Cultivating Healthy Business Habits

This year one of my intentions is to focus more on the business side of things. I love painting but I know that if I really want to make a go of being a working artist, I need to put as much time into the business as I do into the art. 

It's time to cultivate healthy business habits.

To kick things off, I am focusing on one habit, the habit of listing my work for sale online.

I have all sorts of bits and pieces lying around in my studio that I could list but I've created all these stories in my head that get in the way of me doing just that. Stories like ...

I need a professional photograph/scan, I can't do it myself.
It will take too long.
It's not good enough to sell.
It's not finished (even though usually it is). 

Yesterday, I decided to take some time to build my confidence around listing work. It started with a crash course in using a camera (as opposed to my IPhone) and then it was just a matter of diving in and having a play around with different ways of presenting my work. 

I brought the photos into photo editing software (Lightroom) and with a bit of help from my husband I learned how just a few small adjustments can make all the difference. Once I had a few photos I liked I logged on to my website and listed the piece. 

So you can now find this painting 'Botanical Muse' listed for sale in my online shop! Success!

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While I was at it, I played around with taking photos of a few of my favourite supplies. I recently purchased these Sennelier Oil Pastels and they are so much creamier than the other pastels I have. They also have a beautiful selection of shades from bold bright colours to more subtle soft colours. 

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I've mentioned before here about my love of Daniel Smith watercolours, I try other brands from time to time but always come back to them. I love them so much that I have found a way to incorporate them into my mixed media paintings. I've been using them in the very first layer. Such a great way to loosen up and play with ideas and you can choose to preserve the watercolour in the final painting or you can cover it up with layers of other mixed media supplies. 

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I used the technique of layering acrylic over watercolour in my LIFE BOOK 2018 lesson. If you look closely in the photograph below you can see that there are parts of the original watercolour peeking through. It provides a great contrast up against the creamy acrylic and the bold inky line work. It's not too late to sign up for Life Book, registration is still open

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Well that's it for today, I've laid the foundation for listing my work online, now I just need to keep at it! All being well my online shop will be stocked to the brim very soon Xx

 

Life Book 2018 Discount + Lesson Preview

In less than two weeks Life Book 2018 starts!

I am so honoured to be a part of the Life Book 2018 teacher line-up. Life Book has a special place in my heart as it is one of the first online art courses I participated in and I remember being completely wowed by the exciting online art community that it opened up to me.

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I love how diverse the lessons are. How one week you can be painting a limited palette portrait and the next week you can be playing with neon paints and bold patterns. 2018 is even more exiting with the introduction of additional wellness lessons

My main lesson for Life Book 2018 is called 'Nature's Wisdom'. This year I made a conscious choice to deepen my connection with nature. It started with taking regular morning walks with my dog. Often I would walk the same trail and I loved watching the trail change with the seasons. I also set up a super comfy space outside for contemplation, reading and writing. Almost everyday I make time to sit in this spot and soak up the nature in my own backyard.

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As it turned out 2017 was a difficult year for me on a personal level and when I was at my lowest points I took comfort in the imperfect beauty of nature.

Sometimes I would imagine nature giving me a kiss or whispering soothing words to me. When I felt weak I would think of the strength of an old tree and just this thought would ground me and give me hope.

I'm still putting the finishing touches on my lesson but here is a peek at how it is shaping up. Fluid unpredictable watercolour + delicate patterns + creamy acrylic paint + dramatic black ink! I might even add a little gold leaf for the finishing touch. The festive season has me feeling sparkly! So much to explore, I can't wait to share what I learned along the way.

When you join Life Book 2018 you will get so much more than my lesson. There are over 85 art & wellness sessions for only AUD 123.39 / USD 95.22 if you buy before end of the year. Use: LOVEBOMB2018 upon check out to get 20% off Life Book 2018!

I would love to see you in the classroom :-)

Laura X
 

30 Days of Unfurling - Day 30: Ending on a High!

Well I made it! Day 30 of 30 Days of Unfurling. I'll admit it's been harder than I thought showing up every day and writing a blog post but I'm so glad I stuck with it and I'm super grateful for everyone that came along for the ride with me.

Towards the end of the 30 days I started getting a bit frustrated with myself, thinking that I'd invested too much time in the blog at the expense of my painting practice. But today, I went into the studio and I was able to put into place so much of what I've learned in the past 30 days. Throughout this post, I've linked to other blog posts so you can also see the connections I've made.

