Category Archives: Art Topics

Oil Painting Composition Critiquing a Critique

In this blog post I decided to talk about oil painting composition, critiquing a critique.

While researching the subject, I came across a respected artist and author who was using works by other artists as examples where composition mistakes had been made. The artist/author then suggested solutions for improvement and did so by modifying the image.

Respectfully, the author did not include the artist’s name to which he was critiquing. However, one example caught my attention.The painting being critiqued was done by an all time favorite master artist named Clark Hulings! I recognized it from a 1999 show catalog that I have.

WHAT’S WRONG WITH THE PAINTING? (Nothing as you will see)

This is the Hulings painting cited as an example whereby a painting composition “rule” was broken.

Clark Hulings Goat Milk Vendor

The so called “rule” was avoiding strong geometric shapes, even if naturally occurring as they can be too distracting.

A strong triangular shape produced by the apparent shadow of a building at the bottom of Hulings painting was the culprit. I agree with the rule to an extent, but everything in a composition is relative to the artist’s vision and even if some supposed rule is broken, yet it serves a legitimate purpose, so be it.

A Composition Improvement? Maybe not

Here’s the modified version suggested by the artist/author which was recreated. The suggested improvement was variegating the shadow, thus breaking up the geometric triangular form.

Is this really an improvement? Here’s my analysis.

Critiquing the Critique

Let’s take a look at the shadow without the chicken along the left side of the triangular shape and the scattered darks near the back edge.

Obviously the shadow overwhelms the painting and your eye drops to it. However, Hulings did two things. First, he added the chicken and broke the line. Secondly, by adding the scattered darks near the edge of the canvas he softened the line and kept your eye from exiting at that point. Obviously, Hulings was aware of the geometric shape.

The goat milk vendor is the obvious focal area. In the so called improvement, the eye now drops and travels in sort of a merry-go-round fashion.

This is not necessarily a bad thing. However, in Hulings original painting the eye stays at the focal area, held in place by the arrow formed by the shadow which lines up and points to the center of action.

It’s true that no artist is free from making mistakes, however, my conclusion is that Hulings was too much of a master painter and in this instance, he deliberately kept the painting as it was to fix your attention on the primary subject.

In Conclusion

The story of the painting is clearly about the goat milk vendor who takes his goat and instead of delivering the milk in bottles, the householder comes and offers a pan and the vendor milks the goat on the spot. How’s that for fresh?

Everything else in the composition is subordinate to the story and the focal area of action. Hulings didn’t make a mistake. He kept that strong shape for a legitimate reason. He used it to make you look where he wanted you to look. So to repeat: Everything in a oil painting composition is relative to the artist’s vision and even if some supposed rule is broken, yet it serves a legitimate purpose, so be it.

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Are Art Auctions Helping or Hurting the Art Industry?

Are art auctions helping or hurting the art industry? This question arose after talking to two separate art galleries about reasons for the overall sluggish art market. Both mentioned two factors; the economy (which is a given) and how art auction houses are hurting the galleries and artists. A couple of examples below illustrate their concern and it should concern artists as well.

auctioneerIf you do an internet search for art auctions, you may be surprised at the results. There are so many of them compared to former days.  Auction houses make the news when a deceased artist’s work sells for millions of dollars. Or some new artist has caught the fancy of investors hoping to buy and flip the art for profit.

A few short years ago a particular new comer to the arts made the news with his abstract works selling for $100,000.00 and above at auction.  Then the buying frenzy cooled and the same work sold two years later for around $20,000, with the buyer taking a significant loss. The trend is growing.

To illustrate the point further, one well known Texas artist whom I admire had a large 40×60 painting in a recent auction. Normally, the retail value would be in the neighborhood of $50,000. This artist is no newcomer to the art scene and as far back as the mid 1970’s his work was consistently selling for $10,000.00 a clip.  Many artists could only hope to reach that degree of recognition. Appallingly, this lovely 40×60 painting sold for $4600.00 at auction.

ART AUCTIONS THROWING PRICES OUT OF BALANCE

Prices for an artist’s work can be thrown out of balance in either direction of outlandishly high or low. I’m not saying that art auctions don’t have a place. I put some of my small works up for auction on eBay, but those works were developed primarily just for that purpose. It’s structured so it has no bearing on the value of my main body of works.

