Thursday, May 31, 2012

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

New Finished Watercolor Painting

Yes, friends, another watercolor painting is off the block. And it's a happy day. 

Sunburst ©2012 Dora Sislian Themelis
14x20 Watercolor, Arches 140lb cold press
Let me tell you what I'm not sure about. I'm not thrilled with my photo taking skills. I have tried bright natural light, and sometimes it's too much light. 

Then I tried softer daylight, with a sheer curtain, still no good. Today I took this photo with the flash on, all quite by accident, and it's not all that bad. I think I lost some color in there somewhere, but the photo without flash was dull. Am I going to need to take a course, or what? 

Almost finished photo, no flash, bright desk lamp
A photographer at the art event asked me if I knew how to take photos of my work by zooming in on the painting first. Yes, I knew that, but I should've asked more questions. Better yet, I should have asked him to take the photos. I wonder if that would be a good idea? Next time, my brain needs to work faster.

This might be the only work I get done this week. Our big, fat Greek festival is happening this weekend, and you know what that means? Craziness. I'll try to update you.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Finished, and Unfinished on Friday

Now that my excitement of the art event has died down I can get myself back to the real world and work. 

Recently I downloaded this fun painting application to my iPad called Artrage. It allows you to paint a virtual painting in any medium, with any type of tool you desire. 

While investigating this app I found out there was a stylus coming out for sale that can be used as a paint brush, called Sensu. As soon as it was available I ordered it and it's wonderful. I love it.

Pillow on Chair ©2012 Dora Sislian Themelis
Oil on canvas with Artrage app on iPad
using Sensu brush stylus
I painted a work using the Artrage program before I received the brush stylus, using my finger to manipulate the paint. Now I can actually paint in oils with no clean up! Great tools.

New work- real watercolor on real paper!
Take a look at a real, live watercolor painting I'm working on. If I could get myself away from painting on the iPad, maybe I can finish this latest work and move on.

Technology is a an amazing thing. Now let's get back to the easel, shall we?

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Thought for Thursday

"Empathy isn't dictated to us by a focus group or a statistical analysis. Empathy is the powerful (and rare) ability to imagine what motivates someone else to act."~Seth Godin

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Sold! The "Art" of the Art Sale

Thankfully, the art event on Sunday was very laid back and casual. Originally, I thought that was strange. I've entered work, and was rejected a few times, to events that charged a fee for each entry, was a juried event, and the organizers earned a small percentage of sales. They usually want an artist statement and biography, among other requirements like size of art, submission in pdf form, CD, photo. Plenty of stressful things.

This event had none of that, and it had me a little worried. What kind of thing was I getting myself into? "Call the organizer" was the info I got after I saw all they wanted was my name, number, and "Art". Should I do it? Should I not bother? It ended up being just the right thing for me. The venue was relaxed as well as the chairpeople.

Just show, sell, or not. Great.


The other artists were fun to meet. This photographer, above, saw things in this postcard of my painting of a pepper stem, that I can't repeat. She asked if it was a subliminal message. The word "hermaphrodite" came up. Really? Wild. I still see just a pepper stem.


This artist standing with me at my booth was an amazing cartoonist who made a cartoon book about the heroes of the Greek Revolution. Amazing work.


Here I am packing up a sale for a lovely show attendee. She came by my station and we talked about my work. We discussed my process, my motivation, the subjects, and my background as both a person and an artist. This lovely lady ended up buying two of my Greek landscape watercolors.


Then her friend came by and asked the price for the painting of a marigold. After I told him, he wrote out a check! We were all so excited. I asked them if they would take a photo together with the works they purchased and they agreed. Just wonderful, lovely people to meet.

I sold quite a few blank notecards of my paintings, and near the end of the night, two of my necklaces were purchased. It was fun for me to learn people wanted to buy so badly they went to the nearest ATM for cash!


Monday, May 21, 2012

Excitement of the Art Exhibition

The art exhibition and sale I participated in this weekend went very well, to my surprise. I really didn't know what to expect, how many pieces to show, who might attend, and if prices would be in the range of the possible customers. Any nerves I had at the start left me after I finished setting up my space and mingled with the other artists.

