Posted on

Custom Pet Portraits Preserve Precious Memories

I have been doing pet portraits for about 30 years.  Like most things, it started with my pets.  Then when family members saw what I had done, they wanted portraits of their pets.  My Dad’s cats.  My sister’s dog.  And it spread from there.  I’ve lost count of how many I have done, but I can say they are hanging in homes across the country.  As time went on I expanded the media I employed.  First it was all watercolor.  Here are some the earliest ones:

This was my first one.  My two cats, Jessica (the grey

Jessica and Gizmo stole my chair

one) and Gizmo (the Tabby).  I really loved those two.  Jessica was with me for 24 years.  Two weeks after Jessica crossed the Rainbow Bridge, Gizmo passed.  He died of a broken heart.  I realized just now I did a second painting of them.  It is the second one below.

Playing Hide and Seek

They were always chasing each other around. When they weren’t napping, that is.  When my parents saw these, they wanted one of their cats.  They were the funniest pair I’ve ever encountered and capturing photos became the biggest challenge.  They were litter-mates and always together.  Cutie Pies.  I called this “Better Water Here”.

Better Water Here

 

 

As I mentioned, they it was my sister.  She was crazy about her rottweiler, Rip, and when she lost him, it was time to paint my first dog.  Fortunately she had quite few good photos, and she mailed them to me.  This is the result:

Krissy’s Rip

 

From this one, word spread.  I began to take orders from her friends, and my friends, then friends of our friends!  Since then, I’ve done portraits in Acrylic, Soft pastel and Scratchbord (TM).  Scratchbord portraits are some of my favorites, but are best with the pet is white, or mostly white.  Here are a couple of samples:

Ceasar: Ink and Sratchbord Black Pet Portrait
Little Bear: Ink and Scratcbord Black Pet Portrait

So, what is Scratchbord? It is actually white clay, baked on to Masonite, then coated 32 times with black India Ink. The manufacturer is Ampersand.

So that is how I buy it.  I then use a tiny knife, steel wool and various other specialized tools, to scratch through the ink, down to the white clay, leaving as much ink as is needed to create depth and texture.  Then I use ink to paint in features such as the eyes, and the pinks and blues visible in Ceasar (the cat).  I’ve done hundreds.  I have never had one rejected.  I know the owners love their paintings as much as I love to recall the antics of my cats when I look at those paintings.

Most pet portraits take a few weeks to complete.  Pricing is based primarily on size, but if you want a scratchbord piece remember it is really only good for white or mostly white animals.  I can use paper, canvas, panel/wood for watercolor, oil pastel, soft pastel or acrylic.  You can view how various media look on the pet portraits page here.

I need 5 or 6 photos of the pet.  You can choose to have me paint a particular photo that you love, or ask me to paint a composite with fully realistic impression of the pet.  I require a 50% deposit, with balance due upon final acceptance of the piece.  You can contact me with the form below to get a quote.  Standard sizes are 8 x 8, 8 x 10, 10 x 12, 10 x 10, 12 x 16, 12 x 12, 16 x 16 or 16 x 20.  I can go bigger but it starts getting expensive and takes up alot of wall space.

Save those precious memories!  Order a Pet Portrait!

[contact-form][contact-field label=”Name” type=”name” required=”true” /][contact-field label=”Email” type=”email” required=”true” /][contact-field label=”Website” type=”url” /][contact-field label=”Message” type=”textarea” /][/contact-form]

Please follow and like us:
0
Posted on

New Ideas for Gift Giving

Yes, I know.  I’m not the most prolific poster.  While I’ve said it before, I am trying to be more diligent on that score.  For this holiday coming, I’ve set up a page of smaller, less expensive works that fit well in the gift giving genre.  In addition, I’m working on more!  One of my new products are small boxes that are perfect for dried flowers or even wooden utensil storage.  I make them out of wood, then paint them with acrylic paint with some of the images I’m best known for…flowers of course.  There is only one left at this juncture, so I am making more as fast as I can.  They are very

Sunflowers Squared Box

affordable at only $30, so they have been selling quite quickly..almost as fast as I can make them.  So, check out the gifts page. You may just find the perfect gift for your loved ones.  Let me know if you have questions.  Just leave a comment here or fill out my contact page.

 

 

Please follow and like us:
0
Posted on

Tech Savy and Art: An awkward combination?

