Monday, December 30, 2013

A Street Called Home

2013 "A Street Called Home" Fused Glass

Wow what a year.  30 paintings in 30 days in January FOR THE THIRD YEAR IN A ROW!,  Portland, Oregon for an adventure of a lifetime in May,  a whirlwind of art shows all summer long, a priceless gift given to a worthy family on Veterans Day, 
"Sacrifice" Gifted to the family of Danny Dietz GM2 KIA 2005

 all culminating in a dream of a lifetime, FiYA Pop up Gallery

  So many of my fans and followers supported this goal, and once I hit the ground running, I haven't had the time to properly thank you all.  I hope in the coming year, I can make that up to you.  For now, trust that I haven't forgotten your support, and I am sharing a letter I wrote to the artists that first signed up and believed that the gallery would be a success.   There's something to be said for faith, and all of the artists had it.  I hope we did not let them down.  (Note: what we asked of the artists was money up front, not commission.  We needed to pay the rent and utilities to secure our building.  This is not an easy thing for artists who live painting to painting, trying to support a family, so every penny that came in was so appreciated.  It spoke volumes to the fact that they believed in it's success, so failure was not an option to me.) 

There was snow and flood, but we overcame :) 

 Needless to say,  I burned the midnight oil, lost a lot of weight, and aged a bit.  But I wouldn't trade a second of it for the world. :)  I love you all!

Dear FiYA Artists,
I would like to thank you so much for your support, faith, and help during the past 3 months.  There are too many to thank, but from opening week there were artists who just seemed to know what to do without asking and I will be forever grateful. From the artist that brought cupcakes, to the ones that came in to demo, 

 to those that drove 8 hours to paint in the window, 
and local art friends who painted in the other window while the other artists mingled and sold their wares......

and there were  others who watched the shop while I made the last minute dash to the stores to shop, I will not forget your kindness.
Then there were memories of loved ones past..... Miss you Scott 

 It wasn’t always easy, but it was a tremendous experience and learning lesson.  I am not sure what 2 artists with no business experience and 8 kids between them thought they were doing starting up a venture such as FiYA with little more than a month’s notice, but it turned out to be far more amazing than anyone imagined, thanks mostly to the artists that believed that a small Midwest city like Findlay, Ohio deserved an art experience the likes of which are seen in the big cities.  Customer after customer would come in and rave about the artwork, and comment on how Findlay really needed something like this.  One customer, who came in no less than 6 times over the past two months, making purchases every time, visited me on the last day.  Her final words as she walked out the door (with more artwork in hand ) were “Thank you for doing this, you gave me hope” I’m still not quite sure what she meant by that entirely, but everybody needs a little hope, right Margie?

I learned a lot about the retail end of art sales over the course of the past few months and it was very interesting to see what people were interested in, what made them hesitate when making a purchase, and more importantly what it took to close a sale.   I am not a salesperson, and as I customer, I also do not like a pushy sales clerk.  However, on Christmas Eve, a gentleman came in, took a few steps in with interest, and then almost immediately started back out the door.  A friend of mine who was helping with the last minute shoppers that day, called out to him: “Wait, don’t leave!” He stopped and turned around, and she engaged him in a conversation about our Christmas Eve special that day.  He clearly felt out of place among the higher priced items, but the special was a free pendant ($12 value) with $10 purchase, an offer hard to refuse.  After learning he had a wife and 5 year old daughter, his choice was narrowed down after only 45 minutes of thoughtful shopping.  He even left with some soap and a nail file as well.  As he paid, he could barely contain his pleasure at his purchases, saying his wife and daughter were so hard to buy for, and he was happy to give them something different.  This is a story I heard over and over during the past 2 months and I wish you all could hear what I did about your work.  I have many more stories to tell of good times with the customers and hope to share them on the FiYa page in the months ahead.    Stay tuned J

