Thursday, August 30, 2007

Working the work - Art as life and livelihood

Not Quite Night - Diptych 2 panels each 24 x 9" Oil
I spend a lot of time painting. I also spend a lot of time thinking about painting. I spend a lot of time marketing, and I spend even more time thinking about marketing.
I feel very lucky that I am blessed with a few gifts. Even more that I have been able to develop them in to skills to produce art that people enjoy. I know I probably would have flunked out of art school. Ive been told (a lot recently) that I am too out-spoken and opinionated. I know from experience (ask my BF and business partner) that I to independent and focused to play the game. I at times rub the powers that be, or that think they are, the wrong way. I suppose in part that comes from being a survivor. All my life I have had to depend on myself to provide for me. Going with the flow and just praying for rent or food or clothing or love did not ever seem to work for me.
As an abused child I tried early to hide and not draw attention to myself - being sure that if I didn't get the big bad man's attention then I'd make it through another day alive. All I really achieved by doing that though was to be invisible to the very people who might have been there to help me and teach me. In the end I learned to isolate and to hide and hope that things worked out OK. After a very long and stressful life, I have decided to take the bull by the horns. If I am not proactive for me who will be?
So I really work at selling my art. I paint fast and furiously.
If I had known 40 years ago that I had this gift for painting and drawing... That I would love it so much. That there was a chance of building a successful BUSINESS from it. That I could make a living doing something I love. (Again providing for me since I've not noticed any one standing in line to nurture, provide and care for my needs.) Perhaps then I would not be at the place I am now where I am afraid of the years slipping by before I can be who I was meant to be. Half of a life has gone by, and now I need to make up for lost time.
I am often asked about the fact that I don't really differentiate between fine art and craft, and how that affects my work? I guess I let others decide that for me. I just create what my heart tells me and I learn from the people around me. I market to every possible venue and then I sell it to whomever is interested in owning it... be it a condo building, a crafts gallery, an art collector, a retail chain, my wonderful next door neighbor Amy or the therapist for the hospital center.
My job is to make it. My job is to put it out there where others can find it that are looking for it. My job is to let it go to make more. The next 50 years is not long enough for me to do that job. I guess I don't feel I have time to worry a lot about stepping on other's egos. That is their job.
Til next time
Create Beauty and fill the world with Love

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Painting a day.... why?

Painting a day -
Appalachian Train No. 9 5x7" Acrylic on Masonite
$150.00 Matted and framed
I am often asked with amazement why I would do a painting a day? Even other artists tell me that admitting I can paint fast takes the magic and the mystery out of being an artist for the masses. It seems to many people the fact that someone can paint at ALL is a miracle, and it should be presented as a struggle, a mystery, divine inspiration and sweat and toil that makes a work of art worth the price of purchase. But I really do have to disagree. that seems a lot like the priests of old keeping the "mysteries" of the church to themselves in order to retain control over the masses.
My ex-husband got paid what I considered an exorbitant amount of money to sit on his butt and look at a computer screen and fidget with a few symbols every day. He works when he feels like it. He is paid for his skills and his expertise at what he does, NOT for the hours he sits at the desk. He studies, he reads, he constantly works to keep up with his industry. He is paid to compensate for the skills he brings to the job, and in fact, for the ability to do the job as quickly and competently as possible.
Why should a skilled artist not be compensated the same way? I work HARD at my craft. I read, I study, I train, I observe, I spend hours learning a skill. The fact that I can use that skill now to create a work of art that people find pleasing, attractive and desirable in less than a months time should not be a handicap!
The fact is, I try and do at least a painting a day not to prove how fast or skilled I am, but to push myself to be a better artist. Working every single day at my craft helps me learn to see better, to analyze faster, to think with an artist's mind, visualize with the artist's inner eyes. I often paint the same still life, or the same landscape over and over to learn from it. To push my own limitations and boundaries. To search for the essence of each view, of each item, each panorama. To distill the core of why I am moved by that scene. Then to recreate that for others to search for themselves.
It's funny, but until "Scènes de la Vie de Bohème" by Henri Murger, being an artist was an acceptable livelihood. Painters and other creative types were considered skilled craftsmen to be used for art for family portraits, for architecture, for private collections. Since Murger's short stories, the novel and the play that followed them, which then became the Puccini Opera "La Boheme", and the Musical "Rent", the romanticized and glorified life of the "starving artist" has been accepted as the norm. And even sold to the public as a means to keep artists from being successful in their own right. (Like the high priests, we "NEED" art consultants and gallery owners to interpret us to others.)
In no other creative field ( theatre, writing, dance, etc) is self promotion looked down on as it is for visual artists. Those fields EXPECT individual artists and companies to promote, to sell themselves, to toot their own horns in order to be successful. And no other artist is penalized for being skilled, creative and fast at their work. Only the visual arts still has this archaic view.
I paint because I have too. It is my life's energy source and the creative impulse makes life worthwhile to me. I MARKET because I have to. I need to sell. I depend on my skills to bring me a living that is much more than just to survive. I expect to thrive. The Secret says that "words become things" and "that which we focus on the universe HAS to give us. The Law of Attraction Demands it!" I focus on success. I focus on the beauty of the world. I focus on becoming the best artist I can be and on making a wonderful living by selling my art.
What do YOU focus on?
Until Next time
Create Beauty and fill the world with Love.

