Sunday, December 29, 2019

Selling your art? Mike Smith shares his views...

I hope this doesn’t turn out to be hubris, but I’ve had a good week of art sales. It reinforces, once again, that the phenomenon of online sales using social media platforms as connecting and marketing tools, far outweighs the value of the traditional gallery for us artists selling below the R10 000 price point. If you’re in this segment, you really should consider building your presence on FaceBook and on Instagram.

My other suggestions (remembering that I’m not a guru or a millionaire):

* Decide what ‘having an art career’ looks like for you. Is it one sale a month? Is it linked to an income figure, say R2k or R5k a month? Is it being able to totally live off proceeds of your art?

* Decide on your strategy. You probably need a mix of tactics to make up your strategy. Commissions, normal sales (off-the-easel kind of purchases where people buy what you make as part of your artistic practice), possibly design work (graphic, web, tattoo design) and mural work. Even teaching and offering workshops count imho.

* Think VERY carefully about pricing. You’re not going to reach Koons or Basquiat pricing, probably ever. In fact, here in SA, the five-figure mark (R10k and above) is elusive for many of us. Even gallery pricing can be misleading as a yardstick - remember, galleries are adding between 40 and 50%. Since you don’t need to do that to sell online or through FB, make your prices reasonable. My sense is that art is often an impulse purchase, and even middle-class South Africans only have around R2k-R3k to spend on an impulse purchase, before they start thinking more carefully.

* Price your work to go: meaning, it’s better, from a marketing- AND, crucially, a psychological point of view, to be moving work than to sit with tons of stock. Swallow your pride a little bit and remember you’re making objects to sell (if that’s your focus). Your objects are competing with a deluge of other objects: to participate in that market (again, if that’s your focus), you have to first have your objects floating out of your studio and into that deluge.

* Offer payment terms. With the numerous sales I made this year where I allowed people to pay off their works, only a couple proved to be problematic. Evaluating the risk of this tactic based on figures, I’ve realized it has definitely been more good than bad. Every business has a percentage of bad debt; again, swallow your pride and deal with risk.

* Quietly offer discounts. All the galleries do it. Don’t publicly undermine the value of your work, but if someone is on the fence about acquiring a work, offering them a private discount can be a great psychological sweetener. Remember, a sale is better than no sale.

* Once things are ticking over (and even R500 a month profit means you’re onto a good thing), work out how to grow your business. Consider how to operate more efficiently, upping your output and lowering your costs. But, also, test the waters on how to raise your prices. Dramatic price increases are a terrible idea. 10 - 20% a year is probably a good guide, but also only if your market will tolerate such an increase. Remember, your clients may be nice, and everyone likes to talk about supporting art and artists; but they don’t really care about your cost of living: they care about the cost-to-value ratio as it affects their own pockets. They’ll only pay as much as they believe something is worth to them to have.

These are things that have worked for me. I’d love to hear your suggestions and strategies in the comments.

Thank you for watching.

Friday, December 27, 2019

Andrew Wyeth - Painter of the People

One of the most renowned artists of modern times, Andrew Wyeth continues to hold the American public enthrall with his almost photographic quality paintings. Using watercolors and egg tempera to create masterpieces from the familiar people and landscapes that he grew up around, Wyeth has an unmistakable style that infuses emotion into the mundane. Often using shades of gray and brown, his work combines subdued colors with his mastery of shadows to create incredibly detailed portraits and landscapes.

Born in a small town in Pennsylvania called Chadds Ford, Andrew was the youngest child of five. In the third grade he suffered a bad case of whooping cough which left him sickly for much of his childhood. His parents decided to educate him at home at that time and so his father, Newell Convers (N.C.) Wyeth became his main teacher.

The elder Wyeth was a well known illustrator whose work was featured in many magazines and in other mediums so Andrew was exposed to art from an early age. Seeing the budding talent in young Andrew, his father taught him the basic concepts of drawing and Andrew began working in watercolors. He was to do many watercolor studies of the sea and shoreline while at the family's summer home in Port Clyde, Maine. His first exhibit was of these paintings in 1937.

The success of that first show in New York City launched a career spanning seventy years. By 1950, he was named in Time magazine as one of the greatest American artists. One of his works, "The Hunter", was featured in the Saturday Evening Post. Wyeth paintings hang in museums across the country including the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, MA., the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Museum of Modern Art. In 1987, his "Helga" collection was displayed in the National Gallery of Art - the first time they ever exhibited the works of a living artist.