When it comes to art auctions offering works by living artists, it appears these venues are not helping with stabilizing an already soft art market but throwing it even more out of whack.  It becomes increasingly difficult for artists to keep an established value on their work without unrealistically elevating it or having it crash as if it was nothing more than a commodity on the stock market with the smack of the auctioneers gavel.

RESPECT FOR THE ARTIST PROFESSION

Artists provide a service and through their work bring beauty into the lives of people. In other professions from child day care providers, hair stylists, plumbers, electricians or doctors, people seldom venture to haggle about price.  When handed a bill most pay it for the service and skill of the provider and if they’re especially skilled it’s appreciated.  Artists also possess skills and some especially so, yet are not shown the same courtesy compared to workers in other professions. Almost immediately when an artist offers a fair price for their work to a customer, even on a brand new painting they are expected to lower the price!  After all, they reason that a well known artist with greater credentials sold for a lot less at an art auction!

I treasure one collector who has never once asked for a discount or tried to haggle over a price. Over the years they have bought many paintings and today have one of the largest and best collections of my work anywhere and when they commission a painting I give them my best in return.

So if you really want to help living artists, do this. Buy directly from them, (dead ones don’t need the money) and through their established selling venues such as their own website if offered or through galleries and art shows that they support. In return those artists will more than likely reward you.

So, are art auctions helping or hurting the art industry? What do you think?

 

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Why is Art Important?

Curiosity made my recently type the question of why is art important into a search engine. Well, there’s no lack of other blog articles about it, all with varying viewpoints. As an artist, art is important to me, because that’s how I make my living. However, I’m not that philosophical in forming an answer except for posing another question. Can you imagine a world without art?

Why is Art Important thinker

Why Is Art Important?

That’s right. No art museums, no old master works, nothing to give a glimpse into the past, no galleries, no art fairs on a sunny weekend,  nothing on your walls to bring beauty into your life, no beautified parks with garden sculptures…. can you think of more?

How did that contemplation make you feel? Now ask yourself, why is art important, to you?

Please comment. I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Feeling like you need some art in your life or maybe add a little spot of color somewhere in your home? I have you covered!

Here’s some artwork currently on my eBay auction if you need a little spot of color in your life. Click on the paintings title to go straight to the auction. Happy bidding! Note: Paintings come unframed. Frame for illustration only. Click the image for a larger view. The auction ends for the first two paintings on Sunday March 25th at 8 PM Central Time and the last two on Tuesday March 28th at 8 PM Central Time.

landscape oil painting with road old barn by Byron

After the Rain 9×12 oil by Byron

Texas hill country autumn oil painting by Byron

Color by the Creek 9×12 oil by Byron

Texas hill counntry autumn spanish oaks landscape oil painting

Dos Spanish Oaks 9×12 oil by Byron

Texas hill country autumn spanish oaks landscape oil painting by Byron

Tree of Color 9×12 oil by Byron

Thanks for visiting my blog today. All my best.

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Benefits of Painting a Still Life

You’re the Conductor!

What are the benefits of painting a still life? This question came back to mind while preparing paintings for my exhibit at the Winnsboro Art & Wine Festival. The show wouldn’t be complete without having a painting or two featuring the fruit of the vine (grapes) which I show here done by my alter ego Byron. A nice departure from my landscapes. There are several benefits of painting a still life and right off the bat you get to be the conductor of your painting!

still life oil painting with grapes vase candle by Byron

My Little Vase 12×9 oil by Byron copyright 2016

Unlike landscapes you get to have total control over the lighting, color harmony and the subject matter. For landscapes you’re at the mercy of the weather. Many times I’ve wished for sunlight but instead overcast skies with no sign of them leaving anytime soon. Or hoping for brilliant fall foliage only to get dull shades of burnt orange or worse, no leaves on the trees! That brings us to another benefit: Timing!

