Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Gone To The Dogs

Everyone thinks I'm primarily a cat painter. I'm not really- it's just that they're more saleable as a cat owner will buy anything with a cat on it whereas a dog owner prefers their own breed. And there are a lot of dog breeds. Recently I received a commission for two brooches showing the owner's lovely King Charles Cavalier Spaniel. One was ordered for her, the other for the dog's breeder.

Within the same week I finished another commission for a paperweight to be given as a birthday present. On one side was the dog's intelligent and finely featured head looking towards someone.

On the other side of the stone I painted the subject "Holly" looking cute and cuddly. Every bit the alert little fox terrier. And now I am working on a portrait of a German Shepherd but it's going to be a long job as I've decided to only base coat in acrylic and to over paint in oils so I can match the beautiful colours in the dog's coat. Hopefully it'll be finished in time for Christmas considering it's meant to be a gift...

Monday, June 21, 2010

Pastels and Pondering

Not being a huge fan of pastels I was interested to see how I would find artist quality ones. Conclusion- more vibrant colours and less dust. Also they resulted in a photo realistic picture although that doesn't necessarily equate with good art but rather good copying aka the Hong Kong Horror School of Art.

I have my travel blogging job for a further three months hence the occasional entry on Boston or New York. Also working on the website for Otane Arts and Crafts and should have this completed within the next couple of weeks. The time consuming part is trying to remember how I did things when I built the other websites a few years ago. It's true that if you don't use it you lose it. I dread to think the amount of information I have "lost" over the years and wonder if it's floating out in a never never land of great ideas that occurred while sitting on the loo but evaporated five minutes later.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Cheap and Free in Boston

No Boston City break is complete without a visit to The Museum of Fine Arts. Opened in 1876 this now has over 450,000 objects in its collection. More than 1 million visitors annually take advantage of its special exhibitions and imaginative education programs. Admission is free on Wednesday nights. Another must do activity are the Swan Boats which ply the waters of Boston’s 24 acres of Public Gardens. The only boats of their kind in the world this attraction was begun in the 1870s by Robert Paget whose descendants still operate the business.

Boston is one of America’s oldest cities, incorporated as a town in 1630 and as a city in 1822. A Walk To The Sea begins at the State House on Beacon Hill overlooking Boston’s ancient common passing by historic landmarks and buildings for one mile before descending to the sea. The State House built in 1795 by Charles Bullfinch features a copper dome sheathed in 23 carat gold. Tours last 30-45 minutes and include an overview of the history of the state capitol including “The Sacred Cod” a wood codfish hanging in the House Of Representatives as a symbol of the importance of fishing to the Commonwealth.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Art In the City of New York

New York holidays aren’t complete without a visit to the Statue of Liberty. Sculpted by Frederic-Auguste Barthold and modeled on the Colossus of Rhodes this statue was the first landmark seen by 12 million immigrants who entered the United States through Ellis Island. Donated by the French people in 1886 as a commemoration of the alliance of the two nations during the American Revolution guided tours are available by reservation. Another striking landmark of the city is the Empire State Building. Completed in 1931 it was built in just 410 days and measures 436 ft (145m) in height. Art Deco at its best.

Art lovers are spoilt for choice as New York features several famous world class galleries. The Metropolitan Museum of Art houses 2 million works of art ranging from ancient to modern times as well as hosting visiting exhibitions of world masterpieces. The Guggenheim Museum is a work of art in itself as it was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright and completed just after his death in 1959. The Museum of Modern Art or MoMA was founded in 1929. With over 150,000 paintings, sculptures, prints and photographs is has the most important collection of art in the USA.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Otane Arts and Crafts Exhibition 2010

I've been working hard towards our annual exhibition at Otane, especially as The Friday Portrait Group were the featured artists this year and I had volunteered to paint a nude. I also decided to complete the work in oils as skin tones would be easier to blend than acrylics plus colours don't change when they dry. Of course oils have a much slower drying time so I began painting a couple of months prior and spent an hour each day working in the spare room on an easel to protect my Sleeping Beauty from the attack of the cat fur. Of course I still ended up doing a last minute dash which was not aided by my red background which was still tacky days after I painted it. We were hanging the exhibition a full week before opening so I figured it would have dried out way before then which it did.

To make the featured works pop black tablecloths were hung on the wall and the pictures pinned and nailed on top. There were a mixture of working sketches and completed paintings from our life sessions. There was a positive reaction from the public- especially the men. One gentleman took a particular liking to my Sleeping Beauty and asked if he could have the model's phone number. Then he asked if the price meant the model was thrown in as well. I told him he had more chance getting the artist at that price. One old man headed over to the wall with a very determined look on his face only to have his wife grab him by the arm and drag him out of the room. Then there was the local radio announcer who was phoning in reports to Central FM over Friday morning. His eyes firmly fixed on boobs galore he remarked that "the paintings are really superb- you wouldn't think they were done by locals at all!" Did hear on the grapevine that some women in the centre found the works "offensive" but they find us a bit uncouth so that was no surprise.

I had a very strong feeling that with the recession and the tough financial times we would be very lucky to sell as many paintings as we did last year. In the end we sold one- a watercolour by Donna Dahm. However cards went extremely well as did Marie N's art dolls and my hand painted soaps and stone brooches. Marie had brought in four bookcases and painted them white the night before she and I were setting up. I thought I'd made sooo much stuff but when I arranged everything it looked quite meagre. However the display created a great deal of interest with the public and we sold well.

As leaders Glenys and I felt we had to be on duty perhaps more than we needed. I had twisted everyone's arms and had a full roster to help out. I set up my jewellery stand on Wednesday June 2nd, we went to the members' opening on the 3rd, spent Friday the 4th there, Saturday morning and the whole of Monday the 7th. The weather was extremely mild, there were good numbers of people coming through and Glenys had chocolate hidden under the table so the exhibition turned out to be a good thing.