Help Name My Store

My brain is dead!  Not necessarily a good time to try and make significant changes to a blog site but hey, I’ve got nothing else to do at the moment so why not create a store.  Yes, they make it sound simple, and it probably is, but currently, my biggest challenge is figuring out a fitting name for my store–and yes, I’ve ruled out ‘My Store.’  So I’m asking for help–HELP!  I need ideas for a store with bird related products with an emphasis on art, keeping in mind branding, bird-watching…

Here are the rules:

  • In the comments section or on my Facebook page, post your suggestion(s).
  • You are limited to 3 ideas–considering I can’t even come up with one, this seems excessive.
  • Deadline for suggestions is midnight Saturday, February 28.  (This sounds so official, but I’m a tough judge)
  • I will post my favorite options in a new blog post for voting–voting will close Tuesday, March 3 and the winner will be announced March 4.  (If you don’t see any post with names to vote on you will know that nobody really cared what I named my store and I received no suggestions.  If that’s the case I’ll just settle for something creative like, ‘My Store.’)
  • The winner receives a package of five different full-size note cards, each signed by non other then myself…shipping expenses on me as well.

    An example of one of the cards the winner will receive.
    An example of one of the cards the winner will receive.

In the meantime I will be uploading items to my storefront in preparation for the GRAND OPENING on Monday, March 9.  Hopefully that gives me enough time to figure this cyber store thing out.

All I have left to say is this–Ready…set…go…let the name ideas flow!

Ducks Drying On My Easel

Preening ducks
Preening ducks

I THINK I’m done with this.  This is just a phone shot of the painting and as you can see there are reflections from the lights.  I will let it dry and check it out in different light, but currently, I’m inclined to step away from the canvas.

This has been a fun piece to paint.  It may not look like it, but I really loosened up on this painting and had some fun pushing the colors.  My brain is tired so I have nothing more to say but this, enjoy and have a great evening!  Oh, and if you have an idea for a title let me know.

A Picnic For a Stealthy Bird

Some of you may have thought that I, BW, no longer existed and that this blog was solely about the artist.  You’ll be happy to know that we have an adventure planned.  A picnic!

Here I am preparing to head out.

Preparing for a picnic adventure
Preparing for a picnic adventure with Great Blue Herons

My camera is packed, notepad on hand and a tablecloth to sit on, just in case its damp outside (personally I think we need a checkered tablecloth though–maybe Kara will listen to me on that).  The only thing missing is my bird book and food, but we plan to collect that when we get to the bird refuge.  We will catch creepy, crawly snakes, scurrying mice and flopping fish, all delicacies meant to entice a Great Blue Heron.  (Hopefully, Mr. or Mrs. Heron does not mistake me for food.)

During our picnic I will be collecting important information about Herons that I can pass on to you.  While studying the Heron in its habitat, we plan to get some good reference photos that Kara can use to replicate our picnic in a painting.  Our goal is to have the fourth painting in The Bird-Watcher series done by the end of April.  A lofty goal since this is going to be a big painting, but it is attainable…I have faith in her.  I’m sure she will keep you posted as this process progresses.

In closing–I thought you might like to see the ‘selfie’ I took last summer.

Selfie
Selfie

Painting in the Fresh Air

En Plein Air piece--painted while sitting on grass.  Burrrrr!
En Plein Air piece–painted while sitting on grass. Burrrrr!

One of my goals this year is to paint at least one piece a week en plein air–in layman’s terms–paint out in the air.

I didn’t get my business goals set until mid-January so my plein air pieces didn’t start until last week.  On Friday, January 30, at 11:30 a.m. I headed out.  It was a balmy 47 degrees here in the beautiful NW.  The sun was shining, mostly, and the birds thought it was spring.  A perfect day to paint.  Loading gear and dog into the car, I headed to a nearby field where I discovered I’d forgotten my tripod for the easel.  Fearing I might not come back if I went home I decided to just sit and paint.  The insulation between me and the cold, wet ground was a thin plastic bag meant for hauling my garbage home.  The perspective was not what I’d hoped but I made the best of it and while Bekkah, my dog, ran from one mole hill and mouse trail to another I captured the essence of the day, then decided to add her as well.

As you can see–it’s loose and thick with oil paint.  My goal when starting out, is to complete a piece within 45 minutes to an hour max.  This piece was done in about 50 minutes.  I’ve done only a few plein air pieces in my lifetime so I’m hoping to see an improvement throughout the year and look forward to sharing them with you each week.  Look for them on Wednesdays–currently that is the day I’ve blocked in time to paint in the great outdoors.

Actual painting size is 4 1/8″ X 6 1/2″ and does not include the white boarder.  The painting surface is gesso primed heavy art paper that I tape to a hardboard while I paint.  My palette:  Viridian green; ivory black; UM blue; Raw Umber; Cad Red; (Gamblin) Cad Yellow Medium; Raw Sienna and Titanium White.

reference for Mighty Hunter
Bekkah–the Mighty Hunter and gatherer

All these pieces will be for sale once dry and can be shipped.  Please contact me if you are interested.

The Value of Values

This is the messy stage of painting.  When I first started painting I thought everything needed to be perfect from the very get-go.  I would spend hours on one spot, move to another and there discover, everything was off.  At that time I didn’t even really know what was off, it just didn’t feel right.

