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Do you every wonder how to get better at art?

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Last summer I needed to figure out who I was after my husband needed to go into care. His Alzheimer’s had become more than I could cope with. He began to wander and with my Multiple Sclerosis, I was unable to follow after him. Luckily we chose to move to a continuing care retirement community over 12 years ago. So he gets great care, but I needed to rediscover who I am.

I hadn’t painted for the interim time, so I really needed to relearn everything. Go back to the beginning of this blog, you’ll discover some of my baby steps. In the beginning…

I had many fabulous instructors. All of these are offering great online resources and detailed instruction.

We are so blessed to live in the age of the internet. My instructors are from the UK, and two from Colorado. They have each willingly shared of their knowledge.

Believe me I still needed to be willing to do the work! It’s always been the same: Study, practice, repeat! Being willing to put in the time and the effort is absolutely been my story. I’ve needed to learn to be vulnerable.

And I’ve been asking lots of questions. Why do this, Why not do that, What’s the point? What am I doing wrong and what am I doing right? My of these instructors have done critiques of my paintings. Others have put up class FB groups where we could share our work with others and hear comments and learn even more.

Somehow I’ve gotten to this point in a bit over a year. My last posts shows how amazed I am. But it does show how far we can get on our art jouney with a combination of willingness and dedication.

Oh yeah, let’s see… Finding joy in learning, free time and a compulsive personality are also helpful!

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Yellow Rose Completed – This just thrills my soul

SM Yellow Rose

I’m so thrilled with where my art has taken me. Didn’t know I could do this!!

SM Yellow Rose

Finished this late last night and I had to put it up on line this morning.

Now I’m going to see my husband for breakfast. He’s always been my art muse. He loves to see my work and hear of my adventures learning new things. He’ll love this too.

Once I get back I’ll finish this post and let you all hear more of his comments. Of course with his Alzheimer’s there’s really no longer words only emotional respose, but hey are really wonderful. He’s still able to show me his feelings and that’s really what is important anyway.

My love got out two actual words this morning: “Oh, WOW!” He is just the bestest support for me ever. We spent several hours just holding each other. He’s quiet, but loving. I never would have started this career without his encouragement.

Back when we first were dating in the 90s he introduced me to fine art. I was brought up in Northern Pennsylvania, not a part of the US known for it’s cultural awareness! So I had no idea of art and artists. He was from New York city. On one of our early weekends he took me there. We spent an entire weekend going to lots of museums.

I was already rather handicapped by my MS. He got me wheelchairs and walked me from one floor of the Met to the next. We started with their exhibit of Impressionists and then explored. Then to the other floors. I was amazed and enthralled with the varieties of work.

Next we went to the Guggenheim. He began on the top floor and we went rount and round til we we back at street level. It was a fabulous time. But it was not the last art exploration trip for us.

He had studied art at the Museum School of the Boston Museum. He introduced me to so much of the art of the world. Later we did go to Boston and the Elizabeth Stuart Gartner. When my son moved to DC we went to the National Gallery of Art.

So when he rewards me with a heartfelt “Oh, WOW”, I’m always amazed. I know he knows art and it just surprises me that he likes my work so much.

I’m just like many other artist wanna-be’s. I don’t believe I’m really any good at this stuff. So of course, I’m not sure my work measures up. No one will like it. The colors are all wrong. The drawing is not correct. And so on, and so on…

My soul is filled. So I just got back and saw my garden filled with the daffodils he planted a few years ago. Perhaps I’ll pick some. I’ll enjoy them on my table this evening and painting them in the morning!

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Yellow Rose Study is in my newest work in process

Yellow Rose Study 1

I’ve joined another study with Paul Foxton.

Last year I did his free course: Keys to Colour

I learned so very much, but couldn’t afford the full Munsell color book.

I still can’t but I really want to learn more from him in my life.

I’ve recently signed up for his monthly Threads class. I’m learning more and more and having loads of fun in the process.

Watch my progress here. Let me know what you think. Leave me a comment.

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Primrose and Galanthus

SM Primroses 2019 2

You have been watching my art progress over the last year. Thank you for all the Likes and Shares!

Now I am concentrating on both painting and making some of my best work  available to you.

The Shop is now open. Take one home.

I want you to be among the first to see my latest art.

If you sign up for updates  I’ll send you a free .pdf

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Season’s Greetings

SM Seasons Greetings
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Season’s Greetings $125.00 [wpecpp name=’Seasons Greetings’ price=’125.00′]

SOLD: Season’s Greetings is one of my absolutely favorite paintings. Spring season is so needed after winter. This painting can remind you of the warm days to come.

