Here's a preview of just a few of the articles appearing in the February/March issue of Professional Artist. Find us at your local bookstore or view the full contents page and purchase the digital edition here.
Artists As Inventors (Part I)
By Kim Hall
I have had the opportunity throughout the past several years to attend various art supply trade shows. I was always a little star-struck when I saw the artists who had developed the products or founded the companies doing painting demonstrations, talking to artists or students, and simply sharing their love for creating great artwork. Many of them created their products out of necessity for their own creative issues. Others just wanted to make their living in the art world, even if they couldn’t do it with their own artwork. The more I learned about these innovators, the more I felt that sharing their stories might inspire the readers of Professional Artist, not just to appreciate the years of sacrifice and dedication that went into the development of these products, but also to consider their own potential.
Painting the Illusion of Glass
By Ora Sorensen
When you depict glass in a painting, you’re most often creating an illusion. But the approach is often quite different from painting other subjects. Unlike creating an image of opaque objects, you don’t actually paint the glass itself, since it’s either translucent or transparent. Instead, you paint the reflections, refractions and distortions that occur on and within a glass object. Simply put, you render the abstract shapes caused by the play of light on the glass object in order to replicate its appearance.
But how can you paint what I call the elusive journey of a light wave? It’s a challenge, to say the least. Light will look different at various times of the day or depending on atmospheric conditions. It also changes appearance in glass, water or other transparent substances, which often bend or distort the light.
Increasing the Value of Art
By Alan Bamberger
Only a small percentage of artists become world-famous and make lots of money. A slightly larger percentage of artists achieve respectable levels of success within their lifetimes and support themselves entirely by making and selling art. The great majority of artists, however, supplement their art incomes by either teaching art or by working full- or part-time jobs not related to art in order to make ends meet. If you’re one of those artists who falls into the “great majority,” you would probably like to increase your art income to the point where you can eventually create and sell art full time. The good news is that no matter how little money you make from your art now, you can begin to lay the groundwork for your future self-sustaining art career.
When I Became Successful Selling Art Online
By Carol Marine
Six years ago, I was making far less than I would consider to be a real living, pursuing the traditional route of selling my work through various galleries. Today I sell a painting almost every day, teach sold-out workshops around the country and have launched a series of successful online art tutorials. How did I turn my career around? I’ve adapted to a world where selling art online is a fabulous new option for artists.
When I was just out of college, trying hard to make money by painting portraits, I wrote to one of my favorite artists, Michael Shane Neal (www.michaelshaneneal.com), for some advice. A couple of weeks later I was shocked to receive a three-page, handwritten letter, full of great information. At the end of this letter, Neal wrote, “The best way to improve your skills is to do some kind of art every single day.” I thought, “Yep, heard that before,” and continued to ignore the best advice I’d ever receive.
What followed were five years of struggle. My university education had been seriously lacking. My professors had been more interested in discussing the politics behind art than any kind of technical skills. I never once heard a lecture about value or composition, much less how to sell art. In fact, when I told them that I eventually wanted to earn a living with my art, they called me a sellout.
Artists as Caretakers of the Earth
By Renee Phillips
After the recent Sandy megastorm, it was impossible to ignore the reality of natural disasters that have turned millions of people’s lives upside down. Monstrous sea waves have eroded stretches of land, countless homes have been demolished, drinking water has become unsafe in many areas, and toxic debris threatens residents’ health. There are systemic solutions to the perils facing our environment as we co-exist with nature.
For decades, many artists have used their art to communicate their concerns about the planet. Since Sandy’s horrific impact, we can expect to see this topic explored further in exhibitions taking place in educational institutions, museums and nonprofit organizations, as well as commercial galleries.
A few years ago, I embarked on an ongoing project, “Artists as World Changers” (www.ArtistsAsWorldChangers.com), a series of profiles about artists who are advocates for positive change in many different ways. Among them are artists who strive to increase awareness about our responsibilities to safeguard the earth. Wildlife preservation, conservation, “green” energy, climate change, habitats, recycling, clean water, ecology, toxic materials and earth-friendly themes are just a few of the many subjects of interest. In this article, I have chosen a few environmentally conscious artists to share their views.