Larger Than Life Whimsical Art

Nobody has ever described my work as whimsical and I wonder how can that be?! I must be the most whimsical of people out there, never fully immersed in our daily reality.

I have always been quite distant as a child, heavily criticized for being absent mentally or slow as if I was barely there but functioning in two parallel realities.

On the other side, I love to challenge myself (people often associate this with some kind of neck breaking stunts, but I am totally not into that), to master a new skill or tackle something new and learn from experience, so I am not some kind of softy that lives in a cushioned fantasy world. I learned to engage and love this world without losing my whimsy, I just see it differently and thus nobody is recognizing that I am a truly whimsical artist.

Yes, I gather my girl self is quite surprised that there are no fairies and mermaids in my art but she may remember how she always loved porcelain figurines, fruits, and flowers. I feature plenty of porcelain in my work with addition of glass that is definitely a new favourite.

There is certainly more I could write to you about, but I am off to challenge myself with a sunlit stone family I am painting at the moment. They are asking for their faces to be put in place, as they need to talk to each other while you are not looking.

Art Shows

Art Shows

I am very excited to share that at the moment my art is showing at 3 art shows.

Two of my paintings are part of the juried regional spring art show in Kamloops, organized by TNS Chapter of FCA. I will add details and pictures of paintings tomorrow as I have to pace myself, there is a huge backlog of tasks I am tackling at the moment.

One of my paintings is currently in Vancouver, in Federation Gallery of FCA on Glanville Island.

Finally, two of my paintings are in the Grizzli Gallery Show at Grizzli Winery in West Kelowna.

I wanted to write about it individually, but life happened and I am now pressed for time. I have been getting sick ever since we took off our masks, nothing major but getting 3 colds in 3 weeks is still excessive. I guess all that mask wearing and social distancing did not suit me. I hope to adapt sooner rather than later since it is a real bore.

Oil Painting Supplies

I am a great admirer of colours, I love all colours with great passion and they are all so close to my heart. Having to limit the colours I use regularly is just a practical solution to the impossible idea of having them all play a part.

That is why I developed a system that works for me: I have some regular colours and the special guest stars for a particular painting project.

I was always so curious to see what kind of colours other artists are using and when I would discover a new one I tested it to see if I missed a hidden gem. My personal set of regular colours has developed from my own painting practice and that is what I suggest you do as well. You have to try different things until you find what exactly works for yourself. There is no one formula for success and there are no shortcuts here. You can use the palette I listed but it may not work for you, it is a personal choice after all.

This is my basic oil painting palette, my main colour stars:

  • White
  • Cadmium yellow light
  • Cadmium yellow medium
  • Yellow ochre
  • Cadmium orange deep
  • Cadmium red light
  • Permanent alizarin crimson
  • Ultramarine blue 
  • Phthalo green
  • Transparent oxide red
  • Terra rosa

I do not really believe in limited palettes. Why would you want to limit yourself with colours? That would be like if a writer used only one set of words and combined them till the end of time. That sounds very taxing to me. I see how limiting colours can be beneficial for some artists but we are all so delightfully different, aren’t we?

I haven’t listed the special guest star colours, but you can go have a look at the variety offered by paint manufacturers to get that exact list 😁 (I see no point in listing you an entire catalog) Those are colours I use in special circumstances and one of the favourites in this category is “Terre verte” as for me that is the happiest colour of all. I am thinking of making it a regular.

I am currently auditioning different violets, as I will be adding a regular violet once I have established which one that is. I guess in a couple of years, these things take lot’s of time. You can see me here still using a violet I mixed from ultramarine blue and alizarin crimson.

https://www.instagram.com/reel/CbeT3mNjS_Q/

Solvents

I have a very sensitive nose and do not tolerate most solvent available today. This also makes me very particular about the smell of paint and I use only paint that passed my nose’s test. My studio always smells very good with a hint of cloves essential oil that I use to prolong the drying times of the paint laid out on my palette. I use some solvents with great caution in different particular situations and instructions on those far exceed the reach of this article so I will not recommend you any of those.

Mediums

I use oil gels regularly, as well as some impasto mediums, but most often I use only a little bit of walnut oil. I also enjoy making my own mediums, as I find it empowering to make a medium exactly to my liking. As with paint, I have a great variety of mediums and use them for various purposes and most recently to play with thin and thick applications of paint.

What is your preferred colour palette? If you have any questions or to share your own preferences please use the comments section below.

Social Media – Artist Marketing series

Social Media – Artist Marketing series

This posting is part of my Artist Marketing series, you can find the entire category here: https://izabela.red/category/art-marketing/

First, I want to say that Internet is really saturated with social media, and that social media is designed to suck you in and waste your time. Even with limited use, you will end up looking at something you did not come there to see.

Things are changing

My favorite, Instagram, is really trying to become something else, it is losing identity and future is uncertain.

