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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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?
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