Watercolour Hedgehog

This is a new painting which will be added to my shop shortly. I love painting with blues and purples but usually end up with quite a wintry scene as they create a cool combination. This time I decided to go for a night time scene with this little hedgehog stopping off for a drink. It will be in my shop very soon πŸ™‚

FREE signed print of any art from my shop.

 

This is your chance to get a free signed print of your choice of artwork from my shop.

Take a look around the shop and see if there is anything you would like for yourself or to give as a gift.

To be in with a chance to win, all you have to do is sign up for the newsletter in the box at the side of this page and share this blog on Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest.

All names will go into the draw to choose a winner.

All names will get a money off voucher to spend in the shop.

On top of that you will get our monthly newsletter with news, hints and tips on creative activities. Watch out for some fantastic guest spots as well as links to great places for art and craft on the net.

Happy Creating,

Janice πŸ™‚

5 essential tips to improving your painting.

 

Sometimes even the most experienced artist needs a reminder of these basic tips for good practice.

When I paint, I sometimes get so subsumed in the creative process that I forget some of the hard learned lessons of past works consigned to the “good idea but didn’t quite work” cupboard. Here are a few of my cardinal sins.

  1. Don’t overwork – less is more. When you are focused on a detail and struggling with it’s representation it can be all too easy to “labour the point”. Practice that detail elsewhere – in your sketchbook or on some practice paper/canvas. Come back to your painting when you know exactly what you are going to do.
  2. Know your colours – blue and yellow don’t always make green. I have a sheet that I keep to hand showing all the colours I use and their mixes with every other colour. There are some surprising results. To stop your mixes turning to mud, aim to use as few pigments as possible. To do that you need to take a look at the tube. Some colours are a mix of several pigments – these are best avoided to make your mixes from as they often create mud. Use them as they are or lightened only. Knowing your colours will help you use less paint too as you will know the mixing strength of each colour. The picture above is a link to an example of a ready made mixing chart with frequently asked questions answered.
  3. Practice, practice, practice. Like exercise to keep you fit, doing a little every day will help you improve in leaps and bounds. I know how difficult this can be – four children, moving house more times than I care to remember, working long hours, caring for family. The list goes on. That’s when you need to set aside even the smallest chunks of time to keep your creative brain exercised. In the kitchen while cooking, waiting for appointments, travelling on public transport to work, doodling in those tedious meetings and so on. It will soon become a habit and you will reap the rewards I promise. The saying use it or lose it is never so true as in any creative endeavour.
  4. Look for criticism from experts you trust who create work you like. And learn to take it. Your family and friends are all well meaning people and will enthuse about your work endlessly. If they are not critics though, it may not be helpful to rely on their input alone. I don’t recommend community groups either, especially those online as many are not trained to look objectively at a work. Also, many are looking Β to get comments on their own work and so aim not to offend. A good way is to join a class by someone whose work suits your genre or take one of the many courses that include a critique.
  5. Copy work by great painters especially the great masters. Yes, I really did say copy. Of course, this is work for you only. What you learn from this is invaluable. You get to see how a picture has been constructed, the design, how the elements relate to each other. What has been left unsaid for you to interpret, how the eye is drawn to what the artist wants you to see, how illusion is created. This is your opportunity to “stand on the shoulder of giants”. You can look at a painting and see it, it’s not until you complete that process of creating it yourself that you understand.

I hear and I forget, I see and I remember, I do and I understand. -Confucius

Happy Creating,

Janice πŸ™‚

31 Days of Blog Boost

This is Day 1 of the Ultimate Blog Challenge.

My aim for taking part in this challenge is to get my new blog off to a flying start and bring visitors to the art shop attached to it.

 

Spring Blossom, watercolour.
Spring Blossom, watercolour.

For new readers, the reason for creating this blog is to detail my journey into selling Art online. I have used sites such as Etsy and Artfinder, but I wanted to see if it was possible for a complete technophobe to set up their own website and create sales through it with the eventual aim to ditch the day job.

So far, I have set a shop using WordPress with WooCommerce as a plug-in. It is an entirely free option – no fees, no commission and if you opt for payment of goods by BACS, no bank charges either. If you are on a shoestring like I am, it’s a no-brainer option.

Over the next 31 days, I will be showing you how easy it is to set up, sharing results and showing some of my work.

Good luck to all my fellow Ultimate Blog Challengers – I look forward to reading some interesting tales. Feel free to comment with your details πŸ™‚

Happy Creating,

Janice πŸ™‚

 

Compare the Art Market

Ok,Β so we have a blog and a nice new shop (nearly – need to add some T’s and C’s and contact details). How does this compare with the other methods of selling I will be using?

At the moment, I have items on Artfinder and Etsy.

Artfinder is easy to set up – just apply for an account then add whatever works you like at whatever price you like. Artfinder take a commission (I think it is 30% + VAT). It takes about 6 weeks from the time an item is sold to the time you get paid.

Etsy is a pay to list site. 20c gets you on the list for 3 months. It is not an auction site – you set the price yourself. They also take a commission which is quite a bit less than Artfinder.

The problem for me with both these sites is that you still have to do much of the marketing yourself to get seen. On Etsy for instance, you can spend many hours getting your work onto the front of the trending pages or spend a lot of money relisting items so they appear on the new page. Of course, you can spend some of your marketing budget on pay per click schemes (megabucks and hard to quantify results).

The good points – all the site structure is there and the money is sorted out without you having to worry too much about it. People can find both sites and they have active followers who look for original hand crafted items.

With my own shop, all the effort of marketing will (hopefully) bring people to see just my work. I can see who they are and create a dialogue. I can also direct people from exhibitions and fairs to my site and they will know who they are buying from.

Obviously, it is impossible for me to look at all the art and craft selling sites, so it would be great to hear from sellers on other sites about their experiences. Could you recommend a place? Have you had a great experience with Artfinder or Etsy? If so, where do you think your success has come from?

Happy Crafting,

Janice πŸ™‚