Friday, 30 April 2010

Selling a painting's a night mare!

I'm always looking at ways of selling my paintings. And in a recession, other ways need to be looked at.  That's why I've decided that I need to investigate more about making prints of my work. Because not everyone wants to buy an original picture. Sometimes you just want to buy a picture because you LIKE it, not because you want to invest a large amount in it. Not that my paintings are expensive for the work and expertise that goes into them. The prices are incredibly reasonable. But then I'm trying to cut out the middleman - the one who takes his "cut" out of the selling price. He's the one who puts the prices up. And the customer ends up paying for it. Having said that, some people believe that they've got a BETTER painting if they pay a lot for it. It's perceived value, for them. I understand that, and would quite happily put a nought, or two, on the end of every price if it would get me more sales.

Mmm..... Perhaps I should DO that............................ !!! :)

But at the moment, I'm concentrating on prints. And double checking the quality of the pictures on my website by putting them through Photoshop to enhance them. It brings out the colours that the original  photography in some cases has flattened and lost.

I'm totally in love with Photoshop at the moment, it is making some real gems out of some of my previous paintings. Take for instance "Nightmares". Its a painting I did a number of years ago and the original is now hanging on a wall in a far off land, near the Mediteranean, where the sun shines far more than it does in England!

Nightmares is three horses racing each other by moonlight. Hence the title, which I've always liked!

The original painting has some nice blues, and purples, greens, and deeper shades of burnt sienna and red in it. I've always liked this painting as it was painted using the "pour on paint" technique that I've always loved using with watercolour. The horses and the moon were masked with masking fluid, then the paper around them was wetted with clean water, and the watercolours poured on in various places and allowed to weave their own magic by mixing with each other on the paper, their colours staying fresh and vibrant. And just to add to the magic, I flicked some gold metalic paint on it too, to add to the movement of the horses, and to add a gleam of bright colour to the finished painting. The details of the horses bodies and faces was painting on afterwards, adding form and definition.

The movement in the paint adds to the magic air of the finished painting.

But it is with photoshop that all these lovely effects shown here have enhanced the painting and given it a new life altogether! The picture stays the same, but the colours have been brought out, or lessened, accentuating the magentas or cyans, pulling out the highlights or the shadows, tipping the colour balance one way or another. And just to add to the fun aspect, on some of them, I have added more artistic effects to them too. Making the picture look more painterly, subduing the colours, or adding an ink effect to them.

And just in case you're wondering, which is the original..... Its the last one.

But I think they all stand up as a beautiful painting in their own right.

So, which is your favourite..............?

Tuesday, 27 April 2010

Recollections of the collection

As I had fully expected, the postman arrived today bearing a long letter from Stuart writing about his experience of commissioning me to do the cheeky cards artwork for him. He has given permission for me to print the pertinent parts of it here.......

Dear Jackie

Enclosed are my recollections of the production of the wonderful cards. They are absolutely brilliant.
I do not have a favourite at the moment but no doubt one will emerge. Many thanks for your patience over this project. I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did.

A few months ago I conceived the idea of having a few greetings cards produced to send to friends.

I wanted the cards to be well composed and amusing. The theme was to be me in the nude in four poses. As I am 73 years old, part of the humour is concerned with my age and also my sex as I consider the male genitalia must have been designed by someone who was a practical joker.

Who could produce these cards? Of course the answer was you as only 18 months previously you had depicted me in the nude in two beautiful drawings of which I am extremely proud. I knew from that experience that as well as being an accomplished artist, you are also a very delightful person, very patient, enthusiastic and encouraging. I would not have to divest myself of all clothing for a stranger which I find a bit of a trial.

When I rang you to tell of my intentions and would you be interested in the project your answer was an emphatic ‘yes’.

I next visited you and I ran through my ideas and we discussed the pictures and captions to accompany them.

We agreed on four cards, two to be quite innocuous, one explicit depiction and the other less so.
We started with the standing back view of my bum. I soon found that it is hard work to stand very still for any length of time. It takes physical endurance and concentration.

Before the second pose was taken up I spent some time walking round your studio naked. I find it extraordinary that in the presence of an attractive woman there was no sexual feeling at all, not even a twitch!

I took the opportunity of having a look at the first drawing. I thought “Hello cheeky don’t you have a beautiful bottom” as it was quite attractive to me. I have not seen much of my bum during my life. Anyway we carried on before I fell in love with myself.

