'Today was one of those days in which I don't think we could have added anything else in to our schedule! We started at the antique flea market at 7:45 and I am so happy I found more antique ball jars to hold more sea glass!. The we started painting at 9:00 (I painted a 36" x 36" demo) and had fun painting large shapes and horizontal compositions in the abstract format.
In the afternoon our personal chef, Ron, showed up and he prepared monkfish with a mediterranean flair. It was a fabulous meal, especially the rice with the grilled plums. Yum! (Special thanks to my student Isabel who was kind enough to talk her husband, Ron, who is the well known executive chef at The Marine Room in La Jolla, in to cooking lunch for us!)
Then we painted some more, and some more, and finished off the evening with cocktails and wine on the deck. Tomorrow morning I will be up early for a long beach walk, then I co-host the Artists Helping Artists show at 8:00am tomorrow and class starts at nine. I cannot believe tomorrow is our last day. What a fabulous week!
Yikes! I just wrote a very long blog post and somehow managed to delete the entire thing. So I am going to try this again and hope that I can save it before it disappears again!
Today was another great day. I am so blessed with six fabulous women who are spending their week with me painting abstracts. We are having so much fun laughing, painting, learning, exercising and eating like queens!
The day started with a long walk and sea glass hunt on the beach. Then we painted abstracts all day. Each of my students selected their own room inspiration portfolio and created a painting for the room. They are really gorgeous! I can't wait to do the same tomorrow.
Tomorrow starts with an early morning visit to the Ventura Antique Flea Market. We will be painting again sharply at 9:00 and then ... we have a chef coming to prepare us lunch! Now that sounds like a fabulous day!
Stay tuned ...
The first day of my workshops is always the hardest. I usually start out the workshop a bit sleep deprived. There is a lot of work getting prepared for the workshop plus I am basically out of commission the entire time. So finishing all of my other work adds to the amount that has to be done before the workshop.
Today was wonderful. I am really lucky that the six women in the class are so wonderful. We are having a blast at the beach house and we can't wait to get to the beach whenever possible for long walks! This morning we enjoyed coffee on the beach while enjoying the dolphins! And of course we had fun hunting sea glass.
Today we spent a lot of time painting small abstract paintings on canvas paper. One of the hardest things to learn about painting abstracts is how important it is to be patient. It takes a long time to paint an abstract painting so we focused on composition, color palette and using a photo of a room to inspire our paintings. Then we all started a large painting, which will be finished tomorrow morning. I can't wait!
36" x 24"
I am very fortunate to be in Ventura Beach this week teaching a four day palette knife abstract painting workshop. It's a great place to stay in the summer and while we will be painting a lot, we will also be taking long walks on the beach, hunting for sea glass and enjoying some great meals (and wine!). And then there is also the Ventura antique flea market on Wednesday morning ...
Preparing for a workshop entails a lot of work. Last week I updated my workshop daily teaching outline, put six notebooks together (with handouts), embroidered six aprons, determined each demo I am painting, found inspiration photos for my demos, packed the car and checked everything off my "four day workshop in Ventura teaching materials list". Had this been my first abstract workshop I would also need to create all of the curriculum, handouts, teaching outline, etc. So yes, teaching a workshop require a ton of prep!
But once the prep is done, the fun begins! Four amazing students arrived at the house this evening and we enjoyed a healthy dinner and spent time getting to know each other. Only four can stay here at the house with me but two more gals are coming in the morning to join us. The garage is all set up and we will begin painting tomorrow morning at 9:00 am. I cannot wait!
Join me here all week as I am excited to share how I plan and prepare for this week's workshop. I will also share highlights of each day and lots of new paintings!
"Circles of Life" Trio
20" x 20" Triptych.
It's Friday. And it's summer. And I should be relaxed and happy. Unfortunately that's not the case.
I have two new commissions that I picked up today. (And that is awesome, so don't get me wrong!) I have a four day abstract workshop next week. And my office and studio are ... um ... pretty unorganized. Plus I have a New York City vacation to plan (I haven't been there in a gazillion years) and I don't have any of my "to do's" written down. So I am really stressed!
I know. Breathe. That's what I need to do. Then I need to grab my notebook and write everything down that needs to be accomplished. Because once it is all written down then I can relax.
This week's Artists Helping Artist show is one day late because Southern California Edison scheduled a "maintenance day" ... which means they turned our power off from 8:00 am - 5:00 pm to fix stuff. Can I just go on record and say this is the third scheduled maintenance day this year! That seems a little excessive, especially for those of us that work out of our homes. Fortunately I was able to schedule a painting delivery to Orange County so I spent the entire day out of the house. But an entire day out of the house put me farther behind! I hope you will tune in to the AHA show. It's titled "Secrets to a Perfect Studio" and can be listened to here.
Meanwhile I am off to getting my list together. What do you do when you are stressed out?
48" x 72"
A Day at the Computer is a Day Without ...
Ok. I made my point. Seriously though, I spent an entire day at my computer today, with my intern Elizabeth right next to me on a computer too. And what did we do? We hunted for email addresses.
Now doesn't that sound like fun. It started off pretty boring, then we started asking each other questions such as, "I am on number 53. So how many do you have?". I think making it a little competitive helped make it more exciting. The banter of comments about the various websites and the challenge of finding email addresses on the websites was pretty funny. Eventually, by the end of the day, we got pretty punchy. Which was fun. And we ended up with hundreds of new emails so it was well worth it.
