Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Holiday Lights #4

5" x 5" original watercolor

I love night scenes, moons...
So after two weeks of very pretty
holiday paintings I wanted to try one
at night. There is light from the full
moon but also the barn had an old spot
light that lit up the wreath. Notice the
warm glow across the wreath.

I worked steadily to get this finished in
time so we could leave by 3PM and I did
it! No goofing off. No time to chit chat.
I need to go change clothes...
I wish everyone a safe New Years Eve and
many blessings to come in 2009!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Holiday Gate

5" x 5" original watercolor

Have I got a good painting today!! I had
fun with this one. I have it off center so
you get a view of the brick column. An
iron gate with a wreath and of course a
bow, it is the holidays after all! Strong
blue sky in the background. You can click
over top any of my paintings for a close up

This week is scheduled time with friends. We
started today with a long breakfast with good
friends. Actually, all our friends are good friends,
we value each of them. Then ran some errands.
Our Ohio friends from yesterday stopped in for
a little bit but I continued to paint while they
were visiting and I painted nonstop till now.
Linda and Jason went for groceries and Linda
has been in the kitchen since 5:00. I did not
mention that the holiday season is pretty special
around here. We start with Christmas, which
is also Linda and my wedding anniversary. We
are married 29 years! Then Abbeys birthday
is the day after (12/26) In case you are counting
she was born 4 years later!! She just turned 25.
And to top it off... my birthday is New Years Day.
I will be 56! Wow, even I cannot believe that one.
Now traditionally, Linda makes the birthday
person what ever meal they desire. However it
is New Years and she is into pork and
not me! So my meal will be later in the week but
I do get this decadent, heavy, fabulous
calorie filled carrot cake. It is setting there now
for frosting calling me... Andy...psst, I am
here for your total pleasure...
I plan to indulge
in it for the next 3 days...
and I prefer not to share!!!
I need to get the blog on early tomorrow, like around
3PM because we are headed to friends for dinner,
movies and to watch the ball drop.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Holiday Greens #6

6"x 4" original watercolor

After a week of doors and windows I
wanted to paint a still life. So I went
back to my material from Landis Valley
Museum and found this one. The pottery
is a warm yellow that shows up nicely
against the off white wall. It holds a
place of honor on a mantle with
a touch of holiday greens.

We met friends for lunch that turned into
several hours. They are living in Ohio and
are visiting home for the holidays. We
enjoy their company and time flew by. It
was nice to catch up with them. But that
means I painted the evening shift from 5
to 10pm! I did not want to miss a blog.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Holiday Door #6

4"x 6" original watercolor

The architecture in Georgetown is
extraordinary. A sunny day creates
such nice shadows. I loved the gas lamp
that was burning even during the day.
On this house, the bricks were painted
white. The pale green door really sets
off the dark green of the wreath.

My commission was well received today
so I am greatly relieved! I have one more
to get finished. The blog is taking a bit longer
than usual, the subjects are complicated. A

lot of "painting a day" artists are able to paint
single objects in 1-3 hours but mine are really
full paintings just small in size and are taking me
4-7 hours. That does not leave much time for
my other larger work. These are selling so I
am not complaining! It is time for Linda to
work on the 2009 show schedule. It is hard to
get excited when the economy is still so tight.
Funny, gas is down so I can afford to travel
anywhere but now no one has cash to come
to art shows!!

Discount on new prints ends 12/31/08, order now!
Classes start 1/6/09, sign up now!

A room hung with pictures is a room hung with thoughts.
- Sir Joshua Reynolds

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Holiday Window #4

4"x 6" original watercolor

This painting has a softer feel to it.
There is a bench placed under the
window, warm blue shutters and
nice brickwork. This time the
wreath is hung inside the window
with...yes, a little bit of red ribbon!