My booth at the Art Event
A large part of the show was meeting different people, looking at artists' work, finding the direction of their work, a lot of art speak and exchange. Some artists brought work just to exhibit. Others wanted to sell to make room in their studio for more artwork. I did plenty of networking.

One never really knows what kind of art the public might be interested in purchasing. Since this was a show of Greek-American artists hosted by the Federation of Hellenic Societies of Greater New York, in a largely Greek community in Astoria, NY, I thought I might include some Greek inspired watercolor paintings, along with my still-life work of late. A boat and beach scene here, a Greek column there, a monastery work, a portrait of a grandfatherly man, a few breezy paintings.

Sometimes people want to see anything but heritage kind of work. They may want a fresh look at a colorful something else. I displayed a variety of work, and brought along my portfolio too. On the odd chance a viewer might be interested, I brought along some of my jewelry pieces. Just for fun.

There was a variety of mediums displayed, oils, woodcuts, acrylics, photography, and cartoonists. All very interesting work, styles, and personalities.

People wanted to know about my background, my process, the inspiration behind my work, and we enjoyed lively conversations. Another exhibitor came by my station and said "Tell me about all this!"

More about my event excitement tomorrow. Right now I'm tired and I need to paint something new.



Friday, May 18, 2012

Photo for Friday


This bloom on the lavender azaleas in my garden is now gone, but I had to post this photo because it makes me feel good.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

To Mat or Not to Mat, That's the Question

Preparing to present work to the public takes time. Since I decided to participate in this upcoming art show, I had to look through my work, chose which to bring, which to leave behind, mat or leave bare, mat and frame, or not bother.

Watercolor paintings are painted on pretty sturdy paper. It's not easily bent, however care needs to be taken in the transporting of the pieces. And should something sell, the buyer needs some way to take the work with them, protected by something.

Which to chose?
This week I visited the art supplier near me for vinyl, acid free sleeves. Another online artist was sending out her work in such a thing and I asked where she purchased them. I thought I saw something like it somewhere. I found them in different sizes and bought a few packs.

The question now is to mat or leave the work bare? And, which pieces, and how many?

Some of my work already had mats, and I found a few left from another time I made some. So the matting job would be left for only a few larger works. Mats make the work look finished and neat.

If I mat some work, is it a must that all be matted?

Then there's the pricing thing. From what I gather from others, the price is the price. It doesn't matter when the work was done, there shouldn't be a discount for that. I don't think the price should change if there is a mat or not either. I will just bring different sizes of work to cover various prices.

Frames are another story. Have you seen the price of frames? Wow. And I shopped in the local craft store, not the custom framing section either! Amazing.

I'm not sure how many pieces to bring. I have an old school, box style portfolio case and I might fill it with work. If I sell out, I should only sell out, I'll have more pieces to show that I could pull from the case.

Look at me, all I think I'll sell out! We have to think big here and there.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Painting is a Journey

When I began my watercolor journey I really just wanted to find out how to manipulate the paints. Process first and foremost. 

After a while of trial, and much error, I turned to working with photos of my own and from travel books. It was a virtual vacation in a sense, while mastering a new medium. 

Admittedly, there is a fear factor there. After painting for a long time in oil paints, watercolor was like being dropped in a dense forest with no compass, and the sun is hiding behind the clouds. Lost.
My thought was this: would I ever learn to make watercolor do what I wanted it to do?

A different style of work..
There is always something new to learn, no matter what the subject. So, okay, this watercolor thing is a challenge I haven't seemed to get bored of yet. I've moved back and forth in my painting journey, from photos to live work, to photos.

Keeping it fresh, interesting and working in the process. It continues.

Looking back at these paintings I can see how far I've come along in style and subject. These scenes stir something in me when I look at them, but there isn't that tug on my creative brain to go here right now. Maybe the next time I am in these places I'll feel like painting like this.

When will that be? No clue.

The opportunity to participate in a low-key, casual, community based venue has come up and it just might be time to let go.




Friday, May 11, 2012

A Lull in The Action

Cloudy, rainy weather does nothing to foster motivation, for me anyway. I updated my Facebook page this week with just that sentiment and some other artists chimed in to to agree, and disagree.

Sun and heat is key for my brain to work properly. Inclement weather day after day, makes me drowsy and lethargic. I don't care how many affirmations I chant, how many times I tap on acupressure points,or read inspirational stuff, it's not happening.

