Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Here's to positive changes in 2009!

"New Year's Toast" 2.5"x3.5" watercolor
I had it planned to post this toast with my DSDF portrait piece but I haven't had any sleep because we had to take Mom to the airport at 3AM. And you know what happens when you lack sleep, your normal seconds stretch to minutes or hours lol But I actually sketched out the portrait by 8AM thinking finishing it would be a piece o' cake...well I can't open the bottle of Liquin - DOH! >_< How do you force open a glass bottle without breaking it? It's not like the can of Turpenoid that eventually punched a whole in because I couldn't take the cap off it WAH! Tips would be welcome for uncapping those stubborn push-and-turn caps.

I sold my "Teacups and Roses" 14"x37" pastel to my dearest Red because she wanted to surprise her Momma who expressed how much she liked the piece when she saw in the pastel exhibit. Here is a closer shot than the previous images I posted. Blowing you a kiss Red - MUAH!

Catch y'all next year ;)

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas from ArtByErika :)

I am having a lovely Christmas Season with my Mom visiting from California. I am also especially pleased that I finished all my commissions, even the big one I finished last night that's not due until next week. It's a private piece I'm not allowed to share though :) I feel as if I hadn't taken a breath until I knew this last piece was done lol! Now I can spend a whole week with nothing dangling in the back of my mind to hold me back for some quality time with family!

While I was furiously finishing my last piece, we were surprised by carolers! My dermatologist and the rest of his 20-member family and a box of homemade goods! I wish I could have joined them and singing to the rest of the neighborhood but I needed to keep working. I felt like a Scrooge.

I hope all my blog friends are feeling fulfilled and whole as I am. I wish you all the best that the season can offer. Please know I appreciate the time you've given me by reading up on me even if you don't comment hahaha! Each of you is a beautiful gift in my life xox

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Mommy Baby Dog commission oil portrait done!

"J&H" 8"x10" oil on canvas
I call that part of the chest where loved ones feel they belong perfectly a personal parking space :) I rarely do a commission where I don't have the need to modify the poses before I paint it. Most of the time I have to combine at least 3 photos so the composition doesn't look like a collage when I paint it. **Dec.22, 2008 I've updated this image with the scanned version. Hope you like :)
"Zoey" oil on canvas
Incidentally, same client owns this portrait of sweet Snoot Girl Zoey who sadly passed away recently. This painting is from 2000 I think. I've seen this painting hanging on every wall H moves to and I see the images on the Internet, it's so cool so to see my art continued to be enjoyed through the years :)

At this point I feel good about meeting my professional deadlines and now I can do some personal art except there's a big piece I need to finish by end of the month and it's a private piece I can't share others. So if it seems I'm even more scarce online it's because of the holidays and that piece.

It's been brought to my attention that some people post comments and they disappear :( I'm so sorry to hear this - I DON'T DELETE comments unless it's completely offensive, and in which case I contact the poster and ask for their address so I can personally run over their toes. Please don't let the website's occasional burps discourage you from posting. I love comments and am always grateful for the time people take to make their thoughts known to me. :)

**update on commission: She cried! I'm so mean! :)

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

DSDF 15-16 Watercolor Boots Oscar Myers

"My Winter Thoughts" 5.5x8.5 watercolors
Sung to the tune of the Oscar Myers jingle:
"Oh I wish we had a California winter
'cuz Arkansas just gets too cold for me!
My feet get cold and only Ugg shoewear keep them warm,
And those datburn things just do not come for free!" *curtsy* :)

Well we had our official snow scene yesterday and it was also a wet chill in my bones, I don't like it I don't like it WAH! Thankfully I have Karin Jurick's photo to vent out my WAH-WAH thoughts :) Please visit DSDF week 15-16 when you get a chance ;)

I haven't touched the Mommy Baby portrait but spent a little time with Mom. It's also officially Christmas in our heads since Mom has plugged in the fiber optic 4-ft tree LOL! The owners of Sandy and Domino's portrait picked it up yesterday and were very wowed so that that of course warms the cockles of my heart :) (But not me feet and hands hahahaha!)