It was a quiet day here at the Smith
house. Linda spent the day at her desk;
sending out notices for my next set of
classes. Is there any interest in a
weekend workshop?? Send me an email.
Also if you live out of the area and have a
connection with an art association please
pass on my info ~ bio. I would love to teach
workshops or an evening class. I have
loads of experience and would like to travel
to new areas.

I simply painted all day. Thank you all for your
exciting bidding on eBay, it is fun and inspiring
for me to
watch. Your purchases support me
through the winter when I am not showing
so it is honestly appreciated. Sunday, the new
owner to the commission I just finished
will be visiting the the studio and picking up
his painting. I am always so nervous about
commissions, even after all the years of
painting. I know the painting is good but is
it also the vision of the person who ordered it.
Yes, you hear a pinch of insecurity...
I mentioned this before, I am included in the
new Daily Painters Gallery book!
Click to view the books info.
I am on page 137, you can click my page to view it!!

Friday, December 26, 2008

Holiday Tree #2

4"x 6" original watercolor

While walking in DC I found this
outside tree with decorations.
It stood against a white house
and the sun was shining, giving me
great shadows.
Back home and back to work today.
Linda was boxing orders while I was
painting. We stopped to go to the movies.
We saw Seven Pounds. Not what we
were expecting but well done. If you
received Christmas cash and are itching
to spend it on a painting... I will be glued to
my chair working on a commission all day
Saturday. Plan on visiting the studio!

If you wanted the
new prints remember the
discounted price is good until 12/31 which
is fast approaching so get your order in.

Classes start in January... call/email to sign up!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Holiday Door #5

5" x 5" original watercolor

I made this a snow scene. Mentally
preparing myself for our impending
winter season! I used my recently
found Georgetown material. Wonderful
brick wall with an archway door that
leads to a courtyard. The dark painted
door holds a holiday wreath and
my now famous red bow!

We had a very nice visit with Abbey and
Ben. Too short as always. They spend
today with Ben's parents. Linda's Mom
gave us a night away at a local hotel. Not
far from home but away! No phones and
no demands. Very nice and quiet. Back
to reality tomorrow afternoon. Hope you
all had a wonderful day.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Holiday Door #4

4" x 6" original watercolor

I spent yesterday in Georgetown and
went on a search for holiday doors.
I was able to combine my signature
brickwork with a holiday theme.
I added my own snow!

It was a cold day in DC yesterday but
we had a very nice time. Abbey took
us on a tour of their current exhibit at
The National Museum of Women in the Arts
and then we spent the rest of our day in
Georgetown. Traffic was much better than
I expected. Tonight we take everyone out
to dinner for our annual Christmas Eve dinner.
Merry Christmas everyone.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Holiday Greens #5

4" x 6" original watercolor

This one was Linda's request. I thought
it was a boring view point...until I painted
it. The greens were roped along the fence
with red bows at each post. I focused on
just one post, hopefully giving you the
illusion that it continues.

Linda was in the kitchen all day getting
ready for the kids coming home. Even
though they are only here one day there
is lots of favorite foods. There will not be
a blog tomorrow (Tuesday) we are driving
to DC to pick up Abbey and Ben. Frankly I
can use a day off, I have painted all day and
half the night every day for several weeks.
So one day to let the brushes dry sounds good!
We are planning to leave early and attempt
to spend
the day in Georgetown getting new
subject material. Great doors and windows if
the weather cooperates. I packed the hand
warmers ~"hot hands"... I buy a box to use when
I ride! ~i
t is to be cold! If it is to cold to be
out all day plan B is to go to the Natl. History
Museum. Abbey works till 5 so we will get
home late, traffic out of DC should be fun.
But well worth it to have Abbey and Ben home!!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Holiday Greens #4

4" x 6" original watercolor

Today I painted a still life. Apples
in a basket surrounded with greens
on a deep window sill. Outside, a bit
of snow on the grass.

