Lynn Ricci's Musings
Preparing the Paintings for Paint Nights June 13, 2015 17:08
It seems like overnight different variations of paint nights have popped up all over -- and people are enjoying picking up a paintbrush and creating. After many friends asking over the years about painting, wondering if I could show them how, and starting to attend paint nights and raving about them I decided to start offering paint nights in my own home for friends -- hence the name Paint Pals.
Paint Pals has grown quickly and I am now receiving requests for private girl's night out parties, as well as requests to go other places like church groups, sales meetings for team building, and private parties in homes. It has taken on a life of its own in the last few months. But for any of you who do this, what I find as a challenge is creating the paintings that a non-painter can paint well in 2 hours time. A few nights stretched into a third hour as people struggled to complete the painting - never mind the finishing touches I might have added myself.
It has made me step back and really think about the teaching element when I am relying on nearly 35 years of ingrained painting experience, and finding the right level for a group of people with varying skill levels. I am reminded of my art teacher in school and I wonder if they ever got frustrated - teaching a class with different artistic skill levels and keeping the class moving at the right pace to keep the artistic kids challenged and the ones with no skills motivated. All teachers for that matter need to teach to the common denominator -- but in small at home classes, I find I can give individual attention that the big classes at restaurants and bars and storefronts can't give given their class sizes.
I've been creating paintings to build a Paint Pals calendar and I force myself to paint differently - modifying my style, number of colors, etc to offer paintings that people can complete and be happy with. I'd love to hear from other artists that get involved with teaching these types of classes -- what works and doesn't work! What subject matters are most wanted? How to keep students moving along? How to gear subject paintings skill level? In the meantime, I will continue to hone my skills as a teacher to hopefully deliver the best customer experience I can to those who sign up for my classes!
Spurts of Paint(ing) May 9, 2015 10:17
Columbus Park, North End, Boston Over the last 6 months I have concentrated more on my artwork. I am not sure where credit is due for this change . . . an unusually harsh winter here in the Boston area, a muse that made me want to be creative, or a high level of stress that called for therapeutic time and to pick up a brush . . . but whatever the reason(s) I am happy to be concentrating on my artwork again!
One of the differences with this current spurt of activity is that I've challenged myself -- not relying on subjects I've done before and know how to approach -- but instead finding more challenging compositions, different lighting situations with nighttime scenes, including people (which I've always avoided), and larger canvases that made me think more about detail. I believe I've grown as a realism artist during this period.
With social media, I've shared completed work to a great response that encouraged me to keep pushing myself. It was the cheering section I needed to instead of doing one painting and stopping - have others lined up and ideas brewing. From this interest, I decided to explore offering Giclee prints for those who were interested in buying a print, and built an ecommerce website on Shopify to market my work. I was thrilled as the first orders rolled in for paintings and notecards! As an artist, we always doubt our work, but this has been very uplifting.
So, what is a Giclee? Giclee (zhee-klay) is a French word meaning a spray or a spurt of liquid. Apropos since I paint in bursts or spurts! They are incredibly accurate prints made on-demand, on canvas with either a traditional stretcher bar or gallery wrapped and ready to hang, and in the size you want. Giclees may not replace an original oil painting, but it allows people to buy a painting they like, at a lower price point, and enjoy it hanging in their home. I had seen them offered a lot during my gallery browsing last summer and it's a nice way for artists to offer their work to a broader audience.
I'm off to finish a painting of Fenway Park . . . and it may just make its way to my Giclee offerings!
Use Your Gift as a Gift May 17, 2014 08:17
A dear old friend did something incredibly nice for me. They wouldn't let me help pay, waving their hand to shoo away the idea like a bothersome fly. "I am happy to do this, I don't need the money", my friend said in their very generous way. And so it was done. But was it? I didn't feel so, especially when they followed up with another generous offer of tickets for my two boys and me for a sporting event - and we Bostonians love our sports. Great seats, great time. Now I really wondered how could I pay this friend back when they are so generous to me but won't take money? Give them a gift back! An offer they couldn't refuse. . . a painting.
I am sure all of us that dabble, or do mare than dabble, in some form of art have given pieces of your work away as gifts from time to time. The joy is so much greater to see the recipients face light up and know how you have given a one-of-a-kind expression of your friendship or appreciation. We also, more often then we let on as artists, have doubts up to the point of unwrapping if the work is really good enough. No matter what the level you are at, its the gesture - the time spent thinking, planning, creating - that goes into the piece that is what gets appreciated. That person knows you thought of them the whole time and it wasn't a quick run to the mall to buy something, you made it.
I am including a picture of the painting here. It was from a special photo they had taken and I hope that my friend has a chance to hang it, enjoy it, and know how much I treasure their friendship when they look at it.
So, think about sharing your gift as a gift more often! And if your talent isn't painting, pottery, sketching, jewelry-making, or photography but something like gardening or baking -- do that! Make up beautiful pots of mixed flowers that can be enjoyed or their favorite cake or pie. Better yet - don't wait to use it for a thank you or birthday gift - just do it to be thoughtful. It's an old-fashioned gesture that is missed!