If you are one of my weekly blog followers, you will know that I feature an artist on the first Sunday of every month. To date these artists have been people I know or have met on the exhibition circuit, but this week I want to share something a bit closer to home and far more personal. Let me give you some background. Again, if you know or follow me you will know that my parents were both fantastic artists. They met when they were both studying at Hornsey College of Art in North London. Whilst there they made a … Continue reading Special Feature Barry Owen Jones Artist
Record keeping A number of my artist friends are due to file their tax returns to HMRC by the end of this month. I am sitting here with a big smug smile on my face because I did mine and filed them back in July. However, this post isn’t about me feeling smug-, It is intended to hopefully help you not only with your tax returns but with all your art-related record keeping. Tax returns If you are sitting there thinking, this doesn’t apply to you, because you only sell a few paintings each year. Stop. If … Continue reading What Records should an Artist keep
1.What’s your background? My parents were both amazing artists and I didn’t feel equipped to compete when I was younger, so I became an accountant instead. Time spent in the USA gave me the distance to explore the possibility that I could make art worth having. I took classes there with professional artists who were incredibly supportive such that when I returned to the UK, I took a foundation in Art & Design and then went on to study a BA in Fine Art. What does your work aim to say? My work is mainly about colour. I am fascinated … Continue reading Interview with Alison G Saunders (me)
Investing in your art education. For those of you who follow my blog, it should be clear that I am aiming these posts at people who are trying to get their art and maybe their art business to the next level. I know a number of really talented artists, some formally trained and others self- taught and most of them spend hours lamenting the current markets not being a good time to sell art and wondering how they can increase their online presence to increase sales. One very good, almost essential way, if you are serious about selling your art … Continue reading Investing in your art education.
10 Ways to Cope with Artist’s Block It happens to all creatives at some point in time. We just hit a brick wall, we don’t know what to do next. Don’t make the even bigger mistake of letting it get to you. Just take a look at the following suggestions to get yourself out of a rut and back on track. Don’t Panic Seriously, panicking takes up far too much energy. You will go round and round in circles and still be no further forward, so take a deep breath and calm down. You haven’t lost it; you will be … Continue reading Artists Block
Following on from last weeks blog post about change. This week I am looking at loss and letting go of your unsold artwork. Just moments after I had posted last week’s blog into the scheduling system, I heard that a former neighbour had died and I was invited to attend the funeral. Our neighbour was a lovely lady who sadly had to go into a home two years ago, due to that horrible condition, Alzheimer’s. This meant that I hadn’t seen her son in all that time, and I was shocked by the change I saw in him. He had … Continue reading Clearing out your art studio
Change – how to cope with it and embrace it. It is that time of year when it is all change. Here in England, the children are going back to school, my wonderful flower boxes are beginning to look disheveled and the leaves on the trees are just beginning to turn. Summer is coming to an end and thoughts of knuckling down to tidy up and get ready for winter are on the ‘to do’ list. Over the summer I took an amazing art course which taught me so many new things in such an easy to assimilate way that … Continue reading Change and how to cope with it
This months featured artist is Louise Collins. Louise is another of the artists I know based in Surrey, England and shares her art journey and her beautiful artwork. Please tell me a little about yourself. I have lived in and around Banstead, Surrey all of my life. My earliest and most inspirational teacher was Mrs Smale who taught art at Woodmansterne Primary School. She encouraged my passion for art by inviting me to be creative during break-times, allowing me access to any resources I needed. The art room seemed to resemble an Aladdin’s Cave containing amongst many things, boxed oddments of … Continue reading Louise Collins Featured Artist
I don’t teach in a school and I don’t teach regular classes either, but I do teach groups of people, young and old to use mono-printmaking as a fun and easy way to produce art work. This week I have been running a mono-printmaking class as part of the St. Catherine’s Hospice, elevating their profile in Surrey and Sussex in order to raise funds to build new facilities to help people at the end of their lives. It is exhausting but so fulfilling. Teaching young children is particularly rewarding as they have no inhibitions; they just do … Continue reading Teaching mono-printing classes.
