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  • Hopelessly Devoted has SOLD!

    Hopelessly Devoted has SOLD!

    This big beauty found a home! "Hopelessly Devoted" was sold to a family who has supported my artwork since Day One. I'm so grateful, and humbled that they keep coming back!

    This painting is for their youngest daughter, who (I feel) really embraces this style: she is super fun, and a bit random and wild! I hope you enjoy your orginal artwork, sweet girl. Xoxoxo

  • How Taylor Got Her Groove Back

    After quite a severe mental roadblock (see previous blog post) I can happily say I am back in the saddle. I am not riding a horse though, more like a tapir, or some other bizarre wild animal…but that’s a whole different metaphor for a whole different blog. 

    As most things are rarely straightforward in life, it probably comes as no surprise that the creative nudge I needed came from a random, unrelated source:

    My friend is launching a new business, so I casually checked out her website. While the structure, flow and branding on the site was impressive, I caught a few easy spelling and grammatical errors while I was browsing through the content. Anyone who knows me is aware of my attitude towards this: I am a stickler for proof-reading, particularly when it comes to business. Perhaps a little OCD…but certainly “Grammar Police” worthy. Summer students and job seekers take note - do not ever submit a cover letter or resume littered with spelling mistakes or else it’s getting tossed in the “filing cabinet”  *cough* – GARBAGE! - *cough*, and I am ruthless.

    The written word is often your first line of defense, meant to showcase your talents to the world and leave a lasting impression…Words are powerful. Donald Trump tweets notwithstanding, words can make or break you. In most situations, if you can’t take the time to proof read, you’re shooting yourself in the foot before the race even starts. (#covfefe)

    Now… I felt ashamed doling out unsolicited advice like this (because I hate people who do that!), but I compulsively went ahead and edited her web content and emailed her the revisions for approval. After all, she is my friend, and I care about her success! Thankfully, she recognized it as an act of love and wasn’t offended by my brazen copywriting. She even invited me to review several other advertisements and script animations they used to promote the new business, a task which I found quite fun. This got my creative juices flowing and…I’M PAINTING AGAIN!

    BOOM!

    Perfect timing, too. There’s a FosterMAK show coming up at the end of the month and I wanted to showcase some fresh new art. Stay tuned for more details…

     

  • Absenteeism

    Hello fan base,

    First off, I want to apologize. I have been absent for way too long. After my 5 week studio rental back in March (…really, March?! Gah!) and an intensive flurry of painting and promotional work on my social media sites, it has been radio silence from me ever since…but I have my reasons!

    1)      I went back to work full time, grateful to have a job to come back to after maternity leave. I told myself I would paint on the evenings and weekends…

    2)      Shane and I got married in July! It was a wonderful, joyous celebration full of love, laughter, and a heavy dose of reality. Thank goodness you only get married once (*knocks on wood*) because I never want to plan another wedding ever again!!! Any spare time leading up to that moment was spent preparing our vows, writing speeches, running around town for last minute shopping supplies and attending appointments with vendors. It was so much work! I told myself I would get back into painting after the wedding once things settled down…

    3)      I am experiencing a major mental burnout! In June, Cenovus announced that the asset I’m working on is up for sale, so my thoughts and emotions have been consumed with the prospect of working for a completely new company or, worse, getting laid off in this terrible job market. If that happens, I might have to switch industries altogether…how could I do that? What skills of mine are transferrable? What sort of salary can support our family outside of the O&G industry? If I can’t find work, where would we move to? I DON’T WANT TO MOVE. THIS IS A NIGHTMARE! I NEED THERAPY! OH GOD, PASS THE WINE!!!! (You know, that sort of insidious worrying that infects your mind gets you nowhere in life…that is my brain lately. Not a good creative foundation!)

    4)      The garage is stuffed with DIY wedding inventory, so it’s hard to create in such a messy environment (I miss my studio!). The air has been so smoky from all the wildfires in BC, so my plan to paint en plein air and take advantage of the summer sun has been stifled for health reasons. Boo!

    5)      I just want to spend all my time with our beautiful walking, talking, hilarious toddler. She has been a constant source of positivity, and watching her blossom into this smart, independent little character has been a real blessing. Can you blame me for leaning on her during these turbid times?

    I will get back into painting, I just can’t say when yet. The little pilot light is always burning in the back of my mind…I cannot turn it off. I just don’t know when I can tend to my creative fire and give it the attention it deserves. Perhaps once the bids close on this asset sale and I have some more clarity about my future at work, I don’t know. Perhaps I should just put the paintbrush to work, despite not really having my heart or head in the game right now. It might just make me feel better to create something, even if it’s crap.  

    It will happen. Somehow, it always does.

    Thank you for your patience.

    Love,

    Taylor

  • Texture Gel product review: White Opaque Flakes

    As I work with more acrylic paint brands and paint-related products, I am becoming pickier about their quality and effects on my paintings.

