The process of painting, making mistakes and trying new things is great fun but in the end it comes down to how much your work sells and how popular you are especially if you are wanting to make a living out of it. Selling your work is one of the hardest things I have found. I am very grateful for websites such as Esty which are a great platform for selling work and I have been successful there but somehow many people don’t trust buying work unless someone else says its good. I realise that if you aren’t represented by a gallery then many people don’t recognise you as an artist.
My aim this year is to try and find a gallery who is willing to put their neck on the line and support me. It is a very tough world out there and already walking around the area I live in, the amount of rude and hard knock backs I have had is quite an eye opener. It’s that chicken and egg situation where they are not interested in seeing work that has been sold (even though it represents the work/style I paint) but are more interested in work that is available which then puts you in a difficult position with work hanging around your studio that you can’t put anywhere to sell. They also have this air about them claiming that THEY find you and not the other way around. How do I get found?
Being in a gallery also brings it’s problems as they charge around 70% per painting which hikes your prices up meaning that displaying or exhibiting in cafes etc will become more of a problem. Sadly this isn’t a hobby for me – something I need to try to make a living out of.
This year I’m determined to work as well as I can and get some pieces ready for any gallery to take me. It’s the Affordable Art Fair next week where I will go around and find galleries where my work might fit.
This year a gallery, next year competitions. I have my work cut out!
Here is a little picture for those of you who were celebrating St Davids Day. Framed and ready to go on my Etsy site AlicesArtHouse. £200 (painting is 40cmx40cm).
London has been rather cold and damp these last couple of weeks. It’s been a great time to sit and stare out of the window. The skies have been amazing. The pink evenings have been incredible, the morning moon so big and bright and the dramatic after storm clouds have been rolling in which has made this last week really inspiring. Being able to look out of my loft window at the skies makes me feel so small in this huge world that is so beautiful and never stops changing.
The skies out of my loft window after a storm. 20cm x 20cm oil on board.
The morning moon outside my bedroom window. 20cm x 20cm oil on board.
Over the week I’ve been trying to capture these skies in a series of paintings which I’m hoping to get framed and will go up in Il Molino in February. It’s been hard trying to capture the colours, light and texture of the beautiful skies. I have one more to do.
Sunset outside my kitchen window. 40cm x40cm oil on board
Let me know what you think.
I’m feeling rather bad as I have sent my son outside in the pouring rain to play football for a couple of hours while I sit in a rather lovely warm cafe with a nice hot cup of coffee. What a horrible mother! Let’s hope he doesn’t hate me when I come and pick him up later.I’m really excited to say that my new website has gone live. There are a few teething problems with it still but it’s up and running and most of it has been done. I really hope you like it. It has taken me a really long time to do. I had no idea that it would take so long but I’m pleased with it now so please take a look. www.alice-ridley.com. There are also some potential Christmas presents there! Please do get in touch.
I hope you all have a lovely first day of December.
Sorry it’s been so long since I last wrote on my blog. It’s been a mixture of being stuck ( having broken down) in France over the holidays and being incredibly busy with the PTA at my son’s school.
Well I’m back now and with something slightly different. I have been given the opportunity to display my work with two other artists in my local cafe in Clapham/Battersea called Il Molino. Their will be a collection of work up during November and December, pieces that are affordable for easy Christmas present options for local customers. This has given me a great opportunity to do something slightly different.
I visited The Mall Gallery last week with a great friend and was thoroughly inspired by some beautiful work on wildlife. The artists there captured their subject so well, showing all the wonderful characteristics in so many different mediums. I have a great interest in wildlife and this exhibition gave me the inspiration to try something different.
London is full of crows. However much people dislike them there is a huge presence everywhere you go. They have a sinister beauty about them. Their vicious beaks and sleek dark feathers give them an evil edge but one that deserves respect. The exhibition at The Mall Gallery and walking through Clapham Common inspired me to have a go at painting these wonderful birds. I really enjoyed working with some really inky blues and wonderfully deep dark blacks. I was pleased with the outcome and very chuffed to see that others liked them too on Instagram. What do you think?
I’m going to explore some more in this medium and subject matter in and around my normal work.
Over the last month, this month and the following month my work is in The Stores in Gt Waltham in Essex. I was thrilled to be given the opportunity to display and sell my work. Many people have been very sceptical about the idea of selling and displaying work in cafes. They have been very negative about whether or not people manage to ever sell their work that way. I decided to give it a go and see what happens – it can’t hurt can it?
The second month’s display of work at The Stores in Great Waltham – sorry about the slight shake to the picture!
I’m thrilled to say that I have managed to sell 3 paintings from The Stores! I am so very excited about it and the fact that one was bought by someone and she liked it so much that she came back to buy 2 more is wonderful. This is a huge encouragement! This weekend I’m getting myself ready and finishing things off so that I have more to put up on Monday.
I have decided to approach one of my local cafes in London to see if I can display my work there and they have said yes which is brilliant. I thought this could be a perfect opportunity to display some of the work that comes from the school around the corner that I’ve been going to for a morning a week. The idea would be that a group of artists would rotate each month. Some of my friends see it as a good idea but I’m so surprised and saddened by others who again have this snobby feeling that it is a cheap way of selling work and not prestigious enough. I feel as long as you are realistic about your work, perhaps don’t put it in amazing frames to keep costs down, you can make your work accessible to everyone. One thing to remember is that people seem to have a habit of surprising you. Just have a go. Let see what happens…….