Last week I visited the Dulwich Picture Gallery in South London to see the ‘Modernist British Printmaking’ Exhibition, which showcases pioneers of British lino-cut printmaking in a fine display of prints, drawings and posters created in the 1930’s. By Claude Flight First, let me tell you about the venue. Dulwich Picture Gallery is the world’s first public art gallery which was founded in 1811 when Sir Francis Bourgeois RA graciously bequeathed his collection of paintings by old masters, “for the inspection of the public”. And what a collection. One of my all-time favourite paintings by Rembrandt – … Continue reading Dulwich Gallery Print Exhibition
Design. Why design is so important in your artwork? I have had the luxury of being on an amazing painting course which started in May and which deals predominantly with design in our artwork. The course has reinforced all the things I have ever been taught about producing good art but is delivered in such a way as to feel different and new, giving me another way to approach my artwork going forward. I am also the daughter of a very talented and highly-respected interior designer, lighting expert and former university lecturer; with my other parent also being a very … Continue reading How to improve your artwork
This months featured artist is Frances Jordan. Frances is based in Surrey, England and provided me with this enlightening interview about her life as an artist. Please tell me a little about yourself. Since I was a little girl I have always drawn and painted and I so much wanted to go to art college, but my parents were against it. In my teens after work I went to adult education classes and took life-drawing and watercolour. My husband liked the work I was producing and suggested that I frame some of it to hang it on our walls. I … Continue reading Frances Jordan Featured Artist
An Artist Statement and Bio, what are they, why do you need one and how to go about writing them. An artist’s statement is a short, written piece about your artwork, your art practice and an opportunity to briefly discuss the thought process behind making your work. If you are struggling to write one for your own practice, my first suggestion would be to go online and read as many different artist’s statements as you can and see if you find something which resonates with you. You will find that these statements are as varied and diverse as the artists … Continue reading How to write an Artists Statement and Bio
In last week’s blog, I talked about coming up with the designs for the hearts. This week I want to show you how I went about turning these designs into the finished products. These hearts have been made by the very talented Aden Hynes of the Sculpture Studios in Basildon, Essex. He made the moulds and cast the fibre glass hearts. Later this year his team will release a video of their process from cutting the heart shapes through to the finished pieces. I will let you all know when that comes out, but if you want to find out … Continue reading How to paint a heart – Part 2
Painting the hearts for St Catherine’s Hospice charity event. Well, the 4th of July might have been a big day for all Americans, but it is also a big day for St Catherine’s Hospice, small shops and business, and me. The 4th of July is National Independent Retailers’ day. Small retailers and businesses are the life blood of our high streets, which have suffered greatly over recent years to survive in the world of on-line shopping. Launching the Heart trail UK on this day gives a nod not only to other small retailers but also to all the independent artists … Continue reading How to paint a heart!
Putting your work up for sale the first time is a scary business. You are putting your soul on show for other people to comment on. You need to applaud yourself for your bravery. That said, please don’t expect to sell. Of course, it is disappointing when you don’t but selling on your first show is not to be expected. That way if you do sell it will be a real bonus. But how do you price your work? The best starting point is to calculate how much you have spent on supplies. What was the cost of the … Continue reading How to price your artwork for sale
This month it is my great pleasure to introduce you to Thomas Stimpson MBE. Thomas has been honoured by the Queen for services to the nation as a member of the armed forces. During his time, he saw active service and as a result of this he has had a long challenging recovery journey in his brave battle to overcome PTSD. Thomas owes everything to his incredibly supportive wife and his lovely children who all helped him to recover, along with clinical interventions and a number of treatments, including Art Therapy, over many years. … Continue reading PTSD Recovery of Thomas Stimpson MBE
Planning ahead! A friend came to visit me this week and was telling me of her frustrations. She is new to art and through lack of planning had caused herself real angst. This friend, who is a textile artist, had sewn a beautiful work but having finished it found it was the wrong size for any of the mounts and frames she had. It was a non-standard size anyway, and being sewn, she couldn’t cut it down without damaging the piece. Thus, the only option she had was the expense of using a professional framer. Planning ahead before starting would … Continue reading 5 Steps to getting your artwork hanging-ready.
