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This Weeks Digital Paintings

This weeks digital paintings included some fall leaves in rich reds with some green. This painting started with researching and collecting images of fall leaves, then developing colour palettes, textures and then layering these images to come up with different designs.

The second picture was of a supercharged engine with a street rod theme. This painting was a challenge to paint as I had to duplicate and create very complex chrome and reflections. But it was very fun to paint.

In the coming weeks, I hope to continue to promote my art prints and paintings as we approach the fall and winter months. My goal moving into the new year is to step up my game and start producing some income from my art. I am formulating a marketing plan combined with some online sales.

From a training perspective, moving into 2021 I hope to start doing some training for those interested in creating their own art and also marketing art (for artists).

   

New Digital Paintings

This week I have two special digital paintings created in Procreate 5X. Both of these paintings were created using custom brushes and textures. Hope you like them!

While I talking about brushes, some folks have emailed me asking how I create my paints. So I assembled some tips;

  1. Before I start a painting, but after I roughed up major themes, I assemble 3-11 reference images. Very few images are based on one picture / photo. I like to take parts of images and then blend them. I do the blending in Adobe Photoshop or in about 30% in Procreate 5X.
  2. Most of my paintings start with darker colours and I “rough out” solid blocks or areas of colour. Then I will start to cleanup shapes and add basic details (but not too detailed.
  3. In order to simulate acrylic or oil brush strokes, I always start at first on low opacity and then work up to higher opacity. A good example is pet fur. You have to build it up slowly. Then as you build the fur texture up, you can add fur that is reflecting light and shadows.
  4. Part of building up colour is creating shades and tints of colour. Simply adding black or white to colour can make a big difference.
  5. Textures and texture brushes can be custom created from pictures of rocks, scans of brooms and other household items. I buy about 70% of my brushes as it saves me time. That said creating digital if fun and there are many different ways to customize press sensitivity, angle of the brush, colour dynamics and technical specs that are complex to most people. Experimenting is the key.

This is just 5 quick techniques or tips that I use. Eventually, I will record videos to show people how I paint. The challenge is some paintings take many hours and condensing it down to 3-5 mins or at most 15 mins.

Lastly, many of my digital paintings are available as prints. They vary in size from

8 1/2” x 12” to 24” x 36”. I have 3 common sizes that are priced very low for now. To be honest, my goal is to get my art out in the world and build a following.

Have a great day!

Art Update – Actively Painting Digital

September 24, 2020

Well it was time I updated my blog with recent news, new paintings and cool announcements. Where to start?

This past 2 months, I have been active painting digitally on my iPad Pro. Working on garden images and flowers,  Japanese falls and lush gardens and paintings of pets for friends and clients.

I also started creating a digital catalog of my images / prints. Currently I have about 18 pages of images for a total of 35 pieces of art! On average I try to paint 2-3 hours a day if I can. Alot depends on how I am feeling in the morning (I still struggle with kidney pain, vertigo and balance issues since my 4th stroke). I am now totally blind in my right eye and have about 50% in my left. Its very narrow. But, I love art and will work hard to bounce back and continue paintings. Lead by example my Dad always said. He passed away from cancer a year ago.

My paintings and art gives me energy, hope and sheer pleasure. Dealing with health challenges has forced me to adjust my lifestyle and length of time I can paint. My typical day allows me to spend a few hours painting followed by a couple of hours in the afternoon. If I have energy I try to spend 1 1/2 hours before retiring for the night.

The majority of my digital work is created in Procreate using the Apple pencil. I have recently upgrade my version of Procreate to version 5X. The changes are absolutely stunning and incredible. They really get the needs of the artist!

One aspect of my paintings that continues to grow is the textures and patterns of my brushes. I now use upwards of 18 to 22 brushes per painting. Many are brushes I have bought from brush designers for Procreate.  But I am proud to say I am creating many of my own custom brushes.

For many of my paintings, I create or use reference photos. I will take 4- 5 images and mockup an image that pleases me, then using this mismatch of images, I start sketching out the basic shapes.

Most of my images contain layers of different components. For example, when I create a Japanese garden, I will have layers for trees, bushes and foliage, rocks and boulders, bamboo and any shrines or rock cairns. Over top of these images I will include shadow layers, washes of digital colour, bugs and insects, water falls, water mist and rainbow effects. Painting can get very complex.

Most of my digital prints are printed on matte photographic paper but I also can now print on actual canvas. This prints of both materials are reproduced in a print shop facility in Ontario. This allows me to produce high quality work that is reasonably priced.

As I have currently over 35 paintings, so ordering and having hundreds of prints on hand is very expensive. So currently I order in stock (weekly) and its delivered to me in 7- 10 days. I keep about 15 different prints in stock.

