Friday, December 28, 2018

Plan like a Pro


Think you're organized when it comes to entering competitions or keeping track of upcoming ones? That's our topic today as I try to answer some of your questions about this.

And p.s... 
As my gift to you, at the very end of this post, I list for you a few online competitions that you might want to get started with if you're not yet entering shows or competitions. (The opposite of "online" are those that require you to ship your painting to a gallery or other venue, if and when you're accepted into the show by the judge.  I apply to some of both.)

Now for the business of show/competition organization:

1.  Buy a pretty binder.  Because I keep it sitting on a shelf along with all my other pretty binders (for workshops, etc.). We are visuals, after all. I marked my binder "Entries".



2.  Add Binder Dividers. The competition name goes on each tab and they appear alphabetically in my binder.  I do this only after I decide to actuallly enter a particular show.  Yes, your tabs will likely not fall in beautiful tabbed (visually sized) order, as you add another tab between 2 existing tabs, but it's a small price to pay.  At some point in the future, buy another set of dividers and rename them so the tabs look pretty again if you prefer.

3.  Behind the appropriate divider (let's say Watercolor Society of Alabama), insert a 3-hole punched Prospectus for the show (which you will download from their website). I highlight any important details that pertain to that show.  In the top right corner of the front sheet, I mark the Deadline date (DL), the Notification date (when they will announce those accepted), and the Show Dates.  All this info is already written in the Prospectus, and I've highlighted it where it appears, but I need a quick reference available to me.  So I always write it in the same top right spot.


If I enter the same show in a different year, the new Prospectus just goes on top of the old.  All communication from them to me goes in this section as well (e.g. an acceptance letter with directions for where to ship, or a copy of my show payment, etc.)

4.  To the left of the Prospectus (on the back of the Divider, in other words), I write what I entered into that year's show.  If I enter a 2nd or 3rd year, they get recorded here so I always know what I've entered to this particular show. I also record whether a painting got accepted or rejected.



4.  In the very FRONT of the binder, I add a calendar for each month of the new year.  You may find a free, printable calendar HERE. When you open the file, all 12 months will print for you.



Here's where I add the appropriate Deadlines for the shows I'm interested in or have already entered.  Next year, at a glance, I can transfer these dates to the following year's calendar (they're usually only off by a day or two, but it does allow me to not forget them).

5.  At the very BACK of the binder, I've added a manila envelope, cut down on one side as shown, and double-taped to the binder.  Into this envelope, I add any Prospectus I've printed but am NOT going to enter.  At some point, I will end up looking through them again. Picture reading about a show in a magazine and thinking to yourself "didn't I already look into this one and reject it for some reason?".  Easy way to check on it.  On each prospectus, you could write the reason you had chosen not to enter.


Miscellaneous Thoughts:
- Some shows require you to be a member of their organization in order to enter them.  If that's the case, they ALWAYS allow you to join AS YOU'RE SIGNING up for the current show.  Once you're a member, you will get emails from them, announcing upcoming shows way ahead of time. If you're not yet ready to become a member (because each one costs about $30-40), you could reach out to them via email and ask to be put on their email list instead.
- Study each prospectus carefully.  If they say the painting must have been created after a certain date, they mean it.
- Never enter pieces that you created in a class or with a teacher's input.  You could be banned from entering future shows and your name will circulate for many to see.
- You have to start somewhere.  If the show is online, what have you got to lose other than your entry fee?  If you want to enter a show that requires shipping your accepted painting to them, I'd initially choose shows that are close to where I live to keep the shipping costs down (sometimes you could even drive your piece to them.)
- Don't enter shows if your only reason is to win a prize. The odds are heavily against you.  I didn't enter shows for many, many, many years because I preferred having the painting available for my galleries or for festivals I participated in around the country (think booth setup).  I'm just now starting to explore shows again because at some point you want to know if you measure up against all the many other artists out there.  Shows keep you motivated and taking on the next big challenge makes you a better painter.
- If you do enter a piece, hopefully this binder will help you keep track of what's spoken for already.  Don't embarrass yourself by entering the same piece in two shows by mistake. Again, if you enter and get accepted, you'd better be ready to ship that painting out.  
- Buddy up with someone.  If you get accepted and you know that the ship date falls during a time when you might be traveling, have an artist friend (or family member) ready to ship it for you. That could mean packaging it up ahead of time, just in case, or your friend (your very GOOD friend) could do that for you.  

Online Competitions for you to consider entering (although some of them also hold "send in" competitions as well.

- Artists Magazine
- American Women Artists
- Richeson75
- International Watermedia Show
- Women Painters of the Southeast
- Professional Artist
- Splash
- The ArtboxProject

I hope this helps some of you.  Let me know! (and feel free to ask your own questions in the Comments).

Helen.

In 2019, I'm teaching at a castle in France (where we'll LIVE!)
Non-painting spouses are also invited! 

READ MY LATEST POST HERE

Monday, November 19, 2018

Daphne goes to Venice (Part 1)

This coming April, I'm taking Daphne (my youngest granddaughter) to Venice with me.  With us will be her Daddy (our son), one of her favorite people on Earth!  I'm excited he's coming too because we never get to spend much time together and he's heard me talking about Venice for years. He might as well see what all the fuss is about!

About 1.5 years ago, after one of my Venice trips, Daphne (then age 5?), listened very attentively to my travel stories.  She took me to one of my watercolors hanging on their wall, and said, "tell me again about the bird in the cage?".  


"Italian Colors" by Helen K Beacham Fine Art
In a Private Collection.
She listened again, as I told her the story of sitting across the canal from these colorful buildings on Burano (an island in the Venetian lagoon, just north of Venice).  I told her that an older lady was playing piano from the top window in the orange house.  I told her that there was a birdcage in the window below that, where a canary sang for us while we painted!


Daphne, with truly innocent eyes, looked at me and said "I'm going with you one day, Oma".  Oh, boy.  I was smitten and then I spent a year working on her parents to get the okay to take her.  And now we're actually going!  Planning is half the fun, BTW.  She's our little artist, so I've already got her drawing from some of my Venice photos so that she gets used to the different architecture and colors.


She spent the night this week, and together we read the story "Mimi and Piggy's Adventure in Venice".


Book by Chisato Tashiro.  Find it HERE.
Many questions ensued after that, including "Can I go swimming in the Grand Canal?".  I replied "No, Daphne. There are lots of boats on the Grand Canal."  After a second to think, she said "after the boats go home for the night, can I go swimming??".  And so OUR adventure continues....

I think I'd like to record our story as time goes by.  If they bore you, just delete-delete!

I wish you and your families a very Happy Thanksgiving!  I'm grateful for each of you that have touched my life.  I wish I could repay the bounties!!
______________


In 2019, I'm teaching at a castle in France (where we'll LIVE!)


And YOU can come with me!




Early Bird fees (thru this Dec 15) apply!
Non-painting spouses are also invited! 

And following the Castle workshop, I'm thinking of adding a
Sightseeing trip to Cinque Terre, Italy (or elsewhere TBD).
Let me know if you'd like info as it develops.

READ MY LATEST POST HERE





BeachamFineArt@gmail.com

843-408-5240

Sunday, October 7, 2018

Tippette #38: How to avoid Pencil Marks in your Paintings

Tippette = Snippet of a Tip (in watercolor).

I've never minded my pencil marks from showing in my paintings.  Matter of fact, it's kind of a "thing" with me to have them show.  My marks reflect me as the artist, and they're a permanent record of what happened with that painting. (Did you know everyone's marks are unique to them?)

HOWEVER, if that's not YOUR thing, consider drawing (lightly) with a neutral watercolor pencil and your pencil marks will dissolve when you touch them with water and/or watercolor pigment!




In 2019, I'm teaching at a castle in France (where we'll LIVE!)

And YOU can come with me!


Early Bird fees (thru this Nov 1) apply!
Non-painting spouses are also invited! 

And following the Castle workshop, I'm thinking of adding a
Sightseeing trip to Cinque Terre, Italy.
Let me know if you'd like info as it develops.

READ MY LATEST POST HERE



BeachamFineArt@gmail.com
843-408-5240

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Tippette #37: The Black Hole(s) in Reference Photos

Tippette = Snippet of a Tip (in watercolor).

Here's a real life example of why artists shouldn't rely solely on photos for reference.

I took this photo in Venice...I'm in the process of painting it (or at least a stylized version of it...stay tuned...not sure myself what it'll morph into).

Today's Tippette:  Photos lie, especially in the darkest portions of a photo.  Just look at the difference between the reference photo and then the lightened up version below it.  Get ready to be amazed!

So hard to tell what's going on in the darks.



Lightened up version (use any photo editing software).
No way I saw that door open, with a man walking through it.
Unfortunately for him, he won't be included in my painting.
But now I have to figure out what to do about the door...hmmmm.
Luckily, I have MUCH experience with painting doors!
Well?  Were you amazed by how much detail was hidden from me?

The answer for an artist working from photos is to be sure you know exactly what's happening in your dark areas or you'll end up with a black hole that nobody wants to go down. 

I hope these periodic tippettes help you in your painting journey.  Ask me anything in the Comments (or email me) and I'll either direct you to an existing tippette, or I'll write a post with my answer.

You might also enjoy:  TIPPETTE #11:  IMPROVING ON YOUR PHOTOGRAPH

Remember to sign up to receive my blog automatically, sent via email to your inbox!  Let me know if you have trouble doing that.

                          -------------------------------------------------

P.S.
In 2019, I'm teaching at a castle in France!
And YOU can come with me!
Early Bird fees apply!
Won't you please share my post with a friend??
Non-painting spouses are also invited!  Yay!




If 2018 is a better travel time for you, I still have 2 spots open in both my France and Venice workshops! You could even do them back-to-back!

READ MY LATEST POST HERE

BeachamFineArt@gmail.com
843-408-5240

Monday, June 18, 2018

A Recipe from the Past & a Castle in 2019!

(Be sure to read all the way to the bottom for a castle surprise!)

Yesterday, I looked through my many newspaper clippings for recipes for an upcoming dinner party. I stumbled upon some that had belonged to my mother-in-law (from 1970...almost 50 years ago!) and got a kick out of reading through them.  Here's one, just as a For Example:

The Graham Cracker Cake sounds easy enough to try!  
GRAHAM CRACKER CAKE

1 lb. box graham crackers, crushed fine.

4 eggs
2 c. sugar
2 c. pecans, chopped
2 c. raisins
1 c. milk
1/4 lb butter
1 Tbsp vanilla flavoring

Cream butter and sugar. Add milk and flavoring. Add crackers, raisins and pecans. Mix well.  Bake in well-greased cake pan for 1 hr or until done at 350 degrees.

My most astute readers will have noticed that, although the eggs show up in the list of ingredients, it doesn't mention WHEN to add them.  :)  

When would YOU add those 4 eggs??!!

            _____________________________________________

And listen to this...in 2019, I'm teaching at a castle in France!
And YOU can come with me!
Early Bird fees apply!
Won't you please share my post with a friend??
Non-painting spouses are also invited!  Yay!




If 2018 is a better travel time for you, I still have 2 spots open in both my France and Venice workshops! You could even do them back-to-back!

READ MY LATEST POST HERE

Friday, March 16, 2018

Hemingway's Key West

I just came back from Key West.  Loved the little cottages with picket fences and the fabulous restaurants we ate at!  I see a new series on the horizon!







Meet Rhett & Scarlett (or maybe the reverse??).
They live at the Butterfly Conservatory, which is a Must See.

Hemingway's House. 
He built a 6' high brick fence around his house to keep out the "riff raff" after Key West started using him in their promotions for why you should visit the island.



I'm now listening to the audiobook called "Last Train to Paradise" which is about Key West and the railroad. Whereas I thought it was going to be a documentary, I was pleasantly surprised to "hear" that it's actually a novel based on reality....and the opening paragraphs involve Ernest Hemingway himself!  I plan on listening while painting my Key West series!  (and thanks to Kim Minichiello who recommended the book to me, and who came to Key West with me, along with Anne Peterson)!  It was a spontaneous trip that didn't disappoint!

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Monday, March 12, 2018

Is Big Really Better?


    Meet Kim Minichiello, a watercolor artist from Windermere, FL (and a friend...more about that later!)

"Hong Kong Happy Hour" by Kim Minichiello
Watercolor on paper, 12"h x 18"w
     Me:  You paint in oils and in watercolors.  Which is your favorite and why.

