Tuesday, March 31, 2015

The Business of Art or is it the Art of Businses?

I've been busy with the business of art.

I'm having been in the studio for three days and I'm dying to get back there today but the truth is there a lot more to an art business than painting. I want to make some negative comment about this fact but the the variety of  chores keeps me challenged and engaged in other ways and I'm grateful (I guess). Besides the daily marketing done on social media there is much more to keeping JR Finally Art up and going.

Cho and I at Picture Salon in Madison, Wisconsin

Friday I was notified that two of my pieces were chosen for a show at our local museum. (Yeah!) These along with pieces to be hung at Katie's Cup and Rockford's Art Scene all need to be framed. That means a trip to Hobby Lobby for mats and Michaels for frames. In the event that they may be sold, a trip to Madison for scanning is in order. Each piece will need a description. Why I painted it. What I was thinking at the time I painted it.

7 new prints will be available soon.


It's almost April 15th. Then of course, there's taxes. I use Quick Books for my record keeping. I like math but accounting in not something that comes natural for me. Although it should all be pretty straight forward at tax time... well, for me, it's not.

Katie's Cup
These are the months to sign up for the summer art shows. As invitations and rejections come in it's time to scurry and find shows for the weeks that are still available, make reservations and plan the summer schedule.

But my heart is in the studio today working on the Katie's Cup alcohol ink  - for Saturday. I have it drawn out, that's it, so I need to move on it.

An idea for Unforgettable Art

I'm also working on tester paintings for Unforgettable Art on the 18th of April.

So there's lots to do today! 
Where does your business lead you?
What do you do on the days you're not in your studio?

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Commissioned Pet Portrait of a Pug

Today, I needed to be loose and easy.

After finishing my coy watercolor, which took a long time, I needed something a little more free spirited. I decided to work on my Pug commission. I wanted this piece to be more about the colors interacting with each other than just a picture of a cute pup. I admit to struggling when I went too blue and green with he face but I got it back okay.

This picture is a hostess gift. Pet portraits are unique and thoughtful gifts for birthdays, graduation, Mothers or Fathers day.  If you'd like to commission a pet portrait visit my web page at
 http://www.jillraefinallyart.com/pet-portraits.php for details and order information.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

A Few Comments About Dr.Ph. Matin's Hydrus Fine Art Watercolors.

The coy painting is completed and I have a few 
comments to say about Dr. Ph. Martin's Hydrus Fine Art Watercolors.

 Originally, I was interested in these paints for their vivid colors. 

The inks are easy enough to dispense using the eye dropper lids they come with. They blend easily with the water and can be refreshed after they dry completely.

I didn't think the pigments blended as well as my more traditional watercolors do. This is an important issue to me. Often I blend colors on the paper. However, with layering transitions were easily achieved. I was able to lift about 66% of the color in areas which I had painted too dark.


Although highly concentrated, they water down easily enough to get various tones. I painted as I would any transparent paint. I'm interested in using them almost full strength to see how bright I can get them. I'm also curious as to using these paints which traditional colors in those areas where I need an bold shade.

 I liked the way the paint dispersed when I added a saturated brush to a small wet area. This worked very well for the pebbles which were spotted and had a lot of algae on them.

I didn't like the sepia color at all. It seemed grainy and I wondered if it was and older bottle. Is that going to happen to all the bottles in time? The other pigments did seem to settle to the side of the jar but I suppose a good shake would rectify that.

One painting is not enough experience to do justice to a real comparison. I will say that I am intrigued. I ordered 5 more colors having bought the set 2 and not having a proper yellow. I must say I miss my old paints. I am hoping to hurry up and finish three  traditional watercolors I have been working on. Will I miss the Dr. martin's?

I'll come back to this after a few months more of experience and see if my thoughts have changed.