So, after a year or so, okay, emphasis on the “so”, I moved my old blogspot blog to this site, en toto.  I did the first steps all by my not so big self, though it did require an hour and some minor cursing from my tech guru husband.  At any rate, it’s done! Wahoos are in order for me, as I left the old blog unattended while I was working on this website. So, for those of you who were following the old blog via RSS, the links in RSS will now bring you right here, and you can even look at the old posts and photos contained in them.

Now, with a few more tweaks, I can return to painting.  Yes, being an artist is hard work. While skill and passion is a known requirement, these days, so is discipline and marketing savy.  Ouch.  It’s a work in process.  Of course.

There will be some notable changes coming here.  While the emphasis of being a gallery has lingered, it will be changing soon, to my personal work. However, there may be “popUP” times when I’m promoting someone else.  We’ll just have to see how it goes. I get it, you follow me for me. For who I am and what I do, and from here, I’m beginning again, starting anew. I hope you’ll come along.  And let me know what you’d like to see?  I’d love that!  Thank you!

 

Please follow and like us:
0
Posted on

A Gallery Owner’s Guide to Framing: Why it’s framed…or Why not?

I wrote this for my newsletter and it got alot of attention…so it is for you: (PS, wrote this a few years ago, but i guess i never hit “publish” because it was still in my drafts…oops)

We’ve all been there. We find a great little piece and think “I love it, but I don’t love the frame.” The Gallery owner may say, “No Problem..I’ll take it out” or…No Can Do.” Why? What’s the difference and what can you do about it? (This custom frame job would make me reluctant to unframe!)

First, “why can’t I buy that without the frame?”. I’ve heard the question enough, I know a good percentage of you ask. Most of the time, the answer is simple. In many cases, shipping or packing a piece of work without framing may significantly increase the likelihood of damage to the piece. Take a pastel, oil pastel, or traditional watercolor, and taking the piece out of the frame, and in this case, the glass, put’s the piece at risk. Pastel is loosely affixed to it’s media, usually an archival “sanded” paper. It is framed substantianlly away from the glass and the mat. This is done to prevent static electricity from pulling pastel from the paper and sticking it to the mat and glass. Taking it out of its frame requires great care in packing and shipping (read: $$). Not that it can’t be done….just that it takes much more care in packing. Similarly, oil pastel works on paper require framing behind glass, because they never really dry. Shipping without adequate protection increases the likelihood of smudging. Traditional watercolor (on paper) is susceptible to damage from moisture and scratching.

That said, there are still ways to avoid the dangers and get the frame job you love. The first possibility is to take the whole piece to your favorite framer and have it unframed, and reframed by a professional. Why go to that expense? If your piece is not a “stock” size, then cutting mats, mounting, spacing and framing can make the most prolific artist shudder. I seldom frame my own work. I’m the professional at painting. Let the framing professional do the framing. I tend to wind up with bloody fingers and great stress. If, on the other hand, your piece is a “standard” or “stock” size, it may be as simple as picking up a precut mat and frame from Hobby Lobby or Michael’s. So, what is a stock size? 4 x 6, 5 x 7, 8 x 10, 9 x 12, 11 x 14, 12 x 16, 16 x 20, 18 x 24 (all in inches) are standard stock sizes for most pre-made frames, many premade mats and many pre-packaged paks of glass and foamcore.

If your original is 15 1/2 x 22 (a standard 1/2 sheet of watercolor paper) or other non-stock size, you may find it difficult to do it yourself. The warehouse stores (like Hobby Lobby and Michael’s) are often a less expensive option, though they won’t offer as wide a range of high quality framing options as most professional frame shops. Personally, I use the services of Jim and Lisa Cox, (yes, Jim is an excellent artist) at Taos Do It Yourself Picture Framing, in Taos. No, you don’t have to do it yourself…but they’ll help you if you’re so inclined.

What about those new watercolors on canvas? Those oils and acrylics on canvas…all with painted edges, unframed? They are actually suitable as they are..and often hang that way in galleries and homes, and museums. Unframed canvases don’t work in your decor? Ask your frame shop about “floating Canvas frames”. These frames, are as high quality as any other wood moulding, will “float” the canvas in the frame, allowing those painted edges to be seen while giving a more traditional look to the piece. More and more artists are moving to the canvas, with new canvas being “watercolor ready”. I love it. I love that the canvas can take layers and layers of watercolor, that I can finish it with protective, invisible, non yellowing varnish, and that there is no glass or frame necessarily reguired, saving me and my customer LOTS OF MONEY! If I can save $200-$400 in framing, just think what you save when you buy it! Plus, remember those standard sizes above? Most stock canvases are in those sizes as well. It’s not until you get into large, custom stretched canvas that you get outside those sizes.

