These small paintings represent more fun forays into the world of watercolour and gouache. They might make good candidates for art cards or prints (she says, continuing to explore marketing ideas as well as creative ideas and mediums).
My compulsive experimentation has led me astray lately — into the world of small watercolour paintings/illustrations. These little ‘retro tech birds’ have been a fun and easy solution to not having large chunks of time to devote to oil painting. I have just updated my Etsy shop and included them.
I must admit that I updated Etsy with some reservations. Way back when, Etsy was a great place for certain kinds of artists to sell online. If you got in early, kept your prices low and appealed to a wide range of art lovers, it could be the key to your success. Some of these artists have had enough momentum to continue their Etsy success to this day. For me it was one element in my toolbox that did fairly well for a couple of years, but I quit listing on Etsy when I realized that larger originals selling in bricks-and-mortar galleries was a better fit for me.
Fast forward to today, and I have been looking at different marketing options, including Etsy, as I start up a three-year-lapsed art career again. It looks to me like Etsy has become so huge that unless you have an established client base or a huge social media presence, your Etsy listings disappear without a trace into the behemoth that the sales site has become. I have read the articles and obeyed the advice about tagging, titles, attributes, etc., but still my work gets virtually no remote views via Etsy — only via me. Where do people go now to buy art online? Every step I take reminds me how things have changed and how much I have to re-learn about art marketing.
These are a few of the things I’ve been working on. I’m using this time to do a lot of experimenting with media, style and subject matter, though I do seem to be painting and drawing a lot of birds these days! These are finished pieces; I’ve been trying (and abandoning) some mixed media work incorporating some urban photography as well. There are a lot of “aha!” moments followed by just as many “oh never minds”, but I do feel like I’m inching closer to a new direction.
This is the painting I was planning to do at Whistler two weekends ago. When road conditions and other issues cancelled it I spent the weekend at home finishing it up.
It’s definitely been playtime for me in the past couple of weeks. I’ve been experimenting with mixed media and different interpretations of some themes I’ve been working on for a few months. Sometimes it feels like I’m banging my head against the wall.
The little panel to the right hosted three completely different diastrous paintings before I did this one, at the end of a long and frustrating day. I’m glad I tried just one more attempt because it inspired me to paint these two small panels:
This week’s corvid-in-snow painting: a raven on Mt Seymour. I painted this 24″ x 30″ oil painting on cradled panel, but this time I used gesso to prime rather than Gamblin oil painting ground. I learned that the oil ground is worth the cost, time and effort as it’s a much more ‘welcoming’ surface when applied to wood panel. Another thing I’ve learned while painting crows and ravens is that I use far less black paint than I expected to. I don’t adhere to the rigid idea that a painter never uses black paint, but to get the depth I needed, I used more Prussian blue and violet grey (and a little raw umber) than the neutrals.
This week I’ve been worrying, as I have (on and off) for years, about my inability to focus on one genre, one style, one philosophy or direction. My taste in art is also extremely eclectic. I know painters whose mantra is technical proficiency and formal excellence. I also know painters who are completely focused on spreading The Word about process, expression and spontanaeity. And there are countless other philosophies. It’s all good to me, hence my confusion.
We’ve had a winter that is rivalling Edmonton for the amount of snowfall. Since the last year we even had measurable snowfall was 2014, that’s a pretty significant departure. The great thing for me has been seeing the local wildlife in a new and different context. The crows in snow are my favourites, so I felt compelled to work from some of the photos I took out my window. These two paintings are 24″ x 18″ oil on panel, and will be coming with me to Whistler next month when I spend March 18th and 19th as Artist In Residence at Crystal Lodge Art Gallery. The crow in the second photo looks to me like a small-time thug, backed up by his two stooges.
Next I want to tackle ravens in the snow on Mount Seymour. I took some irresistible photos after snowshoeing there last weekend. Ravens are the most playful birds I’ve ever observed, with their barrel-roll acrobatics and love of rolling in the snow. I keep returning to corvids as subject matter, so have decided to just play with it, like the ravens.