1. Taking Responsibilty

    • Sometimes, things go wrong. When dealing with any kind of business, whether its selling art or selling hamburgers, sometimes things go wrong.  Sometimes its because you, the business owner, make a mis[...]
    • Sometimes, things go wrong.

      When dealing with any kind of business, whether its selling art or selling hamburgers, sometimes things go wrong.  Sometimes its because you, the business owner, make a mistake.  Sometimes it is due to somebody else’s carelessness.  Whatever the cause, when things go wrong in a way that damages relationships with customers, the business owner should take responsibility for making it right.

      with any kind of business, whether its selling art or selling hamburgers, sometimes things go wrong. Click To Tweet

      Its not always your fault when things go wrong.

      Sometimes, the problem is something completely out of your control, but you still have to do you best to make it right.  Such was the case back in February when a customer ordered an archival print from my etsy shop.

      Archival prints take longer, but this was ridiculous.

      The customer had ordered the Archival print, and those always take longer than a standard print because I can get a standard print made locally and in most cases get it in the mail the day after the order is placed, but with an archival print, I have to order from a print shop that specializes in fine art archival prints and then wait for them to mail the print to me before I can mail it to the customer.  Usually that means it is in the mail on the way to the customer within one and a half weeks, possibly two, and almost always in the customers hands before 3 weeks has passed.

      This time, the customer placed the order on February 11, and it didn’t make it in the mail to the customer until March 22, and I felt just awful, even though there was nothing I could have done to prevent this.

       

      What took this print so long?

      Well here’s what happened.  As usual I placed the order for the print the day the order was placed by the customer.  Then I waited.  A week passed, I wondered why I didn’t have it yet, but didn’t worry too much yet.  Then another week passed and I was really wondering, I checked with the printer to see if they had shipped it, and saw that it had shipped two days after I ordered it.  Another week passed, and still no sign of the print, another week went by and I decided to order another from a different printer, while I was still trying to track down this package.  I contacted the first printer and asked for tracking information, and then looked online at the post office site to see where it was in transit, and saw that it said it had been delivered almost two weeks previously when I wasn’t home.  The notation said it was left on my front porch.

      I was baffled.  I went outside and looked around.  No sign of a package or envelope anywhere on the front porch.  I started walking my property, I live on acreage so there was a lot of ground to cover, and finally, I found a wet and torn envelope very far away from house. I opened it, and sure enough, this is what I found:

       

      damaged fine art print
      The way the post office got my print to me

      The second printer got the print to me fairly quickly, and I got the print in the mail to my customer as quickly as I could after I received it myself, but by then my customer had already been waiting more than 5 weeks.  Now, I had sent messages to the customer during all of this to keep them updated as to why this order was taking so long, but I still felt that I needed to do something to make it up to them.

      I did all I could to make it right with the customer.

      So I included a few free printed greeting cards of my art, and a coupon code that would basically allow them order another print free. I also wrote the customer an apology and full explanation and put that in with print, in case they hadn’t seen my messages.

      The customer never did use the coupon code, but I hope at least they saw that I had made an effort to make up for the long wait.

      Now, I didn’t make any money on this sale at all, in fact, it cost me money, because I had paid for two prints, plus the greeting cards, paid to have both prints shipped to me, and paid to ship the good print to the customer, but I would rather lose the money than have a customer think my etsy shop “doesn’t care about the customer”.

      I would rather lose money than have a customer think I don't care about them. Click To Tweet

      Not every business treats their customers that well.

      Unfortunately, not every business tries that hard to keep their customers happy.  Remember that first printer?  I called them letting them know that the package had arrived damaged, and they promised to send me a new print free of charge, but I never received it.  According to the tracking information on THAT package, it was delivered to the post office, and then “reclaimed by sender” a day later at the same post office.  In other words, they changed their mind.

      Well, I don’t blame them for not wanting to send a print when it wasn’t their fault the first was damaged, but still, more than a print was damaged.  By not doing as they promised, they lost my business forever.  I will never order prints from them again.  I will instead order from the second printer in the story above.  If that first printer had simply said they were sorry, but couldn’t help me, I might have understood, but no, they told me on the phone, “Sure, we’ll send you another print!” and then they didn’t do it.
      For that they’ve lost a customer forever, one who before that had recommended them to others, and had spent a considerable amount of money with them, one who will likely continue needing prints on regular basis for years to come, but who will now go elsewhere for those prints.

      By not doing as they promised, they lost my business forever. I will never order prints from them… Click To Tweet

       

  2. A Few Tips for Using Etsy as a Selling Tool

    • There are a lot of pros and cons to using etsy as a selling tool, rather than just selling directly from ones own website, but I’m not going to outline those right now.  Someday I probably will[...]
    • There are a lot of pros and cons to using etsy as a selling tool, rather than just selling directly from ones own website, but I’m not going to outline those right now.  Someday I probably will switch over to having a shopping cart on my website instead of going through etsy, but at this time the convenience of etsy’s shopping cart and calculated shipping are working for me while I try to find the best wordpress plug in  to take its place.