The next pose was to be standing, holding the triangle infront of me. During the pose I could see you occasionally holding your pencil at arms length and I thought “I wonder what she is measuring now”. That’s a typical male thought as we, as a sex, think that all females are full of admiration for the beauty and magnificence of our primary sex organ.

...looking forward to our meeting the following week.

When the day arrived we started with the ‘long johns’ pose.....there was no problem in completing the pose as I had a chair to lean on, which made a great difference.

I was surprised when I took my first look at the picture. My genitals, which were the centrepiece of the picture, were quite impressive to me. My reaction was more marked because in the previous ‘triangle’ drawing my parts seemed quite small. That picture is, to me, very funny because of the position of my penis in conjunction with the triangle which makes it look like a company logo.

Earlier I had informed you of my doubts about doing the ‘organ’ picture but you persuaded me to do it. It proved very easy to do and it is an image I like.

When I picked up the completed cards I was thrilled with them. They are my personal statement and unique gift to my friends and family. I left the captions off as I prefer to use different ones to different people.

As usual, I am in awe of your talent as an artist and it has been my great good fortune to have met you. I have learned much about myself and a little bit about you and your art.

My confidence has been much enhanced. The days have gone when I considered doing a course in self-confidence but didn’t because I was afraid to register.

I hope the six foot tall model I dated and who made mock of my “equipment” by saying, when I told her I wanted sex with her, replied, “If you do and I find out there will be trouble”.

Love Stuart

(as usual, and much to my amsement, he has completed his letter with a joke. It made me smile for the rest of the afternoon, after reading it....) LOL

Friday, 23 April 2010

Cheeky cards and cheeky boy

Stuart arrived grinning and with an armful of fresh flowers for me, more fragrant blooms from his garden - delightful pink and red camelias vibrant with spring joyfulness and as I put them in a bowl and found water for them, he was buzzing with excitement. He declined the tea I offered him and looked at me expectantly.....

He'd come to collect his cards now that I'd taken the drawings I'd originally done of him and made them up into the cards he'd asked for. His intention being to take the humour that so appeals to him to make slogans fitting for the intentionally comical  images. He was also delighted to hear that the cards cost less than he expected, so I suspect he'll be asking for another batch to be made up when he's distributed these to his friends!

The two images I've not shown you yet are here, along with the photo I took of him, proudly standing with the first drawing I did of him which I've entitled "Does my bum look big in this".

The first drawing is done to show the silliness of men in long johns. And the fact that the male "bits" have a habit of popping out of the open fly, this was taken to its full advantage  in this image which I've called "Stuart will fall out with anyone".

The second drawing is of Stuart holding a newspaper aloft, with his other hand resting in his lap and has the title of "Stuart holding his favourite organ" - leaving that ambiguous comment to you....

He told me that his friends were already waiting impatiently to see them, and that one friend had asked to see all four of them so that she could "have a good laff" as she put it!!! His eyes twinkled at the thought of the amusement she would have with them. He said that these pictures are exactly what he wanted - they are between a caricature and a proper depiction of him, but for me its the slogans that pull the whole concept together.

I've been delighted to to do them for him, and glad that I was able to bring his ideas to life. And enjoy the fact that his brand of humour can be passed on in this unique  and very personal way.

Monday, 19 April 2010

No, I'm not scared of black!

I don't always choose what I paint. Sometimes it's chosen for me.

I suppose I could say no, though. But sometimes it's fun to try something different, something that pushes the boundaries. Something.....well......S C A R Y!

The thing is, that what is scary for me, is usually what isn't for other artists. I know that's perverse, but perhaps my life is upended from normality. I quite often tackle subjects that other artists are scared by. But then, as an artist, I think we have to look at challenging subject matters that we may normally shy away from.

The thing is.... and there always is a "thing" - that the scary subject for me, is, er, I dread to say the word. It's... er....................."cute"  LOL

And that was how I found myself at the art workshop at the weekend, drawing a pretty little girl in a pretty pink tee shirt, and pristine white trousers, sitting on a sun lit patio, with dappled summer shadow behind her, playing with some chalks. Now, that's cute by anybodys standards!!! LOL

The whole group tackled the same subject, as that was the one the tutor had chosen. And although it looked easy and simple, it was actually incredibly difficult to achieve. Firstly there was the drawing, and although she was the only thing in the picture other than the background, she was sitting at an odd angle. She was sitting with her legs loosely crossed, but slightly leaning to one side, but fortunately she had her head down (which always helps as the features are less specific), and there was good shadow. Hands are difficult to draw, as is hair. There was strong sunlight and good shadows, and the dark of the bushes behind her was a great contrast to the sunlight on her hair, and her shoulders in the pale pink tee shirt. And just to add to the fun, there were some interesting shadows and folds in the tee shirt.