    Along with sand-based texture gels (ugh!), I have added another product to my “Never Again” list: White Opaque Flakes.

    The product looks like small angular (but flexible) pieces of plastic, similar in appearance to crushed egg shells. They are suspended in a clear gel. As advertised, they dry as White Opaque Flakes.

    My problem with this product is this: once dried, some flakes are anchored to the canvas, and others aren’t. The little flexible pieces tend to flap around, ripping off and revealing paint layers underneath or tearing apart my foam rollers.

      

    I find it difficult to make this product “mesh” well with my painting style. It applies clumsily: either thin, spotty and unstable layers OR blob-like impasto with sharp edges once dry. Perhaps this is an effect some artists want for their paintings, and that’s cool, but I can confidently say it’s not for me. 

    Now I’m stuck with a painting that I quite liked, until I realized the White Opaque Flakes were not securely fastened. I refuse to sell a painting that is at risk of breaking down…if a collector purchased this painting and, say, some flakes got ripped off by a passerby’s sweater, I would be mortified. I pride myself on delivering artwork that will stand the test of time, and that situation is unacceptable.     

    I scraped off as many “floaters” as I could this afternoon with a palette knife and abrasive sponge and applied some gloss gel overtop to (hopefully) remedy this situation. Tomorrow I plan to peel off any rebels with tweezers and kiss the old painting goodbye to start fresh. I just hope I don’t have to ultimately throw the canvas in the trash…

    NEVER AGAIN!!

  • My Dirty Little Secret...

    What is the best way to achieve dreamy, effortless colours that melt into each other on the canvas?

    There is more than one way to achieve this effect, but I have found one easy way: Instead of washing away those beautiful (and sometimes expensive!) acrylic paints, try layering paints on top of your “dirty” roller/brush and just keep on painting. The wet-on-wet will cause the fresh paints to be deposited immediately and with further reworking of the brush/roller the older colours will blend into the foreground. Make sense? Beautiful AND frugal!  

    A word of caution: be careful not to get too crazy about colour mixing…choose them wisely, or else you might end up with some dull, muddy tones in the end. A good rule of thumb: don’t deviate too far from your initial colour palette…that way the blending will look natural on your canvas. Colour contrast is nice and can create some powerful eye-catching effects, but it typically looks best when applied in a controlled setting. 

    Happy painting, peeps!

  • "Subliminal Message" Indeed...

    "Subliminal Message" Indeed...

    My new painting is titled "Subliminal Message" because of the text that is revealed through the transparent paint layers, NOT because the colour palette has secret mind-control powers when it comes to dressing my child. 

    I just wanted to make that clear...

    :) 

  • Painting sale for Everett

    Painting sale for Everett

    The last FosterMAK art show at Symon’s Valley Ranch was full of beautiful artwork for sale, including one brand new painting of mine titled "Subliminal Message". I had some wonderful conversations and left with the usual feeling of awe and gratitude to have my work displayed amongst these talented artists.

    One of my paintings sold, and of all the ones I brought to the show, I’m happiest to see this one go. ‘Eavesdropper’ was offered to raise funds for a local charity called Everett’s Wings: The Everett Pottinger Foundation for children battling congenital heart disease. One click to their Facebook Page shows the heart wrenching photos of these tiny babies up against the fight of their lives…I dare you to read Everett’s story and learn more about the 1 in 100 babies that are affected by congenital heart disease (pro tip: have a box of tissues ready!)

    Overall it was a beautiful weekend at the ranch. A big thanks goes out to Stacey from FosterMAK for organizing yet another great art show!

    With love and a full heart,

    Taylor  

  • Painting Donation: HomeFront Calgary

    I love this painting. Metamorphosis was my largest painting to date: a whopping 4 ft squared canvas! It took me a long time to finish it, and I had to negotiate my time wisely…acrylic paint spread over a large surface area created some parts that would dry before I could finish the effect I was going for! I had to work quickly and not linger on my artistic decisions (a difficult task for me most days!)  It was a great learning experience.

    Because of its size, Metamorphosis was best viewed in person to be appreciated fully. The way the silver metallic paint caught the light and the depth of the fushia-coloured glazes…MMM! Beautiful!  Unfortunately, this meant hauling it from show to show, hoping it would catch the eye of a serious buyer. This wasn’t a big deal until we installed a car seat for our daughter and lost the ability to fold down our back seats on a whim…suddenly, toting Metamorphosis around town didn’t sound appealing anymore!

    Enter: Fashion Forward YYC! It is an annual fashion and art show that promotes local artistic talent and raises funds for charitable organizations. This year’s charity was HomeFront: an organization designed to combat domestic violence (If anyone has followed the news in Alberta lately, domestic disputes have skyrocketed as the economy nosedives…). I was happy to donate Metamorphosis to the silent auction fundraiser, and kissed it goodbye as it was comfortably loaded into the back of a moving van with the other event artwork.

