Friday, October 31, 2008

20 Days till Open House!

I did not get a lot of painting accomplished today.
I went to pick up my new prints. Also picked up
our invitations. Packed my van and went to set
up for my weekend show. Returned home by 5:30
in time to be in charge of trick or treat. Finally I
am going to get a little paint on my paper.

Behind the Scenes of Open House...

Labels and Numbers...
I consulted Linda's Open House schedule, there really
is one taped to her desk! Very organized, which is what
every artist needs! Next on the list is printing
the 6500 mailing labels. This takes a while and I was
informed it is time for a new printer. Ours was jamming
and it was not going well. Then "number the book". We
have a binder with all the prints and their numbers and
who purchased each print... I have no idea why except
Linda likes to know this kind of thing. I personally never
looked up a number or checked who owns which one...
But I do get in a little trouble when I forget to write the print
number on the receipt, it messes up her bookkeeping!
She also ran pages we use to take a phone order. She is
good at designing papers, I just have to fill in the blanks,
pretty much dummy proof. These are numbered so you
are sure to get the next print number available and we fill
the orders as they come in. And you guessed it ~ the
order sheets go in the "orders" binder!
That's it for tonight. Tomorrow is the scheduled "label the
invitations" day and remember I am out of here!

You can find me at:
Reading-Berks Guild of Craftsman Holiday Show
at the Berks-Lehigh Campus of Penn State University,
Reading, PA Sat. 9am-5pm and Sun. 10am-4pm
$4.00 admission ~ excellent quality
There is a $1.00 off coupon on their website!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

21 Days till Open House!

Behind the scenes of Open House...

The Plan...
We have over 6500 names on our mailing list. Our
Open House is not open to the general public since
we are opening our home and the studio. Everyone
on the mailing list is invited and you may bring anyone
with you or give your invite to someone you think
would be interested. Our business goal is to invite you
to our home, show you a fabulous new collection of
originals paintings ~ which I am working like mad to
complete~ and present the new prints. We offer a
special opening price to all our clients before the new
prints are out at a show. All the older prints are also
available, and there are light refreshments. Our second
goal is to have you place an order if you cannot come to
the Open House. So the invitation plays an important role.

The Invitation…
Our invitation was carefully designed and the layout was
not changed for 23 years. It had been 8 ½”x11” and
included each new sell sheet. Linda loves paper and sat
for hours looking and feeling paper and choosing colors.
Each year was a different paper and printing color.
Last year the postage jumped to 80c and we just felt that
was too much of a cost. 6500 x .80 = $5200.00 simply
to get the invitation in your hands. Plus Linda and my
Mother-in-law and some friends came for the weekend
and collated, stuffed, shut, labeled and stamped all 6500.
I happily leave for a show ~ I am smarter than I look!
After 23 years of the same design and after much agonizing
Linda decided to go down to a tri-fold invite and fold the
sell sheets. Same collating, stuffing, shutting, labeling and
stamping going on but less postage.
Here is a sample
1999 and
the tri-fold

This year after even more agonizing and worrying
about the state of our economy and if we could recoup
our costs we decided to save money in printing and
"go green" by going to an oversized postcard. Printed
in color, with the new prints on it instead of mailing
3 pieces of paper.

New postcard

If up to me, I would have done this years ago!
So the invitations are being delivered tomorrow and
they now only need labeled and stamped.
But I am still leaving for a show!!

Back to my painting… Notice the time, I am still

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

22 Days till Open House!

I had my last class this morning. Teaching is over
until January. I spent 2 hours cutting down glass
to fit my odd size frames and then back to painting.
My Mom finally had her first physical therapy
appointment today, they are calling it a "tune-up"

Behind the Scenes of Open House...
1st… The new Prints
The planning starts with the picking of the new prints.
We start in September holding on to any painting that
is a possibility. I tend to pick paintings that were a
challenge or I thought turned out well or were different.
For that reason Linda picks what we print! She is looking
for a nice addition to the prints I already have since
many clients add to their collection. I keep painting until
something speaks to her, not sure what it says but she seems
to know when she sees the right one. She will tell you it is
just an instinct as to what she feels she can sell in quantity.
It takes several weeks of narrowing down her choices and
sitting and studying them which is a little unnerving for me.
Me… I’d have picked it in an hour!
Here are this years two new prints.

