Sunday, June 27, 2010

Small video workshop study and question

I am completing a small strawberry study from Jacqueline Gnott's video " My Favorite Things". Jacqueline makes one take a real close-up look at a strawberry. Wow. I had never noticed all those small details before. Fascinating! Here is my humble  5" x7" rendition of Jacqueline's fruit:
My husband laughed yesterday afternoon as he found me in the kitchen taking pictures of almost every strawberry in the basket he had purchased earlier. I was looking for strawberries with stems...but there was none!!!

I will be in a two-day show at the end of July. Apparently last year not a single painting sold at that show:-(  I think I should have small paintings of this size either framed or just matted to offer some less expensive art. What do you think?

Most artists at that upcoming show work in oil or acrylic. I believe that there will be only one other watercolor artist. I found that surprising. That brought me to reflect on what medium is used on the various daily painters sites. Most daily  works are in oils; acrylic is next. Watercolor is fairly rare. Why is that?
Do people hesitate to buy online a painting that is either not yet framed or is framed in glass that could break in transit? Is it that watercolor is not popular or is perceive of lesser value than oil or acrylic paintings?

I would really like to hear your opinion on this topic.

Have a great Sunday.


  1. The strawberry is beautiful! I love what you can do with watercolor. Not sure why it gets a bad rap. Galleries have turned my work away because they don't want to deal with the glass yet they have prints under glass. Doesn't make sense. Plus I frame with plexiglass. Maybe they were turning me down gently? Anyway, I have since started doing small stuff and they definitely sell better. So keep doing the small stuff.

  2. Christiane...I think there is a centuries old stigma attached to watercolors that they, for some reason are not to be valued as much as oils - maybe because they are on paper. Some galleries will not even show them. It is a shame because watercolor is unique and beautiful and I certainly wish that it had the respect it should. In my humble opinion, it is also more difficult to paint in watercolor - it takes much skill.
    I think that you are on the right track about preparing small paintings for the buyers on a makes sense.

  3. Leslie and Barb, thank you for sharing your thoughts. Watercolor with its reflection of light is just like magic!
    Ah...well, the better reputation of oils has never stopped some artists from continuing their wonderful artistic journey painting watercolors.

    I appreciate your encouragement to prepare smaller works for that July show.

  4. I've been to a few shows and have seen something large I would have loved to purchase - but the seller would only take cash. I don't carry large amounts of cash. Consider if you take larger pieces how people can pay for them.
    Also consider taking some business cards with your website and details on them - this woman didn't do that either. So I couldn't buy post-show. Mad or what? She did tell me her cards and calendars were the only thing to sell.

    So, small pieces for cash, larger pieces if you have cc facilities -and take some business cards. You never know what might come of it.

  5. I wish you tons of luck at the show - may all your paintings sell!!! And say, "Take That!" to all those acrylic and oil painters :) Seriously, watercolor hasn't come into it's own but it will. For now, paint smaller pieces that should sell, and paint what you love. This strawberry, perfectly done, would look perfect in someone's kitchen or dining room!

  6. Pat, excellent advice.
    I used to sell handwoven silk scarves at shows and in those days almost all my sales were by credit card.Nowadays, I can take credit cards only through PayPal on my website, but not at a show where there is no wireless internet options. I have about 4 weeks to paint some small pieces.

    Rhonda, I will be extremely happy if I sell one painting at that show considering their lack of success last year...which was the first year of the show. As for this strawberry, it is indeed quite cute, but I can't offer it for sale since it is a copy of Jacqueline's original. I will however paint some from my own photographs or "live" berries:-)

    Wow! Ladies, how lucky I am to receive such advice from artists from all over the world! Thank you, my dear blogging friends.

  7. Excellent strawberry - you can certainly do more for your show now! I've never had much luck at local shows - just cards and small stuff. I wish you best of luck with yours. As far as watercolor vs. oil/acrylic - I was in a gallery recently and asked the owner point blank why they do not like watercolor (although he had 3)- and he had no real answer for me! Basically he told me that oil and acrylic are more "accepted" by the public! It's probably one of those stigmas that last way longer than they should - we aren't in the dark ages any more!!! when watercolor was classified as "draft" work or a "women's" medium - i.e., not revered. When people say negative things about w/c being transient, I remind them that Turner's are still on display! Guess we just need to keep educating the public!

