You might remember me telling about a painting that I reclaimed from my chiropractor’s office because I felt it wasn’t being displayed satisfactorily. While I put it there in the hopes that someone waiting for massage or adjustment might see it and decide to buy it, it was never hung in a very visible place. The place it was displayed was only being seen by people on their way for x-rays, which at a chiropractor’s office is usually only for your first visit. Well, I reclaimed the painting and put it up in the studio where everyone who came in could see it, and it finally sold. Only it didn’t sell as a result of being seen in the studio. It sold from my etsy shop to a collector in California.
This was great encouragement for me, because while I’ve sold prints and T-shirts, cards, and hand painted glassware. It has been a while since I sold an original painting, and it was making me wonder if it was ever going to happen again.
I just packaged this painting last night and got in the mail today, it should be arriving at its new home next week sometime.
Next, a Plan
Log it, track it, write it down and add it up.
So, in my last post I shared about how I didn’t keep track of financials as they happened, and it is causing much delay in filing my business taxes. Well, I am not making the same mistake in 2017, I am keeping a running ledger, so I will always know at a glance what shape I am in financially.
While I don’t plan to make up for previous years’ losses, I don’t want losses in 2017. So, unless the expense is unavoidable, like a bill that is due and can’t be delayed, I will not spend money on my art, or classes, or studio, unless I am in the black. I have a pretty good start to 2017 already, January I came out $25 in the black, and now with a sale in February I am looking to probably ending February in the black too, by at least as much as January, so the two will accumulate to being at least $50 in the black for the year so far.
Now of course if I am in the middle of a painting and need a certain color of paint I’ll probably buy it regardless of financials, but a lot of my spending in 2016 were not things I needed right then, a lot of it was because this store or that one was having a great deal on canvases or paints that would likely come in handy later. Since I didn’t really know I was operating in the red, I went ahead and bought things that I didn’t even really need for a project right then.
Well no more. From now on if it is discretionary it will only be purchased if my art business is in the black by enough to cover it. My goal for 2017 is to at least come out even financially in my art business. Now, that might not seem like much of a financial plan, but its a start. Sure it would be great to turn a nice profit, but I love doing art, and if all it does is pay for itself, I will be pretty satisfied.
One good thing about all the supplies I purchased in 2016, I have plenty stashed up to start 2017 without spending much. Yes, there may be an occasion here or there where I need something specific, but for the most part I have enough supplies to do almost any art project I might want to do. If I buy anything at all in the coming year it would likely be paints as I run out. I have canvases everywhere. I might have to buy more of the economy canvases for my classes at some point, but not right away, and as for the canvases for my personal use, I have more than I think I could possibly use in one year.
So, I don’t think curtailing my spending is going to curtail my creating of art at all.
I’m late filing my business taxes this year. Why? Because I saved all the figuring until the end of the year. I saved receipts to track expenses, but didn’t add them up month to month. That means I had to get them all added up in the month of January, with my husband’s help I managed.
The Department of Revenue wants a lot of detail.
Then there was income, some sales through etsy, some through the co-op, some independently, some parties/classes through the studio, some independently. Etsy keeps a good record for me, the co-op told me how much I made through them, but didn’t divide it into sales and classes, which I need to know apparently. The wonderful bookkeeper for the co-op is looking into it for me, and soon I’ll know what I need to know. You see, every painting I make and sale has to be reported as “manufactured goods”, every sale I make through etsy or independently has to be reported as “retail sales”, every sale I make through another entity such as a consignment shop or co-op, my share of that income gets reported as “wholesale”. On top of that I need to know which of the sales I made myself apart from the co-op were made locally or out of state, through etsy.
This isn’t for income taxes, this is to pay the sales tax on the items I sold at retail in state, and the Business and Occupations tax, and the out of state sales have to kept track of separately in order to not be charged sales tax on them. Income taxes will be another monster to tackle down the road, but getting the report on taxable income from this first business filing is necessary in order to file my income taxes.
