Thursday, November 1, 2012

Post Festival Blues and Lessons Learned

Really it may be the post-Halloween candy crash, but I'm drained and trying to decide which particular golden nugget of wisdom to impart to any beginning art festival exhibitors. I had a fantastic weekend, and it could have gone terribly, terribly wrong. All around me, I met wonderful exhibitors who gently pointed out how I hadn't quite set my tent up to withstand any sort of real weather, despite my good intentions. Providence smiled.

I'd like to point something out to an artist who has decided to participate in these events to gain broader exposure to potential customers, in addition to selling their art.

If you are maintaining a newsletter list, keep your method for adding new customer emails, names, etc separate from your credit card processing.

I had many people buy from me this past weekend and of that, I'd say 80% used their credit card. I happen to use Square mobile on my smart phone. (I'm not being paid to endorse them!) At the end of the transaction, the program asks if you would like to text or email a receipt to the client. Everyone chose email. Great, I thought because now I have their contact information! I mentioned to them that I was starting a newsletter and that I'd like to add them to the distribution list. Of course, please add me!

On Monday, after looking at the online register I found to my horror that I couldn't access any of my customer's personal information for their privacy. Square is protecting themselves, and their clients, and that makes sense.. but I wish I'd known that earlier.

They all have my business card, but who knows if they will go to my website to add themselves to the list?

Opportunity lost. Lesson learned.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Mount Dora Craft Fair This Weekend! Oct 27th-28th

I'll be displaying my paintings this weekend in Mount Dora along with over 350 other artists and craftspeople!

Check out this link for excellent lists and price breakdowns on Mount Dora event parking and shuttles:
What To Do In Mount Dora: 28th Annual Mount Dora Fall Craft Fair, 2012 - Parking and Shuttle Information for the Public

The Mount Dora Craft Fair is open from 9am to 5pm Sat and Sun, rain or shine! Hurricane Sandy, or not! (But
I'm hoping Sandy goes on an extended European tour instead.)

To see exactly where I'll be exhibiting, visit my web site home page which lists my booth information. See you there!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Combat "Cavalry Spurs" Alla Prima Painting

The Order of the Spurs is a time honored tradition for cavalrymen, a ceremony whose roots can be found in knighthood.

It comes already varnished and signed on the front and back. It is painted oil on linen on panel, and the panel is notched in the back so that it can be hung without a frame.

"Cavalry Spurs", oil on linen on panel, 5x5"
{Portion of the proceeds benefit the Wounded Warrior Project}

Thursday, August 16, 2012

"St. Joseph's Pastry" Alla Prima Painting

Oil on linen on panel, 4" x 4", "St. Joseph's Pastry"
This alla prima painting is 4x4", painted on linen mounted on panel. The panel is notched on the back, so that it can be hung on the wall without any framing.

One of the lesser known facts about St. Joseph is his status as the patron saint of pastry cooks, as well as patron saint of families. This St. Joseph's pastry is a riff on a Zeppole di San Guiseppe (as he is known in Italy). He is celebrated at Spring solstice with a Feast, traditionally held on March 19th. It is so delicious though, they are eaten year round.

Monday, August 13, 2012

"Swim Goggles" Alla Prima Oil Painting

Still life, Oil on linen on panel, 4" x 4", "Swim Goggles"

This painting is 4x4", painted on linen mounted on panel. The panel is notched on the back, so that it can be hung on the wall without any framing.
                                    Email me for purchase info.

I once read a book called Painting the Things You Love in Watercolor by Adele Earnshaw. It's out of print now, but you can find it used on Amazon for an extremely reasonable price as of this posting. It was fantastic for demonstrating how you can use the items you already cherish to create your own signature style. She covered the basics, but is a thorough teacher. I really enjoyed her down to earth style.

"Swim Goggles" arose out of this need to paint things that I love, as I learn to handle paint better during my daily painting project.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

"Zinnia Stem" Daily Oil Painting

Floral, Oil on linen on panel, 4" x 4", "Zinnia Stem"
This painting is 4x4", painted on linen mounted on panel. The panel is notched on the back, so that it can be hung on the wall without any framing.

                                 Email for purchase info.

This Zinnia flower stem kept me from painting my planned subject. I was stopped short by it's beauty. The bloom sprang up, luridly, almost daring me to take it. The person who leads the garden, was kind enough to let me have this bloom. It was grown from seed, by elementary children, who learned that although flowers are beautiful, they are also important, as powerful seductors for pollinators. No matter what vegetables are grown in the garden, the children always also plant flowers in the same bed. That makes sense, doesn't it?