Monday, August 27, 2007

The world of e-commerce.

Painting a day - "In the Beginning" 24x18" Oil on Paper


I am more and more convinced the way of art marketing and sales, and to real exposure and acceptance as an artist, is through embracing the Web for the benefits it has to offer.

Of course the retail market-place has already acknowledged that. Numerous businesses have already done away with store fronts and fancy retail outlets in order to focus on on-line catalogs and sales. They can reach thousands more clients, be available to process orders and ship 24 hours a day, and cut the over head costs tremendously. Galleries are getting on the band wagon by posting images of their represented artists work and updating as new art work becomes available. We as individual artists can provide instant images of our new works and make them available to a world wide network of collectors.

More and more collectors and shoppers are relying on the web as a marketplace. Buyers can see products, review and compare information from a variety of sources and make a purchase quickly and easily from the comfort of home or office. With UPS, Fed-ex, and other major now arranging home pick up and delivery even returns are not a huge chore if one is disappointed in a product.

I am currently working on a free e-book to share providing links, listing and suggestions for ways for artists to market art work on line, and for collectors to make sure they get good work at a fair price. Anyone who requests it through my email account may receive a free pdf of the information. Simply request the Free e-book on Online Marketing.

All of us working together as artists and as collectors of Fine Art can benefit by sharing knowledge and support and encouragement.

Until next time

Create beauty and fill the world with love.


Sunday, August 26, 2007

Branching Out

Painting a Day
Twilight Series No. 2000 12x9" acrylic on Masonite Panel
Branching out - no pun intended.
I love to paint. It seems my soul is drawn to trees more than anything. They are symbolic to me of both being rooted and belonging somewhere and at the same time reaching towards heaven.
So many factors can affect the twists and turns and directions that a tree will grow into - The constant winds from a particular direction. Being in the shadow of a larger neighbor or parent tree. An accident that cripples it or stunts it growth . Lack of nourishment. Not enough room for growth, Not enough light.
Just like humans. We are often bent and shaped by the people and events around us, whether they are nurturing or stifling. When we are given the support we need and the freedom to branch out we grow and we become our unique and individual selves. When our friends, family and people in our industry treat us with respect and with encouragement, when the advice and the nourishment they give us comes from a place of love and of confidence and empowerment rather than fear or a need to control... then we grow and flourish as our best selves. We soar. We find the ability to try to do to achieve our best selves. And we learn to pass that on to others around us. We all share in the infinite wealth of the universe around us.
Plant a new tree somewhere today, figuratively or literally. Nourish it and watch it grow. . And become astounded at what life offers us!
Until next time
Create beauty and fill the world with love.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Saturday a day of rest...

Painting a day The Knoll No.3 24x18" Oil on Paper
Actually it's not a day of rest. I'm in the frame shop all day getting ready for September. More later!
Until next time
Create beauty and fill the world with love.

Friday, August 24, 2007

The round about world of an artist.

Painting a day Autumn Orchard 5x7" acrylic on Masonite
To those loyal readers, sorry I missed an entry yesterday. I had a migraine that kept me in the bed all day and I couldn't think of looking at a screen or bear the clicking of the keyboard. Back to semi-normal today and hitting the ground running a usual. I have one week before September, (where did the summer go?) and 3 solo shows and numerous weekend art shows and fairs to prepare for. While I have been working like a fiend all summer, there never seems to be enough hours or enough income to get everything where I want it and framed and matted and presented as professionally as I require. I still have post-cards to create, new brochures and catalogues to get ready along with price lists, arrange shipping and insurance, schedule pick-ups and hire a hanging crew.
Oh and I am developing two new product lines for wholesale at the same time. What am I crazy!
Anyway I just wanted to share a quick story about the way of the world. I was recently talking to a good friend who shares my ups and downs with me and occasionally gives me a wonderful insight into my craziness. As a friendly observer she mentioned that every time I seem to be on the brink of some type of success, a really great financial period from my art and my teaching, I seem to have a knack for sabotaging it by a sudden health issue, an accident that requires cash, or a huge bill I "forgot " until it causes a disruption in my life - utilities, cable, art suppliers, etc. She challenged me to look at my core belief that was keeping me from the success that I so richly deserve as an artist and a human.
While that was not a conversation I relished having at the time I realized that she was right. I often buy into our American societies idea that being an artist is not a full time job. That I should feel guilty for not having a "real" job I hate. That I should be the starving artist who creates great works of beauty, but lives on bread crusts to be legit.
I release that now. I work very hard at my art. I put in many more hours than most office types do and I never have a real day off. Ive never had a vacation of any kind. While I chose to live simply and to be frugal I am NOT a starving artist. I can pay my bills on-time most of the time. I even have a little in savings. I sell my art at a fair market value for the time I invest, my expertise and my skill, as well as compared to other artists within my experience and genre.
Thanks to my very dear friend, starting right now I am accepting the accolades and the wealth that I deserve as an artist. I share my wealth with those around me. I learn from and share my gifts with any who chose share my vision, my life and my wealth.
Until next time
Create Beauty and fill the world with love.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

"Shut Up and Dance" .... musings on an artist at work

Painting a Day - series Twilight No. 102, 103, 104 each 4 x 4" acrylic on canvas, wall mount.

