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Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Watercolor classes back in session

It felt really good getting back into watercolor mode with my Monday class yesterday. We have a full class of 25, mostly returning students and a few new folks who have painted before. I turned the "oldtimers" loose to paint while I did a brief orientation for the new people. I told them that next week we would "do windows" and I wondered why everyone laughed. I meant "paint windows." I don't "do" windows any more than I have to. Except for Windows XP.

Critique was illuminating. Sylvia put up her best painting ever--a beautiful little church in the Tennessee woods, looking across an old cemetery next to it. Her treatment of the dappled shadows of trees on the sides of the building were marvelous. Linda also showed one of her best. She's ambidextrous and works with both hands. She did a beach scene that was beautifully transparent and showed no signs of overworking. Don painted two little goldfinches on flowered branches. He's good with the birds and wildlife and is learning to pick out a "catch-light" to make the eyes look more lively. Nearly everyone put something up for critique. It pleases me to say that they are all moving forward. In a month I'll be starting a beginners' class for eight weeks. I love getting people hooked on watercolor.

Of course, I showed them The New Creative Artist and, as you might expect, they were more than kind with their comments. What I've noticed when I show this book is different from the reaction to the first book, which was in print for sixteen years. People looked at the original Creative Artist and often said something about not being creative or wishing they had talent. Of course, the object of the book is to debunk those myths. But when people look at The New Creative Artist they seem more likely to say, "I think I could do that." Or "That looks like it would be fun to try." Bingo! Just what I was looking for when I wrote it!

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Wednesday, June 14, 2006

The New Creative Artist is here

Last week I got an advance copy of my new book and have been in a tizzy ever since. It's fantastic. I love what the designer did with the page layout--very creative. It's really a fun book, but is filled with substance, as well. I've been showing it around and hearing raves. Music to my ears. The books won't be in the warehouse until mid-July, I'm told. Must be taking the slow boat from China. The printer usually sends a few advance copies ahead of the regular shipment. I didn't expect it for another couple of weeks, so it was a surprise to suddenly find it in my hands.

It was worth all the work. Sometimes I think it's harder to revise a book than it is to write a new one. Tough decisions--what to keep, what to delete, what to rewrite, what to reorganize. Which art to replace, where to get new art, new exercises to write, new sidebars, illustrations to revise or replace--the list goes on. In addition, this book has an entire new chapter on art and fine crafts, which was a challenge to put together keeping the tone of the existing text. Finding appropriate places for all the art is a challenge, too. It's like a very complicated 3-D puzzle. But what a delight to fit the all pieces into it and see the final result. I can hardly wait for the contributing artists to see it.

You can read a description of the book here.

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Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Selling used art books

Last week was pretty intense, getting my studio ready for my open-house-and-used-art-book-sale. The studio needed a little shake-up anyway. So when we cleaned the garage the weekend before, I just brought in the crates of books I had stored out there when I stopped selling books on eBay. I had a nice little following for my books on eBay for quite awhile, but when they moved the category I couldn't seem to connect with my customers, so I gave it up. (Does anybody know a good category for used art books on eBay? Please comment!) It didn't help that I caught a cold from my daughter and somehow hurt my hip, maybe hoisting all those books. All better now. The sale and open house was a success. The invite list was small, just my two classes and a group of former students. I sold sixty books, but still have crates of them and I'm wondering what to do next. I used to have an "Adopt-a-Book" page on my web site, maybe I should revive it. I've given away many, many books in years past, but it helps to sell a few so I can afford to buy some more. Does that make sense? Probably not.

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