Tag Archives: koi

My Art Goals

I recently joined a cooperative blog called Artist Ambition. The blog is about the challenges and exercises the participating artists give themselves in order to improve. As I sat down to write my introduction and wish list or plan, I realized that I am not as clear on what I want to achieve in my art as I thought. I have been so focused on the business side that I have forgotten the creative side. Joining this group of artists in their journeys into improve their art has opened my eyes to my own journey.

I want to bring more creativity into my work. My subject, themes, color schemes, and overall compositions are safe. Here’s my list to explore:

  • participate in Sketchfest whenever possible to expand subjects and themes
  • Anatomy studies – hands and feet; how the head, neck and torso go together; proportions ( have a tendency to draw very short legged people); and the core/torso
  • Color – explore limited color palettes and unusual colors. Do studies in reflected color
  • Composition – explore more dynamic figures and groups of figures
  • Environment – any… I need the practice

In the spirit of moving forward, here are some of my recent paintings. Yes, more fish. I’m actually going to do a lot more fish. Like the alphabet, it is a personal project.

Image

copyright 2012 Christina Kester

Image

copyright 2012 Christina Kester

Thoughts from a Meeting with the SBA and New Work

A couple of weeks ago I had a meeting with someone from the local Small Business Administration (SBA). I got a lot out of the meeting and would recommend that any artist who is having trouble with or just needs some advice on the business side of art give it a try. My meeting was specifically about writing a business plan. It is something you have to do if you want to get funding, but my goal  is to be able to provide myself with a road map with some clear goals.

I went in concerned that I was crazy to want to dive into a full-fledged craft business in a rocky economy. One of the first things that the counselor told me was that the art and craft market is a little different from other sales markets. In part, this is because people buy the connection with the artist as much as they are buying a unique item. So one suggestion she gave me is to make myself, not just my product, stand out.  A bad economy is not necessarily a bad time to start a craft business.  Planning and hard work can make it viable.

Another suggestion the counselor gave me was to go over my prices carefully.  She said artists and crafters tend to undervalue their time. I am certainly guilty of not tracking my time very well. It can be difficult to do when balancing working at home and caring for an exuberant young child. But I have started recording the time I sit down to work and the time I get up, even if only for a moment. It has been an eye opener.

Finally, the counselor gave me some great general advice on craft fairs. She said that each craft fair is a different market. What sells at one may not sell at another even if they are close geographically. It can take some trial and error to figure out what to bring to each fair. She also suggested bringing a portfolio of my work that includes items that I have sold or that I didn’t include in the fair. With this customers can see the full range of what I can do. If I advertise that I take commissions and do custom work, I may be able to get more sales.

My first craft fair is coming up soon (Applefest in Peru,NY on Sept 17 and 18). I hope that I can use what I have learned and make it a successful and enjoyable experience.

*****

As for new work, I have a lot of it. Here is a sample of some of my most recent.

copyright Christina Kester 2011

 

copyright Christina Kester 2011

 

copyright Christina Kester 2011

Shows

The Longmont Art Link is tonight from 6-9pm. I will be showing at Maternal Instincts at 519 Main Street.  I will also be doing a demonstration. I’ll be working on Letter F of my alphabet. So if you are interested in my painting methods and are in the Longmont, Colorado area, I’d love to meet you.

In other news, I had a portfolio review at Art Mart on Pearl Street in Boulder. I will find out within a week or so whether they want to have my work in their space. The review went pretty well and I felt I was prepared, sporting my portfolio, resume, price list, and business card.

In addition to my ongoing alphabet project, I am working on a series of fish paintings. So far I have gotten a really positive response. I plan on doing more Koi paintings, but I am also working on some fantasy fish, including a sturgeon/lion fish hybrid.

New Work:

copyright 2010 Christina Kester

copyright 2010 Christina Kester

copyright 2010 Christina Kester

Update and Inspiration

After a wonderful trip to New York to visit family, I got sick. I was in the hospital for three days. Rather than going into details, I’d like to just say that I am better now.

I finished the sketch for letter J and I painted my Koi (see the bottom of the post). I’m very happy with how the Koi came out. I got some great critique from the folks at Epilogue. If you haven’t checked them out, please do.  They are a friendly bunch who offer really good critique.

Currently I am working on creating a tutorial based on painting the Koi and many more letters. My self-imposed deadline is coming soon!

If you are in need of inspiration Illustration Friday has a weekly topic for illustration. I have found that it gets me going when I am in a rut. This week’s topic is idle.

Koi_CkesterFinalweb

2009 copyright Christina Kester

LetterJ_CKester

2009 copyright Christina Kester

Alphabet Soup

I finished the letter I and started on the letter J. I also have some preliminary sketches for the tree leaves on the letter K. I am feeling pretty confident that I can finish these within the time frame I have given myself.

Letter I

Tonight I plan on shifting gears a little bit and working on painting one of my many projects. It will either be my elephant or the koi.

ElephantKoi