      In case you are also using etsy, or thinking about using etsy, I thought it might to share with you some tips I’ve learned.  I learned some of these tips through trial and error, and others through online courses.  I’m not offering this as a full course, instead, I’m condensing it and just passing on what I’ve found most helpful so far.

      You can’t just post it thoughtlessly

      So you’ve made a necklace, or a painting, or knitted a hat, or made any other kind of handmade item you want to sell, and everyone tells you, “Oh that’s great!  You should sell on etsy!”

      So you go to etsy and open an account, and start your store.  Next you take your item, lets say for now its a knitted hat, you see that etsy asks you to post at least one picture, you put your hat down on your table, and snap a picture of it, then you upload the picture.  You see that etsy allows more than one photograph, but you figure one is good enough.  You see that the next step to uploading an item is to enter a title.  You type the words “Knitted Hat”, you figure out the categories and the pricing and enter those, then its time to make a description.  You’ve already told them its a knitted hat, so you look at it try to figure out what else to say.  Its a green hat so you decide to describe it as a “Green knitted hat”  You then decide that maybe you should mention the crocheted flower you attached to your knitted hat, so you edit your description to say, “Green knitted hat with pink crochet flower on rim”.

      Then you move on.  You are asked to enter tags. So you tag it as “hat”, “knitted”, “accessories”, and “women’s fashions”.

      You are asked to enter the materials used, You enter “Yarn”, then you think better of it and decide to specify, “Green acrylic yarn”, “pink acrylic yarn”.

      You figure out the shipping options, see that the other stuff is optional, so you skip it, then you publish and wait for your hat to sell.  Four months later, your listing expires, and you wonder if its worth renewing it, because according to your stats it only got a few views, and you don’t understand why, its a very attractive hat, the yarn you chose is durable, known for retaining its shape, and is even machine washable, its been cold out, so people should be looking for warm hats.  You decide to give it another go and renew it, and four months later the same scenario ensues, except now its spring and no one is in the market for winter hats anymore.  You abandon your shop and wonder how anyone ever sells anything on etsy.

       

      How to make an etsy listing that will get seen

      So lets look at this, and go through this listing process again, and see how you could have listed your lovely hat in a way that would have gotten some views at least.

       

      The pictures

      Okay, so the first thing you come to when creating an etsy listing is the place to post photos.  What you need to remember about your photos is that need to showcase your item in such as a way as to grab attention.  A hat laying on a table or desk looks, to most people, like clutter.  Like someone forgot to put their hat away.   You can improve the appearance by maybe putting a some boxes or blocks down to lean the hat on, and then cover those with a table cloth in a complimentary color to the hat, or a color such as white or brown that will show it off without clashing.  Set a vase with some flowers in it next to it… prop the hat up on the boxes behind it, get down on eye level, and take the picture.  Now, at least the photo is interesting.

      But wait!  Is there an even better way to showcase this hat?  Sure there is!  Get a friend to put the hat on, go outside in the cold, in some place that shows the season in the background, (for example fall leaves, or if its winter, near a fence or tree that has snow on it).  Have your friend turn to an attractive angle that shows the flower on the hat, and take a couple of photos, one should be close up on her head to show the hat in detail, in another maybe she could be holding a snowball as if she’s going to throw it, in the next maybe sprinkle a light dusting of snow onto the hat and a little on her hair and take another closeup, with her looking like she’s laughing.  Now upload that series of photos to etsy.

      What if you can’t find a friend willing to do this, or its not snowing where your live, or its still summer and you’re getting your listing ready for fall and winter so NOTHING outside looks like its the right season.  Okay, there are ways around all of that.

      A wig head can wear your hat, its probably best if its not a white Styrofoam wig head though, because we might surround it with white stuff, they sell black velvet covered wig heads at a lot of craft stores, if you can get one of those that’s great, or one that is made to look more real, with the skin, face and eyes colored in.

      Now, take some quilt batting and spread it out on your table to look like snow, put the hat on the wig head, dig out your Christmas stuff and find some fake evergreen or holly to set around on the quilt batting. Now take your pictures.  Or, if you had to use a white wig head, maybe you could go with a more fall like setting, put down a festive fall tablecloth, surround the wig head with some fall decor like gourds, colorful leaves, ornamental corn.

      Whatever you do with the background, make it look interesting and related to you item in some way, take photo.  Now slightly rearrange everything and take a photo from a different angle.  In a couple of the photos maybe drape the hat instead of using the wig head.

      Now, make sure that you are taking your photos in good lighting, outdoor lighting, but not in direct sunlight is best to show the true colors of all you items.  Upload you photos, pick the most eye-grabbing one and move it to the first spot, adjust the thumbnail to best showcase the item.

      As an example of some of these principles, look at my featured photo of my T-shirt above, now, does that photo look better, or would a photo of the shirt draped over a table look better?  Which one makes you want to buy the shirt, and which one makes you think of laundry?  😉

      The etsy title

      I’m going to give you a little disclaimer, there is a lot of disagreement about what makes a good etsy title.  Some say keep it short and descriptive,  easy on the eye.

      What I learned from a few of the most successful etsy shops though is this, make your title include as many keywords as you can, and separate those keywords and phrases by commas, because they are also going to be your tags a little later on.