$ 45.00 set

I no longer own a television set ( an idea that the Comcast people just can't grasp as they insist on telemarketing to me every night at dinner time just how much I need cable TV.) I long ago grew up without one and the few times in my life (my marriage to my ex) when there was on in the house I rarely found anything worth the hours lost in front of it.

That being said however: Once years ago (1996) I saw a program called "Inside the Actors Studio with James Lipton" on which the brilliant character actor Christopher Walken was being interviewed. Mr. Walken spoke of his life in the theatre and how he started out being a song and dance man but turned to straight acting when he got his first role (at 15). One of the moments I remember most about his interview was his mention of a T-shirt he owned that said "Shut up and Dance". He said it was a reflection on how all artists, not just dancers, could spend so much more time TALKING about their craft instead of DOING it.

Actors spend hours at parties and in bars talking about their "process". Writers spend years "planning" their big novel. Singers spend many more hours talking about their vocal problems than practising and learning new music. And painters waste hours staring at a blank canvas afraid to make the first mark. Mr. Walken's t-shirt was just a comic reminder to "get on with it"! Nothing can begin until we take action.

As a painter I can wait for inspiration to hit me... or not. I have learned that for me to improve as an artist I have to paint. Every minute that I am at the canvas and working out new problems is a minute closer to being a good painter. Yes being self taught means that I read a lot, I view a lot of art. And I do spend a lot of time thinking bout my craft. But the real improvement and growth comes when I paint. When I do . When I am being a painter, as in the active verb tense.

Goethe's now famous lines hold more than a grain of truth:

Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it. Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Until next time

Create Beauty and fill the world with Love


Tuesday, August 21, 2007

The Virginia Landscape in Oil Pastels

Painting a day "Birds and Fences" 18x24" Oil Pastel
I am often asked "What are Oil Pastels"? It always surprises me. Oil Pastels were my introduction to art and to oil painting. They are still the perfect medium for so many styles of painting - from realism to abstract and everything in between. They were a favorite of Picasso, and recently Wolf Kahn has beena champion of them, along with other artists.
In my Virginia landscapes I am particularly enamoured of the changing skies, especially around the Blue Ridge Mountains. With Oil pastels I can capture the light and the cloud formations quickly and easily on location and the have wonderful color studies to create larger works in the studio in Oil , Oil Pastels, and Acrylics.
Here is a link to the short history of Oil Pastels for those interested.
I have always loved Oil Pastels for the ease they afford me to switch between drawing and painting. If my landscape demands a lot of detail ( grasses, leaves. tree silhouettes, etc.) they can be used as a sharp drawing instrument. If I want to blend colors together I can use them as oil paint and mix them on the canvas. With their lipstick texture and their non-drying they are perfect for sgraffito techniques of scratching through for details. They don't have any of the mess of dry ( called "soft") pastels, and they can be used on a variety of surfaces from wood canvas, paper, cloth to metal. Oil pastels can be used with a liquid medium like Turpenoid, linseed oils, or mineral spirits to create transparent washes and used in a watercolor effect.
Collectors are only now beginning to understand and appreciate oil pastels, in part because art consultants, agent and critics have not fully understood or appreciated their versatility or their longevity. But the market for them is growing.
I am a member of the Oil Pastel Society of America. For more information and to see a number of artist who work in the medium check out their web page :
Until next time
Create beauty and fill the world with love!

Monday, August 20, 2007

To be or not to be... The Artist's Dilemma

Painting a day - Thistles Diptych 2 panels each 24" x 9" Oil on Paper

$725.00/ Set

I admit it. I am a mess when it comes to balancing life with work with art with romance.

I have a wonderful partner with whom I enjoy sharing my life and my art business. He is my strength and my back bone and is great at keeping me focused on the next thing on the list. My partner is great at creating brochures and marketing materials. (You have no idea how many other artist have asked to borrow him! Thank goodness I have first dibs!) He is the practical one. He is more conscious of the business world and of politics. He reminds me often that I can be brash and outspoken, and at times step on people's toes and perhaps cut off my nose to spite my face. We rarely disagree on what needs to be done, but we often disagree on how to do it. When it comes to publicity and marketing, press coverage is important. So is having the materials at hand to sell yourself and make it easier for the people in position to make choices and to promote you.

My dilemma is how true to be to myself and my beliefs in the rights of artists and how much to subjugate myself in order to sell more. I take a great deal of pride in the work I do. Not just my painting, but also my professional level framing and matting. I listen to the people around me and I try to incorporate their needs and desires for types of art, while still painting in my style and with my palette. I try hard to maintain a fair market value on my work, but recognize that I am not selling to high end collectors regularly (yet).

I have learned over the last year that in the market for art sales presentation is everything. How works are chosen to hang in unified groupings, subject matter, etc. can have an impact. In out-door art fairs and Farmer's Markets the way your booth looks and how you grab attention can draw a stroller in and make them a client.

