All about the inspiration behind the art. Acrylic Paintings, Impressionism, Art, Southern, Modern, Contemporary, Coastal, Flowers, Famous Places, New Orleans, Florida, Gulf Coast, Food, Expressionism, Fauve, Cityscapes, Architecture, Decor, Painting, Beach, Tropical, Seascape, Landscape, Still Life Mona Vivar Fine Art: June 2013

Friday, June 28, 2013

The Business of Art

It has been six months since I started working full time as an artist.  I sold my art in brick and mortar galleries and on the Internet in the past, but this is the first time I have worked selling my art for a living.  So what I have I learned in six months?
PRODUCTION, PRODUCTION, PRODUCTION:  You have to make a LOT, and I mean a LOT of art.  Reason being is that you will make some art that you will need to toss.  You will have days that you have to do other things, and the extra inventory will help keep you in front of your customers.  Demand will rise and you will need to be able to provide a supply of art for it.  You become a better artist by making more art.
STANDARDIZE YOUR OPERATIONS:  Big businesses do this all the time.  If you want to be a business you need to do it too.  Using the same tools, materials, procedures help you make and sell your art.  I order canvas in bulk (saves a lot on the cost) and put the same base coat color on the canvases as soon as they arrive.  Or more correctly, my husband puts the base coat on.  This operation gives me at least a month's supply of canvases ready to go and prevents all sorts of delays due to prep time.  I use standard size canvases.  This makes it easier for my customers to frame the paintings later.  I use the same palette of colors so I don't flounder around wondering what color to use next.  All this saves time and effort.  I work in sets or series.  Why only paint one piece at a time when you can do two or more?  It will make you more efficient.
Mona Vivar, "Sea Treasures", 11 inches by 14 inches, acrylic on canvas
Mona Vivar, "Sea Treasures II", 11 inches by 14 inches, acrylic on canvas
FIND YOUR NICHE:   You won't be able to make art that everyone likes or wants, so figure out what you do best and who likes it.  This part takes time and makes the first two steps even more important.   You will have a lot of misfires at first but after a while you will hit your stride.  You will notice that certain images sell quickly while others just sit.  You will begin to see some common denominators among your customers.  Maybe they live in the same geographic region, maybe they tend to work in the same occupation, maybe they are younger or older.   Notice everything.  Don't make yourself crazy, but be aware so you can aim your best work at your market.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Still Life Food for Thought

Artists are always seeking or developing their style.  I am no different.  All of us strive for a recognizable consistency in our work.  This has taken me years to find.  And lots of painting.  Lots of painting!
When I first began painting I wanted to paint only abstracts.  I primarily used oils.  Continuing studies in art history nudged me in the direction of realism, and a stint as a gallery manager of a wildlife art gallery pushed me over the line and farther away from non-objective painting.  I became obsessed with the 17th century Dutch painting style and copied some of those grand paintings to understand lighting, placement and detail in the still life. 
Abraham Van Beyeren (1667) "ostentatious" still life
I even went so far as to paint an entire show of still life works in oils based on the Dutch images--dark backgrounds, emphasis on a group of flowers, play of light on surfaces.  I learned much about consistency and style with that show.
A decade later I am still seeking, but remain focused on still life.  A simplified, modernized still life.  Acrylic.  With the object in the middle of the painting or close to it.  Maybe closer to Pop Art?  It surprises me.  This is why art is a lifetime pursuit.

Mona Vivar, "All American", 11 inches x 14 inches, acrylic on canvas

Friday, June 14, 2013

Go Outside

I am mostly an indoor painter with occasional bursts of ambition that drive me to venture outside for a session of plein air painting.  That being said, I recommend that everyone go outside at least once a day for a few minutes.  I believe that we, as all other creatures, thrive on and need the outdoors.
Step outside to feel the breeze on your skin.  Watch clouds and their shadows glide by.  Notice the sound of leaves rustling and birds singing.  Observe the enormous variety of color and texture surrounding you.  See if there are signs of a new season.  Smell heat, oncoming rain, fresh mown grass, white gardenias.  It is a renewing sensation that cannot occur in a climate controlled environment.
For a painter, the outside is full of challenges both good and bad.  Wind threatens the easel set up.  Bugs get stuck in the paint.  Extreme temperatures (most definitely in coastal Alabama) make it miserable or impossible from time to time.  Lighting conditions changes so rapidly that trying to work more than 45 minutes on one painting is fool hardy at best.  But, ah joy, if one is quick enough to capture a fleeting view fresh on the canvas!  A better artist is made at that moment.

So go outside.

Mona Vivar, "Spring Ambition", 20 inches by 16 inches, acrylic on canvas, painted plein air
Collection the artist

Image copyright of Mona Vivar 2013

Friday, June 7, 2013

Boldly Painted Magnolias

The soft month of June has arrived bringing bright blue days, afternoon showers, gardenia scented nights and the threat of hurricanes.  Cloud watching becomes a sport.  And the shiny, dark green foliage of magnolia trees cradle large luxurious creamy velvet blooms. 
I have always been intimidated about painting the magnolia blossom because it is a giant white flower easy to get wrong and it can be a clich├ęd image.  Nevertheless, I decided to tackle the tricky Magnolia grandiflora as a symbol of what I adore about the month of June in the south.
I focused on single blooms nestled in darkness.  I kept the drawing as loose as possible and painted in and beyond the drawn image to give the paintings more spontaneity.  I added random colors (violet, blue, orange) on various edges of leaves and blooms to create a sense of  dappled sunlight.  To make the white really look bright, I painted the blooms' shadows much darker shades that were a mix of violet, blue, and orange.  That helped harmonize the color scheme and made the brightest white (white with a little yellow added) really pop.  Most of all, I kept the pieces light hearted.
So here are the final paintings.  Enjoy!
 Mona Vivar, "Magnolia Magnificence", 11 inches by 14 inches, acrylic on canvas
Now available on Ebay at Mona Vivar Fine Art

Mona Vivar, "Shimmering Magnolia", 11 inches by 14 inches, acrylic on canvas
Now available on Ebay at Mona Vivar Fine Art
All images copyright of Mona Vivar 2013.