An artist's journal.
Here you'll find my paintings and musings, where the featured subjects could likely cover just about anything.
The last 4+ years I've been caring for my best buddy B during his courageous fight to live through cancer and it's complications. I'm tickled to report, he's getting better and I'm finding small bits of painting time again.

Looking forward to a daily celebration of life's gifts by using the brightest, happiest colors in the box!

Visitors looking for 'B's Journey', click here.

Monday, January 24, 2011

'Red Sentinels' January  2011
20 x 24 x 3/4

From my Tall Trees Series.  Highly textured tall trees with many layers of glazed colors, this style has  been a favorite for my collectors for years. I've done these trees in many  different colors, including greens, golds, rusts and reds. I think this latest warm red version has a rich, Old World look and feel.

Dawson Collection, Tucson, AZ

Here's  the canvas during the texture phase. Trees are loaded with texture and there is a subtle fern-like texture throughout the canvas.  Glazes of color are added a layer at a time. This one has rusty, warm red tones. The gloss finish really highlights the texture, especially the fern relief. Camera isn't doing this one justice.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

'Hooked' 2005
18" x 24" x 1.5"
Acrylic on canvas 
Smith collection- Iowa City, IA

Thanks to my cousin Tom Hapgood for the awesome black and white reference photo of this old hook in Chad's Ford, PA.

Click image to enlarge.

Joining The Daily Painters of Arizona meant creating a separate blog dedicated to art posts only. With that in mind, I was looking for ways to make the blogging experience better for my visitors. An entertaining, informative, less cluttered, more functional, pleasant blog experience. One that will develop a good following with visitors who are also willing to leave a comment or two now and then. We art bloggers gotta admit, we love comments. They help us know we've found an audience who likes what we're doing.

So, I went to my trusty new friend, Artists Helping Artists, and found just the show to help me tidy up my blog sites. Originally aired on 4/22/2010 I found Leslie Saeta and Dreama Tolle Perry's broadcast,  How To Create an Insanely Popular Blog for Your Art. That sounded like just the ticket, so I grabbed my java and my notebook and started listening. Fun and informative! What a nice group of artists! An hour well spent!

I found tons of good ideas for improving the overall appearance, feel and functionality of your blog. ( If you have an hour, I encourage you to listen to the broadcast). In the meantime, here are the highlights. I've already started applying these suggestions, and I'm liking the results:
  • Look at your blog as if it's your very first visit.
  • Put beauty in your blog- include photos of your art. Use consistency in style and post format. Put your art photos in the same spot on each post. Make return visitors feel comfortable.
  • Talk to your audience through your blog. Your audience will probably include other artists, collectors, friends and family. Talk about your feelings, your passions, and opinions. Be yourself. Let people know what you're thinking.
  • Art is an emotional buy, so tell stories about your paintings. Use humor whenever possible. People like to chuckle.
  • Use a creative, intriguing blog post title/headline to draw your visitors in from other sites.
  • Revisit and simplify your blog's sidebars with a new eye now and then. What may have been relevant 6 months ago may not be anymore. De-clutter. Simplify.
  • Review other blogs you like. What do you like about them? Would these ideas work for your blog? Are they using widgets and gadgets you like that you could apply to your blog? Mentioned on this broadcast was the 'Link Within' widget. At the bottom of every new post this widget shows 3 links with photos to archived posts from your blog. Great way to increase visibility of past work.
  • Make your blog easy to navigate. Use labels, and links, that can take you to and fro whenever possible. Make it easy to return home to your blog from your other sites.
  • Use keywords to increase your web search engine visibility.
  • Add links to your blog. To other artists, galleries and the art suppliers you love.
  • Share the great tips, ideas and art secrets you've learned. I've provided a link on my sidebar taking visitors to my blog page how I keep those small, unruly canvases in place while I'm painting.
  • Edit your posts. Give the maximum amount of info with the least amount of words. (Ahhhh, I need to work on this.)  :O)
  • Have a contest. Give something away. Notecards or a mug featuring your art, or perhaps a print of one of your paintings.
  • Use Facebook and other social media to promote your blog.
  • Ask to be linked to other artist's blogs.
  • Leave comments on other blogs.
  • Visit other non artist blogs and sites that relate to your subject matter. I paint VW vans quite a bit, so I'm going to visit a few sites where other VW enthusiasts like myself hang, let them know I'm always looking for neat photos and invite them to send me a photo from one of their van adventures. Offer a free print if you use their photo for a painting. Or maybe they'll want to buy the original.
  • Add your blog's URL to your business cards. Mentioned on this broadcast was Vista Print, where you can get 250 free business cards online. They have quite a few freebies on their site. I'm going to order the free business cards using an image of one of my paintings as the background.
Comments on our blog posts are a way to help us know we're connecting with our audience.
Here are the highlights of the ideas and tips they mentioned to help get the comments flowing:
  • Make it easy to comment. Make sure you enable comments through blogger. It's easy to do and the settings will still let you filter SPAM. None of us like that mystery meat showing up unannounced! Enable email notification to yourself when a comment's been left so you can respond in a timely, courteous manner.
  • Find a few blogging buddies willing to comment with some regularity on your blog. They'll help break the ice for those who don't want to be the first to comment.
  • Ask a question.  How does the painting make them feel? What do they like about it?
  • Ask for suggestions. Encourage. Suggest they share their own story.
  • Ask people to help you name a painting.
  • And last, but not least, acknowledge all comments left on your blog posts. Show gratitude for comments left. Say thank-you.
Well, that's all for this installment of A YEAR IN THE LIFE. I'll fill you in along the way on how these tips are working for me. One positive sign would be an increase in my blog followers numbers (currently at 20), and more comments of course (currently about 1 or 2 a post).

