Monday, March 31, 2008

Show's Over

Well the show this weekend is over - not a total success but not a failure either since I made my entry fee plus some. This, however, was the first time I haven't sold an original at a show. That was disappointing but you never know what may come out of a show once it is over either so I refuse to think of it as a failure.

I did get to see some artists that I haven't seen in a while - that is always nice. I made some new friends too - another plus.

Another great thing about this show was I got to see my new screens and covers in action! It was stressful getting everything done (and redone) in time. If you remember, I had made screen covers. The only problem when my sister came over so we could "practice" they were too hard for us to manage which meant the side seams had to be ripped out, the edges re-sewn and ties made to tie the covers on to the screens. I just didn't have the time what with working and still printing prints and a day and a half to the show!

My sister and mom came to the rescue though and worked very hard and did a great job on getting them finished by the day of the show. My brother needs to be commended too - he stays extremely busy but managed to build my remaining screens just in time. Whew!
My sister and her husband helped me set up and take down, not to mention transport the screens and a few odds and ends in their truck. Thank God for family - don't know what I'd do without them!
When I look at these pictures it is hard to imagine how I managed with only 4 screens at other shows.

Since this show was indoors I didn't have to use my tent and was able to take advantage of the space provided. Now I have a better idea of what to do at my next show - in Kerrville in May!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Hey Look At This!

I received an e-mail from the Texas Arts and Craft Fair the other day with a PDF of their newsletter for the upcoming show in May which I am participating in. I quickly scanned it, looked at the logo for this year's show and subconsciously recognized a pastel that I did but it took a few seconds for it to register!

If you look closely, near the center of the star, that little Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is a commission I did a couple of years ago! I didn't know that I had a piece they were going to use in their logo - how cool is that?!

If you remember reading my post a couple of days ago on taking good photographs that can be used as a reference photo - this is not an example of good photos. They were taken with a flash, looking down at the dog making her foreshortened and just poor quality photos.Here is the finished pastel. The client was thrilled with it and I was pleased with the way it turned out considering the references I had to work with.
Needless to say I am very excited to see one of my pastels used in the logo this year for TACF.
To read the entire newsletter and read more about the event and the artists that were chosen to exhibit here is a link It was a great show for me last year despite the flooding conditions! I have high hopes this year for an even better show and beautiful weather - but in Texas you never know!

Saturday, March 15, 2008

The Sand Dollar

How many of us have picked up sand dollars when we were at the beach when we were hunting for sea shells? The sand dollar used as a reference in this drawing was my grandmothers. I have three very large beautiful sand dollars of hers. They are all perfectly formed and unbroken and have been with me for years.

I used Fabriano 300 lb. cold press watercolor paper and graphite pencils along with watercolor pencils. I used the watercolor pencils first just placing color where I wanted it and then taking a damp brush and brushing it over the paper making a wash of transparent color. When that dried I began with my graphite pencils and drew in the sand dollar as I imagined it laying in the sand, partially buried, waiting for me to find it. I actually just held the sand dollar in my hand while I drew it but the memories of finding them on the beach helped when describing this piece on the paper. The texture of paper lent itself perfectly when doing the sand. Occasionally I’d take a damp brush and touch it to the water color pencil on the paper to achieve the watery look I was going for.

The original and limited editions prints are available of the Sand Dollar on my website in the coastal life gallery - check it out at SEASCAPES & COASTAL LIFE by KAREN HARGETT

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Portraits & Photo References

One of the most rewarding things about drawing is doing a portrait. It can also be one of the most frustrating. I use photographs as references to draw. Sadly, reference pictures are usually less than desirable and they may be the only picture someone has of this person or pet which makes it very emotional too.

Nine times out of ten, the reference picture is blurry or taken with the dreaded flash, which flattens out all the details. My heart goes out to a person that wants a portrait done but just has one lousy reference picture, making it all but impossible to see those details that will make a drawing come to life. The client also has the advantage too of personal knowledge of the subject so a lot of times they are recalling memories instead of what is in front of them in the picture. They don't understand why the picture they have is not a good reference. I have stressed out numerous times when doing a portrait from a bad reference picture - it isn't fun! So far they have all turned out where the client is thrilled with the portrait but after stressing one too many times over bad reference pictures it is now my policy that I will not accept a commission for a portrait unless the reference picture is a good, clear, high resolution picture.

I'm not a photographer, but here are a few suggestions for you when taking pictures:
  • Go outside - a bright overcast day is great - it's not too bright and doesn't create harsh shadows.
  • Avoid using a flash. A flash will wash out color and flatten details.
  • When taking pictures of children or pets, get down on their level - or lower. Follow them around if you have to.
  • Get someone to help you when taking pictures of children or pets. Distracting them with a favorite toy can make for a great picture.
  • If you are taking pictures of several people or pets at different times but want them in the same portrait - try to get the sun/shadows coming from the same direction even if it is a different spot.
  • When you want two or more subjects in a portrait be sure to get at least one picture of all of them together so it will be easy to determine their sizes in relation to one another.
  • Take candid pictures - just sit and talk taking pictures occasionally - their personality will shine through.
  • Take close up pictures - fill the frame with the person's or pet's head. It is really difficult to do a detailed head portrait when you are looking at a tiny, full-body picture that doesn't even fill the frame.
  • Take lots of pictures. I can't tell you the number of times I've been told "that is the only picture I have of . . ."
  • Patience. Patience. Patience. It takes patience to get a good picture. Don't get in a hurry and don't get mad if you don't get the perfect picture on the first try. Have fun and take another picture!

I hope these suggestions will help you when you are taking pictures. Even if you don't want to commission a portrait you will come away with quality pictures for you to enjoy for a long, long time by putting a few of these suggestions in to practice.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Getting Ready for a Show

I've not been posting as much as I would like lately. I was sick for a while and just didn't feel like doing anything - so I didn't. Now I'm getting ready for a show at the end of the month in Lockhart, Texas. It is their 5th Annual Rites of Spring Festival. The show will be in On the Square at 108 S. Commerce on Friday, March 28th — 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. and Saturday, March 29th — 9:00 a.m. - 8:30 p.m. Directions to Lockhart

It is the usual push for me to get prints printed, bagged and labeled, originals matted and framed and priced. I'm also making covers for my display screens. This show will be inside a 4,000 sq. ft. building and I won't be taking my tent. Since my screens are metal you can see right through them and I found that rather distracting for my art when I didn't have my tent as a backdrop. So I'm sewing the covers. I bought a bunch of sage green burlap - material is expensive these days and being on a budget this worked. My brother designed and made my screens. They are nicely welded, light-weight metal and come apart to fit perfectly in my trunk of my car. I have only made three today and have six more to do but I was pleased with the way that my sample turned out on this partial screen. I'll take pictures at the show and share them with you - if you are in the area drop by.