    I was told my painting had five bidders and raised over $400 for HomeFront. I feel thankful to support a charity that I don’t need to call upon. I hope Metamorphosis is making someone as happy as it made me feel when it was in my studio.  

    Love, 

    Taylor

  • Art at the Market! Symons Valley Ranch Art Show

    Art at the Market! Symons Valley Ranch Art Show

    FosterMAK is proud to be a sponsor and a participant of the first Art At The Market Show at Symons Valley Ranch! This is a free event and will take place April 23 and 24. Showcasing up to 30 different local artists with live art, appies and wine for purchase and a silent auction benefiting the Alberta Children’s Hospital. April 23 from 10am to 5pm and April 24 from 10am to 3pm.

    Find more details about this free event here!

  • Elevation Gallery - One White Wall Exhibit w/ the FosterMAK artists!

    Two weeks after we welcomed our adorable daughter into the world, we took our family on a mini-roadtrip out to Canmore to see FosterMAK's Ascension project at Elevation Gallery. Although you can clearly see the bags under my eyes and coffee in hand, it was a treat to get out of the house and enjoy the One White Wall Exhibit. The fresh mountain air and warm sunshine felt divine, too!

    I feel honoured to be part of this project -- it is my first art gallery representation! All of the FosterMAK‬ ‪‎artists created such beautiful and different pieces for this project. Stacey's SOLD painting is next to mine (Grassi Gold), and it's a beauty! Someone is a very lucky buyer. 

    Congratulations to all the artists on a job well done. 

  • Yes!

    Yes!

    Agreed! Even the smallest good deed can make a difference.

    That's why I am proud to donate 25% of my art sales back to charity, and am grateful for the ability to do this :)

    Thank YOU for making this movement possible!  

  • FosterMAK is partnering with Brookfield Residential!

    Exciting news! 

    FosterMAK has partnered with Brookfield Residential to bring some original local artwork to the walls of their latest display homes!

    I’m elated to announce that TWO of my abstract paintings have been chosen for their newest Riverstone Community spec home: Tiger Eye and The Sum is > The Parts

    These paintings will be on display in this brand new home from February 19th to June.

    The opening reception and art show will be held the weekend of March 4-6th. Come by on Friday evening (March 4th) to mingle, see some lovely Brookfield home designs and some fabulous local artwork from the FosterMAK artists. Stay tuned for more details!

    I have always had the opinion that art is at its finest when displayed inside a home, so I am honored to participate in this style of “gallery”!  

    Calgary, you are awesome.

  • Annual Review of 2015 (Economic turmoil, waterfalls, and some BIG news!)

    Well folks, here we are again. 2015 snuck up quickly, slapped some reality into me a few times, and zoomed out of town seemingly faster than it came. I’m standing here in shock and awe: It's 2016. How the heck did this happen?!

    I guess the old adage proves itself true: Time flies when you’re having fun!

    I would like to share some highlights and photos that have made 2015 a very memorable year.

    1)      Shane got laid off in February and made a bold move to reinvent himself from a mechanical engineer in the O&G sector into an indie video game programmer (one of his passions he hasn’t had time to pursue in the past). I’m not going to lie…this was a hard transition for me to accept. I was scared to think about our future, but what else could he do? The job market was saturated with skilled O&G people searching for work in Calgary, and it’s certainly better to be creative/productive rather than wither away from boredom at home. He bought a license for GameMaker software and immediately taught himself how to program. He designed, coded, and marketed his asteroid-inspired arcade game called CMYW. He often programs 10+ hours per day, including weekends, and the final game was approved for sale on the huge gaming platform called ‘Steam’ in October…an impressive result for only 8 short months! He has participated in a few local Calgary events such as Indie Game Bash, Ludum DareMakers Faire, and became a member of the Calgary Game Developers Association (acquiring several new friendships with some awesome people, to boot!). Shane has become a bit of a local sensation with several TV, radio, and newspaper interviews sharing his inspirational story during these tough economic times. As scared as I was about the big career move, I can’t deny how much joy it brings him and am thrilled with how much he has accomplished this year. (Plus I’m hooked on CMYW. It’s addictive! Check it out herehttp://store.steampowered.com/app/396590 )

    2)      TRAVEL! What an amazing year!!!

    -Romantic getaway to Radium Hot Springs where we watched bighorn sheep lick salt off our vehicle and soaked in the pools until we were wrinkly.

    -Backpacking through Skoki Loop (near Lake Louise) with some kickass coworkers. We hunted for fossils, admired the Indian Paintbrush flowers, saw a sprinting grizzly bear and defended ourselves from the bugs and notorious porcupine. It was my first full-on backpacking trip, and the photos were worth the effort. 