      Now, what do I mean by keywords and phrases?  Well, for our hat it would look something like this.

      Knitted hat, knitted green beanie, hat with flower, machine washable hat, warm winter hat, women’s winter wear, pink green flowers.

       

      Item Description

      Okay, before you get to the description you’ll answer some questions about who made the item, when it was made, what it is for, what category you want it listed in, the price, etc.  I’ll let you figure those out because they are fairly self explanatory.

      For the actual description though, you want to make sure it is short enough that people will read it, interesting, and contains enough information to answer the questions someone might have.

      So, for our hat we might say something like.  “Winter is coming! Get ready for it with it with this lovely pale green knitted beanie that has a feminine pink flower on the rim.  This hat is made from machine washable acrylic yarn that is excellent in its ability to retain its shape and soft texture wash after wash.  And its also convenient to dry, just lay it flat on a towel and it dries very quickly because the acrylic yarn doesn’t absorb much water to start with.  This hat is a one size fits most adult hat, it stretches so it can fit hat sizes ranging from small to extra large without any struggle.”

      Now, if you have other items on etsy that might go with this hat, say a pair of mittens in a matching color you can add, pair this hat with the mittens found at _______________ (insert etsy listing link), to stay even warmer this winter!

      A few tips on your description.

      Include as many of your keywords and phrases into it as you can without sounding silly.

      Link to other listings in your shop if they relate to this listing in any way, for example, hats in other colors, mittens in accompanying colors, a scarf that would go nicely with the hat, etc, also make those descriptions link back to this one when you are done.

      Try to anticipate questions someone might have about the item, and try to answer them.

      Make it sound good.  Which of these two descriptive phrases sounds best: “synthetic yarn” or, “machine washable acrylic yarn that is excellent in its ability to retain its shape and soft texture was after wash”?  Try to think like the customer and how each phrase would sound to you.

       

      The etsy tags

      After your description you will set up your shipping options, shop section, and various things like that which are fairly self explanatory, but the next item which most people need help with is the tags.

      The first tags you should list will be exactly the same as your title, just copy your title, paste it in the tags, and click “add”.  If you broke your title up into short phrases with commas between like we described above, each phrase will now be a separate tag.

      Now, after pasting the title into the tags field, you will find you have room left for some more tags, in the case of our hat, if you used the title above, we have room for six more tags.  Now you need to think of 6 more descriptive phrases for the hat, you want to use all the tags you’re allowed, because tags along with keywords in your title and description, is how the etsy search engine finds your listing.  This is tricky, so here I’ll share with you a tool you can use here, and in creating your titles.

      Use Marmalead

      Go to http://marmalead.com and sign up for the free version.  In the search field at the top of the marmalead page you’ll type in a quick description of your item.  For example, “Green knitted hat with pink crochet flower”.  It will search etsy and find similar items scroll past the “matching items” down to the section that says, “tags used”.  You can then use the arrows to sort these various ways.  First sort for the ones that have the best rank, a good rank number is small, for instance, if a tag ranks as “1” it means that if you search that phrase on etsy it comes up on page one, so with rank, the lower the number the better.

      The next part of the marmalead site to use is the “views/item”, use the arrow to sort that so that the highest numbers show on top.  This will show you which tags resulted in the most views.

      Get some tags from both the lower ranking numbers and the high views sections.  Low ranking numbers are good because people will only click through a few pages when looking for something, however a low ranking number can also be deceptive because it might just means that no one else uses that tag, so if you search specifically for that tag, only that one item matches so it comes up first.  In that case you need to look at the tag and think about how likely it is that someone is actually going to search that term.

      The “views/item” with a high number means the items with that tag is getting a lot of actual views, so obviously people are searching relevant terms for that tag.

      By getting some of your tags from the lower ranking numbers and some from high view numbers, you hedging your bets and increasing the chances of your item ending up on pages 1-5 of some shoppers search.  If you can find tags that are both relevant to your item, with high views and a low ranking, that is most definitely a tag you want to use!

       

      Materials

      In the materials field list your materials, keep in mind some hints from the description field, “machine washable acrylic yarn” sounds better to me than just “synthetic yarn” or “acrylic yarn”.

       

      Other fields

      Next you have fields for “occasion”, “style”, and “recipient”.

      If there is a gift-giving holiday coming up select it from the “occasion” field, of course if your item is a wedding cake topper, you’d select “weddings” and if it was a happy birthday banner you’d select “birthday”, but if your item isn’t strictly related to a specific event, you can pick whatever the next gift giving occasion is, and if nothing suitable is coming up you can leave it blank for now.  You can always come and change these fields later as another holiday or gift giving occasion draws near.

      If the item fits into a specific style, select that from the style fields.

      If your item is very clearly for one type of recipient, for instance, “women” or “teen girls”, select that from the recipient field.  If it really would be fine for anyone, just leave that blank.

       

      Now publish your listing.

      A few more etsy tips

      A few more tips for etsy that arent’ specifically about how to create a listing.