I use Pemcor in
Lancaster, PA for
my printing.

I ask for a "match"
color to the original,
same size as the
original with a
1"border. 450 prints

I had my order appointment on 10/14. I have used Pemcor
many years and they just know what I want. You need a
printer who is used to doing art prints. I was called in to
proof the color, and this past Monday I was there for the
final color check and watch them run my prints. They are
drying and I will get them in a few days.

Meanwhile, the next step is to title them and write the
copy for the sell sheets. I have fun with this, throwing
out any odd ball title I can come up with just to
watch Linda roll her eyes at me. There is an “ideas”
tablet that anyone around can offer their opinion. One
year she picked a title from one of my students. But
there are rules! One or two word titles so it is easy to
remember and easy for me to write on a sales receipt
and it must make sense when viewing the print.
We went with "Harvest Moon" and "Southern Charm"
and you will need to wait a week until they are on my
website to read the copy!
I am back to my painting.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

23 Days till Open House!

Just checking in so you know I am alive and well and
painting! Here is proof… This was taken on Monday.

I paint all over
the house, here
I am in the kitchen
while Linda was cooking.
Keeping her company
or bugging her, not
sure which!

There are 23 days till my Open House. I thought
over the next few days I would share what goes
into making my Open House happen. I will need
to consult with Linda since she is largely
responsible for this little party. My job is to
paint fabulous new watercolors so she can put on
a great show! Here is more proof that I am
painting… Every painting spends a few days
propped on my chair
rail where I can look
at it before framing.
Here are two new
ones, barely dry!

Back to open house… The date is always the weekend
before Thanksgiving and this is my 25th year.
November 21, 22, and 23 2008
Background: It all started out of necessity. I told
you before that I only print one time a year and I
pick 2 paintings to print. Every other painting stays
as an original one of a kind. I print 4-color offset
lithographs, all 450 are printed at one time. Back
when I had very little money (some things remain
the same!) I needed to come up with a way to pay
my print bill. So we started an open house to
present the new prints and generate income during
a time when shows were winding down. The open
house was designed to pay my print bill and give
me the cash to live over winter.
25 Open Houses later, the process is the same.
I need to stop for tonight and go take out the trash!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Thursday check in

I am painting, painting, painting!

There have been the usual headaches around here.
We needed to replace the furnace in the studio. $$$
My Mom fell again. Actually she did not fall as
much as she slid off the side of the bed. Either way
you look at it she was on the floor. We have some
physical therapy ordered but after three calls we are
having problems finding home bound PT.

We are feeling the pinch of the tighter economy in new
ways. Everyone is keeping smaller amounts of stock
on hand. Linda has had several problems getting her
framing supplies in the quantity she needs. The
distributor we usually use has no stock at all and I
doubt will be in business very long. Our second choice
only had 12 of the 75 mats she wanted to order. And
finally our third call had what we wanted but it will
take 5-7 days to get here. So framing is on hold which
messes with Linda's "open house to do list"!
Where once we had net 30 days to pay, everyone now
needs half down. So more $$$ = more stress.
The color on the proofs for the open house invitation is not
perfect so that is creating a few issues. This time of year is
usually stressful, with the huge outlay of cash on the
gamble of huge sales at open house + a tight economy =
Linda's headache = shared stress with all who enter the
studio!! I am painting every second of the day and
that leaves all the framing and plans in her lap. After
looking at the checkbook and looking at Linda I made
the best decision possible.
The best thing is for me to take off for a show!
Trust me, this is a smart move!!
You can find me at:
Annandale Virginia Show
Held in the Ernst Community Cultural Center
Northern VA Community College, Annandale, VA
10am-5pm good quality!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Window Study #16

5" x 5" original watercolor

I am painting part of this view in a larger
painting and I needed to work out a few
problems so I decided to work them out in
a blog painting. This is an outside window
view. The window needs work and that
creates character! Nice old wood bucket
inside offers a focal point. The larger painting
will be at my open house.

