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
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
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.
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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.
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
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)
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