Category: Artist

Tips and other novel ideas for selling your art.

Free Underwater Photographs!

From now until the end of September I am giving away FIVE free underwater photography prints (a $100 value) with every purchase of an art print, original or photography print from my online store. Each print will come with its own mat and will be ready for framing.

We are running this special to help fund my next marine research and reference photography trip to the Florida Keys. The photographs taken during this trip will feed ideas for future paintings that will be available right here on my art blog!

Thanks for your support!

Christopher

Photographing Your Art for Show

Recently I was critiqued on a painting of mine… sort of. The artist, Byron Pickering, mentioned that he had an issue with the value of colors and contrast. This concerned me because I thought the painting looked great. First, I thought it MUST have something to do with my colorblindness, however, this particular painting was prominently blue. My colorblindness is red-green and should not have anything to do with what he and I are seeing.

So what was the issue? The image I was showing was taken with a digital camera and was later presented on someone else’s monitor. While this doesn’t sound like an issue, consider what happens when you take a digital image:

When you take a photo light must travel through air (or space), though the camera lens, into the camera CMOS (think ‘film’), onto my computer, and then to your monitor. Check out the two examples below.

Digital Photograph (before)

Direct Scan (after)

So much image quality and color are lost! So how do you combat the lossy-ness nature of digital imagery? Here are two simple and achievable answers.

Get A Direct Scan
Getting a direct scan from your giclee printer or another professional is a great way to ensure your colors are correct. Usually there is a color correction process that takes place to ensure the colors you see on screen are the same you see in real life. The life cycle of light in this example is light directly to image (from a flat bed scanner), to the computer, through digital color correction software, to your screen.

Correct the Image Yourself
One other thing you can do is take the digital image as you normally would. Please make sure that you take your image is non-direct sunlight. Doing this allows a full spectrum of color to be seen, unlike indoor lights that limit some colors (mainly blues). Import the image into your favorite photo editing software, crop and color correct. The color correction process is very much trial and error. In Photoshop the first thing you should try is the ‘Auto Adjust’ feature. This usually nets great results. After that play around with the Contrast and Saturation (in the Image menu).

The goal is to get the image to look as much as the original as possible. The results can be amazing and could also help get an online sale!

Tips for Artists During Tax Time

If you are an artist who sells their art online or in a gallery you have a simple truth to face. Tax time is just around the corner. Luckily I have a few tips to help you get through this tough time.

Inventory of Your Art at Year End as Cost, Not ValueWad of Cash
Now is the time to look around the studio and to document all new and existing art. Also, note what prints you have on hand if you have been participating in shows. As inventory, you must claim these items on your annual taxes. While you may be tempted to list these (sometimes pricey) items with their full value, DON’T! By listing the art on your tax return by cost you may save yourself several hundred dollars. For example, don’t list that $800 (retail) work of art on your taxes as its full price. Instead, list the aggregate cost of canvas, brushes, and paint used to create the art as its price. You will pay way less taxes on a work of art listed as $125 than $800.

Document Your ‘Other’ Expenses
Make sure that when you purchase any office supplies, shipping supplies, easels, or even light bulbs for the studio on your tax return. These incidental costs will add up over the course of the year and may save you a good chunk of change. Just make sure you hang on to those receipts in case the IRS has any questions later in the year.

Charitable or Gift Art
Did you save yourself money this year by giving art to friends or family members for the holidays? You may have done yourself a bigger favor than you thought! Gifted or donated art is another tax write-off. Just this year I gifted nearly $2500 in art to either charitable auctions or family members. And you can bet I will be writing those paintings off as a loss at full price.

Save Money, Use Tax Software
This may be a no-brainer for those of us who have used TurboTax for our personal tax returns. Unless you have made a huge chunk of change this year selling your art, you may not have to employ a personal accountant to get you the biggest bang for your taxed buck. Here in the art studio we have been using tax software to file our business taxes with good results.

What’s in the Art Studio

I wanted to share with you what was just recently completed. I will be adding them to the online store soon so feel free to check back!

Manta
This is a very large painting at 48″x36″ and is oil on canvas and is a compliment to Big Reef.

Manta

Islamorada End
This painting was started one of the last times we were in Islamorada FL. While diving we came to the end of a busy reef where it meets a sandy edge. With only four 8″ x 10″ canvases on hand I decided to fasten them together to create one large 24″ x 10″ scene.

Islamorada End

Angel Reef
Angel Reef was a painting that sat in my closet for many weeks. I had peeked in recently to see what we have for our inventory at this years end. There was a neglected work of art just waiting to be finished. Angel Reef is 18″x 24″ and is oil on canvas.

Angel Reef

Your Art and Photos in New Places

This year I think I am going to go a different route when selecting both holiday gifts and marketing my art. As an artist I would paint friends and family members special portraits, or simply give them one of the prints I have laying around the house. However today I found another option.


FotoBed.com Photo Throws allows you to easily put your artwork or family portraits on duvet covers, pillowcases, and blankets. Not only that but they are the only site that allows you to put your artwork on shower curtains. As an artist, I can easily see how FotoBed.com can increase my revenue by expanding my product base. Artists such as Wyland, Lassen and Guy Harvey have been selling their art in this way for years. Think about it. Your art or photos as not only a work of art, but a functional piece of art that doesn’t just hang on your wall.

