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How to enlarge an image using a grid

When I was first told how to enlarge an image for drawing using a grid it sounded complicated, but in reality it is easy enough and is one of the best ways of getting the image’s proportions correct in the final picture.  Getting the proportions right is especially important for portraits and for scenes with perspective, like townscapes and buildings.

Artists use an enlarging grid when they have a small sketch, drawing or photograph and they want their painting to be a bigger size than the original sketch.  So, for instance, if you have an A4 size sketch and you want your painting to be ¼ imperial size (11×15 inches) or larger, using an enlarging grid allows you to easily and accurately scale the drawing up to fit the paper.

Watercolour painting – colour mixing

mixing watercolour paintYou can buy a massive number of different watercolour paints, and each manufacturer has a large range to choose from, so where do you start?

I don’t usually mix my colours in a pallet when I am painting with watercolour. I like to achieve clear bright colours and I find this is best done by letting the colours mix actually on the paper as you paint. This can be risky though, because, without a lot of experience, you may not get the shade you had hoped for, but on the other hand, sometimes a ‘happy accident’ can lead to a wonderful effect.

Choosing watercolour paper

painterYou can use just about any type of paper when you are painting with watercolours, but how do you decide which watercolour paper will work best for you to use for your paintings?

With such a wide selection of papers too choose from it is often difficult, especially for a beginner, to decide what to use so I have written this short article to give some advice that I hope will be helpful to the reader.

Will I Ever Make a Living With My Art?

sell art, market art, sell your artwork,When you begin to create art work you are usually focused on the art, getting it to turn out the way you want, your mind isn’t usually on who will like it and hopefully buy it. Later, when the piece is finished, you decide you want to sell the art work, but how do you begin?

Being a good artist doesn’t mean you know how to sell, that’s a whole different area of expertise. Until you learn how to sell your art work you won’t be successful, no matter how great your art is, because no one will know about you or get to see your work.

Selling your artwork online, the good and the bad

Selling your ArtworkThe Internet is the world’s fastest-growing medium for marketing and selling online and, as millions of people worldwide are looking for web sites about art and looking to buy paintings online, it makes sense to display your artwork where all these people have a chance of finding it.

The fact is though, that despite the tremendous interest in art, it just isn’t as easy as uploading your images and waiting for people to buy and then watching the money roll in. The Internet is a highly sophisticated tool and knowing how to use it properly makes all the difference in the world to whether your work is found or not, and whether it looks good and displays well when it is found.

There are several ways of displaying your artwork online, you can have your own website, you can have a page on a friends site, you can use one of the free ‘photo’ albums that comes with your ISP, or you can join an online gallery.

Have you thought about the benefits of teaching art in short workshops?

Teaching ArtYou don’t have to be a qualified teacher in order to teach, all you need is enthusiasm and a good knowledge of your subject, so given that you love what you do it should be easy for you to set up and run short workshops to teach various aspects of your art.

There are literally thousands of people out there who would love to learn how you create your artworks, and because every artist is different, even if they use the same materials, subject matter and techniques as you, each student will produce an individual piece that is quite unlike your original work, so you don’t need to worry about students copying your style or going away with ‘trade secrets’.

How to find the best agent or website for promoting your art

Art GalleryYou can’t sell your art unless people can see it. This might seem like an obvious statement but the fact is that very many artists love to create their work, and they produce one beautiful painting after another, and then stack them carefully against the wall in their studio. The canvases just mount up and many of them scarcely get to see the light of day again. This happens because so many artists are creatively immersed in their imaginative process and hardly give a thought to selling at all.

Despite the fact that many artists would prefer to forget about selling and just keep on creating artwork, most of them do actually want to sell their art and, if it was possible, they would like to make a living from their art so that they could concentrate on it full-time.

Artists, improve your marketing!

Probably every artist dreams of becoming successful enough to make a living selling their artwork. Some artists achieve fantastic success within their lifetime and become famous and well paid their work, but these people are in the minority. For many artists the dream of becoming well known and really well paid never becomes a reality and these artists make do with living on a small income, or they make money from other activities that may or may not be related to art.

Creating art on commission

Some artists will never accept a commission to create a piece of art for a particular person or purpose. They feel that it violates their artistic integrity and places them in a straitjacket, strangling their creativity and freedom of expression. These artists create their art because this is the way they express themselves and not because they’re going to receive money for having completed it in a particular way.

Artists, are you sitting comfortably?