Some of you may want to know if the Gallery was a success. How much did the store make, who sold the most, what sold the best.  Those are questions I hesitate to answer for many reasons.  The biggest reason is that you cannot put a monetary value on how your art impacted each and every customer that came in.  It was absorbed, admired, gazed at, wished for, and filed away for future purchases.  I cannot measure for you the enormous success that the gallery was in my mind, perhaps financially for many artists, but mostly the impression your art made upon our customers.  For some of you, the momentum of the gallery inspired you to pursue your work with even more excitement and inspiration.  In my scale of measurement, I was blown away by the success of the the gallery, and it could not have happened without a single one of the artists that participated, because every one of you encouraged me along the way and gave me a reason to keep going when the going got tough.  Thank you from the bottom of my heart.    

(However, for those of you gifted with both sides of the brain engaged and would like to know specific numbers, monthly or biweekly sales breakdowns, and the boring stuff, feel free to contact me and I will be happy to share that with you. )

Do I have any regrets?  Yes.  The biggest regret (my fault…. this is one of those “hindsight is 20/20” things) is that many of you did not get to experience the reactions of people when they came into the gallery.  It was of amazement and endless questions and compliments, joy, laughter, hugs.    So many of the customers wished they were shopping for themselves and not others.  Next year, it will be so important that the artists get into the store to experience the customers and a typical gallery day, because it was the day to day stories and interactions with the customers that mattered so much more than the sale. 
Anyway, I have much more to share, but checks to put in the mail!  Thank you so much for believing in this dream, I will never forget it.

Kristen.the artist that brought cupcakes, to the ones that came in to demo,  to those that drove 8 hours to paint in the window:

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Inks and Drinks Michigan Style

To buy this painting click HERE

Headed to Michigan this week to do an Inks and Drinks class in Michigan with fellow artist Laurie Mueller.  Stay tuned for some great pics, Inks and Drinks is always a good time!  Hopefully, Laurie will make this a regular event in her home town.  I also have the privilege of being the artist of the month at the community house so I'll be showing my work there until it's time to put it in the FiYa Studios Pop up Gallery for November and December.  Ever have a feeling like you're on a treadmill that's going too fast and can't get off?  Yep, that's me!  

If you are interested in an Inks and Drinks class and are local to the Findlay Ohio area, you can sign up on the website

If you haven't already checked up my latest shenanigans with glass artist Kelly Alge, we are taking on a big venture and could use your help, check it out and share if you don't mind!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Big News and Welcome Fall

ok, here's the big news! My friend Kelly and I have been working hard on a plan/project to open a "Pop" up co-op art gallery for the months of November and December in our hometown.  We have organized a kickstarter to try to offset some of the start up fees and we would be eternally grateful if you take a few minutes to check it out and pass on to friends.  Here's the link to our project.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Dog Days of Summer

I've been terrible about blogging this summer and really have no good excuse other than I'm spending most of the time out in the studio getting ready for art shows and trying to keep up with yard work.  Here are a few of my latest inks. I've decided to try a series.  I have some new oils as well, I'll post them later this week.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Why Bother?

Once in awhile most artists hit the proverbial wall and ask themselves "why bother?"  Am I even getting better? Am I making a difference?  I'm certainly not making a living, yet I feel like I am on a treadmill of create, sell, buy supplies, repeat.  At some point will there be point or purpose, a conclusion, or do I just create day in and day out just for the sheer pleasure of making art?  I don't make art that has hidden meanings, iconography, or social topics.  I just paint what I like, usually things in my life that hold meaning to me, or subject matter in my immediate world.  Hay bales, flowers, horses, landscapes, military scenes.  Often I paint because I know it is a subject that will sell, and yes, I need to sell to get more paint.  It's a vicious cycle.

Today was one of those melancholy days where I miss my friend Scott who could answer lots of these questions for me.  I visited his blog he wrote in the last 2 years of his life, and I read some his final words.

