Friday, 31 August 2007

Money money money

I'm a happy bunny today - I've just been told a local gallery has sold one of my paintings. Big smiles. I'll go and collect my money in a bit - the price of the painting minus their commission. It makes up for the lack of sales last weekend!

Selling art is a funny business. Pricing it is very tricky. I've always tried to be fair with my pricing - selling at the price I consider a good amount for the work done and expertise involved. I have a basic hourly rate in my head that I sort of work around to find the price. Its probably a lot higher than the majority of artists in this locale, but I know I'm better than most of them, or at least I value myself higher because I know I can tackle subjects and techniques that a lot of them can't. I spoke to a botanical artist the other day, who is incredibly talented, and sells his paintings very well. He knows he's good at what he does. He spends hours and hours and long hours on his artwork and works in directly opposing ways to my technique - he will glaze over and over many times on each area of a flower petal, a leaf or a piece of fruit. He wants the finished painting to look exactly the same as the item infront of him, and I think that's incredibly admirable. But I don't paint like that. I use splatter and fluid lines and lost and found edges in my work to show movement and life and much prefer the effect. But should I charge the same price as him? He will agonise for ages over the tiniest piece of colour, I spend ages thinking about the emotional effect my art will convey through colour and line and composition.

A few years ago I joined a local art group and asked the chairman a lot of questions regarding how my art should move forward. He helped me a lot with good wholesome advice based on his expertise and experience. One of the things I asked him was about how to price my work. His advice was "Double it!" which took me aback. "What? Double the prices? Will people pay it"? "Yes", he said, "They will". And he's been right, they have. But then if I join another art organisation which is of a far higher profile (and I'm working on that very thing at this very moment!) do I carry on doubling the prices? I think the answer is probably yes. People expect it. But the work is still of the same quality and calibre as it is now, the only thing that's changed is the price tag. And people will still pay it. I know of an artist who was selling his work through a VERY famous shop in London some years ago, and was asked his price for one particular painting that a member of another countries royal family was interested in purchasing. The artist named his high price and was told to put another zero on the end of it. ANOTHER ZERO????? Yes - it was expected! The price was too cheap otherwise and the prince wouldn't have been interested........ The picture was sold at the higher price. Point made.

So, I think the point I'm making is.......... get me now whilst I'm going cheap ........ so to speak......

Wednesday, 29 August 2007

Whats new?

I'm still thinking about what I want to do regarding promoting myself and the offer the businessman made last week to invest a lot of money in advertising me as an artist (and also wanting a large share of the profits afterwards) but part of that decision will also be formed by the fact that after all the hard work, the build up and great expectations of the big exhibition last weekend - I didn't sell a single bloody thing! They hung eight of my ten paintings which was great considering they had well over a thousand paintings entered and were limited on hanging space. They did everything they could to sell paintings at the exhibition. My particular pictures were in a good prominent place just by the door, with good lighting and exposure, I was the first name in the catalogue of about a hundred artists and there were thousands of people visiting the place over the weekend. I had a good selection of paintings which elicited good positive reactions from people - I did everything RIGHT - and still NO SODDING sales! ........But.... it's the way it goes. Its annoying and aggravating and just part of being an artist and there's absolutely no point in getting depressed or losing sleep over it. BUT what it does underline is the fact that there's not much point in spending a small fortune on finding a good site, no matter how much is spent on promoting the exhibition to get the people to see the work, when the people might like the work very much but don't want to actually go so far as to BUY any of it. Loads of advertising does not equal many sales. So the lesson learnt this week is to find a better place that is good for me to exhibit in but which does not involve huge outpourings of hard earned cash which will be just good money down the drain. And I have a couple of ideas as to where is best for me to go next on that subject...... which I shall tell you about should I have any success with them......

Meantime I'm not quite on bread and water yet and have been busy drawing.......

And on to the erotic drawing of this week - another white on black drawing with just a hint of colour adding instant interest and awareness. The painting is called "Warm up" and is of a pair of female buttocks bent over, the rest of the body and legs just hinted at as they recede into the darkness, and above them, suspended in mid air is a single hand, clenched around a riding crop, angled ready to strike the buttocks again and again, just starting to mark them and warm them up to a full bloom of colouring.