I actually slept in till 8:00 this morning.
There have been to many late nights
painting this past week so I needed a
bit more sleep than usual. Jason was
here early so I made us all waffles. I
was at my desk by 11. All I worked on
today was this blog painting. No matter
how skilled I get it still takes at least 5
hours to paint a blog from drawing to
finished painting. At 5, Linda and I went
to Borders Bookstore for coffee and research.
I check out all the art magazines and Linda
was checking out France. It was a nice
evening out.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Holiday Door #3

4" x 6" original watercolor

This wreath has a bit more to it than the
Fresh greens with pine cones and berries
against an old white door.
Another day of painting all day till late.
I am pleased to report that I finished my
commission. For some reason this one took
longer than I had planned but it looks good.
Linda was in the kitchen all day doing her
holiday thing. Jason is home from school so
he was hanging out. Bored after only one day!
Thank you to all who have left kind comments
about my holiday series. It means a lot. And
much thanks to all who have been bidding.
I plan to be in the studio all of Sunday, although
we are expecting snow, feel free to visit. I can
always use the company!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Holiday Tree

6"x 4" original watercolor

I was intrigued with this old wagon
hauling a cut tree. There was remnants
of melting snow.

I am cutting it close tonight, midnight is
fast approaching. I have been painting
all day, just ran out of time. I worked most
of the day on my commission.
I will be in the studio all day
Saturday for anyone wishing a visit! Any
last minute shoppers feel free to stop or
call, I will gladly help with your shopping list!!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Holiday Door #2

4" x 6" original watercolor

Another Landis Valley subject.
I liked the stonework, this is
simply a nice holiday painting.
Even with the cold stone it has a
warm feeling and a pretty good bow!

A riding buddy and I picked up 600lbs
of food for our local food bank this morning.
Then I painted until 2:00 when I stopped
to take Linda and my in-laws to the American
Music Theater to see the Christmas Show.
We have done this annually for years.
Mom-in-law treated dinner and it was
back home to finish the blog. It is hard
squeezing a little holiday fun into the
schedule... but necessary!!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Holiday Greens #3

6"x 4" original watercolor

Another scene from Landis Valley.
I liked the way the greens looked
against the worn white gate.
Not the refined look from the
White House wreaths but it still says
"holidays". I like that I can change
around and offer a variety of subjects,
keeps me from getting bored!

I pretty much stayed at my paint board
all day except for a quick trip to the store
for a few things Linda needed for dinner.
She made this excellent stuffed chicken
breast that was well worth the break in
my painting! I am about half way through
my commission and it is turning out nicely.
It is only 10:30 and my eyes are tired so
I think I will call it a night. If anyone took any
snow or ice photos during yesterdays storm
email them to me if you give permission to
paint them!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Holiday Greens #2

6"x 4" original watercolor

I used the same still life from yesterdays
painting only extended the scene. I am
naturally drawn to our history and have
a great love for simple antiques. I enjoy
painting them. This is a solid composition;
a bowl of fruit, a pewter pot and the greens.

I had my day planned out. I had it divided
between the blog and my commission. My
creative juices starting to flow, holiday music
playing for encouragement. But all did not follow
my plan. Sometimes being
the one who works
from home is the one who appears free to drop
everything and
change plans, sometimes that is
frustrating. Linda noticed my Mom's toe was
extremely swollen this morning. That meant an
emergency trip to the foot doctor. Taking Mom
out at the height of the snow storm. Bundled up
and deathly afraid of slipping. Imagine the two of
us tottering down the sidewalk... After a bit of
surgery and 3 hours of my day gone I managed to
get back to work. It is a blessing to be able to care
for my Mom but also demanding as only those who
are caregivers understand. It is one thing to take a
few unplanned hours off work and another to interrupt
some flow of creativity and genius... but I manage.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Holiday Greens

4" x 6" original watercolor

I totally switched gears and went with a
holiday still life today. This scene was
inspired from my trip to the Landis Valley
yesterday. In the late 1800's
the decorations were sparse and simple.
A bit of greens and some fruit.