      List or renew frequently

      Etsy’s search engines favor new or newly renewed listings.  So if you have 50 items items on etsy they shouldn’t all renew the same day, try to stagger the renewal times out.  Each etsy listing lasts four months, approximately 120 days, so ideally you’d have at least 120 items with at least one item renewing each day, that way there always fresh or freshly renewed content on your shop, but you are never paying to renew an item before it expires.

      As you set your items up, if you choose to have them auto renew, then once you get enough items listed, one per day, they will renew one at a time as well, so that your shop always looks active to etsy’s search engines.

       

      List a lot.

      Shops with more listings are favored by etsy’s search engines.  Etsy itself is a business, and etsy makes its money not only when someone buys something, but also when each seller lists or renews something.  It makes sense that etsy favors the sellers that “contribute” more to etsy’s bottom line by listing a lot of stuff and renewing often.

      Aside from the search engines, think from a shoppers point of view.  Your etsy shop is your store front.  How would you feel if you walked into your local clothing store and they only had three items in the store?  Would you come back?  Shoppers feel the same way if they come to your etsy shop and see three items.

       

      Sales generate more sales

      Etsy’s search engines also favor shops that make sales, so run all your sales through etsy.  Get the “Sell on etsy” app for your smart phone, now, when you are out selling somewhere else, such as a farmer’s market, or even at home with a friend.  Run your sale through etsy.  It counts as an etsy sale and so will help generate other etsy sales. Yes, it costs you some fees that it wouldn’t cost if you sold in person without the etsy app, but think of that as advertising money, a way to increase your sales over the long hall.

  3. My Favorite Art Quotes

    • Since I have a headache, you get quotes! Call me lazy, but while my head is pounding I just don’t feel much like writing original posts.  So I’m going to share with you some of my favorite[...]
    • Since I have a headache, you get quotes!

      Call me lazy, but while my head is pounding I just don’t feel much like writing original posts.  So I’m going to share with you some of my favorite art quotes.  I did take the time to compile them into a slide show for you though!

      This slideshow requires JavaScript.

  4. Have You ever Heard of ACEO?

    • What are they Anyway? What do the letters ACEO stand for? The letters ACEO stand for Art Cards Editions and Originals, and quite simply they are tiny works of art.  Sometimes they are tiny originals a[...]
    • What are they Anyway?

      What do the letters ACEO stand for?

      The letters ACEO stand for Art Cards Editions and Originals, and quite simply they are tiny works of art.  Sometimes they are tiny originals and sometimes they are tiny prints, but to official be ACEO they need to meet some very specific criteria.  They need to be exactly  2.5 x 3.5 inches, which is the same size as the standard playing card, and also the same size as most baseball cards.  That last point about baseball cards is significant if you want to frame an ACEO, because they actually do make frames specifically for baseball cards!

       

      I thought those were called ATCs?

      Well, yes and no, the letters ATC stand for Artist Trading Cards and they are also miniatrue works of art measuring 2.5 x 3.5 inches… the only difference is that ACEOs are sold and ATCs are traded.  Therefore, if you see someone selling an ATC, they are mistaken, because the act of selling it automatically categorizes it as an ACEO.  Artists often trade ATCs with each other, while collectors who can’t afford to buy larger pieces often purchase ACEOs from artists.

       

      So how did ACEOs and ATCs get Started?

       

      ATC’s came first

      In 1997 Swiss artist  M. Vänçi Stirnemann came up with the idea of Artist Trading Cards, as part of what he called a Collaborative Cultural Performance; an event which anybody was welcome to participate in, where the tiny works were first exhibited and then traded.  All types of art materials and techniques were welcome, but they had to stay with the dimensions of 2.5 x 3.5 inches.

      He had been making his own cards for some time, and had begun exhibiting them in his bookshop and gallery at least a year before he organized the first collaborative event. His idea for the trading event was driven by the recognition that art should be accessible to the general populous, not limited to those the wealthy upper-crust of society.  He wanted people who wouldn’t feel comfortable, or necessarily be welcome in the upscale galleries to be able to come and view the work, and he wanted those same people to be able to try their hand at creating and exhibiting publicly.

      Initially there was quite a trend of these events popping up all over Europe, and eventually all over the world.  While the trend has slowed down some, there are still events and trading sessions going on all over the world from time to time, they are still open to all artistic media and technique, and are still welcoming to all who want to participate.  The rules are generally simple, the work needs to be the right size, and the submitting artist’s usually must be willing to trade their work with another artist at the end.

       

      ACEOs followed

      ACEOs were invented on Ebay, and really, the are the same thing as ATCs, artists and collectors who had obtained ATCs started wanting to offer them for sell, and so the new name was created to designate that they were for sale rather than trade.  It really isn’t that much of a surprise, after all baseball cards were originally intended to be traded as well, and now they sell for, in some cases, over a million dollars.

      Insect ACEOs
      Two of the original watercolor ACEOs I painted.

      More about ACEOs

      Why would I want to buy an ACEO?

      To Afford Original Artwork

      Original artwork is pricey, with good reason.  As I detailed in an earlier post, materials cost money, space to sell costs money, and creation takes skill and TIME.  The benefit of buying ACEO is that since the size is so small, all of these things cost a lot less, and therefore so does the finished piece.

