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  • 90 Days from Now

    Where I plan to be in 90 days.

    The topic for ultimate blog challenge today was to  make some plans of where we want to be in 90 days. Ninety days from today will be October 27, 2016.

    This Website in 90 Days

    If I blog for the last two days of the challenge, and blog twice a week thereafter, by October 27th I will have written and published 27 or 28 blog posts after this one.

    In addition, I would like to have finished uploading all of my current works of art, so that anything I have for sale is posted in the purchasing options section of this website.  I also would like to improve my SEO by adding metadata to this website, which is something I only learned how to do today, and which should bring in some more traffic to the site.

    Additional goals I’d like to get to if I can is to post at least three videos in the next 90’s, the videos can be step by step tutorials, or they can be a sped up version of me painting, or even me talking and telling you about my art, but I want to start including video content to this blog.


    My etsy shop in 90 days.

    90 days from now I’d like to have everything in my etsy shop set up to auto renew, and I’d like to have everything set up with calculated shipping, right now some things are set to calculated shipping and others are not, and while my estimates are usually close, I’d rather be charging people the exact right amount for shipping. In addition, I want all of my titles and tags to be optimized as I described in my post about etsy tips.


    My art in 90 days.

    I have several paintings in progress that I’d like to have finished by the time 90 days passes, one is a scene involving my Sphinx dude character and a mermaid, the other is an underwater scene  in which I plan to add lots of interesting sea life, and another was going to be a sphinx dude painting but I think I may have changed my mind and I might bring it in another direction.

    In addition, I want to produce a piece for a community display on 9/11.

    And I have something in mind that I won’t give details on, other than to say it will involve a lot of black, silver, and white.

    I really want to be done with all of those by then, because I want to begin a series of paintings that I have an idea for, but I don’t want all those half finished projects sitting around in the mean time.


    My health in 90 days.

    While this isn’t art related, I do know that I need to start taking better care of my health.  I’d like to lose some weight by then, I hesitate to set a specific goal though, at least 15 to 20 pounds, and more if I can manage it.  I want to have established the habit of the taking a walk every day, or at least nearly every day, and doing some strength training at least twice a week.

    The blog that I track my health concerns on is my other blog Less of Me, More of Him in case anyone decides they want to follow along with my efforts.


    My other blogs.

    I want to post more regularly on my other blogs.  Less of Me, More of Him is a general blog about my life, as well as my weight loss efforts. In addition to that one, I have a blog where I post devotional thoughts, Bible studies, and things like that.  I want to start posting on Less of Me, More of Him, at least once a week, and at least once every month on Moments with My Savior.  I might also like to start keeping my homeschooling blog again, but I think maybe that might too much to add right now, so I am not setting a specific goal there.


    So there you go, that’s where I want to be 90 days from now.

  • Political Rubbish

    Today’s Topic is Supposed to be Political

    So the ultimate blog challenge suggests topics for us to follow each day, and sometimes I follow them and sometimes I choose not to.  Today we were asked to write a post about what our particular industry would be influenced by one or the other of the candidates winning.  I have a few thoughts on this, the first being that if anyone outside of the United States is taking part in this blog challenge this topic won’t really apply to them.  My other thoughts on it… well some things are best unsaid.


    Politics do have an effect on the art market.

    Politics do have an effect on the art market, because anything that affects the economy affects the art market.  That much is clear, but I can’t say that I believe either of the candidates for the major parties would be good for the economy.  I am honestly so disgusted with our choices when it comes to the two major parties.

    At the risk of offending anyone who is honestly, fully supportive of either of them, I’ll say that my political view for this election is summed up by the bumper sticker I have on my van:

    We're Screwed 2016 sticker
    This is the bumper sticker I have on my van. Click on it to be taken to a site to purchase it.
    I was NOT paid to promote this product, and I am not the seller of this product myself.


    Politically, all Americans, artists and non-artists are screwed if things stay as they are.

    Politically I just don’t see a bright future for America unless we get away from this two party rut we’ve gotten ourselves in. The Republican party has chosen a loud mouth buffoon who makes fun of handicapped people, degrades women, and is accused some pretty serious crimes, not only that, but he has no filter on his words, and could easily anger the wrong person and get the country in a war.  Even if I agreed with everything he wants to do, I still have trouble getting past these things.

    The democratic party is corrupt to the core, the establishment of that party picking a candidate that the majority of democrats didn’t want, and silencing the candidate that had overwhelming support by the majority of democrats. This candidate is guilty of mishandling classified information in such a way that would have landed anyone else in prison, she’s also been recorded laughing about how, as a defense attorney,  she got a child rapist off, even though she knew he was guilty.  In her defense that was job as his defense attorney, but how someone who claims to support the rights of women could find humor in letting a rapist off, is beyond my comprehension.