Do you have any comments about 
Dr. Ph. Martin's? 
I'd love to hear your comments.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Drive By #3; State Street Shops - The Process

It was a grey winter's day when I was driving around Rockford to take pictures for my Drive By series. As I drove down State Street and photographed the city - mostly from a parked car, I spotted these wonderful row of stores. Not being able to control myself, I actually took this photo and a few others AS I was driving... I know... I got carried away.  Totally silly, I won't do it again! I got caught up in the moment.

The stores were charming and colorful enough.

A chocolate shop, a brewery and a CD store what else could one need to cheer oneself up on a cold winter's day?

I've been asked to explain my  process of painting with alcohol inks so here it is.... simply put.

Alcohol inks are made of Rubbing Alcohol(use the 91% kind) and ink, 4 parts to 1, I believe. I understand that they can be made using Ritz clothing dye but I have never tried it. I like to use Yupo paper which is a tough, slippery paper. I draw out my picture using a pencil. The pencil marks never really erase well so draw light. Then I take masking fluid and outline most of the drawing and masking any areas I want to keep white.

I start by adding the first layer of paints paying attention to adding color and mixing the paints to make interesting patterns. This is the more creative part of the process. Being careful and precise is not necessary here. Things will get cleaned up later as the painting progresses.

This the point in the painting where I think; "What a fine mess this is. I won't be sharing this one on Facebook."

Then I rub off the masking fluid and the structure of the painting comes back.

More paint is added  - cleaning up spots at times. I check the darks. I don't use black but love using a deep purple. It doesn't wash out the colors like a black would.


The last step is to use marker and darken areas, outline others. Paint can still be added at this point. It's easy to lift paints or even marker using clear alcohol with a cloth to blot. 

When you are finished you will want to spray your painting with a fixative.

Friday, March 20, 2015

This church had me at buttress.

I've finished my second Drive By painting.

The Metro Christian Center, 607 Walnut in Rockford.

Originally the Rockford Masonic Cathedral (1869-1918) 

So now I know the top of the tower was so strange. 
There's a steeple missing!

I am in love with the buttresses. How many churches have buttresses? These are just lovely and make me want to learn more about the church.

My next Drive By is in the making. It'd some shops on State street.

One of the things I love about alcohol inks is their spontaneity. This painting has been masked and painted for the first time. I will remove the masking and see what I've got and go from there. It's always a bit of a surprise.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

And a Happy St. Patrick's Day to all of you! 

It's a busy day at JR Finally Art; meetings and trying to finish pieces for shows. I'm hoping to finish my second "Drive By" today as well as start painting the third, some store fronts on State Street on a snowy day. My coy are coming slowly. The Dr. Martin's are becoming more familiar. Towards the end of this week, I'll write a review on them. Then there's the Katie's Cup painting I haven't started yet. Well, I keep plugging away. April will be a very busy month.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Pigs Are Flying Baby - Everyday!

A friend of mine recently asked my why I keep 
this silly pink pig on the dashboard of my car. 

 It's there to remind me that the "Pigs are Flying"

 It was about two years ago (April 1st -April Fools Day) that I left my job of 16 years to pursue my art full time. I have been painting since I was a child but always saw my art more as a long lost love then something I would be able to devote my days to. But that all changed about two and a half years ago when it became apparent it was time for me to move on from my work situation. I began with developing a web page with my nephew who owns a web business. My Father and Step Mother passed away in a fire just two weeks before I was to launch my page. We postponed the launch for several weeks, allowing ourselves the time we needed to complete the project.

When I first launched the page I thought I would instantly get orders for my art prints. I mean you open a web page and now you have access to the whole world and all the people who like your exact type of art will flock to your page. Right? Well I had a few lessons to learn first - about marketing, social marketing, bookkeeping, computers, art sales and business etc. etc. I didn't realize that I was embarking on a very exciting voyage that was nothing like I expected it to be. I'm still on that journey today and I find it totally engaging and satisfying. I have had a lot of help and support, which without I would not have been able to get where I am today.

