- Evernote (used on all my devices)
- I use Pocket to store websites and setup different folders.
- I use DropBox to set up shared folders with clients and friends. I can email images and recordings to these folders.
- I use some email folders as well.
It’s been a while since I updated my website but I have been very busy painting this past 6 months. Time to catchup!
Since my Art Show in January this year, I sold a number of paintings, did a few commissions and had some old art that was painted about 10 years ago, recently changed hands and is now in a private collection of a prestigious law firm in BC.
My painting topics have included Venice (street scene), Landscape (west of Chetwynd, BC), Tropical Fish and Reef, some more Steampunk images and more. I do bounce around theme wise but it’s worth it as I use new techniques and increase my skills. I still have so many ideas to paint so I will be busy this next few months. I am going to do another show this spring 2020. By then I will have about 10-12 new paintings available.
Christmas is coming and I have room to do 2 commissions between now and then. If you are looking for a custom gift for someone special, give me a call and I can work with your budget and theme.
Since starting work at the School District #59, I have been very busy and unable to teach classes like I would have wanted, but I will be available for private lessons in a person’s home or in my home. If interested, drop me a note and provide me with the type of training you are looking at and I will provide a custom outline for you and a budget.
This past 6 months was tough as my father passed away from Cancer. He was a painter and I inherited some of his paintings and in particular, a Harry Heine original watercolour that my Dad bought in about 1970. I grew up with this painting and it sits proudly in my bedroom. My Dad was an inspiration to me both as a father figure and as a painter. Between him and my brother David (a professional painter), my love of painting has really grown.
Lastly, I spent alot of time at the lake this summer and the picture attached is of me painting one weekend on the dining room table at our family home at Moberly Lake, BC.
The secret is PLANNING – I booked my art show about 1 year in advance. This gave me lots of time to paint more artwork and most galleries are booked months if not years in advance. In fact, I inquired about booking another show and the lineup at the Dawson Creek Gallery is about 2 years. That’s along time between shows.
What made my show successful ( I sold 2 paintings, gained interest in 3 more possible sales and had over 72 people attend my opening ) was the extra time in assembling my work, borrowing back previously sold paintings to display and getting the word out!
Although a number of people know I paint, many people in the community did not know HOW much I paint and the variety of subjects I paint. I reached out to many with flyers, Facebook posts ( and event posts) as well as getting people to share my opening night announcement. I personally emailed over 120 people and that helped get the word out. Pamphlets helped as well. Suzanne helped to distribute those.
Initially, I planned on showing about 95% original acrylics and maybe 5% Watercolours. In the end, I had about 15-20% watercolours, many of them already sold and in private collections. A lot of people loved the watercolours and so the message was pretty straight forward – There is a market for my watercolours. The challenge is many were matted, framed and with glass and that adds a lot of cost to the price of the individual work. Most shows required framing.
In choosing what work to show, I have my own favourites and assumed that certain paintings would get a lot of attention and some would not. Boy, was I wrong. Many of the pieces I figured that would sell or get above average attention did okay, but the older pieces and some I worried about, really got WAY MORE attention than expected.
The other surprise was I assumed ( you know what that means) that certain pieces of art would appeal to certain age groups. I could not be MORE wrong!Some paintings that I figured would only appeal to younger folks ( Age 16 to 25 ) were liked as much or more by the 50-65+ audience. I was pleasantly surprised. Asking them what they liked during the show was a humbling experience and really helped me in terms of future work that will sell.
Who buys MY Art? Well with only 2 paintings sold, these numbers can change but one was sold to a collector who buys art regularly and has a great eye for my favourite pieces and another was bought for a commercial firm looking for art for a new office. Those interested after the show included friends and family ( some at quite a distance).
In the past, I have sold quite a bit of art online to the US and other parts of Canada. But most of the art was sold to collectors that liked my watercolours and those who purchased specific prints. Print sales bring the prices down into the $150 – $200 range but it’s not hard to sell 25-30 prints of each painting in a year.
Although I ran my show for about 3 weeks, I had an opening evening about a week into my show. It was a 2 hr opening, from 7-9pm and ran on a Friday night. The DC Gallery included punch, coffee and a cheese and dessert tray. This was nice and everyone loved it.
We chose not to serve wine or liquor as the risks associated with providing booze are simply too great. I have my serving it right and we could have offered wine but nowadays, if a guest at your event leaves with the possibility of an impaired charge, it is simply too costly if things go bad.Some people asked about a drink but I could easily spend any profit I made from sales, it costs to run the show.
It is worth mentioning that my goal was not to make money but to showcase my work, give people an idea about what I paint and why I paint. The exposure was very good! There is as much value to guests in knowing where I got my ideas and what techniques I used to paint certain types of work.
I did want to mention that I prepared some personal notes on each painting in advance and let guests know what made me paint the subjects that I did. I also shared in many cases, the approach or techniques that I used. Rather than simply explain “this was painted in watercolour or acrylic” I shared in some cases where I used India ink, airbrush techniques or how I blended colours.
Many of my paintings used layering and glazing techniques that caught the eye of the guests. In some examples, I used 40-50 layers of light, diluted washes and then let them dry between layers.In doing so, you can get very highly reflected colours in certain types of light. A very cool effect that takes time but is worthwhile! In listening to fellow artists that visited my art show, it was interesting to hear them ask or mention what techniques I used to paint certain colours and textures. Painting cedar wood grain is something I have learned over the years and it was fun to share how I did it. Being open and upfront about my techniques is a real pleasure to share.
Another bright side to my show (no pun intended) was that I typically paint with very bright colours and put a lot of thought into each painting when it comes to colour palettes, high contrast images, lots of shadow detail and complimentary colours that work well together. In many cases, people have no idea how much planning can go into a painting or how much research. That’s why I think its critical in some cases that you share the experience and “journey” with people looking at buying your artwork.
Some pleasant surprises – In listening to the visitors to my show and the comments that were shared over the 3 week period, I heard some feedback that was exciting to hear but also quite a shock! Many people viewing my artwork saw detailed imagery that I never intended but “suggested” with brush strokes and colour. In some images, I spent hours working on shadow detail.
It was important when I paint that I don’t specifically hide images in shadows but that I suggest small strokes or detail that could be interpreted but many as they viewed the artwork.I saw a lot of people who looked up close at paintings and then stepped back 4-6 feet and saw additional images and patterns. Some I intended and others I did not. I learned many years ago that it was important to leave room for the art observer to “see what they see” and to give them places in an image to explore a painting or rest their eyes. This became apparent on a series of “steampunk” style or “sci-fi” style images.
Another tip that was reflected in the comments was the different colours and details in shadows. Rarely are shadows black or grey. Many of my best shadows had blends of purple, green and burgundy. If I had an orange coloured component of a painting, I loved to mix blues and greens for the shadows with highlights to draw people in. This is very subtle but is worth doing.
The majority (but not all ) of my acrylic painting are varnished so as to protect the painting from dust and UV light but to also bring out the rich colour pigments. For a show, it’s pretty important as well. I used spray on varnish and typically spray 2-3 coats ( in different directions) with drying time between each coat.
Appreciating your audience and attendees at the opening – I tried hard to see everyone and thank them for coming. It was very gratifying to see so many people come to my opening and view my work. I thanked as many as I could for coming. It was a great night! The Gallery staff were pleased and set a nice standard for the first show of the year.I also thanked the gallery staff, the curator and the folks who installed the show. Without their help, it would not have worked so well. Particularly the order that my work was hung. This made a HUGE difference and made for a true experience to people walking the show.
More surprises – one of my original framed watercolour paintings on display at the show was an airbrushed painting I did of some underwater fish. It was an experiment and my VERY FIRST airbrush watercolour. It was very surprising to me that so many people liked that image. Although I have airbrushed models over the years (cars, planes, not people!), this truly was a first. The matt work and framing and glass were about $300 so it does not normally allow for a great deal of extra profit for the painting effort. But it was very popular and ended up being displayed in the local paper after the show opening. Many thanks to the Dawson Creek Mirror for their great support!
Certain paintings, including the Old Growth Forest and Cedar Giants, were painted as they reminded me of the west coast and growing up on Vancouver Island. We travelled a lot and camped up and down the island as a youth and this inspired me. An interesting tidbit – the bark of the cedar trees looked very realistic to many and the many observers did not know that of all the paintings I have done, the old growth forest took the greatest amount of time. There are tree trunks that had over 40-60 passes of colour or washes to get a “cedar effect”. A person starts by painting the different browns, oranges, blues, tans and pretty soon you have 10-12 hours of painting just of the tree trunks. But its fun to paint and realism is easy to achieve with the right effort.
The above notes are just some feedback from my show and an inside look at how I work and the joy that comes from painting.
Just finished up my latest painting, “Level 81 – Atreides Mine” last night. It’s a Steampunk / abstract of a underground mine scene on the planet Arrakis.
This painting is 18″ wide and 24″ high (portrait). If anyone is interested in this painting, don’t hesitate to contact me at 250-784-8383 or email
This week I wanted to explore a topic openly and honestly – selling my own art. I also wanted to throw out some ideas about services for other artists.
Over the last 20+ years I have marketed products and services for clients all over North America. Everything from games to books to financial training. I have used social media, websites, newsletters and hundreds of other tools. But i want to talk about marketing art.
About 15 years ago I started painting and in the first year, I painted about 10 watercolour paintings. Each one sold for about $200-$550 for the original version of each. I then sold prints of each for about $150-$200. In my first year, I made about $30,000 in gross sales. Not bad for part-time.