Let me know if you like this chronicle along the way. Any ideas for making it better? Any idea that's worked for you on your own blog that I didn't mention? If you've been here before and can see the changes taking shape, let me know what you think of the new look... oh, and.... ahhh, leave a comment if you'd like! :O) ...thanks for visiting!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Tucson's tragedy

'Shortcake and Jen' 2005
24" x 24" x 1.5"
Acrylic on canvas 
Walker collection- Ruffin, NC

click image to enlarge

I love my Tucson. I have lived here since I was 17 years old. 40 years this December.

Because of last week's Tucson tragedy, I won't be posting the second installment of 'A YEAR IN THE LIFE' quite yet.

The events that occurred here, a week ago today, have caught me so off guard, I've just been sort of going through the motions all week.

Our granddaughter's 11th birthday party was scheduled for that same day. While the kids played at the local pizza place, the adults' attentions were fixated on the TV screens mounted everywhere. It was surreal. In this noisy pizza arena, surrounded by dozens of simultaneous celebrations of life, we learned that one of the victims was a 9 year old little girl. Surreal...and so incredibly sad.

A word about our town. We are a vibrant, eclectic mix of cowboys, college kids, retirees, young military families and everything in between. And, we are the biggest small town you could ever live in. There's not even 6 degrees of separation here. I'd say about 3 at the most. Everyone here really does know someone who knows someone.

I hope my Tucson isn't to be remembered just for this horrible crime, but also for our wonderful townsfolk who showed us their amazing courage, their decency and the resilience of the human soul. We will never forget the victims, the survivors or the heroes.

We stand strong and proud of our city, bent by this forceful wind of crime, but not broken.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

 Click image to enlarge

A New Year, replete with the promise of New Adventures!

...especially for this shy, hermit-like, self taught artist.

The last few months of 2010 have presented me with new opportunities I hadn't dreamed of. Artist Laurie Justus Pace invited me to join The Daily Painters of Arizona, for whom I'll be posting art weekly, and  Contemporary Fine Art International (CFAI), a fabulous group of artists.

Also in late 2010, while visiting the blogs of a dozen or so other artists, not only did I discover a wonderful world of online art, but these artist's refreshing insight and helpful hints as they chronicled their own painting adventures were entertaining, delightful and informative. I also discovered Leslie Saeta and Dreama Tolle Perry's weekly radio show chock full of valuable information to help other artists, appropriately titled Artists helping Artists.

As I was listening to one of the broadcasts, thinking about how I might apply what I was learning to my own artistic endeavors, I had an idea. Let me use their sage advice for a year and see where it takes me. That said, I've decided to launch 'A YEAR IN THE LIFE', a one year chronicle (2011) of this non business savvy, extremely shy, *AAADD afflicted artist's journey. Using guidelines, links and suggestions found on the weekly radio show 'Artists Helping Artists', and applying the vast array of information found there, I hope to step outside the comfort zone of my cozy studio and explore the world. 

From each broadcast, I'll take notes, creating a list of weekly/monthly goals to apply to my own art endeavors. Then, I'll keep you up to date, through this blog, on my successes as I go along.

How much growth can I achieve, artistically and personally? Can I increase my number of blog followers each week? Will my name recognition increase? Will I continue to grow my art sales, both online and locally? What successes will my January 2012 recap reveal?

Drop in now and then and follow my progress. I'll be sharing all the neat stuff I find.

So here I go!
From the Artists Helping Artists  radio broadcast on 12/30/2010  - "Goals for 2011"

This show appropriately dealt with setting goals for 2011. It was the last show in a 5 week series on goal setting. There are many archived shows I haven't listened to yet, but plan to catch up on as soon as possible. I encourage all of you to check out these archived shows, conveniently found on their Artists Helping Artists blog.

Pour yourself a cup of your favorite brew, and get ready to learn. I'm taking notes and sharing what I'm learning. I'm not going to stick to any particular order of broadcasts, but rather, refer to their list of archived shows, and listen to what show will work best for me at the time.You'll be able follow my progress here on my 'YEAR IN THE LIFE' chronicle.

Now, as Leslie and Dreama, suggested, I'm sharing my list of:

2011 Art Goals:
  • paint daily (explore new subjects)
  • expand and create new 'series' works
  • paint ahead (for my weekly posts on Daily Painters of Arizona)
  • blog weekly (I'd actually like to blog bi-weekly, but we'll see)
  • build my blog followers (currently at 18, can I hit 50 this year?)
  • improve my portraiture website (it's embarrassing) 
  • increase painting sales (list one painting a week minimum)
  • build a client email list
  • enter a painting competition (a first for me)
  • enter one local exhibition (another first for me) 
  • organize my studio (minimize the studio space my artglass uses)
  • continue to add helpful resource links for other artists through this blog (how to, where to, etc)
There is wonderful calm that I have found as I've gotten older. My fears seem to be melting and instead of being afraid of how my paintings will be received, I'm excited at the prospect of sharing my paintings and hearing what others have to say.
I have found that there are many things that make me happy, but painting is one of those things that makes me happiest.

This new recipe of  2011 Art Goals sprinkled with a pinch of new found confidence, hold the shyness, has the potential for making 2011 a truly HAPPY New Year!

*AAADD-Age Activated Attention Deficit Disorder :O)
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
"There are days when I feel I could've painted the Sistine Chapel and, then, there are the days when I'm not sure I could trace a stick figure.... the only difference between these days is my state of mind"~ Jenna Millward Corkill