Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Inspired by South Africa and Being on Safari

A lot of my work is inspired by people, places and things in my life. This is true of my Safari Series Prints. 

In 1996 my Dad had a scientific conference is South Africa and somehow the trip went from he and my Mom going to bringing myself and four of my sisters, (One sister stayed home as did my Mom.) We spent three days on safari in Kruger National Park. Our timing was incredible, it was right before the rain season began so there were no leaves on the trees and most of the animals kept pretty close to the larger waterholes, the visibility was great! We saw many animals as we left our rondavel (round house) by 5 AM each morning and returned by 3PM, breaking for lunch at noon. By nightfall we were safely locked in our resort like accommodations which was surrounded by fences to keep the night predators out.

We never tired of the many zebras, giraffes and many other animals we saw. Each time it was amazing as we had to remind ourselves that this was Africa not the zoo.

The five of us traveled around in a van as our guide, Brian told us all about South Africa, the animals the people and more. We spent  much time laughing and enjoying each others'  company. We were pretty safe in our little van roaming the savanna until we ran across a cute baby elephant on the side of the road.

We stopped to photograph the baby as we often did. We were thrilled to be so close to this little guy. Several cars pulled behind us to get their photos too. Before long we were joined by another elephant, much larger, who had apparently been on the other side of the road the whole time. He was none too happy with our interest in his son. As this protective Papa started walking towards our van as he trumpeted  his warning to us. It was then Brian chose to educate us of the few animals that were truly dangerous on safari, the elephant being one of them. We were told that a car could not out run an elephant and they had the strength and ability to puncture the vehicle with their tusk or turn the car over. Our only course of action was to slowly back up and appear submissive. This was difficult with a line of eight or so cars that had pulled up to watch the show. Little did we like the idea that now we were an integral part of the mornings entertainment. After much hand flapping and yelling at the cars behind us they did start to backup and we were allowed to withdrawal a bit to safely view the father and son reunion.

Later, were came upon a pride of lions sleeping the heat of the afternoon away. Again, we stopped for photos. Several of us rolled down our windows to allow our cameras better views. The lioness in the front quickly seemed to come out of her slumber as she became animated and seemed to be posing perfectly for our photographs. The eye contact was incredible, these pictures were going to be great! As she slowly raised herself into a standing position it was then that Brian once again saw this as a teachable moment as he instructed us all to pull our hands into the van and roll up the windows. Apparently a big old van is of no consequence to many of the animals but once you start sticking your limbs out and change the contour shape of the van, then some animals become interested in watching you. Not a good thing if that animal hadn't eaten that day.

These are the first four in my Safari Series. I hope to do several more drawings of our adventures on safari as I relive that wonderful trip through pastels. If you are interested in purchasing any of these pieces, prints or cards please see my web site at http://www.jillraefinallyart.com/index.php. Or you can use the buttons to the right of this blog. (The original of the lion has been sold.)

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Finishing Up My Pet Commission

I'm just finishing up a commission piece. 
These pups were fun to do.

It's not too early to start commissioning your pet portraits for holiday gift giving. An 8"x10" portrait starts at $60 for the first pet. Add $20 for each additional face.

Your portrait will be delivered beautifully displayed, signed and matted in a acetate bag with a certificate of authenticity.(The watermark print is just for the internet display.)

To begin, you will need a clear photograph of your pet, which you can email or send to me. Contact me by leaving a comment on this blog or at my web page, jillraefinallyart.com. There is a convenient button to the right of this blog. Check out the DOG on MY BLOG button (on the right again) for more examples of my pet portraits.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

A Tip For Art Show Displays

Add Dimension to you Art Show Panels While Displaying More Product...

I love collecting various metal racks. Their original purpose is for holding plates, kitchen utensils, photos and such. But I found that they are great for holding prints and other art materials.    

                                                                                Even more exciting is that due to their straight backs they are easy to hang in booths and on art boards. This gives the display more dimension making it more interesting. All of these racks were under $11. The silver one is from IKEA and costs about $4. It's perfect for card displays or promotional material. 

                                                            You can add more prints, cards or promotional fliers to your walls without them appearing overwhelming.   

Monday, October 20, 2014

Title This Painting.

This is the piece I have been working on to donate to the Holiday Artisan Show.  
The proceeds go to the Rockford Rescue Mission.

 What do you think I should title it? I did a similar painting for the 30 in 30 which I named Dahlias in Summer. Not too exciting. What do you think it should be called? Please leave me a comment.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Showing Up and Smelling the Coffee at Katie's Cup

Sometimes just showing up is good enough.  I have been having so much fun painting at Katie's Cup  in downtown Rockford. The whole thing started as a Rockford Art Guild activity but so far no one from the guild has joined me. (I think Wednesdays are a bad day for many who are either teaching classes or taking them at our local Woman's Space.) The original idea was to get together and share some ideas and fellowship. But I have found that I love it! Every week people stop me and ask me about my work. There's always something going on. Today was a kick off for Credit Union Week. The local TV channel was there to get the story.

