Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Painting - Beach - WIP

Kids on the Beach
Oil on Mat Board

Well, I'm working on this painting and getting a lot done today. The sun started to go down so I took a photograph of the painting in natural light before I had to turn on some lamps that would turn all my photographs yellow.

I'm liking how this one is coming out, though I normally am not enamored with the work I do twice. I do think this one is turning out better than the original. Though I probably shouldn't say that so I don't jinx myself!

I'll post a finished photo of this one.

Analytics - Just an Observation

I was wondering how people found my blog and I started looking up my stats on google analytics. Apparently I should have thought harder about my blog name. So far my favorite search term has been: "A separate piece essay question answers"

Bad students! Bad! Read the book! It won't kill you, I promise. Ok, fine. At least learn "piece" and "peace" are different. 

Ah, sorry about that. I know now that I post this I will get a ton more hits from these key words. I was thinking I should post links to information about the book, you know, to help everyone out. But I'm a bit lazy for that.

In other news, I believe my cousin has traced our family all the way back to Henry Fowler, King of Germany. I find this news pretty cool. I don't know how she did it, because I'm about ready to pull my hair out trying to trace my family tree up from the other side of the family. I apparently don't have a knack for following trails, or Scottish records are hard to find on this site. My cousin was able to stay in America (or the colonies) until the 1600s. And let's not get me started on the Native American side of my family. I'm never going to be able to trace anything back!

Well, it's late, and I have paintings due tomorrow. Laters!

Monday, January 30, 2012

Painting - Give Away, coming up!

Selection of three portraits
Oil on mat board or carbon pencil sketch
4x5 4x6 5x7

A while ago I ran a small give away on my personal facebook page and I had such a fun time doing it that I decided I was going to do it on my blog. I haven't decided exactly how it's going to run, but I just wanted to let everyone know that it will be happening soon, hopefully next week once I finish with all these commissions I have due on the second!

I will most likely be giving away one 8x10 painted portrait of one person of your choice. Or even a still life or landscape if you prefer. I thought I would put this out there and see who would be interested! There would be multiple chances to enter, whether by commenting, following the blog, sharing on facebook, tweeting, following me on twitter, or liking my art page on facebook. For those already following me on twitter or facebook, I wouldn't allow that to work against you! So you can go ahead and start following :D


I'll be using rafflecopter so it will be all fair as well, and there will be tons of ways to enter. Mostly involving spreading the word!

Article - Business Plan Q1

Cookie Jar
Think Geek

No, I don't know why there is a photograph of a TARDIS cookie jar on this blog post. I think it's mostly because I wrote my business plan for the quarter on the first piece of paper I had handy: one with a TARDIS print out on it. I think it inspired me. How could it not? All I know is that I was watching Doctor Who and thinking about New Years resolutions, which I haven't made in some time because I never follow through, or it's something I should be doing anyway and I'm trying from last year to get better at something. So while doing a painting I was curious as to how much I was actually making, and how much I should make, and where I should focus my time. It suddenly hit me that I should write up a business plan and follow it to see if I could get more control over my art business. Seemed better than a resolution because it was more active, but it was still in the spirit of the New Year promises we all intend to keep. It just seemed like something I could actually keep, and find useful.

So here is going to be my blog post on writing a business plan. Or, more correctly, how I wrote out my business plan and how I'm using it. I hope the way I view things will help you. I know I can't do anything exactly like business majors do it as I don't know how business majors do it. Maybe I'll go back for a degree in business and do it correctly next time. But for now, here is my process.

Step One: Gather Materials

Since most of my sales are online, this was fairly easy. I just pulled up the sites with my sales and other information. You also need your marketing money and supply money and how much you spend on everything in your life. Having them in one place makes all the rest of the steps easier, but I pretty much just looked everything up while I was working on the plan.

Step Two: List Where You Sell and Your Sales

Across the top of my paper, I wrote out every place I sell work. Under that, I wrote out my sales numbers so far, and broke it down to how much I made the last month. I was also kind of anal and wrote out exactly how much growth or loss I was experiencing through the months since I had started selling on those sites.

Step Three: List Your Current Marketing Strategies for Each Venue

Here is where I put where I was marketing each of my sites, and where I was getting the most traffic. If I wasn't doing any marketing, I put that, but for the most part I at least tweet or put on facebook so I could put that if nothing else. A lot of people do ads, so this is where you'd put your ads and how much you are paying, and see exactly how much traffic and sales you are getting from those marketing strategies. For me, this is a very simple part of my page, but for someone who does a lot of marketing, this could be a whole section of a business plan.

Step Four: I figured out how much I want to be making at each venue by the end of April

This was pretty easy. I looked at my sales and looked at how much money I wanted to be bringing in at the end of April. Just a simple number. Some gigs I wanted to expand, some I wanted to remain at the current level.

Step Five: I looked at what I wanted to sell to make that money

I have several gigs that are very inexpensive, and popular, but require more work from me. I have several that are more expensive and I prefer to make money off them. I know which are more popular and I have to balance getting money to live on time, and getting good money for my work. This is where I see where I want to focus my marketing and my time.

Step Six: Reorganize Business

I have to fix where everything links to, whether I'm charging the right amount of money to get the funds I need and make sure I'm not doing too much work for too little payoff. This part is a bit intuitive for me, though I am using my info from the plan to organize things as well.

Step Seven: Work out Marketing

Decide where you want to put your money. Social media works great and is fairly inexpensive most of the time. Plus, there are ads you can do and ways to promote your craft and art. I am going to be hosting a give away to get more traffic for my social sites, which I hope goes well. It will be closer to the end of the quarter, so watch out for this!