Friday, December 12, 2008

Van Gogh, Betty and Baby Mom oil portrait WIP

I had to share that today Mom and I went to the car shop to get my wheelchair tire changed lol! The local wheelchair repair guy couldn't get the stripped stainless steel bolt out about 10 months ago. He was at it for almost 2 hours while I was being charged $45/hr so I had him stop then and let me take the new tire home. But hubby couldn't get the bolt out either. So today we just went for last resort because the old tire was more bald than Savalas. And while we were there we had the van get some love too for some lube and oil. Incidentally they are lovingly referred to as Betty and Van Gogh, right Red?
I was really hoping to get this piece done by now since it's fairly simple and small at 8x10. But I think Mom is getting restless and she was literally cleaning and bumping around me today while I painted so I had to stop and play Scrabble with her. I think the painting is looking so sweet in more ways than one. Sweet in that it's a sweet shot and sweet for artists who just melt when they feel they are hitting the right colors and the feeling they envisioned.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Baby and Mom oil portrait

I got final approval for Sandy and Domino and while I was waiting for that email, I went ahead and drew my next one which I've quickly under painted today. A new baby and his momma, 8x10 oil. This will go to Chicago.

Hillary asked me what I meant by final approval and/my process for commissions. First, here are my 6-yr old commission prices. I haven't read it in a while but I guess since I wrote it I agree with it lol!

Anyway I divide the process in 3-4 stages. First, the client "retains" me which to me means, I save a slot in my waiting list for this client for 1/4 or 1/3 of the final fee which is based on size and how complicated the piece will be. This retainer fee is unrefundable because it means their turn is guaranteed and I possibly researched and bought materials for it already. In all likelihood, I was already painting it in my head before I finished the previous piece.

Next I draw the art and get approval for the composition and maybe the likeness too. Then I block in colors and again I get approval for the colors and the look. Somewhere there the next payment is secured. Final payment is sent when the piece is about 95% or more done.

And here is the just about done version of Sandy and Domino, I just need to paint the edges of the canvas :)

I apologize for not visiting my usual rounds. I'm on the roll and sorta don't want to break the groove ;)

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Chihuahua oil pet portrait update and wii

Update on Sandy and Domino. Got 100% approval from client on this stage so I will now take it to the finish. However I've decided I will go ahead and lengthen Domin's left leg because it bothers me. She has it pulled in closer to her in the photo but nobody will see the photo so she looks a little odd this way. So I will just give it a little more even look, don't you think? Man will they ever be surprised with the finished product. Most clients don't really know how much better the final look will be and they're basically approving the artwork about 2/3 into it teehee :)

Yes, running behind. We ended up cleaning the house for two days because we don't have a housekeeper. Working from home can really create a mess. And usually one can tell I'm busy with art when the house looks like a war zone, I'm not kidding at all!!! Thank goodness hubby dear is game about helping me clean.

And MOM IS HERE! So I now get daily massages ooooohhhh sooo nice! And you can be proud of me that although Mom, Pops and my sister got us wii sports and fitness bundle for Christmas, and it's now hooked up, I haven't let myself get addicted yet because of the commissions lol But I played tennis, bowled and got strikes 4x in a row, gooofed around golfing, but knocked out my opponent on the 5th round (yes, better than Paquiao) -- all in one night! It was sooo bad for my rotator cuff problem so I'll await Mario Kart which cousin Ed ordered for me, so I can drive. Thanks to Theresa for raging about wii on her blog, I decided it was another active activity hubby and I can do together. So far he LOVES it and has played tennis daily! Believe me, he needs to be pried away from work badly!

Hope your holiday season is cheerful so far!

Friday, December 5, 2008

Pet portrait in oils in progress #1

Here are Sandy and Domino looking a mess in their initial state. This is 20x16x1.5 oil on canvas. Now hubby and I must begin cleaning the house in anticipation of Mom's arrival on Sunday.