Keep in mind thought that FotoBed.com is not strictly an artist’s website or service. Anyone can upload their photos to FotoBed.com and have them printed and shipped in two to four weeks. Not only that, but they also offer half-price duplicates (where you can get one exact duplicate item for 50% off) allowing you to get one for yourself and your loved one.

On The Flats Blanket Contest

So, what I would like to do is invite you to browse my online store and pick a piece of art that you would like to see on a blanket. Leave a comment on this blog telling me why you think it is a good choice to covert this art to a FotoBed masterpiece. Based on your answer I will pick a winner and will send you a throw on me. No strings attached. So get cracking and check out FotoBed.com for other great gift ideas!

Tips for Colorblind Artists

Being a colorblind artist myself, I have arranged a series of tips that I find helpful when painting and dealing with my ‘disability’.

Embrace It

Yeah, get over it. The first instant that you find out that you are a colorblind artist, you might be angry or feel jaded. I know I did. I had always wondered why red lights at intersections were such a dull color. I actually confirmed that I was colorblind while at an art show. People were remarking on how beautiful the red and orange hues really popped out at them. I, however, didn’t see it that way. After that day I came to the conclusion that my art was a lie. My eyes were lying to me!

I tried to paint a little more red in my art to overcompensate, but that only netted very unrealistic results. Then I got over it. Colorblindness is who you are and how you see the world. Much like your artwork, it is how you ‘see’ the world.

The Trouble with Portraits

Portraits and colorblind artists do not usually mix. Especially if you cannot see red very well. Imagine painting a portrait for a customer only to hear them say “Grandma looks the way she did at her funeral. Why is she so pale?”

Not being able to see those cheery red cheeks in your customer’s photo of Grandma Jean doesn’t translate well when you control the color in a portrait. A good solution for this is to paint in black and white. It’s a classy twist that allows you to be a little more creative.

Make It Your Gimmick

When I show my art to a potential customer I explain to them that I am an ocean enthusiast. Protecting the ocean is one of my goals when I paint along with education, awareness, and helping other charities such as DAN and Breast Cancer Awareness funds. I also explain to them that everything I paint is how you would expect to see it underwater. Never will you find a creature out of its native ocean or breaking its behavior patter.

This statement pales in comparison to ‘oh yeah, I’m also colorblind’. Watching the amazement of a potential customer is always flattering and it is usually followed up with a statement on how I should call myself the Colorblind Artist. And yes, I have found some level of success with my disability. So in your artist statement or the next time you have an opportunity to talk to a customer about your art, throw them a curve and admit your colorblindness and educate them.

Lock, Load, and Label Your Pallet
If you are red-green colorblind like I am and you decide to paint blue and purple on the same canvas you will find it hard to discern the differences between the two colors. Fear not! The color’s name is printed on the tube!

Seriously though. If you cannot tell blue from purple or light green from yellow label your pallet. Use a Sharpie or pen to label the paint on your pallet so you know which paint is which. Eventually you will know exactly where that Cadmium Blue is and will allow you to avoid using Dioxazine Purple when you don’t mean to.

Educate Yourself and Others

Here is a quick run down of some colorblind triva.

  • Colorblindness is considered a disability.
  • Colorblind people should not fly airplanes as there is a colorblind test that can tell if you can see the red and green markers.
  • Not all colorblind people see just in black and white.
  • There are three types of colorblindness: Monochromacy, Dichromacy, and Anomalous trichromacy (which is split into three categories: protanopic, deuteranopic, tritanopic)
  • 10% of men are protanopic (red-green colorblind)
  • Colorblindness is hereditary, so blame your mom and dad.
  • While underwater the first hue to leave the spectrum is red. So when you are 20 meters underwater what a protanopic colorblind person would see is the exact same as what a non-colorblind person would see.

Belize Dive Trip

Diving Belize is definitely something I would recommend to my fellow divers. While there, check out Hugh Parkey’s Dive Connection. If you are lucky you will dive with Denroy and William on Jr’s Boys. Our captain dropped us off first at Elkin’s Bay. They explained that the bay was named after a local fisherman who lived on the bay and gave them the permission to dive his bay. This was a multi-level dive where we started out at 60 ft for 20 minutes. After that we would drift at 30 feet for another 20 minutes. This was a pretty dive, but the visibility was not as great as what we were expecting in Belize. Beautiful, none the less.

Banded Butterflies

Our second dive was at Chasbo’s Corner. This dive was just on the edge of the atoll with a sheer wall down to 300 ft. The current was quick at times but wildlife was everywhere. Along with a HUGE Black Grouper we saw Cobia, Nassau Grouper and LOTS of nice, big healthy coral.

Belize Reef

 

In the Keys (Day 5)

It is never a matter of ‘if’, but ‘when’.  I’ve read this about a few things including in relation to your underwater camera housing.  While descending onto a reef I noticed a few tiny bubbles coming from my camera housing.  Upon further inspection i saw tiny streams of water inside the housing.  I was able to immediately tilt the see thorugh housing so that my digital camera didn’t get too water logged.  And since I was down only about five feet, I was able to re-surface and have the guys on the boat retrieve the camera and dry it off.  Luckily the camera was saved.

So why did this happen?  Carelessness.  I opened the housing several times this trip to download the pictures to post on my blog.  But not once did I ever apply more silicone to the o-ring.  Upon further inspection there was a tiny hair stuck to the o-ring.