Saturday, 25 August 2007

Sliding Doors

Last night I was propositioned. Nothing unusual in that. It happens occasionally..... enough to make life interesting anyway. But this was different. Not a sexual proposition - but a business one........

A guy I met for the first time a couple of weeks ago and have not seen since, has offered to go into a business partnership with me. He's willing to invest a lot of money into building up my art business, promoting it and backing me as an artist. He knows, as well as I do, that I'm not going to sell my work in the area I live in, I need to go to London, Birmingham or Manchester - where the big money is, and the people who have the inclination to buy my sort of erotic art go. He's talking about a showroom, where people can visit and where I can exhibit my art properly. And his offer has come at exactly the right time - I've been looking for a good gallery for a while, one that is suitable to my needs, where they can promote my art and I can get a good price for my art, which I know is good, and has appeal to a wide audience. But if I go to a large gallery, they will ask a high percentage commission on my art - I'll be lucky to get 30% of the value they sell it at, my framing costs will also soar and I may get less money than if I sell my art privately. This has always been a problem for me - do I sell my art though a prestigious gallery and get less for it, but get fame and acclaim, or do I stay private and reach a smaller audience but keep a higher percentage of the proceeds? Plus there's my website to consider - technically I'm advertising to the world on it, and although my work resides in other European countries and the USA, I'm not known, as yet, as an international artist. I want to reach a wider audience. If I open my own showroom, I would be doing that and I would be taking the profits (or losses) and would be able to reach a richer audience perhaps, but would they be willing to spend the large amounts a venture like this would need to be profitable?

This businessman is willing to invest a lot of money in me, but he also wants a large slice out of it - he's in business after all, and that is to be expected. But do I go with him and invest a lot of money and maybe make a huge pile of money with his backing, or possibly even lose a lot through unforeseen bad decisions, or do I carry on as I am, slowly building up my business, pushing my work through the channels that are interested, and selling well enough to keep a steady income, but not necessarily a vast one. Or even keep on looking and maybe another offer better than this will appear around an unsuspected corner. Or is this as good as it gets? Should I snap his hand off and get him signed up before he changes his mind? I have to consider all angles, and run the two scenarios as parallel universes - as in the film Sliding Doors - one of these open doors leads to success and the other leads to ignominy - but which is which?

Friday, 24 August 2007

Choosing the chosen few

I've taken the chosen few..... well ........ten.... paintings to the exhibition. The best of the years work. The ones I'm happiest with, most want to exhibit, the ones, in my opinion, most likely to sell. Wrapped lovingly in their protective covers, they're taken to the venue, a few questions as to where they should be left, unwrapped they're brought blinking into the sunlight, and left in the charge of complete strangers, who I entrust to look after my precious creations. These strangers will hang them, choose where they look best, and the next time I'll see them they'll be part of a large exhibition of 900 or so pieces of art. And maybe, just maybe, some of them will get the coveted red dots. The mark of a sale. The greatest prize of all - someone wants to own one of my paintings. Wants to buy it, and take it home, to cherish and adore it, as part of their home decor, to enhance and decorate their home....... But because the exhibition is so popular and attracts so many visitors from far and wide, there may be too many paintings for the hanging space. Its an extensive area, but the organisers have no idea what size paintings are going to arrive, and just how they will be hung. Its a mammoth and daunting task. So they ask each artist to pick four, just four, from their chosen ten which will be the first to be hung and after the first ones have been sold, they will be replaced with the next paintings, so that the exhibition will hang as many paintings as they can for this prestigious exhibition, the funds of which are for a charitable organisation. So, tell me this, HOW do I choose? How do I pick just four in a split second of time, do I choose the best, the most likely to sell, the largest, the ones that give a good example of what I do. How on earth do I chose?