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Use Print on Demand with your inventory of paintings

Sell Your Paintings or Give Them as Gifts

Or when you sell a painting that many people have expressed interest in, so you know is one that you could have sold many times over? Apart from continuing that theme in your work as well as trying to sell the original paintings you have, there are many things you can do on a smaller, more economical scale to create opportunities to sell and promote your work. You may have an inventory of paintings that you don’t know what to do with, but you know that many of your close friends and family would love but can’t afford to buy (and you can’t afford to give them away). You can use that inventory to save yourself some costs on holiday, birthday, or special-event gift-giving, and simultaneously create a revenue source and marketing tool for future use. You need to spend some money to have these special items made, but it would be money you would spend on gifts, anyway, and eventually, you should recoup more than you originally invested.

With many Print on Demand services readily available, there are endless opportunities to create gift items using an image of your work. It is up to you how many of these you want to use before you feel you are crossing the line from professionalism to kitsch but here are a few good ideas for what you can do with your paintings that the people nearest and dearest to you will absolutely love, and that will make those who don’t yet know you and your work glad to have made your acquaintance!

Take a peek at a few of the gifts I’ve made available.

https://fineartamerica.com/profiles/karlene-ellsworth/shop

These additional products can make fabulous gifts.

Notecards and Greeting Cards

Notecards of your artwork can be a great source of extra income and a good way to promote yourself as an artist as well as making nice gifts. They can be sold individually or packaged as an assortment. Although much of modern communication is done by email, there is something about a handwritten notecard that is still valued and is even that much more special when the image is of an original work of art by an artist known personally to the sender or recipient. Notecards make a particularly meaningful gift to someone who has purchased an original painting from you to let them know how much you appreciate their business and support.

Calendars

Although many people use their mobile phones and computers for their daily calendars, the printed calendar with images is still a popular item to have readily accessible in the home or office and is a common marketing tool for many nonprofit organizations. Also, calendars of images of paintings of famous artists make popular gifts, so why not a calendar of your own paintings?

If you are making a limited set for the family, you can also add important dates—birthdays, anniversaries, etc. as helpful reminders of meaningful events.

Specialty Items

From Print on Demand to sites such as Zazzle.com, the merchandising opportunities are vast. You can make as few or as many of an item as you want, so you can tailor your gifts to the recipient—a t-shirt for your nephew, a tote bag for your mom, magnets for hostess gifts and thank you gifts.

Giclee Prints

A giclee print is a special high-quality type of inkjet print in which the inks are made from pigments rather than dyes. The prints are made on an archival surface such as an acid-free paper or canvas from a high-quality reproduction of your original image by scanning or digital photograph. You can make the reproduction any size you want. When printed on canvas, giclee prints can often look very much like the original painting. You can print these out in a limited edition, in which case you need to number them, or you can just print them out as demand arises.

You can take your work or images to a local printing shop that does giclee printing where you can establish regular business, or order prints online at any of a number of places likeiPrintfromHome.com, Fine Art America, or Fine Print Imaging, to name just a few, or invest in your own giclee printer if you have the space and want to get into the requirements and particularities of printing.

Catalog Your Artwork

Make a book or catalog of your paintings to give to relatives, friends, and collectors, as well as to have available to sell. You can make it as basic or as complete as you want, depending on your purposes. It can be a retrospective for your family, friends, and posterity, including paintings from the beginning of your career, or it might include just your newest paintings from the last year to show galleries and collectors. Include a biography and an introduction by someone who knows your work well. Also, make sure your images are of high quality and that you have reviewed the manuscript thoroughly for grammar and spelling errors since you are solely responsible for the content.

Many artists use Blurb.com, Lulu.com, or Bookbaby.com to self publish a book of their artwork.

Copyright Considerations

According to the Art Law Journal, as the creator of the original work, the artist has the exclusive right to reproduce, modify, and distribute copies of the original work of art “in any fixed form, a digital copy or a printed one.”

I’ve written more about how I post my art in these to Posts from February 2019.

Protecting your art on your website 

and  Consider Adding Watermarks To Your Images

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Primroses and Galanthus

SM Primroses 2019 1

Paul Foxton has continued to add videos to his blog. I try to paint along with his teaching. I’m having so much fun playing with colors. So I though I’d try to get the color of these little gems close to accurate. I love the way the little snowdrops frame and lead the eye into the painting. This tiny 5×7 study is a treat to remember the earliest beginning of spring.

SM Primroses 2019 2
You can be the judge. Did I hit it??
OK, so I’m not quite as good as the garden variety, but not bad as a painting.
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Spring Fever hits!

SM First Plantings

My inner gardener awoke

Finally we had a really warm afternoon so I spent time in the garden center. I found some wonderful pansies and bought a flat.

After I took photos for next winter, they found homes in my garden yesterday.

Then I was bushed and did an ‘early to bed’.

This morning called me to get the paints out and capture the mood.

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First Plantings $125.00