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Tag Archives: Painted furniture

…Why Artists Starve…

There is such joy and satisfaction in being “artistic”… in letting the inner soul out from your heart through your hands, sharing your beliefs and secrets with the world.  A friend of mine likened art to having a baby.  Blood, sweat and tears go into producing this baby.  How could you not feel maternal about it?  You loved it into existence and it pleases you.  You want to share it with the world What is a Daybut you are so involved with it that to you it’s priceless….so you have a hard time pricing this art baby for what it’s worth.

I come to this crossroads over and over again.  I am much, much better than I used to be.  Awhile back I put pricing guidelines in place in my mind, but depending on circumstances such as did the water heater break and I really need X number of dollars to fix it or I know this person cannot afford the work but I really, really like them. Pricing simply goes out the window.

To defy the odds and be a successful artist making a living at making art, know your worth.  Too many artists undervalue their work.  Recently my eyes were opened to this fact when I visited a newly opened store filled with work by other artists and artisans.  Beautiful hand painted works of art on canvas were priced so low by the time the store takes their cut and the artist pays for the canvas and paints they will be lucky to be making minimum wage.  How can one ever think of leaving the  job they despise to pursue a life of art making less than minimum wage?

I have done a lot of research on how to price art work and I would like to share some of them with you as well as my own pricing structure. These are only guidelines and each artist must find that comfort zone that lets you feel the price is fair for both the buyer and the artist.

Canvas prices range from $ .65 to $2.25 per square inch.  Oils command higher prices.  Murals range from $35 per square foot to $50 per square foot.  Design work and sketches go from $100 to $500 depending on the complexity of the project.  One can also come from the hourly side.  I charge no less than $50 per hour.  Sometimes I make as much as $100 an hour.  I have years of experience behind me and and thousands of pieces of work floating around the country.  I have written 15 books and numerous articles for the craft industry and illustrated 5 books in the publishing industry.  I know that my work is worthy of the price I command and when I get the guts I will raise my prices again.

Artists…how much is a day of your life worth?

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Newsflash … The Flamingos are coming to Osprey, Florida!!!

Wednesday, March 13 at 10 a.m. The Flamingos Nest opens its doors for business.  With the focus on artist and artisan works of art, furniture and decorative accessories, Bob and I delivered a van full of painted furniture to the store that will be for sale exclusively through The Flamingos Nest.

The Flamingos NextDarrell and Nicki Hoke have created a tropical paradise in Osprey, Florida.  Their wit and ingenuity will delight your senses when you walk into the 10,500 square foot store.   A custom-made boardwalk and beach area leads you into the store past the little beach car, flamingos and an alligator spitting water into a pool to the left.  Lights made from sand buckets hang over the bamboo checkout counter at the back.  Delightful touches that inspire.

On the floor you will find quality new furnishings by Tommy Bahama, Seawinds, Broyhill, Lexington and many, many more mixed with on-of -a-kind creations by hand-picked artists and artisans from Florida and neighboring states.  If you see it and love it you had better buy it right then as you may never  see it again.

Their sister store, Pelican Cottage, is just down the street.  The focus there is on new and used furniture and high quality consignment items.  Spend a day cruising these tropical retreats and then do lunch at one of the nearby restaurants to end the day.  Check out their websites at http://www.theflamingosnest.com and http://www.pelicancottage.net and see what they are all about.

 

 

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Riding the Business Energy Wave!

Happy Halloween to all of my friends out there in Bloggerville!  This is one of my favorite times of year with the fun and color of Halloween and everything pumpkin…pumpkin pie, pumpkin soup, pumpkin muffins and even a most wonderful cream liquor, Mother’s Pumpkin Spice that we discovered at Brindley’s open house!  By itself, it tastes just like a piece of liquid pumpkin pie.  Or you can give your afternoon coffee a pumpkin kick with a shot of this creamy liquor.  Simply delicious.  Another fall delight that a client shared with me is to take a can of Spanish peanuts with the red hulls on and mix in half a bag of candy corn.  Eat a hand full of this mix and you think you are eating a Babe Ruth candy bar…except easier on the teeth.  So much for the diet during the next few months!