Tuesday, 21 August 2007

Its in the blood

People often ask me how long I've been an artist and are usually surprised when I say "Always". I think they expect I'll say "Oh, only the last year or so". But I was born an artist. We all are. We all want to paint as very young children - brightly colourful drawings of houses, mummy and daddy, brothers and sisters, trees, dogs and cats, on large expressive sheets of paper where we can swish the paint around and get thoroughly messy. And we creatively scrawl on the walls, caveman fashion, to the annoyance of our house-proud parents who shout and scrub it off; its within us to create, and be artistically expressive. The only difference between the majority of the rest of the world and me is that I never stopped. I've always painted and drawn things. As a child I painted and drew houses and people and animals. As a teenager I painted weird and wonderful surreal fantasy paintings with a macabre edge to them, that used to perplex most of the adults who viewed them. Then as I reached adulthood, I progressed, and went away from the weird fantasy drawings and perhaps lost some of my creativity because I started to paint the pictures I thought other people wanted. I painted family dogs and cats, other peoples houses, flowers, other peoples favourite scenes, and put the fantasy pictures to one side. I was trying to please, but didn't please myself, or my creative side.

But now, as I've gown older again, I've progressed further and become what I want to be, I've found my creativity again, I'm painting the pictures that please and excite me - the fantasy pictures, whether its fantasy landscapes, even of "normal" scenes when I add interest with splatter or pour-on paint, or highlights of bright sunshine or deep purple shadows. Or fantasy pictures of wildlife - the ferocious tigers or prancing horses, or purely fantastical creatures like glistening mermaids, magical unicorns, glowing angels and fiercesome dragons. Or, best of all, the erotic fantasy paintings, where I depict someone in the image they want for themselves. Their creation of their own fantasy - making them feel sexy, tantalising, erotic and ultimately desirable.

I wonder what I'll be painting should I live to old age. Will it be fluffy kittens and landscapes. Somehow....... I doubt it.

Friday, 17 August 2007

Dare to bare - Pussy wanted

Every so often I get an offer I can't resist.

The latest one has come through a half joking conversation with 'Having my cake' via some of the comments for my last blog post. She brought up the subject of the cunt painting episode from 'Sex and the City' where Charlotte poses for a famous artist and he holds a large exhibition at a gallery showing all the pussies in gloriously detailed multi-coloured close-up. I immediately remembered that particular episode because of the artistic slant and the eroticness of the situation. Well between us, it's been decided that it would be a good idea for me to do it too. For her to pose for it, she considers it another step in her personal journey of body image acceptance and is trying to imagine an array of images entitled "Blogging Cunts - the exhibition!", particularly as in the 'Sex and the City' episode they were all anonymous. She considers it would be a good parlour game to match the blogger to the picture!'s the request - I'm wondering which bloggers would be interested in posing for this most intimate of portraits. And I'm not talking about your face!

Presuming I get enough acceptances, we could have an exhibition where your identity, like in 'Sex and the City', was not revealed (unless you wanted it to be). Only you would know which pussy was yours. And just think, what a wonderful idea it would make as a Christmas present for your lover!!!!

So, whatever you want to call them - "Pussy Portraits" "Cunt Cameos" "Vagina Vignettes" "Quim Quintessentials" "Fanny Fantasies"....... are you interested in posing for me? If you are, and it doesn't matter where in the world you are, I will need a detailed photo, so email me and we'll discuss details.....

Oh, and now I can't wait for the reaction of the next person in the pub to ask me what the subject matter of my next painting is.....

