Daily Art: Six Months Later

I wrote the first version of this post and another one on framing several months ago, and they were waiting on me finishing and photo graphing some of the framing for the Nature’s Remnants series, which I made shadow box frames for. I got a couple of pieces done for friends who wanted them, but forgot to take a photo. Then the Mum disaster happened and I didn’t touch anything until just before New Year, when I managed to frame a few more for an interstate visitor. I forgot to take photos of those ones too. Then just after New Year the Dad disaster happened and I’ve only just got back to tackling framing again.

Reading over those posts, I decided to delete one and then publish a modified version of this one:

I hoped to learn something from the Daily Art Challenge and I did – a great deal. One unexpected lesson came afterwards: there’s nothing quite like framing to make an artwork look worth spending money on… or not. It’s not that I wanted or needed for everything to be framed up and sold, but there definitely were pieces I had grander expectations for than what the reality turned out to be, and visa versa. Here’s a quick assessment:

Flowers. The little book was popular, and I was surprised at how well I did with a subject I have never gravitated to. I reckon I’d enjoy tackling some bigger floral artworks – especially since flower paintings are quite saleable.

Toys. A definite success all around. I enjoyed painting them, they came out well, people loved them, they frame up really well and I reckon I could easily sell them.

Hands & Feet. They were fun and I’m better at pencil than I thought. Not a saleable thing, though.

Food. A satisfying subject to paint and people liked them. I did better with acrylic than I expected, but I’m not sure I’d use it again if I was to paint this subject again. Most likely I’d try painting them in gouache or oils. Not sure if they’d sell but it’s worth a try.

Cars. The subject was a challenge and I think I did okay with it. People liked them, but overall I don’t think they’re a saleable subject in the medium I used. Copic markers are definitely a good medium for sketching but apparently they’re not very light-fast.

Nature’s Remnants. These were a deliberate effort at making something saleable at the same time as being an experiment in ground and medium. Casein was interesting but a bit stinky and not as easy to use as gouache or oils. The shadow box frames I made were a time-consuming, though ultimately great-looking, solution for how to present them – made much harder because the pieces of marine ply were all different sizes and not square. I don’t know that I’d paint something exactly like them again – more likely I’d depict the subject in another medium on a ground that could go in a commercially-available frame.

Faces. Turns out ballpoint pens are nice to draw with… if you don’t have anything better at hand.

Chairs. No. Just no. Okay, to be specific, it was more the medium than the subject I disliked. It was the only theme I really didn’t enjoy, which is weird because I liked the pen and ink drawing for the accessories theme. I’m astonished and grateful that my friends wanted these.

Pets. What can I say? I loved drawing them, they came out great, people loved them, they were nearly all worthy of framing and I reckon I could do pet portraits as a sideline. But, but, but… oh, how I dislike the dustiness of pastels.

Accessories. I really enjoyed drawing in inks and depicting the objects, but this wasn’t a subject that excited any people who looked at the artworks and though the few I framed up look nice they still aren’t particularly saleable. Having made a pile of inks in the Maiwa workshop and afterwards, I’d like to be doing more drawing in ink, but probably only when sketching for the fun of it.

Tools. It surprised me how well I was able to depict objects in coloured pencil, especially when the coloured hands and feet drawings were weaker than the monotone ones. Looking at the subject material and thinking about people’s reaction to the artworks, I’m not sure anyone is going to want any of these framed and on their wall, even though the couple of sets I mounted looked nice.

Kitchenalia. Ah, there’s a reason oils are my favourite medium. They just feel right. And you could depict bird droppings with oils and somehow that would legitimise it as a subject. I wanted to keep nearly all of these, but did give two sets away.

So to sum up, the most enjoyable subjects to paint were natural and nostalgic. My favourite medium was oil, followed by gouache, but I also did well with pencil, conte pastel and biro. The most framable and sellable artwork was the toys by far, but the pets and kitchenalia were also popular. The Nature’s Remnants were popular but too fiddly to frame.

Applying that to the future, I should produce more small oil and gouache paintings of natural and nostalgic subjects, and keep Copic markers, pencil, pen and ink and ballpoint pen as sketching mediums.