Monday, November 30, 2009

You never know when an opportunity to "get your work out there" will come along.
Recently my very dear friend from the Jacksonville, FL, area, Dianna Lawrence, sent me an e-mail about a wine label design competition being sponsored by a national restaurant group promoting the release of a new Cabernet Sauvignon. The group is promoting "wine as art," with which I happen to agree, and will have the winning label design be the label for the new wine for about 6 weeks in the spring of 2010 through out the United States. That would mean a great number of people will see the label, and hence, see the art work of the creator. Wow! What an opportunity.
So I have entered the contest.
What are my chances of winning? Slim, at best; however, you never know what will catch the eye of the judge for the contest. As an artist, I have learned to never guess what my viewer will see in my painting. How could I possibly know what will draw the viewer in. My responsibility is to continue to create art with passion, with craftsmanship, and with ownership.
So what if I don't win the design competition. I now have a very nice piece of art that someone will want to enjoy. It would never have existed if Dianna had not sent me the contest notice.
So, at dinner tonight, I will open a nice, rich, Cabernet Sauvignon to share with my husband as we savor the warmth, and hearty flavor of our beef pot roast with seasonal vegetables. I guess I am a winner after all.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Why people choose one piece of art work over another.

St Simons Sunset, oil 11"x14" (sold)

Waiting, oil, 5"x7" (sold)

This week, I had the honor of participating in a bi-annual art sale and exhibition sponsored by Restart Fine Art in their Four Paces Gallery in Atlanta, GA. There were 16 local artists participating with each artists presenting multiple pieces of art work.

The opening night was well attended, despite the deluge of rain over the city as a result of hurricane Ida. Two additional days offered art buyers an opportunity to buy.

I was very pleased to be told that I had sold two paintings when I came to pick up my contribution to the show. Above are images of the two paintings sold.

It was late in the warm September day when I set up my easel on the pier at St. Simons Island, GA. I began to lay in the dark colors of the shoreline while I waited for the sunset. It was Labor Day and many people were enjoying the evening, as well. Quite a few people stopped to visit with me as I worked. This is something I always enjoy, and nothing will draw people like a working artist.

However, when the sky began to turn a rainbow of colors as the sun dipped on the horizon, I had to say to everyone, "Sorry, but now I have to work, and I have to work quickly. Can't talk right now!"

We were all transfixed by the sky, the reflection of the colors on the water, the rapid changes going on all around us as the shore line began to darken and disappear as day became night. Ah! There is something to be said for the magic of sunset and sea shore, together. This is what I was trying to capture in my painting. I am so glad that the buyer saw the magic, too.

As for the other painting that sold, the "mood" is more somber, more patient, quieter, peaceful. The white Egret was standing absolutely still as I spied it from my vantage point. I call this piece, "Waiting," because it was waiting, and I was waiting to see what it would do. The message I get from this scene is that if we are patient, and are willing to wait for something we desire, we will, more than likely, get it. I was told that the buyer of this painting loved it. I am so honored to know that.

As an artist, I often wonder why a buyer will choose to buy a particular piece. Also, I have learned over the years, that I must never preconceive which of my pieces will sell, and which will not. A piece of art work must resonate within the soul of the buyer. The piece may remind the buyer of a location visited. Perhaps the scene is of a fantasy place that the buyer dreams of. Maybe it represents a memory from childhood. Another person may buy a piece strictly because of the color, or the shape, or for the "mood" of the painting.

I paint what makes me happy. I am thrilled when someone else likes my painting enough to take it home. This is a good thing.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Why did I choose this subject?

Breakfast, March 3, 11"x14", oil
Last spring, 2009, I was searching for a subject for a new painting. I knew that I wanted to paint a still life, something from my home.
As I rolled the idea around in my head, I began to prepare breakfast for myself. I had been dieting--a never ending process for me--and I was very hungry.
After retrieving various items from my refrigerator, I began to cook a substantial meal that would take me all the way to the nights dinner.
The sun was shining, and the trees were all in their magnificent "new green" splendor when I sat down to enjoy the bounty on the kitchen table. As I cut into the hard boiled egg, I looked down at my plate. Here, before me, was the subject of my next painting. It had action. It had a familiar ring. It had color. It was perfect.
Not wanting to wait to eat, I grabbed my trusty digital camera and took the shot.
Later that morning, I printed the reference image from my computer and began to compose the painting. The actual job of applying paint to canvas did not take many hours, because it was a labor of love. I smile each time I see this piece, because it makes me feel good.
Often, the things we seek are right in front of us. All we have to do to find what we want in life is stop, be quiet, and look around us. Life is good!

