Thursday, June 27, 2013

Discover how this artist taps into her intuition to create her art

Interview with artist Jenny Grant
by Miriam Schulman, @schulman art, edited by Stefanie Hindmarch

SchulmanArt: Where are you from and how do you think your background has influenced you as an artist?
A peek into Jenny's studio.. see more on her blog
Jenny Grant: I am Swedish living in Mount Maunganui, New Zealand. My Swedish background probably makes me drawn to earthy colors and to light and contrast. Moving to New Zealand definitely gave me an opportunity to focus on my art and establish myself as an artist locally as well as online.

SchulmanArt: How long have you been selling your art?
Jenny Grant: I have been selling my art since 2010 and I have been selling online since 2012. My Etsy shop has just opened. I have been painting since I was a kid and the decision to exhibit and sell my art was not a very conscious decision. I was browsing through a small local boutique and suddenly asked the owner if she was interested to exhibit and sell my art. I was very surprised by my own question. I have exhibited my art since then both in Sweden and New Zealand and my art is sold locally and online.
Follow Jenny Grant on Facebook for more of her art.
SA: Tell us about your art making process...
JG: I love working with mixed media but I also love acrylic paints. It is such a versatile medium. Acrylics dry fast, are water soluble, and work very well with other media. Acrylics can be used on almost any kind of surface. I also love to add media and gels to the paint and to collage paper to my canvas. I work in many layers and my art is very rich in depth and texture. I love the way I can use the acrylic paint to glue paper to my canvas, spray with water to form drips, or use stencils to build texture. I love when I do not have full control, such as when the paint is dripping or I splash the paint on the canvas. I also love that the acrylics can be used either transparent or opaque.
SA: How do you get inspired? 
See what inspired Jenny on Pinterest!
JG: My inspiration varies over time, but right now it is my inner true self that inspires me. I am trying to listen, and when I feel that I resonate with something, I paint it. When I find my flow there is a direct contact to my inner voice; an endless source of inspiration! My art is created while I paint. My intuition leads me through the process. I start with a lot of different colors and paint, or use collage paper glued to the canvas. The imagery slowly develops during the process. Either it appears in the paint on the canvas or in my mind, and I get the urge to paint it. I am trying not to worry about the final result until the final layers. I work on several paintings at the same time, in different stages. When I get stuck on one I usually get inspiration to work on one of the others. I hang my unfinished work in different places around the house, such as the kitchen and the living room. I love having them around when I do house work and hear comments from my friends and family. When the paintings "speak to me", or I get inspiration to continue, I bring them to my studio. In my art journal I try new techniques and media. I love working in the journal to loosen up and let go when I feel stuck. I focus much less on the result when working in my art journal.

Collect Jenny Grant's art on Etsy

SA: What is your studio space like?
JG: I have my studio in my garage at the moment which is not an optimal room for light nor for beauty, but it is perfect for me. Having small kids limits the time I can spend in the studio, and by having the studio in my garage both my kids and I have easy access. We use the space all the time! A lot of creative time is spent there.
See more of Jenny's art on Society6
I have three kids. My two oldest are 9 and 7 and they are very creative. They spend a lot of time in my studio playing with paint, cardboard boxes, hot glue, and anything else that is available. They love bringing their friends into the studio. My youngest is 2, so he has just started to draw and paint. I think it is very important to let the kids be creative and not steer their creativity. It is important that they can create when they get the urge to do so. I believe that one of the most important things we can give our kids is to let them be creative, encourage them to be brave and to make mistakes, and to have fun! 

Want to get inspired by the beauty of New Zealand? Check out these picks from etsy!
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Wednesday, June 26, 2013

How to Paint Ducks in Watercolor

Feeling Duckie!
by Miriam Schulman, @schulmanArt

how to paint with watercolors
online watercolor class teaches how to paint these ducks!
I have been having a lot of fun this year with my online painting classes! I told my mother-in-law that this weekend and she asked, "What classes are you taking?" She was so surprised to hear that I was teaching them!

I just finished making my part of the online class that I organized called "Summerscapes" that teaches you how to create three different summer landscape scenes in three mediums: watercolor (that is what I taught), oil, and acrylic. You can read more about that online ecourse here.

Sample of one of my duck watercolor paintings

I also put together a really fun class on painting birds. I didn't spend a lot of time marketing this class-- in fact I don't think I spent any time. I priced the class really low and just put in a single 30 minute tutorial of how to paint pelicans in watercolor. Yesterday, I just added part one of my duck painting tutorial.