No Timing Constraints; More Benefits of Painting a Still Life

Another advantage of painting a still life is that there are no time constraints. Unless of course you’re on a deadline to complete a painting or if you’re painting flowers and they’ve started to wilt or the fruit is starting to rot then that’s yucky. In which case you might be painting a little too slow. But, aside from those an artist can orchestrate a simple or complex composition as he or she wishes and study the scene at leisure with all it’s intricacies of color, light and shadow as it describes the various forms.

Since the scene is set and unmovable an artist will have ample time to work on drawing from life, which is an invaluable skill as opposed to seeing a flat image (photo) and drawing from it.

Still life paintings are also beneficial in that the objects form is more readily discernible. These forms are often oval, rectangular, cylindrical, cone shaped or combinations. These same geometric forms underlie objects in the landscape. If you learn to properly shade these forms in a still life with a single source of light, you will better understand how to shade other objects whose structure incorporates these various forms in the landscape.

still life oil painting with raku vase grapes orange by Byron

Raku Vase 9×12 oil by Byron copyright 2016

Communicating a Theme

Another benefit of painting a still life, is being able to communicate a story. But, does that mean that all the objects have to relate to one another? If you wish for a rustic theme, does it mean you have to leave out something elegant or vice versa? No! As long as the theme visually harmonizes and creates interest.  As an example here is a frame style combination that is both rustic and elegant. So they can work together, just as in a still life!

frame corner style of rustic and elegance

Rustic and Elegant frame style

The benefits of painting a still life are valuable both to the newbie artist and a good reminder to someone like me who hasn’t tried their hand at a still life in sometime. I have to say it was a lot of fun! Plus, I was able to render each of these still life paintings in one alla prima painting session. (All at once) Perhaps one day I will do a William Hagerman signature still life painting!

Would love to hear your thoughts about my still life work? As the Winnsboro show approaches I’ll be posting more of the art to be in the exhibit. Thanks for reading!

One last reminder before I go, is my latest eBay auction work going on now until 6PM Pacific Time on Tuesday October 18th. Fall is in the air in this mountain setting. Inspired by a trip near Trinidad, Colorado.

The Call of Autumn 9x12 oil by Byron for eBay auction

The Call of Autumn 9×12 oil by Byron for eBay auction

You can access the auction from my eBay profile page.

 

 

 

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What Determines the Value of Art?

Market Driven

Recently an individual asked me bout the value of an artists work in print. At one  time demand was high. It was commented that someone offered to purchase one of this artist’s prints she owned for over $2000.00 many years ago.  In today’s market, it would be difficult to give it away at $200.00.  So what determines the value of art? It’s market driven and it can be fickle.

If you’ve watched the Antiques Roadshow  you see how items of value fluctuate up and down. Factors include the popularity of the item, (trends)  its availability or rarity, and the quality and condition of the item. Also you can’t negate the economy, if times are lean and spending  becomes more conservative.

Consumer Savvy Buyers

With the internet, potential buyers are becoming more consumer savvy. Smart phones are used to compare prices of artist’s works in other galleries as well as with other artists of the same caliber and experience even while in a gallery looking at art.

Therefore, it’s unwise for a new artist to arbitrarily set an unrealistically high price and expect individuals to accept its value without question just because the price tag says so.  Another poor tactic is creating a false sense of demand by saying “ you better buy it now, cause the prices are going up next month, next year or whatever.” It can later backfire if there isn’t a true demand or credentials to back up a claim as to the items worth.

Most artists start out with modest pricing and as works sell, a track record begins with price increases happening over time along with other credentials being added. There are exceptions. But remember, they are just that; exceptions and not the norm.

Value Comparisons

In the illustration below are several paintings grouped together. With the exception of  the painting in the middle (which is mine) the artist’s signatures has been blotted out. I want the works to stand on their own merit. However, one artist I know personally, have exhibited in a show with another, others are known by reputation and one I know nothing about. Sizes of the paintings range from 9″ x 12″ – 16”x20.” The price range is $1300.00 – $9750.00 with the next highest priced work in the group being $3800.00. You can click the image to see the prices on each.

Group Comparisons

Did you guess the $9750.00 painting?  It’s the bottom one in the middle vertical column.  From the artist’s website there were only a handful of paintings listed, all 9×12 in size with that price tag. Others shown were comparable in skill and execution.  No indication of work previously sold, gallery representation, shows or experience on the part of the artist was found. The site did say that each painting listed was an original investment quality piece of art.