After the drawing was complete, the background was put in. It makes sense to get the background in first - because then the colours are right to start with. If you draw the person first then you automatically start to adjust the colours to match the background that's really just the plain paper, even though that colour will be covered by the time its all finished. Since this painting was in pastel, it was easier to get the colour on thick and fast,  but this background was actually split in two - the blacks of the bushes, next to the pale creams and sage greens of the sunlight patio. BUT, if they are drawn with sharp contrast between them, then it looks false and unnatural. They had to be merged together. In this case, by the deep black of the shadows of the bushes dwindling down into the cracks of the stones of the patio.

The next difficult thing was the dappled shadow behind her, this too had to be dark so that she stood out from it. The shadows under her also had to be dark so that she looked more solid, and again the purples merged into the black so that she looked like she was sitting ON the patio and not levitating above it!

After that, it was time to start the little girl - and first her hair, making sure that it contrasted well with the black of the bushes. Then her face, keeping it soft and yet with features, the light catching the side of her cheek giving it more form. Then her arms and legs since the colours were the same for the summer kissed golden skin of her face. After that, it was her pale tee shirt, and the folds and pleats within it, incorporating various tones from almost white to the deepest of burgandy. And then, the last thing, her white trousers. White is always a difficult colour to depict, as it invariably is the most subtle shades of "almost white" but the shadows of the "white" here were quite deep royal purples, dull golds and turquoises.

And then the decision as to what she was drawing with her chalks - little girls tend to draw houses, people, and in this case, flowers.

Phew, done.

And it's a lot more difficult than it looks!

Whilst we were drawing our picture over the six hour session, the tutor came around the room with succinct words of advice. She didn't know any of us so had to adjust her tuition according to how much was needed for each person. She was taken aback by the high standard of artistry amongst us which was good to hear! Even so, I could hear her telling others in the group to darken up their blacks. A lot of artists won't use black in their pictures as they feel that it deadens the image, and will use a dark blue, or purple, or deep brown instead. When she got to me, at the back of the room, she noticed my blacks weren't as dark as she wanted them to be, and told me to darken them, and said "You're obviously not happy using black, are you?" I grinned, and said I wasn't scared of using black at all, I just hadn't got them as deep as I wanted them, YET! She walked off, and must have overheard the woman next to me, who knows me and my work VERY well, saying "You're not afraid of black, are you Jackie, you use it a LOT!". I agreed with her, grinning. And from then on, when the tutor came around to me, she just nodded and said "Good!" or "That's coming on nicely".

At the end of the session, we all had to stand our work up at the far side of the room so that we could all see what the others in the group had done, and compare our work to theirs. The tutor also did a critique and went along the row making sharply critical comments and giving words of advice. My picture happened to be the last she got to, and after being very critical of the other paintings, I was awaiting her verbally ripping it to shreds, as she had the rest of the work. But she jsut said "This one is very softly focused, its ........lovely" and that was it!!!!! Praise indeed!!!! LOL

Wednesday, 14 April 2010

Thanks for making my life a bit more enjoyable

Stuart arrived with flowers for me - Camelias from his garden, the first blooms of joyous pink and vibrant red. Aw, how sweet, and much appreciated. I put them in water as we chatted and I made him tea.

The pose this time didn't need much discussion, it had been described to me on the previous visit, so all we needed was to make sure he'd got his prop for it. Yep, in the most fetching shade of delicate pale blue........long johns! :)

I'm not sure why long johns are funny on their own, but they are. I defy ANYONE to look sexy in them. But then the whole purpose of them isn't to look sexy, but to be kept warm, and they do the job admirably. However, the reason for the pose was the fact that they have an open fly - and if the male genitals aren't peroperly, er......... looked after, they have a .......habit, of............well................ falling out! :)

And that was the purpose of the pose - the falling out of the genitals whilst wearing them!

So not a lot needed setting up except that in itself. We discussed the wearing of a vest too, and decided that that needed to be worn to add to the silliness of the pose. Because at no point does Stuart want to be taken seriously about this. It's all about the humour, the comical aspect of it, the joke, the silliness. I understand all of that.