Friday, August 10, 2012

"Strawberry" Oil Alla Prima Painting

Still Life, Oil on Linen on Board, 4" x 4", "Strawberry"
This painting is 4x4", painted on linen mounted on panel. The panel is notched on the back, so that it can be hung on the wall without any framing.

                                         Email for purchase info.

While painting this, I remembered being very little and having my Mom buy us matching t-shirts. I begged to have the shirt, because it featured a cute mouse holding a strawberry. Isn't it amazing what objects will trigger our memories?

Every year during strawberry season, our family goes to a "you pick" farm. The scent of strawberries and rich soil washes the air and there is a playground for families to enjoy after picking. I hope that my daughter will look at a strawberry after she is grown, and remember our times there together.

Does the strawberry trigger a special moment in time for you?

Thursday, August 9, 2012

"Peach with Cherry" Alla Prima Painting

Still Life, Oil on Linen on Panel, 4" x 4", "Peach with Cherry"
This painting is 4x4", painted on linen mounted on panel. The panel is notched on the back, so that it can be hung on the wall without any framing.
                                          Email for purchase info.

These fruit are stars. I love them both singly, and whole. I'm toying with an idea to create a peach-cherry pie, because it might work together. Why not? The world already has strawberry-rhubarb.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

"Lucky Bamboo" Alla Prima Painting

Have you ever wondered how these plants get shaped? Me, too. I know you can set palm trees in the ground at an angle when you plant them and they will straighten up, forming the most beautiful curve.

still life, oil on linen on panel, 4" x 4", "Lucky Bamboo"

                                       Email for purchase info.

I decided to go small with this one, and for subsequent paintings, to be able to do some visual excavation and exploration. Normally, when working on a larger painting I'm in the planning and development phase for awhile, and then the execution stage could take weeks afterward. I want more freedom. I want to pursue themes and subjects that I normally couldn't include in these larger paintings, but that would work as stand alone subjects. I think every object we are drawn to has meaning beyond it's beauty. It may be telling us something from our own subconscious, dredged up memories or half-formed thoughts.

It's an idea that I can validate or discard after painting daily. I'm excited! Already I am learning. This painting is in the alla prima method, or "at once" meaning that I painted it in one intense session. I normally paint in a series of layers, in a very controlled manner. This linen on board is like pushing paint around on a mirror it's so very slick.

Bear with me while I learn! I plan on sharing what I know. I'm already having fun and hope you will too.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Holy Sweet Magnolia and Cinco de Mayo!

This little beauty was a dream to paint. "Sweet Magnolia" was inspired after the heady magnolias unfurled their spring blossoms in my neighborhood and all across central Florida!

©Victoria Page Miller, "Sweet Magnolia", 16"x20", Oil on Canvas

The original, prints on paper and canvas will be available this weekend at the St. John's River Art Festival in historic Sanford. I will be in booth number 16, right on 1st street across from the fountain. Don't forget to visit and leave your contact information for a chance to win one of my prints in a raffle!

With a Super Moon and Cinco de Mayo to celebrate, how can you not come by to join in all of our festivities?

"Pico de Gallo" Oil Painting

Sometimes the best paintings are inspired by what is right in front of you. I plucked this juicy jalapeño from our early springtime garden, and arranged it with vine ripened tomatoes and an onion.

©Victoria Page Miller, "Pico de Gallo", 27"x12", Oil on Canvas (Triptych)

Modelling objects has it's own challenges. With people, the ideal situation is to coax out their personality with a setting that they desire and to make the image a combination of the two. With vegetables, you are working with how you feel about them.

Once I chose my working image, I decided on a triptych (three canvases). Both still lifes and triptychs are firsts for me, and it was exciting to paint on three canvases simultaneously.

I love everything about working in a vegetable garden and seeing the fruits of my labor. It is a restrained process, full of planning and evolved over time. A garden is a symbol of patience and growth. This painting, which was inspired by the lone early jalapeño, means to share some of that love, restrained excitement and imagery.

Both the original and prints will be made available this weekend at the St. Johns River Festival of the Arts. Contact me directly for information on internet early sales.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

St. John's River Festival of the Arts 2012

I'm extremely happy to have been selected to participate in the St. John's River Festival of the Arts, in Sanford, FL on May 5th and 6th.