Register for this class HERE!

Discover all the cute yellow ducks I found on etsy today!
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Wednesday, June 19, 2013

The Watercolors of John Singer Sargent at the Brooklyn Museum

Get Inspired!
blog post by @schulmanArt, Miriam Schulman

Watercolor painting by Sargent at the Brooklyn Museum
My first thought when viewing the magnificient watercolor paintings on display at the Brooklyn museum this summer was "Genius." My second thought, was "I want to go to Venice and see all these places!" and my third thought, was "I can't wait to get home and paint!"

Whether you are an artist, an art connoisseur, or a traveler, there is somethin gfor you with this exhibit. This watercolor exhibition unites for the first time the John Singer Sargent watercolors acquired by the Brooklyn Museum and the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. The exhibit is on display in New York through July 28, 2013 and then travels to Boston. There are almost one hundred artworks on display that will convince you that Sargent was a master of watercolor and also that watercolor holds a rightful place in art history.

Bridge of Sighs in Venice, watercolor by John Singer Sargent
Sargent was an American painter born abroad who made his fortunes with traditional portrait paintings done in oil. In his retirement, he traveled and created watercolors for pleasure. His subjects include Venetian scenes, Mediterranean sailing vessels, intimate portraits, and Bedouin subjects. The exhibition also presents nine oil paintings.

Want to learn to paint with watercolors? I have several online watercolor classes to help get you started!

Do you love art and decorating? Get art you love and decorating inspiration delivered straight to your inbox! Click HERE.

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Friday, June 7, 2013

Discover how this Etsy Seller sold 1000 prints in 90 days

Have a Commercial Head
Interview of Kelly Stevens by Miriam Schulman, @schulmanArt

One of Stevens popular Fox prints available from her etsy shop
SchulmanArt: How do you think your childhood has influenced you as an artist?  
Kelly Stevens: I'm originally from London and as a child I was brought up with various pets, and so animals have always been an important part of the family. When I left home I remember that I couldn't wait to move into a home big enough for me to get a dog, but of course that ended up as three! I think that living with pets all of my life has given me a very clear view of the different personalities that different animals have and so I find that my art is all about bringing animals personalities to the fore, and sometimes I express that by having them in unusual situations, or humanising them in some way.

SchulmanArt: When did you decide to be a professional artist?  
Kelly Stevens: My actual 'career' as an artist is very, very recent. I've made things all of my life, and painted on anything that stood still long enough, for as long as I can remember, but the idea that I could make a living doing anything like that always seemed a total dream, and so I never pursued it professionally in any way.

artist Kelly Stevens
I started my first business when I was 24 and then spent 20 years running a number of businesses, selling them when they were established and then setting up another. My art was completely shelved, but I was on holiday in late 2012 when I saw a bird box that I loved, and a voice in the back of my head said "I could make that." So when I got home, I did and then I made another and then another and then over the next few weekends I made 30. Then I started painting on them, and the next thing I knew I had started drawing and painting again and I realised how much I had missed it.

So in October 2012, I opened a shop on Etsy, originally to get rid of the 30 bird boxes which were cluttering up my spare room (did I mention that they are each about 24inches tall!), but on 26th December 2012 I realised that I could be using my Etsy shop to sell prints of the 70+ paintings I had done since October. So that was what I did.

Incredibly within 90 days I sold just over 1000 prints on Etsy and on another online store and so I made the decision to close my main business and actually have a go at making a career as a full time artist.

Visit her website for wholesale information
SchulmanArt: That is incredible! Did you even study art?
Kelly Stevens:  I did art at school like everyone did and I got a fair grade, but it never even occurred to me for a second to pursue any further art education or training. At age 45 I finally found myself in a position to do something that I wanted to do 20 years ago, but if I hadn't have done what Ive been doing for the last 20 years, I wouldn't have arrived at this point, and I wouldn't have been able to make a success of it.

SchulmanArt: What is your favorite medium to work in and why? 
KS: Acrylic paint or just plain old emulsion left over from decorating were all I had ever painted with until my husband arrived home one day in November 2012 with a Wacom.[interactive pen display & digital drawing tablet] At that point I started creating art digitally and I love it!