I belong to the Daily Painters Gallery, there
is a link on the lower right showing today's
paintings. They published a book recently
and I am on page 137! Check it out!!
Colour, Obsession, Joy and Torment

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Holiday Window #3

6"x 4" original watercolor

This is the last of my White House collection
of windows. I now totally understand how to
paint red bows and this may be my best one!

I needed some inspiration and fresh air so Linda
insisted we go to
Landis Valley Museum since the
weather was nice. We spent a few hours walking
around snapping photos. My next few holiday
paintings will be from there. Linda wanted to
squeeze in a Washington day trip or even
Williamsburg for fresh material but it looks like a
week of rain is forcasted. So it's a no go, I need to
be satisfied with the material I have.
Thank you to all who are bidding. It energizes me
to watch it. It is much appreciated and in this
climate I do not take it for granted. Your support
of me and my work is a blessing. This is a very nice
group of paintings and I am proud of them. I am
sorry I am getting the blog on so late at night. I
am trying to work on my last two commissions
and it takes me 4-6 hours to complete the blog
painting so I just run short of time. Usually Linda's
complaint not mine!!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Holiday Window #2

4" x 6" original watercolor

Another holiday window from the
White House collection! Again my
daughter provided the inspiration.
I am showing a hint of the fancy gold
drapes that are the frame for this scene
but its the large red ribbon that catches
your eye.

I was in the studio all day as promised.
In fact I never did stop to ride bike. I
worked on the drawing for a house
commission from 9 to 5. Took an hour
off to get a pizza and at 6pm started on
my blog painting, barely getting it finished
in time to get it on tonight. So for those
counting, that's 5 hrs to paint this painting!

I thought I would share a photo of
Abbey & Ben on their tour of the
White House. A rather good looking
couple who we are very proud of!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Holiday Window

6"x 4" original watercolor

Today's holiday painting came to me by way
of my daughter, Abbey. She went to the
White House Christmas decorations tour and
snapped a few photos; she thought I could use
a bit of subject help! I like that it came from
the White House but could be from any house.
A large double window decorated with a wreath,
some fake snow and a red ribbon. I spent two
hours working on the ribbon so look at it closely!
Outside the dark window are lights on the bushes.
The fake snow can throw you off a bit, making it
look like it is outside, and it could be...if you can make
sense of the row of lights being inside... just a random
artist thought...
If you have a holiday inspired photo that you took
and think it may be something I would like and you
are willing to let me paint it, feel free to email it.
I cannot guarantee I will paint it but if I do I will give
you the photo credit!

We had a great time at the Terry Fator performance
last night. Well worth it, he is amazing. Being out in
the rain did not help Linda's cold and she is coughing
pretty bad again today. I am in the studio on Saturday
from 9am to 3pm (after 3 I may try to take a bike ride!)
I plan to work on a commission so feel free to visit.

If you were planning to place an order for one of the
new prints, taking advantage of the opening price you
should do it soon, especially if you want it by Christmas.
Price goes up 1/1/09!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Holiday Door

4" x 6" original watercolor

Today's holiday offering is a grand
doorway. Nice mix of brick and
stone, good shadow work and a holiday

Please take a moment to share
my blog with a friend. Help me
spread my talent!!

I am into it now, I have my subjects
lined up. My problem was I looked
up each morning with no idea what
to paint, then add the pressure of a
holiday theme and it was just not clicking.
But I am on top of my game now.
I am ignoring the nasty rainy weather we

are having. Sticking to my desk working
on the blog and my commission.
We are going out tonight to see the
ventriloquist Terry Fator. Should be a good
night of laughing which we can really use!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008