    Non-politically, there is reason for hope.

    Yes, I believe we are pretty much screwed politically, but I am not really worried.  Why? Because my hope is not in a politician.  There are reasons to hope all around us, every time we see one human being perform and kindness for another, there is hope, but human kindness is not my main hope, there is also a growing move to change the American system so that third parties have a chance, which would be wonderful, but that is not my main hope either.

    Politically we are screwed, but there are reasons to hope all around us... Click To Tweet Every time we see one human being perform a kindness for another, there is hope. Click To Tweet


    My hope is in Jesus Christ, and my citizenship is not of this world.  So no matter what happens in the presidential election.  I am full of hope for my future. 


    But human kindness is not main hope, My hope is in Jesus Christ. Click To Tweet


  • 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 art quotes.  I did take the time to compile them into a slide show for you though!

    This slideshow requires JavaScript.

    This gallery contains 11 photographs in all as   photograph etc.

  • 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 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.

  • 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

    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 [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
    Vincent van Gogh [Public domain], 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.

  • Earning with Art – Part 2

    Yesterday I posted the problems associated with trying to earn money through art, first noting that being an artist isn’t about making money, which is a good thing because there are many easier ways to make money, and many will find that even working for minimum wage will pay better. I also noted that making art has its own rewards, but that money was still needed, even to be able to make the art in the first place.

    I noted how selling art can be a real struggle, because materials to make art and the space to sell it both cost money, many times a considerable amount of money, and yet most buyers are looking for a bargain, barely wanting to cover the cost of the materials, let alone the overhead involved in selling the art.

    I concluded though, that while very few will become rich as a result of their art, it is reasonable and possible for many artists to at least cover their costs plus make a little extra.

    Today, I’ll tell you a few ways I’ve found that you actually can earn a little with art, bear in mind though, that I’m still learning myself, and there may be some very good opportunities out there that I haven’t learned about yet!


    Original Art Sales aren’t the Only Kind of Sales

    Its great when I can sell an original painting for a fair price that adequately compensates me for the materials, the time spent, and the overhead costs of selling.  However, that just doesn’t happen that often.  More often than not, when an original sells it doesn’t cover a fair hourly pay plus materials, let alone the overhead costs.  Thankfully though, there are other kinds of sales that can be made.


    Perhaps the most obvious other type of sell is prints.  Selling prints of work allows people to purchase a version of an artist’s work at much less than the cost of the original, without the artist losing out.  Of course there are different kinds of prints and different ways to have them made, each with its own advantages and disadvantages.

    Fine Art Giclee Prints

    Fine are prints are prints that are manufactured with archival inks on acid free fine art paper or on canvas.  The advantages to these prints is that they last a very long time and really showcase the artwork in the very best way possible aside from the original.  The colors are generally very true to the original, with a depth and reflection of the most subtle of differences between shades, values, and tones. They are archival, which usually means they are guaranteed to resist fading for at least 60 years, and often up to 200 years. The disadvantage is that unless an artist can afford to have thousands made at one time, the artist is probably going to pay between $7.00-$15.00 for a small, 8×10 print on paper (it will vary based on the type of paper, how many are ordered, and what company the artist orders them from). Then add to that the cost of having it shipped to the artist, the cost of backing, matting, print sleeves, and/or frames, and the cost of overhead for sells, and the customer is going need to pay between $20 and $50 for that 8×10 print if the artist is going to make a profit.  Prints on canvas will run even more.  So, just like with the original art, there is a limit to the number of people willing to spend what is needed for these.

    Standard Giclee Prints

    I’ll let you in on a little secret, the term “giclee” is a term invented sometime in the 1980’s for prints done on special, high resolution, archival inkjet printers.  At first it was used exclusively for prints made on those high quality archival printers.  However, no one trademarked the term, which came from a French word meaning “nozzle” in its noun form, and “to squirt or spray” in its verb form.  So, in the mid 1990’s, it started being used to refer to any inkjet art print.  Any inkjet printer capable of reproducing a print that closely matches the colors of the original piece (a photo quality inkjet) is technically capable of making “Giclee” prints.  Because of this, artist’s have needed to specify between an “archival” giclee, and just a “regular” giclee.  I, and many other artists, specify this difference by calling the regular giclee prints “Standard Prints”, and the archival giclees, “Archival Prints”.  The benefits of a standard giclee if it it printed on high quality paper it will usually not be visually distinguishable from the archival giclee right after printing, and it costs much less, depending on the printer brand and where the ink is purchased it could cost as little as $1.50 for each 8×10, though most of the time it will probably run closer to $2 or $3 in cost to the artist. Again, you have to add to that the cost of backing, print sleeves, frames, and overhead, but in the end, it is possible for artist to ast between $10 adn $15 for these prints and still make a profit on them.  The disadvantages of these prints is that they are more prone to fading than archival prints are.  You can still expect them to last 5-10 years if they are not hanging in direct sunlight though, also they will last considerably longer if they are coated in a UV protection spray, which will bring their display life up to 50 years without fading under normal display conditions.