Fingers crossed I manage to sell more paintings this month.
Never underestimate the importance of what framing can do for a painting. I made a big mistake by getting a painting framed in the wrong frame and was so very disappointed with the result. This was partly my fault and the framers fault as we had both agreed to a frame but sadly the framer couldn’t get it and decided to put it in another frame.
Mr Cockerel in the original frame done by the framer.
He looks very small and insignificant in this frame – 30cm x 30cm oil on linen on board available at AlicesArtHouse on Etsy.com
Second frame I chose. Framed this way he looks far bigger and more important.
Framing can be very expensive which is always a little worrying when buying a painting, but I’ve come to realise that it can be worth the price. Framers can be great at picking various colours and styles for you to help you make the most of your paintings. Find a good framer and stick with them. I won’t be going back to my original framer.
Mrs Chicken – 30cm x 30cm oil on linen board – £100 available at AlicesArtHouse www.etsy.com
I’m so pleased to say that my work is on the wall in a cafe in Great Waltham in Essex called The Stores for the next 3 months! Its a rather lovely new cafe in the area which sells great coffee for somewhere out of London and some delicious homemade cakes as well as some fab paintings for sale. I’m really pleased to announce that this is on for a three month period. I have been working hard to produce work for it alongside some commissions and the plan is to change the work around each month so people don’t get too bored. Fingers crossed some of them will be sold anyway so it will be just a matter of replacing them.
It was quite hard to know what work to display in a cafe. Its difficult to judge the size or pricing of them. Some of the work there had clearly been done by hobby painters and so the price was mainly irrelevant and so they were charging a really low price. A particular artist displaying there sold loads of artwork as they were only £25 each! Sadly this puts me in a difficult position as I have become fully committed to making a living out of my work. I hope the general public find my prices reasonable. One of the hardest things I find is knowing where to price your work. It’s a fine balance between selling your work and getting what you want for it.
If you are someone who lives near Gt Waltham in Essex please do pop into the cafe to have a cup or tea or something. Tell me what you think of my work and pricing. Also a quick heads up, I will be exhibiting at the Stebbing Open Gardens this weekend in Essex too. Pop along if you are around.
In the occasional classes I go to at an art school around the corner I was asked to bring in something that I could paint over 2 weeks. The usual subject matter for these classes are flowers, vegetables and fruit or whatever happens to be lying around.
I did what I was told and brought in some things what wouldn’t perish. I wasn’t too sure what to bring with me as I ran out of the door. I had thought a while ago about doing series of paintings of toys as something different and so grabbed some of my son’s American muscle cars as I love the wonderful colours with flames along the sides.
Hot wheels set up
When I produced the cars everyone thought I was mad. Totally mad. What a strange subject matter and how sweet that I wanted to do a painting for my son. I wasn’t doing a painting for my son – no! I thought a painting of Hotwheels would be rather cool and Pop Art.
After one week
After lining them up, with the odd one on its back, I realised that I WAS mad. I was totally mad. The difficulty struck me and I suddenly felt very depressed by not even knowing where to start! It was so important to get all the angles and the colours and perspective right. A nightmare! Thankfully I had my teacher to point me in the right direction.
The finished article
After two weeks I was quite pleased with it. My son on the other hand said it was a good effort but some attention to detail was lacking and that some of the curves were wrong. There is no pleasing some people!
Bearsie 8×8 inches oil on linen on board
I have been really inspired these last couple of weeks by an artist called Jennifer Gennari from New York. She is an amazing painter and I particularly like the paintings she has done of animals. She paints cats, dogs, chickens beautifully and so these last couple of weeks I’ve tried to have a go myself. I really love the way she is so careful of brushstrokes which really add to the smoothness and texture of the different animals. She does have one advantage though as she paints from some extremely good, well taken photos which makes a difference.
Here is my first attempt at painting my cat Bearsie. I know it looks like he has a small nose but I promise that he does in real life – honest! I was quite pleased with him I think!
Winston 10xb inches – oil on canvas
A friend and neighbour has the most ridiculously characterful dog called Winston and so thought I would try and paint him too. She had taken a rather fun silly photo of him. I have a long way to go if I want to end up painting like Jennifer but its a start.
Commissions are welcome of any kind of pet – get in touch!
It’s pretty cold out there, but there are definite signs of Spring which is really exciting. At last there is the light at the end of the tunnel of Winter and soon things will warm up. I’ve become so excited that I have been painting flowers non stop all week!
I find flowers very difficult to paint most of the time. Its so very hard as there is so much detail. The difficulty is to know where and when to simplify. It’s often best to squint your eyes to see what needs to be in detail and what not. Our eyes can find detail in so much of what we see yet most of us prefer paintings which aren’t always in focus throughout. It’s similar to when and where to lose edges and where and when to accentuate them.
‘Snowdrops’ – oil on board 10″x8″ – £65 from Alicesarthouse shop at Etsy
I tried an impressionist quick way with the snowdrops which has a blurry style which I probably like the most. For the other flowers I tried to concentrate on only parts of the flowers which I think works on the the large bunch of flowers rather than the smaller flowers. For the larger bunch of flowers I tried to use a larger brush throughout. It’s nice to try different things/styles/brushes etc.