New Gallery

Gallery of watercolours

I know it is deeply uncool to admit this – but I am so thrilled with the new gallery I’ve put together for this site!  I’m far too impatient and I have to share it now even though it’s only got a few images in it.

Just the best thing about it is that the viewer can drive what images get shown. This means, rather than me deciding to put the images in static galleries that have fixed images in them – you can click the buttons and drive it all yourself. (Yes, I know I am a bit of a geek and this is probably not terribly exciting for anyone else. But I love it).

Gallery of watercolours
Screen grab of the first iteration of my gallery page

So, for example if you want to see all paintings of flowers, just click  Flowers and watch what happens. If you want to see all the paintings that have sold, click “All” in the Collections buttons, and “Sold” in the Availability buttons. How cool is that?

And you can even decide how the paintings are displayed on the page by selecting the ‘Masonry’, ‘Straight Down’ or ‘Masonry horizontal’ option. Hover over the image to see the caption, or  click on an image to see the large version.

Please would you do me a favour? Have a play and let me know what you think? Specifically, please let me know how easy it is to work out how to to get to what you want to see. I’ll load more images as quickly as I can so that there’s more to look at.

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Writing an Artist’s Statement

Watercolour detail - letting go.
Watercolour detail – letting go.

As one of the steps towards updating my website, I’ve been working on my artist’s statement. Somehow, writing about myself feels quite difficult. I’ve soldiered on, worked my way through it, and in the course of getting my thoughts into a readable form, it struck me that the process is a bit like painting in watercolours:

The more we strive to control, the harder it becomes. It’s only when we simply let go and loosen up, that we start to move towards mastery. So too with writing my artist’s statement. It was only when I stopped stressing about how uncomfortable it felt that I could get some thoughts on paper in a coherent form. I’m sure it will continue to evolve, but for now my artist’s statment feels about right.

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With a little help

Impazzito di luce (watercolour 38 x 48 cm)
Impazzito di luce (watercolour 38 x 48 cm)
Impazzito di luce (watercolour 38 x 48 cm)

Sometimes the inspiration for a painting title just doesn’t come easily.  This one was finished yesterday and I just couldn’t come up with a title that clicked. I put out the word on Facebook and got a wonderful list of suggestions. The one that appealed was Impazzito di luce (thank you, Karin). Crazed with Light seemed like a lovely way of expressing the energy in this painting.

I’ve got a stock of potential titles now so more sunflowers will need to be painted.

Over the past year I’ve come to really appreciate the community of artists I’ve met on Facebook, Twitter and through my blog.  Painting and putting your work out for everyone to see takes a leap of courage. Well, it certainly did for me – and often still does. The support and encouragement from others is such an important factor.

I don’t see art as a zero sum game. If someone buys a painting from you, it’s because they loved that painting. It doesn’t take away a sale from someone else. What it does do, is encourage more people to buy original art. The more people who think of buying original art, either directly from the artist or through a gallery, the better it is for all artists.

The past few years have been tough for artists. Economic conditions are not providing people with much disposable income and everyone is conserving cash. In my view, that makes it all the more important for artists to support and motivate each other to keep going.

Thank you to all those who have given me words of encouragement since I started painting. You’ve seen me through some of my wobbly moments.

Now that I’ve got my blogging routine back on track, I’ve decided to pick up on my Meet the Creatives series. I’ll be blogging about other artists from time to time now (I’ll aim for one a week, but forgive me if I don’t make it). I’m changing the format slightly to an interview with pictures so you can read the artists’ own words. I really enjoyed Maggie Latham‘s series of interviews in her 31 Days of Colour.

So this is a call for artists who would like to be featured as one of my Creatives. Please drop me an email if you’d like your blog to be featured. You’ll need to let me have answers to the interview questions, which I will return to you by email, and also send me a few photos of your work with permission to post them on my blog and my Facebook page (with full credit, of course).

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Experimenting with granulation medium

Rhine trees in the mist (watercolour)
Notes on granulation medium in watercolour
Notes on granulation medium in watercolour

I’ve used granulation medium in paintings before, and I do like the effects it creates. I wanted to find out a bit more about how to use it in different ways so I did a small experiment in my notebook.

I was careful to select a colour that doesn’t granulate naturally, in this instance, Winsor violet. I then used granulation medium with it in various different ways.

Here’s the result: First swatch is the Winsor violet with no granulation medium at all. In the second patch I applied the paint to the paper and while it was still wet, dropped in granulation medium. My third attempt was the opposite: I painted granulation pigment onto the paper, and while it was still wet, dropped the paint into it. Finally, I mixed paint and granulation medium in the palette. I suspect I may have been a bit light on the granulation medium as I expected more of a reaction in the last one. However, the granulating effect is quite visible in the middle two swatches.

There’s more to learn about using granulation medium so there will be more swatches to be done. And I’ll be using more of this in paintings in future.  It can be quite effective in the right place – see the middle section of Rhine Trees in the Mist, below.

Rhine trees in the mist (watercolour)
Rhine trees in the mist (watercolour)

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Twenty years ago, your sphere of influence was probably limited to the people you knew personally, and perhaps some who knew them. Most people didn’t create waves much further than that in their circle of family, friends and business Now:

  • Its much easier to talk to people all over the world, but
    • its also much harder to be heard above the noise
  • Messages on Twitter, Facebook and other ‘broadcast’ sites are quickly overlaid with new ideas, but
    • profiles and facts about you are on the internet forever
  • Its easy to hit the ‘send’ button and spread your ideas and your messages, but
    • each idea has so much more capacity to help or harm your reputation.

Seth Godin’s post about person brand tells three powerful stories illustrating why we should care about everything that’s ever written about us online. Your reputation is your most valuable asset – protecting it should be a priority.

So here’s a challenge for you – have you ever typed your name into Google and done a search on yourself?  What does your online personal brand look like? What does the world read about you? Hopefully there are no disruptions or dents in your image.  But if there are, what are you going to do about it?

Sharing success

Are you comfortable sharing success on social media? For example, it is becoming common practice for artists to share the news when they sell a painting. But some artists find that difficult.

I’m not sure whether this is a particularly female characteristic, I think its probably something most people feel to a greater or lesser degree. I do know that I have had moments when I have been reluctant to step into the spotlight.  Our culture teaches us from an early age that its wrong to be boastful, that vanity is a bad thing, and that ‘nobody likes a show-off’.  And yet, we forget some of the equally sensible messages about being the best that we can, and not hiding it. The quote by Marianne Williamson (now widely acknowledged as having been incorrectly attributed to Nelson Mandela), kinda says it quite well – “And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.” So our sharing success benefits others.

When is it OK to be sharing success?

sharing success on social mediaI have come to realise that it’s context that makes all the difference. Of course, nobody likes a show-off. But how easy is it to see where the tipping point is on this? When is a parent talking glowingly about their child seen as boastful, and when is it seen as simple loving pride?  Iss it acceptable to speak proudly about the achievements of your organisation, or is that considered ‘pushy’ business talk? When is it OK to share the news of a painting sale or having work selected for a prestigious exhibition? We don’t always know how much sharing is just good PR, and how much is over-the-top.  The result of this confusion is that I think many of us lean further further towards keeping quiet about the special things we’ve done.

So I say – blow your own trumpet! Share your success. Tell people what you’re proud of. And encourage others to do the same. It takes a bit of thinking to overcome our conditioned reticence, but it will get easier with practice.