How to become an artist

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

Featured Artist Anna Clarke

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.

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.

Finding inspiration in Covid times through trying collage.

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.

Featured Artist Sue Roberts

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

Printing at home 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

Featured Artist Carol Gillan

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

How to learn how to start sketching

  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

Covid – 19 How will you let it affect you?

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?

March Featured Artist

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

5 important lessons I learned from organising a professional group art exhibition.

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.

The benefits from connecting with other artists.

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.

Featured Artist – Keith Coomber

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

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

How to restart your art production

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

How to improve your artwork

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

Featured Artist Denise Slattery

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

What Records should an Artist keep

  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

Investing in your art education.

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.

Artists Block

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

Clearing out your art studio

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 and how to cope with it

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

Louise Collins Featured Artist

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

Teaching mono-printing classes.

  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.

Dulwich Gallery Print Exhibition

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

How to improve your artwork

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

Frances Jordan Featured Artist

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

How to write an Artists Statement and Bio

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

How to paint a heart – Part 2

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

How to paint a heart!

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!

How to price your artwork for sale

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

PTSD Recovery of Thomas Stimpson MBE

  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

5 Steps to getting your artwork hanging-ready.

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.

7 ‘need to knows’ when signing your artwork

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

Interview with Dee Kirkham

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

Getting ready for Open Studios.

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.

Commissioning Art

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

Sorolla or Bonnard, who is your favourite artists and why?

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?

Meet the Artist – Shirley Ann

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

How to explore ‘mark making’ and get great results.

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.

MY LOVE AFFAIR WITH COLOUR

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

How to Guide to Framing your Artwork, originals and prints.

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.

Why join an art group and what to expect?

  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?

Meet the Artist – Michele Hoben

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

How to get started writing blog posts

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

Which artists paints and substrates to use and why?

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?

How do you come up with ideas for your artwork?

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?