I covered paint quality in a previous blog ( https://alisongsaunders.art/blog/) but I just wanted to touch on it again here. My advice is always to use the best quality paint, brushes and sub-straight you can afford. I liken it to making a chocolate cake. If you use cheap margarine, the cheapest battery-hen eggs, cheap cooking chocolate, the cheapest self-raising flour and the cheapest sugar, sure you will make an edible cake, but it won’t be anything special. Now if you buy the best butter, free range eggs, 70%+ chocolate, good quality flour and sugar and then add in a … Continue reading What an artist needs to get started
A very knowledgeable and talented master watercolourist friend of mine reminded me this past weekend of the mistakes I have made in the past when signing my work: more about her in another blog. This reminder led me to writing this week’s blog. Let me explains. I am currently taking part in the Surrey Artists Open Studio event. I have set up a table of ‘old’ works which I am selling off at a hugely reduced price to raise money for charity. The reason one particular piece made the ‘old’ works table is in part because of the dominance of … Continue reading 7 ‘need to knows’ when signing your artwork
What’s your background? I have been an artist per se since I was a little girl and have dabbled in lots of different types of creative crafts and art for many, many years, but I finally settled into the type of art I felt was my life calling about 20 years ago. I met David Leffel who is a very famous still life and portrait/figurative artist. He paints & teaches in the Old Dutch Masters style of painting, with Rembrandt as his mentor. I knew at that moment that this was where I wanted my art to be and I … Continue reading Interview with Dee Kirkham
This week’s blog is mainly aimed at those of you who will be exhibiting in some form of Open Studio event in the next few months. Hopefully those of you who love to attend will gain a better understanding of what we put ourselves through to make these exhibitions worth visiting. So, as I prepare in the coming week for my Open Studio, with Surrey Artists Opening Studios, starting next Saturday, 1st June, I wanted to discuss here what you need to do to prepare for this event. You will probably have marketing materials supplied by the organisers and you … Continue reading Getting ready for Open Studios.
How to buy art…. …or how to commission a piece of art. Now don’t go running for the hills, it really isn’t that scary. So why would you consider commissioning a piece of art and more importantly, is it going to break the bank? Well let’s get the money bit out of the way before we start. Commissioning art does not have to be expensive. Honestly. It doesn’t. An artist will most definitely work to produce work to your budget, as long as you are not expecting someone like Tracy Emin to produce a piece for £150.00, but by being … Continue reading Commissioning Art
I get asked all the time, who is your favourite artist, who influences your work. I have always said that I don’t have favourites in anything. And I don’t. I don’t have a favourite colour, pen, paint brush, flower, food, drink, tree, friend, child even, you get the picture and I have always chosen not to single out any one item as a favourite. But I do have things I favour. So, I favour raspberries over rhubarb, I favour some artists over others and I favour bright colours over dark, or do I? I am however excited to add Sorolla … Continue reading Sorolla or Bonnard, who is your favourite artists and why?
Please introduce yourself. Shirley Ann: I’m Shirley Ann – my other name is Aphrodite – I believe that I am Aphrodite’s envoy to the world at the present time – but we’ll get to that later, and I live in Southern California with my husband and my son Cupid! And what is your background? Shirley Ann: I have a very varied background. I studied French, Arabic, Economics and International Relations as my initial Bachelors and Masters, because at the time I was lined-up to become a diplomat, following in the footsteps of my father; however, when I finished my studies, … Continue reading Meet the Artist – Shirley Ann
https://alisongsaunders.art/blog/ To the uninitiated ‘mark making’ sounds a bit pretentious, but I am not sure what else you could call it without making it sound childish and lacking in skill. The art of making marks to represent the world around us and how we respond to that world, has been going on for thousands of years. Photo source Wikipedia Think caveman drawings. Man has been recording his environment in this pictorial way ever since, but the ‘modern’ form of ‘mark making’ is often not, these days, pictorial. Today, ‘mark making’ tends to be rather more a response to how … Continue reading How to explore ‘mark making’ and get great results.