 Shame on me for my pity party while he struggled to deal with life's biggest questions.  Why didn't I see it then.?   I suppose I did, in a way, because I tried to help....but I didn't really see his anguish back then as I do now, 6 months later.   One particular post always gives me hope however, and as I read it today, I have to smile as I hear his ever optimistic voice and grateful spirit.  Shortly before he passed, he wrote the following article "Why bother".  Not only are his words an inspiration, but the comment by a stranger that follows will forever be in my heart, and I know there is a reason to continue on the course I am on.

Often, my friend Kelly and I lament that Scott didn't have the chance to do as much with art as he would have liked, because he was starting to do so well.  Part of me believes I keep going for him, because he never had the chance.  Miss you Scott.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Back From Portland!

(photo taken by Chris Lally)
There are not enough words or photos to describe my Portland experience and if I tried it would be a book, but suffice it to say it was one of the best times of my life and I can hardly wait for a chance to go back. Chris Lally did a fantastic job chronicling the trip daily on her blog so if you are interested in better pictures and more details be sure to visit her blog.  She's an outstanding artist also and her gift for writing just adds to the beauty of her work. Her husband Tim is also an artist and both of them were outstanding hosts and tour guides.  I can't thank them enough.

Here's a little background about the purpose of the trip.  Friend and fellow glass artist Kelly Alge was invited to take an advanced week-long workshop at the prestigious Bullseye Glass Co. located in Portland, OR.  She invited me to come along since she knew I have several art friends there and I could use the time taking lots of photo references for future art. Being a glass artist myself, I was hoping to see some great local glass art (which I did).  After agreeing to come along, I became a little apprehensive as I have in intense phobia of flying.  I almost backed out.  I am so happy that I didn't.  I went to my doctor who told me that many people have this fear and prescribed something to calm my nerves.  Needless to say I slept most of the journey and didn't have one bit of anxiety. So for those who have anxiety about flying, definitely ask your doctor to help you out.  I can't believe I haven't flown for 20 years just from fear.

I'm happy to be back home and get back into painting and art before the summer show rush. I've spent the last few days catching up on housework and yard work and can't wait to plant my garden.   

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Portland Bound

8x10 Fused class $400 Click HERE to buy

This is the piece I completed at the glass workshop last month and I'm just getting around to picking it up at the studio so here it is! This technique is very labor intensive but it is so rewarding when complete.   I will be traveling to Portland OR next week and am very excited about visiting the Bullseye Glass Factory.  Stay tuned for updates! To learn more about this workshop, check out this awesome post by Gloria Moses on her blog.

This piece comes framed Finished dimensions are 14x18

Monday, April 8, 2013

Qiang Huang Workshop

8x10 oil on panel (rose study day 2)

This past weekend I had the pleasure of attending a workshop with Qiang Huang  (pronounced Chong Wong) in Carmel, Indiana.  It was hosted by Renaissance Fine Art Gallery in downtown Carmel.  In the past I haven't really given too much detail about my workshops other than to say/show what I've learned and how great the teachers were, but in the case of this workshop, I think it deserves special consideration and detail since it was a five star event from both the teacher and the host.  It's not often you feel like you've had a life changing moment, but in this case it is true for me.

As an artist, I also like to read about other artists experience at workshops since most artist workshops can be very pricey and it's nice to know if I'm getting my $ worth.  In the case of this workshop, I didn't research Qiang mostly because I've followed his work for a long time and I waited until I felt I was ready with enough painting skill to get something out of it.  After taking his workshop, parts of me wish I hadn't waited so long because he is an outstanding teacher.

First and foremost, I will say that you will get the most out of this workshop if you are at least an advanced beginner so you don't waste your time struggling with the drawing/layout part of the composition and you've had a bit of experience drawing from life.  Carol Marine's workshop was a great starting off point for me in this respect, although I know there are many other teachers that are good at this as well.

Day 1
Qiang's workshop is the first workshop I've attended where a video camera and screen was set up so all students were able to see his demo.  I cannot emphasize enough how important that is for the students, and I will look for that feature when choosing future workshops.  This type of setup can be done with such little difficulty there really is no excuse for anyone to have to pay for a workshop and not be able to see the demos.

This workshop is also the first where an instructor provided a very well organized slideshow and discussion on what to expect in the days to come.  Qiang's lecture, handouts, and examples are unsurpassed when learning a broad amount of information in a short amount of time.  His teaching style is so easy with his very structured and direct teaching methods.

Here is his first demo:

Day 2
On Day 2, Qiang reviewed the previous day's principles and went a step further emphasizing some of the major principles of art and design and the importance of their role in a painting.  This is something often overlooked by other instructors as they spend most of time on technique rather than the overall success of a painting.  This is so very important to include since many of the attendees of workshops are not students that have a degree in art and have never learned the elements and principles of art.  If you don't have the basic foundation, it is so much more difficult and takes far longer to be a better artist.  Qiang seems to fully grasp this and incorporates the most important aspects of design in his lecture, emphasizing that correct value most important of all ( i agree fully)

Qiang's Demo:

On Day 3, we started the day painting on our own and with a bit more autonomy, with Qiang making the rounds from student to student for specific questions and help.  The afternoon was a highly informative lecture on marketing your art in today's art market.

If I had to rate this workshop on a scale of 1 to 10, I would give it a 9.5 (have to leave room in case of something greater, like the Plein Air trip to China), but in all honesty, I couldn't have asked for more in a workshop.

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Happy Spring, Workshops abound, and Portland here I come.

Flower Tiles 
It's hard to believe it's been over a month since my last post.  I haven't fallen off the face of the earth, I've just been so busy making art and new opportunities I can hardly stop to take a breath!   Great things are going on in my art life, some I can share now, some I will share later ;)  Kelly Crosser-Alge and I have partnered up to share our Inking techniques in a class we call Inks and Drinks . It's been a great hit so far so we have pre-scheduled for classes for several months ahead.  Here's a photo of our first "victims"

Finished Masterpieces :)

 Their first practice tiles

Right now the class is every other Tues eve in Findlay, OH, but we are looking to expand to other nights and locations as well.  If you are interested in a workshop in your city, please contact me for info.

More exciting news:  I am traveling to Carmel, Indiana this week for a workshop with Qiang Huang.  I've admired his work for some time now and his recent works from his China visit are so inspiring.  It will be an honor painting with him and my artist friends Gloria Moses and Laurie Mueller.   

In April, I attend another workshop with Kelly Crosser Alge with fused glass sgraffito:
piece by Kelly Alge

 my piece from the last workshop 

In May I will be traveling to Portland OR to see the Bullseye Glass Factory, and catch up with artist Carol Marine and husband David.  

I've also been very busy applying for art shows in both the Inks category and oils.  I am honored to have been chosen for the distinguished Crosby Festival of Art in Toledo, Ohio, one of the more difficult shows to be juried into.  I'm signed up for at least 7 shows this summer at this point, probably more, so it's looking to be a very busy summer season.   I will post a schedule of shows soon if you are local and would love to see you there!  

Friday, February 22, 2013

Inking again!

 Flower Field  11x14  Bidding starts at $50 click HERE to bid

Poppy Field 8x8 ink on panel Bidding starts at $50 click HERE to bid

Birches 11x14  Bidding starts at $60 click HERE to bid

Ink painting again!  I'm obsessed with these inks and I've been neglecting my oil painting but hey, art is art right?  I'm hoping to have enough by summer to do some shows with them as well as with the oils.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Chance of a Lifetime and Catching up again.....

12x16 oil on panel "Birches Revisited" $150 click HERE to buy

6x6 oil on panel "Cedar Point Marina" Click HERE to bid.  Starts at $20

"Not all Roses are Red" 5x7 oil on panel Click HERE to bid.

