Monday, 30 November 2009

Watermarks around Mont-Saint-Michel

Last week I had two posts about Mont-Saint-Michel which can be found just off the coast of Normandy:

Sketch and drawing studies of Mont-Saint-Michel
copyright Katherine Tyrrell

Plus I've posted my photos of the coastline around Mont-Saint-Michel on Flickr (see a slideshow).

I know I preferred Mont-Saint-Michel at a distance but I'm also in love with the watermarks in the estuary which could be seen from the place itself - as you'll be able to tell from the slideshow on Flickr.

photos of Normandy coastline around Mont-Saint-Michel
copyright Katherine Tyrrell

However I haven't yet worked out how to have a go at them - all suggestions are most welcome.

You can also expect to see my interpretations of them popping up on "Watermarks" at some point in the future.

Sunday, 29 November 2009

Seascapes and my ghost of time

while my own blog blogged for two weeks on autopilot, I've been eagerly waiting on the proofs for my first print-on-demand (pod) publication to arrive.

My ghost of time is a bit of poetry with some of my seascapes - the deliberate ones, often done en plein air, as well as the accidental ones - where abstract pieces took a turn to the water.

So, last Monday the book arrived, I made some more changes and put it on the public bookstore at Blurb.

I know others have published with them before and in terms of quality and price they seemed pretty competitive.

I tried to find some info on quality control of their publications. I came across this flickr discussion group and became a bit worried as to the lack of quality control and indeed the huge variation from print to print. The attractiveness with pod is that it doesn't require money provided up front, it's an easy and convenient ordering process regardless to where you are. But, if each copy turns out different and of variable quality, this can be a problem.

So, while Blurb does seem to have problems with quality control (colour variations, notably a magenta cast; and problems with binding seem far too common), their customer service seems very good and helpful. - Which means, if there is a problem with the copy, they are helpful in providing a new one.

Now, My ghost of time is not going to be the next bestseller neither do I intend to use it as marketing/portfolio material. It's a project that's been simmering for a while and was important to see to fruition. I ordered one hardback and one paperback. The paperback came out very nicely, the hardback has some issues with the binding.

But: the layout and the quality of images turned out very well. I chose their standard landscape format (25x20cm) which actually provides fairly sizeable images.

  • Have you published your artwork? As print-on-demand? Conventionally?
  • What are your experiences? With quality? As marketing material?
  • Do you have plans on publishing some of your artwork?

Monday, 23 November 2009

Waterways Project: November Catch Up

Gray Day
Ink and watercolor

This is my favorite time to sketch out doors. The bright light...the warm breezes...Just kidding. But I do like the linear quality of the trees and the filtered light. (No bugs helps too!) If you'd like to see a few more from the November sketchbook, I've posted them here on my blog.

Bright Day
ink and watercolor

Friday, 20 November 2009

Bring out Your Inner Artist and Shine!

As an artist you are probably very similar to me, bold and brash on the outside but full of self doubt and shy of "exposing" your work. I grew up with a wildly enthusiastic mother who's glass was always half full, well to be honest, overflowing! As a result I have a sunny disposition but inside I actually think that anyone who says that my work is "good" is just being nice!
Whats all this got to do with anything?
I started blogging in January 2006 and seriously posting my work up about six months later. It was very much a case of learning on the job and as a result I made many mistakes, more about them in a minute.
The very first thing that I realised was that having and maintaining an Internet "presence" is quite a lot of work but it pays off. I was able to supplement my income as an illustrator quite quickly.  Plus selling paintings was slowly chipping away at that self doubt voice.
Being English as well I was, and still am, a bit embarrassed by the "look at me" aspect of self promotion. I rush to tell people who I know that I do it because it helps to sell my work. Actually by far the best thing to come out of it is getting to know so many other artists, even if it is cybernetics!
Being an artist is a terribly solitary occupation, you wander lonely as a cloud, seeking inspiration, wanting to chew the fat with other artists by joining groups but also jealously guarding your solitude at the same time. Blogging enables you to have those conversations, to see other peoples work and to network. We don't have water coolers, coffee breaks or office parties you see.
Having and maintaining a web identity also gives you the chance to sell your work, and therefor make a living. Some people use E-bay, others Etsy, some favor Folksy and some Imagekind. Some systems are better that others and the best advice is to go and try them out, see which you like, browse and search for things, see who is selling and what they are selling, get your pricing right and don't forget to factor in post and the time it takes to pack everything up. Putting a nice note, or a little card in with purchases makes a lot of difference. Think what you would like from a shop or gallery and go one step further. The other thing to bear in mind is getting people to come to your virtual gallery.
Social networking sites are becoming very popular for that, I don't Twitter so I cant talk about that but I have recently started a "fan page" on Facebook. This lets people who are friends of friends of friends see your work as well as catching a few total strangers along the way. It is possible to link up very easily with your blogs and so the fan page, as well as the fans, can see what you are up to.  Easily is the word, you have to make it easy for people to find and see your work, stick links on your emails, put your website on your car, and network like mad on your blogs. (I am bad about that, too lazy, must try harder!)
I used to toy with the idea of being anonymous and enigmatic, like Banksey, but it doesn't fit with my personality, I think it is a rare person indeed who can maintain an identity on blogs that is not their own, it seems to bring out personalities and show them for what they are.
So in a nutshell:
Blog, it makes you work hard and gets you seen.
Sell, via which ever site you feel happy with.
Network, on Facebook, Flicker, Twitter etc.
Throw away your inhibitions and stop waiting for the world to knock on your studio door, get out there and strut your stuff, after all you put your heart and soul into it so why not let it shine.
Sarah's Etsy shop.  Sarah's Facebook fan page
Katherine's Making-A-Mark fan page on facebook
Vivien's Etsy shop
Jeanette's Etsy shop
Gesah's Etsy shop.