Sitting ComfortablyWe all know how easy it is to be so absorbed in creating a piece of artwork that hours can go by without even noticing. If you’ve spent a lot of time hunched, twisted, or slumped over your work you know you might regret it later, when your body tells you how uncomfortable it is. Back pain is one of the commonest complaints seen in any doctor’s surgery, and almost everybody will suffer from it at some time in their life. Bad posture at your desk or easel is one way of creating or worsening a back pain problem.

It’s not only back pain sufferers who need to watch their posture while they are working, everyone needs to be aware that if they spend a lot of time in one position, and that position is putting a strain on the body, they are likely to have discomfort sooner or later. So now is a good time to review the way you sit or stand while you work, and see whether making a few small adjustments could make a big difference to your comfort.

Keeping it flat with KEBAartmate

KebartmateThe KEBAartmate is a wonderful piece of equipment from the Swedish company Keba. It was designed along with English watercolourist Ben Haslam, who distributes it in the UK.

Stretching your paper is one of the main bugbears for all artists and if you’re like me, you begin your painting with enthusiasm, moving on to applying the watercolours with a “can’t wait to stretch it and come back to it later, I’ll just carry on and hope it’s okay” type attitude. But it never works, does it? You’re just getting stuck in when the papers starts to curl, and although there are ways to rectify the situation later, it’s always just a bit too late when you realise you would have been better stretching your paper first. But it’s a bother isn’t it, or at least it has been up to now.

Add extra value to your art work ~ part 2

Artists PaletteIn part one of this article we looked at how you could add extra value to your artwork by making sure that it is signed legibly, by giving it a title and by adding a short explanation or description to it. In part two we will be looking at other ways of making your artwork worth more money when you come to sell it.

Something that a lot of artists don’t remember to do is date their art work. In fact some artists don’t date their artwork deliberately because they have the idea that people would prefer to buy new work rather than work that was done a year or two ago. But often it actually works the other way around, and especially as you become more well-known, your earlier works become more important and can command a higher price. If your artwork isn’t dated then you can’t use this to your advantage later. I’m not suggesting that you write the date you created the piece on it, although you could put it on the back somewhere if you like, but I do suggest that you keep a notebook with details of all your art pieces in it, and make sure that the dates they were made are included.

Add extra value to your artwork – part 1

paletteThere are several things that you might not have thought of, that add extra value to your artwork and can make it worth more money when you come to sell it. I’m not talking here about reworking pieces you feel haven’t come up to scratch. Yes, it is sometimes possible to rescue a less than perfect watercolour by using a pen and ink technique, and you can paint right over parts of an oil or acrylic painting to in effect completely rework the area, but here I am talking about techniques that don’t involve changing your artwork in any way.

Sometimes you only need to put a cardboard mount around a painting to bring it out of the doldrums, and there is no doubt that the right mount and frame can do wonders for a slightly mediocre piece of art. For a sculpture, or a piece of ceramics, the right stand and appropriate lighting can make a big difference to the way it displays, but after you’ve made sure that your artwork is being displayed to its best what else can you do to add to its worth?

Artists, improve your marketing!

ArtistProbably every artist dreams of becoming successful enough to make a living selling their artwork. Some artists achieve fantastic success within their lifetime and become famous and well paid their work, but these people are in the minority. For many artists the dream of becoming well known and really well paid never becomes a reality and these artists make do with living on a small income, or they make money from other activities that may or may not be related to art.

Many artists are really quite bad at marketing their art and this is probably because they would prefer to spend their time creating art rather than marketing it. But art rarely sells itself and even if it is well displayed in an exhibition it may need an ‘extra something’ to help it sell. It would be really quite unusual, but enviable, to be in a position where people are clamouring to buy your work and ready to pay good money for it without you having to do any marketing at all.

Some artists supplement their income by teaching workshops and/or selling artists materials, and in many ways this is preferable to supplementing your income by some means that is totally unrelated to art, because at least you remain connected and focused on the art world. 

Creating art on commission

Portrait artistSome artists will never accept a commission to create a piece of art for a particular person or purpose. They feel that it violates their artistic integrity and places them in a straitjacket, strangling their creativity and freedom of expression. These artists create their art because this is the way they express themselves and not because they’re going to receive money for having completed it in a particular way.

While many artists will be able to see this point of view, most of them probably prefer to find a balance between self-expression and monetary income, especially where we are relying on selling paintings in order to cover the costs of expensive materials and more besides.

On the other side of the coin, an artist can feel quite flattered to think that someone likes their artwork enough to be happy to commission a special piece from them; and it can be nice to know at the outset that this is one piece of artwork you know you will be able to sell. Accepting a commission can put presure on you though, because working to commission is one time when you don’t get to choose how the work will look, in effect you are producing the artwork for somebody else instead of for yourself.

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