Thursday, June 24, 2010

The Pressure to Donate

I read an article this morning from Fine Art Views Newsletter that brought back memories that are slightly painful. It was called How To Give Without Being Taken. Many of us artists have been asked to donate art for some fund raiser of another during the course of our artistic careers. It's hard to donate a painting that could be sold for full value and pay the electric bill, yet at the same time, we feel guilty and selfish if we say no. So how do we come to some kind of balance?

The above article, written by Luann Udell, offers some good suggestions. Following the suggestions does not guarantee that it will work, but it is at least a start.

One suggestion is to give the organization an invoice stating the value of the painting you are donating, a little blurb about you, the artist, and suggesting a minimum bid. I have donated to a fundraiser and it did not turn out the way I had hoped. I provided a paper with all the particulars on it including the value, size, medium, and info about me. I hoped this information would be passed on to the auctioneer, because it is after all, the auctioneer that is responsible for selling the painting. However, even an invoice, or similar paper, does not mean they will understand the true value of the painting and therefore promote it appropriately.

Luann also suggests that you give to a fundraiser that means something to you. That way, you won't feel so conflicted in offering a painting for free to an organization and losing the value of it (donating a painting to charity cannot be claimed on your taxes as a write-off). I frequently get requests to donate paintings to organizations to raise money for animals, usually shelters. If I gave to all of the organizations that make requests, I probably wouldn't have any paintings left. If you are an animal artist, you know what I mean. I especially do not feel obligated to give a donation to a shelter in Arizona when I live in North Carolina and my local animal shelter needs as much, if not more, help than theirs does. I want to raise money for my local shelter, not one that is on the other side of the country. It is because I care for animals that I am doing my Faces of Love series rather than donating to an unknown organization over 2,000 miles away.

In addition, Luann makes a wonderful suggestion that you offer to sell your painting to the organization at a wholesale price. That way both you and the charity can get paid! It also gives more value to your painting and the organization will work harder to sell it for a higher price. The shame of it is that too many people, organizations, and charities think you ought to give away your art and be happy with the exposure you will, hopefully, receive.

Lastly, Luann suggested that the artist be present at the charity event. That is a good idea, if they let you in without charging you. I naively thought I would be invited to the event because I made a donation to the auction. Not so! If I wanted to attend I had to pay the full price of a ticket - $35.00 per person. Wow! I learned the hard way. Not only did they not get anywhere near the value of my donation at the auction, but I could not attend to help promote my own donation to help raise the bid on it. In addition, I got no future commissions from the exposure I received at the event and that was what I had really hoped for since I was new to the area at the time.

It was a hard learned lesson for me, but it was worth it. I am more careful to whom I donate my artwork. I make sure it's a charity that means something to me, and I no longer feel guilty saying "No" when asked to donate.

Next week, Luann is covering "Part 2: The perfect way to handle requests to donate your work!" I look forward to seeing what she has to say about that subject.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Sennelier La Carte Paper Review

I tested a new paper (new for me, that is) the other day. I painted a quick Persian cat portrait on Sennelier La Carte sanded paper and I used pastels. I have already tried this paper with pencils (wrong surface for pencils!) So, now I'm trying pastels. I have to say though, I didn't have high hopes due to what I had already seen in the paper.

La Carte paper is a stiff 200-lb paper that is not easily bent or creased. The surface of the paper is coated with vegetable fiber that actually comes off quite easily. When I rested my hand on the paper, the vegetable fiber was all over my hand when I picked it up, AND there was a bald spot on the paper! That bald spot cannot be covered up with pastels or pencils, so that means the paper, in that one spot, is not usable. If that bald spot happens to be in an area of your painting that cannot be cropped out, then you have a big problem.

In addition, when I blended the pastels with my fingers, as I usually do, the vegetable fiber came off and smooshed around on the paper along with the pastels. Not good.

Finally, hard pastels most definitely did NOT work with La Carte paper; they simply scraped the fiber right off the paper.

Needless to say, I will not be using this paper again. Since it is expensive, I will not miss paying the price for it either. Now, what to do with the left over paper??????


Here's a little mini drawing I did for an artist trade on an artist forum that of which I am a member. Just a simple ole onion on black Stonehenge paper. I used Primsacolor Verithins and Premier colored pencils. I've been wanting to draw this onion for a while now. Size is 2.5" x 3.5".

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Blog Changes

In case you have noticed something different on my blog, you're not seeing things. I have changed the look of the blog a bit. Okay, more than a bit.

I have had this blog for several years now and to be perfectly frank, I have become bored with the look. Not only that, but I felt the look was not entirely professional looking. I didn't like the color of the text but I couldn't change it. Now eblogger has come up with new templates and let's me have much more control of the design of my blog, so I took the opportunity to experiment and change the look.

Please let me know what you think. Does this color scheme work? I think it's easier on the eyes, but you guys be the judges and tell me what you think!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Something I thought I'd Never Do!

Have you ever totally disliked something, I mean REALLY disliked something and for some inexplicable reason suddenly decided you might just like it after all? Well, I have just taken a turn down that road.

I have never, ever liked oil paints at all .... nada, nein, nunca and every other form of negative you can come up with. I have always been thankful that I am a pencil artist because oil paints, canvases, brushes, and oil mediums are so expensive! I don't know if it's out of boredom, pent-up creativity, or experimentalism, but I have a sudden urge to give oils a try.

*sigh* I have a feeling I am really stepping in it this time. Mind you I will never, NEVER give up pencils, but I think we all need a little experimenting now and then in order to grow as artists.

I started working with pastels a while ago, but have been indecisive about how far I wanted to go with them considering they are an incredibly fragile medium, and they pain they are to mat, frame, and ship. I love how pastels look, their simplicity, ease of use, and portability.

However, Oils can just be popped into a frame just like my colored pencil paintings, and I like that very much! There are a lot of other issues with oils that I will have to work out, such as the amount of time to dry and the fact that my house is full of cat hair. Artists Cathy Sheeter and Leslie Harrison have the same problem. I'm not sure what to do about that, especially since I cannot shut off one room since we have no AC and need all of our doors and windows open for cross-ventilation. At least I don't have to worry about having good ventilation when I paint!

I am planning on buying some good quality oil paints and archival panels and renting a few oil painting videos to get me started some time in the next few weeks. I don't have to worry about my busy schedule until next month, at which point I may not have enough time. I am very excited to get started, but apprehensive as well. I don't like wasting money and I'm still not entirely sure I should spend the money to do this.

What do all of you think? Should I take the leap and give oils a try or just stay with what I know best????

Wednesday, June 9, 2010


As all of you know, I love horses. I grew up raising and training horses, and taking part in different types of competitions. This painting, Elegance, grew out of my love for horses. I like to focus on the beauty, gracefulness of horses, as well as the horsemanship and showmanship skills of their riders and handlers.

While I was judging a horse show last year, my husband kindly took photographs of the horses and people for me. He got some really great shots too! This was one such shot. Now, I have cropped it quite a bit. My husband took the shot from quite a distance, but I wanted to focus on the graceful curves of this horse, the way he was moving, and the lower body position of the rider. I decided on a gold background because I associate gold with elegance and this horse had a decidedly elegant look. I kept the background simple so as not to interfere with the horse and rider. I let the horse's swishing tail add to the composition in the empty part of the painting.

I enjoyed painting this picture very much and I hope you have enjoyed viewing it and reading about its creation.


Medium: Prismacolor Colored pencils with Neocolor II watercolor underpainting
Support: Pastelbord
Size: 8" x 10"
Accessories: Stencil and bristle brushes for blending
Ref Photo Credit: My husband