    -GIRL’S TRIP TO CROATIA! The food (OMG, the food!), the quirky people, the stone architecture, the salty Adriatic sea, the war-stricken remnants of old buildings, the National Parks and their cascading waterfalls, the Westcoast-like trees along the shoreline, the melodic and unique Sea Organ, the horrible wine that they were very proud of (we tried REALLY hard to enjoy it…but I’m a BC wine-o! My taste buds have high expectations!)…I loved the whole experience, and would go back in a heartbeat.

    -VEGAS VIRGINS NO MORE! We toured the strip and iconic hotels, saw Sir Elton John in concert, rented a car and hiked around the beautiful red sandstone formations in the scorching desert heat, saw the Hoover Dam, and enjoyed one night of gambling and all-you-can drink… We could have spent another week there, easily. Definitely going back someday!

    -The White Cliffs of Dover, and the hilariously windy hike to the historic lighthouse for tea. As a geologist, seeing the iconic chalk cliffs from all my university textbooks was very exciting for me (but apparently not for many locals. Everyone asked us “why are you going to Dover…??”). I even used a piece of natural chalk to write my name in a concrete retaining wall….No big deal! (*happy dance*) If you ever visit Dover, make sure to check out their Bingo Hall. Seriously. 

    -Winning a photoshoot package from Red Plains Photography in Spirit Island, Jasper. Shane and I rented canoes, played with the loons, camped overnight in the wind and snow, and got rescued by the Park Warden on our paddle back home. What a weekend! The weather was crap, but we made two new friendships from it (and got some incredible photographs!)

    -Our annual summer road trip to BC’s coast. Always beautiful!

    -Summer road trip in the opposite direction: Lake Wascasieu, SK! The water was warm, the weather was great, and Shane’s little nieces and nephew were playful and hilarious. Shane’s family rented a pontoon boat and putted around the lake, andwe  saw two baby bears effortlessly scoot up a tree when we startled them on a hiking trail (we got the hell away from them - FAST! Gosh, they were cute…).

    3) My bestie flew out to Calgary to visit! We Stampeded, hiked around Canmore, rode horses in Banff, floated down the Elbow River, got sick and had several movie nights together...It was perfect. I wish we could do that more often.

    4) Weddings! Congratulations to our dear friends the McClary’s and Hoehn’s! One wedding was so wild, Shane strained his neck from his epic dance moves. The other one was so romantic that we got…

    5) PREGNANT!!! Surprised?! So were we! I’m due in April and the little Monkey has been surprisingly easy on my body (so far). No morning sickness, no mood swings…I’m still me, just a little rounder and slow-moving! Shane and I are looking forward to becoming parents. It’s going to be a game-changer (in a good way, I hope).

    6) I survived the first round of layoffs at my company, and it was one of the most stressful experiences I’ve had to go through. I was scared to tell anyone I was pregnant, because I didn’t know if it would protect me or make me a target behind closed doors…the day the “men in black” made their rounds through the hallways I was shaking, I cried tears of joy when I found out I was spared, and I mourned the loss of my colleagues. It has been an incredibly rough year for Albertans. I really hope the new year will bring about some stability and that the job market will diversify. I really hope I can survive a second wave of layoffs if the price of oil does not improve… (want to buy a painting?? Ha!)

    7) Art Shows and Sales! Despite the downturn in the economy, 2015 was a record-breaking year for my painting sales. I sold seven paintings, finished two commission jobs, participated in two FosterMAK shows and had my first RAW Artist Calgary showcase. My painting ‘Bolo Tie’ even made an appearance on Global News! My charitable donations from my art sales totaled $450 (matched by my company for a total of $900! I’m amazed!). I chose to support iHuman Youth Society and Oxfam Canada’s Syrian Refugee Fund, along with donating a painting for a silent auction benefitting the Alberta Children's Hospital. Thank you, collectors, for being catalysts for positive change and for supporting a local artist! Click here to see a summary of the paintings sold in 2015.   

    8) ENGAGED! Squeeeeeeee!!! The rock (a cognac sapphire!) came after the baby news, which is fine...Shane and I have never been very orthodox! First comes love, then comes…a condo, two cats, a house, a baby, and THEN marriage! That’s how the song goes, right? Don’t expect a wedding announcement any time soon…planning for this baby has us occupied! Staring at this beautiful ring is going to help me get through labour contractions by releasing oxytocin into my bloodstream, so really, the ring is for the baby. Science rules!  

    WISHING YOU ALL AN INCREDIBLE 2016! Thank you for your ongoing support of my artistic endeavors over the past year, and for all the love pouring in about the baby and engagement. I am truly blessed and am looking forward to the adventures waiting to unfold in the new year! 

    With love, 

    Taylor

  • Archived paintings of 2015

    A photo collection of commission works and paintings sold in 2015 (my record year to date!) 

    "New Beginnings" - a quadriptych commission job for my friend's baby nursery, inspired by a funky mosaic Teddy Bear. 

    “Easy Come, Easy Go” – a diptych commission for my coworker. I bought some pink Fluevog heels with this sale! Treat yo’ self!