Step Eight: Allow for Unexpected Events

Figuring out what works and what doesn't is sometimes a crap shoot, and sometimes it blows up in your face.  Just this month I didn't put any effort in promoting one of my gigs, yet it some how ended up being promoted directly from the site. This plus the marketing I was putting in at another site practically doubled my orders everywhere. This would be good were I just into this for the money. Unfortunately this ate up /all/ of my time (Notice the lack of blog posts?) and I was worried about getting everything done on time. Plus these were for projects that don't net me a lot of money. I had to reorganize my business plan to reflect this, and see how I needed to restructure my time to focus more energy on more lucrative parts of my business.

And... that's it!

So far, anyway. I am doing my best and seeing how this business plan thing is working. I am taking things I read on google and in books, and figuring out exactly what works for me. If I have any insights, of course I'll post them here! And if you have any business advice, let's here it! :)

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Painting - Airstream

Airstream - Copy of Photo
Oil on Mat Board

First off, I loved this photo the moment I got it. An airstream on a bike? Awesome! It's a promotional photograph of a French Bicyclist, showing the feasibility of such a contraption. Braking might be a problem, but I know we have mechanical braking systems now that would work wonders and I would love to have one of these things!

And, I have to say that I love how this painting turned out. I've been getting a lot of photos people want me to do of black and white or monochromatic subjects. This one happens to be a black and white photo, and instead of doing a plain grey theme, I decided to play with warm and cools. I love playing with subtle shifts of temperature and I think these turn out well for me. Especially if I remember about values. Sometimes I forget, it happens.

I turned to my favorite, the Zorn Palette. Unfortunately I was out of Ivory black, ended up with the fairly neutral lamp black, and needed to cheat a bit with a bit of sap green and cerulean. But I did keep it fairly neutral. I didn't use any in the sky, but close to the horizon and in some of the underbrush.

I think I fell in love with this painting and it broke my heart to have to send it on its way. But I am glad it's going to be loved :)

I've got nine paintings due soon, so expect those before everything else. Oh my gosh I have a lot to do! I want to work from life more, but I've been doing so much work from people's photographs. I feel it's great to be painting daily, but I need to paint from life.

How do you balance your own work and your work for other people that actually pays the bills?

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Painting - Couple

Oil on Mat Board

A new painting. Getting them done!

Friday, January 27, 2012

Color Pencils

For someone like me who is married to the Zorn Palette and the color sets they give you at restaurants, this is almost paralyzing!

And this is just one side of the case! Couldn't find my colored pencils I used in college, so it's time I broke down and used my giant color pencil collection. My artist side squeals with delight. My OCD side whimpers a bit. Look at the ORDER. And I'm about to destroy it. Awesome.

Three bucks says I use three colors or something ridiculous.

Or I might swing the other way and use ALL the colors!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

How fun is this?

Painting - Portrait

5 x 7
Oil on mat board

I was hoping to be done with all my commissions tonight. So of course I get a terrible headache! Oh well, it happens. I'm going to be finishing off a nice drawing that's already a bit late and hope I can get two paintings done tomorrow before they become late. Or maybe my headache will get better and I'll finish the paintings tonight! Woo!

Then, I'm going to sit down and write up a blog post about my business plan, and see how it's going! I believe I will be on track for this quarter. Did I mention I have an awesome deal on custom carbon sketches on Etsy going on? Link to the right. $25 for a single person portrait, 8.5x11 (letter sized, A4 for my lovely international buyers!)

And on fiverr I've got a special on 5x7 paintings like this one here. I'm not going to keep it up long!

And I've got to run finish the drawing. Just saw how lonely the last couple of months looked on my blog. Poor thing!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Painting - Cat

Oil on Mat board

I've been doing a ton of small commissions. It has been taking up all of my time, but I've been getting some nice work out of it. Not a lot of blog time though.

I've also came up with a business plan. This year I wasn't feeling the whole resolution thing. For the last couple of years I haven't really been making any resolutions, but I felt for some reason I should do something this year. So instead of making a resolution, I sat down and worked out a business plan for the first quarter of the year. This really helped me focus my ideas, though I've had to be really flexible. 

For one of my venues I was hoping to make about a hundred dollars a month  Not a lot from there, but a fair amount of fairly easy money. Unfortunately, I had a problem, and when I went to talk to customer support for the site, they realized they loved my art and started promoting it on their home page. I've made 200 dollars in one week. I don't mind the money, but doing this work has cut into my other work I was hoping to do on other sites. 

Like blogging. I was hoping to do a lot more work blogging. And updating my facebook page, which I haven't done since I started it. And uploading more work to Etsy. I've got the work, just haven't had time to describe it and post it online. But lucky me I've been rotated off the front page and after the 27th I should be home free!

Until then I'll be posting mostly drawings and paintings I've done. Still.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Watercolor: Doctor Who

Jaya "WhoDat" Sharma as Amy Pond
Watercolor on Bristol
9x12 paper

So I have a friend who is really into Doctor Who, just like me! So when she posted on my facebook page as an answer to my request for five people to make stuff for, I decided to do this for her. I have had fun doing this thing.

Considering her reaction, I think she liked it! We even facetimed her sister and got her reaction too, which was incredibly fun.

I worked really hard getting the face to look exactly like her, but it was worth it as it does look like her now. Unfortunately I didn't take a good photo of it (I was too excited to give it to her) so I've got these two, one from the night I finished and one from Jaya's facebook page. It looks better in person I think.

Any fellow whovians out there like the drawing? The idea? Matt Smith? <3