Pricing is an art! Rather than charge a huge amount, I have reduced my prices so that my art is affordable for most people. Not unlike myself, spending $150-$200 on a print in these Covid times is tough for most people. I would rather see 100 prints shipped at $40-$50 each rather than sell 10 for $200 each. Many people still need to mount or frame these prints.

So based on my current health, and the fact I would desperately like to build my art sales, I am hoping the low prices and broad range of topics I paint will make people. In addition to painting art, I would love to teach art and share my 25+ years experience marketing businesses. I hope to assist local artists and then expand to other areas in Canada and the US. Watch for details on my facebook page (www.facebook.com/gordon.currie ) or Instagram (www.instagram.com/gordonfcurrie )

In the early years of painting, I sold a significant amount of art all over Canada but also in the United States. With the challenge of Covid, social issues and crime, it makes marketing…… a challenge. New technologies are helping and more people are buying and staying home. The next 2-3 years will be interesting with provincial and federal elections and the US elections.

In closing, take a moment and consider going through catalog and choosing a print or two. As my work progresses and becomes more widespread, I am sure it will keep its value and appreciate in value.

Enjoy!  And thanks

Gordon

Art Update July 2020

As many of my friends and family are aware, I had a health setback in the end of May 2020.

On the 29th of May, I suffered another stroke. This was my 4th stroke it took alot out of me. But, through the support of my wife and family, I have bounced back and start painting both Acrylics and Digital drawings.

Now more than ever, I want to aggressively paint and do art to supplement (or ultimately replace) my disability income. Although I rest a bit more during the day, I hope to carry on painting as my body heals.

In addition to painting NEW Acrylics, I have a number of original paintings that are available, and many different digital prints available. My goal is to get the word out to new art buyers as well as the many people over the past years who have bought my work. Ideally, I want to continue to sell my work in Canada and the US. This years I hope to sell more into the US market and break into the European market. I have had lots of interest on Facebook and Instagram from European buyers of art.

Current projects underway include an original Acrylic painting from my wifes flower garden and a Mediterranean architecture piece. Over the month of August, I also have some more steampunk art coming.

Alot of my art fans have asked me about painting commissions and other subjects. I can paint almost anything, in different sizes and mediums (watercolour, acrylics and digital art). If there is a subject you would like me to paint, call me, email me or send me a note and I can discuss with you. Although I don’t paint portraits or pets, I have recently painted some hotrod cars as something new!

The size of commissioned art varies from smaller 16”x20” up to 36”x48” in size. In some cases I can paint larger sizes. All my original acrylic paintings are original. If the clients approves, in certain situations I will lower prices and print limited edition prints. They are a minimum of 20% smaller than the original to support the value of the original. Call me if you have any questions or need clarification.

I typically only paint about one commission per month, in addition to my other original artworks, so please give me 1-2 months notice if possible. Remember I keep 10-15 original paintings in stock to choose from, and have many prints in stock. I can order in prints within 7-10 days if need be.

PRINTS ARE NOW AVAILABLE!

I recently took delivery of a number of prints of my digital paintings and a few water colours. They vary in size from 11”x17” to 16”x20”. They are matt prints that are printed on high quality paper. Prices start at $20 and go up to $35 each. I have ordered in an initial order of 30 prints. Feel free to contact me for custom sizes or larger prints (up to 24”x36” on most images).

My pricing is very reasonable, as I hope to establish myself and reach as many people as I can. This prints make great gifts, wedding or anniversary gifts and are ready to be mounted and framed. I do NOT frame the prints as most people like to buy thier own frames and there are many different choices.

I can accept cash, cheques (in certain cases from people I know), E-transfers, Paypal. You can pay with credit card (Visa or Mastercard) via my Paypal account. Shipping is not included but the prints can be shipped for minimal charge.

Please consider supporting me, as I am trying to make a go of my art and I am no longer working at the school district. My work ended with them June 30, 2020.

Have a great day!

Gordon Currie

Lessons Learned Selling Art

Old MastersOver the past 15 years on and off, I have sold Watercolour paintings, Original Acrylics and recently digital watercolour paintings. It’s been an interesting experience. This post today addresses how other artists can sell and discusses tips and ideas to consider.

Tip #1 – Don’t assume you know what people want or like. We all assume we understand the market for our artwork. But there are always surprises. When I started selling prints of my watercolours ( with Garden themes), they sold very well. But about 2-3 years ago, I started developing artwork with a Victorian / Jules Verne them ( known as Steampunk). I did n’t know if anyone would be interested. I was very surprised at how quickly it took off.

The biggest surprise was the fact that people I assumed would not like this artwork, did like it. In addition to existing friends and clients, my world opened up to US markets that I had not reached before and European followers of my art. This is turning into sales at quite a distance.