I want to present myself as professionally as possible. I also feel the need to clearly present myself as the woman of honor and integrity that I strive to be. I hope that I also seem friendly and easy to work with. I want every contact I have with an agent, corporate art collector, private collector, or simple a stroller-by to be fun, informative, and to provide what they need: a work of art, information, or a referral for another time. By being sure of who I am and what I offer I can do that. By listening to them I can do that.

My dilemma is really not a dilemma. It's simply a fact of life. Balance in all things.

Until next time

Create beauty and fill the world with love!


Sunday, August 19, 2007


Painting a day - Expanse 12x9" Oil pastel on Paper
Today is about expanding my horizons. I am an intellect by birth and an introvert by nature. I am completely happy spending days and weeks alone in my home and studio reading, writing my own thoughts, exploring others writings, teachings, and art. My need for outside stimulus is minimal. Yes, I have at times contemplated life in a nunnery or Buddhist temple. The idea of my days spent studying and creating, hours of meditation. A simple life is very very attractive to me.
But the part of me that wishes to use all the skills available to me to create a rich full and prosperous life for myself demands that I balance out my introvert with a personality that can be very public. In order to teach, to perform, to reach out and sell my art work and make sure it is seen but the public, I have to work at communicating with others. I have to be open to all possibilities. I have to look beyond the obvious - search for people and places that might be out of my safety zone in order to make a living.
I have a been accused of being very anti-gallery. And while it is true that I think there are a lot of problems with the system, it is the one we have and I don't believe that I or any one other artist is going to change that system. I don't have the kind of ego that demands fame for personal reasons. But I recognize that in order for me to build the kind of livelihood I want from selling my artwork, I need to be known and that is going to happen by being recognized in the art world through major galleries and through exhibitions that draw attention to my art work.
In other words I have to play by their rules and work along with them to build my reputation. I have no qualms with that. An equal partnership in all things is what I strive for in life. Call me idealist. I think it is possible .
I am reading and studying and searching everyday for the right venues for my personal vision of art. I am well aware that my work is not for everyone. I am not "edgy" or cutting edge in my art. I am not in your face political in my art. My landscapes are for the most part sensuous peaceful poetic images moments in time. My paintings have been accused of being "pretty", which seems a fate worse than death to some educators gallery owners and curators. Fortunately I do not paint for them. I paint for the people who want an original painting by an artist who understands that the world can be rough and fast and stressful. I paint for the collector who is also looking for a painting that take him away for a moment to a quieter, simpler, beautiful place and time. Ultimately I paint because it is who I am and what I do.
And my world is a more beautiful peaceful caring introspective place because of it.
Until next time
Create Beauty and fill the world with Love

Saturday, August 18, 2007

The art of the impossible

Painting a day "Nothing but Blue Skies" 24 x18" Oil Pastel on Paper $490.00 Everyday that I wake up and think of painting for a living it seems like an impossible challenge. I know so many would be artists who constantly talk about the lack of respect, the lack of venues, the lack of ideas, the lack of money, the competition, and I think how can I be stupid enough to even try to do this. But then what I realize is that so many artists (myself included) gladly spend a lot more time talking about art and the business of art than they do creating it and marketing it. So of course it seems like a loosing business. As soon as I can put it in the perspective of a BUSINESS though I begin to grasp that making art and making a living from art are really not that different. Both require that I show up on a regular schedule, and that I DO the work. I trust that my research, my skills, my techniques will continue to grow, and that I can tap into the market for my particular creations. It has been said that there is a market for anything and everything created. It is the artist's job to find their particular niche. In an interview yesterday someone said that I seemed to focus a lot on marketing... and he asked if I thought a market could be created even for bad works? My real answer is that there are no bad works, just different skill levels and different forms of expression. And yes, a market can be created for anything if the person (or an agent of that artist) wishes to invest the time and the money into building it. On the other hand if I were painting and everyone to whom I showed my work got a bland distant look in their eyes and said "Isn't that interesting" I'd hope I get the hint and keep it in the hobby category. Being an artist is fun. Watching a work of art take shape under my fingers, to see what starts in my mind take shape on the page and grow into more than I even imagined is a rush like none other. But I know that to make a living as an artist takes hours of hard work, marketing, and schmoozing, and being prepared for when that moment comes that I realize I AM making a living at what I love. There is joy in the preparation as well! Until next time Create beauty and fill the world with love! Wynn

Friday, August 17, 2007

On the Nature and Advantage of an Artist working in a Series...