    Laser Prints

    Laser Prints, like giclees, vary in quality and cost based on the quality of the laser printer used, they have many of the same advantages and disadvantages as the various types of giclees, so I won’t repeat a lot of that information.  The main difference though is the visual quality.  A laser printer will cast a “sheen” over certain dark colors, and tends to not pick up contrast and subtle value differences as well as giclee prints.  Laser prints are best suited for digital art, because the programs used to create digital art often are designed with the laser printer’s color capabilities in mind, whereas physical paint will often have too subtle of differences between shades and values, and the laser printer will lose those.  The laser prints do have the advantage of lasting a very long time, they resist smudging from contact and moisture, they resist fading for a very long time, up to 200 years.  They generally fall somewhere in the same cost range as the standard Giclees, of course depending upon paper or canvas type, etc.


    For a fairly reasonable price, prints can be made on greeting cards or post cards.  The quality and price depends on where they are purchased.

    Poster Prints 

    Poser prints are made by a variety of processes, often by laser printing methods, they are usually printed on very inexpensive paper, and are more prone to tearing and fading than prints on better paper.  Their quality is about what see in posters purchased from any store.  They have the advantage of being fairly inexpensive, although to get the really low prices the artist will often have to purchase 500 or more of the same image at the same time.  Still, there are some places that will do small runs or even single posters starting around $3 each, plus shipping.  Even though they are called poster prints, they can actually be made in a variety of sizes, from as small as 5×7 to as large as your typical movie poster.


    Other types of sells are also possible. Art can printed on a variety of products.  A list of products I’ve seen easily available are: coffee mugs, travel mugs, pillows, T-shirts, phone cases, computer cases, tablet cases, ipad cases, shower curtains, duvet covers, book marks, purses, tote bags, leggings and skirts.  There are a variety of ways to do this.  You probably will make the most if you can find a manufacturer to print on the products for you, with no middle man, but for that you will usually have to put up the money for a large number of each image on each product type, and then you will have to hold onto the inventory and market it all yourself.

    There is a way to have your art put on products without doing that though, and that is through several different print on demand sites, there are many out there, Redbubble, Zazzle, cafepress, fineartamerica, and pixels.com to name a few.  What these sites do is showcase your work on the products you choose, and when someone orders them the site pays you a royalty for the sale.  You usually only make 15-20% of the sale price of the item, but you didn’t pay anything for the manufacture of the item either.  My favorite so far is Redbubble, both for the variety of products and for the fact that they charge you nothing to have your work there.

    The only disadvantage to doing this is that in the eyes of some collectors it “cheapens” the artwork and doesn’t really allow you to do a limited edition of an image.  For that reason, I haven’t put all of my work up on those sites, though I have put some.  With some future pieces I plan to do limited edition prints, and so I won’t be able to list those on redbubble or a similar site.

    Well, once again I’ve let this post get longer than I wanted, so tomorrow I’ll continue this same series, but tomorrow, I’ll be venturing away from actual sales, into other ways to earn money with art.


  • Paint class Fun, and the Ultimate Blog Challenge

    Not Just Painting for Myself

    When I first started on my journey as an artist, I painted only for my own pleasure.  Then I started selling those works, and sometimes doing commissions where would paint what the customer wanted rather than simply what would bring me pleasure. In the past 6 months, I’ve added another element of my painting experience, painting for classes.


    Painting for classes

    In recent months I’ve started giving painting classes and painting nights, and creating paintings just for those classes, paintings that I felt were simple enough for people to follow along and paint with me, provided I gave instruction.  Some of my classes have been big, some small.  Some of the paintings I’ve created for classes were very successful as class samples, some just didn’t prove easy enough for beginners to follow along with. They’ve all been fun, and I really enjoy teaching.

    Photos of my some of my painting classes:


    Painting classes at Art Slam Studio, Silverdale WA
    This was one of my first classes, I learned a lot about how to instruct by what I didn’t do here!


    Tree paint class
    This was a fun class to do, but few people were happy with their results, so I retired that painting from my choice of samples, people liked my version, but it just wasn’t a very teachable painting.
    peacock paint class
    The peacock painting was lots of fun to teach, and I think it turned out great for everyone. The little girl on the end wasn’t happy with her results though… but I thought she did a great job!
    paint class 2
    This class was bigger, but some people left before photos.
    fishing buddies class
    This class was lots of fun to teach, and I got to meet a long time online friend in person because she came to my class!


