Saturday, May 11, 2013

Day 10 - 30/30 Marketing Your Art Challenge + Four Boats & Save The Mermaid Parade

Four Boats, Bernard Maine
Colored pencil and ink on canvas, 9"h x 11"w - framed in a lovely walnut frame 13.5"h x 16.5"w 
Today's Challenge on Leslie Saeta's blog was to start researching galleries to sell your art.
This is more of an ongoing challenge - not really something you can really do in half-an-hour - but it plants the seed and she gives a really clear check list including gathering, names and addresses, websites and phone numbers, researching who already exhibits there.
I am looking forward to the day when I have a body of work big enough, and consistent enough to approach a gallery.
Looking forward to tomorrow's challenge.

About the Painting
This painting was created after taking a class with Robert Kogge at the Art Student League, NYC. It's a really interesting technique that involves drawing with colored pencils on a clay-primed canvas. At certain points in the process you wash over your drawing with colored inks. when it dries, you continue to build up the color again. It is time consuming, but it really creates a unique illusion of depth and illumination. The photo reference is my own, taken in Bernard, Maine at the working dock and waterfront. Dozens of dingies in all shapes and sizes, wood, fiberglass and aluminum, line the docks on any given day, creating all sorts of interesting shapes shadows and reflections.
The painting has been shown at the Fire Island Lighthouse Annual Art Show 2010, The Monclair College, Robert Kogge Student Show, March/April 2011, and The Art Guild of Port Washington, Member Show 2011

Help Save the Mermaid Parade

And now a plug for one of my favorite events in NYC - The Coney Island Mermaid Parade. Superstorm/Hurricane Sandy was devastating to the Coney Island area. There was over four feet of ocean flowing through the museum, through the amusement parks, Nathans, and many other Brooklyn landmarks. They've been rebuilding as fast as they can, but it's expensive AND throwing one of the biggest and craziest parades in NYC is expensive too! With nearly a million people watching and participating in the parade, the financial boost to the neighborhood on the first weekend of the summer is key to the survival of hundreds of businesses.
If you live in the NY/NJ area - I highly recommend attending. It's like Mardi Gras meets the NYC Halloween Parade meets the Mummers meets the Thanksgiving Day Parade. Everyone is happy and dancing, there are hula hoops and glitter and pasties and endless imaginative costumes and floats. Not to mention thousands of mermaids and pirates, and sea (and space) creatures made of bubble wrap and solo cups.
Please, check out and give if you can to the Coney Island Mermaid Parade Kickstarter Program. I've provided a link to the site on the top right.

Thanks for looking!

Friday, May 10, 2013

Day 8 & 9 of 30/30 Marketing Your Art Challenge - Demonstration

The challenge for the Wednesday's Leslie Saeta Challenge didn't exactly pertain to me (yet) - but it is a good one. When you sell a painting mark it in some way on your site either by posting SOLD or a red dot. People do like to buy from a an artist who is selling work. Customers like to see that an artist is selling.

Thursday's challenge was to post either video or photos of your work as it progresses.
For this, I've chosen to show you the process for the mermaid image/poster for the Great South Bay Music Festival.
The client and I start off by looking at old concert posters from the 60s & 70s (We like a couple of books, but our favorite is The Art Of Rock. We get composition and color ideas and discuss how we can adapt those ideas to the festival and the mermaid.

This year we really liked this poster by Bob Masse from 1967. He does some really nice work, and I can see he got his inspiration from the Czechoslavakian artist Alphonse Mucha (below).

(Left ) We hone in on one or two and I go back and do some sketches. After more discussion about what works, what doesn't, we decide on a direction. We liked the idea of the mermaid down the middle, with room on either side for information.
In this case, we liked the image, but there was no major female headliner, 
so we'll save her for another time.

(Right) So, I sketched something closer to the Masse poster. I took a picture, and brought it into InDesign so that I could lay type on top and get a feel for how much room I would need. 

Then I did a stronger drawing of the mermaid. I'll draw in the festival grounds separately. Because this image gets used in a variety of ways, different size ads with different proportions, I've found that it's advantageous to have the major elements moveable.
I traced it onto hot press Aches watercolor paper. I use watercolor and colored pencil on hot press for my illustration projects because its smooth surface and durability allows me to get the fine details right. 
I fill in large areas with watercolor and the go back in an work on the finer details with colored pencil.