    "Copper Porphyry" - my first sale with FosterMAK :) 

    "Hold me Under" - a painting for Dr. Kent, who is working diligently to find a cure for Alzheimers <3 

    "Mini Meltz Massacre" - A fun painting for my coworker's little girl (she's such a character!)

    "Into the Mystic" - delivered on our annual summer roadtrip through BC. I really loved how this painting evolved, and I was a little sad to see it go...it looks lovely in its new home!  

    "Globetrotter" - a birthday present for my dear friend down in Colorado! Also my first abstract painting. Extra special! 

    "Peony Gardens" - hanging in a beautiful woman's beautiful apartment in West Vancouver. This painting + her couch pillows = a match made in heaven! 

    "Vertigo" - a silent auction piece benefitting the Alberta Children's Hospital Foundation, sold to the highest bidder at the October FosterMAK show & sale

  • Boxing Week Sale - 50% off ALL original artwork!

    Boxing Week Sale - 50% off ALL original artwork!

    Hi friends! I hope you all enjoyed the holidays and are recuperating from all the festive celebrations (read: feasting). My winter jacket seemed to fit me fine before flying out to BC to visit my family...now it's a stretch to zip it up (no pun intended!).  

    I'm very excited to announce I'm having a BOXING WEEK SALE! 
    From Dec 26th to Jan 2nd inclusive, ALL of my original paintings are 50% off! 

    Please visit my artwork albums on this website (2015 & 2014) and contact me or Stacey Walyuchow with FosterMAK to arrange a viewing. *Double-click the thumbnails of each painting to view the dimensions and pricing details!*

    There are some wonderful original paintings waiting to beautify your home. And, as always, 25% of the proceeds are donated to local charities. Ethical shopping at its finest! 

    Please feel free to share this post to all art lovers and bargain hunters alike! I appreciate the exposure, and there is nothing more powerful than word of mouth. 

    Thank you all and enjoy the rest of this beautiful holiday season! 

    Taylor 

  • Oops! I did it again...

    I had just put the finishing touches on "The Sum is > The Parts", and thought it might look nice hanging up in our bedroom before finding its Forever Home. Little did I know how PERFECTLY it would match our winter bedspread...

    I swear, this matching colour scheme was completely unintentional! As I hung it, my jaw dropped.

    It's fascinating how the colours of everyday life will sink into your subconscious and affect artistic decisions. Had my bedspread been neon green and hot pink, would that influence the colour palette I chose to work with? I imagine it would!  

    Want to see another freaky example? Check out the photo in my blog Taylor-Made. This painting "Hold me Under" was obviously inspired by our summer bedspread...again, totally unintentional. Clearly I have a knack for interior design (so long as I'm not trying!)

    My kitty Katana looks fabulous all year round :)

    Want something to match your bedroom? Send me an email! I do commissions.  

  • FosterMAK's Holiday Discount for first time buyers!

    Stacey Walyuchow, curator and owner of FosterMAK's online gallery, is offering a special holiday discount for first time buyers. I am pleased to participate in this limited-time offer (view my artwork here)! Read Stacey's memo for more information:

    They say it's the most wonderful time of the year...Well it certainly can be for the lucky recipient of original art this holiday season!

    FosterMAK.com has hundreds of pieces of original art in a variety of mediums, to suit a variety of budgets. Please take some time look at some gorgeous art and photography all produced by local Calgary artists and photographers.

    Purchasing art and starting your own collection can be easy, accessible and incredibly enjoyable this holiday season! For the month of December, FosterMAK is pleased to offer 15% off your first purchase of original art through the online gallery AND free shipping within Calgary! Payment plans are an option, too.

    This is not a sale and won't happen often as I am not a huge believer in discounting original art. This is an opportunity to start your collection of original art by local artists. This is my gift to you in hopes of making original art in your life a reality!

    As always, I encourage you to shop local and enjoy local art in your home and office. If you have any questions about starting your collection or what will 'go' with your home (I have a whole lot to say about that), then please send me a note and let's set up a time to chat! Is there a piece you would love to see in person? I will arrange that no problem and we will be implementing a return policy that gives you your money back less shipping, within 5 days of delivery.  I want you to be happy and properly in love with your new original!

    MERRY CHRISTMAS AND HAPPY HOLIDAYS!

    Stacey

    xo

  • Got Wood?...Experimenting with Birch Panels!

    I was eager to get started on my FosterMAK painting for Elevation Gallery’s One White Wall Project and needed to find a 12”x 12” gallery canvas to get started. Inglewood Art Supplies was sold out of their stretched canvasses in that particular size, so I picked out a different style of support: Birch Panels!