So…next time you feel prompted to ask about that frame, consider this article..What is the medium? Are you shipping it? Can you get it safely home? But by all means, ask. I’ll answer your questions and help you choose the best course.

Angel Fire ArtSpace,
3469 Mountain View Blvd, Suites B2-4 Angel Fire NM
Please follow and like us:
0
Posted on

Working like mad

It’s quiet again at the gallery, at least most of the time, so I’m trying hard to get some things caught up, some things under way and some things thrown out. I know I didn’t post last week, as I was sitting on the floor, fingers freezing, working on a new project (more on that later) as I was looking for customers at the MVAC Illusions show. The bank had the air conditioning on and it was raining and 58 degrees outside. BRRRRRRRRRRRR. Still the Illusions reception was nice, and congrats to my friend Jacqui Binford-Bell for taking yet another Best of Show!

Yesterday I painted. I had to do something to divert my attention from the portrait I’ve been working on. I can’t continue the portrait until I get a new brush, which I will do tomorrow, but in the meantime if I work on it I’ll overdo it. So, I pulled out a tiny artist panel that I bought when Artisan’s had a great sale on them. it is only 6 x 6. Inches, that is. 6 x 6, cradled artist panel by Ampersand, my favorite purveyor of paintable surfaces. Not to diminish my love of Yupo paper, but they (Ampersand) do a nice array of different kinds of media. So, anyway, I played. I ended up with sort of a flower, sort of not. I’m calling it “A little a-MAZE-ment” Take a look and you’ll see why, oh, and it’s acrylic!

Tomorrow I’m going to the Artisan Expo in Santa Fe, where I’m sure to encounter more fun! I’ll pick up the supplies for the next class that begins on Sept. 30th. I have 3 signed up and we’re going play with oil pastel (no worries, Jennifer!) so I need to pick some up, along with “stuff to paint on”. We’ll see what I find at the expo. Basically, I’m excited to be getting out of town, if only to Santa Fe and only for a day. I’ve not been anywhere other than to Taos since May!

Then, it’ll be back to work editing video for Katherinesarttv.tv I’m getting so close to a full launch, yet it feels so far away. Let’s hope I can be productive, finish editing, get the site fully operational and live, finish the portrait , do the next commission and have a blast teaching a class…all before November 1! That’s my aim…oh and the brick floor too.

Angel Fire ArtSpace,
3469 Mountain View Blvd, Suites B2-4 Angel Fire NM
Please follow and like us:
0
Posted on

Gorgeous Sunday

It is 76 degrees with a crystal cerulean blue New Mexico Sky. Great day to be outdoors! I must confess my arms are sore though…I weed wacked all the weeds creeping onto the driveway, into the edge of the garden, along side the rasberry patch and around the back “lawn”. We have 7.5 acres of “natural” grasses, wild iris, blue flax, indian paintbrush and scores of flowers whose name I don’t know. In the front, I’ve carved out an area in the “L” of the house and it is teeming with columbine, iris, roses and some giant, about to burst peonies. Except last night somebody (deer? elk?) ate the flowers off of some of the columbine. If they try again tonight they’ll get a nose full of, um, wolf urine. It worked last year. We’ll see.

This morning we wandered up to Red River to personally congratulate my friend and gallery artist, Jacqui Binford-Bell. She won “Most Colorful” and (drum roll) Best of Show at the Red River Wine and Art Festival. The Best of Show is a big deal, because it was judged by one of New Mexico’s best known and legendary artists, Ed Sandoval. Well done, Jacqui! Way to go!

And now, I’m loathe to go inside…it’s way too nice out here to be in there…laying brick. I should also be painting. It’s supposed to thunderstorm again tomorrow…there will be time for painting and brick laying. It’s the first day of summer…and the weather today makes me believe it. Think I’ll pour a glass of wine and let the birds and the wind serenade me.

Angel Fire ArtSpace,
3469 Mountain View Blvd, Suites B2-4 Angel Fire NM
Please follow and like us:
0
Posted on

To Donate, or Not

I know it’s not Sunday (that’s usually when I post) but it is quiet here at the gallery now, and I had a great conversation with Jennifer Cavan which compells me to write. She wrote a great post on “how long does it take?” (to create a piece). And as she says, there is so much “not art” that goes into the business of being a professional artist that the casual viewer doesn’t see. So, whether you spend an hour, a day, a week or a year, that process is not the whole piece. I’m starting there, because our “great conversation” was about donating work (or not) to the many organizations who ask. She might post about too, but I thought I’d get the conversation going here.