Today, I paint primarily acrylics and they range in price from $250 – $650 for original pieces. The price is slowly creeping up.
My goal (to be totally, brutally honest) is to make enough to match my current consulting work and a bit more. Like most artists, over the years, I found there were 2 ways to sell:
I typically do both but there are many challenges with both.
The traditional way involves getting paintings in Galleries, working on other peoples schedule, booking shows months in advance, and many other challenging issues.
The Online method of sales is challenging due primarily to the type of promotions you do and the branding of your work. The benefit is you reach a SIGNIFICANTLY larger market. During the first year I sold my watercolour prints, I sold 80% to the US and about 30-40% of my original watercolours/acrylics.
One thing I have learned with both techniques is you have to:
When I talk about marketing different ways, I am not talking about 3-4 methods like a webpage, letter to galleries, Facebook page and Christmas cards. You have to think 50-80 methods of reaching people. I started listing all the different ways you can market and easily come up with close to 80.
Another big challenge is pricing and also determining WHO is your target market and how best to reach them. This is critical. You need to not only think about what gender, income range, interests but need to know about 30 different things that tie to HOW they buy. Do they research the artwork or comparison shop and then buy 6 months from now or do they buy it the same day they see it for the first time.
Experimentation is important and I am finding that on Social Media like Facebook, I can get lots of interest and lots of good impressions from family and friends. But few sales in most cases. On the other hand, Instagram viewers on my feed tend to buy but few are people I know if at all. You need to test.
Pricing is always a challenge. I spoke to one artist online who I read about in a art magazine in BC. He had only painted for maybe 1-2 years. His work was unique and very large, with most paintings easily 4-5 feet across and about 6-7 ft high. He priced his work at about $4000 to $7000 per painting. And he was selling a lot of work.
The average person does not normally spend the kind of money the above artist was charging.
What is encouraging is that you may create a painting and sell it as an original for $500-$1500. But you can print 100 copies and sell each at $300 each as a numbered print. Thats $30,000 in print revenue with about $20K in profit.
I think the approach I may take is to set a goal of say $40,000 in sales. Based on my current volume of work ( say 4 originals a month ) that works out to 48 a year. To make $40K, I would need to sell each for $830. Thats not realistic in the market I am reaching.
The better approach might be to sell 3 original painting over 10 months (taking 2 month off throughout the year) and sell 30 at $400 – $500 each. On the low side thats $12,000. Leaving a $38,000. Now if you created prints of each painting in 2 sizes, you might make more profit.
30 originals x 75 prints each = 2250 prints
Print size one ( 13 x 19 ) -> $250 print x 2250 = $562,500
Subtract expenses of 35% (a bit high) = $364,236
If you did a smaller size of 9 x 12 size, you could sell for $100 each and make another $18,000 net.
The secret is to save your originals for the target market that want these and sell the prints in 2 affordable sizes (signed and numbered) for the audience that is looking for affordable prints.
In my next blog post, I will share some income opportunities for artists based on some of the marketing I have done. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with any comments you have.
Today I wanted to post thought thoughts and feelings about my Art. Why I paint and more importantly what I paint. Hope this gives all my friends and family some background on my favourite hobby.
We all love to express ourselves and in the crazy world we live in today, you really need a great hobby and something that allows you to put aside the challenges and problems of the world. For me, painting is something that allows me to relax.
I have other hobbies and love to read, create stuff with wood and spend time at our family cabin at Moberly Lake. Getting up in the morning, sitting on the sundeck with a coffee and family around makes for a great life.
People ask me why I paint. I can honestly say its one of the few things that help me relax, stay somewhat stress-free and also explore the creative side of my life. What surprised me a few years ago was the combination of painting and researching my painting themes. This was fun but soon I found the feeling of actually touching the paint and using paint textures, mediums and getting my hands wet really made a big difference.
Imagine having a hobby you can do that gives you the best feelings and really makes you feel whole. Your problems literally fall away. I know this feeling for me is very addicting. The closest I can describe it is this example. When I used to draw race a car a few years ago, I would take off like a rocket, pull a few G’s and 10 seconds go from o mph to 130 mph. It was a huge adrenalin rush. Well oddly enough when I paint, the excitement level is just about as big. Mind you without the danger aspect.
Why do I paint what I do?
Alot of people ask me why I paint the themes I do. It is a great question. Lets first start with a current list of what I paint with a short note beside each topic/theme:
So there you have it. Why I paint and reasons why I paint what I paint. Now you know “the rest of the story”.
Last thoughts – I hope in the coming months/years that more of my work will sell and I can work 50% of my time as an artist and eventually retire and work 100% on painting. It’s that much fun!
This week I wanted to share some fun stuff about my paintings. I get emails every few days asking me how I get certainly effects. So I thought I would share a few with you. I also wanted to share some paintings I have on the go as well as some new sizes and personal thoughts.