    Panels are new to me. Unlike stretched canvas, they have a rigid, unforgiving surface. If I was working with inks or transparent mediums, I would be able to see the grain of the wood beneath my painting (very cool). Given that I use a decent amount of water in my normal painting process, I was concerned about the wood warping…

    The solution: a few coats of Gesso primer (I only have white gesso, but it is also commonly available in clear or black)! The primer would eliminate the wood grain from showing through, but it would seal the panel from any moisture-related issues. The edges were not sanded down well, so eliminating the splintery bits was an additional step. Once I did that, it was “smooth sailing” ;)

    Surprisingly, panels are more affordable than I imagined they would be: $11.26 each, versus $11.76 for a canvas of the same size. Inglewood art supplies is a great place to shop because they give 20% discounts with every bundle you purchase (3 or 6 per bundle, depending on the size of your support)…taking advantage of this everyday discount is a dangerous game to play if your studio has limited space!  (*ahem*)  

    Time to add some texture to these flat surfaces and infuse it with some COLOUR!

    I’m curious to see how this project goes, and if wood panels will become part of my regular inventory. Panels may be preferable to large stretched canvasses (by large I mean >3ftx3ft), because their rigidity won’t lead to sagging. When working on canvas, I have to be careful that I don’t inundate the painting with too much water or fluid acrylics…the heavy load causes stretching, and the fluids can pool in the middle and create unwanted visual effects.

    Cheers to trying something new!   

  • Dollars and Sense – Part Two

    A common question that many artists struggle with: How much should I charge for my work?

    Art supplies are expensive (as I tried to illustrate in Part One of this series), but artists also have to consider the price of further education courses, transportation costs and participation fees for art shows throughout the year, studio space rental fees, and your most precious resource: your time! If you are a full-time artist, you have to factor in the cost of benefits, health care coverage, and vacation pay, too. Few people that enter the fine arts field are able to survive (let alone thrive) as full time artists. Like me, many artists work at a completely separate job and have a very different identity to make ends meet. Geologist by day, painter (and crazy cat lady) by night!

    Again: how much should you charge for your work?

    Obviously, artists want to make sales (so they can create more art!) and they don’t want to discourage people with ‘hefty’ price tags…it’s a delicate balance to strike. Many artists haven’t done a particularly good job at justifying their price tags, and I think many consumers are unaware that the manufacturing costs for original artwork can be so extreme. 

    If you are in love with a piece of art but can’t afford it, I highly encourage you to talk to the artist about it! They will be flattered by your compliments and who knows…perhaps you two could work out a deal! Belinda Fireman offers art rentals for her paintings (a great concept which I might adopt in the future! Check it out: belindafireman.wordpress.com). Many artists can afford to be flexible with their payments and/or prices (so long as you’re not a dick about it)

    Chances are, many artists feel a tinge of guilt requesting the prices they do---BUT THEY SHOULDN’T! A lot of time, effort, and love went into creating that piece of art. Don’t make them feel crappy about earning a living wage.

    If you are an artist struggling with charging an appropriate value for your work, just remember these two weird facts to avoid any guilty feelings:

    This tiger shark (preserved in formaldehyde and displayed in a tank, titled The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living) was purchased by Steven Cohen, an American hedge fund manager and 106th richest person in the world, for $12 million in 1991! Artist (pictured here): Damien Hirst. Damien was not a “starving artist” who rose to international stardom…he was sponsored and his famous piece was fully commissioned by Charles Saatchi, an art enthusiast and British businessman (also the owner of the world’s largest advertisement agency in the 1980’s. Current net worth: $100 million).

    Do you have any millionaire/billionaire sugar-daddies to help your artwork make international headlines? Neither do I!   

    This large, colourful abstract painting by famous German artist Gerard Richter, titled Abstract Bild, sold to an anonymous bidder for £30.4 million in 1986 (equivalent to ~$46 million US today). “The records keep being broken and every time my initial reaction is one of horror even if it’s actually welcome news. But there is something really shocking about the amount,” Richter said. (No kidding! At least he has remained humble about his fame and fortune.)

    Perhaps you found this blog depressing, but that was not my intention! I was merely showing that people are willing to pay for the artwork they enjoy, even if the art seems absurd to some, even if the price is absurd to some. Keep believing in yourself and don’t get discouraged!  

    Related blog entries:

    Prices are about to increase (and I'm not talking about oil)

    Taylor-made Commissions

  • Dollars and Sense – Part One

    Rational Taylor says: “I should use all the art supplies I have in my existing inventory before I convert my painting studio into a baby nursery”

    Pregnant-brain Taylor says: “I have a few months left before the baby arrives, I might as well go shopping and stock up while I still can!”

    It has been an expensive morning. After meeting my friend Eva for brunch, I swung by Inglewood Art Supplies to pick up a couple essential items on my shopping list…

    Well, some things were on sale, so my preggo-brain decided I should buy them. "Screw the nursery," I told myslef, "I’m going to paint-it-up while I still have the space!"

    This is what $127.41 worth of art supplies looks like.

