Daddy's Christmas Angel

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Consistency for the Artist and the Author

"Cross in the Wind" mixed media 20"x16" ©Mary Montague Sikes
For the past several years, I have been following Jason Horejs and learning from him. Jason is an art gallery owner and a marketing guru. He has a mentorship program for artists and selects one each year to guide through the business of art. In his instruction about the business of art, he focuses not only on the quality of the art work, but also on the consistency.

When an artist is seeking gallery representation, consistency in the pieces of art presented is crucial. A collector should be able to recognize the work as that of the same artist, Jason explains. The art should be consistent in at least four out of five of these elements: subject, theme, style, palette, and medium.

The same, or similar issues, are true for an author. During my book signing on Sunday, I was frequently asked what my books were about. Although the subjects are different, they all have a similar theme - romance with a bit of mystery and suspense mixed in. They have the same author's voice - mine. All but one of the five novels displayed featured my own cover art. However, I have two different types of settings, the exotic destinations for the "Passenger to Paradise" series of books and the small, fictitious town of Jefferson City, Virginia for two others, including my latest novel, Evening of the Dragonfly. Straying from the original series might be a mistake unless the two kinds of books were written under two different names, which mine are not. I think of Nora Roberts and how she began writing books under the name, J. D. Robb, when she wanted to pen mysteries as well as romance.

I've been watching authors and believe that those with a series, featuring the same character or characters, appear to be the most successful. The consistency of characters develops a following, and readers anticipate with great excitement the next release. Also, having an unique business or hobby for the protagonist develops interest and a following.

For me, as an artist, I am in trouble. I'm all over the place with subject matter, style, theme, medium, and even palette. I love to paint tropical plant life in acrylics. For many years, I painted figures in oil, acrylics, and pastels. Encaustics, a completely different medium, fascinate me. I adore experimental paintings that use everything from watercolor to collage materials and acrylics plastered on with heavy-bodied mediums. I also paint landscapes with pastels and am working on a National Park series using that medium.

What to do? I have a large body of art work created in a variety of styles and mediums with differing subjects and themes. With so much work, I really need to sell it. To do so, I must be consistent. What style should I choose?
"Amy" acrylic 42" x 54" ©Mary Montague Sikes

Realism or abstract?

This is a huge dilemma.

Especially for me.

Thank you, Jason Horejs, for making me think!

Monday, May 18, 2015

Evening of the Dragonfly Art Show is on View in Richmond Virginia

The paintings created for Farrah Ferand, heroine of Evening of the Dragonfly, are up at Crossroads Art Center in Richmond VA. The space can accommodate only 14 of the 19 watercolor and acrylic paintings, all made during April, but I am very happy with the way the show looks. In fact, "Far Fields", the large acrylic painting I've had hanging at the top of my gallery for several weeks, is enhanced by the colors of the new exhibit.

The show will be on view at Crossroads Art Center until July, possibly longer. Crossroads, 2016 Staples Mill Rd., is open daily, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday hours are: Noon to 4 p.m.

Coming Events Memorial Day Weekend

Friday, May 22 - Book Signing, Evening of the Dragonfly, at West Point Pharmacy, West Point
Saturday, May 23, 1 - 4 p.m. - "Paris Picnic" - Prince George Art and Frame, Jamestown Rd., Williamsburg VA
                Gallery artists will paint in their own styles from a still-life setup
Sunday, May 24, 11 a.m. - 3 p.m., Book Signing, Evening of the Dragonfly, at the William and Mary Barnes and Noble, Duke of Gloucester Street, Williamsburg VA

Monday, May 11, 2015

Can Making Art Protect You from Memory Problems in Later Life?

An article by Tom Post in Pacific Standard recently caught my attention because it detailed a Mayo Clinic study about the positive affects of decades of making art that could mean "fewer cognitive problems in old age." Since I've painted, sculpted, and drawn pictures all of my life, I was intrigued. Making art and being creative are good for our mental well-being. It makes a lot of sense.

The article also mentions the positive impact using a computer can have for older people, especially if they picked up the habit of surfing the Web in their middle years. This is great news for writers. After all, where do we spend much of our time?

Socializing with others is also important when it comes to remembering and thinking. As with working in the arts and getting on the computer, it's important to start in mid-life and continue through the later years.

I really loved this quote from the Tom Post article:

“Long ago, ‘an apple a day keeps the doctor away’ was a common expression,” Dr. James Galvin writes in a comment accompanying the study, which is published in the journal Neurology. “Perhaps today, the expression should expand to include painting an apple, going to the store with a friend to buy an apple, and using an Apple product.”

Arts Alive Mixed Media artist workshop ©Mary Montague Sikes
Bloggers should delight  in this small but interesting Mayo Clinic study. Let's keep writing, using the computer, and never give up painting! Go were you find the joy.

Monday, May 4, 2015

A to Z Challenge Paintings

Paintings Awaiting Finishing Touches
The A to Z Challenge for April is over, and I now have 19 new paintings stacked or hanging in my studio, awaiting finishing touches. It was exciting to compete with myself to get a painting (or portions of several larger pieces) completed each day. Although I managed to paint around the sides of some of the works (all on canvas), I still have many with sides that need to be painted. Those are mostly the watercolors and the mixed water media pieces.

All of the work requires one or more coats of polymer finish. Of course, each piece also will need screw eyes and picture wired attached for hanging.

The show will be unveiled for the first time next Saturday when I have an exhibit for Farrah Ferand (my heroine) and a book signing for Evening of the Dragonfly. The event will be at Gloucester Arts on Main, Gloucester from 1 to 4 p.m.

I gained a few more followers during the Challenge, and I found some interesting people to follow. I also enjoyed the posts of bloggers I already followed. Having a new art show is a major reward.

Thanks to co-hosts: Alex Cavanaugh, Jeremy Hawkins, Nicole Ayers, Stephen Tremp, Heather M. Gardner, AJ, Pam, Matthew MacNish, Zalka Csenge Virág, S. L. Hennessy, C. Lee McKenzie, Joy Campbell, Susan Gourley, Lisa Buie-Collard, and John Holton. Also thanks to Arlee Bird at Tossing it Out who started the Challenge in 2010.

Art Speaks on the Bay Juried Show

"So Many Shells on the Beach", my watercolor painting, is part of the Art Speaks on the Bay Juried Show on view now at Mathews Bay School. The volunteers had a lovely reception last Saturday for the large turnout of visitors.

Art Speaks on the Bay opening reception

"So Many Shells on the Beach" (Top Painting)