As always I'm playing catch up with my blog, but I'm starting to be ok with that.  Perhaps you all don't want to hear from me everyday anyway eh?  Here are a few of my latest paintings, just kind of plodding along with subject matter and getting through the winter blues.  

I also have a link to share for a friend and fellow artist.  She rec'd an offer that would could be likened to a painter getting the opportunity to study with Van Gogh or Monet. A chance of a lifetime, if you will.  However, in order to accomplish this she has to raise the traveling costs herself.  Click HERE to read the story/fundraising campaign if you are interested.  Kelly Alge she has been a great mentor to me and has taught me everything I know about glass work art, and is just a great person all around.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Trying to find my wings....

5x7 oil on panel  click HERE to buy

8x8 oil on panel click HERE to buy

Those that have followed my art for the past few years, or know me well, understand that I haven't quite found my niche or direction yet in art.  I feel like I'm refining my skills and style, but have yet to settle on something, my voice, I suppose, that sets me apart from other artists.  One of the topics that I enjoy and seems to elicit the most emotion is my Navy series that I started when my son was in boot camp and I was too frantic on how he was doing to focus on much else, so I painted pictures that the recruit training command posted weekly and generously gave me permission to use as reference.  I really enjoy painting this series, and as a veteran myself, I often can put myself in the shoes of the subject I am painting.  Perhaps this is my destiny for painting, but I'm not sure yet.  While I've been given permission to use the photos, I'd like to gather my own references and material myself, perhaps the Navy would let me on a ship to get some of my own shots (ha! not likely)  Another idea that hit me was, surprisingly, during the super bowl commercials.  My two favorites were the Budweiser Clydesdales, and the Farmer one by Dodge.  Both of them showed concepts that elicited emotion and the idea of the everyday life of hardworking Americans.  I have always been drawn to the American story and the American dream and memories of how I grew up in a small town.  The generations of today seem to be missing a lot of that and I hope to try to capture some of these ideas before they are gone forever.  Stay tuned, likely I will still be painting random stuff until I formulate a plan but I think I'm getting closer................

Friday, February 1, 2013

30 in 30 is over!

Well, the 30 in 30 challenge is over and I learned a ton! Next year I would do things a little different like pick a theme and set size, and I would definately blog more.  I finished more than 30 paintings and I tried to put them all in a grid but somehow ended up with only 25 in a grid.  As an added bonus, the local newspaper did a write up on me and another daily painter from my town.  Thanks to everyone who bought my paintings, encouraged and commented on my work, it keeps me going and truly makes the journey worth the hard work!

Friday, January 25, 2013

Off for the Weekend

Hay Rolls 11x14 on panel $150 click HERE to buy

5x7 oil on panel click HERE to bid

5x7 oil on panel click HERE to bid

Well, I'll be "off" from painting for the weekend so I'll be spending today trying to get ahead or else I'll come back and race to the finish of the 30 day challenge.  I feel pretty good about it so far, and overall am happy with my paintings with a few obvious exceptions ;)

Tuesday, January 22, 2013


Nubble Lighthouse 5x7 oil on gessoboard panel $30 starting bid click HERE to bid

"Tiny" NFS

Mountain Hike 6x6 oil on gessoboard panel click HERE to buy

Magnolia Spring 8x10 oil on canvas panel click HERE to buy

Winter thaw 5x7 oil on gessobaord panel Click HERE to bid

"Colonel" 8x10 oil on canvas panel click HERE to bid

I've been terrible about keeping up with my blog since I've been so busy painting.  This 30 n 30 day challenge has been a God send though, as usually I am in the winter doldrums in January and February with "Cabin fever" and it doesn't help that I live in a log cabin!  I'm so glad I am "forced" to go out and paint and I feel like I have grown so much just doing it so religously.  How about you?