Final and approved oil portrait + Leap of Faith

(remember to click images to enlarge)
"D&M" 11x14 commission oil portrait on canvas
I love love love how this portrait fell together. The photo of the hubby was nice and clear to work from. But the one for M posed a bit of a challenge because though they are good looking people, they just have limited pics of themselves! And I'm such a sucker for love stories and couldn't wait to do this portrait. They've been sweethearts since teens and now successfully married and just attended their eldest daughter's wedding. She found me on Etsy! She originally hired me to do a portrait of her hubby for their anniversary until he found out and was sad that she wasn't going to be painted too. So there ya go, we have, as we do in real life, D&M together forever! And truly is one of the best clients I've ever met. She saw the email and responded SHE LOVES IT and the final payment is in the mail YAY! And this painting is off to Michigan! Hmm there's here left ear peeking twixt her hair which shows fleshy unlike the photo so I don't know what happened there...

Alice Thompson asked me to post old work and open them up for discussion. Ok it's dark and I've stopped painting for now so I can play a little. I've chosen a series I did right before I moved to Arkansas in 2004. It all started with one painting for a show that EBSQ called "Cirque". After painting the first one, I enjoyed playing with the colors so much that I eventually ended up painting 3! Each one 18'x24" on canvas. The first and last were acrylics; the 2nd in oils. They were originally titled "Cirque 1 -3" lol But after I saw them together, they became the "Leap of Faith" series. Unintentionally, each piece progressively told a story. The first one was tethered like the cirque du soleil performers. The 2nd piece, looks like she went and jumped off with the ball. And the third looks like she has finally mastered the leap and was actually able to float gracefully. All these have sold! This year I sold and shipped the last and my favorite of the three painting #2 to Australia to one of my Ebay buyers who saw the painting in my website :) Man was that a learning experience to send a big flat package there! Incidentally, each was especially composed from my fuzzy head; none was based on a specific photo. The first was inspired by someone's Halloween costume, the second one I completely concocted the figure and the background inspired by a ceiling of a building in Cuba, the last one was inspired by a buddhist tent at an annual food bash they hold annually in Sacramento. :) What a triumphant series to be able to sell pieces I made all up in my head. They really made me feel like the artist I want to be when I grow up!

Chop chop, I'm in the middle of painting Sandy and Domino now!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Oil portrait commission and

update #3 on this oil portrait commission
I've been working on a few portrait commissions for the last stretch of the holiday season. I was hoping to be done this week in time for my Mom's arrival on Sunday but I don't think it will work in my favor as I have 5 more to go!!!! I might be able to finish three this week and one next week but the big one I have until end of December. For some reason my brain knows exactly when my deadline is so the rest of my body will find all kinds of obstacles so I only have but a small window to meet my deadlines. Do any of my artist friends know what I mean, I wonder?

I had a lovely Thanksgiving I hope you all did too! I got full too fast for my liking so I didn't get more than 3 slices of turkey at my SIL's. So yesterday I roasted our own turkey :) In fact I roasted just the turkey body (is there a more proper way to say that?), as in no limbs. And I think that's the way to go for us because neither one likes the dark meat. We also met for the first time our first grand niece, little Ava Elise, who is every bit as pretty as her name! I'm sure to paint her at some point and I will share it with you.

I LOVE how my grandma's book turned out!!!!!!! Excellent quality I completely endorse photobooks! I know my Mom will SO CRY, she will be all weepy at Christmas Eve when I give this to her mwuahahahahaha! I got her 3 books so she can give copies to a couple of her sisters. She has 4 sisters but these books aren't cheap.... in fact I will get myself a copy later. But I made another book which is about portraits I've done. (the title is "My Favorite Portraits"). I wanted to try the book with dust jacket for one thing. But I prefer the hard cover. The jacket will fall apart faster than the cover which doesn't have anything written on it. On the cover is the 3"x4" oil portrait I did of my Mom which printed beautifully even as a bigger version of the original. Ok I must go back to painting!