I had some real issues with her face. You can see the evolution of her left eye. I had to scrape it away with an exacto blade each time and rebuild the area with watercolor ground (Golden). I even used a magnifying glass to really get in and get the detail right.

And here she is finished.

After finishing the mermaid, I moved on to the festival ground. As you can see, I traced the shape of the mermaid into the grounds, so that I could see where she was going and get a sense of scale for the people and the stages, the bay in the background and all the way back to the city skyline. 
Drawing all those little people does present a challenge - making them all individual - deciding on their clothing, hair and what they are doing - dancing, pointing, eating, watching, and performing.
I created a sky on a large piece of Arches cold press watercolor paper, using mask to create the white stars. I then scan all the pieces and assemble in Photoshop. I duplicated the area of the crowd that overlaps the mermaid and silhouetted them. The moon is from the original mermaid painting, seven years ago. I like being able to reference the old image in the new one. (I also created a bikini top in a layer for the G-Rated /Public version.)

I drew the border in black and white, scanned it and outlined and colored it it in Illustrator. The poster is then assembled in InDesign. There's a lot of type to lay out, and there will be sponsor logos to include, so this is a program to assemble everything in.
Here it is very close to finished... just a few little adjustments left.

Hope you enjoyed this "how I did it" demonstration. 

I'll be hopefully posting another Friday installment when I get Day 10's challenge.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Day 7 - 30/30 Marketing Your Art Challenge + What are YOU reading?

Today's tip from Leslie Saeta's challenge - sizing and updating your Facebook header & profile picture.
It is helpful to use this cheat sheet from  though I seriously doubt I will be worrying about the sizes of the posts and other images, especially because of FB's penchant for changing their layouts and sizes of everything. All the time.
However, what I would recommend, is that when designing your header you work in a proportionately larger size. For instance I make the header box 851px x 315px, but I work in 300 dpi. (Sometimes I even proportionally scale the pixel size.) This creates a better looking, sharper image, (especially if you use type) when it's uploaded to FB.
Here's another hint: I save a layered version of this so that when I want to change the image or type, I just create a layer for the new image.
Here's the result on my Mermaid Sue's Studio Facebook page:

It's also good to know that Facebook has rules about what can be in that header image. (I was looking for the link - but they do make it rather hard to find stuff sometimes. Sigh.) How much type you're allowed to have (20%), no advertising (20% OFF!), no calls to action (LIKE THIS PAGE!).

(The Blue Truck, North Fork painting above is no longer for sale - It IS however, available as a print on Fine Art America.)

Which brings us to something else blue:
((See how I did that?)

On My Night Table - Sacré Bleu a Comedy d’Art by Christopher Moore
It is July of 1890 and Vincent van Gogh has shot himself...or has he? 

Last year at Acadia Workshop Center, in Bernard, Maine, I had a wonderful time getting to know artists Steve Rogers and his wife Janet Rogers. Sacré Bleu was highly recommended by Steve. A little bit history, a little bit fiction, a little comedy, a little mystery, a little fantasy, the book moves back and forth in time, but always comes back to Paris in the 1890s and features Henri Toulouse-Lautrec in a fairly prominent role. With guest appearances by Pissarro, Gauguin, Monet & Manet, and Courbet, as well as Whistler & Renoir, the the author connects all the little sub-stories with Paris, the Impressionists and – the color bleu. 
I'm about halfway through right now – it takes me forever to finish anything. I never quite get the time to read more than 10 pages at a time and it's always right before going to sleep. I'll let you know how it turns out!

Monday, May 6, 2013

Day 6 - 30/30 MYA Challenge + Chelsea Center & Planting Fields Arboretum

Today's Challenge is to make a badge for your blog or website. I've already got a bunch of links on the right side here, I don't have a website – yet – so I thought I'd make a specific link to the Original Art section of my Etsy Shop.

So off to to make one. (The truth is, I can make this in photoshop with no problem, but I thought I'd try out the interface.) It's a great  site/tool if you don't have Photoshop or similar and need to create a collage or a web button, correct an image, play with effects, add type or a frame, etc.
Upload a picture (or use one from the collage assignment), choose edit, and you are given lots of photoshop-like editing choices. Click along the top and the options for that category will come up on the left. When you have what you want, just click save.
Voila! Here it is - and you can see where I put it on the right side.