I start preparing my blog posts on Tuesdays. That way there is time to get my thoughts onto paper, share them with my long-suffering husband who proof reads them, re-read and make more changes and then set them up, usually on Friday evening, to be published for you to read on Sunday evening. This week I had planned to write something completely different but whilst on a group support call with my artist friends in the USA and Hungary, we started talking about what makes us want to get up every day and make art. What is the driving force, … Continue reading MY LOVE AFFAIR WITH COLOUR
If you visit my website and sign up for my newsletter, you will automatically receive my free Guide to Buying Art. You can get yours too by clicking here. https://alisongsaunders.art/about/ As a result of this guide, I have had a couple of conversations with people about framing artwork they have bought unframed, so thought I would share my thoughts on framing too. So, you have been to an art fair, exhibition, gallery or simply found a piece of art which you love. If you are reading this it is likely that your beautiful purchase is wrapped in cellophane, it’s all … Continue reading How to Guide to Framing your Artwork, originals and prints.
It doesn’t really matter where you are on your art journey but being a part of some kind of art group is really valuable. But why? You know that saying ‘no man is an island’? Well, that really applies when making art. If you only have yourself as a reference, then you won’t grow. How can you if all you have is what immediately surrounds you? Visiting galleries and exhibitions is clearly a great way to find inspiration and expose yourself to other artists’ work but being part of a group will help you even more. As a beginner, … Continue reading Why join an art group and what to expect?
The following interview was with Michele a member of the amazing Torpedo Factory Arts Center which is situated in Alexandria VA USA. This old munitions plant was founded into an arts center in 1974 and houses the USA’s largest collection of working artists under one roof with 82 artists in their open studios. They attracts around 500,000 every year and you can view a wide variety of artwork including painting, printmaking, sculpture, photography, stained glass, fiber, ceramics and jewellery. 1 Your name? : Michele Hoben 2 Where do you live? : Washington, DC 3 What is your background? : Before … Continue reading Meet the Artist – Michele Hoben
My followers will know that I have committed to writing a weekly blog post. Break that down and it is 52 subjects I need to find to write about each year. Sounds simple enough, until you try it! Oh, I could write just for the sake of it, but you don’t want that, you need to be engaged and I don’t want to deliver something that doesn’t have some value. So do please tell me, if there is something in particular you would like to hear my thoughts on. For now though, I thought I would tell you the … Continue reading How to get started writing blog posts
Just about every artist’s guide book you will ever read, about learning to paint will tell you that you should always use the best paints, brushes and substrates you can afford to use. Starting with paint you will be advised to avoid student paints, at all costs, where possible. The reason behind this is straightforward, particularly when you are just starting out. You never know how a piece of work will turn out, so you want to aim for every piece being the best you can do. Sod’s law, you will create your favourite piece using cheap paint. Student paint will … Continue reading Which artists paints and substrates to use and why?
This is a question I am asked a lot but in many different guises. For instance: – “What influences your art?” “How do you pick a theme?” “Do you paint other things?” Or the question can be phrased: – “I can never decide what to paint what do you suggest?” Or my favourite: – “Oh I don’t think I could do make the same piece over and over again, I would get bored, don’t you get bored?” Let me give you some background so that you can understand where the questions are coming from. I teach a variety of different … Continue reading How do you come up with ideas for your artwork?
This is the first in my series of interviews with artists and artisans who I have met, found to be interesting people and have agreed to be interviewed by me. Please allow me to introduce you to Beáta Bősze. Beáta and I met on-line through group working towards improving our on-line presence in the art world. With five other ladies we meet twice a week to discuss our successes and failures and receive support from each other in moving forward through the often treacle like art-world business. Beáta where were you born and where do you live now? I am … Continue reading Introducing this months artist – Beáta Bősze
Now I know that there are hundreds of thousands of artists out there, many far more talented and better known than me, but even more unknown, just getting started, taking up art for the first time etc. etc. artists who might find my thoughts useful. I don’t present myself as the font of all knowledge here, I am just talking about how I use my sketch book. First of all, why? Why am I sharing this with you? Well it came about because I was talking to someone about the work I produce v the posts I make daily on … Continue reading How to use your sketch book (or how I use mine)
17th Feb 2019 I am asked a lot why I am taking a BA in art. I am up to my neck in producing work for exhibitions etc., I am on the board of a local art group and I teach art to others, so why am I adding extra pressure to my life in this way? The short answer is because I want to, and I can. The long answer is because despite having been surrounded by art all my life, my parents were/are both brilliant artists, I didn’t take the art route, believing that I would never be … Continue reading Why take a BA in art? And how hard can it be?