Monday, 13 August 2007

Split second decisions

Having spent the last two weekends gallery sitting I've had time to sit and surreptitiously watch the viewing public in an art gallery setting, and what surprised me most was how short a time people spend actually looking at art. Some people were taking two to four SECONDS to look at each painting! Now, I can do that too, for some art, because to me it might be a poorly painted piece, BUT when I see a painting I like, it'll stop me dead in my tracks and I will be transfixed for minutes infront of it, taking in its beauty and admiring the technical brilliance of it, or the choice of subject matter, the way the colours work together, or some other thing that makes it a stunning piece of work, for me. I love it when I see a painting that I couldn't improve on. But the majority of people obviously aren't artists so are therefore not looking it in the same way I do. And if I was to ask them about pictures they would say "Oh, I don't know anything about art!" to which I would reply "Oh.... BUT you DO!!" - in those split seconds their brains are analysing the artwork, deciding whether they like it or not, whether it appeals or repels, and making informed decisions about it. Sometimes you'll see a couple going around an art gallery and they'll stand infront of each and every painting and make loud comments about it "OOOh, I don't like this one!" or "That cat looks just like our neighbours three legged ginger tom, Lucky" or "Oh, we went there on holiday that wet Easter week when our Jane had measles and the dog threw up all over Grandma", and sometimes you learn from their comments......... and sometimes you wish you hadn't!!! (I stopped being sensitive years ago - I don't mind if people say out loud that they don't like a particular painting - at least they've noticed it).

But most people don't invite discussion with their companions, usually they make their own decisions in their own minds. Art's very personal. We either like it. Or we don't........

.........And what's really nice is after sitting in a gallery for two hours on my own, when for the first half hour there was a steady stream of people, then a WHOLE HOUR of not a soul, when the sun is blazing down on one of the nicest days of the year and I'm wondering why I'm stuck inside on my own on such a glorious day, until another steady stream of people arrives and no one says anything to me. I leave.......But the next day, when I went to collect my paintings, a woman who also stewarded the gallery at another time says that she adored my "A step above" painting and both she and her friend put it in their "Top Three" paintings of the whole exhibition and she loved it so much as it reminded her of her holidays in France, and asked me where it was of? I smiled and said "A tiny village in France, in the Ardeche". She said how much she loved it, and was very interested in buying it. She likes it and is thinking about it...............

Friday, 10 August 2007

Holding the dream

I'm always busy with art, but never too busy that the prospect of a new commission doesn't excite me greatly. Last weekend I was gallery sitting for one of the many exhibitions I'm part of over August and was delighted that a woman expressed interest in the two tango paintings I had got there, amongst others, and wanted to buy the original tango painting I did, which was illustrated on one of the cards I was selling. Unfortunately, I'd sold it two years ago and told her so, but was quick to point out that I could easily repaint it as close enough to the original that she wouldn't tell the difference, if she wanted it badly enough. She then went on to tell me that she actually wanted two tango paintings for her dining room, as they would match the decor and I agreed it was a splendid idea and said she could design them however she wanted the dancers to be and I would paint them gladly for her. She agreed to commission me, we agreed a date in the week for her to come and see me and for me to show her my studio and discuss between us her ideas. She left. I was floating on cloud nine - not one delightful commission but TWO!! Yay!! But I know the way things go and am of the painfully learnt opinion that until the money for a commission is in my hand, I haven't sold a painting. I'm a very optimistic and upbeat person but also realistic enough to know how people are............. And sure enough........... a couple of days later she rang me to say that ALTHOUGH she STILL wanted the paintings, and had taken her husband to see my work and he REALLY liked my paintings too, he felt that it might be a good idea to WAIT until the building work was completed on their house before commissioning me to paint the pictures, so it would probably be better to wait until after Christmas (CHRISTMAS?????!!!) or perhaps even the spring. Ok I said, trying to sound bright and keep it businesslike, and came off the phone a lot less buoyant than when I'd answered it.........

But this is the way of buying art. Other things take priority. Art gets put to one side. And I understand that because mortgages, food, clothing, petrol and household expenses all have to be bought before art. But, and this is also the way of art, she might well come back to me, at some point in the future, and ask me to paint those pictures for her, and I'll do them, competently, completely and design the pictures she is carrying in her head, and she will love what I do, and put them on her dining room wall and all her friends will admire them and fall in love with them too........

Wednesday, 8 August 2007

A womanly challenge - Accepted!

Indigo wrote a very evocative poem on her blog recently about a mistress/slave relationship and I commented that she had written strong words describing a powerful feminine relationship. Cherrie said it would be a challenge to illustrate it, I agreed it would, but went on to say it was within my capabilities to do so. Indigo latched on to my response and asked me do it, and to back her up, Lady in Red also expressed an interest in my interpretation....... so.......... after due deliberation...... here is my drawing!