A Ledger would have let me know what I could afford.
Another thing that keeping track as I go would have told me is that I was spending too much. I thought maybe I had actually shown a profit this year, but I didn’t. I spent far too much on supplies. Now, a lot of those supplies are still usable this year, so maybe next time around I’ll see a profit… but if I started keeping track month to month, I could try to make sure that there was a balance happening, and curtail spending when a profit wasn’t likely.
So that is my tip for this Tuesday, keep a ledger as you go!
Its time for a Friday Feature on this blog, those are the posts where I Feature something of my choice on my blog. Sometimes the feature might be one of paintings I want to draw attention to, other times it might be a fellow artist that I want to give a shout out to, a guest blogger, or a great YouTube video I find. Basically, whatever I want to put in the spotlight on that particular Friday. This Friday, I am featuring a giveaway.
Win a Free Print of Starry Night Over Seattle
One of the most popular painting is Starry Night Over Seattle. Originally, I was painting this for myself, but I posted some work in progress photos on social media and right away I got offers. I sold that one before it was even finished, and someone asked me to paint another. I wanted to change it up a little, so I made some minor changes and additions, and did a second version. I still didn’t have one for myself, and I still don’t, but I do have prints. The prints of this painting have sold better than any of my others have.
For the month of February you have a chance to win a print of this painting. To enter the drawing all you have to do is subscribe to this blog and then comment on this post telling me to enter you into the contest. That’s all there is to it. I will put all of the entries in a hat, draw one out, and that reader wins an 8×10 print of this painting, you can choose whether you want the print to be signed or unsigned, or alternately, if you don’t want the 8×10 print, you can request a blank-inside greeting card with this image on it.
The best art class I ever had was in Junior High School, in that class the teacher actually taught us to draw. However, in my High School art class we were given assignments with very little instruction, and we completed the assignments independently, mine was a continuation school, basically a last ditch effort to get troubled kids a diploma, so I don’t think excellence in art instruction was a priority, rather we were there to do our time and get our elective credit. There were a few students that the teacher took under her wing and gave more instruction to, but I wasn’t one of them.
One of the assignments I was given was on cartooning, we were given a chart of all kinds of different facial features for cartoon characters, and we could put them together to make our own characters. We were also free to invent our own features. We were told to complete six characters. I based the first four on people I knew, most of them were people I knew from outside of school.
Be sure to check in Friday for information about February’s giveaway drawing.
I’m not just an artist, I’m a homeschooling Mom too.
So, I know that this is usually an art blog, but today the suggested topic for the Ultimate Blog Challenge was to describe a day in your life. I decided to describe today, a typical Thursday for my family. A typical Thursday for a homeschooling family.
Once a week my family goes to homeschool co-op, where they get a chance to experience a classroom setting with other kids. I works out nicely for us, because it also lets me outsource some of the subjects I’m not as strong in. For example, while I enjoy science, once it gets to High School level I’m not really comfortable teaching it. Now, I could manage, a lot of homeschool curriculum is designed for the child to mostly do independently, but its nice to bring my kids here, where some of the parents actually have degrees in various sciences, and let my kids be taught by someone who can actually answer their questions without taking a trip to the library to look it up. Of course even though homeschool co-op is only once a week, the kids take home assignments to complete at home all week long, so they are really getting a full year’s worth of work in these subjects.
Our Thursday morning routine is rushed. As homeschoolers, we aren’t exactly used to having to get everyone out the door by 8:30 in the morning. We all do our best to stay out of each other’s way, and to help each other get ready. We have to get up, take care of all of our morning’s bathing and grooming needs, all with only one bathroom. We also need to crowd into our kitchen for breakfast and for packing our lunches. The kids have to gather all their books and things, though often they do it the night before, and I have to gather supplies for the class that I’m teaching. I usually get most of it together the night before, but always have to run around grabbing last minute items.