      To Save Space

      What if you really would like to have your own art collection, either of one favorite artist, or of all your favorites, but you just don’t live a place that has that much wall space?  Imagine being able to fit your entire collection in one or two moderately sized frames, or even in a photo album.

      To show support for an artist you know.

      Lets say your best friend is an artist, and you think they are super talented, you really would like to buy some of their work to encourage them, but you just don’t have the money.  If they create ACEOs, you will probably find that you can scrape together enough money to buy one, and you can frame it and display on your mantle at home or desk at work.  Whenever someone asks about it, you can tell them all about your artist friend and even give out a business card if you friend has them.  This will encourage your artist friend, and possibly generate more sales for them in the future.

      As an investment

      Imagine if the artist who created the ACEO you buy become as well know some day as Van Gogh is today?  How much do you think a tiny original by him would cost?  Keep in mind that his paintings sell for hundreds of millions, and his pencil sketches sell for hundreds of thousands, and sometimes even millions as well, even his letters to his brother are worth quiet a bit, just because they were written with his hand.  While there is no guarantee the artist you collect will be that famous, it could happen some day, imagine how you would feel if that happened and you knew you could have afforded an original by that artist, but you decided to go see a movie instead?  😉

       

      Imagine if the artist of your ACEO someday becomes as famous as Van Gogh? What would that be worth? Click To Tweet

      How much does an ACEO cost?

      Who knows, maybe someday there might be some ACEOs selling for prices like that rival the sports card industry!  They haven’t gotten to that level of popularity yet though, perhaps they would have if they had been “a thing” when Van Gogh or Picasso were alive, but since they were so recently “invented”, there hasn’t been much time for them to develop that level of collectability.

      The price right now depend on many things, such as the popularity of the artist, the medium used, and whether the ACEO is an “original” or an “edition”, originals are actual, hand created original artworks, while an “edition” is a print, then within the category of “editions” you have limited editions and open editions.  A limited edition means that the artist is only created a specified number of printed cards, traditionally a the smaller the number of prints in an edition, the higher the price.  They are numbered, with the number written as a fraction.  The numerator of the fraction shows which one you have, and the denominator shows the total number in existence.  The numbering will start with the numerator and denominator being equal, and the numerator will get smaller with each one sold.  For example, lets say an artist has 200 cards printed for a limited edition.  The first card he or she sells will be numbered 200/200, the next will be numbered 199/200, and so forth all the way down to 1/200.
      Traditionally, the artist will charge a little more the closer you get to that last one.  Though some artists still sell all of the prints for the same price.

      At this time, you can find ACEOs selling from prices as low as less than $1 up to several thousand dollars.  Again, there are many factors that influence that price.  Expect to pay more for an original than a print by the same artist, expect to pay more for a limited edition print than an open edition print by the same artist.  Expect to pay more for work by a better known artist than for an artist who is relatively unknown.  Also, expect that price will vary quite a bit no matter what, because some artists under-price their work because they doubt their talent, and other artists have inflated egos and over-price their work because they are sure that even though they are unknown now, some day they will be as well known as Picasso, most artist fall somewhere in between those two extremes though, and most of us fluctuate up and down on that scale from one day to the next.

      A rough average for an original ACEO from what I’ve seen on Etsy is around $10 to $15, that average was found with the “extremely scientific” method of searching for “ACEO original” on etsy, sorting by price, and then going to the middle numbers of the search results.  There are a few problems with this method, one of which is that a lot of what comes up in the search results are NOT ACEO originals, but are rather prints, or ACEO frames, or blank cards to create ACEO’s on, but it still gives a rather rough idea of what to expect if you go looking to buy or sell or ACEO’s.

  5. Links Between Art and Emotion

    • Art and Emotion Its no secret to most people that art and emotion are linked.  In fact, the average non-artist might actually exaggerate this link in their mind, imaging that every single painting hol[...]
    • Art and Emotion

      Its no secret to most people that art and emotion are linked.  In fact, the average non-artist might actually exaggerate this link in their mind, imaging that every single painting holds some hidden meaning of deep feeling.  Often, an artwork does hold some hidden feelings, but sometimes, a painting of a tree is just a painting of a tree, and the only feelings attached are the feelings of appreciation for the beauty around us, or the frustration with trying to get the artwork to look the way the artist wants it to.  In this post though, I am going to focus on artwork that does have a deeper emotional meaning.

       

      Often, an artwork does hold some hidden feelings, Click To Tweet sometimes, a painting of a tree is just a painting of a tree, Click To Tweet

      Art and Confusion

      Sometimes an artwork comes about because an artist is struggling with emotional or mental confusion.  The artist is struggling with a decision or a temptation, and works that feeling out in the artwork.  One such work of mine is my painting “Cerebral Cessation”.  At the time I painted it, I was struggling with thoughts I didn’t wish to be having, and needing to work things out in my mind.  Basically it was a time when I needed to choose to do the right thing, and I did choose that.  Really, I had already made up my mind, and I wanted to just be done with thoughts I was having.  All decisions in this area were done and there was no need to think on it anymore.  However, my mind continued to return again and again to the issue.  Now, on the one hand, I had made up my mind, and knew what I was going to do, but almost as if by its own will, my brain kept returning to the issue constantly.  I felt like my brain was going in unending circles and just wouldn’t stop.

