I know it doesn’t feel like we are ready yet but I think we artists need to be planning for being part of exhibitions again when the world does re-open its doors. I have two on the horizon that I am preparing for. One is a huge, fairly slick operation run by ‘The Contemporary Art Fair’ people, which is due to take place at Sandown Park Racecourse in late September. The second is run by a local art group whose board I sit on and who hold their annual exhibition at a community hall in October. Whilst these two exhibitions … Continue reading Getting ready for the art world to re-open.
Writing an artist’s biography. The first thing you need to bear in mind when writing an artist’s biography (usually shortened to bio) is that this is a short statement about you, normally written in the third person. Let’s break that down. You want this piece of work to be appealing, you want people to read it but it is just a window on who you are so it needs to be interesting, concise and intriguing. To begin, introduce yourself to your reader by giving your name, the medium/media you work with and some background information about yourself. This can include … Continue reading Writing an artists Bio
A new online exhibition group born out of Covid 19 Continue reading What is Ginger Cactus Art?
70th blog should an artist listen to the “get yourself a proper job” advice. Chatting to an old friend last weekend about how she is coping with the lock down and what she did to celebrate her birthday, she told me that she had decided to try out the watercolour paints I bought for her over a decade ago. She is a very creative person and was always interested in having a go at painting, but family and work just got in the way. She told me that her first attempts were nothing much to speak of and I wasn’t … Continue reading How to become an artist
This months featured artist is Anna Clarke. I have known Anna for a few years now and we have exhibited at the same locations on numerous occasions. I hope you enjoy readying this lovely ladies story. Your name: Anna Clarke Where do you live? Bookham, Surrey What is your background? Whether I’m trying to capture the rugged scenery of the countryside in Bulgaria, where I grew up overlooking a mountainous landscape, or the gentle rolling hills of Surrey, where I live now, the natural world is my absolute favourite subject. I love reflecting the colours of the seasons. Capturing the … Continue reading Featured Artist Anna Clarke
How to cope with artists block. I know that many of you during this Covid crisis are suffering from the inability to create any artwork at all. If you are, please know that you are not alone. I haven’t produced any work myself for weeks now. So, I too need to put aside all the sadness around me and take my own advice. Firstly though, I totally understand how it feels to be in this position. I love making artwork, good or bad, so I know how frustrating it is to feel that you are incapable of doing something you … Continue reading How to cope with artists block.
Collage adventures. Someone sent me this photo and I just had to share it with you all. It is beginning to get tough now but this is the most crucial time and so we must all find a way to get through this. Not going out means that, for many of us, there is nothing to take visual inspiration from. There are some amazing online free courses you can follow, check out YouTube, Instagram and Facebook and there are some great TV shows encouraging you to learn figure drawing and how to produce self-portraits. But if none of that floats … Continue reading Finding inspiration in Covid times through trying collage.
I am sharing my tips for coping with working at home during the Covid 19 crisis. There are plenty of other tips and tricks out there if you just want to Google them, but these are mine from an artists standpoint. Working from home and social isolation during the covid pandemic. As artists we are pretty good at working at home and working alone, but even so this pandemic is getting to some of us so here’s my take on how you can get through it all. Personally, I have gone from just me and Mr. S to having my … Continue reading Tips for working at home during covid 19
I am re-posting this months featured artists blog with a huge apology to Sue Roberts as I had used the wrong photos. Please take a look at her fabulous artwork and big apologies for messing up. Your name? Sue Roberts Where do you live? Goostrey, Cheshire What is your background? I come from a family of makers in one medium or another. My two favourite places as a child were my grandmother’s sewing room and my great grandfather’s shed where he made all sorts of things including radios and TVs. All the tools, materials and vices were heavenly to … Continue reading Featured Artist Sue Roberts
Thinking about taking an online course during the lock down? It might be worth reading this first. In these unsettled times, one thing I have noticed is the huge increase in online courses being offered, particularly those promising to teach you how to market your artwork. Most of them will tell you that they made $1m in their first year of trading. That is not entirely true. I will explain why in a moment. Having taken a few of them myself I just wanted to take this opportunity again, to help you understand what you are getting when you part … Continue reading Online courses during Covid 19
