wonderful artists (and thank you so much Drew for the wonderful words and support)!

I am now preparing for the West Austin Studio Tour, which will be taking place over 2 weekends this year, April 27-28 & May 4-5, 2013.  I hope my momentum just keeps going, I am ready!

Blog Post 1.2.13 (So you want to be an artist, now what…)

First of all, HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!

So, it’s the beginning of 2013, you have always wanted to be an artist, but you have been discouraged from pursuing your artistic interest by most people.  But now your creative urge is strong.  You feel that something has been missing in your life, and just maybe that may be it.  Well, get to it!!  Start drawing, painting, sculpting, or whatever artistic medium you feel compelled to do!  Yes, it’s overwhelming, and if you think you have to wait till you can go to art school, DON’T WAIT!!  Just do it!  Otherwise you may never do it.  My decision to start painting was one of the best things I ever did.

Early work- Leaf- 2002

Early work- Leaf- 2002

I had a friend ask me today about how I got started painting, how long it has been, etc.  She has had that creative urge, and luckily decided to listen to it.  So I thought that would be a good topic to write about and share my experience, since I kept waiting until I realized that if I waited till the “perfect time” it would probably never happen!

First of all, I have always been artistic.  I have been drawing since I was a toddler (please don’t let not growing up drawing stop you!).  I was intimidated by the idea of painting.  I didn’t know anything about materials, how to use them, what I needed, and I let that stop me for many years.  I finally decided to sign up for a painting class at our local art museum.  It was very helpful!  Once I got that out of the way, I decided I could try and teach myself some techniques.

Early Work- Flowers in the Stream 2003 (I think)

Early Work- Flowers in the Stream 2003 (I think)

One of my favorite pastimes was (and still is), going to a book store, sitting down with a cup of coffee and a pile of art books and magazines.  When I found a favorite, I would buy it so I could try some of the techniques at home.

As I got some paintings done, I was brave enough to hang some in a group show at a cafe I was working at, then at the hair salon I went to, and eventually joined The Creative Arts Society, one of our local art guilds.  Some of the artists I have met through that group are now some of my closest friends!   By being a member of the group and participating as a chair & member I learned painting techniques, how to frame, how to hang shows, and just talking to people about my art!

The next step I took was going to a week long painting workshop.  THAT changed my life!!!  I think I was finally ready to take that big jump into taking my artwork seriously.

Early Work- Peach Rose 2004

Early Work- Peach Rose 2004

Some of the most important things I learned are:
-Get lots of art materials, if you just have a few, you will worry about “wasting” what you have.  I bought a lot of materials with my weekly 40% off coupon from Michael’s (you can now sign up online to receive the coupon in your email, or if you have a smart phone you can download their app).  And don’t be afraid to “waste” materials, you are not wasting, you are learning.
-Give yourself permission to “play”.  By playing around with the paints I learned how to work with them.  And painting should be fun anyway!
-Draw, even if you don’t think you can.  If you can’t come up with things off the top of your head, get beginning drawing books to guide you.
-Join a local art guild if you can, or try to meet other artists.  It’s wonderful to be around “like minds” and you learn a lot from each other.  If there is not a good art group in your area look online.  You can also find other artists on Twitter & Facebook (I have found many of them very encouraging).
-Go to art galleries & museums for inspiration!
-Read The Artist’s Way, by Julia Cameron.  I know many artists that say it has changed their life (including myself).  You can find links to my favorite books including this one on the “Favorite Books” page.

I can say that I am definitely not ready to quit my day job to be a full time artist, yet… but I have not given up on it.  I am working hard to realize that dream.  I have set goals for myself along the way, which has been helpful for me.  If you have any questions, comments, suggestions just let me know!  You can also find me on Facebook & Twitter, and I am always happy to share what I know!
Above you can see samples of my early paintings.  You can find my latest work on my Facebook page and website!