Walking and Painting at Chelsea Mansion & Planting Fields Arboretum
After getting some work done yesterday, I went off to enjoy some sunshine.
Walked around Chelsea Mansion for a while. (Here's more on Chelsea.)
I always wonder what the grounds once looked like. This is near that hidden gazebo, 
and the little hidden pet cemetery. 

The mansion (and it's reflection) are so pretty. 
There were Canada Geese and Mallards, a couple of HUGE turtles (not snapping turtles). 
Catbirds and cardinals were singing and the chipping sparrows were checking the apple tree blossoms for all sorts of little bugs.

It's nice to see they've fixed the fountains. All the lions around the outer edge were spurting water.

The old greenhouse. 
didn't have time to paint as they close the gates at 4:30. :-(

So, off to Planting Fields Arboretum. How beautiful is this dogwood?

There were lots of people there. So many weddings wandering through, enjoying the beautiful day and the next wave of trees - lilacs and dogwoods, cherry and apple trees and the last of the daffodils are in bloom. The fountains in the formal gardens were working here too. 

I found a quieter spot on a bench, looking back towards the house.

I tried to keep it simple, but did a nice pencil drawing first.

After about an hour, here's where I was at. 

Time to go. On the way out, I noticed that the rhododendrons are just about ready to burst. 
I'm looking forward to that!
There's more on Planting Fields Here

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Day 5 - 30/30 Marketing Your Art Challenge

Today's challenge on Leslie Saeta's blog is to make a collage of some of your work.
I chose to pick some old and some new pieces, some sketches and cards, but you can use anything really - I'll probably do one with some of my graphic design work soon.
It's really easy when you use ipiccy. You can choose from any number of layouts, switch stuff around add frames and effects, and when you're done, you can save it.
Here's mine for today:
From the top left to right:

  • Row 1: Four boats, colored pencil on canvas; Blue Truck, North Fork, watercolor; Casa Pelligro, watercolor; After The Blizzard, watercolor; Fire Island Lighthouse, Sunset, oil pastel
  • Row 2: Bayville Marsh, Oyster bBay, watercolor; Winter Vineyard, pastel; Evening, Greenport Boatyard, watercolor; Rescue Dogs, watercolor & colored pencil. This was a piece done after 9/11 and was part of the show at Society of Illustrators, NYC.; Mermaid for 2013 Great South Bay Music Festival, watercolor and colored pencil. This is for a festival in Patchogue, NY. Every year I do a new version of the mermaid.
  • Row 3: Self Portrait with Carrots, watercolor & colored pencil; Osprey, pastel; Abandoned Farmhouse, watercolor; Coffee Pot Lighthouse, Orient Point, Sunset, pastel; Cat Bowl, acrylic on wooden bowl
  • Row 4: Blue Kettle Still Life, colored pencil on canvas; Froggy Holiday, watercolor & colored pencil. This is one of the first Christmas cards I painted and sold.; Hidden Door, watercolor sketch
  • Row 5: Lopas Point, Maine, watercolor; Ballerina Dress, acrylic on canvas. Painted as a custom piece for a friend's baby's room. Available on Etsy as a commissioned piece.; Winter, Yellow Farmstand, Orient, watercolor; Red House, Bass Harbor, watercolor; Yellow Still Life, watercolor.
Many of these pieces are available on Fine Art America, or at Greeting Card Universe, or on Etsy.

A Walk At Shu Swamp
Yesterday I took a little walk at Shu Swamp. It's a lovely little place in Mill Neck on Long Island, NY.
The light in the late afternoon, illuminating the millions of tiny leaves, is magical.

The skunk cabbage (and irises, not blooming yet) along the little brooks 
that snake through the property.

Ferny Fiddleheads

Is that a fairy behind that fern? Could be.

One of the huge tulip trees that came down in Hurricane Sandy.

Counted the rings - it was well over 150 years old.

Some of the tallest tulip trees in New York. 
Love looking up - makes me a little dizzy though.

And that's a snapping turtle (one of two) - he/she's HUGE! 

Yes, he is stalking the swan.

Great Blue Heron sculpture by F. Edwin Church.

Thanks for walking with me!