We set the pose up, and I put on Vivaldi's Four Seasons, another piece of classical music that I love, and since Stuart only really listens to classical music, a better choice for him than me blasting out my usual choice of AC/DC or the Rolling Stones! LOL

The pose was good and I got on well with the drawing. We chatted as I drew, and he was amazed at how quickly I did it. But then, I'm a quick drawer, and there's no point in making him uncomfortable because it only drags out the time for him, and if he's cold, unhappy or uncomfortable, it hampers the drawing session and defeats the object.

The title of the drawing is one of the slogans Stuart had got for it - he'd got four, but this one is my favourite for this pose "Cantankerous Stuart will fall out with anyone".

So, that one done, a short break and on to the next pose - which was going to be done standing in the nude but in the end we decided that a seated pose would probably work better. It was of him sitting, holding a paper a loft in one hand, the other resting in his lap - the title "Stuart holding his favourite organ" (being the paper, in theory!).  Again, this drawing went well and was soon completed without him losing his comfort of the situation. He always tells me how much he likes posing for me, and what an enjoyable experience it is, and how easy my company is, so that's good to hear!

Afterwards, when he was dressed again, and we had a post-pose cup of tea, he sat looking at the pictures and said that it was very narcassistic of himself - but he found that the more he looked at them, the more he liked them. And I nodded in aggreement and said that others had said the same to me in the past about their pictures. I know that my pictures have that affect on people. I love the fact that I can enhance someone's life to a degree by painting, or drawing,  a picture of them. I love the fact that they are invariably fascinated by that talent. I sometimes forget that I have it, until I am reminded of it. Stuart would like to draw but tells me that he will never be able to, certainly not to the standard he would like. He tells me it's something you're born with, and it has to be worked at to improve on it. I agree, since that is what I have, and what I do.

So, when I received an email today from another guy who loves collecting my erotic artwork, and finds it very sexy, and he said "Thanks for making my life a bit more enjoyable", I nodded to myself, and smiled in quiet satisfaction, of a job well done.

Friday, 9 April 2010

Letters sent from the heart

As I had expected I had a missive from Stuart this week describing his feelings about our drawing session the other day and his thoughts about the next one.... the salient points are here.....

Dear Jackie     Thankyou for the beautiful drawings you created yesterday. It was an enjoyable and interesting afternoon if rather arduous. I did not realise how exhausting posing can be. I suppose that, at my age, my stamina is not what it was. Well I am a septinagenarian......Next week I would like to concentrate on the pose concerning long this will probably be my last as a top model, I would like to make it memorable and amusing......thank you for your diligence in this matter. For me it has been a wonderful experience. I find you the most easy person to get on with making so easy the removal of clothes.    Love Stuart.  

And this followed on from an email I had this week from my usual male model who also felt the need to extol my virtues after our last drawing session...

Good morning Jackie and thank you for another wonderful drawing!!

It just makes my head spin!!!

Once again I must thank you for the fabulous emotions the picture evokes, especially on a personal level. Our meetings are so wonderfully relaxing and I always look forward to them, excited about the drawing but also to share some time with you. I wonder how the Mona Lisa felt to see her painting? The knowledge that it is you in the picture is a tremendously powerful emotion. For a normally quiet and modest person, it is a huge sense of achievement to stand before you, the focus of your attention. For such a wonderfully skilled artist to spend time with me and to be a small part of your work is such a priveledge. I enjoy every moment. When others see the pictures you have created, they see a male form, beautifully drawn and certainly there is that warmth about them - the 'feminine touch' as you said. I wonder what they see? Powerful images certainly. Do they see me as the generally reserved kind of chap that I am, or because I am naked, do they see a more brazen type of character, eager to show his 'bits'? No matter how often I look, I think they see the real me ... the drawings are so tender that there is that sense of quiet allure about them, all things showing or not.

This drawing, perhaps more than the others (because of their more explicit nature), would stand well in any gallery and it makes me immensely proud to think that it could be seen in a public gallery without any problem at all. Proud because of the quality of the work (you really should see some of the poor efforts I have seen about my travels) but especially proud of the moments we shared creating the work. Somehow "Thank you" doesn't seem enough.

I am sure I will see you soon for another drawing and I look forward to that.

Aw, I'm really touched by both of these letters. I sometimes forget what I do for other people when I do a drawing of them. Here I am reminded, and deeply touched at their kind words.

