Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Lily of the Valley

                                                                8"x10" acrylic on canvas

A recent painting I did of some Lily of the Valley. The florist at my day job was recently fired. He had been working at our establishment for many years and I was very sad to see him go. I decided that since he had been sharing his talents with us for so many years, that I would share mine with him. He had told me that his favorite flower was Lily of the Valley because of the memories he had of being a child staying at his grandmother's house. His grandmother was famous in the neighborhood for the many Lily of the Valley that she had growing alongside her home and he remembers keeping the windows open at night so that their sweet smell could lull him to sleep.

Such a sweet story was an easy inspiration for me and this piece came very quickly for me. :) 

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Are Facebook Ads Worth Their Price?

For any of you wondering if promoting your Facebook page with Facebook ads is worth it, I have done the research for you.

After a few years of struggling to build my Facebook audience, I finally decided to put some money into my business and advertise my Facebook page. I just feel that there is no point in posting on Facebook if no one is seeing the posts! I was also beginning to question the quality of my art, which is a fatal thought to have as an artist. I decided to do some research and see if it's the art itself that is keeping people away or if it's simply a matter of too few people being exposed to my art. I kept my budget to their lowest setting. ( $5 per day and an estimate of 4-14 likes per day)

 I began this experiment with 467 likes on my page. After Day 1 of advertising, my page had gained 10 likes. As it had been taking me months to acquire that many likes, I was pretty happy with this. The next day I gained 16 likes, which surprised me since it surpassed the maximum number that my budget was supposed to earn. The most likes I gained in a day after that was 28. The fewest was that initial day of only 10 likes. My average for 11 days of advertising was about 16 likes per day.

For me, advertising with Facebook was worth it. It has gained me access to almost 200 people in a rather short amount of time. I'm not sure how the more expensive budgets would pan out, but if my small budget of $5 was able to gain me this many likes, then I assume that the other options would increase your exposure in correlation to your daily budget.

I would like to mention that I have not been paid by Facebook to push their ads or anything. I am simply an artist struggling to get my business up and running and know that many other artists are in the same boat. It's difficult to be seen, especially on the internet where you are a very tiny needle in a massive haystack. I'm hoping that my experience will help answer questions that any other artists may have had and will help other artists to gain the exposure that they are desiring.

Have you advertised your art before? Where did you decide to advertise and did you find the expense worth the end result? It's always difficult to know where you should spend your hard earned money and it would be nice to get a list of websites or magazines that have left artists with positive results.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

An Unruly Haired Fairy

My sketches have been taking me a bit longer these days. I just find myself getting lost in details, but I'm so happily lost that I can't really get angry with myself.
It's much like losing oneself in the woods, because you are enjoying the wildflowers growing underfoot or the various wildlife that you see scurrying about.
It sort of reminds me of my childhood when I would spend hours playing in the woods while imagining all of the fantastical fairy creatures that I just knew were hiding from me at that very moment. My latest 'adventure in the woods' brought about this sketch of a rather unruly haired fairy.

I think that she and I would have gotten along quite well. (especially when I was a child)

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Ten Ways to Stay Inspired

While doing my 'Sketch A Day' series I have had to find ways of getting inspired in order to keep up with the task of creating something new in my sketchbook each and every day.

                                                           Sketch for June 1st

Here are ten ways that I keep the creative juices flowing. Here's hoping that they help you as well!:

1. Listen to the beat- I often find music to be quite inspiring and often have images forming in my head as I listen to certain songs.

2. Walk it off- If the weather is nice and I'm experiencing a bit of a block, I take a stroll. While I'm out and about I take the time to check out the wildflowers that are blooming in the neighborhood and will often take pictures of them with my phone to use in future pieces.

3. Grab some magazines- I often find inspiration while thumbing through fashion magazines. If you ignore the merchandise that they are trying to sell and start looking at the photos from the perspective of figural poses or interesting faces, then you being to find inspiration easily.