Mono-printing at home during the covid 19 lock down. If you have never tried printmaking before this is a great project to do yourself and this is a really easy fun project to do with your children or your grandchildren. And what’s more, you don’t need any specialist equipment at all. Mono-printing is a form of printmaking which, as its name suggests, can only be made once. Other methods allow for multiple prints such as when using lino, silk screen printing, collatype or collagraph, woodcut and etchings. There are many ways to produce mono-prints but since we are all on … Continue reading Printing at home during covid 19
looking for art projects for yourself, your children or grandchildren? Continue reading Art project ideas during Covid – 19
This months featured artist is the wonderfully talented Carol Gillan. Your name?Carol Gillan Where do you live? Ashtead, Surrey What is your background? When I was growing up my parents travelled widely to countries in the middle and far east. I used to appreciate so much when I came back ‘home’ the greenness of this country, the farms and fields so apparent from the aeroplane. After years absence from painting, while on maternity leave, I started to paint greetings cards (featuring children – paint what you know!), selling them to card and gift shops. I progressed to watercolour illustrations before … Continue reading Featured Artist Carol Gillan
As I’m sure you are all aware, here in the UK we are now on hard lock-down. Don’t let this frighten you. This is the perfect time to try something new, improve existing skills and remind yourself that you have skills you haven’t employed for some time. I am talking specifically about drawing. Regardless of what is going on outside, you all have pens, pencils and paper in the house. Even my husband, who advocates a paperless society (good luck with that living with an artist!), has pens, pencils and paper to hand. Learning to draw or improving those … Continue reading How to learn how to start sketching
How to make to most of the time Coronavirus Covid-19 will give us. I know; you are being inundated with emails from a plethora of companies telling you how they are going to support you through this crisis. Broadcasters will be supporting children at home by providing special TV programmes for them and many suppliers are telling you that they will do everything they can to continue to make deliveries. There are also people selling online courses at discount prices which look very attractive and artists are clubbing together selling their work at discount prices, claiming that once they have … Continue reading Covid – 19 How will you let it affect you?
Understanding the risks when signing up to follow a blog. Continue reading Blog security – Why signing up to receive a blog is not something to be scared of.
This months featured artist is a wonderful lady who I have only recently had the pleasure of meeting. Her story is really interesting as is her work. Your name? Gwynne Penny Where do you live? Shepperton, Surrey, UK What is your background? I studied Art and Ceramics at school and wanted to go to Art College, but my parents advised against it and steered me towards an office job. My first role was as a secretary in London, and I detested it, so I managed to make my way into the computer … Continue reading March Featured Artist
Some more ways to make interesting screen prints. A few weeks ago I wrote about screen printing using stencils. This week is about producing painted mono-screenprints. The process is very similar to the stenciled screenprints but let me recap here. The first thing to do is tape up the edges of the screen. Using parcel tape, make sure that there is a strip of tape all around the inside edge of the screen to stop paint from collecting between the frame and the mesh which stops the paint from coming through the other side, which could damage your prints. Next … Continue reading Screen-printing more interesting uses.
I know I have written about putting on an exhibition before, but bear with me, this is different. In the past I have exhibited with large organisations where you pay for your space, hang your work and hope that people come and buy from you. I have also had played a major part in the running of art group exhibitions both here and in the USA, where I lived for a number of years. This past week however I put together an exhibition of eight professional artists. This kind of event I have not done before and I learned … Continue reading 5 important lessons I learned from organising a professional group art exhibition.
As many of you already know, I set up a group last year called the Exhibition Collective. This group consists of over 60 artists throughout the UK who are either working as professional artists or working towards being professional artists. The idea behind the group is that we find suitable venues in which to hold events and invite the other members of the group to take part. It is a lot of work finding suitable venues; and difficult seeking out venues which are available at a reasonable price; finding dates which fit in around the other family responsibilities we all … Continue reading The benefits from connecting with other artists.
This month’s featured artist is an old friend of mine whose artistry is performed through his love of photography. When I first knew him, his interest lay in photographing aircraft and rock concerts. As you will see, life has changed his interests and the things he prefers to photograph today. 1.What’s your background? I was born in Carshalton, Surrey but my parents came from Essex and when they divorced, my mother and I moved to Leigh-on-Sea (which, if you don’t know it, is just to the left of Southend-on-Sea on the map). That’s where I went to school, made some … Continue reading February’s Featured Artist – Mark Wheeler
Being part of an art community will help you achieve more than trying out on your own. Continue reading How to start building a community around you and your art.