      So I got the largest canvas at my local department store, and started to paint.

      I painted for 10 1/2 hours the first day, 8 of those hours I painted straight through, without stopping to eat or drink or even visit the restroom.  I painted and painted, and shut my mind off.  After the first 8 hours, I became conscious of three things, the first was thirst, second was that I needed to go to the restroom, and third was that I was painting with both hands, my dominant hand and non-dominant hand were both painting at the same time, on two different areas of canvas.  I realized I had shut off my conscious thought, but at the same time had been accessing my whole brain so fully that I was achieving a level of connection between right and left brain that normally wouldn’t happen.

      I took a short break to visit the restroom, get a drink and a snack, and then returned to work.  Altogether I probably put in 16 hours of work on that painting, and I named it “Cerebral Cessation” because it successfully made my brain stop running in circles. After finishing the painting, my mind was freed from this struggle and didn’t return to it again.

      Cerebral Art, Framed Original, space,stab, penetrate, painting abstract, modern painting, framed abstract art, modern wall art, Item #CCO1 Colorful framed art, art framed original, acrylic artwork, colorful art framed
      The tilte of this piece is “Cerebral Cessation”, which literally means, “Brain Stop”.  This painting can be purchased by clicking RIGHT HERE.

       

      Art and Pain

      Perhaps the best known connection between art and emotion is the connection between art and emotional pain.  I haven’t created such work often, but I know that many other artists do.  I have on occasion expressed pain in my artwork, and sometimes anger, but most often my work is influenced by more positive feelings.  Two pieces that were created out of less positive feelings are Debacchatio, which means “Fury”, and Ocular Migraine which was born out of physical pain.

      Original Acrylic art,expressionist art,pop painting,home office decor,splash artwork, splatter pop art,pollock style,splatter drip,Item #DO1 earth tones art, earth tones abstract, earth tones decor, small artwork, original painting
      Debacchatio. This painting can be purchased by clicking RIGHT HERE.

       

      Weird surreal,strange head,weird surreal art,surrealism,office cubicle decor,mannequin head,weird home decor,ocular migraine art, Item #OMP1 male figure, trippy art, modern art painting,wall art, surreal print
      Ocular Migraine This print can be purchased by clicking RIGHT HERE.

       

       

      Art and Joy

       

      I think what is most often expressed in my own art is joy.  Joy in my Salvation through Christ, joy in the beauty that surrounds me, joy in the love of my family.  This can be seen in my landscapes, my paintings of birds and fish, my seascapes, and in so much of my work that I can’t list it all.

      Hummingbird wall art, wildlife, watercolor art print, hummingbird gift, hummingbird print, nature home decor, bird watercolor, Item #HH2P1 bird nursery print, Mother's Day, Mothers Day, Children's decor, animal painting, hummingbird lover
      This print can be purchased by clicking RIGHT HERE.

       

  6. My 10 Favorite Artists

    • Today the Ultimate blog challenge’s suggestion for post topics didn’t really appeal to me that much, so I decided instead to list my favorite artists.   My Favorite Artists of Past Th[...]
    • Today the Ultimate blog challenge’s suggestion for post topics didn’t really appeal to me that much, so I decided instead to list my favorite artists.

       

      My Favorite Artists of Past

      These artists are no longer with us, but they are my favorite artists of times past.

       

      1. Vincent van Gogh

      Vincent van Gogh is my favorite artist of all time.  I am just in love in his work.  I have never seen a van Gogh painting I didn’t like, whenever I see another of his paintings (or a picture of them) for the first time, I am always drawn to them irresistibly, and then it is no surprise to me when I see that the painting is by van Gogh.

      Here are a few of his paintings, I won’t really try to pick my favorite Van Gogh painting, because it just isn’t possible for me to choose, certainly the first two shown here are high on my list though.

      Vincent van Gogh , via Wikimedia Commons
      Vincent van Gogh , via Wikimedia Commons
      Vincent Van Gogh's Starry Night over the Rhone
      Vincent Van Gogh’s Starry Night over the Rhone
      Vincent van Gogh - Head of a skeleton with a burning cigarette
      Vincent van Gogh – Head of a skeleton with a burning cigarette
      Road with Cypress and Star
      Road with Cypress and Star

       

      2. Claude Monet

      Monet impresson Sunrise
      Monet impresson Sunrise

       

      3. Edvard Munch

      Edvard Munch, The Sun
      Edvard Munch, The Sun
      Edvard Munch, the Scream
      Edvard Munch, the Scream

       

      4. Yves Tanguy

      Yves Tanguy, Indefinite Divisibility
      Yves Tanguy, Indefinite Divisibility

       

      5. Piet Mondrian

      Especially his earlier works.

      Piet Mondrian, Red Tree
      Piet Mondrian, Red Tree

       

      My Favorite Living Artists

      I don’t know whether Leonid Afremov or Iris Scott should be on the top of this list, I absolutely love the work of both of them.

