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The Story of "Market with Yellow Umbrella"

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Kindergarten

Here's my first crack at a larger painting, titled "Market with Yellow Umbrella." It's roughly 20" 26".

Tonight, I just wanted to block in with a bunch of color and get it going. I didn't care much for getting it exact or right - that comes later, and I'll try a few new things with the detail work. I know how I want to approach this and I just wanted it to be fun. So I was bouncing around in my chair to different songs from a playlist and just having a good time with it.

Note to self: cerulean and cobalt blue don't play well together.

In a big painting like this, big brushes are needed. Which means a lot of paint, and that gets expensive. A tube of Golden acrylic costs me $10 - $18 a tube, depending on the color and the size of the tube. So when I decide to start taking commissions, I'm thinking that I'll charge a flat fee and then charge separately for materials. In this case:

Canvas$20
Paint (4 tubes total)$60
Total Expense$80

So if I charged $200 flat fee, the painting would be $280. Fair price? Beats me. I'll find out.

I'll find out in a few days how my cards have done in their retail locations. I decided to wait and see what's happening in the market before I painted more cards, so I took a break, which was nice. And coming back to it tonight was great. Felt good... I hope to have this wrapped up before I take a few days of vacation next week. I'll be heading south to a friend's house to visit and take a bunch of source pictures for upcoming works.

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by Brett Rogers, 5/31/2006 12:12:25 AM
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Market with Yellow Umbrella - Day Two

A bit more in the center of the painting...

I've limited my palette to cerulean blue, dioxazine purple, permanent light green, cadmium yellow medium, and cadmium dark red.

I'm really looking forward to painting the people.

One other note: if you look at the first picture I took of this, and the one above, notice how yellowed the first picture is. The difference is that in the picture above I've turned off my overhead lights, which feature GE bulbs. They offer bright light, without a doubt, but I need to replace them with these. I have this bulb in a lamp at my drafting table and love it. But $80 for overhead lights seems exorbitant... I'll think about it.

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by Brett Rogers, 6/1/2006 6:39:02 AM
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Geometry Matters

Here's what a lack of planning will get you:

I've added the yellow lines to show where my angles go, which is all over the place. They should, instead, all point to the same spot, called the vanishing point. Like this:

All lines should point to a line on the horizon. This is logical to the eye. It's also Art 101. I forgot and didn't plan.

Duh.

Now what to do?

Fix it, I guess, but this won't be finished now until I come back next week.

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by Brett Rogers, 6/4/2006 8:45:35 PM
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Market with Yellow Umbrella - Day Three

After a couple of days away, I'm back and working on my big painting. I've corrected the lines problem that I had and I'm beginning to add some people, as you can see in this close-up shot.

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by Brett Rogers, 6/9/2006 11:59:39 AM
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Market with Yellow Umbrella - Day Four

Yep - I'm crawling along with this one, but it's not for a lack of interest.

I've learned that my cards in the store that feature people on them don't sell. The ones without people sell okay, but if there's people, they sit idle.

Not a big deal, I suppose, but I really enjoy painting people.

So my dilemma: do I commercialize my art and go for what sells, or do I paint what I choose for myself at the risk of not selling?

Bigger question: what is my art to me?

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by Brett Rogers, 6/18/2006 11:40:47 PM
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Light

My son now thinks that my bedroom has the appearance of a hospital ward. He's not speaking to its cleanliness - too much stuff crammed in there for that - but speaks to the light that I now have in my room. I purchased the $18.75 20 watt Daylight bulbs for my overhead lights from MisterArt.com. Here's the difference, yellow first:

And white...

I might point out that the yellow bulbs are high quality bulbs from GE, not just your run-of-the-mill incandescent bulbs. But boy, are they ever yellow. Amazing, the difference.

So what difference does this make for the artist? Take a look. Here's my unfinished painting... again, yellow light first:

And white:

Notice how washed out the yellowed picture is. The colors are drab and muddy. Especially in the blue of the sky - lifeless in yellow light. But the white light brings out the color accurately and vividly. Exactly as it appears in real life.

I've thought a great deal during my week-long vacation about my art and I've come to a conclusion. My people'd cards don't sell, and I like people too much to give them up to paint subjects commercially for cards alone. I'll continue to paint for cards, but not with the fecundity that I had before. I'll start going into portrait work more, emphasizing family portraits on a larger scale that work to capture the essence of the people in them. (Read: no portrait posing.) And I'll charge a few or several hundred dollars for each original work because that's honest for my effort and respects what I put it into it. But no signed prints for hundreds of dollars. All originals.

I'll continue to offer my art on cards for the cheaper price, but I think I'm going to tweak the pricing and perhaps buy a commercial quality printer to do these myself rather than print them in large quantities through a print shop. This way, I can customize the messages inside the cards for small productions. I might also approach businesses to offer a unique and artistic card for them.

I don't know how I'll maneuver as I go forward, but I've learned in my cards experiment what sells and what doesn't sell. And I've learned what I'm willing to do and what I'm not willing to do. What I do at work is just a job for me - it is not my passion. I can't have my artwork become a job for me. It should instead continue to be my passion and free expression, and if people come to value what I do enough that it can sustain me economically, then I'll get to do what I love doing for a living.

Drucker said that efficiency is "doing the right things right." I have to focus on the right things for me. And for me, I love people.

ETC: I spent part of my time this fall taking pictures at the farmer's market so that I could continue my work on this. I'll get back to this eventually, but it's on hiatus for now.

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by Brett Rogers, 7/8/2006 11:05:05 AM
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