Despite his popularity and many awards, Wyeth's work was and remains a controversial topic among critics. His representational style contrasted sharply with the abstract art that was favored during the twentieth century. Art critics have often said that his work is too close to illustration and too sentimental in flavor. While some critics describe him as a genius, others are hostile and derisive of his work. His most famous painting, "Christina's World", is even deliberately left out of the listings of masterworks for The Museum of Modern Art where the painting hangs.

Mark Traston is an associate with Portrait Painting. The company specializes in turning a photo to painting. Each portrait artist specializes in a specific area including wedding paintings, pet portraits, and executive portraits.

Article Source:

Friday, December 20, 2019

Choosing The Right Brushes For Oil Painting

Paint brushes come in a variety of shapes, sizes, materials, and costs. Determining which one is right for you, and when it is the right one, depends largely on how you want to use it. The main types of brushes are china bristle, soft hair, and synthetic bristle.

China Bristle Brushes

China bristle brushes, also called hog bristle or Chungking bristle, are made from natural pig hair. They are tough, durable brushes, able to stand up to the oil while still cleaning up nicely. They can hold a lot of paint, making them ideal for alla prima painting or impasto.

Soft Hair Brushes

Soft hair brushes are made from Kolinsky sable or ox hair, or more rarely squirrel, pony, goat, mongoose or badger. Soft hair brushes are much softer than china bristles, and a lot more expensive. It's not unheard of to pay several hundred dollars for a large sable brush. But for more delicate work, like blending and glazing, soft hair brushes are indispensable.

Synthetic Bristle Brushes

For quality and affordability, you can't go wrong with synthetic bristle brushes. Though turpentine or thinners used in oil painting can destroy some types of synthetic brushes, recent innovations in synthetic bristle technology have produced solvent resistant brushes.

Be careful, though. While affordability is a legitimate consideration when choosing your brushes, don't let it be the main one. Those brushes in the multi-packs may look just as good as the others, at a fraction of the cost, but you will end up with brushes warped and falling apart in no time.

Brush Shapes

Paint brushes come in several shapes, each designed to apply the paint in specific ways. The most useful shapes you will use in oil painting, in no particular order, are:

Flat - Designed to spread paint quickly and evenly to an area.
Bright - Similar to a flat brush, but with short, stiff bristles. Great for impasto work.
Round - Long, closely arranged bristles used for drawing or detail work.
Filbert - These almond-shaped brushes offer good coverage and the ability to perform some detail work
Fan Brush - Used for blending broad areas and creating different textures.
Liner Brush - Used for lettering and fine detail work.
By no means do you have to use, or even have, all of these brushes. Experiment and find the shape that works for you.
Brush Sizes
Brushes are sized by numbers based on the width of the brush at the metal sleeve, or ferrule, which holds the bristles in place. The size of your painting surface will help determine the size of the brush you use. For example, a brush that is 2 inches wide will be used on a canvas that is at least two or three feet in either direction.

However, this is just a rule of thumb. As with brush shapes, the sizes you choose will ultimately be determined by personal preference. So go get some brushes and start painting.

To learn more, please visit me at [] for a look at my own paintings and works in progress.

Article Source:

Friday, December 13, 2019

Five Most Common Problems Beginner Painters Have

For people who are interested in learning how to paint with either acrylic or oil paint may experience a few common learning problems. These are the most common problems people have when they are learning how to paint. You can overcome these common problems with some basic knowledge and problem solving skills that will eventually get you past these difficulties.

There are five common problems beginner painters have:

1. Very little experience in drawing prior to learning how to paint.

You really need to have some knowledge or experience in beginning drawing before you ever pick up a paint brush. Using a pencil to draw is a lot easier skill than using a paint brush. You should have some basic knowledge about shapes, forms, lines, and values (shading) to enable you to understand how to manipulate colors in your paint. You need to take your time and not hurry through your drawing in order to get the composition of your picture placed in the most effective way in your picture. If you can draw out the picture in a sketch book prior to actually drawing it on your canvas; this will help to iron out any problems that may arise with your composition. Having some skill and practice at the drawing level will definitely help you have a more successful painting.

2. Not being organized from the beginning with how you set up your palette.

When you first learn how to paint you need to be organized with all your paint colors from the beginning. That means to set out your paints on your palette in the same order every time. Try to leave the most room on your palette for mixing your colors. You will have to mix just about every color you use to paint with so you need to have room on your palette for these color mixtures. As a beginner, you will be using trial and error to get the color you want and this will take time and practice to learn which colors you need to mix together to get what you want. If you put your paints out all over your palette with no apparent order, you will not have any room for mixing and will end up having to clean off your palette and starting with a clean palette.