Paintings-a-day Midnight
Twilight Series No. 67 Twilight Series No. 68 Twilight Series No. 69
Acrylic on Masonite each 5x7" matted and framed
$150. 00 each or series of three for $300.00
WE artists are often a strange lot. We try so hard to be individual. To show off our uniqueness. to not be one of the pack. That often includes for young and emerging artists the need to constantly produce "One-of-a- kind works of art. That urge to never repeat ones-self is admirable, but I find that as I mature and had the need to create a larger and larger body of art because of the numerous shows I am doing that I grow exponentially when I work in a series of paintings on a single subject.
As primarily a landscape artist who specialises in my vision of the Virginia Landscape of my child hood - The Blue Ridge Mountains area of Virginia in the Shenandoah Valley - I never really grow tired of re exploring simple subject matter. A number of great artists and instructors have said that it matters very little WHAT you paint; that it is HOW you paint that matters. I can spend days in my studio working on a series of paintings such as these small jewels just simple exploring the way the moon is moving across the sky, the shifting clouds, the variety of shapes of trees in silhouette.
By its very nature, creating a series of paintings on the same subject allows us to focus in on it more intently. To examine every intimate detail of whatever it is we are painting. A series painted of a single blossoming tree as it develops, buds, in full blossom, seeds, and decays awakens us to nature again. Re-affirms the rightness of the cycle of life and death. But it also teaches me as an artist the myriad shades of green a single plant goes through in its brief life-span. By studying a single tree that exists in the same spot year round I learn ( and can share with others in images later) how the play of light and shadows changes from the time of day, the time of year. I see how the unseen wind or a plant reaching for nurture can bend and shape a tree or leave it gnarled and stunted. Painting the same scene in summer's heat and haze, then in the chill of autumn or the wetness of winter can point up the sharp contrast of color that atmosphere and complementary contrasts provide to our senses. Whenever I paint a series of paintings I find my technique grows, my understanding of both my skills, the mediums I am currently working in grows. I fall more in love with painting everyday.
Working on a series helps an artist to over come the dreaded "Painters Block" as well. If I am painting a series of for instance arched doorways, then if I feel stifled I go search out a new and different door I've not worked on and begin to study it and paint it.
Another advantage of painting in a series is that if a subject or your interpretation of it is popular and attracts the attention of collectors, there are several images for them to choose from. Many often purchase multiple paintings to own the complete series, or to add to a collection they have already begun.
Until next time
create beauty and fill the world with love!

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

And now - for paintings TOTALLY Different - Figure studies

Painting-a -day Goddess Series No. 11
Acrylic on gessoed paper 6x4"
My usual subject matter of course is Landscapes. But every once in a while for a good reason we need to break out of the boxes we paint ourselves into.. no pun intended!
I started the Goddess series in response to the recent death of my dear friend and fellow artist Ann Aves Martin. As full figured women who struggled with weight issues all our lives, she and I often referred to the fertility goddess figures of other cultures and the images of beauty held by other cultures as opposed to the movie star driven/ magazine/ runway anorexic culture most of America has been force fed. My images are not created to insist that I am more beautiful because of having some meat on my bones... but instead to encourage each of us to be who and what and how we are and find the beauty in ourselves. Bodies are NOT perfect often. But that makes them no less miraculous.
Last year I took a class called "Training for Success". It was offered by Empowered Women International ( a really wonderful group located in Alexandria Virginia that focuses on empowering women artist to develop their entrepreneurial skills and approach their art as a business. Directed by powerhouse Marga Fripp, in the 9 week class I learned a great deal about portfolio building, presentation, photography, marketing, how the gallery system works, what a curators real job is and much much more. I met Myrtis Bedolla of Creative Artisans, who took me on a s a client and further pushed my growth as both an artist and a human being. Because of the things I learned in this class and the follow up, I have had 11 group and solo shows in the last year, with the more major ones this fall. I have been juried into a number of competitions and even taken a few prizes. I am moving into marketing my work in the retail and wholesale market as well.
This group is doing a wonderful service primarily teaching immigrant women and some local American women as well the skills needed to go into business to support ourselves as artists. Many of these women may have only rudimentary knowledge of English as a language. Some of them hold higher learning degrees in their own countries of origin but no longer live in their native countries for various reasons and can not support themselves here in their old professions. Many are women who are gifted with skills in the arts and crafts movement, but have no idea of the American art and craft system. ( a 14 billion dollar a year industry.) Through this class, "Training for Success", which is offered every Spring and Fall women learn their options. They learn to approach the art world as a professional and how to build a life for themselves based on their talent, creativity and sense of self and pride in who they are.
I am currently dedicating 100% of all sales of the "Goddess series" Paintings in the 11x14" size (any color combinations you choose) as a fund raiser for this wonderful non-profit to continue the work they are building on!
Til next time
Create beauty and fill the world with love!

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Simplify... Simplify... Simplify - The Landscapes of my Heart

Painting a day - "Country Road" 9 x 12" Oil on Paper $325.00 This painting again taught me how easy it is for me to complicate my life and my painting. It started out a simple scene of morning sunlight coming from behind a curve in the road. I was happy with the hazy simple sky that fell into place easily. I was content with the distant misty trees and the tree line as I progressed forward into the painting. But then suddenly my intellect took over, and I was obsessed with the need to add more and more realistic detail. Before long this small painting was too complex. It has lost the joie de vivre I had felt in the morning light and had become dark and oppressive to me. I was about to throw it away. As I moved to unfasten the page though, I spilled a splash of orange across the dark shadowed green of the forefront which I had spent long hours brushing in individual blades of grass. As if by magic the contrasting of the oranges let me see the shadows I had been trying so hard to play up. It dawned on me (literally) that it was only because of the brilliance of the morning sun sneaking in the scene that I loved the mist. The shadows I had been concentrating on so hard were in fact only illusion. The obstacles I was swearing at were not there! I grabbed a larger brush, and choosing bright yellows and and ochres I played the light across the page. Grabbing "unreal" pthylo-blues I threw in more contrasts and shadows. Using the pointed end of the brush I scrapped through the paint build-up to let highlights of the blades of grass near me show through. Suddenly what I had been about to trash became a painting I loved and that others respond to all the time when they see it. Sometimes in life I need to remind myself that I can get too complicated. I can get too bogged down in the details about moment to moment survival, the phone bill, the website that needs updating, the 10,000 articles I need to be reading to be UP on my career. Sometimes if I can just grab the "broader brush" of a different point of view, and let a little space and sunlight in, my view of life as a human being nad an artist seems like it's a wonderful gift. Til next time, Create beauty and fill the world with love. Wynn

