Sunday, January 25, 2015

We are Artists, right?

Interpret, Don't Copy!

"Sea Grape & Palm" Pastel 11"x14"
Purchase Painting
Art starts with a feeling and everything should support that feeling. The concept for a painting could maybe be boiled down to just one word. Write it down and refer to it throughout the painting. When you look at your reference, do you see intrigue, or mystery? Maybe it is about the feeling of calm, or just the opposite... excitement? Write the word down, and make a quick thumbnail.

Make some notes along with your thumbnail. Colors and direction of light are important words to write. Is the scene you envision high key (mostly lighter half of the value scale) or low key (mostly in the darker half of the value scale)?

Do you want to use specific colors ... maybe a limited palette? Favorite colors? Or maybe use colors that you usually shy away from. Is there a color that has an inherent property or feeling... like blue is soothing, red is energetic, etc. Start with those colors. You can add to them if there needs to be some adjustment. Don't feel constrained by choosing a specific palette... unless that is your intention and to push the boundaries!

Begin your painting with some kind of plan, and refer to your plan or notes during the painting process. Revisit the original intention for the artwork during the painting to make sure you are still with your plan. Or has it taken a different course? Of the course if the painting has shifted, sit and think about whether you need to go with it, or put it back on course by making changes that take it back to the plan.

Remember, above all... my motto is: "It's the journey, not the destination!" So, enjoy... and have fun!

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Not Rejection ... Just Selection!

Dunes Mystery, Pastel 11"x14"

Have you ever entered an art competition? 

If you have, you did receive a notice that your painting (or other type of art) was either accepted, or not accepted into the show. Many artists will tell someone they entered a competition but they were "rejected" or received a "rejection notice."

There have been several conversations on Facebook and blogs, and in newsletters ... where I just read something and posted a comment. Here is a link to the newsletter: Jurors and Rejection by David P. Hettinger on the Fine Art Views Art Marketing Newsletter. Sign up for the newsletter from this site, it is a wonderful group!

My comment: "Love this language difference. I tell all my students in posts about "not being accepted" and the difference I feel by using those words. I have been a juror and judge and also know how difficult the task is. Saying you were "rejected" ... wrong! It is not rejection, just selection"

Do you let it bother you because your were "not selected?"

How do you handle the feeling when you receive that letter or e-mail telling you, "sorry, but your work was not selected for the show?"

Do you feel like you are less proficient than other artists you know? You should never compare your work to that of others, only to your previous work!

Or ...

Do you tell yourself, "okay, just one juror's opinion" and then go on about creating your work?

Be sure to take the time to look at what was accepted if you get the chance. And, have a look at the statistics of that particular show / competition. Remember, there were probably well over ten times as many submissions as there were spaces for accepted pieces in some of our prestigious shows! Just as a for instance... a recently chosen show had in the neighborhood of 2,000 entries submitted and accepted less than 200 paintings (I wish I had the exact numbers, but I am close). Think of how many wonderful artists and pieces of art were "not selected!" Good company, right? But, no reason to feel "rejected."

The painting featured above has been submitted to a couple of shows, and has not been selected. And, guess what? I love this painting, with any inconsistencies it might have, and still think it is a wonderful painting. And it was the best painting I could do at that time, and was submitted to those shows because of that feeling!

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Always and Never ... Do you use these words?

"Rocks & Roses" 8x10 Pastel Plein Air


I was reading a post from the Robert Genn newsletters that mentioned these two words. It made me think about if I use them. No, I tell my students to not use them. The minute I say I "never" do something, then that will be the one thing I will do sometime in the next day or two! How does that happen?

When we are painting, the best feeling is when we get lost in what we are doing, right?

When we are "lost" in the minutes of our painting, we are working from a more intuitive state. I have a real problem saying I am an intuitive painter. I don't think I am most of the time. I am a thinker, an analytical painter. I have one or two artist friends that tell me all the time, "Marsha, quit thinking, just paint!"

This can stifle the creative instincts many times... and I mean the analytical thinking, and the voices in my head telling me to stop being that way. Maybe I am going in and out of the analytical state and the intuitive state. I would like to think this is more the way I work.

Does painting plein air help us with painting less analytical and more intuitive?

The painting shown above was done plein air (on location / from life). Because I was under a time crunch with the sun moving and changing the shadows and even the colors, I was working a bit faster than I do in the studio. It helps me stop the brain, but encourages me to look, see the scene or object, and put it down without agonizing over the elements, colors, temperatures, etc. So, I think the brain shifts to the right side easier and allows us to enter that more intuitive state.

I talk about setting a timer when in the studio (and when painting plein air) ... not a race against the clock ... but a time constraint so we can quit being so analytical when standing at the easel. This does not free you from making a plan before you start!

What else might help?

I also have a "mentor" that said to me, "you need to spend more time on your stool and less time with brush or pastel stick at the painting." This stool is several feet away from the easel. It is where the analytical side of the brain can come back into play. Making decisions from this distance with real purpose, not just painting without a purpose with hopes those strokes are the right ones, in the right place, etc.