3. Not putting enough paint on your palette the first time.

Many beginner painters will squeeze out a tiny bit of paint on their palette and find that they run out of that particular color rather rapidly and need to get more from the tube again. This can be a problem when you are using that particular color to mix with to make another color with. Don't be stingy with the paint, it is OK to squeeze out a generous amount of paint onto the palette. The paint will stay moist for several days (especially if you put it in the refrigerator) You will use up the paint eventually.

4. Brush work problems of over-doing the brush strokes,

Another common problem beginner painters have is they repeatedly paint over the same area inadvertently ending up with mud. There is a tendency to keep on stroking the same area in the hope it will magically change into something they are trying to do. Unfortunately painting doesn't work that way. Each paint stroke needs to be thought out carefully and done in a way that will not interfere with the other colors. Some of the color do not go together well and this may be the cause of the "mud" in the end. It is very frustrating for the beginner painter to encounter this problem. It is a matter of learning the color theory and learning more skill at handling the paint brush. This comes with time and experience.

5. Forgetting to clean the paint brush frequently and especially between colors.

It is vital to clean your brush frequently while you are painting. Especially when changing to a different color. For a beginning painter it is very easy to forget to clean the brush and accidentally contaminate one of your lighter colors with a previous darker color you were using. This can happen either on the palette or on the canvas. If it happens on the canvas it can sometimes be difficult to fix the area, you may have to just wipe the area off and start again. Even if you don't clean your brush off in the turp solvent, you can still just wipe it off on a paper towel or a rag and that will help.

Article Source:'Loughlin/208858

Friday, December 6, 2019

Weekend Big Screen Feature: "The Secret of Drawing" Episode 4: "Drawing by Design"

Every weekend we feature a full length art movie / Documentary! So grab the popcorn and enjoy!

Acrylic Paint - Why It's So Great for Signs

Acrylic paint is a luminous synthetic paste that combines and enhances the best characteristics of watercolour and oil paint to create a versatile substance with superb coverage, drying power, flexibility and resistance. These important features in acrylic paint have been proven superior to other paints through careful testing.

Mexican painters of the 1920's conducted a series of pioneering tests on rudimentary acrylic paint to evaluate its resistance when exposed to harsh weather conditions. They discovered that its chemical properties gave it extreme durability. Small resin particles and pigment make up an emulsion in water held together by polymeric agglutinants. Unlike oil paint, water can evaporate out of acrylic from between the agglutinants. As a result the paste dries rapidly to form a compact plastic film.

Artist Jackson Pollock created large painted masterpieces with thick textures. This process is tedious when using oil paint due to the lengthy drying time. However, when Pollock used acrylic he no longer had to wait for months for his canvas to dry. Thus acrylic's superb drying power enabled artists such as Pollock to create more spontaneously. Abstract painter Morris Louise also benefited by exchanging oil for acrylic. Whereas in oil painting a primer must be applied to protect the canvas from eventual rot, this procedure was eliminated when Louis chose to use acrylic because of its self priming quality. Advantages such as these examples enable acrylic paint to be used as a fluid and economic medium.

Acrylic is exceptionally versatile and can be used in a broad variety of ways. It can be used in its common paste consistency, or watered down to create a colour wash. Other mediums can be added to modify the appearance or consistency of acrylic. A surface finish can be made either glossy or matt and an additional thickening medium allows thick paint layers to be shaped or brushed on, giving a sculptured texture.

Because of resins in acrylic a dried paint layer forms and remains flexible, allowing a greater variety of manipulation than is possible with the more brittle oil paint. Professional artists first experimented with acrylic's properties in the 1950's. Paintings from this time remain extremely fresh in comparison to similarly treated oil painting which have darkened or cracked. This durability has also been tested extensively by manufacturers. Paintings have been deliberately exposed to conditions which age the colours quickly. These tests show that acrylic is one of the most durable painting mediums available and will withstand the aging of centuries.

Due to its versatile features and outstanding quality, acrylic paint has proven the perfect medium for use in production of quality artwork that can withstand the outdoor environment.

Bernard Hibbs is a sign maker based in London. Clover Signs makes beautifully hand painted House Signs

Article Source: