Spring 2023

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Moving Ahead In 2022

This 2 weeks have flown by while the weather has been so damn cold. Hard to get a lot done in -40 while we get a cold spell. But things are looking up! Weather changing this weekend as the temperature goes above freezing.

I haven’t painted as much this past week as I work on a plan to market my art better. I need to reach people that like the themes I paint. I am working on writing down notes on how I plan to tackle getting or reaching more eyeballs of people that like my art.

As an aside, I am also writing 2 books that I hope to self-publish on Amazon. The first is a book I have started a few years ago on how to survive a stroke. Given I have had 5 major strokes and 4 mini-strokes, I can say I have the experience to write this book. It’s been hard to write and quite emotional for me. The second book is on being Productive and software / Apps I use to manage and leverage my time. This has been a work in progress for 2-3 years. But its time I got around to publishing both books.

I have also been taking a lot of courses this past month. I am planning on launching a new Youtube channel with some new videos hopefully in the next month or so. I hope to display some art and techniques I use to create. A lot of folks have asked how I create my art. So I want to share how I do it.

Earlier this month I found I was getting into conflicts with a few people on Facebook groups justifying my art and it was negative for me. I have spent a lot of time assembling training on my techniques but it has taken way more time to complete. Motivation is not a problem. Many folks don’t realize how much work goes into writing lesson plans, recording videos and then editing them so they make sense. Social media should not be negative but the reality is there are a lot of haters out there, around the globe. I reach over 250,000 when I publish or promote my art, but I am bound to reach some very negative people.

Anyway, 2022 I can say will be my year as I launch a bunch of stuff and turn 60 in mid May this year. Have a great week / month! Stay warm!! And Covid free!

Another Q and A Post

Today as I was updating my website, reviewing my 2022 personal goals, I started assembling ideas for a post. I want to update my blog at least once a week in 2022 if I can manage it. So I thought I would continue with the Frequently Asked Questions theme or “Q and A”. So here it goes…

1. Do you make prints or canvas copies of all your art?

Answer: No I do not. I do print some for my own personal collection and do print about 40% of what I create. Of those, currently I am printing most on canvas and then mounted on stretcher bars. I have a large collection of prints on satin, high quality paper that could be framed.

2. When you say you use Reference Images, what does that mean?

Answer: I use a reference image when I do not know how to paint a picture or if I see a picture of my own or a friend that I want to paint. If I paint someone else’s picture, I always ask for permission. I then show them the finished painting before posting. If a person does not want me to digitally paint a picture, I do not.

In recent times, I have seen photos on Facebook, Instagram or on a website, and approached the owner. This was the case with the “Greek” themed images I posted. In certain cases, if the photographer will allow me, I will offer prints up for sale. I ONLY do this if they okay it. My goals would be to offer to split the profit with the artist.

3. Do I “Trace” images or “Filter” images in Adobe Photoshop?

Answer: When I was starting out, like many new hobby artists, I would Trace. Bu in the last 3 years, 99.9% are NOT traced. But I can duplicate the image in Procreate (my software on my iPad Pro that I use to create art) and it looks very detailed. I strive to duplicate the image but make different brushstrokes and textures.

Some people have commented they see brushstrokes or “filter marks” if you zoom in. Those marks are created by me with special custom brushes. I can create “digital” brushstrokes that resemble the shadows cast by ridges made brushes. I paint these on a separate layer above the image and then lower the opacity by 96-98%. Its very subtle but it works and adds texture.

4. How do you price your artwork?

Answer: In most cases it depends on the printing costs, the shipping to get printed canvases or paper prints sent to me. I then add a amount for my time (always much less than the actual time I have invested in it). I also based prices on the size of a print or canvas. A 12” x 16” canvas will be much cheaper than a 24” x 20” canvas. One other factor that affects price is how deep the canvas stretcher bars are. They vary from 3/4” to 1.5” depth.

5. Do you still paint Acrylics and Watercolours?

Answer: Yes, but not as much. The challenge is that sitting to paint at a table or in front of an easel, is very sore after 20-30 minutes. When I paint digitally on my iPad, I sit on a chair or couch.

In the last year, I have been experimenting with water colours again, coloured pencils and some paints from England. I have also been experimenting more and more with pen and ink. But I have not released many of these as I need a lot more practice.

In 2022, I hope to do more original watercolour paintings and the create prints. Originals will go for more money but prints will run in the $150-$250 range and be numbered with small print runs (under 200).

6. Do you paint from your own photos?

Answer: Absolutely! I take about 25-250 photos each week, especially when I got to the lake or cabin. I don’t paint them all but pick out 5-10% the best ones to paint.

Lately, I have painted digital paintings of other photographers (with permission) as I admire many creative artists. I do not normally paint other artists paintings. But that said, some of my art of landscapes and lakes look alot like other artists paintings. Some of my paintings of the Pine Pass area west of town is a common location for paintings and photographs.