5" x 5" original watercolor
I am asking for an artist bailout package!
Never hurts to ask!!! I am even coming to
you with a plan which is more than the other
guys offer. I will trim the fat. Cut some
of the extra benefits I give Linda; like a paid
lunch with the boss and the extra sick days she
has. On my end, I promise to use my bike more
often instead of wasting the business vans gas!
But the promise is I will slash my blog prices for
the rest of December, starting each blog at an
opening bid of only $25!! Now I hope you
understand I don't actually want to sell it that low,
my goal is to give you a good time bidding it up...
way up.
In a way I am offering you entertainment with the
excitement of bidding. In return I receive some
winter income, so go place a bid!!
Linda wanted me to tell you a few things, I am
quoting here...
Holiday paintings do not need to be hung. You
can lean or prop them on a shelf, a table, a mantle...
Move them around. Next time you are thumbing
through a magazine notice what the decorators are
doing with their paintings.
I have great holiday mini prints that make nice
hostess gifts (so Linda tells me!!) Place an order now
and we will try to ship the next day. Also if you are
stuck on a gift idea think about an Andy Smith
gift certificate!

We both are fighting bad colds so we are not
operating full steam here at the Smith house. I did
manage to finish my first commission and it was
a hit. So I have another one started that I am
enjoying and a third I am sketching and getting ready.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Holiday Lights #3

6"x 4" original watercolor

Please excuse my artistic licence as I've
taken a very historic Shaker barn and added
holiday lights. There may be Shakers
rolling over in their graves because I
doubt they ever decorated for Christmas,
But I could be wrong about this!
I think Linda thinks I am committing a
sort of crime by stringing lights around the
barn but I think it looks rather nice!
I am following a theme for the week; night
time for my backdrop, strong sky featuring
stars... and holiday lights on a building.

I started getting some of our holiday things
up from the basement; get the spirit moving.
Linda is always so busy this time of year that
it is not on her top 10 fun things to do. We
spent the morning getting rid of "fall" but I am
saving one pumpkin just because I like it.
I have a commission on hold till the client

can ok the sketch so I started another one today.
I picked up a cold somewhere and am not at
peak performance; I rarely get sick, I think it
is due to the lack of bike riding!!
We met with two other couples for dinner
tonight and I love catching up with them.
It was a very nice evening.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Holiday Lights #2

4" x 6" original watercolor

Finding a suitable holiday subject has been
daunting today. So I decided to stretch
myself artistically. I took a scene I used before
and changed it from day to night and added
appropriate festive lights and decorations.
You need to study this one, it has interesting
perspective and strong night time color.

These little holiday paintings start at a $100
bid, it is a great way to build a holiday collection
or to give an original painting as a gift.

Today was a repeat of yesterday...
A few errands and a lot of painting. Due to
wet roads and cold weather I have had to
temporarily give up riding bike outside and I

had to dig out my indoor rollers. It doesn't feel
the same
but I won't lose my fitness. Linda
was glued to her desk but stopped long enough
to whip up a carrot soup, I love her soups, it is

the only plus I see in winter!

Monday, December 1, 2008

Holiday Lights

5" x 5" original watercolor

December will feature themes of the season.
When I think holiday, I think lights. I love to
see them wrapped around almost anything,
anywhere there is a power source! My setting
is a Lancaster County farm. A field dappled
with a bit of snow, farm lights in the background.
It is a wonderful palette for me to use. Add a
night scene with a crescent moon. Now indulge me
as I give you a glimpse of the lights wrapped around
a tree branch. The night lights give off a little glow.

I was busy all day. Ran some errands with Linda,
picked up a donation of food, and painted my blog.
Linda spent her night with some girl scouts putting
food away in our local food pantry, I was happy
to stay home and paint!

Sunday, November 30, 2008

End of the Season...

End of the Season #1
5" x 5" original watercolor

End of the Season #2
6"x 4" original watercolor

I painted two pumpkins over the Thanksgiving
holiday but am only now finding a free moment
to get them on my blog. I now need to switch
gears and think Holiday ~ winter/snow ...

Open House is over! Despite the economy
and bad weather we did very well. We were
busy all weekend.
I still have some original paintings available,
click Featured Original Watercolors
to view them and call or email any questions.
Remember to click over the paintings to
enlarge them.