Monday, August 13, 2007

Painting a Day - Shadow and Light

Painting a day - "Shadowland" 11x14" Oil Pastel on Paper $325.00 Painting every day is a balm to my soul. And yes, some people really do still talk that way! I paint because I can't NOT. I am always learning by observing the world around me. One of the great joys of surrounding oneself with creative people is that I realize that no two of us see the world the same way. Each of us observe colors differently. Each of us hears sound differently. Each of us brings to every act and thought we have our own unique personality, flaws, strengths, fears. I used to feel inadequate attempting to be a professional artist because I don't have any formal training in the art world. But then neither did Grandma Moses. And numerous artists I admire from the impressionists through Wolf Kahn and beyond gained their knowledge, honed their crafts, by observing and painting both with others and alone. We can learn technique from professors and working artists, but to develop our style and our unique signature is a process of NOT copying others, but allowing our self to be brave enough to create our own way. I know now my work is not really about the landscapes I see in my mind and try to capture and re-create on paper. My painting is really about searching though my own psyche. When I capture the play of light and shadows on trees (as in the painting above) I am as much exploring the darkness, and the fears, and the light, and the shadow I feel in my mind about myself, as I am putting a real place on paper. I am a colorist. I wear that title comfortably. Some people are content with the abstract exploration of color. I suppose because I grew up in a very structured creative environment (I started life as a musician and a dancer with the strict regimens of those two creative disciplines, then moved into life as a working actor before beginning my career as a professional landscape artist.) I have always known that structured form and function leads to greater creativity for me. I choose to work in landscape because they represent the current state of my soul at any given moment. Whether I am enjoying the brilliant openness of a sunlit field, the perilousness of a darkened wood, the path untrod, or the gathering storm clouds, My landscapes are a map of my life and my journey. There will always be those who enjoy them because the art is beautiful. And occasionally there will be some who enjoy the art because it allows them, like me, to take a moment away and look inside at their own hills, valleys, rivers, storm clouds and sun. Until Next time Create beauty and fill the world with love! Wynn

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Affordable art for.. Everyone?

Painting a day - Kindred Spirits 2007
Oil Pastel on Paper 9 x 24"
I love what I do. I paint. I create, out of nothing, images that make people dream. I cause memories to surface. I tempt human beings to remember another time and place. I stir old hopes and plans. And I do this because to dream and to hope is what each of us needs to survive in this life. I try to create beauty. I try to slow the world down for at least a few moments. I try to instill a sense of self again.
I sell my work. I am not greedy I don't really need an exorbitant amount of money to live. I want a safe and secure roof ever my head. I want to eat regularly (although a $300.00 meal doesn't really interest me... no mater who the chef nor how incredible the food is. I am a great cook myself!) I want the material I need to create and the time and freedom to pursue it. These cost money. So I sell the works of art I create. I sell them in a variety of venues and at a variety of prices.
I know what it take me time-wise, and the materials that go into each of my paintings. I also know that I am creating something that NO one else can make. Oh yes, someone can copy my ideas, someone can imitate what they see.. but no one can do or be what and who I am. And so a collector is paying for ME not just my work. I try very hard to keep my prices controlled so that anyone who wants to won a piece of me can have one. I will paint a small piece for a collector who only has a small amount of money but wants to give an original painting as a gift. I willingly create a new work for someone who really desires the peace and beauty in my paintings but cannot afford gallery pieces.
I want to make a successful living from my art, like everyone else does. In the perfect world there would be food and housing and all our needs met and we would be free to pursue the skills we are each born with... not just to survive but to grow to be our best selves. I am told occasionally that I am going to destroy the worth of my work. But the people telling me that are usually gallery owners who are not selling my work, and who live like parasites off the artists they take advantage of. Yes, I want to be represented in that world of art as well. But it is not the end all and be all of an art career. I also want to eat, to have a roof over my head, to live and to share my gift with all who might want a little piece of it. After all I can't take any of this with me when I go.
Until next time
Create beauty and fill the world with love.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

The race is on for ART!