SchulmanArt: What is your most popular print? 
KS: My most popular items have to be my foxes. Foxes are very in vogue at the moment luckily for me, but they are lovely animals. We actually feed the local foxes every night and now we have about four that sit outside our front door every evening waiting for their dinners. I have a feeling that when the weather starts to get a bit 'crispy' again I might start putting some of my animals in appropriate clothing.

Stevens has a second shop on etsy too

SchulmanArt: How do you get inspired and stay focused?
KS: I don't paint every day. I find that if I see something or hear something that sparks an idea and then I will sit down and paint it. And then another idea will occur in the middle of doing that one, so I do another picture straight afterwards, and then another. When I create one picture I always seem to end up doing five or six, and then stop for a couple of weeks before the cycle comes around again.

SchulmanArt: Describe a typical day for you. 
KS: Nothing's typical when you have an Etsy shop. That's what I love about it. You can have a few days with not much happening and just a few orders rolling in, and then you get a request for 40 prints to be shipped to South America, and 30 to Australia within five minutes of each other.

You don't need a fancy studio to sell art!
SchulmanArt: What is your studio space like? 
KS: I have a home office but I hate to work there. I also can rarely get to the desk anyway as the office chair seems to have been adopted by one of our dogs. If I had an unlimited budget I could build the most beautiful custom studio, but I know that I would end up working back where I always love to work, and that is on the kitchen table. That is where I always do any artwork, whether it be digital or acrylic painting. Yes, it causes a bit of disruption sometimes but it is the heart of my home, and I like to work with noise and things going on around me.

SchulmanArt: What final advice would you give other artists who want to make a living selling their art?
KS: Creating art is one thing, selling it to make a living is another skill set altogether. You have a choice to either learn the business side and operate that yourself, or find someone else to do it for you (agent etc). But if you decide to do it yourself, really really take the time to learn as much as you can about running a business and marketing. Having a 'commercial head' will pay in the long run
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Thursday, June 6, 2013

Mixed Media with Cottage Chic Charm

It's all in the Details
by Miriam Schulman

animal art
Hens are pecking in the grass with romantic flowers
Yesterday, I talked about how I transformed two paintings. Emboldened by that success I looked around my studio and took two more paintings out of their stuffy frames and had some fun.

Sides of Hen painting have English Cottage Roses. Save money on framing and display without one!
For these I also carried the motif to the sides. For the hen painting, I changed my boring black sides to a nice parchment cream and added English cottage roses. For the sheep painting, I painted the sides a bright yellow and added French country blue paisley. These whimsical touches mean not only do you not need a frame to display this canvas art but you really wouldn't want one!

Sheet art is edged with French Country motif of blue paisley on a rich warm yellow background

animal paintings
Sheep art is enhanced with whimsical patterned background and butterflies

Can't you picture these farm animal paintings in a country kitchen, a cottage chic living room or a romantic old fashioned nursery?With that decorating scheme in mind I went on a search on etsy to see what other cottage chic art and accessories I could find to complement this design aesthetic.



Do you love art and decorating?

Get your FREE Guide to Choosing House Paint Colors to transform your home in 2015

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Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Mixed Media Sheep Paintings

Ewe and Me
by Miriam Schulman, @schulmanArt .

animal paintings
Mixed Media Animal Art: Ewe and Me Against the World
When a painting sits too long in my studio it risks getting a makeover. That is what happened to these two sheep paintings. On their own they were nice pedestrian sheep paintings, but they had gone a year without a buyer and here I have piles of mixed media art materials nagging at me to do something. So I took them out of their frames and started layering patterns and butterflies in the grassy meadows to give the paintings additional visual interest. 

"Ewe and Me Against the World" pictures a black and white ewe with her baby lamb on a green pasture. The mixed media original sheep painting will enhance nursery room decor and farm art is always adorable in a country kitchen. Butterflies and dragonflies dance around the bright green field. The sides are decorated with French country motif of red flowers on yellow. Better yet, you do not need to frame this farm art under glass!
animal art
Mixed Media Collage Art: Peaceful Pasture

In the next painting, 
Peaceful Pasture, a very fat fluffy sheep shews the grass in a meadow. Again butterflies flit around her. Both paintings are 8x10" on .75" Gallery Wrapped Canvas and the sides are again decorated in a French Country motif with red flowers on yellow.

I am not the only artist inspired by sheep-- check out all the handcrafted goodness on etsy!
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