Lynn Ricci's Musings

How Does a New Artist Get Gallery Representation or Build Art Relationships? January 05, 2017 11:10

What Does a Girl Need to do to Get Noticed in the Art World? It's a question I ask myself a lot . . .

Preparing the Paintings for Paint Nights June 13, 2015 17:08

Paint nite 050615

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 09, 2015 10:17

Christopher Columbus Park, Boston at night 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!


Take a Step Back to Go Forward December 07, 2013 10:26

I take breaks from painting - not by choice, but due to life.  I work, have a family, am a single parent, and I have other commitments and things I am involved with.  There are weekends that start off where I look at my canvas, excited to get started and I think, I will just get the laundry started and then get started, or I should go shopping first and start this afternoon, or the phone rings and company is on the way . . . and before I know it its Sunday night.  Life. [caption id="" align="alignleft" width="360"]Image Me at Paint Nite[/caption] But with life getting in the way of too many weekends lately, I decided to schedule some time with a friend to attend a Paint Nite in my favorite location - Chatham, MA.  You may have heard of these events - they set up in a bar or restaurant, bring all the supplies, and an instructor guides a room full of (mostly) women sipping wine through a painting in two hours flat.  Not exactly what I had in mind for my next artistic creation -- but I found it was fun!  And, more importantly, it reminded me that art is part of my life and I need to make time for it - even if scheduled into a two hour block. By taking a step back, and participating in a class that I thought was strictly for novices or beginners, I was able to move forward and get my head around the realization that my artwork is a part of me that I should not ignore.  I am happy when I am creating - whether writing a book (I write, too) or creating a painting or doing something crafty . . . By putting all of life's responsibilities first, not only would I never really find the time to paint, but the frustration of looking at those lovely blank canvases week after week is enough to drive you mad . . . and then who cares if all the socks are matched up in the laundry basket? [caption id="" align="alignright" width="428"]Image Our two hour masterpieces![/caption] Also, I found that by letting myself approach the class as just a fun night with a girlfriend over wine, relaxing and talking, not expecting to gain much, I learned a new trick.  Something simple that I may have learned years ago and forgot, or never knew at all - but it gave me a sense of excitement to get home and paint and try this technique again.

Lastly, even if you paint as just a hobby - or never painted at all - I would suggest trying one of these Paint Nites as an entertaining night of exploration.  All 32 of the women (and one man) at Chatham Bars Inn the other night let their inner artist out, had fun, and went home with a new creation. And isn't that what life is really about - having fun, being creative, enjoying friends and continually learning and pushing yourself to try new things?

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="374"]Image Paint Nite held at Chatham Bars Inn, Chatham MA[/caption]

Drawing Skills Are Fundamental September 06, 2013 13:32 1 Comment

"Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up."Pablo Picasso
When I was a child, I liked to draw.  I would copy anything that I saw: pictures on a lunchbox, a scene in a magazine, animated characters from comic books or MAD Magazine.  As I got a little older, I would get up very early on Saturday mornings and draw along with Captain Bob (You need to be from the Boston area and of a certain age to remember Captain Bob). My teachers were never happy with my "doodling" in class but I just couldn't help myself. ImageLike many budding, young artists, I took art lessons with grand aspirations of working for Disney someday, or Hallmark, or even moving to France and spending my days with an easel and fresh canvases.  My family would visit the Museum of Fine Arts (MFA) and I would dreamily drag my feet, slowing my family's progress through the giant museum.  All I wanted was to spend long periods of time staring at the paintings; thinking about what the artist was striving for, how each brush stroke was formed, what paints were mixed to get the desired color and the creation of light, or stare at the finely carved statues and wonder how the artist saw the finished form in a block of marble.  Later, I attended MassArt and was able to spend as much time at the museum as I wanted without anyone saying "move along, slow poke . . .".  For practice, I would fill sketchbooks with vignettes from famous paintings and shaded sketches of statues from Boston museums. Thoughts of a career in art still filled my young mind. Fast forward, let's just say a good number of years, and I now live in Burlington and have two children, a dog, a cat, a mortgage and I work in a finance department.  Not exactly the carefree artist lifestyle I had imagined for myself, but I'm very happy.  The bonus is . . .  I still get to paint! No, it is not my day job; however, I paint for enjoyment, satisfaction, as a challenge, as therapy, a creative outlet and even take on commissions every now and again. And sometimes in work meetings I catch myself still happily doodling like a child in class. Challenge for the week:   Perfecting your drawing skill is essential to any art form.   Keep a sketchbook and find subjects to sketch for practice.  For example, there are plenty of interesting places around your town or city that you could sketch outside.  Or, set aside time and explore some great works in person, or at least online, for inspiration.  I am lucky to be close to Boston with so many great museums such as the MFA or The Harvard Art Museums or, one my favorites, The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum.  What is your favorite place to sketch?

The Need to Paint August 22, 2013 07:47

I awoke this morning, very early, due to a rabbit in the yard.  How could a quiet rabbit wake someone?  Anyone with a young, active dog and a glass door in their bedroom can tell you it's possible. Fenway, our springer spaniel, began a low growl which woke me just in time to see the object of his attention and before the barks erupted that sent ole Peter Rabbit scurrying to and fro.  It was 4:45AM. So, instead of my last hour of sleep, I was able to watch the sun come up, the sky change colors, the light  stream through the trees changing the leaves to a bright sap green and the play of shadows and light across my yard and flower beds.  What artist would really like to get up and go to work when they know they have a big blank canvas sitting in the corner waiting to be painted? Artists get a bad wrap sometimes.  They have been characterized as a generally flaky, off the wall, lazy, self absorbed and crazy bunch of people.  Well, some can be - but that is true of anyone, not just artists.  What people don't always see or understand, is the inner drive to create.  The power of that first flicker of inspiration as it takes hold and becomes a flame.  The need to make something - whether a painting, drawing, writing, sculpture, photograph, or whatever your craft - with your own two hands and mind and be able to sit back and smile, thinking "I made that". I'm going to finish my coffee and go to work.  It's going to be tough, but we artists can be responsible, too.  And, there is always later tonight.

Does a Creative Mind Have Internal Competition? August 02, 2013 14:17