Sunday, December 26, 2010

Thinking about prints

Some time back a friend asked if I would consider selling prints of my work.  At the time, I dismissed the idea.  The only way I was aware of to make prints was by going to a print shop and having giclees made, an expensive endeavor, or by having poster type prints made at someplace like Wal Mart, which was not the quality I was looking for.   Since then I've done some research and discovered a whole new marketing possibility - print on demand.

The basic idea is that I upload an image to a web site, which then will print (and frame if requested) the image whenever anyone wants one.  I pay a fee or commission and the web site takes care of the rest, including shipping, and sends me a check each month.  Everything from giclees to posters to greeting cards are a possibility.

Here are the two sites I am looking at: and  Imagekind is more expensive (not by much though) and has fewer options, but seems to be made more for the "serious" artist, if I can use that phrase without sounding terribly snobbish.  It is an affiliate with CafePress, so can be linked to the possibility of t-shirts, mugs etc.  That seems to defeat the "seriousness" of the art, but opens up more options.  Fineartamerica lets me sell through Facebook, create catalogues and sell greeting cards.  It's a huge site, which means a lot of potential customers, but also the possibility of getting completely lost in the crowd.  It's a tough choice.

I'm now seriously considering this, but I'd like to get some feedback from all of you.  Would you consider buying a print online?  Would you be willing to pay more for a higher quality print?  If you had an original, would it bother you if a print of that piece was made available?  Conventional wisdom states that one should sell prints only after originals have been selling well.  If I go ahead with this idea I will be going against that, but I'm hoping this will be another opportunity to get my name and artwork out there.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Painted Pony, again

Painted Pony, County Clare, Ireland 2x9 pastel, copyright 2010

Since I couldn't seem to get the image I used for the Virtual Paintout out of my head, I decided there was no point in fighting it any longer.  While the kids went to play in the snow during their unscheduled day off, I sat down at the easel and worked on this pastel.  It didn't take too long, about an hour and a half I think, probably because I had already worked it out in pencil.  It looks a little too orange on my monitor  but otherwise came out okay.  The colors are more muted than usual for me, but that seemed fitting, as I am guessing the photo was taken in the early morning.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Painted Pony

Painted Pony, 8 x 5.5 graphite pencil on paper, copyright 2010

This month's Virtual Paintout is in Clare County on the west coast of Ireland.  I've never been there, but Ireland is on my bucket list.  I didn't have anything specific in mind, so I just randomly picked a spot near the coast.  It took me only a few minutes to find this scene.  I might have to come back to it with pastel or oil, the colors are quite lovely - it looks like the photo was taken shortly after dawn.  

I'm a bit out of practice with pencils, it's been quite awhile since I've attempted a simple sketch.  It was refreshingly uncomplicated.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Should I stay or should I go

I'm having a bit of an internal debate this month.  Every year in December I get a notice to renew my web site, and every year I debate changing it.  There's really nothing wrong with the one I have.  My best pieces are on there, details of my biography and resume and so forth.  But it just kind of sits there.  There's not a whole lot of traffic that I can see - this blog and Facebook get a lot more hits.  I think that's fairly common since sites don't change regularly - they aren't really designed to be interactive.

So now I need to decide, is it worth it?  If most people are looking at my blog, should I even bother keeping the site?  Conventional wisdom says yes, because galleries and serious collectors like to look at a more serious site.  For now I am lacking in both categories, but I'm hoping to change that in the next year which makes me hesitant to abandon the site altogether.

Since I will probably keep the site the question then becomes, should it stay where it is or do I find another host?  I like the one I have now because it allows a huge number of images - up to 240.  For the same price I've seen a limit of only 20.  But other hosts offer things like email newsletters, art forums, direct buy, online contests and prints.

Another thing to consider is my ability to keep my domain name - would it be a big deal if I was no longer  There are now a number of places online where I have this listed, I would have to go about changing each one, although again most of my traffic is through the blog and Facebook.  But if start getting interest from galleries, it wouldn't be a good idea to suddenly change my web address.  So if I don't change, I may be stuck with what I've got.

Decisions, decisions, like I don't already have enough to think about this time of year!  If anyone has any thoughts or suggestions, I'd love to hear them.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Storm at Dawn

Color Study: Storm at Dawn, 8x10 oil, copyright 2010

Another quick piece, this time in oil.  The goal with this one wasn't so much to get a high degree of realism as it was to capture a mood.  I recently blogged about the beautiful sunrises while waiting for the morning school bus, and decided to play with that image a bit.  In particular I wanted to work out how the blue, purple and gray shadows and clouds would contrast with the yellow, red and orange sunlight on the filed and in the trees.  The bit of bright blue undergrowth along the edge of the field was something added as impulse.  It isn't accurate, but I like how it pulls the sky downward.  I think this one has the potential to be interesting on a larger scale, as long as I don't let myself get to caught up in the details of the trees.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

First snow

Snowbound 12x9 pastel, copyright 2010

The first snow of the season on the first day of December - a combination that could not be resisted.   These grasses in the snow are from a photo I took a number of years ago at our first house near the appropriately named Plain City.  We were surrounded by flat cornfields that did nothing to block the wind which piled the snow in huge drifts behind the barn.  After one such storm the kids and I bundled up went tromping out to take pictures in the evening light.  They were fascinated by the "sparkles" everywhere and my son was tickled that he could walk on top of the snow.

This pastel was just a quick study, taking about an hour at the most.  The hardest part was getting the snow to look like snow and not water.  A lot of a very pale pink seemed to be the solution.