Where am I today? Just plugging along happy as can be doing my artwork and trying to get it seen by a few people.

Four years ago I don't think I would have been able to share my work publicly let alone do the things I'm doing. If you would have told me that in four I'd be totally involved with my artwork each day and working seven days a week because THAT'S what I want to do I would have told you, "Yeah and pigs fly."

But you know what? Pigs do fly... dreams do come true everyday. The secret is you have to believe in them and your have to work really hard for them.

And you know what happened after I left my job to pursue my dream? My husband did the same thing just one month later! He's rehabbing an Italianate Home build in 1858.

Are we going to be able to do this for the rest of our lives? I don't know. But I do know that today the pigs are flying! I sure don't want to miss seeing them.

What are your dreams? Is it time for you to see pigs flying too?

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Trying Dr. Ph. Martin's Today

I'm in the studio playing with my new 
Dr. Ph. Martin's today.

I was drawn to Dr. Ph. Martin's because of their vivid colors. I'd like to brighten my watercolors a bit - Could these be the answer. The plan last night was to paint the night away. But I found these paints to be less willing to blend with the colors already on the page, unlike my traditional watercolors. It's a technique I use often and really love about painting. Anyway, I stopped about 1 AM last night. I was feeling a bit frustrated. But I'm not willing to give up yet. The top of my "To Do" list today is paint. I have many things started and am hoping to play a game of musical paints today as I work on many of these pieces.

I will report back with my final thoughts after a bit more experience.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

15 Reasons to Paint

15 Reasons Why You Should Paint Today.
    1. Painting engages your mind.
    2. It relieves stress - unless you're a perfectionist.                          
    3. If you're a perfectionist it gives you a chance to loosen up.
    4. People will wonder what your doing.
    5. It's like meditating, when you paint you stay in the moment.              
    6. Painting fulfills that need to create something that can possibly even outlive you.
    7. Painting is a fine way to get some alone time. Unless you're painting with a friend. In that case, it's a good group activity.
    8. Painting allows you to travel for cheap as you paint a loved one, a favorite place or one you created.
    9. It's a good excuse to make a mess. (If you want one.)
    10. Painting goes well with wine.
    11. It's a great way to fill that empty space on your wall with original art.
    12. It feels good!
    13. It's a great way to avoid doing your taxes!
    14. Great way to express yourself without words. Art is an universal language.
    15. It's a great way to spend time with your dog.

    Okay, I started this wanting to come up with just ten but couldn't stop myself. What are your reasons to paint today? Leave me a comment.

    Thursday, March 5, 2015

    The Canal

    I'm having a lot of fun with alcohol inks this month. As I continue my Drive By series this is one of those pictures I just had to squeeze in. And no, there's no place like this in Rockford.

    There's only one Venice!

    The Canal 
    Alcohol Inks
    8" x 12"

     What I like about alcohol inks is that you never really know how they're going to turn out. But I guess you could say that about any painting.

    A work in progress shot.

    Monday, March 2, 2015

    The Final Ink Drawing

    As many of you know, my friend William Ball won the ink drawing give away. He presented me with a photograph of his that is one of my favorites, a circular photo he created using a program which rotates the picture on a axis.  I originally thought, "Oh great, how am I going to change this enough to recognize where it came from while making it my own at the same time?" 

    Dreams of Flight

    Here's my process. 

     This is Bill's photo.
     It's a pretty wonderful picture.

    Using Yupo paper and pencil, I started drawing out the pattern. But I decided that would take a long time and leave to many pencil marks so I just used masking fluid to draw the image.

    When the masking fluid was done, I painted over with alcohol inks.

    I like the picture without the masking fluid and considered stopping here. But in the end, I decided that this was a pen and ink drawing so I added the pen. I used a thick lined pen and then a much finer one for more detail. At first, I didn't like the thick pen but then it took on more of a stained glass effect.

    Anyway, it certainly seems like a direction to look into for the future.
     Thanks Bill for the inspiration.