     

    …it’s not a lot of stuff, right? Are you surprised? Considering three of the items were on a really good sale, $127 is for these materials is considered a bargain. This is the typical $ amount I spend every time I visit an art store. A canvas and a few paint tubes add up really quickly, especially if they are of professional artist quality (vs. student quality). For example, the little bottle of Golden fluid body iridescent gold paint pictured above was $38.00 (thankfully 50% off, which was why I could justify its purchase. It’s really pretty…)

    In my studio, I have one small storage unit with three shelves, loosely dedicated to three stages of my paintings: Starting materials, middle, and Finishing products. I would like to introduce you to my “Gold Mine”:

    1) The Starting Drawer (the bottom): Includes various tubs of acrylic gels and modeling pastes, salt and other texturizers. (Not pictured: gallery wrapped canvasses x 6, tissue paper, giant tub of wall spackle, drop sheets, rubber gloves, knee pads, CD player, painting aprons and studio clothes)

    2) The Middle Drawer: Includes tempera paint powders in 4 colours, metallic paints, foils, and powders (along with face masks), green painters tape. (Not pictured: 99% rubbing alcohol, atomizer, water bottle, about three dozen acrylic paints in all the colours of the rainbow, 4 cans of acrylic spray paint, brushes, rollers, saran wrap, paper towel, brush cleaners x3, acrylic glaze x2, paint retarder)

    3) The Top Drawer: Includes D-hooks, hanging wire of various strength, Thank you cards, business cards, sharpies and acrylic paint pens, needle nose pliers, gloss varnish, varnish brushes, show tags and fancy string (Not pictured: spray varnish, measuring tape)  

    You may only see a colourul canvas and wire...but there are a LOT of materials that go into each finished painting! 

    Read on: "Dollars and Sense - Part Two"

  • Do it for the wine!

    Dear Diary…

    I mean, Dear Blog Readers…

    Thank you for your patience with me. I realize it has been a long time since posting ANYTHING to my website, but I haven’t forgotten about you! (Although to be perfectly honest, if it weren’t for my monthly website fee, I just might have…the Canadian exchange rate is KILLING me right now!!!)

    Although things have been quiet on the frontlines, there is a lot of activity brewing behind the scenes.

    FosterMAK’s Fall/Winter Art Show, happening on Oct 23rd and 24th is next week already! There will be some fabulous art displayed in a great new venue, with many of the talented FosterMAK artists participating. I’m looking forward to meeting some of the new artists and schmoozing. I have been told that wine may be served…if the original artwork isn’t a good enough reason to get your butt out the door, do it for the wine! THE WINE, PEOPLE!

    I will be present on both Friday and Saturday, so please drop by when it’s most convenient and say hello. I would love to see you there! 

    Another VERY exciting project coming up next Spring is the chance to show one of my paintings in Elevation Gallery’s  ‘One White Wall Exhibit’ in Canmore! I am reserving my creative juices to paint something super, and nothing motivates me quite like a hard deadline. I am eagerly awaiting further instructions on the final canvas size and colour palette to work with. I can’t wait to get started!

    As always, thank you for the continued support and for cheering me on!

    See you next weekend!

  • Commission Complete!

    Commission Complete!

    The latest gigantic commission painting 'Easy Come, Easy Go' was hung up in its new space, and it looks GREAT! I'm so happy with how the orange and yellows coordinate with the Ottoman. I swear, this isn't an advertisement from an interior design magazine (although perhaps it should be?)

    Would you be interested in a custom-made painting to complement your home? If so, check out this blog post: Taylor-Made

  • $500 donation to iHuman Youth Society!

    BOOM!

    $250 charitable donation (25% of my 2015 art sales to date) plus a corporate match from Cenovus Energy Inc = $500 towards a worthy cause! I am thirlled to say 2015 is shaping up to be a record-breaking year for charitable donations. 

    iHuman Youth Society gives troubled youth in Edmonton an opportunity to break the vicious cycles of poverty, abuse and addiction and create positive change through the healing powers of art! Perhaps you’re interested in supporting them, too? Check out them out: http://ihumanyouthsociety.org/

  • Prices Are About to Increase (and I’m not talking about oil…)

    Prices Are About to Increase (and I’m not talking about oil…)

    Hello friends,

    I wanted to take this opportunity to warn you: my art prices are going to increase as of September 1st. I’m not trying to be a jerk, I’m trying to give myself a raise! Let me explain:

    2015 has been an incredible year for my art career so far. So much has happened since January:

    - I renewed my art partnership with Rewind Clothing and switched up the store display (visit my two Alberta-inspired landscapes, Alpine Meadow and Alberta Beauty!)

    - I joined FosterMAK’s online gallery and participated in their June art show. Because of Stacey’s hard work promoting the artists and organizing shows, she earns a commission on all her sales.   

    - I ordered new business cards to include my NEW social media accounts (follow me!)

    - I registered with Square Reader to now accept credit card payments

    - I became a RAW artist and participated in their GLIMPSE showcase in July, which included a live painting event AND a TV segment with Global News Calgary featuring one of my paintings!