I proofed my prints today. Which in printing
terms means I went to see that the color registration
was correct. It is the first step and I am required
to approve it. Looks great! I want a match in color
to the original so that is what I am approving.
Other than that I just
painted. Ok, I did go on an
early morning ride but
other than that I am chained
to my desk!

I had a free weekend but looked at my checkbook
and decided I better find a show! So anyone in the
Leesburg, VA area come out and see me.
Leesburg Court & Market Days from 10-4 on
Saturday 10/18 FREE!!
You can find me on North King Street.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

New Prints...

I only print two paintings a year. Every other painting
stays as an original...a one of a kind. I still print in the old
fashion four-color offset lithograph method.
Printing all 450 at a time. I am paying for quality.
It is a large outlay of cash and this year with the
economy we were really feeling the pressure. We tossed
around our options. Do not print at all this year, just
print one, print less quantity... and now add the pressure
of picking the "right" painting.
I am so, so glad this is Linda's decision!! I offer an opinion
and walk away. Anyway, the decision making is over.
They are already at the printer. But I thought I would
give you a sneak peak so you can start saving now!
Actually they are very reasonable and we offer a discount
to clients ordering before the end of the year. Now the
Original you will need to save for...

"Harvest Moon" framed in 11x22
We had a lot
of requests for
this size.
Linda liked the
glow from the lamp.

"Southern Charm" framed in 20x22
No contest here...
look at the
of thoes bricks!

The originals will be sold on eBay so make
sure you have an eBay account started!
I am painting every free moment so I have
great new work for Open House so you need to
bare with me, I simply cannot fit in a blog painting.
Mark you calender for November 21-23 and
plan a visit to my Open House held at my studio
and home in Lititz, PA. Lititz is a great town to
spend a weekend in. Invites are also at the
printer and if you want one sent to you
you need to email your address.
For now...back to my next painting.

Monday, October 13, 2008

painting lesson... # 5

We both survived the busy weekend filled with
two shows. Both shows went well and we roll
right into all the work that goes into making my
Annual Open House a success. The paintings are
picked for printing, in fact we have an appointment
with the printer tomorrow. Linda redesigned the
invitation. Smiths are going green! We are going to
a large postcard instead of using an envelope an
invite and two tear sheets. Saving paper and printing.
I think Linda is 3/4 finished with the new design.
My job is to paint, paint and paint some more!
So that said, I spent my whole day on the demo painting.
You need to go back to review the previous days.

Step 1... It is important to remember I have limited
my palette because it
is what the painting
requires. It becomes
a study in warm
earth tones.

I painted the pegs on
the moulding. And now
concentrating on the
windows. Start with

a wash of cad. yellow and cad. red deep
to bring out the detail. Add a bit more cad red and
a little paynes grey for darker shadowed areas. This
is fine work so dry it hard so it does not turn muddy.
I continued on both windows, over and over until I
am satisfied. Add an even darker mixture for the
darker shadows. Build and dry hard! Now lets move
on to the walls. They had nice tone but I want them
stronger and more solid. I want an old feeling. I mix
paynes grey, pthalo blue and tiny amount of permanent
rose. Use a #6-8 round brush and stroke the paper.
Again, paint and dry hard 4 times. Build that wall,
remembering where your shadows belong.

Step #2

Now the mirror. It was
untouched and the paper
bare. I outlined it first with
paynes grey and a dab of
colbalt blue. Then inside, one
wash of cad. yellow light and
then went over the glass with perm. indigo in a
dry brush fashion. Dry and then add the
reflections with paynes grey and burnt umber.

