For keeping track of my artwork, I use Artwork Archive. This online software allows you to catalog your art pieces with pictures and details, indicate which shows or locations your pieces are currently at, who purchased your work, and many other features.
To find out more, click here: Artwork Archive
Nicholas Hilliard was one of the preeminent miniaturists of the Elizabethan period, and completed portraits of Queen Elizabeth I and other prominent people of his time. This manuscript, written by Hilliard himself, discusses his process for the creation of portrait miniatures.
“Oil Painting Secrets from a Master” was written by one of artist David Leffel’s students and documents many of the concepts he teaches in his classes.
The Craftsman’s Handbook, Il Libro dell’Arte, by Cennino Cennini is a compact but useful book for the medieval artist. In this book, Cennini describes a variety of techniques and tips for the making of pigments, the preparation of panels, gilding, and other techniques.
Original Treatises on the Arts of Painting, by Mary Merrifield, is a series of translations of medieval painting manuscripts, including dozens of original recipes for pigment production and other studio practices. Many of the translations include the original text in Latin or Italian on the opposite page, so the reader may refer to the original language if desired.
Below is a link to the print version of this book; it is also available as a Google E-book in 2 volumes.
A few years ago, I was frequenting the Cleveland Museum of Art Library to visit a book. I was researching construction of historical panel paintings and “Let the Material Talk” was one of the most thoroughly researched and detailed analyses of a specific set of paintings from the Cologne region. I did finally purchase this book, and continue to refer to it frequently.
The Ugly Stage: every painting has one. I watch students struggle with this part of the painting process, as they grimace at their work and debate whether the trash bin would be a more appropriate place for their half-finished work. I’ll tell you a secret – every one of my paintings goes through the Ugly Stage too.
This is the point of the painting process where the canvas is mostly covered in paint. It’s been worked on, so it looks like a painting, but details haven’t been added yet. More importantly, the parts of the painting that will really make it come together haven’t been added yet. In addition, there are probably decisions to resolve design problems, which an artist has to make on any artwork, that still need to be made. Usually, the artist hits the Ugly Stage wall when a particularly challenging decision needs to be made. The uncertainty of how to take the painting to completion causes the artist to either overwork the area in question or to throw the brush down in frustration.
This is all normal. Breathe.
Put the painting away for a while. Work on something else.
In time, pick up the painting again. With fresh eyes and perhaps a bit more experience, try to work through the problems you were having.
Most importantly, try to make yourself work through these Ugly Stage walls, because in any case, you will learn something from the challenge.
These two books, by Dinotopia author James Gurney, are a wonderful resource for the realist painter. Formerly an illustrator for National Geographic, Gurney discusses a wide range of painting techniques to create imagined realms, from the utilization of maquettes, to the physics of light and its interaction with objects at different times of the day. I am including links to these books above – check them out!
The holiday season is fast approaching, and many artists and artisans will be looking for ways to sell their work. I’ve participated in many different types of craft shows over the years, with many different price points and types of work available.
Craft shows that have been around a while seem to gain a following – one of the best shows I participate in is a high school craft show in its 26th year. The PTA and all of the students participate, and word of mouth for this show draws a huge crowd. I’ve also participated in shows that are new and haven’t been advertised well, with the resulting crickets.
Make sure you have several different price points available. I find that $20 is a comfortable price point for most people. Also, don’t underprice your work. Your time is valuable, and giving yourself a $3 hourly wage doesn’t benefit anyone.
Items that people can use or wear seem to do well. If people can justify the purchase by knowing that the item will be used, the item will be more likely to sell.
Items with meaning seem to do well. Products with symbols of the local city or state, birth or anniversary years, or meaningful sayings do great.
Art, unless the fair is specifically an art fair with wealthy clientele, doesn’t always do well. It is a hard purchase to justify on the spot, and usually more expensive than most people are willing to spend at a craft show. If the show I’m doing is just a local craft show, I’ll leave the art home or just bring a few small pieces.