( I have only put this here because I dont like blog posts without pictures and because I like this painting and because it has just sold in the gallery, Beside The Wave, that sells my work in the flesh, as opposed to on the internet, so I am happy!)

Now I know that I haven't put all of us on here as links, so fellow watery ones, please add your networking, selling sites.  After all Christmas is coming, someone out there might well be on the lookout for something extra special...

Wednesday, 11 November 2009

Sketching and drawing the water garden at Giverny

I've finally got to Giverny in terms of blogging my trip round France

This is the sketch I did while sat on the seat at the end of the pool in the water garden. I never know what to call the water in the water garden. It's too small to be a lake, too big to be a pond (and besides it's artificially created!). I've decided I'm calling it 'a pool' but there must be a French word which says it better!

I'm also more and more convinced that the vegetation around still water is really important to capturing 'the essence' of the place.

The Water Garden, Giverny
11.5" x 17", coloured pencil in sketchbook
copyright Katherine Tyrrell

The sketch was done using coloured pencils across a double page spread of my Daler Rowney sketchbook - while hordes of chattering tourists led by tour guides making inane comments came past about six inches in front of me! It's not conducive to good sketching. I think I've got to investigate the arrangements for visiting the garden when it's not open to the public.

Back home, armed with my photos and video, I know that the colours should be deeper than the sketch and not as deep as in the photos!

This is the drawing I'm working on at the moment. The left hand side is more finished than the right.

(Work in Progress) The Water Garden at Giverny
9" x 12", coloured pencils on Arches HP
copyright Katherine Tyrrell

You can read my blog posts here:
See my photos of the water garden here - Monet's water garden, Giverny

Plus this site provides information about visiting Giverny - Giverny - a great garden

....and one day soon You Tube might allow me to upload my 3 seconds short of 10 minute video of a complete circuit of the pool - with an emphasis on the reflections in the water!

[UPDATE: ....and here it is A walk around Giverny - #1 The Water Garden]

Monday, 9 November 2009

The River

I have just finished painting another few nocturnes. I realised as I was painting this one that it must be one of my favorite painting sites, tucked away from prying eyes with a commanding view. I paint here often and so I thought I would show a couple of other paintings of the River in other guises. By night as a winding ribbon of moonlight, with a troubled sky affording only glimpses of the wintry landscape. The old oaks are so thick going down to the water that even when they have lost most of their leaves they present a solid mass folding themselves down the gentle sloping fields towards the river.
In high summer under a blue sky she presents quite a different face, bright greens and yellows and air filled with bird song and insect noise.

Then in early spring, just waking up after a long winter, the tide far out leaving a few channels in the estuary mud and a soft purplish haze of budding leaves on the trees.
The other thing that I have been doing is making a "fan" page for my work on face-book. It is a test really to see how effective it is and although it is only two days old I have already got two commissions from it. I will report back on its effectiveness as a marketing tool later. So far I am pleased with it and it seems quite easy to use as far as putting images on goes. If it is worth doing I will let you know and in the meantime have a visit and become a fan, please!
It is on facebook and it is called Sarah Wimperis Paintings.

Wednesday, 4 November 2009

More from Brittany

The subtitle to this post should be The End, because I've come to the last of my Breton sketches. To see them all, check my blog. For now, you will have to scroll through recent posts, but I'm in the process of making a separate Brittany sketchbook there, as well.
Oh, how I miss that time and place already.
Brittany, Locmaria beach, late afternoonPoissonerie, Auray, Brittany, right side of sketchBrittany, Pont-Aven boats at low tide
I have one more, VERY exciting watery trip upcoming next month! See you here, with sketches, in midDecember!

Monday, 2 November 2009

Sketching in a slump?

When in Hawaii a few weeks ago, I was inspired and did a lot of sketches, which I thoroughly enjoyed. Here are three of the sketches and the rest can be seen in my Hawaii posts on Africantapestry.

...across the lagoon...

...colourful canoes...


Arriving back in Montlouis, I just suddenly had the creative door slammed into my face, fell right into a slump and I'm there ever since. It is as though nothing works - not a pen, not a pencil or a brush or even motivation. And it can't be said that I haven't tried, but everything ends up begin scratched out/over with frustration. And tears of course.

...La Loire...

This morning I grabbed my sketchbook and a pen and took off to the Loire. It was cold and windy, but I was determined to get soem sketches. Which I did. At home I couldn't resit the urge and added watercolour. I had the discipline to not start scratching it out again. So. Here they are. Overwashed. But still. sketches. Maybe now the spell will be broken. After all. Halloween is over.
the rest can be seen on Africantapestry.

...puddles at La Loire...