Saturday, May 30, 2015

Work in Progrss - Pugs

I'm still working on the pug commission, naughty me. 
 What can I say, art shows, graduations and birthdays.

I'm thinking, I don't like the yellow patches of the couch - too distracting. 

What do you think?

Friday, May 22, 2015

Slow Progress, Busy Schedule

Another busy week. Still have pet commissions to do.

I'm starting to get artist block but I know I'll work my way through it as soon as I can get back to my painting. For now, I have my sister with me, Matt's graduation and Diane's birthday party. I'm so lucky to be able to spend time with family. Today we're going to the Cement Man!

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Riverside Arts Walk, a fun Weekend

Last weekend was the RAW show. The Riverside Arts Walk.

Rain threatened us most of the weekend but all in all the weather was pretty good. Not too hot, a good breeze and rain mostly at night.

It was fun to go back to the area I grew up in. My parent's lived in LaGrange for 50 years. Riverside is about 10 minutes away. The RAW show was very close to Brookfield Zoo where I spent a lot of my youth and much of my early motherhood days with my own children. In fact, my husband and I had our first apartment together close by in Berwyn.  While driving by  Loyola hospital I shouted, " That's were you and Beth were born."to my daughter. A lot of fond memories were made there.

As we were close to the old neighborhood, we were visited by Aunt Roz and her family, along with my best friend and her family, and my sister and brother-in-law. It always makes the show so much more special with the support and love of family.

Meredith Wenzel with her hand blown glass.

Being in a two day show is somewhat like going away to camp for the weekend. You meet a lot of really interesting people, not only those attending the show but the other art exhibitors as well.  This show wasn't a huge success financially but we certainly had a great time talking to those around us.

Sandra Ragan was game to trying alcohol inks.


 Sunday seemed to be a much better day and I have to attribute that to painting. People love to see others creating their artwork. It's something I have to remember to do more often. This time was a bit challenging without a table and the wind which blew away my photograph away several times and dropped little worms and other debris from the overhead tree. But we made do and it was great fun showing people what alcohol inks can do.

Probably the best part was sharing the time with my daughter, Samantha Rae, who was such an incredible help and stayed with me the entire weekend. Doing a show like this takes a huge amount of effort and I couldn't have done it without her help or that of my husband, Mark who sets up my heavy booth and takes it down with never a complaint.  Thanks guys, and Matt too, for all your support.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Plein Air Tips for All Us Beginners

One of my goals this summer is to Plein Air paint.

My first attempt last summer was not good. I haven't attempted it again but am determined that this will be the summer I learn to paint plein air.

Plein Air is painting outdoors. The artist must deal with the elements, especially the changing light along with time limits. I've signed up for a class and gone to Pinterest where I have been collecting plein air tips for awhile now. Here are some tips and comments I feel are worth noting;

Vadim Klevenskiy lists what the advantages of painting Plein Air are.

1. To paint in the open air is to experience the environment of which you are painting, the sounds, the smells.

2. Plein Air teaches you to be more organized.   

3. You learn to make good use of time while painting. Light can change quickly so you need to make decisions fast.

4. Plein Air forces you to think about what you are painting, actual tones and colors can be interpreted far more accurately .
5. You'll gain knowledge of colors, hues, how light affects things, painting techniques, etc. As my friend Rich says, " You'll learn a lot about mixing colors."

6. It will help you to have stronger observation skills. You'll be more able to discern lights and darks, tones, hues,values, perspective etc.

7. Photographs never capture the quality of color that the human eye can see.

Dan Boone offers these tips.

1. Determine your subject. Focus your eye on a compelling scene within the larger setting.  You don't have to paint everything. Just sit in the setting for awhile before you paint to feel the essence of the environment.

2. Pay attention to how you position your easel. If you have a wall or door to your back people will be less likely to creep up on you. You may want to paint under a tree to be in shade.

3. Lighting is important. The time of day you choose to paint outdoors has a profound effect on the mood of your painting. Colors in the morning and evening are cool tones, while afternoon colors are warm. Beach paintings are lovely at sunset.

4.Use a familiar color palette with paints you've mixed before.

And always know the painting does not have to be completed outdoors. Finish it in your studio if you are more comfortable there. Be sure to take several photographs for reference.

For these and more information see my Plein Air Tips board on Pinterest at Jill Rae Finally Art.

Do you have some tips you'd like to add? Please share them in the comments.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

12 Ways to Sell Your Art This Summer.

With the warm weather comes some great
 opportunities to sell your art work.

I like to try some different ideas to engage people
 in my art. Here are a few suggestions:

1. Offer you own wine and painting party in your studio or backyard.

2. Have an open studio. For me it would be an open garden highlighting many of my Garden Series Watercolors. Invite some art friends to show their works also. (Have them advertise to their friends.) Be sure to offer demos and fun giveaways to make it a festive occasion.