If you are in the area, be sure to come visit my booth. I will be raffling a print. Drop off a business card or leave your contact information.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Orange Blossoms and Honey Bee Oil Painting

"Orange Blossoms and Honey Bee" is a small departure for me.  Watching the orange blossoms burst forth, and the accompanying dance of the honey bees lured in by the heady fragrance was akin to watching a mini drama in my backyard.

"Orange Blossoms and Honey Bee", 16" x 20", Oil on Canvas, ©Victoria Page Miller

Several times during the week, I did a photo shoot alternating between Aperture and Shutter setting on my camera. I generally prefer Aperture when shooting flowers, to make the background blur away. I also used higher Shutter settings to capture some detail of the bees so that I would have some information when painting.

I prepped the canvas with a wash of burnt sienna and odorless mineral spirits. I let it dry overnight, and used vine charcoal to draw in the composition, aided by rough grid marks on the canvas. I had assumed that drawing flowers would be easy, but it was surprisingly challenging and complex. I knew once my drawing had to be revised several times that painting it would also be a learning experience.

Color Wash with Initial Vine Charcoal drawing, "Orange Blossoms with Honey Bee"

My approach is to work the whole painting at once, rather than concentrating in one area. It helps in laying the correct values immediately. I work with the largest brushes first, saving small brushes for later.

After painting several days, I went back to the citrus trees expecting to retrieve a live flower blossom as a studio model and reference. There I received a shocking reminder of how transitory nature is: all the orange blossoms were gone. I missed my chance. I had to rely on my memory, familiarity, and my photo references.

During this period, a honey bee fell into our swimming pool and I was around to fish him out. He sat on the pool's edge, cleaning himself off. I watched him at eye level from inches away. Their thorax is very soft and fuzzy, reminiscent of a duckling's down. Their telltale stripes aren't so stark black against a constant yellow body, like commonly depicted.  After a few minutes, he regained his composure and flew off. I used this field observation to more fully render the rough areas of the bee in the painting.

I've already planted Lemon Queen sunflowers and other attractors in our vegetable garden so I look forward to more close encounters. Our pollinators are so important and are threatened on many fronts: colony collapse disorder, habitat destruction, viruses, pesticides, mites, and fungus. For a great Q & A all about bees, their behavior and the Varroa mite, check out this online session with Marla Spivak.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Casselberry's Art and Music in the Park Fri April 13th

Come out and see me and five of my creative friends as we exhibit our art pieces this Friday at Casselberry's Art & Music in the Park!

Art & Music runs from 5-8pm at Lake Concord Park and includes live music and the original Food Truck Bazaar(mobile gourmet food). I can't wait to chill out after a long work week and relax with friends.

Come on out and say "hi" - but be sure you bring your own blankets or lawn chairs! See you there!

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Heron at DeLeon Springs Painting

It's been a long time since blogging. I apologize for not tending to my blog, but sometimes life and family can overrun your time!

I just completed this oil painting titled "Heron at DeLeon Springs".

© 2012 VP Miller - "Heron at DeLeon Springs" - 16"x20" - Oil on Canvas 

My daughter and I were out at DeLeon Springs State Park in Volusia County, Florida. She is a member of the Echo Ranger program which allows children to sample ecological, cultural, historical and outdoors activities in Volusia. It's a fantastic program, and a great way to explore Central Florida for families. (I don't see why all counties couldn't adopt this idea: it's low cost for families, and an excellent cross-promotional tool, but best of all, it's fun!)

Anyway, on this particular trip we went on a ecological/historical boat tour at DeLeon Springs. The tour went from DeLeon Springs State Park into the waters of Lake Woodruff National Wildlife Refuge. This little heron was only a sampling of the kind of beauty we saw that day.

We'll be going back sometime to swim in the year round 72 degree Fahrenheit water. And maybe to try the famous pancakes at the Old Mill House. That requires getting there early, unless you want to wait.

Did you know that DeLeon Springs was once billed in the 1880's as a kind of fountain of youth? You can be sure that I dipped my feet in just in case!

Friday, January 6, 2012

2012 and donuts

"Donuts is there anything they can't do?" - Homer Simpson

Well it seemed a good way to commemorate the New Year at the time.

We drove to St. Petersburg to hang out with my family, and brought my Mom to First Night celebrations downtown.

Walking in the luminary maze and arriving in the center, you set your intentions (or make a wish) tying a ribbon to the large oak.

Paper lanterns held messages from the creator, usually universal in understanding.

We all went over to my brother and sister-in-law's house for a party. And stayed too late. It was a great way to start the New Year.

However you spent yours, working, celebrating, alone, with others; I hope that 2012 exceeds your expectations!