Kim:  I painted more in oils than watercolor a few years ago.  Then when I knew we were going to move to Hong Kong, and we would be doing a lot of traveling, I had the desire to keep a watercolor sketchbook travel journal.  So essentially, I used the skills I had for oil painting, drawing, composition, color mixing, value and edges, and just adapted it to the new medium.  Plein air sketching is really how I got started painting in watercolor. At one point, I wanted to challenge myself to work on larger paintings after working in sketchbooks.  Once I did that, I really fell in love with watercolor and it has become my primary medium.  

I love the portability of it for plein air painting and sketching, as well as the feeling of water and pigment flowing on the paper, sometimes in unpredictable ways, and the challenge of learning how to control it to get the effects that I want. I feel a lot more planning goes into a watercolor painting  to figure out the best way the painting is to be painted. For example foreground first or last, each section at a time or work on the painting as a whole. The design and that planning are just as enjoyable for me as the actual painting process.  I also just love paper, and enjoy painting on it. For oils, I like the thicker viscosity of the paint and enjoy moving the paint around with loose brush work like putting icing on a cake! 

"Star Struck" by Kim Minichiello
Watercolor mounted on board, 12" x 12" x 2"
Me:  What’s the largest sized watercolor you’ve ever painted?  What subject did you choose?  Why did you paint it that big?  Was it a commission or were you painting to enter a show?

Kim:  The largest watercolor I have ever painted is a 36” square piece titled "Lion Dance".  It was inspired by the Lion Dance performances my family and I saw during the Chinese New Year celebration right after we moved to Hong Kong.  

We were at the Cultural Heritage Museum in the area of the museum that celebrates the various festivals that take place at different times of the year in Hong Kong.   It was an intimate setting and the performance was loud, kinetic, colorful and full of life.  I got a lot of great pictures and wanted to do a painting that was bold, colorful and “in your face” if you will.  Painting the main mask of the dance costume large just seemed appropriate to the feeling I wanted to convey, reflecting a memory of a unique time in a city that was always mesmerizing to me and made me feel happy to be there.  

I painted "Lion Dance" for no other purpose than for myself, to reflect on my time in Hong Kong and enjoy the process of painting big! However, it has had the opportunity to have appeared in a few shows, with pretty steep shipping costs!

"Lion Dance" by Kim Minichiello
Watercolor 36" x 36"
Me:  Were the challenges different when painting that large versus painting small?  How so, and how did you overcome them?

Kim:  When I work on a composition, I guess I have an intuitive feeling on the size I would like the subject matter to be.  I only limit myself to the width of a roll of paper.  I have not taken advantage of the 45” width but plan to someday, as well as trying some elephant sheets!  

The challenge to painting large is having the space to accommodate a large painting while you are working on it.   I feel fortunate to have a very large drafting table I use as my painting table, as well as a padded layout table built from 2 x 4’s and plywood I used to do textile work on.  When working large, it’s a bit trickier in watercolor than any other media. You will have areas that require larger washes.  I make sure I use large brushes that hold more water, as well as mix up larger puddles or cups of paint to have at the ready when I start to paint that area.  There is nothing worse than running out of paint when you are in the middle of painting a wash in a large area!  

I feel working wet in wet helps for large washes as well.  As far as painting small, I have painted pieces as small as 6 x 6 and 5 x 7 and even smaller in a sketchbook.   My biggest challenge for me now are my eyes!  I’m far sighted and wear reading glasses to paint. Just the last 2 paintings I have worked on, I have had to introduce a new pair of stronger reading glasses to paint details.  Right now, I’m doing the “glasses dance” between the two pairs while I’m painting!  I still try to use the biggest brush possible when I’m painting small, it helps me not to get too nit-picky.  For me, the key to painting big is to use BIG brushes and mix up lots of paint. The key to painting small is I try to not get too detailed.  I try to break things into simple shapes and suggest rather than render every little detail.

"La Fille de Lavirotte" by Kim Minichiello
Watercolor 15"h x 11"w
Me:  Which associations have you "lettered" in and how many times did you try? (Note:  It takes 3 accepted entries to qualify you to show the Society's letters behind your signature. No small feat!)

Kim: I’m a signature member of the Georgia Watercolor Society(GWS) which has a national show,  the Louisiana Watercolor Society (LWS) and the Pennsylvania Watercolor Society (PWS) which both have international shows.  I feel I must have had really good judge karma for those shows, because I got in each show the first time I entered and then the two years after, so it only took me three years.  

I’m also one year away from getting signature in the Florida Watercolor Society(FWS).  This one has taken a bit longer.  I got in the first time I entered but have had a dry spell with that one for a few years.    

I have had lots of acceptances into various shows, but have also had my share of rejections. What one judge rejects one time, another one will like it and want it in a show.  A fellow FWS artist and friend entered the FWS show one year and got rejected.  The next year she entered the same painting, different judge, and received the top, best in show award!  You just never know!  

Recently, I've been accepted into the American Watercolor Society 151st Exhibition, won one of the top awards, and my painting was selected for the 2018 AWS Traveling Exhibition.  

The same painting also won third place in two categories in the International American Art Awards competition.  However it has also been rejected from a few shows.  I feel the moral of the story is, if you believe in the work, keep entering!  Don’t let a few rejections dissuade you from entering other shows or any show at all.
"Chanoyu Maiko" by Kim Minichiello
Watercolor, 32"h x 20"w
Me:  You came to Montreal with me last July.  What expectations did you have, and what observations did you make after the trip was over?

Kim:  I was so excited to explore your home town, and spend time with all of our WAM Members.  I find traveling with you all is so inspiring in so many ways!  I feel we really give clarity to and inspire each other, especially when we are all together.  Every trip we take, I look forward to a good dose of that as well as enjoying each other's company.  I love exploring and learning the history and story of a place.  For me, it can be very random. What I see might inspire me to take an idea further and create a painting or series of paintings.   I also like to get my museum fix when I travel.  I’m a museum junkie!

I don’t know if I had any expectations other than I thought maybe the older more historic area of town might be smaller and more quaint like a European village. Even so, it felt very historic yet meshed with  the vibe of the metropolitan feeling of the city in a good way!  I really enjoyed my time there and would definitely go back!  

One bonus for me is that I could practice my French since everyone is pretty fluent in both French and English.  That way, if you get stuck you can always revert to English.

Overall it can’t be beat!  You have a great city experience that feels a bit foreign from the U.S. so you sort of get a European fix without going too far.  

Culturally it was wonderful, loved spending time in the museums as well as exploring some residential areas.  Didn’t have a bad meal...the food was great! I highly recommend the Botanical Gardens there, which include a Planetarium and Insectorium near the Olympic Park Stadium.  Since my husband and I are Formula One Racing Fans, we may go to the Canadian Grand Prix there some day too!

 
Award winning artist, Kim Minichiello
I hope you enjoyed meeting Kim.  I'm proud to call her my friend.  She is currently VP on the Board of the Florida Watercolor Society and will be President in 2019.  She and I are both members of WAM: Women. Artists. Mentors (follow our Facebook page HERE). Other members are Carrie Waller, Debra Keirce and Maria Bennett Hock.

And to see more of Kim's fabulous work, to check out her classes or to sign up for her Newsletter, visit her website HERE.


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Thursday, February 22, 2018

Tippette #37 - Watercolor Sticks

Tippette = Snippet of a Tip (in watercolor). Tell a friend!

This morning I tried a new "tool".  It's Winsor & Newton's Professional Watercolour....pigment in stick form.



In the top picture, on the left, I drew with the watercolor stick into a wet puddle.  On the right, I drew onto dry paper, then wet part of it.  In that section, the color almost disappeared.

I could see using these sticks to draw en plein air, then painting over and into it (they're totally compatible with your regular watercolors).  The drawing lines would kind of disappear, if that's your goal.

This particular color is Burnt Sienna.

p.s. I did this exercise in my new Strathmore #483-5 travel sketchbook which I plan on taking to Key West with me tomorrow!  Note: It does pay to shop around because the link I just gave you to Amazon shows the sketchbook to be about $10 whereas I found it elsewhere on line for $19.

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Monday, February 19, 2018

Found Treasures, Immortalized

I love to browse at Goodwill and Habitat for Humanity.  I need nothing.  But I always can find something.

Someone's cast off silverware (now mine!)
Here are three 6"h x 12"w watercolor paintings I did of some of these utensils. The paintings are on their way to the photographer's. 

"Spooning"
"Stick a Fork in It"
"Will the Real Butter Knife Please Stand Up?"


And here are 3 progress shots (I kept forgetting to slow down and take more pictures).



Progress shots:  "Stick a Fork in It"


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