I continued working on several new abstract pieces using this more intentional approach that I've been craving. I'll admit that there are times when I just throw paint at the canvas and hope for the best and usually I get there in the end but there's a lot of circling involved. Not that I want to hurry the process but sometimes I do feel like I could avoid a bit of painting heartache if I had more intention at the beginning. I'm not talking about a fixed plan, just some helpful parameters.

The starting point with these paintings was to think about the words 'flow' and 'cluster'. I also set out with a particular colour palette in mind. I'm using a colour palette that I've used before and one that has plenty of opportunities to create contrast.

Choosing a colour palette from the outset allowed me to really focus on the words and the techniques I wanted to use to explore the words. I've still got more layers to add to these but I am excited about the progress.

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As I was working, new ideas came to me and I worked with those ideas rather than pushing them aside. For example, I felt like adding gold leaf rather than the gold paint I was originally thinking of. Actually if I am totally honest (which is the point of this unfurling series), my daughter begged me to use gold leaf because she loves any painting with gold leaf in it!

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I have to agree with her, gold leaf does add that something special to a painting.

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It can be a bit fiddly and I always end up with it all through my house and garden but it's fun. You might also notice that I am working on a variety of surfaces. Gallery wrapped canvases, canvas board and a birch wood panel. While I am working on a variety of sizes and surfaces, I am hoping to unify them with a common colour palette so that they can be hung together as an eclectic cluster (there's that word again). I'm continuing to start my paintings with a base coat, except the wood panel where I want some of the wood to shine through. I've used different colours in the base coats but all from the colour palette that I chose initially.

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One of the benefits of choosing my colour palette in advance for these paintings is that it freed me up to concentrate more on composition. Thinking about the possible structure of a painting, can really help to avoid so much of that 'circling' phase. Although sometimes the composition doesn't come together and then of course you just try something else. Here you can see a few different compositions taking shape:

I call this a patchwork painting but I it's more commonly known as a grid.

I call this a patchwork painting but I it's more commonly known as a grid.

This one is heading towards being an L shaped composition. There are many compositions based on the shape of letters, particularly T, H, S and Z.

This one is heading towards being an L shaped composition. There are many compositions based on the shape of letters, particularly T, H, S and Z.

The early stages of what I call a 'Nest' painting. AKA a radial or circular composition.

The early stages of what I call a 'Nest' painting. AKA a radial or circular composition.

I used Golden Fluid Acrylic and Golden Hi-Flow Acrylic to create drips and flow within several of the paintings. In the little painting above, I am not completely committed to a composition as yet, possibly circular or it could be a patchwork. I do want to tone that yellow down as it's too bright for my taste. I used a fan brush to create those delicate lines over the cobalt blue and I've never used that type of mark in a painting so that was a cool new discovery.

I'm looking forward to getting back into the studio to finish these paintings and that's a good sign that I am getting my painting mojo back! Once I've finished these minis, I'd like to see if any of the paintings might suit a big canvas or wood panel. Working small is such a great way to test out ideas. It's proving to be a great way to overcome creative block!

This post is getting quite long, I think I am delaying the inevitable, but the time has come. It's time to say goodbye and thank you for being a part of my 30 Days of Unfurling. It's not really a goodbye though because I am going to be continuing with my blog but it will be a post 1-2 times per week rather than daily. For now though, shine on creative friends Xx

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30 Days of Unfurling - Day 29: A Starting Point

I managed to get into the studio for a short spell today and I couldn't help myself, I had to try out the idea I thought of yesterday i.e. using a  word as a starting point for a painting. I chose to work with the word 'Flow' and also the word 'Cluster'.

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With flow, I was focusing on how I could create fluidity in a painting. Drips, washes, loose layers and gentle movement.

With cluster, I was thinking about how I could group elements together in a painting and create a focal point.

I didn't have long in the studio but I started to dance around with these ideas and it felt good! What I loved about it is that it encouraged me to focus in on one main technique. I often struggle with trying to include every idea and technique I've ever come across in the one painting. This exercise is not about that at all. It's about really honing in on one idea and making that the hero of the painting.

I'm really gutted because I don't have photos of the pieces of art that I worked on today. I might do a sneaky update of this post in the morning to add in photos. Yes, that seems like a good idea.

I'll be back tomorrow

Xx