‘Monkey’s wedding’ …

Hey, I hope all of you who celebrate Christmas have a joyous one, filled with everything you need – like happiness, love, family and good friends.

Christmas is not about the gifts, or the tree or the baubles and garish lights festooning so many houses at this time of year but you wouldn’t think otherwise if you visited this planet from somewhere else.    As an extra-terrestrial, I wonder if you’d find it all a bit strange when you look around, peer into the crack and see all those many lost people?   The people who don’t have anyone to spend the holidays with, the people who are lonely or just alone in a crowd, the people who don’t have any food or place to live and there are many homeless people in this country and all over the world – what a sin that is!  In this so-called age of enlightenment, that there are still so many people who have nowhere to live, no prospects, no food, relying on hand outs and hand-me-downs just to keep body and soul together.  I wonder if your extra-terrestrial self would stop and think about that while you imbibe the ‘Christmas cheer’ and tuck into the turkey.

I’m not preaching, I’m as guilty as the next when it comes to over-indulging – both in the food and drink and the gift buying.  I just hope that the people in my family who have had a right crap year, manage to glean happiness and warmth over this holiday season – we’ll be seeing one of them on Boxing Day.

HAPPY CHRISTMAS AND HAVE A GREAT NEW YEAR CELEBRATION

I hope 2019 is a great year for you all.

IMG_1788

‘Monkey’s Wedding’

A4.  Water-soluble oil pastels on Bockingford watercolour paper.

Opposites attract

I was walking the dog last week and came across my first poppy of the summer – i just love how electric the reds are set against the green of the grasses.  Hope you’re all having a lovely summer (if that’s your climate at the moment!)

IMG_1600

Howdy …

Well I am settled and most of my art materials are unpacked.  I believe I am so lucky to live in such a beautiful part of South Norfolk.   I walk down our driveway and turn left, immediately I’m in a large wheat field.   Further along there are fields of rape seeds bursting with that electric neon yellow.   On the morning walks with our little dog, all you can hear is hundreds of birds calling to each other, the hedgerows are alive with whirring, chirping and warbling.  (I refuse point blank to say twittering)

Once  all my stuff is sorted out, I’ll be posting more work – bear with me for a few more days!

 

A little more success

I sold three medium sized acrylic works this month:

DSCN4932

In addition to the sale of above paintings, I was contacted by a very well-known art supplies company  via my Facebook art page.   They want me to try out and review a new brand (for me) of soft pastels, which they are going to launch on their website towards the end of February.   I will provide more information about that, once I’ve completed the assignment and the article is out there.   I should get the pastels today – so quite stoked about that.

And then, earlier this morning, I was given a commission!

Very chuffed with myself at the moment.

 

 

Successes

It’s very important to celebrate successes, no matter how small they may seem to others.  I am really pleased to let my regular WordPress family know that in the past few weeks I have managed to sell (or am in the process of selling) 5 pieces that have been featured on this website.    One of my paintings has actually been purchased by a collector in the States and I am very chuffed about that – it was the first acrylic piece I did once we’d settled here in Norfolk.

Interestingly, for me, I am finding that the majority of sales leads are coming from my Facebook page, which is a surprise to me I must say because I didn’t think putting my art there would in any way generate sales but who knew!?

Thanks to everyone who  ‘likes’ or ‘follows’ this site, I am humbled by the talented artists who regularly drift past here and even more so, when they comment!

2017, for me, has got off to a very good start artistically speaking – hope it does so for you.

Onwards and Upwards 🙂

 

And flip …

DSCN5910

I was moving things around over the weekend and ‘accidentally’ stacked my latest large painting the wrong way up.  When I stood back and looked at it, I realised that it is far more dynamic this way up and has more sense of presence.   There is something almost cathedral in the illusion of space.   To me it feels like I am standing on a snow covered street looking up the road  – either side at very tall buildings.  What do others think?

 

Beach hangovers …

Yep, I’m back – couldn’t get rid of me that easy.

Whilst I had to leave landscapes like the one in the above photo behind, I’m glad to be home.  It was worth the long flight and travel hassles but saying ‘see you later’ to my sons was so unbelievably hard this time – even though I know that there are very good possibilities they will visit me in the UK soon.      It’s just one of the prices you pay when you emigrate.