As the grand finale of Behind the Scenes...
Everything now has to be taken apart and the
house and studio put back together! Undo everything
we spent days doing. Panels down, furniture hauled back,
the studio framing supplies brought up from the basement
while keeping the studio some what tidy for visiting
clients looking for holiday gifts. We try very hard to be
available all of December for clients wishing to visit the studio.
Next for Linda is to catch up on the business end,
add the sales and clients to the database, get a deposit
together and balance everything, pay all the bills that
were net 30 days! Then she starts filling
orders for prints: cut mats, frame, box and ship.
Meanwhile my goal is to get back to my "Painting
a Day" and start (finish) three commissions.

We started our Thanksgiving holiday with my Mom
falling again. I am so worried she is going to hurt herself
and yet there is nothing more we can do. Abbey and
Ben came home, they spent the first few days with
Ben's family and then were here Saturday. It is always
great to see them. Linda and the kids played some card
games, I totally enjoy hearing them laugh. My
brother and family came to visit on Saturday night and it
was nice to catch up with them. Once again the house is quiet...

Now it is back to work!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Open House is tomorrow!

A painting to
entise you
to visit my
25th Annual
Open House
held this
at my studio.

The past two days have been spent cleaning,
shopping and cooking! We are ready.
Even Linda said we are ready but she manages
to find one more thing to do!

Our doors open tomorrow
Friday from 2PM to 10PM
then again on...
Saturday from 10AM to 10PM
Sunday from noon to 6PM
For a more detailed invitation visit:

Linda added some more paintings to the website
under "featured original watercolors" and mini
paintings under "small originals" If you see one you
like call the studio to see if it is available. Hopefully
I am selling like mad! I hope to see you over the
weekend and bring a friend!

Friday, November 14, 2008

6 Days till Open House!

Hard to believe that next week at this time we
will have our first day of Open House in.
Meanwhile, the work continues...
Linda has a hors d'oeuvres menu to put together.
There are cookbooks all over the kitchen. We picked
up the wine today. I just love the labels on the bottles.
Invitations from clients who moved and did not send
a notice are coming back. We are at 129 returns.
X .42 each... Not a lot of cash but there is no extra
to waste. Linda has to look them all up on her
data base and decide who gets deleted or updated.
Then decide who we spend a second .42 on. Just another
job I am glad is not mine! I paint, and am still painting.

A reminder that the two paintings from the new prints
are on eBay and come to an end on Sunday. Do not wait!!

Here is a little sample of an original
that will
be on

Hope you

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

8 Days till Open House!

Behind the scenes of Open House...

Yes... I am still painting and yes there is still
lots of work to do!
All day Monday and into the evening Linda and
I framed my originals. I love to see them all framed
and looking their best. It is a good sense of
accomplishment. Tuesday, Linda did an inventory and
had a bit more framing she wanted to do. I spent the
morning at the eye doctor, just a check up and then into
downtown Lancaster to get a haircut. Then it was back
to painting for me. Today was the start of set up.
We keep all the prints in the studio and set up all the
Originals in our house, which is connected.
It starts to feel real now. We start with the house...
We move furniture and clear out a few rooms.
Then we set up my show panels. After 20 years of
having my open house in the house we live in we pretty
much have a plan, although Linda changes it around
a little. It is a whole days work and requires patience,
team work and a little muscle.

setting up
the show

I am
the cords
for the
lights, and
a prayer
for a

good show while down on my knees!!

are up

Linda, not
to happy
having a
photo taken!


well not
Linda will
the paintings
times until
something tells her it is perfect! She has some method
of grouping and themes... I do not interfere with this
process. This is just one part of the panels.
There are two more areas of Originals to be set up
and hung. And since everything is moved, Linda
feels the need to clean... like we have time for that!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

11 Days till Open House!

After diligently painting all week I decided to
take a bike ride this afternoon. After about
11 miles my derailer over-shifted and my chain
went into my wheel. Relax, I was not hurt but
my bike needed a ride back home. I took this as
a sign to get back to my painting!! Linda is taking
a rest day and is reading. She put in 4 very long
days/nights and has almost all the framing of the
prints finished. Orders for the new prints are starting
to flow in. You can order them from my website...