4.Go down memory lane- I will often take photos of things during my vacations that I intend on painting at a later date. Ironically enough, I often forget about them and they end up sitting in either a photo box or in a folder on my computer. While clicking through photos from past vacations I'm often found by the creative bug.

5. Become an art teacher- I don't mean literally, of course, but giving yourself projects is a good way to keep yourself creatively active. Some simple art projects could be to draw/paint a self portrait, still life, etc. You could give yourself a theme to illustrate or the task of illustrating a poem or short story.

6. Step outside your comfort zone- Another good way to keep yourself inspired is to challenge yourself with a new medium. If you haven't done a simple pencil drawing in a long time, then hop to it! If you only ever use white paper, change to black. You've never used pastels before? Now is a good time to try it.

7. Look at art (duh!)- Looking at other artist's work is obviously a good way to gain inspiration. If you don't have a museum or gallery near you, you have plenty just a click away on the internet. If nothing else, head to your local library and grab some art books.

8. Get involved- Getting involved with other artists is also another way to stay inspired. Places like are a good way to meet and interact with other artists. Check out your local area to see if there are any paint outs or other types of meet ups with artists in your area.

9. Open your eyes- Being more aware in your life is a very good way to find inspiration. We go through our days half the time in a semi-awake state. When you start to pay attention, you'll realize that your friends and family are often a good source of inspiration. Weddings, anniversaries, births, and other events might not be happening for YOU, but I guarantee that you know someone who is experiencing these. Just a trip to a local restaurant with friends can often give you some inspiration for a few sketches or painting.

10. Practice makes perfect- When in doubt, it's always helpful to practice drawing hands, feet, facial expressions, etc. With each sketch and study you do, you will find yourself becoming more and more comfortable with rendering them.

Lastly, taking a trip to your local art store is certain to bring forth an eager desire to create. Art stores are to an artist, like toy stores to a child. You want everything in it, and will often be unwrapping things before you've even made it out the door. Heading to the art store for a new fangled pencil/ pen or paintbrush is a good way to stay excited about creating.

How do you keep your creative juices flowing? Which of the ways mentioned have you tried? Did you find it helpful? Which way will be the most difficult for you to try?

Online museum websites:
Metropolitan Museum of Art
Tate Britain or Tate Modern

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Universe Illustration

In my effort to continually stay inspired this year, I sought out inspiration in the form of the website Illustration Friday. This website offers artists weekly themes to create pieces based on. It sort of felt like an unsupervised art class project. :)

This week's theme was 'Universe'. When I think of the universe I think of the swirling fluctuations of light and color and the glowing luminescence of the stars.

For this piece I decided to finally make use of a pad of black drawing paper that I had bought on a whim years ago. I used colored pencils with a small amount of pastel pencils for this piece. It was a challenging experience after working on white backgrounds for so many months. I had to reverse my way of seeing as I began to build the light from the shadows as well as adding shape and definition to the shadows.

Monday, May 26, 2014

A Portrait with Plumeria Blossoms

I enjoyed drawing my Cherry Blossom portrait so much (Click here to see my blog post showing this piece) that I decided to do another portrait. I was having some trouble deciding upon a flower to use for this one so I asked people on my facebook page to come up with some suggestions. The winning suggestion was plumeria. I had never heard of this flower but fell in love with it's lovely shape and beautiful color immediately.

Something that I had played around with for the first time in my Cherry Blossom portrait was the idea of keeping the portrait in black and white while adding a pop of color with the flowers. I added the color using Adobe Photoshop Elements. I enjoyed the final look so much that I decided to try it on this one as well, though the colors of the plumeria blossoms are MUCH more complex and I have never been very adept at photoshop.

This is the original black and white portrait done in graphite

Here is the portrait with the plumeria blossoms painted.

Which do you prefer?
Shall I continue on with this series? 
If I do continue with it, which flower do you think that I should incorporate in my next piece?