This year I’m teaching a preschool-Kindergarten class, and today we are doing activities that involve, cooking oil, water, glitter, food coloring, shaving cream and bubble soap. Also I needed the book that outlines the activities, a Children’s Bible story book, a sheet… sounds like a lot of random stuff but it all is related as I’ll explain a little later.
After we gather everything up, we pack into my van, my teenage son drives us to co-op. My daughter usually sits in the back and listens to her iPod, but today she sat in the back practicing her speech for her public speaking class. This morning we arrived just a couple of minutes late, but not by much. The kids rushed out of the van and into class, and spent a few minutes trying to get my purse, my class supplies, my laptop, and my lunch all loaded into my arms at once. I didn’t have to rush as much because I don’t teach until the last “block” or period.
The co-op day.
The co-op is structured into four “blocks” or class periods, plus a lunch time and a chapel time. My kids have various classes all through the day, but for me I have a lot of time to sit and work on personal things before my class. Many times I have all day until the last block to myself, just doing whatever I want in the parent room, but today a lot of families are out sick, so I’ll have the first two blocks free, but will be helping out in another class third block, and then teaching my class fourth block.
The first block of our co-op day goes from 9:00-10:00 in the morning. I sit in the parent room, and work on whatever I want, lately its been my blog. Meanwhile my son is in study hall, and my daughter is in her Public Speaking class. That’s this year, in years past the classes have varied, last year my son had a High School biology class first block
From 10:05-11:05 we have second block, again I’m in the parent room. My daughter is in study hall and my son is taking American Literature and writing.
Lunch is from 11:10-11:45 in the morning. Not much to say about this, obviously we eat.
Our co-op is a Christian co-op, so mid day we have chapel. There will be singing, prayer, then a short bible teaching, then important announcements and information, then we close in prayer and dismiss the kids.
Third block I often have to myself, but technically I’m a “floater” during third block, which means that I go where ever another person is needed if someone else is absent. Both my son and daughter are in Intermediate Drawing and Design. That is an awesome class taught by an artist who used to be with Disney.
Today I see that I will be helping at some drawing class, I’m not sure if its the same one my kids are in. I’ll have to ask and make sure.
Fourth block is our last class period of the day. My son is in a class called “Creation College”, which is mostly an apologetics class. My daughter is in a Bible Study class. My daughter’s classes are all elective classes this year, but many years she is in a lot of academic classes. My son also is only in one real strong academic class this year. That means we are doing the rest of our academics on our own at home. In years past co-op has really been helpful in getting our core classes taken care of, but this year not so much. We are questioning whether we want to continue with co-op next year, since my son will be taking college classes through dual enrollment, and unless my daughter can take academic classes it will just be one less day to work on things at home. We are waiting to see what classes are offered for next year, and then we’ll decide.
At any rate, fourth block for me this year is the one block that I am teaching. In my class today we will be reading the story of when Jesus’s disciples were fishing all night and didn’t catch anything, but then Jesus told them to cast their net on the other side of the boat and they caught nets full, too much to bring the boat in.
From that story we are going to start talking about the oceans, rivers, lakes, and about water in general. We’ll make a “wave bottle” with the oil, water, food coloring and glitter, and we’ll watch the waves move back and forth in the bottle and about how waves move. Then we’ll probably also make waves in a pan of water by making drips into it, and we’ll talk about the motion of the waves and ripples, and how they bounce off the edges of the pan. We’ll blow bubbles and catch them on paper. We’ll talk about how water sometimes makes bubbles but how too weak to float on the air, they break as soon as they reach the surface of the water most of the time, but how soap has a stronger surface tension, like a skin, that allows the bubbles to stay together and float for a while without breaking. We’ll also take the shaving cream, color it with a few drops of tempera paint, and finger paint with it, making peaks and “waves” on our shaving cream.