Over the years, I would hazard a guess that I’ve donated, somewhere in the range of $25,000 in my art. So, why do I severely limit what I donate and to what organization now? Let’s see what those donations did for me, for the organization, for the art community, for the galleries.

If I donate a piece with a retail value of $500, what is that for me? lost revenue of $500. It is basically “advertising expense” and based on tracking, very poor at that. Worthwhile advertising nets revenue. Not so a donated piece.

How about the organization that gets it? Once in a while at the Music From Angel Fire Art Auction, a piece will go for at or near it’s value. But way more often, most work gets “sold” for about 20 cents on the dollar. So, they have to sell ALOT of art to generate reasonable revenue…and if you’ve ever been to one, you know that they do.

Now, examine the impact of that. If, at the auction my $500 piece was lucky, and sold for $200, the lucky winner got a “bargain”, and I’ll hear about it for the next few years. Will they come buy a piece from me? Not likely. Will the person that was bidding against them? Not likely. Why? because they’ll go to another auction and try again. I have actually had people tell me that they love my work, but will wait for the MFAF auction. Those same people say, “I love this gallery, I hope you are successful!” and walk out the door without spending a dime. So, I wonder, how does that work?

A few years ago I donated a $300 piece to a local group and they sold it in a “Live” auction, for $35. While one person jumps up and down about how they “stole”it, several hundred others watched it. What is the impact of that?

That said, yes, I will donate to the MFAF auction. Maybe a handful of others. But I sincerely hope those of us who buy at similar auctions will consider supporting the artists, as well as the organizations. And I would encourage the non-profits that auction art, consider more than their own bottom line, look for ways to support the artists that make their fundraisers possible.

I have lots of ideas on that……

Angel Fire ArtSpace,
3469 Mountain View Blvd, Suites B2-4 Angel Fire NM
Please follow and like us:
0
Posted on

Ahhh…Spahhhhh

I didn’t think it would happen. Our Angel Fire Divas group has been planning for a couple of months for this event, and I didn’t even pay attention because I didn’t think I could go. A day at the spa and overnight in the lap of luxury at El Monte Sagrado, here in Taos. Here in Taos? Yes, here I sit in the gorgeously appointed room that I am sharing with my sweet friend, Natasha. (not her real name, as we have all adopted seudonyms for the day. I, am now, Olivia)

This, all due to the gift which I bear with great tenderness….to paint. Natasha wanted a new painting, and I wanted to cherish the quiet and relish a hydrating facial! All I can say is, WAHOO!

So, while the rest of the group are being pedicured, manicured, massaged and facialed, I’m in a giant overstuffed leather chair with laptop on my lap, posting! My turn will come next. I’m already relaxed, just with the anticipation!

This is an extraordinarily rare treat for me, and not one that I will likely have again very soon…but who knows. Perhaps my art will fly off the walls and my name will be heard on the lips of famous collectors. I’m given to dreaming and visions.

I could get used to this!

Angel Fire ArtSpace,
3469 Mountain View Blvd, Suites B2-4 Angel Fire NM
Please follow and like us:
0
Posted on

Beautiful Sunday Morning

Wow. I can’t believe it’s been a month since I last posted! My how time flies…regardless of whether or not you’re having fun!

Of course, there’s not really a good excuse. Part of it is a result of messing up my back/ribs again, yes again. Guess it hadn’t really healed before I forgot I wasn’t supergirl and set about to tear the hot tub apart. I was determined to find the leak(s). Well, I actually succeeded, but not without injury. Sigh. It’s been more than a week, and it still sucks the air out of me if I move wrong.

Won’t let it slow me down to much. I can’t, there’s just too much to do! I’m “off” today, so I’m going to head to the studio and paint. Wahoo! I’m working on a large watercolor on canvas, and if you get my newsletter it’s in the header of this month’s edition, even though its not quite done.

Of course, as Mr. Murphy would have it, the newsletter directs people to my site, which of course is down this morning.

Add that the fact that my house is under attack by those infuriating flickers. When I go outside to yell at them to get off my house, they mock me, laughing and come flying just past my reach.

However…

I’m determined to have a fabulous day! And I hope you will too….

Angel Fire ArtSpace,
3469 Mountain View Blvd, Suites B2-4 Angel Fire NM
Please follow and like us:
0