Andy Gannon of 23 News approached me and wanted to know what I was doing with the crazy plastic table cloth I had spread over the table for protection. By the time my painting session was all over I was given a $10 Katie's Cup gift card, promised a donation of art for breast cancer research and talked to several people. Not bad.

Harry's Flowers
Alcohol Inks and Pen
8 x 12

I even got some work done in the process. I had forgotten that I did have some painting started for days 30 and 12 of the 30 in 30. I finished the alcohol ink part the night before and penned it at Katie's. Harry is my next door neighbor, Nancy's husband. He went through a very serious surgery in August. His work sent him a beautiful bouquet of flowers which got dropped off at my house. I couldn't help myself but photograph it. (More future paintings.) Does anyone know the name of these flowers?

I started adding watercolor to this drawing from Madeline Island. All in all I would say it was a very productive day - just by showing up.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Quickbooks and Pumpkin Sketches

I have spent a week working on my book keeping. Please, someone tell me that you find it challenging also. I am lucky enough to have brother-in-law who is an accountant and set up my Quickbooks as he  explained everything to me. The thing is that although I love numbers ( I used to be a banker many moons ago.) I hate going through my receipts for Finally Art and put it off. I tend to do my books once a quarter when sales tax is due. So 70 some journal entries and several check entries later I'm ready to resume doing art. So much for my wish to sketch every day.

I am going to make more of a commitment to keeping my books more current. Any suggestions?

I did start a sketch yesterday. It was an incredible Autumn day and I enjoyed sitting on the front porch drawing my pumpkins among the flowers. However, my neighbor Nancy saw me sitting outside and came over for some wine. I was hoping I'd see her. It's important to stop and spend time with friends. I'm going back out there today as the morning sun is hitting the pumpkins just right. I was enjoying using my watercolor pencils with the sketch. We'll see how it turns out today. I'll stay away from the wine this time.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

My 30 in 30 Collage

What fun it was to do the 30 in 30 challenge. Although, I must admit that for me it was a 28 in 30 challenge. I feel good about it. This proves that there is always time for art. In the month of September my daughter turned 30, I had an anniversary, my husband and I went away for five days, I had a two day art show, with another two day show to get ready for on the 3rd and 4th of October. I found myself down and out on the couch on September 12th with a stomach flu and towards the end of the month I had dental surgery that hurt more than I thought it would. But the truth is that there is always time for art. To be honest I'm looking forward to getting to bed at my normal time.

I was glad that I didn't pick a theme for the paintings as it was suggested. To me, the 30 in 30 is all about exploring all those subjects and techniques from all the artists and sights that have inspired me recently. I worked in watercolors, oils, pastels, alcohol inks, pens and colored pencils, what a blast!

And okay, now I'll say it. Yes the self portrait was a bit stiff and scarey. (I had made a promise to myself when I started the blog not to be negative - even of myself.) But when my daughter burst out laughing as she saw it that night and told me it was scarey, yes I have to admit she had a point. In my own defense let me say that I used a photograph of myself and I am usually very uncomfortable in front  of the camera as I am usually the one taking the pictures. (I think I capture that unease very well.) And the pink color - Hot Flash, what else? At 12 AM you can't very well start over.

So these are the changes I would like to make;
- I want to continue to blog on a more regular schedule. Two times weekly at least.
- I want to do artwork daily, but not necessary good artwork. I will do daily sketches in my sketchbook. I'd like to improve my drawing skills. A sketch -10 to 20 minutes, not a masterpiece. I will try to share one or two a week. But I want to give my self permission to make a lot of mistakes.
-I like the idea of producing work in one day, so I will produce two pieces a week which are one day deals.
-I would like to spend more time exploring landscapes and abstracts.

So that's that. Thanks Leslie Satea for hosting the 30 in 30, I'm looking forward to the next one - in January? I have to get to my book keeping. Yikes, I know, I'm procrastinating. How often to you do your books?

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Fall Art Scene

So as much as I don't want to admit it, it is Fall. (And Fall is my favorite season.) Yesterday was the first night of Fall Art Scene. I stayed up till 2AM the night before framing and bagging most of my new works from this last 30 in 30. A bunch of us Art Guild members went to City Hall at 9AM to set up the panels and tables. I was there until 2 so I was pretty tired by the time the show actually came around. The wet, cold weather seems to have kept the crowd low. Not being as chatty as usual, my sales were a bit disappointing.  Well, I got plenty of sleep last night and I'm making cookies this morning so watch out Rockford. I'll be awake and I've got my game on. Tomorrow... book keeping.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Day 29, Watercolors and Pen, This Old Yellow House

30 in 30 hosted by Leslie Saeta.

This Old Yellow House
Watercolors and Pen
11 x 14

In downtown Eagle River there is a splendid old Victorian house. I have been admiring it for years. Finally, I stopped this Fall to photograph it. It's about two blocks off of the main street, close to the library. I don't have any of it's history but it must be an early home to the town. It's stunning.

To purchase this painting go to http://www.jillraefinallyart.com/30-in-30.php  Or just hit the "Visit My Web Site" button on the right of this blog. When you get there go to "My Art"  then "30 in 30 in the pull down menu.