      1. Leonid Afremov

      Melody Of The Night by Leonid Afremov
      Melody Of The Night by Leonid Afremov

       

      2. Iris Scott

      Iris Scott, Fox
      Iris Scott, Fox

       

      3. Marilyn Armstrong

      Aboriginal Artist Marilyn Armstrong
      Aboriginal Artist Marilyn Armstrong, and I also like many other aboriginal artists!

       

      4. Alexander Gyamfi

      I hope my Facebook Friend Alexander Gyamfi will excuse me for posting this photo without prior permission, but I wanted to share his art because I think he is one of the truly gift artists I’ve encountered.

      Alexander Gyamfi
      Alexander Gyamfi

       

      5. All of the Artists at ArtSLAM Studio

      I really can’t pick just one of the artists at ArtSLAM studio, but I like them all.  Follow THIS LINK, to see some samples of their work.

  7. On this Day (In Art History)

    • July 18th in Art History So as part of the Ultimate Blog Challenge, I am supposed to write an “on this day” post.  Well, not all of the blogs taking part in this challenge are art blogs, s[...]
    • July 18th in Art History

      So as part of the Ultimate Blog Challenge, I am supposed to write an “on this day” post.  Well, not all of the blogs taking part in this challenge are art blogs, so I’m sure a lot of them will posting information information about FDR’s nomination for a third term, or about John Paul Jone’s Death, or if any are racing fans, about Juan Manuel Fangio making his debut in Formula 1.  Some might be posting about some significant American Civil War events… others might have gotten more personal and looked into the History of their own families.

      My blog of course, is going to look into Art History, in order to have a little more to share, I’ll include “the arts” in general, including musical theater, and even film, not just visual art.

      Caravaggio’s Death

      On July 18, 1610,  Caravaggio died at age 38 in Porto Ercole, Italy.  The Circumstances around his death were uncertain, he had a death sentence on his head, but was reportedly on his way to being pardoned.  If you are unfamiliar with him, he was a very talented artist who really was ahead of his time, painting in a style that was not to become popular with other artists for many years.

      He was successful as an artist during his life, rarely lacking in people wanting him to do commissions or people wanting to buy his work, but his personal life was a different story.  He was reportedly often drunk, and got in frequent brawls, one of which resulted in the death of his opponent, which is why he was condemned to death by the Pope.

      Like many painters of his time, Caravaggio’s art focused mostly on classical themes, biblical events, or mythological characters, it differed though in the style in which it was painted.  He painted with a deep and dramatic contrast between the source of light and the shadow, with very little work done in between the two extremes.  So people were often painted with one side of their face brightly lit, and the other in such deep shadow that few details could be seen, with no gradual shading in between.  This was something that was seen in later modern pieces, but Caravaggio was doing it first.  His work even heavily influenced Rembrandt, and in fact, he mastered the use of what later became known as “Rembrandt lighting” before Rembrandt ever picked up a paint brush.

      Caravaggio's David with the Head of Goliath
      Caravaggio’s David with the Head of Goliath

       

      Musical History

      The art of Music also had a significant event today, The Liberty Song,  America’s first patriotic song was published on this day 1768 in the Boston Gazette.

      The Liberty Song

      Come, join hand in hand, brave Americans all,
      And rouse your bold hearts at fair Liberty’s call;
      No tyrannous acts shall suppress your just claim,
      Or stain with dishonor America’s name.

      Chorus:
      In Freedom we’re born and in Freedom we’ll live.
      Our purses are ready. Steady, friends, steady;
      Not as slaves, but as Freemen our money we’ll give.

      Our worthy forefathers, let’s give them a cheer,
      To climates unknown did courageously steer;
      Thro’ oceans to deserts for Freedom they came,
      And dying, bequeath’d us their freedom and fame.

      Chorus

      Their generous bosoms all dangers despis’d,
      So highly, so wisely, their Birthrights they priz’d;
      We’ll keep what they gave, we will piously keep,
      Nor frustrate their toils on the land and the deep.

      Chorus

      The tree their own hands had to Liberty rear’d;
      They lived to behold growing strong and revered;
      With transport they cried, “Now our wishes we gain,
      For our children shall gather the fruits of our pain.”

      Chorus

      Swarms of placemen and pensioners soon will appear
      Like locusts deforming the charms of the year;
      Suns vainly will rise, showers vainly descend,
      If we are to drudge for what others shall defend.

      Chorus

      Then join hand in hand, brave Americans all,
      By uniting we stand, by dividing we fall;
      In so righteous a cause let us hope to succeed,
      For heaven approves of each generous deed.

      Chorus

      All ages shall speak with amaze and applause,
      Of the courage we’ll show in support of our Laws;
      To die we can bear, but to serve we disdain.
      For shame is to Freedom more dreadful than pain.

      Chorus

      This bumper I crown for our Sovereign’s health,
      And this for Britannia’s glory and wealth;
      That wealth and that glory immortal may be,
      If She is but Just, and if we are but Free.

       

      Theatrical History

      In theatrical arts, on July 18th 1907, Florenz Ziefeld’s “Follies of 1907” premiered in New York City, this was theatrical performance somewhere between what you’d see on true Broadway shows and Vaudeville.

