Monday, December 6, 2010
Tuesday, November 30, 2010
Wednesday, September 29, 2010
Welcome to the Cooper Studio, Jefferson, Iowa, where I am pondering that old geometry rule about the shortest distance between two points being a straight line. And no, we are not discussing paint-on-canvas kinds of lines today, we are talking about conceptual lines (whew, lift your feet, it's getting deep) and thoughts of art marketing.
Conceptual lines. And that's where the problem begins. Artists are by nature visual people, right? We like real lines. Lines we can see. What are we supposed to do with a conceptual line that's just "out there". We're supposed to be able to see it's reality, even though it's not even there. Dios mio.
Are you ready for my point of contention? I don't think conceptual lines behave well in the geometry classroom. I think conceptual lines ignore the fact that they are supposed to go straight. At least when we are talking about the conceptual lines in art marketing.
Let me share two links to excellent posts that got me started on thinking these deviant thoughts.The first, written by Lori Woodword, is titled The Future Of Art Marketing. http://canvoo.com/blog/23251/the-future-of-art-marketing In the article Lori discusses the future need for galleries representing artists versus artists representing themselves online.
Then you need to go read Olivia Alexander's thought provoking post at http://oliviaalexander.com/blog/23405/challenges-of-the-present-day-artist Olivia mentions her own art marketing is now on a 3 to 1 ratio with painting. Yup folks, that's 3 for the marketing, 1 for the painting. AND don't pretend that's not your story as well. I spent the entire day yesterday "marketing" my art at the Octagon (Ames, Iowa) Art Festival. One way or the other art marketing soaks up an amazing amount of hours.
Okay, now we need to get back to the geometry of this whole mess. I've plotted the two points: PointA (The Future Of Art Marketing) and PointB (Challenges Of The Present Day Artist) Olivia talked about taking an internet marketing "fast" while Lori wrote about limited gallery role partnered with go-it-on-your-own marketing. Surely those are the extremes, the opposite points, right? Quick! Draw a straight line between those two points! Right---it aint gonna happen. I think reality says that if you made that conceptual art marketing line into a visual one, you would see that it hooks and curls and detours all over the place. Quite possibly there are even some road blocks and maybe even a few dead end signs on that conceptual line-turned visual.
So, you are an artist. Where do you belong on that line? Are you on the hook part where you love meeting and greeting patrons and telling them about your art? Maybe you don't need galleries so much. Are you the artist who anguishes over not getting enough studio time? Maybe you are supposed to be hanging out on that conceptual line curl where galleries are oh-so-important. Maybe you are the artist who still has to try a little of both the conceptual line curls and hooks until one of them hits a road block sign, and sends you the other direction. Not a pretty thought, is it, that road block?
Which brings us full circle to my parting shot. (Don't you love how we just came "full circle" in a geometry discussion of two points and a not-so-straight line?!) IF we were all alike, we would paint exactly the same paintings, and we could all market them in exactly the same way. Fact of the matter is, we aren't, we won't, and we can't. Just like painting, we need to find our style, our niche. Find out what works for this ONE artist.
Somewhere on that not-so-straight conceptual line of art marketing, somewhere in between internet fasting and full bore self marketing, is the place that likely has your name on it. How do you find it? It's just like developing your painting style---you have to study, practice, experiment. Oh, and you have to expect a few road blocks and dead end signs---hopefully not too many. Good luck in your search.
Tuesday, July 13, 2010
Welcome to the Cooper studio, Jefferson, Iowa on a gorgeous Tuesday, July 13th.
I just read the latest "painter's keys" newsletter from Robert Genn. Most of it was about the age old problem of knowing when it's time to stop on a painting, how to avoid working a painting to death, literally and figuratively :)
The article included a statement that really stopped me:
"I find our world to be loaded and cocked with creator wannabees. We artists represent the last bastion of the hand of man."
I would love to sit down and have a cup of coffee and converse with Mr Genn about his thoughts given there. To me, the contrast between the wannabees and the creatives is especially stark.
I just returned home from KraslArtFair, St Joseph, Michigan. (yes, it's a wonderful event) Lately, at art fairs, I've noticed my work attracting more young people---maybe it's what I'm painting, or the way I'm painting, or is it the "creator wannabee" factor? Quite possibly it's the compilation of all three. Is it the next generation looking ahead and contrasting automated versus creative? I try to always encourage: practice, practice, practice, and never stop with the studying. I balance it with: it's hard work and you have to have the determination to persevere. And as they walk away romancing the life of an artist, I wonder which side of that contrast line between wannabees and creatives they will end up on?
