Artists I like: Il Lee

Mar 30, 2011

© Art Projects International; Courtesy of artist and Art Projects International, New York

New York-based artist Il Lee creates beautiful works of art on paper and canvas using only ballpoint pen.  In many ways, Lee's pen drawings remind me of traditional Asian ink drawings.  The simplified subjects are captured by spontaneous, yet well-practiced strokes.  And negative space plays a significant role in compositional balance. 

© Art Projects International; Courtesy of artist and Art Projects International, New York
© Art Projects International; Courtesy of artist and Art Projects International, New York
© Art Projects International; Courtesy of artist and Art Projects International, New York

It's always difficult to assess art on a computer screen, so here is a photo of Lee's large-scale works hanging in a gallery space.  This should give you a better idea of the magnitude of his ballpoint pen handiwork. 

© Art Projects International; Courtesy of artist and Art Projects International, New York

There is also this short video of Lee's art put together by San Jose Museum of Art.  I have to say that it does make my hand hurt just watching it.  It's amazing to think that Lee has been using ballpoint pen in his art for over 30 years! 

New works, "Winter Cabin" and "Skyline"

Mar 27, 2011

My birthday is in a couple of days, and all I want is a good dose of vitamin D via sunlight.  It's officially Spring, but it's been unseasonably cold and wet, even for Portland.  We have yet to hit 60 degrees in the new year, and I'm still flipping on our gas fireplace every day. 

So, all this to say, it doesn't surprise me that I'm still painting snow-dressed mountains.  This painting, Winter Cabin, is one of my latest works.  The outline of the mountains were created by carving away wet paint with the end of my paintbrush. To see more detailed pictures of the work, go here

Skyline is the second wood panel piece I completed this week.  I love using blues in my art, and, next to white, they're the first colors to be used up.  Even the cyan ink cartridge in my ink jet printer is replaced at twice the rate than the other colors.  Lately, I've been trying to branch out and use more reds, but I keep coming back to the calm and cool effects of blues. 

Artists I like: Jelle Martens

Mar 24, 2011

I don't swoon at the sight of diamonds, even if they are all over the face of a vampire heartthrob.  I am a simple girl, really.  I don't need flowers or chocolates, just some triangles and trees, please. 

Cue girly sigh.

For more weak-in-the-knees art, check out Jelle Martens' flickr and website.

My experience as Etsy's Featured Seller

Mar 21, 2011

The ultimate goal for any Etsy shop owner is to be featured on the front page of Etsy.  So, in early February, when I was contacted by Etsy admin about being a Featured Seller, I was ecstatic.  The admin team gave me some helpful resources and information about how to prepare for the feature, and being the big planner that I am, I started filling out a long to-do list for the next month.

First on my list was to find a photographer.  It is the responsibility of the Featured Seller to submit photos of themselves and studio, and, even though I have a decent camera, I wasn't about to have my husband snap some pictures.  Sorry, honey.  One of my favorite photographers in town is Anthony Georgis, and he was kind enough to take some photos of me with little lead time.  The photo above was one of several pictures Anthony took that I submitted.

Two weeks before the interview reveal, I started amping up my production pace.  Etsy encourages Featured Sellers to have a "well-stocked" shop.  Of course, well-stocked is quite objective.  Seeing that I primarily create original art, I could only create a handful of works a week.  A couple of days before the interview went live, I sold three original works in my Etsy shop.  A good problem to have, I know, but then I spent the rest of the weekend creating a few more pieces, including these two shown below.

On the morning of the interview,  I was uploading new works into my shop when I started getting the first of many pings- the sound my iphone makes when I get an email.  Within the course of the next several days, I received over 60 convos (Etsy emails) and sold 85 items. 

20,000 visitors landed in my shop while I was on the front page of Etsy, a number I probably won't see again unless Charlie Sheen tweets about me.  It just goes to show how much traffic there needs to be for a peak in online sales, which is why increased exposure (i.e. marketing) is key for an online business.

The first of several trips to the Post Office.

There were many late nights this past week, but I managed to send all my orders out on time.  I was pleasantly surprised to see that a quarter of the orders were international, mostly from Australia. Although half of the followers on my blog are international,  I wasn't expecting to see such a high number of sales overseas.  It makes me happy to know that people are willing to pay international shipping rates even for an art print of mine. 

As mentioned in the prior post, I was extremely touched by the flood of encouraging comments I received.  I was also flattered to be invited to be part of art events, artist collaborations, and blog features.  My art may even be part of a TV show set- exciting stuff! 

Being the Featured Seller on Etsy has been an amazing experience.  If you have recently been asked to be the Featured Seller, congratulations! And here are some tips I have for you:
  1. Accept the offer!
  2. Have exceptional pictures for the interview and your shop.  This is not the time to experiment with the latest Photoshop filters. 
  3. Try to at least triple your production the weeks before the reveal.
  4. If you sell one-of-a-kind pieces, wait to upload new products until a day or two before the interview.
  5. Make sure your product descriptions and store policies are very descriptive.   Also, do you have a policy about trades, layaways, custom work, and holds?
  6. Be prepared for an untimely incident with your internet connection.  Our modem died two days before the interview, and we had to drive out of Portland to buy a replacement.
  7. Re-list!  When a reproducible item (like an art print) sells, you'll need to re-list it.  So plan on being attached to a computer device while your interview is on the front page.
  8. Keep your orders organized.  I printed out all my orders as customer receipts and kept them on a clipboard.  
  9. If things go better than expected (i.e lots of orders), you will be sleep deprived for several days.
Feel free to contact me with other questions you may have.  I know that it's supposed to be a secret, but I promise I won't tell.