    The Ultimate Blog Challenge

    On another topic, I’ve been wanting to be more regular in my blog posting, and to that aim, I am taking part in the Ultimate Blog Challenge once again.  It is a challenge where you commit to write a blog post every day for a month, or at least 30 posts over the course of the month.  I am behind because I didn’t start on July 1st, in fact I didn’t start until July 6th.  I am planning that most of my posts will be on this blog, but I am also going to count posts on my other blogs as well, so if I post 5 times on my other blogs, and blog every day here for the rest of the challenge, I’ll catch up and make the challenge!  🙂

  • Metamorphosis of an Old Work, Part 2

    Making Changes to the Painting.

    In part 1 of the Metamorphosis, I had whited out almost all of my covered bridge painting.  Causing it to look like this:

    Painting in the background scene.

    Well, after that I continued to work.  painting in the background elements first: Like this:

    Adding some trees to the painting.

    I a river and some foreground trees:

    Added some leaves in on the tree, and added another tree on the left, plus some shadows.


    Then I continued to add a few details, a few more leaves.

    Now, at this point the painting is almost finished, I am going to add some more shadows on the leaves that are on the ground, and I’m going to sign it, and that’s it, it will be done.  The next picture of this that I’ll post will be the finished, for sale image.

    All in all, I think I managed to improve this quite a bit from the state it was in when I tossed in the back of the cabinet.  I still see ways I could have done better, but I always do, with every painting, when its done I always look and think, “hmm… If I had only done this or that it would have looked even better.”  So, I take mental note of it and try to make the next painting come out better than the last.

  • Metamorphosis of an Old Work Part 1

    The Need for Artistic Metamorphosis.

    I am going to write today about the need for artistic metamorphosis, no, I am not talking about the artist’s need for personal growth.  I am talking about those works the artist steps back and looks at, and thinks that the work itself needs to be transformed.  I’ll explain…

    Promising Beginnings before Apparent Ruin

    Every artist has those works that started out with great promise, but which, during the process of creation, took a turn for the worse.  You those works that started out great, and then at some point the artist steps back and thinks, “Oh… now look at that… I’ve completely ruined it.”

    Most often, when this happens to me, I do one of two things.  Either I’ll grab some gesso or some titanium white and paint out everything on the canvas so that I can use the canvas for something else.  Or, I’ll toss the canvas into the back of a closet or cabinet, thinking, “Maybe someday I’ll I’ll figure out how to fix that, but for now I just don’t want anyone to see it!”  If I choose the latter, the work usually sits in that closet or cabinet forever.  It seems I never do pull them back out to rework, or almost never, sometimes there are exceptions.

    The Diamond in the Pile of Coal

    Occasionally, I’ll see something in the painting that I feel is worth salvaging, some element that I feel has enough potential to make it worth the extra effort of fixing the mistakes. A little diamond hidden in what is otherwise a pile of coal.

    For example, there is this painting:

    A painting full of mistakes
    This painting started with promise, I love the covered bridge, but I got carried away with fall leaves in the foreground, making it impossible to see the background at all, and destroying any appearance of depth.

    I started this painting during my first year of painting.  I hadn’t yet learned many of the tricks to creating realism and depth in landscapes.  I started with the covered bridge and did a really good job.  I really liked what I saw with the bridge, especially inside the tunnel.  I felt that it was really going somewhere.  Then I started adding in fall trees in the foreground before I had done any background landscape, this caused the picture to look really odd in the places where you could see through the trees.  So, I made the trees thicker, until you couldn’t see through them at all.  This eliminated those odd looking spaces, but also gave everything but the bridge a strange one-dimensional appearance.

    Not only that but I didn’t have any detail in the foreground trees.  They would have looked fine off in the distance like that, but up close I felt I should have given at least a hint of definition in the leaves.

    I tossed the painting in the cabinet, and left it until today.  I got it out again and started looking at it.  I still really liked the bridge, but now I noticed problems I hadn’t even noticed before.  The road leading to the bridge seemed off, like the angle of the railings didn’t quite fit the perspective of the rest of the painting.

    The Metamorphosis Begins

    I decided to rework the painting, salvaging just the covered bridge, and redoing everything else.

    The first step in doing that was to white out everything I wanted gone with titanium white, and then paint in the parts of the bridge that had been covered up with the leaves.

    Here was what I whited out first, but later decided I needed to cover more.
    Here was what I whited out first, but later decided I needed to cover more.

    Later, I decided I needed to white out even more, and it now looks like this:

    Okay, so now my diamond is freed from the coal all around it, but it still needs to be set in a lovely piece of jewelry.
    Okay, so now my diamond is freed from the coal all around it, but it still needs to be placed in a nice setting.

    This is what the painting looks like so far.  I will update as its metamorphosis continues, and we shall see if I can salvage the diamond from the coal mine, and make it into something worthy to be shown to others.