So I know you all think I am crazy for spending an entire day on the computer looking for emails of interior designers. But I have to tell you, the campaign is going so well that I WANT TO DO IT. I love knowing so many designers will get to see my art. It makes me very happy. And besides, I do believe in the saying, "No pain, no gain".
Developing a successful art business should be based on good solid business practices. Marketing is really important and sometimes that means lots of time in front of the computer.
Acrylic Abstract 48" x 72"
I am delivering this painting to a fabulous interior designer tomorrow who will then ship this painting to London. As you can imagine, this commission was well outside of my comfort zone. I was a bit nervous taking on the commission. It's a very large painting (4' x 6') and not a style or color palette I normally paint. But I loved every minute of it. I love the finished painting. And so does the client!
It's important to allow yourself the creative freedom to try different things. Don't hesitate to accept a challenge that is different. Be willing to try things that you aren't comfortable with. Realize that you can excel doing things you don't normally do.
That's why we are artists. We get to think outside of the box all of the time.
Work in Progress ... 30" x 48"
Thank you, thank you, thank you. You guys really are amazing! The outpouring of kind thoughts from my blog post yesterday and suggestions on how I should deal with my unfortunate situation were wonderful! I cannot begin to tell you how much I appreciate it!
There were over fifty questions emailed and messaged to me privately. The number one question was "Why haven't you revealed the name of "your agent"? Many of you felt very strongly that I should go public with her name so that I could prevent any of you from doing business with her. I don't really feel comfortable trashing her name publicly but here is what I will do. If any of you are considering going in to business with a female art licensing agent, fell free to email me her name and I will tell you if you need to shy away. I promise!
A lot of you thought I should try small claims court, which could be an option down the road. I haven't given up as I am diligently trying to pursue something with the publishing company that sold the designs to Hobby Lobby. There is one thing I feel very strongly about. Both the publishing company and Holly Lobby have done nothing wrong. So I won't be causing them any angst, I promise.
Part of me thinks I just need to chalk this one up to experience and not lose too much sleep over it. There is a tiny part of me that is proud that all of the Hobby Lobby stores are selling prints of my art. Right?
Either way, this situation I am in is truly a "work in progress". Just like my painting pictured above. I took this photo after applying (with a palette knife) about three layers of paint. Knowing me, I will probably add three or four more before the painting is done. Stay tuned as I will continue to share progress with my "works in progress" here on my daily blog!
And thanks again to all of you for being so great. You rock!
Last week one of my workshop students was kind enough to message me that she had seen prints of one of my paintings for sale at a Hobby Lobby (in Georgia). She recognized the painting (pictured above) because she was in my workshop when I painted it! She also found it online for sale on the Hobby Lobby website. Although you would expect me to be happy and excited, I was angry. No, worse than that. Super pissed!
Hang in there and I will explain why.
A few years ago I signed an art licensing agreement with a woman who had come recommended to me by two artists I knew online (and yes, I called them and checked her references). Things went great for the first year and then my "agent" (as I will refer to her), went cuckoo on me. Her behavior became irrational and she started calling me all of the time to complain and scream about things that had nothing to do with me! I checked in with my artist friends to see what was up and they both informed me they had dropped this "agent" a while back when she went cuckoo on them.
It got so bad that I tried to get out of my contract with her. Then she started threatening me and it got worse when I told her there was no way I would sign another contract with her. (Seriously? How could she possibly think I would sign another contract with her?) Her last comment to me was "I will ruin you Leslie. I will prevent anyone from using your art for licensing and you will never see a penny from me." Nice ...
So, here we are, a year later and my contract with "my agent" expired nearly a year ago. Even the "six month cooling off period" (or whatever it is called) that allows her to still collect on my art has expired. But do you want to know the really bad news? My "agent" signed an extended contract with a publisher for my art work. And that contract didn't expire until recently. Even though she didn't have a valid contract with me!
So, what does all this mean? It's pretty cut and dried. My "agent" is getting paid for this. Not me. There is a zero chance I will see a penny from the Hobby Lobby deal. I know what you are thinking. "Take her to court!". "Sue her!". Yeah sure. I am pretty sure it would cost me a lot more in legal fees than what I was likely to collect.
What makes this whole ordeal so ironic is that last Thursday we did a show on the Artists Helping Artists show about legal issues for artists. We discussed art licensing and how you need to protect yourself. And it was only three hours after the show that I got the message about my art in Hobby Lobby. Ugh. Now that is pretty weird.
Listen to the AHA show. Hopefully the information will help protect you from the nightmare I have been through ...
36" x 36"
I am one lucky girl. My summer intern (her name is Elizabeth) is really smart and has mastered all of her new duties right away. Many of you have reached out to me asking how I was using my intern. One comment was, "If she can't paint, what can she do?".
Well, my list is endless. The most important thing I am trying to do is paint while she is here. That allows me to complete my work while she is helping me out! I think the best way to explain exactly what she is doing, is to share my to-do list!
The to-do list consists of the following: add designer names to my email list, send out email campaigns, track addresses of designers, send out mailing postcards (about 200), set up my store on Pinterest and Shopify, organize all of my AHA show notes (six years worth!!), research chapters for my marketing book, assist filming my on-line classes, help with the webinARTs class, organize my 2016 finances (income & expenses) and ...
Oh my. I could go on and on and on ... but I won't bore you. I promise.
I am really thrilled with how it is going so far. I am even considering looking for an intern this fall when Elizabeth heads back to college in September.
Do any of you have any help with your art business this summer?
Mom. Wife. Artist. Marketer. Teacher. Radio Show Host.
My Favorite Things
Some of my posts contain affiliate links for your convenience. Click here for full disclosure.