One thing that’s fun about teaching Pre-Kindergarten is that we don’t have to really get into anything too complicated, the kids are learning all the time, even if all you do is hand them play-dough. Everything is still new to them, and observing waves and pointing out how ripples start from a center point and travel out in all directions until they bounce off the side of the pan is actually an activity that introduces them to basic science concepts, in a fun way.
Most weeks we are all pretty much tired and ready to go home after co-op. This week that isn’t really an option for us though. Today after co-op my husband will show up to pick up my son and drive him across the county to the county clerk’s office so he can apply for a passport. That is because, if all works out, my son is going on a missions trip to Nepal in March, and we need to expedite a passport for him so travel plans can be finalized.
While my husband and son head to the county clerk, my youngest daughter and I are heading to Target to do some shopping for my oldest daughter’s baby shower this weekend. Then we’ll rush home so my oldest daughter can use my van to go move some things into her new rented house. Also because the faster I get home, the more likely that I’ll be able to answer questions if my husband needs any information for the forms at the county clerk’s office.
Once home my two daughters will go together to move some stuff into my older daughter’s new house, and I’ll watch my granddaughter and make dinner for me, my son, two daughters, husband, granddaughter and son-in-law.
At least, that’s the plan… whether that is what really happens today only time will tell.
So, I am continuing to share my old art from Junior High School Art class, which puts this way back in the early 1980’s. Some of my artwork from so long ago has been lost, and most of it is damaged at least a little. One assignment I remember involved taking a magazine picture of someone’s face, cutting it in half, and then trying to draw the missing half of the face. I’m sure this is probably a really good way to improve your portrait drawing skills. At the time I was happy with the results the way I did them, but now I look at it and really wonder why I didn’t do more details in the eye, I mean I just colored in the entire iris and pupil in gray, and didn’t give her any eyelashes at all! Oh well, I was just a kid after all..
Some Blogs I’ve Enjoyed Reading During the Ultimate Blog Challenge.
The January Ultimate blog challenge is almost finished, and today’s suggested topic was to share some of the blogs we’ve enjoyed reading during the challenge. I have enjoyed several. These aren’t in any specific order, just because I list one before another doesn’t mean I like it better.
Jane Porterfieldalways gives lots of great SEO and website tips, I know I really need to take the time with her blog to try out all her suggestions, its like a crash course in Search Engine Optimization.
Chondra Rankinis a blog that is great to go for personal development and positive thoughts!
The Martha Review gives great book and product reviews so you can find out about an item before purchasing it.
Nita Beshear is a blog about life from the perspective of a widow who still manages to be postiive most of the time.
How to protect and preserve your acrylic paints for future generations.
If you’re an artist and you are anything like me, you want to see your artwork last. You want to know that if your great grandchild is one day looking at your painting, it is still going to look as wonderful as it did the day you finished it. This art tutorial post will show you the three most important to steps to take to make that possible.
Now, I want to make clear though, that if you’re an artist and you don’t do these things, it doesn’t make your art any less valid. Some art doesn’t last, some artist do elaborate carvings in ice, knowing it will melt, and their art is still valid as art. However, if you do want to make your paintings last, this post will show you three important steps to preserving acrylic paintings.
1. Get the best paint you can afford.
I’ve met a lot of artists who buy the cheapest paint they can find, and still manage to create very beautiful works of art, so why would I recommend buying pricier paint? Well, its an unfortunate fact that when you paint with cheaper craft or student grade paints, even if the paintings looks great when it is finished, time will eventually show the difference. Cheap craft paint or cheap student paint will fade a lot more than artist paint, and the painting will lose its vibrancy. I’ve also seen cheap paint peel right off of a canvas when it is applied thickly, and this happened when the painting was only a few months old, cheap paints are also more prone to cracking and flaking. Artist quality acrylic paint though, adheres to the canvas, can be applied thickly or thinly, and really resists cracking, peeling, fading, and flaking.