A Final Comparison of what determines the value of art

Are you familiar with the artist Clark Hulings?  He happens to be a favorite of mine. Well, this artist had a long history and a list of accolades and accomplishments that most artists never realize in their lifetime. His painting skill was all but unmatched. As proof of that, here’s an example from a 1999 show catalog of his work.

Clark Hulings

The painting size was 24×36 and had a price tag of $135,000.  The same catalog showed a small work of a 10”x12” painting of a single white rose priced at $9000.00.

Clark Hulings Single White Rose

The show was a sell out with over a million dollars in sales. Sadly Hulings passed away in 2011, but current estimates of  similar sized paintings in the 9×12 range at auction is still holding strong at $9000.00-$12,000.00.

I don’t think I need to further elaborate other than to reiterate that what determines the value of art is principally the market along with some reasonably expected credentials that support the price. Otherwise the price tag may appear to be meaningless without true merit regardless of what’s stated on it.

As an update from first writing this blog post regarding the $9750.00 priced painting, I rechecked the artist’s website to see if this could have been listed in error and if the price had changed. Well, it had. The price was changed to $2700.00 for the 9×12 paintings. Still the question remains. Will the market see the work as worth that stated price in comparison to other work in the same genre?

A month has passed since writing this post and another update regarding the above mentioned $9750 priced painting is in order.  Rechecking the artist’s website a new list price of $590 was shown for the 9×12 painting unframed. For artists wishing to enter the market, it would be wise to do research on pricing before presenting it to the world. But, we all learn. However, you don’t have to learn by mistakes. There’s plenty of online advice on how to price art work. Take advantage of that resource to educate yourself on the subject.

Galleries can also help in assessing your prices. Here’s something I did. I went into an upscale gallery containing works comparable to my style. The gallery wasn’t busy, so I asked if I could show them some photos of my art. This was before smart phones. I told them I wasn’t seeking gallery representation, but would like their advice. This took the pressure off of them and probably seemed a little odd for an artist not seeking representation.  The director was pleasantly surprised when she saw my photos. Afterwards I was told that if my work was in their gallery my prices would be higher. Wonderful feedback!

 

 

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Critiquing Artwork

Critiquing Artwork

In this post I will share some points on critiquing your artwork.  A discussion with an art student brought this subject to mind.

At the time, we were talking about observable colors in some clouds. The student elicited the comment of “I wish I could see through your eyes.”  Much of the work involved in painting whether it’s mixing color or arranging the composition involves a process of analysis and observations. Asking a series of questions designed to identify and solve problems is called….

The Artist’s Self Critique

Follow along as some self critique’s are applied in bringing the painting “Lunch Companions” to a completion.

The Reference Photo

old building and cactus
Inspiration for “Lunch Companions” appeared while driving down a local street where an old building surrounded with cactus caught my attention. It will become the stage for the main characters which will include a donkey and two feathered lunch companions. However, color was lacking in the scene and the impact of the building’s hard geometric shape needed to be softened. To that end, a wisteria vine was added which will overlap the left of the building and extend onto the fence.

Composition Sketch
Thinned paint (ultramarine blue) and a brush is used for the sketch.

sketch for oil painting

Blocking in the Initial Colors

partical completion of an oil painting by William Hagerman
After the initial blocking in of color, the cactus in the foreground demanded way too much attention. It had to go.

Bye, Bye Cactus

painting demo partial completion of oil painting by William Hagerman

Since the paint wasn’t completely dry, odorless thinner was added to paper toweling and the cactus were wiped away. What remained was simply over painted. I liked the cactus in the original photo, so maybe just a few small ones on the left could remain.

The Final  Analysis

oil painting by William Hagerman before revision. Last stage before completion.
However, in the final self critique, they too had to go. When looking at the painting compared with the final one, notice that your eye simply drops down to the cactus no matter where else you look. The foreground cactus offers no supportive role and become the uninvited guests and party crashers of the scene.

old building, donkey and chickens. Oil painting by William Hagerman

Once gone, peace returns to the composition. The focal area of the donkey, wisteria vine and chickens remains the focal area. Now the stars of the painting can finish their lunch time grazing in peace. If interested in purchasing this piece please contact me.

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What is Art?

white cow in a snow storm

“White Cow in a Snow Storm” 50×50

So What is Art?

I thought I’d share with you my latest painting. It’s an exercise in Minimalist art. The black outline was added so you could see the painting.  No, I’m being sarcastic. I didn’t create White Cow in a Snow Storm, but it does lead me into the topic of  What is Art?

Artworks are like opinions and just like opinions, not everyone will agree on them. Attempts to describe what is art, often becomes a work of art in itself as an exercise in creative writing!

By definition art is an expression or application of human creative/technical skill  and imagination, typically in a visual form such as painting or sculpture, producing works to be appreciated primarily for their beauty or emotional power.

However, the genre of Minimalist art which according to one source began in the 1950’s and continued thru the 1970’s was intended to thrive on simplicity in content and form, seeking to remove any sign of personal expression. It was to allow the viewer to experience the work more intensely without the distractions of composition, theme etc.

When TV Journalist Morley Safer died in May of this year (2016), a morning news segment highlighting one of his reports on contemporary art was shown whereby a museum curator was describing to Morley the large blank white canvas hanging on the wall was done by a Minimalist artist. As to who created it I’m both ignorant and apathetic. I don’t know and I don’t care.
Thinking to myself it’s no wonder that it was called minimal because it involved minimal work, minimal materials and minimal thought. After all it was a totally blank canvas. There are plenty of those in my  studio. Why I even have a brand new roll of the stuff. I can roll it out anytime and take in it’s beauty.  If you like, I will stretch one for you. On second thought I don’t want to work too hard, I’ll just buy one already stretched, put my signature on it so you can enjoy it on your wall. You can have it today, just let me know. Oh the price, it’s next to  nothing only a $1,000,000.00. Any takers? Please, serious inquiries only.

Not So Minimalist

If you’re looking for something more affordable and not quite so minimalist, I do have three paintings up on my eBay auction. These bear my “Byron” signature. The auction ends  Sunday July 31, 2016 at 6 PM pacific time. Each auction endings are spaced by 7 minutes, so you can have time to bid on another in case you miss out on one. The Bids are already starting. Remember, I never set a reserve and the bidding started at only a penny. You can click the link to go to my eBay profile and access the auction.

Misty Day 9x12 oil by Byron copyright 2016

Misty Day 9×12 oil by Byron copyright 2016

impressionist landscape autumn oil painting by Byron

Hues of Autumn 8×10 oil by Byron copyright 2016

Spring Days 9x12 oil by Byron copyright 2016

Spring Days 9×12 oil by Byron copyright 2016

Additionally I have two small 6″x8″ William Hagerman signature paintings shown below at Sherwoods Gallery in Houston, TX.

If interested in purchasing these please contact the gallery at: (713) 974-3700

landscape bluebonnet oil painting with cactus by William Hagerman

Bluebonnets and Cactus 6×8 oil by William Hagerman copyright 2016

landscape bluebonnet oil painting with barn windmill by William Hagerman

Sun and Clouds 6×8 oil by William Hagerman copyright 2016

Thanks for reading!

 

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Decorating: Color Coordinating with Artwork

When it comes to decorating, a color palette is often chosen beforehand in that the walls have been painted, the furniture and accessories are bought and then lastly the hunt is on for the artwork to fill the walls. Then you find a piece of art you have fallen in love with but it doesn’t match your decor or color scheme. Bummer. I hate this approach personally, because it often deprives you of art work that you would love to have. Plus somewhere upon saying “it doesn’t match my decor” an artist just cringed or rolled over in their grave. Instead try this approach in color coordinating with artwork.

Buy the art you love first. What I will show you next is a simple and effective way to color coordinate a color scheme to the artwork you have fallen in love with, using the paint program on your computer. Other photo programs can also be used, but might be more technical for the novice.

Start by taking a good digital photo of your art. Then download it onto your computer. Open the photo of the artwork with your Paint program. I’m on a Windows platform, but I imagine a Mac has something similar. Here I’m showing one of my Byron paintings.

Color Coordinating 1a

Notice that the photo has little handles at the corners and on the right side in the middle is a little box, place your mouse/curser over it and when it turns into an arrow drag it outwards to the right creating a blank white area.

Color Coordinating 2a

Next, look at the tools section for the color picker. Select the color picker and then use it to click on an area of color that you like in the photo of the artwork.

Color Coordinating 3a

Next look at the shapes section and select the square. Drag the shape out onto the blank white area. Then go back to tools and select the color fill then go back and hover over the square you just made and click it to color fill it with the color you selected.

Color Coordinating 5b

Repeat the process by selecting another color, create a box and color fill it until you have the number of colors you want.

Color Coordinating with artwork

Once you have your favorite colors picked save your image as a jpeg. I first saved it to my desktop and then I copied it my dropbox which is an app installed on my computer and iphone. Now I can access the photo I created on my phone. If I were going shopping for wall paint, curtains, accessories, furniture or whatever, I have a color palette at my fingertips saved on my mobile device that will guide me in my color choices. Now you’ll never have to say, “it doesn’t match my decor.” This can also be used to update a current color scheme by selecting new color choices using your current artwork.

The above illustrated Byron painting is also one of four new paintings up for auction on eBay. While the auction is still active the listings will show up on my user profile. Once there you can click on the paintings to go to the auction page. My auctions have no reserve and bidding starts at only a penny!

Here are the other Byron paintings:

Impressionist sunset oil paitning by Byron

Texas landscape bluebonnet oil painting by Byron

landscape oil painting of clouds impressionist oil by Byron

Thanks for reading! Would love to hear your comments.

 

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Facing Artist Rejection

Artist rejected

You’ve just finished your artistic masterpiece and decided it’s surely a potential candidate for winning a top award in some prestigious juried art show. You’ve filled the prospectus out, prepared your images for submission and sent in your money along with a self addressed stamped envelope so you can get your notification. Then you wait for the mail. Finally the day arrives. You open the letter with great anticipation, head swirling at the prospective benefits of this show and as your eyes focus upon the words of this form letter, you read: “Dear artist, thank you for your entry into our Not a Snowball’s Chance in July 10th Anniversary Art Show. We regret to inform you that your work was not selected for this exhibit”…….” REJECTED!!

What?? This is totally unacceptable I’m a MASTER ARTIST!! How can they say my work isn’t worthy to be in their little miserable show.  I’m going to send them my own rejection letter, telling them I have rejected their rejection letter!!! That will teach them to disrespect me! (Uh, don’t do that.)

Facing artist rejection is something every artist will experience at some point. So don’t waste a good stamp or envelope. Build a bridge and get over it. Better yet, don’t let it cause you to miss a beat or one ounce of sleep. Take it from someone who has not only been behind the scenes of a juried art show in not only writing a prospectus and more, but having served on jury panels, as well as being an awards judge, entering  juried shows myself having won awards and yes getting my fair share of those rejection notifications in the mail.

But get this. You’re not being rejected. They probably don’t even know you. So don’t take it personally. It’s not very professional.  Here’s from an inside perspective. As a show organizer, there’s a venue space. It has only so much wall and floor space. I’ll call it wall-estate. It can only display so much art. The organizer wants to have a balanced show. So not every oil painting, or watercolor or pastel or whatever other media is accepted for this show has, could all be shown, now matter how good the work is. Someone has to be cut. There’s also the problem of viewing art whether it’s being projected onto a screen or viewing on a computer. The juror can only make a decision based on the quality of the image they receive. Back in the days of slides I’d see ones that were poorly photographed. Also every painting is projected large. A 9×12 painting will be the same size as a 24×36 on screen. What may look good when viewed actual size doesn’t hold up so well when viewed in this manner. I recall one painting that although accepted didn’t have that much appeal, but when seen in person, it was so much better as you can see it in it’s context. So what an artist submits as regards the quality of the photo is essential but even with a good quality photo there are drawbacks. With digital media, the work may be now viewed on a smaller device, which presents it’s own problems when it comes time to viewing a whole bunch of entries.

Selection is also subjective. Even for the juror, given a different day he or she may select other work and depending on the show, it may receive hundreds or even thousands of entries. A daunting task. There have been situations where one work gets refused in one show only to win best of show in another.

So what if you still feel you missed out on a great opportunity that would have lead to bigger and better things? Let me tell you about an experience I had. Back in 1995 I entered this juried show put on by a legitimate arts association here in Texas. I don’t remember how I found out about the show, but I didn’t know much about it and it was in the days before Google or my having a computer, but it sounded good. Not some small local venue. The show was also to go on tour to several university art galleries. So I thought I’d give it a try. Here’s a picture of the painting I entered.

1995 oil painting titled "The Red Truck"

1995 oil painting titled “The Red Truck”

Guess what? I was accepted! It was juried by some senior curator of exhibitions from some university art gallery up in the state of Washington. There were over 1200 artists nationally who entered and only 48 works by 48 artists were selected and I was one of them. Sounds impressive doesn’t it. I couldn’t attend the opening as it was too far for me to travel at the time, but I got a show catalog. No it wasn’t in color, but still nicely printed. Then I opened the catalog to view the other art. Here’s the kicker. If I could have went and got my painting out of that show I would have. I was appalled at what my work was hanging next to. How about the image of a simple woman’s dress on a hanger that was badly soiled. REALLY? That thing needs to go into the washing machine now! Or how about the one with a mass of zombie looking people with a cow in the midst of them and its head was exploding off into the air. Hmm. Hang that thing in your dining room. I felt like I had just gone down to the police station to purchase an alarm permit, took a wrong turn and somehow found myself in a police line up with several unsavory looking characters. HOW DID I GET IN HERE!!! I threw away the catalog. There was no way I could show that to anyone. I found the show overall to be in poor taste despite the evaluations sent in by host institutions in feeling that this exhibit  was an excellent educational tool for involving and educating their communities about contemporary art.

In my opinion it only presented to the public the view that artists are a bunch of mentally disturbed people who have some severe issues to deal with, based on the imagery seen in the majority of that show.

To this day I do not know why my work was selected or what the state of mind of the juror was in when he picked my work.  I knew something was up when I was contacted by the exhibiting organization if my work could be re-framed as my nice custom frame was too traditional and this was a contemporary art show. Uh oh. The frame they put on it was awful. A simple pale colored wood frame. I wouldn’t have picked that up even if it was in a free box at a garage sale. I’ve seen better moulding at Home Depot. Oh, and when it came time to get my work back my nice original custom frame had been lost.

The painting didn’t sell at that show so I didn’t get any monetary benefit. Plus, I  didn’t receive a single inquire re or any other discernible benefit that helped my art career in any fashion. The only thing is it sounded good on paper. But that’s it. Frankly the expense an artist incurs with juried exhibits often outweigh any perceived benefits.

So if you’re going to put yourself out there and enter these juried shows, remember the expense upon the artist can be costly factoring in the shows fees, shipping etc. and the risk of loss. Plus, they’re subjective, and the opinions of one or a few are at work. If you didn’t get selected it might simply be you got cut because they had to make a decision because of wall-estate. When facing artist rejection do so with your head up. Now if your notification letter was to say something to the effect that they wouldn’t accept your art if you were the last artist on earth, then you can take if personally. Other than that it’s not a reflection on you or your art and even if you do get accepted into one of these shows you might wish you hadn’t.

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How to Collect Art

For some, the idea of buying art and building a collection can seem intimidating.  But it shouldn’t be. Read on as you learn how one enthusiastic collector built her collection and how one special painting ended up being aired on the PBS program the Antiques Roadshow.

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First let me ask you; do you think you can be a collector of art? Of course you can! Do you know what foods you like to eat and which ones you don’t like? Do you know what kind of movies you want to see? What about your clothes; do you like certain styles and colors to wear, while others you wouldn’t be caught dead in?

 
If you know the answer to those questions then you already possess the top requirement of how to collect art and that’s being true to your taste. If you’re not sure what your taste is, then it’s not difficult to learn what your taste in art is. For starters you can visit various galleries, art fairs, antique malls, look at artist websites and check out good art books and periodicals at the library. Take note of what art works appeal to you most. Likely a pattern will develop and soon you will begin to understand your taste in art. It could be eclectic or narrower such as in a particular style or genre. You start by purchasing art you like and that doesn’t necessarily mean you have to break the bank. You can start small. There’s a lot of very good art at reasonable prices. You can even start a savings fund just for art purchases.

 
However, buying art to simply fill a void on an empty wall or to compliment ones decor isn’t the same as being a collector although a collection of art can still fill those roles. Like most things that are collected they tend to have a theme of sorts and consideration is given in how a potential work of art fits into the overall theme. But that doesn’t mean you can’t have variety. You may also have different rooms in your home dedicated to art around a different theme. So buying isn’t just random, but purposeful. Even if a work doesn’t fit your theme, but you still love it anyway, go ahead and buy it. There’s no art police who will come and arrest you.
Through my eBay sales of my own art I met a collector who I’ll call Janette for privacy reasons. I’ll use her example of how to collect art.

 
Regarding her collection of oil paintings she said: “I have collected forty plus vintage Texas oil paintings, by the old vintage artists. My house has no, absolutely no, wall space left. Paintings are hung gallery style, one on top of another. I love them. All are wonderful works, in my opinion. In my home office alone I have 22 paintings and other rooms have the Texas lupine in abundance as well. One daughter thinks that I have ‘too much’ art. However, it has not deterred my collecting. And the beauty of it all is that my collection is for my enjoyment. And I do enjoy it. Some days I look at one or another, and I think and appreciate it, separate from all the rest.’

 

Some have some interesting stories. I have an 8 X 10 painting of the Alamo in San Antonio Texas. When I saw it come up on eBay, I went aggressively for it. It was painted by a Doctor, possibly in Corpus Christi in 1930!  The Alamo in 1930!

 

I believe that as a collector, I gather paintings that have a message to me. I enjoy them. Their dollar value and worth is not the emphasis, for me. Their message, their beauty and often times their age, is of most interest for my collection.”

 

Janette also related another story about one special work in her collection.

 

Around 1937 her Grandmother wanted to give a lovely old friend of hers a Texas bluebonnet painting. The old woman was a world traveler, even in those early days. She had come to Texas to visit her Grandmother. The old woman saw beauty everywhere and was especially fond of the bluebonnets.

 

Janette’s Grandmother made a day long trip to San Antonio to search for a painting to give as a gift. Evidently her Grandmother had a very good “eye,” for she selected a painting by a rather unknown painter from San Antonio and at that time probably spent about $25 for it. She sent the painting to the old woman in Illinois. After the death of her Grandmother’s friend, the family returned the painting still in its original frame that had been gifted and it has been in Janette’s collection ever since.

When the popular PBS television program, The Antique Roadshow was in Corpus Christi, TX Janette’s daughter took it there to have it appraised. They knew it had value but were astounded when it was appraised for $10,000.00 – $18,000.00

 

The painting was by famed Texas painter Porfirio Salinas. Click image for a larger view.

Bluebonnet oil painting by Porfirio Salinas

Bluebonnet oil painting by Porfirio Salinas

 

That episode of the Antiques Roadshow was originally aired January 21, 2013. You can watch the full video or read the transcript of the appraisal from the show’s archive.
Janette collected art that she loves with a theme around vintage Texas artists and living artists whose works fit well into the collection. Some have histories with interesting anecdotes, so be sure to write those stories down and keep them with the works.

 

And what does Janette think about my own Texas art works? She said: “My regret is that I had not found YOU and your wonderful style and talent sooner. I love, love, love all of your paintings that I have seen. You are blessed. Perhaps, perhaps…if I can gather the coinage necessary….and find a blank spot on a wall…or move some around, perhaps someday I might have a Hagerman also.” Happy to say Janette has been bidding on my eBay works and I’m so honored!

 

If you feel the same as Janette about my work and you too would like to start a collection this way or add to an existing one you can access my eBay profile at http://ebay.com/usr/hagermanart

 

If I have something currently listed it will be shown there. Alternatively you can also become a follower on eBay. Simply click the green follow button next to my profile picture. I also do commission work in both my realistic and impressionist style.
So what do you do when you’re collection starts growing and you have limited space? This other article on How to Display Paintings Gallery Style show some of Janette’s collection and how even when wall space is limited, you can still have an abundance of art using this technique.

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