My work at this time is trying to follow the advice of my friend and mentor... not painting so analytically ... and spending more time planning, and sitting on the stool. I am taking my time, and not painting for shows and competitions, or even for the gallery... but painting for the pure joy of doing it and seeing what happens! 

Always? Never? ... How about you?

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Have You Gotten That Feeling of Euphoria Lately?

My friend Becky Joy has a fantastic blog ... and website! This is one of her articles I thought was very important. She gave me permission to re-post her blog article here on mine. Enjoy, check her sites out, and sign up for her blog. You will not be sorry.

Have You Gotten That Feeling of Euphoria Lately? Make Art

Here is her article, posted on July 15, 2014 by Becky Joy

First published on on  May 31, 2011
Link to the blog article:

I was recently talking to a friend of mine that is a creativity coach. Our conversation eventually went to what it means to me as an artist to create. She posed the question, “How do you feel when you paint?” We have had conversations about this before as have a lot of artists. She got me to thinking…

There are painters, as we all know, that paint for the money or at least, in part. I’m not saying that they wouldn’t paint if they were not making money, but the market or the money dictates what they do paint. Then, there are artists that paint for the love of the process.

I’m a firm believer in painting what you are passionate about. I have at times in my career painted what I thought would sell, but I always felt disconnected and not satisfied with what I was doing. I know that those paintings were not the best work that I could do at that moment in time.

I have since tried to concentrate on painting only things that I am passionate about. In the end, those paintings are my best works. But, more than that, the feelings that I get from painting my passion is worth so much more to me. I’ve usually never tried to communicate to people besides other artists those feelings. Someone else might wonder “what the heck is she talking about?”

"Single Lane" 36"x24" oil on linen © Becky Joy.
I know that words really don’t really fully describe the feelings that I (or other artists I have talked to) have while in the process of creating. We talk about being “in the zone”. But, to me, it’s more than that. I get a complete sense of heightened awareness of what is around me in my world that I am creating. I become a part of that world, feeling the temperature, the colors, the sights and the smells. It feels as though my whole being is fulfilled. It gives me a feeling of inner strength, serenity, and confidence. I feel as if I am enveloped by a power.

So, at this point in my life, I feel that feeling is more important to me than anything else that I can gain from creating. I come away with the sense of resolve, self-confidence and serenity in myself. When someone asks about what paintings of mine I have kept or which is my favorite, that is not what it is about to me. It’s the process of painting. when I’m done, I’m ready to experience that next euphoric feeling. I know that my best painting is still inside me.

Becky Joy is a nationally recognized artist specializing in sunsets, landscapes and still life oil paintings. Becky shares art tips, painting demonstrations and art business tips on her blog.

Article Source:
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Saturday, August 30, 2014

Smyrna Fine Art Show #2 Being Planned

Marsha Savage Paintings
Last April, the Taylor-Brawner House was the scene of Smyrna's "Park With Art" fine art show. There were 14 artists represented that had a "Smyrna Connection" in some way. The show ran for 10 days with a very well attended reception on Friday evening. Over 250 people that attended the three hour reception... and during the week, 500 more people signed the book! We know, because there was a guest book we asked people to sign. And, as we all know, not everyone will sign the guest book.

This was not just a show... this was a sales opportunity for the artists that participated. The painters provided 70-plus paintings to be hung on the walls. And, we had one three-dimensional artist who provided wood turned art! Most artists did sell some of their work. During the week, they were also allowed to bring in a basket with smaller works, or provide small decorative table easels to display a few smaller pieces.
Wanda Crane & Sonya Ingle - Sisters!

April 10 - 19, 2015 -- Save the Dates! 

The "steering committee" met to discuss the past show and start plans for next year's show. We will have a reception again on Friday evening. The show will open on Saturday, April 11, and continue thru the following week, and the last day will be Sunday, April 19. The times for the show will stay essentially the same as this year. The Taylor-Brawner Historic Home will again be the scene of this show. In the future, we may have to decide if there is a venue that will allow us to grow the number of artists more. We made the decision to "not" grow too fast too quickly.

Sonya Ingle, Paula Landry,
Ronnie Offen

Who Can Participate?

We discussed growing the show and decided to increase the number of artists invited to 20 from the original 14. Those original artists will have first right of refusal to participate. From what I have heard from most of them ... "yes, we definitely are interested in doing it again!"

For any remaining spots, there will be a committee to review applications and invitations will be issued. And, there was resounding response to keeping this a professional quality artist show of fine art in a variety of styles and mediums. We are interested in keeping this a local/regional show. The artists should be living and working in the Cobb and surrounding counties, metropolitan Atlanta area, or North Georgia area.
Virginia Dauth & Julie Gudger

Artists accepted are asked to be present at the reception and to sign up for sitting the show along with the volunteers arranged by the Taylor Brawner Foundation... if possible. Demonstrations are encouraged! We will also provide the list of artists and dates to the public so people can plan who they want to see and talk to during the days of the show. This past show, it was a big hit with the public to see and talk to the artists during the week and at the reception.

Inquires from artists to participate can come to me and I will forward them on to the selection committee. I will respond with an initial list of what you need to submit to be considered.

Virginia Dauth & Claire Curtis
Barbara Kincaid

Sarah Monsour, Dick Yarbrough
& Richard Herklotz (wood bowls)
Deb Cook
Karen Margulis

Sunday, August 3, 2014

How do you feel about selling your art? Part 3!

Late Valley Light - Pastel, 5"x7"
Purchase Originals, Prints or Cards 

Where would you show a small 5x7 painting?

I talked about selling through galleries in my last post. I have taken a few small paintings to my gallery in Marietta, and there have been a few at the Blue Ridge Mountains Arts Association in Blue Ridge, GA. But, keep in mind... these are a rather lower price painting, and the gallery will not make much money on selling these small pieces. They enjoy having a few, but will try harder (most likely) to sell things they can make a little more money for their time and overhead!

So, how about putting these small gems in an on-line gallery or through your blog posts or newsletters ... something that is easy for you as the artist to pack and ship if the client does not live in your area? Sell these yourself! If someone wants a larger piece after purchasing a small piece and getting to know you, then you can send them to your brick and mortar gallery if you have one. I think this makes way more sense.

Are you in an on-line gallery or have been looking at one? Fine Art America is a good place to start with their free version. There are many more you can look for or may have heard about. Also Pinterest and Facebook (a business page, not your personal one) can be good places to show a small piece of art. These two social media sites can be used an on-line gallery. You just have to be a little more discreet on Facebook, and you have to do all the promotion for both of them ... and really for Fine Art America, also. These three are easy places to sell your smaller artwork... leaving your larger pieces for the brick and mortar gallery if that is one of your plans ... to be in a gallery, that is!

How do you sell through these alternative sites?

As I mentioned above, you will have to do the promotion for these alternative sites. Just listing them will not bring your clients! That means doing a blog that will point people to those sites, sharing the blog post on Facebook, posting the paintings to your Pinterest boards and talking about them with a link to it in your blog, on Facebook, and in your newsletters.

To help you, join Etsy and create your own shop! Here you can list them for sale, and then you will have a link that can be inserted into your blog, or posted on your facebook page, or under the image on your Pinterest board. Instead of saying "Buy Now"... use what was told to me... a discreet link instead of the in-your-face sell, sell, sell words! A discreet link under your image might say, "Purchase through Etsy" or some similar, less offensive "sales" pitch, and make it a link that takes the person to that Etsy site.

My link under the painting above will take a client to the Fine Art America site and that particular painting!

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Why purchase an original instead of a print or giclee?

Palm View - Oil 7"x5" - Available on Etsy

Are you looking for a small gift that is different, or special in some way? I have some wonderful smaller original paintings. The painting above is a 7"x5" oil and the scene is my version of something I saw in Florida along the coast. It is probably not an exact view, but how I felt when looking past the beautiful palm to water and how the light was affecting all the colors! Every time I walk by it in my studio gallery, I smile... it brings back good memories!

So ... Why buy an original?

I have been told many times by previous clients how much they have enjoyed owning an original. They also tell me how when looking at it at different times, they see something not seen before ... mostly just small nuances in the colors, or a spot they did not realize what the object was. These things mostly are lost in the "printing" process when making a giclee or print.

The original versus the print ... 

Originals have a more saturated amount of color. The print only has the limited amount of colors and values that a "printer" of any kind can have at its disposal!

The original has texture ... the highs and lows of the paint application, or if a pastel, the light refracting ability of the little speckles of pastel... like little prisms! A print cannot capture the feel of an oil or acrylic, or the light refracting capability of the pastel.

Where can you see my work?

I have a website: Marsha Hamby Savage Art ... which can point you also in other directions. I try to keep it updated and am actually now in the process of updating all the pages. The "Studio" page is done, along with the Bio, Events, and Workshops pages. Next I will be working on the Plein Air and the Archive pages.

I will post a few links here for you of other places: my personal Facebook page: Marsha On Facebook  ... and my Art By Marsha Savage "business" page. I have a Pinterest page with "Boards" of my work: Marsha on Pinterest ... and then there are three "brick and mortar" galleries: Frameworks Gallery in Marietta GA, Magnolia Art Gallery in Greensboro GA, the Blue Ridge Mountains Arts Assoc. in Blue Ridge GA, and the "on-line" gallery at Xanadu Gallery in Scottsdale AZ. I will be updating the Xanadu Gallery site after finishing my own personal one. You can also find me at other on-line galleries: Fine Art America, Daily Paintworks, and Etsy.

So ... you can see... I do try to get my work out there where people can find me and enjoy the work. I have pricing that is always consistent no matter where it is physically located. I do have two structures: "Gallery Ready" and "Studies" ... which means there are paintings for any price range... and hopefully you will find something you can't live without!

If you have any questions, please do contact me... maybe I can help you.