In addition to not preserving as well, cheap paint often uses impure pigments, or mixes of cheaper pigments to imitate the look of the pricier pigments, and when you try to mix your own colors you often get inconsistent results and muddy colors, but even if you do manage to get the look you want, remember that it isn’t likely to maintain that look several decades from now.
2. Protect your paint with an isolation coat before varnishing.
Most acrylic painters know that it is a good idea to varnish a painting in order to protect it, and yes, varnish is a great way to protect a painting from soiling and fading, but it should never be applied directly on the acrylic paint. An isolation coat creates a non-removable, physical barrier between the paint and the removable varnish. The purpose of an isolation coat is to protect the pigmented paint from the solvents used to remove the varnish if it becomes soiled or discolored. The isolation coat also seals any absorbent areas of the canvas, providing an even, uniform surface to apply varnish to.
How to mix and apply an isolation coat.
To make an isolation coat, mix 2 parts soft gel gloss acrylic medium to 1 part water, mix well, and allow it to settle until there are no bubbles in the mixture, then apply it with a brush that you use for no other purpose, not even for the varnish. The isolation coat will appear milky white when applied, but will dry clear and glossy. Do one layer brushing one direction back and forth across the canvas, let it dry, and then do a second layer, brushing back and forth across the canvas in the other direction. Later, if you wish to have a matte finish, just use a matte varnish, and the glossy appearance will go away. (Note, I prefer Golden brand soft gel gloss, but any soft gel gloss will work, also I am not being paid to promote Golden, I just like the product).
3. Finally, protect your painting with a fine art quality, U.V. resistant removable varnish.
After the second layer of your isolation coat completely dries, you can apply your varnish. I prefer the Golden Brand polymer varnish, but other brands will work as well. Just make sure that you get a varnish that is intended for fine art acrylic paintings, and that is U.V. resistant, since this will further protect your painting from fading. Mix the varnish according to the directions on the jar, and apply it with another brush that is used for nothing else. With the varnish, you’ll want to apply it gently and somewhat quickly, avoid over working the varnish because that is how you get brush strokes and bubbles in it. Like the isolation coat, you’ll want to do one layer brushing on back and forth one way, let it thoroughly dry (for varnish this will take about 12 hours), and then apply a second coat brushing it on the other direction. Another option is to use a spray varnish, just follow the directions on the can, spray it on, let it dry, and repeat to make sure you have full coverage.
Now if your painting becomes soiled, for example if some irresponsible person spills coffee on it and doesn’t tell you about it, so that you find it after its dried on, or even if over time dust just becomes too hard to fully remove by just wiping the canvas, you can remove the varnish using household ammonia diluted with water. You can do so knowing that the ammonia solution will never touch the actual paint, because you had the forethought to apply an isolation coat. Then after you remove the varnish, rinse all of the ammonia off, and apply a new coat of varnish. Whatever was on your painting will only be in the varnish, so when you remove the varnish, you remove the stain.
The Ultimate Blog Challenge topic for today was a bucket list. I am not really sure what I would put on my bucket list, other than a trip to Hawaii at some point. I mean sure there are things I want to do, but none really seem major enough for a bucket list. Things like trying oil paints (I currently paint in acrylic).
So instead of a bucket list I thought I’d just share some thoughts about projects I hope to do in the next year. These are not in order at all.
Goals for the Year
⦁More Sculpted Paintings
My Dixon Wings was part painting, part sculpture, and I want to do more of these hybrid types of works. Only I want to take it further, I want more sculpting. I’m planning on using paper mache to do some of the sculpting, a bonus to this is that I can utilize some of my damaged canvases and it won’t have any negative effect on the final artwork. A small tear in a canvas isn’t going to matter after the entire canvas is covered in strips of paper mache, since paper mache is strong enough to hold up on its own once it is dry. Then over the paper mache covered canvas I will take paper mache mulch (also known as paper clay), and sculpt whatever I want over the paper mache platform. I can also use undamaged, but previously used canvases, such as some that have demo paintings on them from my classes. I can use those for sculpted paintings, because I’ll be covering them with enough layers that the existant texture of the demo painting won’t show through the sculpture.