    - I donated $250 to iHuman Youth Society last week, thanks to my fabulous collectors! Thanksgiving is usually when I submit my donations, but since my 2015 sales have been so hot I figured I should donate some of my contributions early. 25% of all my art sales go to charity, and iHuman is one of my favourite places to give.

    Because of all these factors, my ‘artist value number’ is going to justifiably increase from a 7 to a 9 starting September 1st. (What is an artist value number, you ask? To paraphrase DaSilva’s blog: It’s a combination of things, mostly related to the level of experience, exposure, gallery representation, etc.)

    Example: to calculate my painting’s worth, I add the gallery canvas dimensions together (24” + 24” = 48) and multiply it by my Artist Value Number (9). 48 x 9 = $432. Ta-da! Pricing is one area where I lack creativity!

    So, if you are interested in purchasing an original painting, you may want to consider doing it sooner than later…

    Contact me for a viewing!

    Thank you for your support and understanding. 

  • Globetrotter’s Farewell

    Globetrotter’s Farewell

    The backstory:

    It was my first Fearless Abstract Painting Course with Samantha DaSilva in May 2013, and I was a bundle of nerves. I had no idea what I was getting myself into, only that I craved new art skills and respected the body of work that my new instructor had created. I followed her shopping instructions (poorly) and ended up bringing several tubes of professional grade acrylic paint (expensive!), an ink roller (wrong!) and only one slim canvas (not gallery stretched) to my first class at Chinook Learning Center. As I rolled the blue paint over the canvas my plastic ink roller squeaked relentlessly, bumping over the wooden canvas frame and distracting the other students. Samantha instructed us to spray it with water to help the paint spread, and the new blob of white acrylic paint moved across the slick surface like a slug...not blending, not flowing--Not exactly what I had in mind! I was embarrassed, but determined to keep going.

    Fast forward a few weeks later and Globetrotter eventually emerged into something beautiful. Despite the surprises and frustrations, trials and errors, I saw it through and had a lot of fun! I sometimes struggle to make time for myself and do the things that I want to do. I’m always busy with volunteering or obligations of some sort, always planning and anticipating. It gets exhausting at times, but I can’t seem to break that habit. Painting forced me to slow down, take a breather, and just enjoy the moment!

    Globetrotter was a tough painting to sell for sentimental reasons. It was my first “fearless abstract”. Its beauty gave me confidence, which encouraged me to create a website and turn my hobby into something a bit more serious. It is my cover image for my Create Fate business cards. It reminded me that it’s okay to experiment and make mistakes, and so long as you are willing to work on them, it will eventually become a thing of beauty. It keeps me humble.

    I am so happy that Globetrotter sold to Dante, a dear friend of mine! It is going to live up to its name as she’s moving to Colorado in one month, and said she wants it to grace her walls in her new apartment. I wouldn’t have sold it to anyone but her, and I’ve always loved seeing my art find new homes…especially when I know the painting is loved by their new collector as much as they’re loved by me.             

  • Bolo Tie is going to be on TV!

    Global News Calgary is covering a segment on the GLIMPSE showcase tomorrow morning, and I’m proud to announce: one of my original abstract paintings will be featured on TV! This painting was inspired by my Grandpa's turquoise and leather Bolo Tie that I remember from when I was a just a wee cowgirl. I remember square dancing with him in my pink boots, watching him fill up jugs of OJ and vodka for the crazy rodeo clowns at 7AM, and feeding leftover pancakes to friendly prairie dogs. I figure this is an appropriate painting to show during Stampede week, as it's a homage to him. I hope he'd be proud of who I have become. 

    Our RAW Calgary art director, Lizzie Carr, has done an amazing job advertising this event around town despite living in Edmonton; She is one organized woman! Lizzie, thank you for your dedication and hard work to make this event possible. Tomorrow is going to be amazing!

    In a nutshell: GLIMPSE will feature >60 local RAW Artists, and will showcase all different artistic mediums for 12 hours straight (11AM-11PM, Friday July 10th @ Standard Nightclub -- next door to the Palomino). For those of you who bought pre-sale tickets through me, you should be registered on an electronic guestlist. For the wonderful procrastinators in my life, tickets are $20 at the door (cheaper than any of the Stampede tents, I might add…). For those of you who have no idea what I’m talking about…WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN HIDING?! You need to come see this and feel the ENERGY!   

    I will display eight paintings at my booth and will be present for the whole 12 hours (minus lunch and dinner breaks). If I’m not at my booth, you can find me LIVE PAINTING outside --EEEK!

    25% of my sales from tomorrow’s GLIMPSE showcase will be donated to the Children’s Hospital Art Program. Some of the kids will be there selling their creations for charity, too! 

    SEE YOU TOMORROW.

    Need more info? Check out the GLIMPSE Facebook Event Page: here