During my quiet time on holiday at the beach, I decided to focus the next few months on improving my photography and actually do some additional semi-formal learning.  There is so much I don’t know or understand and it’s hampering my creativity and spoiling my photographs.  I’ve been interested in photography since I was a teenager (we’re talking more than 50 years here) when I got my first Kodak Brownie (what a brilliant little camera).   My 35mm Asahi Pentax was divine and I used it primarily for astronomy shots, with tripod, time-release shutter cable and actual film stock – what a pleasure that was!  I miss using actual film rolls.  I’ve used various point and shoot cameras, the best was the Sony Cybershot (most reliable rendition of what the eye sees, colour and light wise, with no fiddling about).   My first bridge camera was a FinePix and whilst it wasn’t the greatest lens on the planet, it felt like I had come up a notch and was actually doing ‘real photography’!     I’ve had my Nikon Coolpix P510 with the diabolically efficient zoom lens (in its class) for over three years now and I still don’t know how it works!

(hand held zoom)

I was very frustrated on holiday because I really battled with low light shots or trying to capture the essence of a particular scene the way I was seeing it.       It was just too much pushing and shoving, fiddling about and very worthwhile shots coming out at the other end (I sound like Shirley Valentine hey?).    So I came home with the best intentionw of buying a new camera and getting stuck into DSLR right away – SLRHut have a great deal on Canon at the moment.    After a long time trawling the internet and YouTube for camera reviews, I realised it’s not the bloody camera’s fault, I’m just expecting it to do stuff the lens is not designed for.     If I had more knowledge, I’d get a lot more out of my existing camera, which wasn’t cheap at all when I bought it.     It’s time to improve my knowledge and actually understand what I’m doing – I’m tired of a hit and miss approach.   I am very interested in low light photography, portraiture and also landscapes and want to get much better at taking those types of shots.

So I’ve invested in a photography course, which is in hard cover book format – so I can constantly refer to it whilst I practice.   I have tried online courses before but I battled to remember the stuff, ‘cos as we all know I have the memory of a pea.    This is also one of the reasons why I don’t want to attend a person to person course because I can’t trust my memory and all the hot shot young dudes and dudettes will think I’m a fossil and should be doing a knitting course, or something like that.

I’m supposed to get the book today – so for the next 20 weeks (that’s how long they reckon it takes to finish the course), I will not be painting or doing other creative things.  I am going to concentrate on my knowledge, so that I can get me an entry level DSLR – I’ve got my eyes on the Nikon D3300 but I might end up getting a Canon … going to need unbiased   🙂 advice on which one to look at.  No, won’t be going mirrorless, too many cons.

Slight return

A friend of mine suggested that I do a better job with the images of my work, as this is one of the primary reasons why art doesn’t sell on the internet. I had a look at one painting in specific (Windy Day at Caister on Sea) which has received a lot of likes and so on but no purchase.  The original photos were very dull and in fact, when I checked them out most of them had shadow on and were taken in low light.   I took this painting out into my garden this morning (the sun is particularly bright today) and redid some photos – I didn’t use the tripod but I will for all future photos of work.  I think the difference is quite obvious – any comment from my peers (i.e. you 🙂 ) would be welcome?

 

WDACOS new

WDACOS outside DSCN4623 DSCN4624

Old photos of this painting:

Windy day at Caister-on-Sea DSCN2420 DSCN2421

Tussen Takk

DSCN4290

Ah Norway … what a lovely part of the world, wish I could have stayed another month or so.

Whilst in Bergen I visited this gallery and purchased a print :

 

Ketil Kvam artwork

(Reproduced with the artist’s permission)

Thank you Ketil Kvam for making such delightful art.

Needless to say I am going to be looking at producing some work in the following months that reflect my impressions of the southern Norwegian landscape … I hope I can capture the atmosphere!

Vanity galleries

I’ve been approached by two galleries in the past month – one in New York and the other in London –  sometimes it’s hard to see this as it really is – i.e. nothing more than cheap flattery.  Neither gallery really has any clue about my work or me and asking people to pay for ‘space’ on a wall in some purportedly legit gallery is a joke.  I’ve been writing professionally for many years and I would never look at vanity publishing, if the work is good enough then a professional publishing house will take over all the costs;  the same goes for art marketing.    What do others think about this topic?