⦁ More Volunteer Work
Some of my most enjoyable times have been painting sets for KCMT, somehow I want to carve out more time to do that. I’m not sure if I’ll be able to make it work or not, because often the times when the work is done is during my shifts at the studio, but I plan to contact the person in charge of sets and try to work something out.
⦁ Compile a Portfolio of my Demo Paintings
Every time I teach a class, I come up with a demo painting for that class, I know I need to start compiling a portfolio of those sample paintings, so that if someone wants to book a private party they can choose a painting from that portfolio.
⦁ Mural Size Paintings
I’ve already done some mural size paintings for sets, but I want to put some on canvases. I recently purchased some very large canvases, and I am giving careful thought to what kind of painting I want to put on them. I’m just not sure where I will put them once they are finished, if I had a guaranteed buyer it wouldn’t be a problem, but to complete them and not know if I have room to hang them makes me a little nervous, I guess I’ll give it some thought, and once I decide on where they can hang, I’ll get started on them.
⦁ Uploading all my Completed Works to my Website and Etsy Shop
I still have so many completed works that I haven’t uploaded anywhere. I really need to catch up and stay caught up. I think for smaller works such as jewelry a tabletop whitebox for my photos would really help, right now getting set up to take good product photos just takes so long, but if I had a whitebox for those photos it would really streamline the process. So I guess that gives me another item for my list.
⦁ Build or Buy a Product Photography White Box
See my explanation above.
⦁ Establish a Regular Schedule for Blogging
During the Ultimate Blog Challenge, I manage to blog daily, but for some reason when the challenge is not going on, despite the fact that I really want to, I just don’t set aside the time to write regular blog posts. I want to remedy this and start keeping a regular schedule for both this blog and my weight loss blog. For the weight loss blog weekly updates are all that is really needed, but I really feel that I should be posting on this blog at least three times a week, if not daily, and all I lack is the discipline to do it!
So there are the things I really want to do this year, how about you? Is there anything you really want to do over the coming year? Let me know in the comments.
I thought I would start sharing some of my older pieces of art, things I did before I ever would have thought to call myself an artist. I don’t have a lot of this work, most of it has gotten lost over the years, and of what I do have, a lot of it is damaged. Still, I thought I’d share it, to kind of look back on my artistic development. So each Wednesday I’ll share a piece, until I’ve shared all that I have.
Seventh Grade Art Class
I had a difficult childhood, there was abuse, there was neglect. I don’t want to get into a lot details, but by the time I was in 7th grade I was fairly messed up. I skipped school a lot. Sometimes I was at school but would fail to go to all my classes. One class I never willingly missed though was art class. It was my 5th period class. I wish I could remember my teacher’s name, he was really a great teacher who cared about his students. Sadly, I don’t remember though. It was in this class that I learned the basics of drawing, shading, perspective, etc.
One of our assignments was a self portrait, it was done in January, I know because I wrote that on the back. I remember I wasn’t happy with it because the mouth was crooked, I felt that the rest of it was pretty good, except the mouth. I tried to erase, but we were using a strange brownish red chalk I’ve never used since, and a cheap paper… my efforts to erase were doing little more than wearing a hole in the paper, even though I was carefully using the kneaded eraser that the teacher said would lift the chalk. Finally, I stopped erasing, figuring a crooked mouth was better than a big hole.
Now of course as I look at it, I see a lot more wrong than just the crooked mouth, I did almost no shading on the cheeks, I NEVER had eyebrows that thin, and didn’t draw any eyelashes at all, plus my eyes are much wider than my own eyes are, but I probably made that change on purpose because I’ve always disliked that one of my eyes kind of droops and both tend to squint. Still, I guess it wasn’t horrible for 7th grade work done by someone who really didn’t focus on anything I should have focused on at the time.