Following on from last weeks ‘do something which frightens you’ blog post, I am going to be taking part in a really big grownup art exhibition with the Contemporary Art Fair at Sandown Park in March. I have taken part in lots of small shows both here and in the USA, but this is my first really big one. Am I scared, hell yes, I am? But why you may ask? As I said in last weeks blog, it is that not knowing which causes the fear. And there is lots I don’t know about this exhibition. Like: I don’t … Continue reading How to prepare for taking part in an art exhibition
Why you should do something which terrifies you. If you write the above sentence into google, you will find a number of articles on this theme and most of them are worth a quick read if you are considering doing something which frightens you too. There are some that advocate doing this daily, but in my case, as an artist, this isn’t practical, what is, is accepting challenges when they are given to you. In this sense I rarely say ‘no’ but saying ‘yes’ to an 8½ft by 4ft canvas was frightening. Once over that hurdle the next frightening, no … Continue reading Why you should do something which terrifies you.
About Making Money! You don’t always have to do something just to make money. Please let me explain. Last weekend I joined a wonderful group of men and ladies, showing my art alongside their beautiful wood creations. The East Surrey Woodturners. Why? Well a few years ago, I visited this group as I have always hankered after ‘having a go’ at wood turning. It looks so satisfying to peel layers of wood away to create a shape to be sanded and polished. This group of men made me so welcome five years ago, that when I bumped into one of … Continue reading About Making Money
This is fundamentally a piece about growing a thick skin. Why because when you have someone say to you, as I did about my work in an exhibition only last weekend, ‘I love your work, but my husband will hate it’. What do you say and how to you let it affect you? We all come to making art in different ways and without doubt at some point we are all hit with or by the same insecurities about being good enough. Which is not helped by those thoughtless remarks. If only we could continue making work like we did … Continue reading Why make art and how to cope with the thoughtless remarks.
Learning from Lewis Nobel Last month (September ‘18) I was so lucky to be able to join the lovely Lewis Nobel for a three-day class in Ashbourne, Derbyshire along with my friend Colette. In fact, it was Colette’s idea to go and I will admit I was concerned about being on a course for three days, miles from home and no knowing if I would A) Be physically able to climb up the hills and down again what with all my back issues of late, B) What if I didn’t like him or the other people on the course, I … Continue reading How to make the most of a course
Fairly easily, you would think. And yes, once you have understood about balance and the mathematics of balance it is fairly easy. Well a piece like this one here is fairly easy. This mobile is one of seven mobiles I made as part of my final project for my BA Sculpture course. Throughout the sculpture course, I have been looking to represent elements of the lives the poor farmers in Ethiopia and, in particular, those suffering from Podoconiosis (Podo). This was my way of looking at the balance of their lives. In this piece I have used plastic water piping, spray … Continue reading How to create a Mobile
It seems that the work I produce, on a daily basis, in my concertina sketch book has gained a following. How exciting. With that said, I thought it might be a good area to cover in some of my blogs, with this being the first one. When you go to art school/college/uni, whatever you want to call it, one of the first things that is drummed into you, is the importance of keeping sketch books. Finding what you want to put in those sketch books, is initially, the challenge. Nowadays galleries will display famous artists’ sketch books alongside their finished pieces … Continue reading My Daily Sketch Book Work.
As yet I have not had any of my designs accepted and I might not have any of them accepted, but I said I would share the story, so here goes. I have been involved in painting fibreglass objects to raise money for charities of a few years now. So far, I have decorated two cows for The Surrey Hills Cow Parade, ‘Sher-hock Holmes’ a for the Haslemere Hog Parade and earlier this year ‘Doddy Hare’ for the Haslemere Hare Parade. As a result of this involvement someone asked me to get involved with the St Catherine’s Hospice in Crawley, to … Continue reading Decorating the Heart
So I have finished the last of the assignments for the Sculpture section of my BA. My work has been sent off to the tutor and returned to me in preparation for formal assessment. what does that mean? Well we work with a tutor throughout the course, who advises us on where we are doing well and there we need to step up our game. Once all the assignments have been completed within a section of the course, we have to pack up selected pieces of work and send them off to the examiners to make judgement on. I have … Continue reading My BA Assignment
Earlier this year I decorated a 5ft high fibre glass hare for the Surrey town of Haslemere to auction off later this year.