Value study
Value study

Then I took a color theory class from William Cochran–teacher extraordinaire.  The first course was on values.  There lies the key to a good painting.  You can have all the colors and perspective correct but if your values are off the painting is flat, there’s no star of the show and to the untrained eye, like mine was when I first started, you stand back and wonder what is off.   Continue reading “The Value of Values”

The State of My Art Address

This is a repeat of my newsletter I just sent out to all the people on my mailing list.  It states where I started last year but more importantly, it states my goals for 2015.  The bar has been set…now to jump over it.  This 18″ x 36″ canvas below is the first hurdle…paint goes on tomorrow (after my dentist appointment–ugh!).

Sitting Ducks on my easel
Sitting Ducks on my easel

The State of My Art Address

I don’t know how many of you watched The State of the Union Address.  Somehow I missed it this year.  Just in case you did too, I thought I’d provide you with some equally interesting and pertinent information–The State of My Art Address–here’s where you picture me standing on my soapbox, tapping on the microphone, clearing my throat and in my best Daffy Duck voice saying:

Dear Fellow Art Lovers, Bird Lovers, Collectors, Clients, Friends and Family,

I’d like to begin by saying THANK YOU! Your support has been invaluable to me in the past and particularly in 2014 as I changed my focus from faux finishing/murals to fine art.  Many of you supported me with encouraging words, many by attending shows I participated in, many by purchasing cards and prints and others by becoming ‘collectors’ of my original work.  All of you have brought tremendous joy to me.  I am honored by your interest in my art, which in turn encourages me to press ahead in this adventure.

I have to be realistic…it was scary when I first sat down to address the state of my art on paper a couple of weeks ago.  But in the end, I was quite pleased.  I feel like I made great strides forward, building a foundation that I can continue to build upon this year, to infinity and b-e-y-o-n-d . . . . . . . . .

My Year and Fine Art Focus Began April 1, 2014–Here’s the majority of what I accomplished

  • Business and Branding–
    • Redesigned website and rewrote all content (more changes coming this year)
    • Rewrote artist Statement and Bio
    • Wrote history of The-Bird-Watcher series
    • Developed inventory list
    • Updated and fine-tuned mailing list
    • Conceptualized and developed framing/display ‘branding’
    • Started blog–The-Bird-Watcher.com
    • Read three books on art business
    • Narrowed down subject matter and painting style
    • Participated in a 4-hour Webinar on art marketing with Xanadu
    • Met with an art mentor for brief but focused problem solving
    • Attended Art Law School 1-day workshop on licensing/copyright
    • Remodeled garage to double as a gallery for future open studios and class space
  • Shows/Sales events I Participated in–
    • Six group shows
      • Battle Ground Art Alliance Spring Show
      • Bird’s, Beast and Beauty, its last stop on an 18 month tour, Concordia University
      • Masterpiece Christian Fine Art Foundation Yearly Conference/Show, Ashland, OR
      • Clark County Fair–I know that seems small but hey, I got my work in the public eye
      • Eugene Artist Group Show, special invitation, Concordia University
      • Clark County Open Studio Tour Artist Reception
    • Solo Show at Lava Java, Ridgefield, WA
    • 2nd Annual Clark County Open Studio Tour (A juried show/tour)
  • Paintings completed
    • Painted the 3rd piece in The-Bird-Watcher series–‘Look! Flying Jewels’–36″ x 24″
    • A diptych made up of two 41″ x 30″ canvases
    • One 48″ x 60″ painting
    • One 15″ x 30″ painting
    • Several plein air pieces–at least 10

2014 was a real transition year for me, with a lot of thought and praying going into my business.  There was not quite as much creating, as I would have liked.  However, without all of the above I would not have the base on which I can now begin to create.

This is where things get really exciting–GOALS and PLANS FOR 2015!!

  • Paint or draw daily
    • Paint from 12-5 each work-day
    • Create two paintings for The-Bird-Watcher series this year
    • Paint at least one ‘smaller’ painting a week
    • Paint en plein air one day a week–another small painting
    • Participate in Free Model Guild two times a month
  • Find at least two galleries to represent my work
  • Post on The-Bird-Watcher.com blog two times a week
    • Create a gallery where art can be purchased from blog
  • Write a quarterly Newsletter–published to mailing list on the 15th of April, July and October
  • Develop residual stream of income from The Bird-Watcher concept–be looking for announcements on what that will look like by the next quarter’s newsletter
  • Open my studio for visitors three times this year–
    • March 27-29; 10-5 each day
    • July 24-26; 10-5 each day
    • November 14 & 15–if juried into Clark County Open Studio Tour.  If not juried in I will choose another date and let you know.
  • Create line of holiday cards–to be made available by September
  • Offer MONTHLY CLASSES–contact me if you are interested, by leaving a comment or emailing me at kmcgheeart@gmail.com
  • Group Shows–
    • I am delivering two pieces of art January 31st to North Bank Art Gallery for a show called Diverse Works–Dedicated Artists.  It is a juried show, made up of Battle Ground Art Alliance members.  Artist reception and opening is February 6, 5-9 p.m.
    • This section will continue to fill as opportunities arise
  • Solo Shows–at least one
    • Lava Java is already on the calendar for October–during Ridgefield’s Birdfest
    • One other is still in negotiation–to be announced if it comes to pass

Yes…I have big dreams for this year and a lot of ‘showing up’ to do.  Besides all the specific line items above I will also be participating in several competitions.

The silly thing is, when I write out my goals I get excited about seeing how all this will pan out by the end of the year.  Hopefully the State of My Art Address will be much more impressive for 2015!

Thanks for reading–I’ll see you back here soon with an update on those sitting ducks.