So to finish up about the Brindley job and tell a little tale on myself, Bob and I worked hard to get all of the wine and liquor signs done before the grand re-opening.  Bob made the wine signs out of cherry plywood to match the wooden wine rack fixtures in the store.  He also cut out thin plywood bunches of grapes that I painted and then glued in place.  I then hand lettered each sign using a font that made me think of wine.  For the liquors, Bob cut out little surfboards that I base painted in Brindley’s lime green theme color and then painted a bright tropical colored stripe down the middle.  I chose a funky font and a deep sea blue for the lettering.  We made the deadline with the delivery early Friday morning.  Friday afternoon we entered the store and I looked up at a couple of our signs with the the word Bourbon on it.  They both had a red “O” on white paper taped over the “A” I had mistakenly painted…Bourban… on it.  We were in such a rush…and I am not a Bourbon drinker….that Bob and I both missed the misspelling!  I had thought about checking all of the boards to make sure I had spelled everything right, but as I am here to tell, I didn’t.  Thank goodness it is a fun place because everyone thought that it was funny…except probably for the Bourbon drinkers and me!  So friends, I will ALWAYS proofread my work from now on!  My next project for Brindley’s will be the theme park store map.  You can be sure I will check and recheck my spelling for that!

This week I took a couple of days to rest and regroup.  Bob and I were both wiped out.  Monday I had one appointment in Sarasota to look at a faux finish touch-up job for a restaurant and Thursday I am looking at another exterior commercial job with the potential of getting my painted furniture placed in their new store as well.  Tomorrow I head back to Orchid Beach to work on the sea turtle mural and discuss the canvases. Business energy is flowing and we are riding the wave!

 

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Doing the Happy Dance….

Egret Evening 18″x24″

Do you hear me doing my little happy dance?  The Egret canvases are done. At least they are signed and sitting in my studio and I feel in my heart that they are complete. This project was hard for me.  I think part of it was the fact that I was making it all up as I went. I had nothing to look at to see what it would really look like so I just painted what I thought it should look like…LOL

Images are burned into my brain from years of research and studying and loving nature and I’ve retained the essence of people, animals and places seen in person, through coffee table books, photographs and movies. Somehow as I work with paint the sense of place manages to emerge through my artwork.

The first time I became aware of this was when I painted furniture for another business. I had just finished painting a chest with a beach scene of sea grass, palm trees and footprints in the sand when my boss walked up and said, “How do you do that?  I want to live there!” The next time was when I owned my own gallery and was teaching classes. One of my students who had been on safari many times said to me “You’ve been to Africa. You’ve captured the essence of the animals and the country.” I felt very flattered and hated to admit that, no I had never been to Africa. I actually painted how I felt Africa would be.

Often as I paint I think of how it feels and smells to be there. In the jungle, I think of the wetness on the leaves and the gnats flying around for the frogs to eat. How the earthy dampness fills your nostrils and how you can  breathe deeply…real uncontaminated oxygen. In the African savannah, I imagine how the merciless sun bakes the earth and how the crisp dry grasses smell. I think of standing next to the mud hole where the animals gather to drink, the mud sucking the shoes off your feet and the aromas and sounds of the animals filling your senses.

Preening Egret 18″x24″

As I wrote in my last blog…”Life is in the Details.” That’s what my art is all about.  Seeing, feeling, hearing and smelling the details of my subject’s life and transferring the essence of their existence  through paint for others to enjoy.

New Chests, Old Chests….Chests are Fun

Last night as I was browsing through my I-Photo in the middle of the night when I couldn’t fall asleep, I came across a file full of photos from a past website.  I have painted hundreds of pieces of furniture over the years.  My most favorite piece of furniture to work with is the chest of drawers.  Tall or short, night stand or lingere chest, new chests, old chests…chests are fun.  Best of all, chests are functional. I’ve painted around 30 Florida condo style chests and nightstands.  Each one different from the other taking on the theme of my client’s home. I’ve painted chests like the orient and chests like the palaces of India.  I’ve stepped back in time to the 50’s.  With my youngest son, Dan and my husband, Bob’s, conversion help.  We made a jukebox dresser with rounded top and actual neon lights installed in the upper cabinet.  I’ve painted jungle themes and party themes…and old people at the beach themes.  Just pick a theme and make it happen.  The only limitation to a really cool chest of drawers is the imagination.

So what would your favorite chest of drawers be?

And to report on the Egret canvases…I’ve made great progress.  Everything is defined and now comes the fun part of tweaking it until it’s done. I love the glazing processes.  Happily I discovered the secret to me painting on canvas.  I am used to texture on walls and wood which is very absorbent. The acrylic paint from the large plastic tubes slid all over the canvas and I was fighting to make it perform the way I wanted it to. Today I happened to pick up a tube of white acrylic that was in a metal tube like my oils and what a difference that made.  I can control it and add the desired texture that’s needed.  I see a trip to the art store in my near future.