Luck of the Irish

Mar 17, 2011

Additional photos taken for the Etsy interview.  Photos by the talented Anthony Georgis.
I feel lucky today for many reasons.  First, there's the Etsy feature.  I truly feel like I won Willy Wonka's golden ticket on this one! Thanks to all of you who left congratulatory notes.  I was extremely touched by all your comments, and I plan on sharing details of my incredible experience early next week.  

As many of you know, it's St. Patrick's Day.  This also happens to be the day my husband proposed to me 16 years ago! Seeing that we both have Irish in us, maybe we've just been lucky all these years together?

When we first got married, we talked about all the places we would love to visit one day.  High up on that list was Ireland.  Well, the long wait is over!  A dear friend of ours is getting married there this Fall, and we'll be part of the celebration.  My husband is officiating, and I'm actually a bridesmaid- a title I haven't had since the 90s.

As part of our travels, we're planning on heading over to Liverpool and Manchester for a few days.  I know I have some readers in England and Ireland.  So, if you have any great ideas on what to do and where to go, I'd love to hear it!

My interview on Etsy

Mar 14, 2011

It's been my secret for the last few weeks, but I finally get to spill the beans today . . .  I'm the Featured Seller on Etsy!  I am incredibly flattered that my artwork, as well as an interview, will be showcased on Etsy for the next couple of days.  It all went live this morning, so you can check it out here.

In a week or so, I'll post a follow-up on my experience as a Featured Seller.  Until then, it might be a little quiet on the blog front.  (I'll at least pop in on St. Patty's Day to spread some Irish cheer.) 

Six new works and more to come

Mar 13, 2011

I've been revving up my art production.  This week alone, I created six new originals, and I'm currently working on two more wood panel pieces.  Why the exponential pace you ask?

Check back Monday morning and you'll find out. 

Artists I like: Megan McIsaac

Mar 9, 2011

You know when someone is talented when their creative work makes you want to be a better artist, which is exactly what happened when I came across Megan McIsaac's photography.   Currently residing in Portland, Megan shoots exclusively with a Mamiya c330.  Browsing her tumblr site makes me want to grab my Autocord and head to the streets!  I absolutely love these two black and white shots she recently took in New York City.  (Incidentally, that's artist Mark Warren Jacques.)  Some of her work reminds me of renown French photographer, Henri Cartier-Bresson

McIsaac's color photography is just as compelling.  I didn't think I was a huge fan of yellow until now!

I also admire folks who can take really good pictures of themselves- I am not one of them.  Is it just me, or do you see a little bit of Audrey Hepburn in the first photo?

Swaps 2011

Mar 7, 2011

from the latest swapathon . . . 

lovely handmade paper from Jennifer Allison
yummy jam,  homemade lip balm, and a cute owl hairpin from moodymama
adorable recycled wool elephant made by Kate of The Chic Chickadee
a boy on a rainy day print by Couve Illustrations
vintage glass bird vessel from Richelle of Modfolk Vintage

:: thanks everyone for such wonderful and thoughtful trades ::

New work

Mar 6, 2011

first signs of spring, 4 x 4 mixed media on birch panel
The 4" x 4" wood panel is my favorite size to work on.  The small surface area is not at all intimidating, and I can casually work on the painting over the course of a few days.  Anything larger than 8" x 10", and I'm toiling over every little mark and decision. 

One of my goals for this year is to work on larger pieces, but I don't intend on moving away from the smaller compositions any time soon.  I enjoy creating original pieces of art that are easily accessible and affordable.  Whenever I sell one of my works, it's so rewarding to know that someone's personal art collection has just increased by one. 

Grove, 5 x 7 mixed media on birch panel

My art now in Portland shop, Tilde

Mar 4, 2011

Located in Portland's Sellwood neighborhood, Tilde is one of my favorite local shops.  The well-curated store is full of modern accessories and art from independent designers and artists like Leah Duncan, Shira Sela,  and Michelle Maule.

Every month, the shop hosts an artist and their new collection of works.  This month's show features Lisa Golightly and her small acrylic paintings (shown in the upper right photo).  I'm excited to announce that my original art will be showcased in Tilde for the month of July. Yeah! I'll be sure to post information about the art reception when we get closer to the date. 

And, as of yesterday, my eco-friendly prints are now at the shop.  There are nine different print designs available, including the newest, Cascade.

Circles abound

Mar 1, 2011

You know me, I'm a fan of triangles.  But the circle has grabbed my attention lately.  Take a look at what all the hoop-la is about. 

Jennifer Sanchez

Tom Moglu

Bovey Lee

Jeremy Miranda

Chris MacFarlane

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