Painting a Day - Fences
18 x24" Oil Pastel on Paper
It's only the middle of August and I find that I am already gearing up to the fall Art race. Here are a list of the places that you can find my art work for sale this fall . And of course I'm always here on the net.
Starting September I will be at the DC Eastern Market 7th and North Carolina Avenue SE every Sunday - weather permitting. The market there goes officially from 10 am til 5pm but most vendors are there earlier to set up and and leave early. I don't have a regular space assigned there but I am usually at the Market 5 end of the outdoors market.
Saturdays will find me for the most part at the Old Town Alexandria Farmers Market The market there is officially from 5:30am til 10:30 am. It's over early, but it's a wonderful place to find great produce, fine art, and all kinds of warm and wonderful people.
Saturday September 8 and again October 13 you will find me as one of the Fine Artist selected to present as part of the Bethesda Artist Market. Located at the Corner of Old Georgetown Road and Woodmont Avenue this is a juried market of fine art and craft that draws a wonderful crowd of collectors. The market both days runs from 10am til 5pm. Get there early to get your pick of the good stuff.
Sunday September 9 I will be selling my art at The Arts on Belmont, the outdoor fair as part of Adams Morgan Day in Washington DC Arts on Belmont showcases the work of artists and artisans during Adams Morgan Day, and takes place on Belmont St. just off of 18th St. It begins at 10 am. Get there early to grab the best works first. It can be a zoo!
Saturday October 6 will find me exhibiting in Del Ray section Old Town Alexandria as part of Art on The Avenue.
I have solo exhibits coming up October through January. One in Richmond VA as part of the Medical College of Virginia / Commonwealth University Hospital Center. The show will run Oct 31 2007 through Jan 5 2008 at 9000 Stony Point Highway in Richmond, VA (804)560.8950
There is a solo Exhibit also in Alexandria, VA November 1 - December 22 sponsored by the Alexandria Commission for the arts at the Durante Center for the Arts - 1605 Cameron St. Alexandria, VA 22314(703) 838-6323
Both of these will feature new works, including my Series - Old Town Alexandria Doors and the new series I am working on called On the Porch - Scenes of rural life lived and enjoyed from Virginia Front Porches.
So that is my fall. I hope to see many of you there.
Until next time
Create beauty and fill the world with love!

Friday, August 10, 2007

Selling out or selling?

Painting a Day - Appalachian Trail No. 2 2007 Image is 7x5" acrylic on Masonite panel. Matted and framed under glass ( 14x11")Currently available at for $75.00 Every morning when I am out walking and greeting my day with fresh air and exercise, I am astounded at the people walking past me on their way into offices. They are awake, alive, and going to spend the majority of their day doing what they do to keep a roof over their head ands and provide for themselves and their loved ones. The majority of them have the most sour faces imaginable. A look so completely resigned to a fate they seem to have no control over. Its not yet 8 am usually, and so early they look as though on their way to a guillotine. This is what the majority of Americans call making a living. I paint. I love it. It gives me great joy. I take pride in my work. It fills my days with happiness and beauty. I am the mistress of what I create. I can choose my medium. I can decide on a subject matter. I for the most part schedule my time to work on a project when I want. To eat when I please, to do paperwork when it is convenient to me. Yes. I live simply for the most part. But its a trade off I choose for now to build on something later. Yes, I at times have to paint what someone else desires... but I can set my boundaries and I can work a schedule I desire. I am very grateful that others find my work appealing. A wonderful gallery owner Ive recently been in contact with ( Betty Bercowski at Christopher Park Gallery ) made a suggestion to me recently about a new product she thought my art-work would be good for. She apologized to me that perhaps I felt it was selling out to create this product for her store. I amazed me. I Paint. I love it. If I can create something that someone wants to sell and that bring me another stream of income - HOW is that selling out? I am always looking for venues that appreciate the home -made, the original, the unique that utilizes my love of earth and sky in any forms! As Caroll Michels said in her wonderful book "How to Survive & Prosper as an Artist" "the majority of artists who are concerned about this issue are not in a position to sell out, nor are they quite sure what it means." Personally, I'll take selling anyway I can get it over having to face a life of drudgery like I see in the faces of the majority of "worker bees" I pass every morning! Til next time Create beauty and fill the world with love! Wynn

Thursday, August 9, 2007

The hidden agenda of fine art markets. What every artist needs to realize.