  8. Thank you, Deb!
    I have cards and will certainly try to paint some smaller paintings similar to the strawberry. I show one painting as part of a group show every month, and I am being told there also that people are buying mostly very small paintings.
    Interesting response from that gallery owner and even better your answer to the comment about watercolor being transient:-)And you are right about our need to educate the public - maybe I will enjoy the July show more even if I don't sell anything if I consider it an opportunity to educate! Great idea! I feel better already.- it won't be wasted time:-)

  9. Christiane, your strawberry is lovely. Don't you just love to paint with the reds? I know that you can't sell this one (or probably don't want to because it is Jackie's design), but you can always do another that is your own setup (like you were photographing). I've found that strawberries on a white plate or one with minimal design really attracts attention because of all the play you can get with the bounce light or shadows. Paint some cherries for your show also...people love cherries, strawberries, and watermelon.

    I did the artshow circuits all over the US for 20 years very successfully and loved it...but never did any local shows. Funny thing..people around this part of Texas thought they had to go to Dallas or Houston or SantaFe to buy art. But, I could go to NY and sell out at Rochester in June. You'll find your way. But, with this economy, your lesser dollar pieces will be what they will buy. I would, however, mat and shrinkwrap anything I offered! People know how much mats cost and they'll pay you for including that.

    Your work is lovely, so be happy that you're one of just a few offering watercolor...take advantage of it.

  10. Mollie, thank you so much for taking the time to share with experience and insight with me. I really appreciate it and will make good use of your sound advice.

    Cherries and watermelon...hum...good idea! I have a four-day weekend coming up...I know what I will be painting:-)

    Thank you again!

  11. Christiane, that is one great strawberry. Love the shadow work and the way you painted the seeds. Nice!

  12. Thank you, Ann. It's from one of Jacqueline Gnott's videos. I now have to apply what I have learned to my own design:-)

  13. I think all your previous visitors have said it all - much sound advice. I've always wondered why beginners begin with watercolours because it is the hardest medium to create that special sparkle it is reknowned for, so it is suprising the public don't warrant it with the same high regard as oils or even acrylics. Maybe the public see watercolours as the medium used by amateurs. I think pastel work has the same poor regard. Until you try for yourself you have no idea how difficult it is.
    I have noticed a change to appreciation of draughtmanship and detail of late and quite often that can be reflected in the small detailed work of a watercolourist. So go for it girl and present these masterful studies in all their glory and win over the public's heart not only in this forthcoming exhibition but for all time.

  14. Joan,
    I can think of at least 3 oil painting friends who tried watercolors and gave it up because they found it too challenging!
    That is quite the mission that your are sending on:-) I feel like a knight of the round table:-) I promise to do my best!

  15. christiane your stawberry is excellent ..wishing you lots of luck with your show

  16. Hi Christiane. Love your strawberry by the way. The reflections are just grand. I did some small olive paintings once and they sold. People seemed to like the vegetable/fruit theme. And yes, watercolors are not as well received as oils or acrylics. My biggest headache is the framing costs and when you add a 50% gallery commission it leaves little for the art guy. So i have been playing around with waxing my paintings with some fabulous results. They then end up in a linen wrapped liner with a deep frame. Also doing smaller pieces using standard sizes so i can buy frames off the shelf helps with costs. But the format i've had the most success with is narrow in height and longer horizontally. Also the reverse of that as a lot of homes have these unusual spaces they would like to put a painting. A narrow wall perhaps or over a fireplace etc. I love your cards and think that is a great idea. Some folks may not be able to afford a painting but they can walk away with your art in the form of a card. I will look forward to hearing of your impending success at the upcoming show. Go get em girl! I know you can.

  17. Ross, thank you for this informative message. It indeed would appear that people like the fruit/vegetable theme: my pear paintings always receive a lot of attention.
    Do you think you could tell me more about the waxing system you use on your watercolors? Part of the problem of selling watercolors on line is that you either have to use plexi instead of glass or sell unframed...which a lot of people don't like to do.

    As always, I really appreciate your visit and your nice comments.

  18. The wax medium i used is Dorland's. Here is a link with some more information for you.

    I was pleasantly surprised with the results. It seals the painting. It is permanent and UV safe. You can then frame without glass which provides a few more options when it comes to framing. I find it works best on smaller paintings but with a little practice i am sure you could use it for any size. Skip Lawrence did an article on this in the Pallette magazine which is where i first learned of the wax. On another note i am now sadly going to pull my paintings from a gallery in Canmore where i have been showing. They do not have my work on display very often and i feel it is the same old glass over canvas thing. My first experience showing there was very successful indeed but lately they have been opting to use their wall space for canvases and three dimensional art. It means a new direction for sure. I plan to start doing oils but watercolor is my first love. Always will be. If you need any more info re: the wax i will be happy to share that with you. Blessings always. ross

  19. Ross, how kind of you to share this with me! I will follow the link you provided.

    I am sorry to hear about your recent experience at that gallery in Canmore! I know that you will be great painting with oils, but I understand your preference for watercolor.

    Thank you so much and take care!