Tip #2 – paint what you want to paint, not what everyone tells you they want you to paint. This came about when I started painting gardens. A lot of feedback came in that I should pay landscapes, grain elevators and Peace Country scenes. For me, I was not as interested as I grew up on the coast on Vancouver Island and wanted to paint fishing boats, marinas and coves, and other west coast scenes. My interest in Architecture allowed me to paint European villages and scenes from Italy, France etc.

I also have a great deal of interest in space and science fiction. So painting aliens, and fantasy scenes appealed to me. Now many commented that these paintings were great but they wanted local art. But after a few years, most of my art is selling and there is someone out there that will like my artwork. Right now I am doing a lot of Japanese gardens and koi ponds. These are not common in the City I live in but there is a nationwide market for these.

Tip #3 – Don’t be afraid to copy (while learning to paint) other artists. Great practice and allows you to learn new skills and techniques. I study the old masters and I am enjoying studying there work, their styles, their colour palettes. In certain cases while surfing online, I will take a screenshot of a piece of art and print and then draw over top highlighting the perspective, the areas of high contrast, where my eye is drawn. All part of the learning process.

BonsaiIts always a good exercise reviewing successful artists and seeing what they are doing successfully. What can you learn that they have had success with? Can you duplicate that technique or marketing method? Don’t be afraid to reach out and contact these folks. Tell them what you like about their art. It would surprise you how willing other artists are to help you.

Tip #4  Experiment with new techniques, new tools and paint new subjects. It’s not only good practice but it allows you to expand your base of clients and art followers. Many years ago I wanted to learn how to paint Bonsai trees. I had never painted this subject. I love to paint these miniature trees and love the subject.

I also try different types of paint. I started with Watercolour and then wanted to paint with brighter colours that were more opaque ( less transparent). So I took some lessons and started painting acrylic paintings on canvas. Although I have not experimented with oil paints, I have used Gouache paints (opaque) and also Casein Paints ( a milk-based paint). I have also used pen and ink and coloured liquid inks.

Tip #5 – Paint often if you can. When I paint Acrylics or Watercolours, a typical 20 x 24-inch canvas will take me about 15 – 25 hours. And I might paint two a month. But lately, I have been trying hard to paint daily ( even if it’s just for a short time). The pleasant surprise is that I am getting better at painting, getting more followers and find it very therapeutic. Even an hour a day can make for a better painting career.

About 2-3 years ago I started getting serious painting digitally using both Adobe Photoshop and Procreate (iPad app that uses Apple pencil). Most of my digital paintings come together in about 4-6 hours. Some take 12-15 hrs but that’s for complicated images. So based on the 4 – 6 hours to paint a typical digital painting, I can create at least 12 paintings a month.

Tip #6 – Getting the word out. How do people find out about your artwork? Can you get them interested in buying your art? Yes. Over the years, I have sent out newsletters, art cards, postcards, completed art shows at the local gallery. But I have also posted on social media ( Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, Instagram, Youtube and others) and this has increased my sales and the attention to the art I am creating.

Instagram has garnered interest in my art all over the United States, Europe and the rest of the world. The miracle of the Internet and online promotion can build your audience in a record amount of time. You can also target very specific groups.

As an example, a few years ago I started promoting my watercolour art to nurses working at a Philadelphia hospital. As a nurse or two bought my art, they talked amongst themselves and I ended up selling more limited edition prints. They had a healthy income, worked long hours and liked watercolours. Over the years, they bought a lot of my artwork.

The World MarketTip #7 – It’s a BIG world out there. Most people that start to paint look at selling into the community they live in. In my case, that’s a city of about 14,000 residents. But I can ( using the Internet) promote and sell artwork all over BC or Canada. Their population is much higher and the percentage of people with disposable income to buy art much higher.

Now let’s take this further. The population of British Columbia is about 4.8 million people. The population of Canada is about 36 million and the USA about 340 million. So if all you do is promote your art to BC residents in addition to Dawson Creek, you are looking at a significantly larger market. Now extend that to Canada. You can hit almost 36 million people. Take your art to the USA and you can reach 10 times as many people as in Canada. Throw in the 30% increase in the US dollar and you get an extra bonus when you sell your artwork. And we have not even looked at markets in Europe or overseas.

Hopefully, these lessons I learned may help others selling artwork and promoting their art businesses.

Good Luck!

Gordon      

New Digital Art

Here are some current Digital Paintings.

These digital paintings are new and were fun to paint. The two landscapes (Rivers) were created custom brushes I created. The car image was of a 1969 Ford Mustang Mach One, owned by my good friend, Viril Anderson. He provided me a reference photo that I then painted in Procreate 5 with my Apple Pencil and iPad Pro 12.9 inch tablet.