3. Look for unique ways to showcase your work. For instance, my husband is having an open house in the house he's been rehabbing. I will put several of my paintings on the walls and in places where they can be seen.

4. Have a "Friends and Family Sale" of the pieces you want to move. Offer 50% off to these special people who may love your work but may not be able to pay full price.

5. Offer a Christmas in July sale. Offer big savings on custom work done now.

6. This is a good time to hit the pavement and find new shops to display your art. Try gift shops, design stores, furniture stores, doctors offices, coffee shops, banks etc.
7. Contact Interior designers with postcards of your work.

8. If your town has vacant stores, contact the owner and see if you can put some paintings in the window.

9. Target certain markets, I paint flowers. Contact garden centers, florists.

10. Host summer workshops. Sell your demo.

11. Donate a piece to a charity auction.

12. Paint Plein Air in a populated public place and talk about your work to people who pass by.

Anywhere you go, don't miss the opportunity to engage people with art this summer.

And have a good time...

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Work in Progress - Scottie in Alcohol Inks

I'm working on a few dog commissions I have this weekend.

White and black dogs are always a bit more challenging. They also allow
more opportunity to add color. The challenge with this Scottie is to add color but still have the fur read as white.

Scottie before masking fluid is removed.

I spend a lot of time working through the colors using a small brush with just a bit of alcohol on it so I could get the effect of fur by wiping off some color and stinging it along into new areas.

Scottie without masking fluid.

Now to go back paint some more fur and to paint in the eyes and nose. Then to ink it up a bit for more definition.

For more information about pet portraits visit my web at

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Flowers By Day, Dogs By Night

What a great time of year it is...
the excitement of graduations and weddings along with the promise of warm weather.

I'm having a hard time not spending all my time in the garden. I have to remind myself that I have commissions to do and a show next week.

So, I'll try to do a little of it all.

Flowers by day and dogs by night.

I love potted plants. The act of combining colors and textures is thrilling to me.
By night I work on my dog commissions. In between, I'm getting ready for the Riverside Show.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Getting Ready for Art Shows - A Check Off List

The shows have been applied to and have accepted you ... 
now what?

Here is a checklist/timeline for getting ready for shows:

When you find out: Paste show to events page on your web page. Add to all calendars. Pay
                                                any booth fees.
Three Months before the show:Go through inventory - order scans of new
                                                  work, prints and cards etc.
The Month Before: Start advertising show on Facebook, Twitter and other social media.
                                                You can start just talking about painting pictures for it and getting ready.

                Process printing orders, bag, tag and add certificates to all prints, box and price all card sets.
                Go through current original works  Frame, wire, tag and add certificates to all originals,
                                                        bag, tag and add certificates to all originals not being framed.

                 Read through the show notes and web page to make sure you have show specifics and
                                                       understand all rues and expectations. 
The Week Before: Go through current inventory; pack framed works, bagged works- original
                               and prints - and all other  merchandise cards, calendars etc.

                Start Packing the list below.

                Go to bank and get cash and change.

                Read through the show notes and web page to make sure you have show specifics and
                               understand all rues and expectations. AGAIN. You don't want any surprises.

The Night Before: Review packing list and do any last minute tasks.

                 Charge cell phone, I Pad, etc .

Pack for the show:
Level and hooks 
Artist Sign or Banner
Print holders
Wire holders for prints, signage and cards
Chair or two
Tarps for securring at night
Poncho and unbrella
Glass cleaner and paper towels
Extra labels and Blank labels
Art Materials for Demo
Tool Box: Scissors, Hammer, Screw driver, pliers,
Table and Table Cloth
Tapes; painters, mailing and scotch
Square for credit and cash PHONE fully charged with extra batteries
Receipts, calculator and pens
Promotional Items; business cards, postcards, hand outs,
                               sign up for mailing list, artist statement and bio, card holders
Plastic Bags for sales and wrapping supplies - bubble wrap, saran wrap
Framed works, bagged works, cards and other merchandise
Parking Permits or other materials sent to you by the show.
Water, food, cooler
Book to read

Have a Happy Art Fair!

Did I miss anything? Please leave a comment.

Friday, May 1, 2015

Inspired in my Own Back Yard

It was  Dorothy Gale in the Wizard of Oz who said: "If I ever go looking for my heart's desire again, I won't look any further than my own back yard. Because if it isn't there, I never really lost it to begin with!" Okay, she never went to Venice or she wouldn't have said that, but some of it is true.

Most of my watercolor paintings are from flowers in my back yard. I plant them, then photograph them. Gardening is a lot like painting. You choose color combinations, paying attention to textures along the way. You plant all of these in the garden and you don't know for certain how they'll turn out. Much depends on the lighting, the amount of water you use, the temperature, the quality of your materials, your mood and even critters in the area. Just like painting!

So here's some early Spring shots from my garden that I photographed yesterday.

Just goes to show... There's no place like home.