Finished Japanese Koi Pond Image

7. Do you paint animal or pet portraits?

Answer: I have in the past for close friends who have lost pets. But I don’t do them regularly as they take alot of time. The ones I have done were well received and were fun to paint!

8. Do you use any special tricks in terms of equipment other than iPad and Apple pencil?

Answer: I use special tips made out of a rubber material that makes it less slippery. I also use a protective glass cover over the iPad screen. I have some people use custom stands and mirrors but I don’t have these or use them. I am due for a new Apple pencil and wait till I get a new “M1” iPad Pro when I can afford it. I need the largest size iPad Pro, the 12.9” as my vision is not great.

9. Where do you post your pictures and new art?

Answer: I currently post on my blog and website (www.gordoncurrieart.com) as well as my Instagram page (#gordonfcurrie) as well as my Facebook pages. I have been posting on large procreate art groups (public and private) and was able to reach over 200,000 procreate fans. But lately, I have restricted some of my posts on Facebook groups as I have attracted a few “haters” or people who are abusive. It’s surprising how many people ask me to upload tutorials or techniques I use. (See next question).

10. Do you offer courses, tips and techniques or books / training?

Answer: This is the question I get asked almost daily! Yes, I am working on all of these.

In terms of Tips and Techniques, I share these all the time on my Facebook page, my blog on my website and on a app that I use (look up VisualTribe app). Many of my Facebook followers like to see art but many are not interested in how I create art. On my blog, I can share more with no restrictions.

Currently, I am working on some beginner and advanced courses and hope to sell them on various platforms (ex: Teachable, Skillshare etc). But they take alot of work as I want to upload videos and they take a lot of time. Even writing lessons plans in very time intensive.

I love to teach and share how to digitally paint. You use similar techniques as traditional watercolours and acrylics. But the differences are you can undo or redo, cut / copy and paste. This makes a big difference. Also, you can paint in layers and then apply custom effects. Lastly, you can use glazing techniques and custom opacity effects.

Misc. Blog Post About My Art

This blog post is some random thoughts / notes I have been making this past few days. I thought I might share.

I post a lot of my art on Facebook and I have about 800 subscribers currently. Additionally, I post to about 5 FaceBook Procreate groups, that probably haver close to 70-80 thousand members.  I also post on my Instagram account (#GordonFCurrie).

This past few months, I am seeing more and more people sending me direct messages to post on Online Gallery’s for exposure. The problem is they want me to pay them fees for exposure. The reality is they basically link out to artists around the globe and try to monetize (make money) from my art. They might generate likes but most are from robots or people in small countries who are paid to like posts and don’t really care if I paint. I don’t want to fall into this trap. Its not honest.

I am also seeing more and more people sending me direct messages wanting to explain how I created the art. They want FREE tutorials, posting of screen recordings. I did this a few times and the videos were stolen and used to sell by someone overseas. Using my art.

So, the simple answer is I am saving my training notes, my creation videos and hope to launch a new course on digital painting in 2022 that will reveal my digital painting secrets. I don’t paint for money, but I am on a limited disability income and hope to subsidize my income one day to cover expenses. I need to budget for a new M1 iPad Pro as my is getting old. The plan is to make it affordable but I don’t wish to give it all away. Likes and comments don’t pay bills.  That’s the sad reality today.

In 2022, I want to step up my game and start selling prints or canvases of my art. It will take a lot of expense and time. I have a lot of prints and painting canvases ready to go now, but this past few months I have tried to deal with health issues first. I do not want to put on a huge display and risk getting Covid or a variant. But between selling prints and teaching a little course in the new year…. Well, that’s what I am hoping for.

The other side effect is about 98% of my art fans love my art. But that 2% of haters are very critical of my techniques and feel I should explain every step on how I create my art. Rather than advise how realistic the art looks, they assume I copied it.  I guess I just need to ignore them. But its frustrating at times.

I do create realistic art, but it takes hours for me to create. I usually can’t sit for more than 20-30 minutes without a break. Some of my techniques utilize 1-2 programs. I use Photoshop sometimes to mockup or bash together ideas and that makes people pissed off. I have no sight in my right eye and I am legally vision impaired. I use some programs to get the effects I want. But 95% is done manually painting with an Apple pencil on my iPad, not a computer using filters.

I paint for me and need to always focus on the enjoyment of painting and be positive. I have digitally painted for 30 years and the last 5 in Procreate. I am on the Beta program of newer versions of Procreate so I get to experiment a lot. My point being, I have spent hundreds of hours painting digitally but also in watercolours and acrylics. So, a person starts to improve and I think I am getting better at it. Anyway, no more complaining. Thanks for listening.