You should not rely on Instagram (or any social media) for your business as you have absolutely no control over their policies and destiny. Just a recent example with war in Ukraine: many if not most social media companies have been banned or they left their users in Russian Federation and if you were an artist in Russia that was relying on social media to generate income you would be in a great problem. This is a really bad and unlikely situation, but it happened to them and for them it is 100% real. These companies come and go, you cannot rely on their longevity, and what is actually the biggest danger of all as it happens quite often: they change their algorithms.

Since a couple of months ago I noticed a great dip in the number “likes” I received, and entire concept of the platform changed. You could not search easily with hashtags, but you were served content they wanted you to see, you lost a great deal of control of what will be shown to you. This has reached crazy levels recently. What I can see is that Instagram is trying to compete with Tik Tok and started completely ruining the experience for the users who do not want to have another Tik Tok.

If you want to improve your chances on Instagram you should be making videos, or reels, as those are currently the most algorithm friendly options.

There certainly is some benefit in using the social media as it gives you a day to day contact with audience and creates sort of an informal environment that you may or may not embrace. It is ultimately up to you to define the purpose of your social media interactions.

It would be wise to make some decisions and plan on what your goal and strategy will be, just to give you some guidelines in your marketing efforts. I personally use only Instagram for my own purposes, and mostly to communicate with fellow artists. I have not embraced the business side of it completely, using it just here and there for the more serious purposes. I will probably change that in future and focus on making it one of my marketing tools, or I may just completely let it go, I am not sure at the moment. Currently, I have been managing, as a side gig, social media accounts for the Central Okanagan Chapter of Federation of Canadian Artists, combined with my own accounts.

Whatever you decide, do not worry about the likes and follows, you need to change your expectations of the platform, it is not what it used to be. If you want to make it on Instagram you will have to invest money, set a budget and have a goal, preferably something with a monetary dimension since if you are investing money you are looking to make some as well. I would start selling art on Instagram and that would justify the cost of advertising. It makes no sense to advertise to just get the likes. I heard some great success stories from people who invested in advertising to sell their art and prints. Basically, it is very similar to the TV as you have to pay to be seen and we lost most of the control of what we will be seeing on the platform.

(to be continued)

Artist Marketing – the beginning

Artist Marketing – the beginning

While building my art website, I recently learned a lot of new things, that was exciting and I plan to continue this learning path. This gave me an opportunity to re-examine my marketing channels, yes, even though I was not very active in this field I still have those because I do interact with my audience even in absence. I really like to learn and do new things but I found that marketing in my daily work schedule is quite time consuming.

While I was personally, probably, overwhelmed with my marketing endeavours, I noticed some other artists are doing much more of it and I wondered:

  • When do they find time to paint?
  • When do they find time to really immerse themselves in art?
  • When do they find time to bring something profoundly beautiful in this world – yes, I think that art has to bring us beauty
  • When do they find time to learn new things?
  • When do they find time to be inspired by living/experiencing/thinking?
  • When do they have time to exercise, lead an active life?
  • When do they find time to prepare/eat healthy food?
  • When do they spend time with their family or friends?

(on a personal note I have a couple of other very important things I take care of on an ongoing daily basis)

I also noticed that while their art is really strong, and their marketing super successful their art is sort of marching in one spot, you can see no developments in there which brings me to the conclusion that they are not super humans and they do make compromises. I am afraid that they are making those in the wrong place. They are wonderful artists and they chose this very difficult path in life only to make that particular compromise? We all need to pay our bills, and need to develop many practical skills in order to make it. I understand why they are doing it as not only do they need to pay the bills, they want to feel successful and make sales.

I am trying to learn from the experience and wealth of examples I found on social media. They don’t even know they are giving me this insight, and that makes this analysis little naughty. I will not be naming anybody, and they are indeed excellent artists, I would never learn from a second rate ones. I did find some well balanced artists (in my opinion) who do minimal marketing and focus on their art instead, and that is the route I will be taking as well.

Finally, I decided that I will do just the bare minimum of it for the reasons I listed above. I do not want to become an art marketing consultant, and will have to find a way to balance little bits of marketing in my workflow. I definitely want to learn new things in this area in future and improve everything I possibly can but I will focus on things that are not going to eat up a big chunk of my work hours.

I will continue writing about this topic as I do want to share my journey of conquring a minimal marketing strategy for my art career.

Stay in touch, sign up for my newsletter.

Technology & Art Practice

Technology & Art Practice

I will be presenting at our chapter’s (Federation of Canadian Artists Central Okanagan Chapter) upcoming monthly meeting on Monday, March 7 at 7pm. That is actually a very special day for me, it is 16,801st day of my life and my birthday. Statistically speaking, I am past the mid point in my life and need to be more careful about how I distribute my time and energy in future. Basing your decisions on facts, remains important every day of your life.

This is a demo recording compilation done after the meeting demo.

Pin It on Pinterest