But then, for other people, bad weather is their signal to hunker down and do some work. Yeah, I get that, but I can't change my mind about it once I get a taste of summer like weather. Then it's all over with that.

In the winter time, bring on the cold, the blustery days and I could fool myself into believing it's a good day to get work done. Even then it's tough. How many books do I have to read, how many courses can I take, to keep in the process?

I heard someone say "If you trip down one step, do you then throw yourself down the whole flight?" well, of course not. So you pick yourself up where you left off and go doodle or something.

That's my plan for today anyway.

Before I go bury my head, I have a question: How do you handle older work that is hanging around? If you can sell it, do you price it differently than new work? I'd love to know how artists deal with this, so please leave a comment.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Word on Wednesday is Abstraction

Well, lookie here, another painting found it's way out of my brain. Imagine that? How quick was this one? I almost can't believe it myself. As I was finishing the last still life watercolor painting, this one was calling me to be worked on.

Three Peaches ©2012 Dora Sislian Themelis
9x12 Watercolor on Arches cold press 140lb paper

After I found a small section of those photos that seemed pleasing, and as soon as I released the last work from the watercolor block, I started in on this piece. There was a bit of a challenge keeping the white of the paper as the highlight on the fruits, but I did my best. I'm comfortable with the outcome, and painting this was work.

The colors feel different than the last few pieces, as well as the shapes. Something is changing, I can feel a difference. Abstraction seems to be taking hold as the shapes get larger.

I'm just going to go with the flow.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Thankful for Finished Work

Every once in a while I think we have to stand back, take a break, and just do nothing. When there's too much going on it seems to me the only way I can move ahead is to stand still. The craziness of the last event had me standing still a little longer than I would have liked. Things eventually work out.

The latest watercolor painting I started working on was waiting patiently to be finished while my brain rewired itself. There it was, sitting on my desk, waiting. I waved hello and got to work. Patience pays off in the end, and it is finished, finally. 

I don't know what the big deal was, it's a small piece after all, but brain cells were missing, having gone AWOL. When they returned, so did the motivation. 

Big Tomato ©2012 Dora Sislian Themlis
9x12 Watercolor, Arches cold press 140lb

Waiting to continue..
And there you have it.  I worked on it until I decided I'd had enough of it. Maybe an hour to get it where I thought it should go and then I dropped it like it was HOT.

The thing is it's finished.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Thought for Thursday

"Judging your early artistic efforts is artist abuse."~Julia Cameron, The Artist's Way Hmmm.

Interesting. I always thought it was a good idea to go back and look at where our work began to shift, but since reading this quote I'm not so sure.

 Do we tend to judge the work rather than study and learn from it? Do we end up saying to our artist-self "You idiot, What were you thinking when you painted that?" Chime in here. I would really like to know what other creatives think about this.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Abstract Artrage

Artists come in all shapes and sizes. What I mean by that is some of us paint in oils, some in watercolors, or pastels. Some of us are realists, impressionists, abstract artists, or use digital means to convey our imagination creatively. 

I'm not really sure where my style falls. It's somewhere in the impressionist style, if I had to guess. Shapes and colors, darks and highlights grab my attention. Somewhere in there I need to look at real objects and find the beauty in that. 

In the past I have painted in a super-real style, then I would go  minimalist and paint with few colors  like alizarin crimson, ultramarine blue and add black or white. It's all good, working the process.

Through the cyber grapevine I recently heard about an application for iPad called Artrage. It sounded like something I would like to use. Think about it, all the fun/work without the clean up. Nice.

For a small fee I downloaded it to my device and started right away at an oil painting using my finger as the brush. I think most of you know that's how you use iPad anyway, there is no stylus. Let me tell you how great it felt to throw these colors on the make believe canvas! You can even mix and smudge the paint. It's a great app. 

Now I find out there is a brush-like stylus that's just been developed to use on iPad as a paint brush and even a drawing tool, called Sensu. When this tool comes out I am definitely buying it. I can't wait.


Abstract Artrage ©2012 Dora Sislian Themelis
Digital oil on canvas for iPad

So here is my first digital oil painting using my finger on the iPad. How realistic can I get painting on iPad? I have no idea until I purchase and use that stylus. This is a great diversion without the set-up and clean up.

It should be interesting.