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

15 Days till Open House!

I took 6000 mailers to the post office this
morning so watch your mail! Any feed back
is appreciated. The rest of my day was spent

Behind the scenes of Open House...
Here is Linda and her helper Stacy framing.

They framed from 8AM to 8PM with a short
lunch break and a 1 hour break to rest.
The mats were cut last week and Linda already
had the prints taped into the mat, a barrier sheet
is taped to the back of the print and then a backing
sheet is added to protect the print. All this was
done last week and piled high waiting for the frames
to come.

So today was the start of framing. Stacy has
helped Linda for 14 years and cuts excellent
mats with no cross-cuts in the corners. Stacy
starts by cleaning the glass in the frame. Then
the print is set in. We use a "framers point gun"
which you can see in the photo above setting on
the frame. This shoots points to hold the print
into the frame. Then it is Linda's turn, she runs
double stick tape, using a (blue) tape gun which
you can see setting on the table, all along the back
of the frame and places brown paper, called a dust
cover. This gets trimmed with a little red gadget.
Next comes screws and hangers and then they
both wire. Each frame is handled the same way.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

16 Days till Open House!

First thing this morning, at 8am it was my great
pleasure to take my Mom to vote. She was pretty
pleased to have her photo taken.

Andy and
Mom Smith.

Mom is 86
years old.

Right after we all voted I drove to NJ to pick
up my frames. It was a 6 hour round trip.

Here I am
unloading the

this is
stack #1
There is
another pile
behind me!

Frames are every where!
There are 500 of them.

Stack #2
Taller than
I am...

Glad it is
not my job
to assemble

Behind the scenes of Open House...
Linda tells me we are On Schedule.
The invitations were labeled and stamped
over the weekend and are hitting the post office
tomorrow, so be on the look out for yours!
If you do not get one and want one, send an email
request. Linda has everything ready to start
framing tomorrow. Me...I am painting!

Monday, November 3, 2008

17 Days till Open House!

Behind the scenes of Open House...

I get glass by the case and it needs to be
cut to fit my frames. I had 22 cases to cut
So here is a photo of the artist risking life and
limb cutting glass! The scraps filled 2 boxes...

No hi-tec machines
for us!!

Supply Orders...
Next on the schedule is ordering supplies. We need
an educated guess on the number of prints we will sell.
The idea is not to run out during the Open House.
All of my prints are available during Open House.
I offer 5-10 of each, framed in a variety of mat choices.
Plus 50 each of the new prints. This requires a very
large order of supplies. Tomorrow I am driving to
NJ to pick up 500 frames. I save a large shipping
fee plus time by going for them. Don't even think about
this bill...

To frame one print takes 2 pieces of mattboard ~ a
cream or white top and a colored inside, a piece of
barrier paper, and backing board. Linda needs to
calculate how much of everything we need because there
is not enough time to reorder. This large order came
last Thursday and Linda has been cutting pieces for days.
Keep in mind, 500 of everything. It is done with a ruler
and an exacto knife and a heating pad for her shoulders
and some motrin for her hands. Once the pieces are cut
there needs to be the hole cut in the mat for the print.
We have help with the hole part. When ordering you
cannot forget the double stick tape, hangers, screws and
wire. This is another large bill you do not want to think
about! We also offer unframed prints. These need
what is called foam board as a back which needs to be cut
to fit the size print and then we "shrink wrap"them.
Here is Linda shrinking 25 each of the new prints and
several each of my older prints. Once they are sealed in
plastic she uses
a heat gun to
tighten them.
This job takes
I get my moneys
worth out of
this employee!!

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.