Step #3
Lastly I need to finish
the view outside the
window. I took a
moment to sketch
an idea in my
sketchbook to get
my bearings.
I wanted a fall scene.
This may not look
like much but it
is a map of what I
want to do.

Step #4
OK, I am ready to finish the window.
I sketched my outline and am ready
to add color. Now we are adding color!
I underpainted the grass with
new gambouge. Leaving three areas
negative for my trees and the sky.
The sky is underpainted with a light wash
of cad. yellow. I am going to now work my
way down the sky with cobalt and pthalo blue.
thinning it out to a lighter shade. Now the
mountains... I work a mixture of perm. green yellowish
with naples yellow and I dab it in with drybrush, leaving
spaces for other color. Dry it!! Touch in a light orange
for the trees. Now back to the grass. Use pthalo green
and burnt umber and place small drybrush brush strokes
to form grass.

Presenting...the finished painting!!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Wednesday check in...

I felt I needed to just check in. We spent 5 days
in Rhinebeck NY last week. Thursday was a driving
and set up the camper day. Friday was set up the
booth day. Saturday and Sunday I showed and
demonstrated. I actually finished a painting and
started another one. Monday we packed up and
drove home. We arrived home at 4:30pm with
enough time to unload the van and work in the yard.
It is a short week and Linda was stressed within
hours of being home. Tuesday I had two classes to
teach while Linda was busy with my Mom .
Porchwalk is this weekend so Linda
feels pressured to have the property looking tidy and
decorated for fall. That pressure is shared with me!!
She is on the committee so there are last moment things
for her to handle. Adding to the list is all the planning
for my annual open house. It is time for us to pick our
new print and get the open house stuff started...
Today I had another class and Linda was at
Meals on Wheels in the morning. We had to pick up 16
mums and distribute them for the Porchwalk, finished the
yard, packed the van for my show, framed some prints,
and tidied up the studio. I have been painting but my demo
painting was put on hold while I finish the ones Linda is
thinking about printing. I will return to the demonstration
on Monday. Tomorrow sounds like another hectic day...
For Porchwalk info:

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

painting lesson... day 4

I will start by sharing
a photo of my Tuesday
morning ladies. They
wanted a photo with me!

Now it is back to

This photo does not
really do it justice.
It is a bit washed out
from my flash.
I am a painter not
a photographer!

Step 1
I removed the misket and am ready to
add the lines on the floor to show the planks.
I mixed paynes gray and burnt sienna, I used a
brush that had a fine point so I could control the
line. I started in the back and painted one long
line forward for each plank.

Step 2 The Walls:
I used a mixture of
1/2 paynes grey and
1/2 cobalt blue and
washed it evenly on
wall from top to bottom.
After one wash I used
my pencil and marked
the area that will be in
shadow. Then I continued washing in the wall.
Remember to dry each wash, I cannot stress this enough.
You can see where I built darker areas to show light/dark.

Step 3 Re intensifying...
This gives you a good
overall view. Much
truer to the real
colors. Notice the
shadows on the back
wall and ceiling. On
the right end of the
bench seat I added
a wash of magenta
and cad yellow for
warmth and to help
with the contrast against the other light spot on the
bench. I keep making the bench and floor darker so
the lights stay light. My last wash is pthalo blue
and a few drops of india ink. I put this over the
shadows on the floor, under the bench and the back
of the bench and a few spots on the chair.
I am finished for today.

We are leaving in the morning for a show in Rhinebeck
NY so my lesson will be on hold till Tuesday. If you
live near Rhinebeck come out and show some support.
I will be demonstrating.

The Show:
Crafts at Rhinebeck
October 4&5
Held at the Dutchess County Fairgrounds Route 9,
Rhinebeck, NY Sat. 10-6 and Sun. 10-5
View Promoters Website: