Just Painting is No Longer Enough

I fondly remember when simply finishing a painting meant I was ‘done’.  In these days of e-commerce, that is no longer the case.

Take this rose painting I finished recently.  I can turn that painting into many things.  But to do that I have to take a high res photo of the painting, upload it into my computer and then edit it for color correction.  Then, I create a document in my Printshop software resizing the image to 1-inch square, 1/2 inch square and 5/8 inch square.  I print those images onto high quality photo paper.  Then, I punch out the images into the sizes I need, turning them into cabochons.  I place the cabs into the jewelry settings and photograph each one.  I upload all those photos and edit them for size and corrections of color and lighting.  I upload the high res photo into my page on Fine Art America/Pixels.  I upload it to my Facebook Fanpage.  Then, I create the Etsy listings for a pendant, earrings, cufflinks, bracelets, tie bars, etc.  I tweet each listing and create a saved tweet into my automatic tweeting service.  I create a post for my Instagram account… I’m sure I’ve forgotten a few steps.

Somewhere I hope to find the time to actually do another painting…

   

If you can’t grow them – paint them!

One of my favorite flowers in the world is bearded iris.  Both my grandmother’s had beds of them every spring.  Most of them were purple.  They grew along the fence rows or edged the yard.  After I moved to Virginia, I started growing my own.  I ordered rhizomes in all sorts of colors.  One of my favorite was a beautiful frilly pink.  There were just so many to choose from.

Unfortunately, irises are very hard to grow here in Florida.  I get lots of lovely leaves, but rarely see a flower.  Iris’s usually like to have sun on their ‘shoulders’, so you plant them very close to the surface.  The hot sands of Florida don’t work well for that though.  My wonderful husband purchases a porcelain iris for me shortly after we moved here.

I can still paint them however.  I have a pair – a yellow with orange and a blue – hanging in our dining room.  I’ve just recently completed a spray of purple ones.  They all make lovely jewelry.

So Many Easter Eggs!

About 6 months ago, I started experimenting with cute little paintings made using stencils and watercolors.  I have had so much fun with them.  I’ve done them for Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s Eve,  Mardi Gras, and much more, including a whole set of sea life.  I bought myself a little set of bright India inks and thought they would be perfect for Easter designs.  And, boy were they!  I did have to learn India inks don’t behave the same as watercolors.  They don’t react with salt.  But they make some awesome jewelry pieces as you can see below.

Mother’s Day is Coming Soon!

My Mom has been gone for nearly 12 years now, but I still make a new painting every year for a card to send to my aunts.  I’ve painted everything from roses to carnations to violets to magnolias – and many more.   A few years ago, I painted all two flowers for a calendar of birth month flowers.

And, if you know a dog lover, a cat lover, someone who just loves animals or all things cute – I hope you can find something for them in my Etsy shop.

 

Watercolors!  Eureka!

Watercolors! Eureka!

About 11 years ago, I took a little 3-hour introduction to watercolor class.  Eureka!  Where had these been all my life?

I had dabbled in painting with oils and acrylics before, but the constant need to mix an entirely new color for every shade change just didn’t work well for me.  Oils do allow you to mix paint wet-on-wet on the canvas, but they also accidentally mix colors since they take days or weeks to dry.  Acrylics dry so quickly that mixing colors while painting takes a very quick hand.

Enter watercolors.  I took to them like a duck to – well – water.  This is the painting I made at that first little class.  The instructor had already traced the design onto the watercolor paper.  She walked us through the steps of adding masking fluid, painting in one area while another is allowed to dry, rewetting an area to add shadows, etc.  It was so much fun!

I haven’t stopped painting them since.

My First Etsy Sale

My First Etsy Sale

As I’ve said, I was a member of Etsy for about 2 years before I got the nerve to actually list something for sale.  I had some prints and magnets left over from when I tried to do Farmer’s Markets (they just proved too difficult for me physically).  I mailed a few things to friends to make sure my shipping methods would work.  So, I listed what I had and didn’t have any idea what to expect next.

About a week later, I got the most exciting email!  It was from Etsy with a graphic of a popping champagne cork telling me I had made my first sale.  My first excited thought was,”Wow, I made a sale!” Followed immediately by my next anxious thought, “Wow…I made a sale…”  Oh dear, what happens now?

The order was for a magnet featuring my painting of our basset hound, Sophie, with a Cheez-it box.  At least, it was something small and flat that would fit into a regular envelope.  I made a choice with that first order to print a thank you card with a handwritten note, and I’ve done the same for every sale since – 944 at present count.  It takes a few extra minutes, but I think (I hope) such personal touches will bring my buyers back.  They’ll never get that kind of attention from a big box store.

Since that first sale, I’ve added the Sell On Etsy App to my phone.  If I’m concentrating hard on a painting, the “Cha-Ching” announcing a new sale will still make me jump half-way across the room.  But – that’s a good thing.

 

Cufflinks – who knew?

Cufflinks – who knew?

About 2 years ago, an Etsy customer asked if I could make cufflinks with images of my art.  I had no idea if I could find settings to work with the photo cabochons I use for my jewelry.

Yes, indeed I could.  I found cufflinks with a 16mm cabochon setting.  I had to order a corresponding 16mm punch and matching epoxy stickers, but once I had all the necessary pieces, I made my first pair of cufflinks using my painting of an English Springer Spaniel.

And, thank goodness, I did.  Over the last two years, I’ve sold 122 pairs of cufflinks and counting.  I had no idea cufflinks were still so popular.  I’ve made quite a few pairs of custom cufflinks with the photos of the customers pets to be used as wedding gifts from the bride to the groom.  So sweet!  Prom season tends to be a popular time, too.

Cufflinks – who knew?