In the past when painting acrylic paintings, I have always tried to use a warm, neutral colour for a background colour. I will then sketch overtop of that with a conté crayon. Then I go through a process of painting in values from light grey to black.
In my recent painting “CoreWorld 2175”, I started with a light outline of the image with a 20-30% black. I started out by blocking in some rough colours to see if I liked the direction I was going. Some key areas that needed to be covered early were some white pipes and heating ducts. I painted these in a white with just a hint of blue/green. It was very hard to see the colour but it was there. I then let the paint dry and grabbed my metallic silver and painting a light coat (more wash like) over the white pipes. The next step was to paint some thinned green, rusty copper colour in washes over the silver. These were left to dry. Once dry, I then take VERY light washes of colour over the pipes. It worked out to about 10 coats.
So you might be thinking, “What effect will I get?” The effect is pipes that have a white base, silver reflective colour and then depending on the light, reflect light from the various washes of colour. It’s hard to describe but I can maybe take a video and see if I can capture.
Experimenting with washes on different colours and layering them is fun. In most cases, you need to let them dry before painting over them.
Another technique I have bee experimenting with is mixing shadow colours. Most painters use a form of black but true shadows are not a black but a combination. On the colour wheel ( for those that use them) you can pick a variety of shades that work well. I will upload some pictures soon to show what I mean.
I currently have two 18″ x 24″ Steampunk paintings underway. I will be picking these up at the framing shop this week. I also have a 36″ x 36″ painting ready for background base before sketching out the design of this beauty. Lastly, I have 3-4 paintings in development that will run in the 18″ x 24″ size.
My desire is to paint larger than the 18′ x 24″ but many clients like something affordable that fits a den, bedroom or office. For custom work I will use larger sizes.
Over the past few weeks, I have had a few people ask about why I don’t paint full-time. The answer is not a simple one. I love to paint and although I enjoy working with my clients, designing web pages and solar projects, deep down I would love to paint full-time. I have so many ideas for paintings and series that I doubt I would ever get bored.
Painting for a living is tough. Many of the paintings I create don’t always appeal to a northern audience. In Dawson Creek, people love to see painted grain elevators, wheat fields, lakes and mountains etc. I love painting these but I also miss the coastal areas of British Columbia where I grew up.
Fantasy markets vary and some themes like steampunk style paintings appeal more to people living in larger centres and in many cases other countries in Europe.
The audiences for the work I do varies as well. I am seeing that more and more as I experiment with different ideas and techniques.
Over the next month or two, I hope to market myself ( and paintings) better and get more attention on my work. I don’t typically get a lot of pushback on prices, so I think I simply need to get in front of more eyeballs. Here are a few more ideas I expect to do in promoting my work:
Moving ahead, I want to start selling prints more actively again. I have the scanned images and can print on demand. In the past, I used to print about 25 of each print and number them. I would print about 80% of the original size (to preserve the price of the original). The mistake I made was I should not have limited the size of the print run to a small number. Thinking a small run of 500 might be more appropriate. I will have to think about this.
Take care and let me know if you are interested in any paintings or have a question.
Photo by William Felker on Unsplash
In early 2018, I started working on a new Sci-Fi / Steampunk series. This series was something I wanted to paint for a long time. The combination of old and new technology blended with gears, pipes, old factories and blast furnaces allowed me to experiment with colour and high contrast layouts. The first original in the series is called CoreWorld 2175 was a lot of fun to paint.
This new painting started with months of research on Pinterest looking for old buildings and factories as well as gears and rusty imagery. I gather about 8-12 images in Adobe Photoshop and manipulated them on various layers. From there I exported them and had low-resolution prints made on canvas. The canvas print was mounted on stretcher bars by local framer, Picture It Framing in Dawson Creek.
Once framed, I then started the painting process with acrylics and outlined with India ink. I started with light washes of colour, allowed them to dry and then started the background colours in oranges, rusts and around 32 different mixed shades. Pipes and other mechanical components were painted. This stage took 2-3 days. The following stages included painting shadows, highlights and more washes of colour.
The washes of colour are remarkable as they are microscopically thin but when layered allow you to get a translucent effect with the light bouncing off the canvas. Its quite impressive in the brighter light!
I then went over the dark blacks with India ink and also added a bunch of detailed lines and cracks in the pipe. The final effect was to thin out watery layers of yellows and oranges and washing the entire painting to simulate the warmer tones in the mental.
Pictured below are paintings in this series (#2 thru #4). These are the black and white images I created prior to adding the colouring and India ink detailing. This is the first time these images have been shared publicly. These paintings will be completed in end of May and early June and will be for sale. Enjoy!
“Level 81 – Atreides Mine”
“Early Stage Cito-plasmic Generator”