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Day 4 - 30/30 MYA Challenge - Set Up Google Alerts

Today's assignment is to set up Google Alerts. What is a Google Alert? Google Alerts are email updates sent to you of the latest relevant Google results (web, news, etc.) based on your queries. It's a great way to monitor what is being said on the internet about any particular topic. 
So - off to Google to do that! 
Here's the results - SUPER EASY! It should get interesting as there is a woman of some importance at UConn who shares my name! LOL. In any case, it's very easy to do - probably takes less than 5 minutes once you're signed into Google - and you can set up these alerts to be once a day, when news happens, or once a week. Completely self explanatory once you're there. Set them up for your name, a place like a gallery or museum, another artist, workshops. 

Yesterday's Painting Adventure
Because it was such a beautiful day, after finishing some work, I went back to Cedarmere. I didn't have much time (even though I did bring my paint box easel and larger paper) so I just decided to do something small in my sketchbook.

All that green can be very confusing! But it was fun to get out and paint.
I could hear brants with there trembling honks and canada geese down on the harbor, the red-winged blackbirds were singing, and swallows were swooping around. I could hear some other birds - carolina wrens and probably orioles and warblers, but I was too busy to take out my binoculars. A little muskrat swam by, came out of the water a little way down from where I sat, and hurried on down the path. 

Today's another beautiful day - and I'd love to get out and paint - where will I go?

Friday, May 3, 2013

Day 3 30/30 Marketing Your Art Challenge

Good morning all!
Today's Challenge was to get 20 new names on your emailing list.

Luckily, I signed up for MailChimp a couple of weeks ago. I put the app on my Facebook page and figured out how to put it here on this blog (just off to your right).
After posting a nice little reminder to people on FB to sign up (both business & personal accounts), I composed a little email with a link (provided by MailChimp) and sent it to a couple dozen people I have emails for and think will be interested in getting updates.
So assignment done! Yay!

Note: As of May 4 I have 22 people on my mailing list! Yay! Please sign up via the box at right. Thank you!

So after all that work, I'll share some sketches I did yesterday at Cedarmere in Roslyn, NY. It was the home of poet William Cullen Bryant, and though it's sort of rough around the edges right now, hopefully work is going forward to repair and restore it. Last year a lot of effort was put into what I believe was a Mill.

This is looking west across the little pond. That's the mill building and Hempstead Harbor beyond.

This is sketched from down the hill standing next to the building. I got very caught up in the ornate woodwork along the eaves and roofline. This spot looks southwest with Hempstead Harbor in the mid-ground and Roslyn at the treeline.

Have a great day!

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Day 2 of the 30/30 Marketing Your Art Challenge

Day two of the 30/30MYAC is to put a piece of your older work up for sale on your website or blog.
Being new new new to blogging, here comes my learning curve!

The first thing to do is to get Paypal linked up. I've found that it's fairly straightforward. For those who don't know how, I can now explain. First have a Paypal account. Once you are there, go to the Merchant Services Tab and voila! there are your choices! Plug in your price, the shipping, etc and it will generate a code that you just cut/paste in under the image of the painting! SO easy right? You can save buttons, have the button shut off if the item is sold, etc. Brilliant. Here's the tricky bit - paste the code they give you into the html area (in blogger - that's just above on the left). I had already placed the photo and written the caption, so I just c/p under all the other stuff there.  Ah ha! Look! SO amazing!

I've chosen to bring a little attention to this oil pastel painting Fire Island Lighthouse, Sunset. It's a close-up of the walkway between the keeper's house & the lighthouse itself. It's sunset and the sky is so bright and the windows just glow. The painting itself is 10w x 14.75h (and I'll include the matt). Please feel free to contact me with any questions.

Fire Island Lighthouse, Sunset   Susan Herbst

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Day 1 of the 30/30 Marketing Your Art Challenge

Today's challenge (via Leslie Saeta's blog) is to join or start an Artist Mentoring Group. What is this? Well, it seems fairly simple - it's basically a support group for your art. It's for sharing, discussing, inspiring, and encouraging each other's work.
Great idea! I just think it's going to take me a bit longer than one day to start one or find one. BUT the seed is planted. The search is on. Starting with the Art Guild members - something to bring up at the board meeting tomorrow.
(These are the lovely tulips a friend gave me at Sunday's gallery reception. They are such a gorgeous color! Here's a sketch of them - pencil & watercolor pencil.)