Screen-printing at home the easy way to get great home printing results There are many ways to produce great effects with screen printing and I will discuss a couple of them here, but I want to focus on a method which, once you have assembled the equipment, is very easy to do at home. This is the stencil method. First, let me tell you about preparing your screens and how to make the stencils. I would always advocate buying the biggest screen your budget will allow for. Small screens can be fiddly to work with and restrict the size … Continue reading How to do Screen-printing at home
This week’s blog is about Keith Coomber, who I met through the Dorking Group of Artists. Keith is a lovely man, generous of spirit and always happy to help others, which is probably why he was such a great police officer. Keith is also a member of the small support group I run and as a group we provide all manner of advice and information we have gathered which we share to better ourselves and each other in what is a very competitive artwork, even in the small sleepy villages of Surrey. What is your background? I joined the … Continue reading Featured Artist – Keith Coomber
Celebrating your wins both in art and life. Why is it we tend to let the negative overrule or dominate over the positive? Generally, we are quick to take on negative comments and dwell on them whilst almost ignoring the compliments we receive. I have been very guilty of that at the end of this year. Things haven’t been great in my life recently. I have been very unwell for some weeks, which is draining at best but with all the Christmas preparations has become really tiring. I have fallen asleep at my desk more than once during this time. … Continue reading Celebrating your wins
54th blog How to start making artwork after a break . Last week I wrote about the importance of stepping away from your work to produce better results. This is just as true in real life as it is in painting. A break in concentration allows you to re-evaluate what you are doing and produce a more considered outcome. But what do you do if that break has been a long time? How do you restart producing art and what is your best approach? Well, let me first explain that what is holding you back is fear! It happens to … Continue reading How to restart your art production
By stepping away from the painting. This week I wanted to talk about the need to remove oneself in order to see things in a different light. When I lived in the USA, I had a horrible but brilliant oil painting teacher. She never liked me and, frankly, I wasn’t impressed with her, but I endured her sometimes brutal attacks on me because I quickly recognised that she was a really good teacher. At every lesson we would have to go through the ritual of being made to ‘step away from the painting’ and then walk around the room and … Continue reading How to improve your artwork
This months featured artist is Roy E Fleming NDD (National Diploma in Design), FCSD (Royal Chartered Designer) FRSA (Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts) For this month’s featured artist, I want to introduce you to a wonderful man who I have known all my life and who has had a huge influence over the life choices I have made. Roy reads my weekly blogs; he is signed up to receive my monthly newsletter and is very complimentary about all that I do. I asked him if he would be my featured artist this month and he was rather hesitant … Continue reading Featured Artist Roy E Fleming
What to (and what not to do) when making acrylic pouring paintings and getting cells. Although there is a wealth of information on the internet and also many YouTube videos on this technique, I am still regularly asked how to produce the “cells” with which people are so enamoured. I thought I would offer you some advice. My suggestion would be to first read this blog and then watch those YouTube videos so that you really understand what they are trying to show, as I haven’t found any that really explains how to do this properly. The … Continue reading How to make acrylic pouring paintings
Continuing on from last week’s blog on how to get your artwork ready for an exhibition, this week I am looking at how to hang a group exhibition. These days if we want to know something, we generally ‘Google’ it. I did just that when embarking on this blog but I could not find anything about hanging a mixed exhibition. Maybe it is expected that, being artists we should already know about this stuff, but it is not straight forward. There are things which need to be considered in order that it works. This is how I approach hanging a … Continue reading How to hang an art group exhibition
If you are planning on taking part in art exhibitions of any kind, these basic tips will help you present your work in a way which could increase your chances of selling. It is all about presenting work in a professional way. Continue reading Preparing exhibition Artwork
This months featured artist is my wonderful friend Denise Slattery. Through her amazing knowledge I have learnt so much about colour. She has shared her scenic artist knowledge with me enabling me to better decorate the fibre glass shapes I have been doing for charity over the pass five years. I am truely grateful for her friendship and the generous way she has shared so much with me. Artist Interview Questions: From Routine to Convoluted What’s your background? I have a degree in Fine Art and fell into scenic art by accident. I have had a long career as a … Continue reading Featured Artist Denise Slattery
My work. This week I thought I would share my process for making the ‘bubble’ pieces which so many people have said that they enjoy and have purchased from me. I am currently preparing a number of pieces for a client who knows what colours she wants but hasn’t commissioned work from me before and is not sure if she will like the finished product. I take the view that if the client isn’t happy, I haven’t done my job so will keep going until I get it right. In this case the works are on paper and I can … Continue reading Making the Bubble Paintings
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!