Ok, so we'll rename today "philosophical Tuesday" :) but now it's time to go paint. Thanks for stopping by. Have a lovely day.
Thursday, July 8, 2010
Beach Chair Occupied, an acrylic painting on a perfect little 20 x 20 inch canvas. I promise to get it into my portfolio very soon!
Saturday, June 19, 2010
Welcome to the Cooper studio, Jefferson, Iowa, on a fine June Saturday morning.
I am off my regular running schedule this week---surely I can blame it on the midnight ride home from Chicagoland (Hinsdale Art Festival) last Sunday. I try to run M-W-F, but when the car parks in the garage post 1am on Sunday, you KNOW how Monday morning feels. So this week is a T-T-S kind of week. And because I'm already going about it weirdly, it seemed only logical to make the Saturday morning portion of that running program a little different as well. I added some distance. I didn't say lots, I said some. And the last portion of it was up what the town of Jefferson claims as a hill. (Jefferson doesn't know hills very well) Anyway, I felt the difference. My feet were just barely coming up off the street, I'm pretty sure. Is it possible to run flat? I don't think my side profile was very attractive, and definitely it was not good form. (never is) But I pushed, and I made it back into the driveway. The garage was once again a welcome sight.
A week ago, for some odd and unknown reason, I went some extra distance on Monday. Do my feet have built in odometers?---somehow they knew because Wednesday and Friday's normal distance was a breeze. It causes me to ask theis question: If you push extra hard on one day, does the normal routine seem easier, IS it easier, on subsequent days? And does it apply to more than just running? How about painting?
If I put an oversized canvas up on the easel, and start adding paint, does that 20 inch canvas seem easier when I get back to it? If I do a commissioned painting for someone, and then get back to painting whatever amuses me, is it easier?
What about signing up for a new class? I did that, and this past Tuesday was the first day. About halfway through, I realized I was thinking of the regular figure drawing group at Ames (Iowa State University), and even the previous one up at Okoboji (Pearson Lakes Art Center). It would have felt like old-home-week to be back in either of those groups rather than working to adjust to all that was new and different at the DesMoines Art Center class.
So, how about painting? Is it good to push for some extra distance? I think I just answered my own question. And it's affirmative. Thanks for stopping by.
And if anyone is wondering, I'm working on a cool painting of two people with their bikes by the lake. Hopefully a posted image is in our near future.
Thursday, April 29, 2010
Welcome to the Cooper studio, Jefferson, Iowa, on a fine Thursday, April 29th.
Today we are going to talk about authority. More specifically, we'll talk about what makes it. Yesterday's conversation started with toast, of the burnt variety, someone wasn't paying attention to the details. Peanut butter toast is the headliner today, possibly because I just consumed a piece. While my slice of bread was languishing between the heater coils of my counter top machinery I happened to read the label of the peanut butter jar. Immediately my mind brought forth their advertising slogan, "Choosy Mothers Choose Jif". (to give equal time, do I need to mention that "Skippy is the peanutiest"?) What makes either of them the peanut butter authority?
As you can clearly see that brings us to our subject of the day! We've got several varieties:
1. authority by power: bigger, tougher, meaner, I can tell you what to do, and enforce that you believe me
2. authority by purchase: lots of money, can buy the opinion, and everybody believes it because there's lots of money involved (forgive me for typing this word on my blogspace, but think "lobbyist")
3. authority by talent/skill: you are so blooming good at what you do, that no one wants to even contest that you are not the authoratative expert
4. authority by volume: the majority rules, in bad form it could be the lynch mob, in positive form we call it the common good
5. authority by election: everybody loves you and they want you to have it
6. authority by knowledge: know it all, way more than you, I can belittle you about your lack of knowledge while I overwhelm you with the mass of mine
7. authority by experience: you've seen it all and done it all, and everyone else wants to take the short cut, so they ask you
When we look at 2 + 2 = 4, most of us will agree, the math teacher can be an authority. Is it one of the few places in the world where authority is based on fact rather than opinion? If you put two apples with two apples, you really do end up with four apples. In contrast, when we've got a painting hanging in a prestigous place, and the critic lauds it as the best ever, and calls the creator "the next big thing" don't you just want to ask "who made you the authority, Mr. Critic?" [Robert Genn's newsletter from yesterday was about "the next big thing" and you should go read it.] Is it really the best painting ever? Why doesn't anyone holler out "prove it!"?