A painting a day - Today's offering is Twilight Series No. 74. image is 7x5" acrylic on masonite panel. Matted and framed under glass ( 14x11") Currently available at for $75.00 If you talk to almost any gallery owner, arts representative, and artist advisor they will tell you that as an emerging artist you must spend time paying your dues. They say the way to do this is to show in a myriad of places to "get your name out there." They will invariable suggest places like coffee houses, restaurants, banks, libraries, and lots of "out-door markets and craft-fairs. They will also tell you that as an "emerging artist" with little experience in the art world you can't expect to ask a selling price usually even enough to cover your framing expenses and materials costs, much less your time and expertise. AND they tell you expect to lose about half of that selling price as a commission for the honor of hanging on an empty wall and hoping someone comes to see the work. Artists buy into this all the time. What they don't tell you is NO one goes to a coffee house or restaurant to buy art. Very rarely do they even notice the art work OR that it is for sale. These "specialists" also don't mention that people go to the library for numerous reasons but not one of them is to admire or purchase art work. And again, rarely is there even a place to post a notice that the artist is by a local artist or that the works are for sale. Banks are a lovely place to have your work seen by people who supposedly have money (after all they are there supposedly to deposit huge sums of cash.) And a bank is, perhaps, a good place to get some recognition for your work in a corporate setting. But very rarely is a bank at all interested in hosting a reception to of some kind to let possible buyers meet the artist. (Too many people mingling around and causing safety and security issues.) And research proves that collectors and art buyers will rarely buy a work if the artist is not extremely well known, or if they cannot talk to the artist personally about the work. Nor do banks want to deal with sales at all and so you have little chance to sell your work. As for outdoor craft fairs and festivals.... here is a true story. I have a friend who also specializes in quality fine art Landscapes of Virginia. She spent a large sum of money to apply for and rent booth space at the Virginia Wine Festival, being told that her work was a shoe-in to be included, was prefect for the "Gentry" market they were focused on, and that this festival drew a large crowd of people who were very well off and who had the disposable income to collect fine art. In reality what she found was a beautiful country place (meaning open field). Her Fine Art Painting was sandwiched in between common beaded jewelry and food vendors. The clientele, who paid a flat admission fee for all the wine they could drink, were more interested in the amount of alcohol they could consume in an afternoon than in the art available. People were dangerously boisterous and one person almost vomited on one of her paintings. What artists bear when following the information given by these advisers then is the expense of creating our art, matting and framing it, insuring it, transporting it, and then essentially providing free room decoration for the local coffee house, the local restaurant , the local bank(which can afford to decorate with quality art but usually sticks up cheap old prints), and the local Library. Of all the professional artists I have known not one of them made enough sales in these places to recoup their investments. NOR has there been a huge increase in their name recognition as an artist. I suggest we artists begin to realize that there is a better way. It is called savvy media marketing and it involves getting lots of public relations and free media coverage by spending the time we now search for a place to hang our work for free, and instead write press releases to announce every major purchase a collector makes, every award we win, every lecture we are giving, every new work we complete. Get magazine coverage in trade magazines. Make sure every event in which we are involved is in the calendar listing for the local papers and national trade magazines. Get with the online world and begin to do whatever is necessary to make your name a household commodity. Don't limit your self to your home town. Reach out immediately to other galleries and to locales that might feature your style of work. Being an artist is a full time job. We must wear many hats. But no one can sell us better than ourselves. (Why pay someone a 50% commission to do what we can do ourselves?). When I was a singer professionally in NY one thing I learned early... No one needs an agent or manager until they have too much work lined up to be able to learn the work, handle all the publicity, and get contracts for new work by themselves. At that point you need someone to take over what you started and they will gladly take a hefty commission to capitalize on the work YOU have already done. That is even more true as an artist. The bottom line for all of us... Take charge of our careers. And spend moment of every hour being grateful for all we have and for all that is coming our way! 'Til next time, Create beauty and fill the world with love! Wynn

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

The American Landscape

As a woman who grew up in the mountains of Virginia without running water and in isolation from a great deal of modern society, when people talk to me about the American Landscape I am still drawn to the rural south of home. The Blue Ridge Mountains in the distance. Open fields and the timberline of trees ringing them in the haze of summer afternoons. Miles of old dirt roads - often abandoned or no longer in use at least - between neighbors. The skies so clear and free of neighborhood lights that you could lay in a field and reach right up to heaven to touch the stars. It is the memories of those crystalline nights at home that lead me these series of paintings of the moon silhouetting these trees. The moon so big and bright it almost feels like day. Her gossamer light filtering through the light clouds to spotlight trees dancing in the heavy summer evening breezes.
Now when there is a call to artists for a landscape competition and the winners are photographs of city sidewalks and the buildings that surround us... I have to smile to myself. I guess I was the lucky one that I got to live in a world still clean, uncluttered, fresh. I guess I am also lucky that I have a gift for capturing those memories in a format ( paint for me) that allows me to experience them again. To share my views of the countryside unfettered with reality. I am thankful that as a painter I have the freedom not to reproduce exactly what I see before me, but to play with it, bend it to my vision. Some may say my world is no longer real. But to me every time I recreate the simple landscape of my birth, I re-live it and that makes it as real as any one floor walk up could ever be.
Till next time
create beauty and fill the wold with love.

Monday, August 6, 2007

The week by week challenge of New Art Work

I find that as much as my artist friends complain of not having enough time to create, for me it is more a matter of having enough DISCIPLINE to create.
Those minutes lost in the refridgerator, the hours listening to music, or watching TV, or curled up on the sofa with a good book, (and yes the hours of surfing the internet for the next great thing will that will get my original fine art discovered) ALL keep me from actually showing up at the canvas and creating art.
Lately I am learning that the bigger impediment to my exploring all the art forms and the mediums I love - whether is it oil pastel, acrylic, oil or silk painting - is the amount of time I need to spend organizing my life and my business as an artist.
My work can be found on my website : which need to be constantly up dated and cleaned.
I sell my art on Ebay- which requires constant monitoringand additions to have a regular income.
I sell my work at which also requires hours of uploading images and fillingin information.
Those alone takes more than a 30 hours /week. I paint voraciously, but I also spend 10-20 hours a week matting and framing my work. then there is the additional time of filing, photographing, record keeping, book keeping, materials ordering. Starting today I am going to show a painting a day here on my blog. They will be available for sale at reasonable rates through a prostore at Ebay on the net. Id love to hear from anyone who views my work and who enjoys my meditiations on my life as an artist.
One day soon though this is really going to turn into a great business for me. I can't wait to find out there are not enough hours in the week to spend the money I am making!
Til next time
Create beauty and fill the world with love!