I decided that to illustrate it I would use my favourite white on black as I think it makes any image immediately more powerful, and using rope for the bondage scene meant that the white of the rope gave lovely diagonal lines leading into the drawing as well as a strong contrast against the black background. The low-lit bodies gave more interesting contours for the drawing than if the light had been from above, especially as the female figures are viewed sideways on, which could have easily made the image flat and boring to look at. But to depict the position and predicament of the slave the figures had to be viewed from the side or else the interaction between the two women would have been lost. The figure of the mistress obviously had to be shown to be dominant, and viewed from the slaves lower point of view, so I've shown only the high heeled thigh high boots towering up, and her clenched fist holding a riding crop menacingly over the body of the slave. The picture is definitely enhanced by the use of the riding crop leading into the picture towards the slave, underlining that the crop is a tool of correction, and again highlighting the dominant role. As is the use of the sexy black thigh length pvc padlocked boots - immediately dressing the mistress in dominant footwear and underlying her power as she purposely places her spiked heeled boot inbetween the shoulder blades of her blindfolded female slave. The pvc of the boots catches the light beautifully too and adds to the interest of the black and white image. I love the use of diagonals in this drawing, it pulls the whole scene together, the boots leading the eye to the mistress's crutch, then down her arm to the riding crop and along the slaves body in the hog tie to the ropes reaching up out of sight, above her. I've called the picture "Under foot" as the submissive slave is - quite obviously!!!

Friday, 3 August 2007

Horny work

Another drawing session with hornymaleuk and this time I put him through his paces - persuading him to do a full two hour pose with the female model, rather than three shorter sessions like last time. Having said that, I think that maybe the images were better last time! So, if he feels he can suffer being one of my models again, I think we'll be doing shorter poses in the future!! The reason it took so long was because I did a white on black image that I love so much, and find so effective. They always take longer to set up because of the lighting aspect. I'd already got the idea in my head of the pose I wanted to do, before we started the session, because the models had met before and I knew how they fitted together (so to speak!). This pose was of the woman lying back in a state of euphoria, whilst hornymaleuk leant over her inbetween her open knees, grabbing her left buttock as she arched her back. They were lit by a low light to the side, creating interesting shapes and lost lines thereby making the drawing far more interesting for the viewer when you start to consider where the parts of their bodies in the darkness were! Whilst the three of us chatted and I drew them, both hornymaleuk and the female model commented, without moaning, that various parts of their anatomy were aching or in some form of discomfort (my knees were too, after so long in one position, so I could sympathise with them!), but I went on to explain, that for the models the pose isn't always erotic (it can be quite painful or uncomfortable sometimes), and for the artist, drawing the pose isn't sometimes incredibly erotic either, BUT its up to the artist to make it look erotic for the viewer - so on paper it should be deeply erotic - that's my job and what I hope I achieve. That's the plan anyway!

By the way the image is called "Overcome" and its up to the viewer to decide how the title relates to the people in the drawing..........

Wednesday, 1 August 2007

What's in an image?

Ever since I started this blog, some months ago, I knew I wanted an image on my profile (well, I AM an artist, after all!). But what image to have, was the problem. It had to be the right one, and thought about in some depth. I'd looked with interest to see what other images people used, to describe themselves - some delightful parts of their bodies, usually some sexy footwear for the erotic ladies, or a succinct image that described them in some way. But how to find one that suited what I advertise to the world? And then, as is often the case, it dawned on me that it was quite easy! I'm an erotic artist, therefore the image should, quite obviously, be something erotic I'd painted (Yes I know I'm stating the obvious, but it sometimes takes a while to get to that point!). So, here it is, the unveiling of the image that succinctly describes me - my hand painting a pierced female nipple. It had to be pierced of course, because a nipple is just a nipple, until its pierced. Then its loads more erotic! And therefore far more suitable for a female erotic artist!

So, what do you think?