A little time spent in blog-land can yield up quite a few misappointed authorities. Not so long ago, I read a fellow artist's post on the subject of "how to varnish a painting". I wondered where his authority came from. He obviously hadn't read the label on the back of a jar of Golden. (For you non-painters, Golden is a producer of quality art products, including varnish) Yet, if someone googled "how to varnish a painting", aforementioned fellow artist was going to be there, ready to tell you how to do it, and wrong. Whoa, am I calling myself the authority on truthful blog writing? This could really get sticky.
By now, I suppose a few of you are beginning to wonder if I grew up in the "challenge the authorities" 60's and 70's, and yes, yes I did. Let me quickly state that I firmly believe authority can be good, and we need the good kind. However! I think as artists, we need to constantly remind ourselves that authority is so often just an opinion. Be it the opinion bought with money, OR the opinion of someone with great talent and skills. So fellow artist, when the person in charge says "nope, we don't want your painting in our show", that means it's NOT time to heave that painting toward the nearest dumpster, rather it's time to go find a different authority. After all, it almost always is, just an opinion.
Friday, February 26, 2010
Welcome to the Cooper studio, Jefferson, Iowa. Hey, it's Friday. At least I think so.
As I checked blog comments, I noticed a slightly interesting something about the most recent post here. If you didn't patch together the post title and one of the internal links, well, then all was craziness.
Let me explain. The title was "Cooper Studio Newsletter Published (Yay!)" Down in the text was a link to said newsletter. I completely knew what I was doing. Many of you maybe did not. These things happen once in a while.
Let's put it in black and white, better yet, red. Cooper Studio Newsletter Published (Yay!)
Now, all you have to do is click on those red letters, and I promise you, you will get there. And a tip for the viewer unfamiliar with the format: at the bottom of the video screen is a "box" with four arrows. Clicking on that will give you a full screen view. Much more enjoyable, I think. Have fun!
Wednesday, February 17, 2010
So the painting has a name: A Fine Sound (July 4th At The Park), an acrylic painting on a nice little 12 x 12 canvas. And yes, of course it's available in my portfolio. The "fine sound" mentioned is a vocal artist , Bonne Finken, whose band we saw at Arnolds Park (Iowa) last summer. Truely fine.
Back to the easel. Have a lovely day!
Thursday, February 4, 2010
Welcome to the Cooper studio, where we often attempt to answer that everpressing question:
Why do artists paint the way they do?
Answer: Because left brained people drive us to borderline ludicrous-osity. Instead of painting, I have just spent the last 5 hours 32 minutes figuring out how to fill out AND WIN over somebody's idea of mandatory questionaire fun.
However, it's a well documented fact, that right brained people are incredibly stubborn, fueled by large quantities of perserverance and competitiveness. That means I won, and am now certified compliant to PCI-DSS.
If you are an artist who exhibits at summer art fairs and accepts credit cards, you'll need to certify as well. On my other website blog I've given a couple of tips to make it slightly easier.
Oh, but I can't make easier the part where they charge you $85 dollars. In fact that's probably already hit your account. That's how I first discovered the whole situation.
Thursday, January 7, 2010
Welcome to the Cooper studio, Jefferson, Iowa. So we'll blame it on the weather. I haven't written at this blog since December 9th, and guess what? The weather is exactly the same, only more of it. My husband got a new snowblower for his Christmas present. What a stroke of genius that was!
But let's get back to the title subject. I have been reading a book chock full of thought provoking stuff: Conversation In Paint, by Charles Dunn. I wrote an article on my other blog about artist's crutches, and have been mentally adding to the list ever since.
Can I quote a whole paragraph? Here, try this one on for size:
"You don't have to draw well to produce pretty good art. The invention of the camera did away with the need for traditional academic drawing. Looking at the mature work of Klee, Miro, Pollack, and Chagall, I don't see much in the way of traditional academic drawing skills. Like many artists with the skills to work anywhere on the concept-related/image-related continuum, these artists deliberately chose to work at the simpler, concept-related end. If you don't have much confidence in your drawing skill, work closer to the concept-related end of the scale."
Wow! Crutch alert! Artists that can't draw? And why not? Are they taking the easy road? Are they lazy? Is drawing not important?
Oh this is definitely going to take further investigation. And while you're waiting, please note that everything in paragraph four is in quotation marks. That means I shared someone else's thoughts and words. I am not yet persuaded to be in agreement :) Stay tuned for possible answers to some of those questions up there in paragraph five!