       

      Follies of 1907 Poster
      Follies of 1907 Poster

       

      A photograph of the Ziegfeld follies.
      A photograph of the Ziegfeld follies.

       

      Film History

      On this day in Los Angeles in 1959, the film version Kathryn Hulme’s The Nun’s Story, starring Audrey Hepburnpremiered.

       

      The Nun's Story, with Aubrey Hepburn
      The Nun’s Story, with Aubrey Hepburn

       

      Art Materials Manufacture History

      Last of all, on this day in 1994, Crayola announced the introduction of scented crayons, unfortunately, they had to do away with some of the scents a very short time later after a hoard of complaints came from parents saying that they couldn’t stop their children from eating the crayons if they smelled like candy!

      Crayola's Scented Crayons, unfortunately, most children thought they smelled good enough to eat!
      Crayola’s Scented Crayons, unfortunately, most children thought they smelled good enough to eat!

      So that concludes what took place in art history on July 18th, unless of course you know of something I don’t?

  8. Blogs You Should be Reading

    • For day 17 of the Ultimate blog challenge, we were asked to post about blogs you should be reading. Art or Craft Blogs First on my list I’ll include the art blogs I think you should be reading.[...]
    • For day 17 of the Ultimate blog challenge, we were asked to post about blogs you should be reading.

      Art or Craft Blogs

      First on my list I’ll include the art blogs I think you should be reading.

       

      Daisy Yellow

      I include Daisy Yellow  on my list because I feel it is a wonderful blog that inspires others to create, it is because of Daisy Yellow’s ICAD challenge that I discovered my passion for art.  So, I really do encourage you to read and participate in challenges on this blog.

      Janice Gill Art

      Janice Gill Art has some lovely paintings in both oil and acrylic.  She also posts tips on how to improve your paintings, and tips on selling.  Not only that, but she sometimes runs giveaways, check her out!

       

      Personal Blogs

      If you are the kind of person who likes to follow personal blogs, there are two I recommend to you.

       

      The Martha Review

      The Martha Review is a blog where you might run across a neat home decorating idea, a story about the family, a book review, or a money saving tip.  The variety of topics and material posted should really provide something for everyone, so I encourage you to check it out.

       

      Alice’s Grand Adventures

      Alice’s Grand Adventures is a blog where you’ll find lovely photography, prayer requests and reports, stories about the author’s personal life, tales about her local church, and her general thoughts about just about everything.  You’ll also see her sidebar where she links to some of her other blogs, one of which is an art blog called Sun, Moon, Stars, which is where I first encountered this author.

       

       

      Spiritual Blogs

      The Preacher’s Word

      The Preacher’s Word is a great blog to go to if you want some solid biblical articles on the Christian life and current events.  It may not appeal as much if your faith isn’t Christian, but I still feel you would be able to take something away of value, and encourage you to read it.  For myself, I am a Christian so I find myself in complete agreement with what I’ve read there so far. Either way, I encourage you to check it out.

       

      Words of Encouragement

      At Words of Encouragement  you’ll find just what the title implies, articles encouraging you to be positive, to do things that build your happiness, to love your neighbor, and to encourage others.

       

      So what blogs do you like to read?

  9. The Song in My Head

    • Music to Paint By Like many artists, quite often when I paint, I like to have music playing.  Now, many artist have specific type of music they listen to every time they paint, it might be classical,[...]
    • Music to Paint By

      Like many artists, quite often when I paint, I like to have music playing.  Now, many artist have specific type of music they listen to every time they paint, it might be classical, it might be jazz, it might be heavy metal, but most artists I’ve talked to have a very specific type of music they prefer to paint by.  But I like a variety.

      Sometimes I paint to the soundtrack of Les Miserables, sometimes I paint to jazz, quite often I paint to the sound of classic rock or surf rock.  Honestly though, I like to choose a play list that mixes many different types, from easy listening to rock to jazz to country, and when I am the one who selects the songs for the playlist to paint by, there is one song that almost always makes its way into the mix.

      Often, even if I do not have any music playing, I’ll find this song playing in my head.

       

      The song in my head.

      The song that plays over and over in my head when I paint in silence, is “Vincent” by Don McLean, if you’ve never heard it, it is song about my favorite painter of all time, Vincent van Gogh.  The lyrics and music are soothing and smooth, but sad, and the images that the song brings to mind are the beautiful paintings of this revolutionary master in post impressionism.

       

      Vincent, by Don McLean

      Rather than just tell you all about it though, I’ll just share the song in the form of this YouTube video, complete with a slideshow of Vincent’s paintings.

      What About You?

       

      What song runs through your head, while you do whatever it is you do? Click To Tweet

      So, what about you?  If you’re an artist, do you listen to music while you create?  If so, what kind?  Let me know in the comments.

      If you’re not an artist, do you listen to music while you do whatever it is you do?  Please tell me about it in the comments, tell me what you do, and what music you listen to while doing it.

      Or if you have the sort of job that doesn’t allow for listening to music, what kind of music do you listen to in your spare time?  I’d love if you’d share with me.