See you soon, Susie

Friday, October 30, 2009

Learning more, and more, about marketing ones art.

Sunset, watercolor on clayboard, 22"x30"

I am hungry for more information about how to market ones art. The "left brain" part of being creative is often a puzzle for me, but with the help of others interested in this phenomenon, I am starting to get the hang of it.

The main problem I have with being an artist, and having to market my work, is that the marketing takes away from the time I have for creating the art. I am learning about balance in this respect.

On Monday of this week, I went with my husband, mother-in-law and uncle to see a wonderful film, "Van Gough, brush with genius." It was in the IMAX format, and I can honestly say that I have never before seen his brush strokes so closely. The film was well presented with many clips of the breeze blowing the grasses in the fields around Provence in southern France, parts of Paris, views of his paintings within Musee d'Orsay, and Van Gough Museum in Amsterdam, and at the hospital in St. Remy, France. There was, also, a running, first person, narrative in the voice of Vincent Van Gough which made the film even more interesting.

One sentance from the film that stuck with me was that Van Gough only sold one painting while he was alive, and now his work sells in the millions of dollars for any one piece. How ironic. This did make me realize that my work has already out sold his, and I am still producing paintings.

Another point about marketing artwork is that the more "famous" painters have really good P.R. people to promote the person, the brand, and the art work. I don't have "people" to do that for me, yet. But, who knows, that could happen. In the mean time, I will continue to pursue shameless self promotion.

I do have work out in the public's eye right now, and I am participating in an upcoming exhibition with other artists November 10 - 12, 2009, presented by Restart Fine Arts at the Four Paces Gallery located in The Pace House, 3057 Paces Mill Road in the Vinings area of Atlanta, GA. More information can be found by clicking on

If you have reasonable suggestions for me about how to market my work, please share with me.

As always, I invite you to visit my web site,

See you soon, Susie

Saturday, October 24, 2009

The first post on my brand new blog.

I am launching into the 21st century by creating a blog about myself, my art work, and all the trials, and joys of living each day as it comes. Some of the entries will be personal while others will be about how I create art. Who knows what I'll come up with. Thank you for coming on this journey with me.

In September, 2009, fellow artist, Lorie Merryman, and I spent the best part of a week painting en plein air (on location, completing a painting all at one time) on St. Simons Island on the Georgia coast. The image above, left, is of the light house. The beacon from the tower has guided ships safely toward Brunswick, GA, for a long, long time. Everyone that has visited St. Simons Island has stood on the same spot to look up at the tower in wonder. Many folks venture inside of the historic home to visit the museum and to climb the light tower to be greeted with a spectacular view of the Atlantic ocean, and of the island.

The morning Lorie and I painted at this location, we met about a dozen people that were interested in what we were doing, and why we were painting on the island. Our answer was consistently that we loved to paint, we loved to be outside, we loved to meet new and interesting people, and we loved to be on St. Simons Island. During our adventure we both created 6 new paintings in 4 days. Wonderful, indeed!!

People often ask me how long I have been painting, and the answer is most of my life. I enjoyed spending time doodling with my new box of assorted Crayola crayons when I was very young. The only problem I had with coloring books was "coloring inside of the lines," because I always wanted to run the color over the edges to make the "picture" more interesting. I guess I have always walked just outside of the box where it is more exciting.
When I make art, my soul sings. Through my work, I share with others the joy I find in the simplicity of a flower, the quiet of a long country road, the nostalgia of an old bicycle left behind, as well as the appreciation I have of people working, or playing, or taking care of everyday tasks. Life is what we do, and that is what I wish to capture and preserve.
Please visit my web site at to see more examples of my work. I'd love to hear from you.
See you soon, susie