Wednesday, 7 April 2010

Stuarts first bum notes

Stuart arrived yesterday full of the joys of Spring and ready to start our first drawing sesssion for this latest project with me. Accompanying him was his usual voluminous bag containing amongst other things, the first of the two props needed for the drawings. But first, time for a cup of tea and general discusssion regarding the placing of the items. It wasn't difficult really - the first one was a hat and there aren't many places to put those.....................LOL

So, the pose decided, the prop decided, the music chosen (Beethovens symphonies 3 and 9 - the latter because I absolutely adore "Ode to joy" and he'd stated he liked "any Beethoven"), so now it's time to draw. He easily took his clothes off as I set up my easel and sharpened my pencils, and again commented that he'd never been naked infront of any woman ever but his wife of 50 years, so I know it was a big thing for him to do, but since it's quite normal for me to see naked bodies I just treated him the same with his clothes off, as I did when they were on which I know made him feel totally at ease.

So, into the pose, wearing the trilby hat he'd brought with him - wearing nothing BUT the hat - standing with his back to me. The title of the pose being "Does my bum look big in this?" which greatly amuses me every time I read it. But then, that was the whole point of what he was aiming at - humour, a bit of naughtiness, and certainly some shock factor. We chatted as I drew and listened to the beautiful music. I usually prefer drawing to raunchy rock but I managed ok with the gentle drawing I was doing, it all fitted together well, somehow.

After a brief break we were ready to do the next drawing, and after some deliberation he decided to do it sitting down, as Stuart wasn't happy standing for another length of time, after standing for the first pose. I'm a quick drawer but he'd still struggled with it a bit so it made sense to make this pose more comfortable for him as I knew it would take a bit longer as it was slightly more complex and there was no point in  making him uncomfortable during it. He'd decided to pose with a musical triangle - partly because he'd played one whilst at school during music lessons, but also because of the joke that was the slogan for this particular drawing - the title being "Stuart - hiding his modesty behind his favourite musical instrument" - and he'd specifically asked that his genitals were framed in the triangle that he was holding. Ok, then, no problem. It meant he had to hold the triangle in a certain position, and I had to sit in a certain position infront of him to get the illusion right, but we did that, and it worked beautifully. To the point that he gasped when he saw the finished drawing, and commented on the frame the triangle made - which made me laugh and retort "But that's what you asked for, and what I've done!" "I know" he said "But I didn't think it would look like THAT!" - but after staring at the picture for a few minutes he stated he was delighted with it, as he also was with the first drawing, so we're well on the way to completing the set for the cards he wants me to make for him.

Friday, 2 April 2010

Revealing the importance of the craving

Its been a while since I drew my male model but we were finally able to get together this week for another drawing session.

After our usual initial cup of hot sweet tea and chat about any updates in our lives we were ready to start. I made sure the room was warm enough as this week has been particuarly cold. So, fire lit, easel set up with paper and drawing implements to hand and we're ready to go.

He asked me what pose I had in mind, and I eyed his shirt and stated that a pose with his shirt partly un-buttoned might be a good idea. He started to unbutton it, and then on the spur of the moment we decided between us that his undone jeans might be a better idea. Ok, then, undone jeans. And that led to him taking off his underpants since they were "in the way" and that is how I ended up drawing him with his jeans half off, and no shirt at all!!!! LOL

We chatted as I drew him, the background beat of "Bad Company" in the background adding to the artistic flourishes (I DO like Paul Rogers!). And as I drew him, he stated that on the way to my house he'd had a thought  and a grin to himself that within an hour of coming to see me he'd be naked in my company. And said that he wished various other women in his past life had asked him to do that too!!!! He made me laff with that comment. But, joking aside, we both know its not sexual, its!

The drawing went well and I was happy with it when it was finished. We both stood contemplating it afterwards and he made the comment "There is no better compliment than someone drawing you" and I thought about his words. I suppose I'm so used to doing it that I sometimes forget. That to be looked at, and for the artist to take what they see and use their talents to enhance and create a work of art from it, taking the essence of what they are, and adding it to the essence of what you are, to make a third being - a piece of ART is such a special thing. I sometimes underestimate the importance of it. But, no one else in my life seems to. They all KNOW.

The drawing, after due deliberation,  is entitled "Reveal the craving". the craving is both within the man in the drawing, and the viewer themselves. His left arm is hidden infront of him so the viewer can only guess at his craving, but the fact that he is gently dropping his jeans shows us that he wants to interact with us. And certainly, I think that those peachy male buttocks are certainly creating a craving within the viewer too! MMmmm...... :)