Friday, April 22, 2011

Opinions on prints?

Some time back I mentioned on the blog that I had been thinking about offering prints of my work for sale. I haven't gotten around to it yet, since it will require the extra effort of getting high quality photographs taken.  But just recently a friend mentioned that one her friends would like a print of one of my pastels and there has been considerable discussion on an art blog that I follow about prints, which has brought it all up to me again.  I'd like to hear the thoughts of both artists and non-artists on this subject.

On the art blog the opinions ranged from "prints/reproductions/giclees/lithographs are the bane of all artists everywhere" to "I like to offer prints, but only for a few pieces and in limited editions" to "I wouldn't survive as an artist without them".  Giclees, by the way, are high quality limited edition digital prints on canvas that have been touched up by hand.   Lithographs are also high quality limited editions, but using much more traditional techniques.

So, I was wondering what the average person thought of prints.  Would you buy them?  How much would you pay?  Are you willing to pay more for a higher quality, limited edition print?  Would you buy an original if you knew that a less expensive alternative was available?  Would it bother you if you knew that an original you owned was made available as a print?  What I am getting at is that there is an argument that having prints available "cheapens" originals.  And there is the counter argument that having affordable prints available increases interest which in turn increases the value of originals.  I'm not sure which is true; it's possible both of them are.

What do you think?

Monday, April 18, 2011

For love or money

Desire 9x12 pastel, copyright 2001

Stepping outside my comfort zone again, this time for a friend.  I've never painted a musical instrument before and the various textures were challenging: the wood grain of the body of the guitar; the plastic (?) and painted gold leaf on the pick guard; and in particular the gold colored metal knobs.  Those knobs were the toughest part, they took hours and hours and were erased who knows how many times.  In the end I had to ignore the reference photo and all its extraneous information and just work from instinct.

A little bit more information about the subject is required, as this is not just any guitar.  Those of you old enough may recall the song Desire by the Irish band U2, dating to 1988.  This guitar (a Gibson ES-295, so I am told) was played by The Edge during the recording of that song.  A few years ago it was sold at an auction to benefit Music Rising, a charity that raises money to replace instruments for musicians, churches and schools in New Orleans that were lost during Hurricane Katrina, a charity in which The Edge is heavily involved.  It was won by a friend of a friend.  That friend took the reference photo, which I used with her permission.  It had such dramatic lighting, I couldn't pass it up.  And I know she will appreciate the effort as only a serious fan a could.

Monday, April 4, 2011

The city at night

Manhattan Evening 6x6 oil, copyright 2011

I definitely stepped out of my comfort zone on this one.  Cityscapes are rare for me and looking back, I don't think I've ever done a night painting.  Just for fun, I went into this one not thinking about having a nice finished piece, but trying to capture the mood, the idea of the city at night.  Getting each and every window would have been difficult on such a small scale and I don't have the patience for such things anyway so keeping it loose seemed the only way to go.

In trying to work it out, I looked a couple of other artists to see how they tackle such things.  One of them, Karen Jurick, also rarely paints cityscapes, but does often work quite small.  I like her take on Lower Manhattan.  Another artist I looked at is David Cheifetz, who often does paint cityscapes.  I love his combination of loose and traditional, and when you sign up for his newsletter, you get to see his works in progress.

The hardest part about this one was photographing it.  The strong contrasts did all sorts of funky things in the camera, as did the very visible brushstrokes - it looks too yellow and not purple enough on my monitor.  One of these days I will get or make myself a light box which should help immensely.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

First Storm of Spring

First Storm of Spring 9x12 pastel, copyright 2011

The first day of spring saw the first big thunderstorm of the season.  It was coming in just as I was getting off work, and it became a race to get home and grab the camera before it moved on.  I really need to start carrying a camera with me everywhere I go!

The worst of the storm passed to the south of us, although it did manage to plop some huge raindrops on my windshield and some hail on my daughter's track practice.  The edges of a storm are what really catch my eye, when the clouds are piling up and spreading out, but daylight still manages to peek through in a dramatic way.  I kept thinking that if I had the time, I would be a one of those storm chasers - I just love painting clouds and skies, no two are ever alike.