I am now selling prints of many of my digital paintings. They are very reasonably priced and are shipped direct to your door. We will quote on shipping costs. We ship to Canada and the US, and accept Paypal, E-Transfer, Bank Draft / Money Order and Cash.

Call me today! 250-784-8383 or Email Us

April 15th Update – New Digital Watercolours

Over the last few years I been painting Acrylics. In October 2019, as many of my friends and family are aware, I suffered my 3rd stroke in 5 years. Since then, I have been on disability as I heal. I had to take a bit of time off the acrylic painting.

In January, I started painting again but was limited in how much I can stand or sit in one spot. Once my health improved, I would return to more acrylic and watercolour painting. So this leads to my next foray in a different style of painting. Read on.

A few years ago, I got an Apple iPad Pro and digital pencil. After my stroke in Oct 2019, I lost some more vision and struggled with balance/vertigo issues. I still fight this daily. With the COVID situation around the world and with being self-isolated at home, I started painting digitally on my iPad. Part of the reason was I could hold the iPad close to my left eye (I am totally blind now in my right eye) and paint. Although still disabled, I could paint for 30-45 mins at a time.

An average painting on an iPad takes me about 3-4 1/2 hours. About 1-2 days. My average acrylic painting takes 15-24 hrs. Based on this, using the iPad works well.

In November 2019, the iPad program Procreate 5 came out. Included in this update, was a new custom brush editor. You could create very sophisticated oil brushes as well as watercolour and texture brushes. Creating random effects for foliage, moss, leaves and branches was very easy. Though in blending brushes for mixing oil paints or watercolours, there was little you could not build.

So with Procreate 5, I have been very busy painting. I still paint in acrylics but to be honest, it takes a bit longer. My plan this summer and fall are to do more watercolour garden paintings. When my Dad passed away last year, he left me his art supplies and watercolour paper, so I am set to paint more as I heal.

So… I have received a lot of emails about how I paint. My goal is to share and help others learn as I get better. I  am assembling an e-book to sell/promote online in addition to videos demonstrating how it’s done. So some tips in this post will be included along with sample images and video training.

Digital Painting Tips

  1. Most of my paintings start with a neutral colour, rather than just a white canvas. If it’s a warm picture with warm colours (browns, red, orange etc) I use a tan coloured background. If its a painting with cool colours (blues, greens, purple) I will use a blue or dark blue/black background.
  2. The secret to any good digital painting is as follows:
    1. Start by blocking in solid colours rather than any detail.
    2. As know in advance what direction your light source or sun is. Is it up high on the right or low in the centre or left. This is important.
    3. When painting natural items like plants or grass, trees, don’t line everything up. Throw in big leaves, dead leaves, small to large leaves etc. Nature is not 100% perfect. The human eye can trick you into thinking you do certain patterns.
    4. Understand basic colour theory. Complementary colours (ex: blue and orange, green and red, purple and yellow) work well together.
    5. Shadows – life and the nature of light ensures shadows are a part of any painting. Most new artists paint shadows as black. But the majority in real life are dark and often a complementary colour in some capacity.
    6. Light reflects off of nature or manmade items. So a blue house when sun hits it will reflect blue on the ground in some cases. In a forest or garden, light reflected off plants will have a green tinge or cast.
    7. Understand a shade of a colour versus a colour  tint. This is important to learn. Don’t alway add white to lighten a colour, it can wash it out. You can mix other colours to make it appear lighter.
    8. Understand / research additive colour, subtractive colour and opacity. Great concepts to learn. I will give you an example: If you want to paint an watercolour on paper painting of a bush, you might start with the lightest colours and white first and then layer darker colours. On a digital painting with opaque colours, you might start a bush with blacks or dark greens and then layer lighter opaque colours on top.
    9. When creating digital watercolour paintings, fill the page with colour, then later you can go back in and add white “spots” between colours. The purpose is to make it appear that the white “watercolour paper” is showing through. Rarely do you see a real watercolour painting with no white. White highlights draw you in.
    10. Last tip of this post – Remember mountains, buildings, tree lines viewed at a distance are less saturated, lighter based on atmospheric perspective. Understanding atmospheric perspective adds realism. At a distance, certain natural items or buildings have a blue tinge. This is based on light reflectivity at a distance.

Anyway, these tips are just the beginning. There is a lot you can learn. And I hope to post more and with pictures and video.

Have a safe and healthy week. Stay isolated but safe!

Cheers

Gordon

About Gordon

Gordon Currie has been painting watercolours, acrylics for over 15 years. Gordon has painted Digitally on an iPad for 4 years/ His work has been displayed all over Canada, the US in private collections.

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