Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Pink Petals - and my Open Studio Experience

Pink Petals
Oil on Gessoboard


A few weekends ago I had an Open Studio Holiday Event at my Home and I thought I'd share with you what the experience was like, and also what I learned from the whole thing.  This also helps me take stock of what worked and what could have been done better!  I do have to say that even with all the work that went into it in the weeks before -  
The event was a wonderful experience and so worth doing!
Me, in the middle, with Shannon Celia and Susan Ciufu

I want to thank all my friends and supporters that came to visit!!  It truly was a special day!

 Click Here to Purchase 2015 Calendars

I am not the most organized person so it really helps me to write lists. I need to get everything that needs to get done ahead, down on paper....or I'll loose track:-)   This event felt like a big step for me and once I committed I wanted to take every step I could to make it a success  - Research and committing to the idea took a few months and then I spent the last month really getting ready.  Here are a few of my areas of focus, and the to-do-lists I created in each area:

The Art/Merchandise: 

  1. Take stock of my inventory - what do I have? What's old, new?  Does some of it need to be touched up?  Finished?
  2. What work will I display in frames and what will I have on sale - unframed?
  3. Some artwork will need to be photographed, framed and priced.  (I individually tagged the unframed work and had a price list for the framed pieces.
  4.  Do I want to have anything else for sale?  In my case I had Calendars done.    I also worked on a small book of my work...that I ultimately wasn't able to get printed in time.
  5.  My kids got involved as well and wanted to sell their artwork too, which was a great hit!
 Paper puppets, by the one with all the ideas

Clear directions, from the one with business sense:-)

My Studio and Space:
My Studio
  1. I needed to clean up and get my Guest House Studio organized.  This meant vacuuming, cleaning, and organizing.  I created some shelves to put work in progress on and I also got my new paint organizer door ready to share with my artist friends.
  2. I decided to have a table of all my unframed pieces inside our house, so I needed to get boxes and space to set it up and display it in an easy way.
  3.  Some of my Framed pieces I had hanging in our living room area and then I used my Art grids to both hang some other themed work and section off the house a bit.
  4.  A big thank you goes to my husband who cleaned up a bunch of stuff in the back yard!!
  5. I think it worked out well to have several areas to visit during the event...
My new Paint tube Solution

Marketing/Spreading the word:

I wanted the event to be a somewhat intimate event/ and Holiday Celebration so I only invited a select group of people.   Enough guests, but not too many:-)

  1. I printed up 100 Invitations with my Artwork and the pertinent info to RSVP.  I also made a flyer that I sent to family and friends.
  2. I included information about my event in my Newsletter in October and November inviting everyone on my mailing list that lives locally.
  3.  I shared the information with my local Art Groups
  4.  As a test, I did an Ad through FB...A post which went out to some 3000 people.  At this point I'm not sure it garnered enough interest for the event to make it worth the $40, besides a few more likes...I also created an event on FB so I could invite FB friends.
  5.  I brought my cards to the Local Art Gallery and the Art Store (Graphaids - and, great idea!) and I distributed several to my neighbors.

Food, Entertainment and Sales:

  1. When it came to food my priority was to make it non stressful and the least amount of preparation on that day, but it was also a great excuse to get some stuff that I like to eat:-)
  2. I got a nice spread from the local Gelson's to enjoy including the ususal suspects, cheese and crackers, veggies, salad, coffee, cookies, sparkling water and wine.  (I was told to keep it simple, which I didn't quite succeed in:-) and it seemed that food and wine was still left at the end so... I might do it differently next time.
  3.  I got an acoustic guitarist to come and play, which set a nice festive mood and atmosphere.
  4.  The absolute best decision I made was to hire our young, but extremely poised and capable baby sitter as an assistant to be in charge of sales!  She did such a fabulous job!  Using the Paypal "pay here" app, set up with all of my unframed pieces already itemized made the process easy and seem less... and best of all, it afforded me the ability to interact with my collectors and guests, which I so enjoyed!
Some of my visitors, collectors and friends - Rich and the extremely talented Daggi Wallace

So here were the benefits of holding an Open Studio Event:

  • There's nothing like a deadline to get things done! I.e. my Space, Calendars, the Book...
  • I loved seeing my family and friends and I got to share my work with new people and make new connections.
  • More sales than I even anticipated were made, with more commissions for the future.
  • It was a family affair and the kids had fun and learned to be entrepreneurs:-)
  • I can buy more supplies!!! and paint more!!!

Some things I've learned and/or could improve:

  • Next time I might go easier on the food.
  • I will think of more ways and new groups to share the invitation with
  • Perhaps do a demo, include more artists...
  • Go through my inventory earlier...part of that is photographing anything that's been touched up...before it sells:-)
  • Take more pictures during the event! 
  • Add the address to the FB event to make sure everyone had it ahead of time, without personally asking me for it.
The possibilities are endless and there's something very unique about getting to share your space and work with the art lovers in your community....

What has been your experience holding/or attending one of these events?

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Simplifying with William Wray

Oil on Linen panel
 Not exactly in line with our exercise, but one I loved because of the truck:-)

3-day Workshop with William Wray
 What I learned in William Wray's workshop is that 
doing 3-value - Simple-shape exercises can be a really liberating way to look at how to strengthen and unify the impact of my work!

Here's William's first quick Demo on Friday where he showed us what we were to aim for that day:  
Do a simple draw in
Block in 3 values and 
Simplify your Shapes (Strive for - Big, medium, small)
Doing it this way helps in evaluating the strength of the abstract shapes and whether they will make for a strong enough subject/scene to paint.    And simplifying to this degree means not worrying too much about accurately including and getting everything in there.

 It was hard...!!!   

I think I only heard the first part about the values, not the 3 shapes?!  So, I was pretty proud of myself and how much I had simplified these first four scenes into values:-)   Here's my first 4 attempts:

As you can tell I was pretty seduced by the number of values and shapes I saw, the lights and darks, and the complication and detail of those shapes:-)  To make it into just 3 values, decisions had to be made about mid-values.  Some going either lighter or darker to lump them with another value.  And it also became clear that the process of picking a subject to paint could either help or hinder me in my efforts.

Here's how William took two of my thumbnails and simplified them to where they really needed to go for this exercise:

My 2nd attempt on day 1:
and here are William's improvements and simplifications of the 2 on the bottom:

So valuable for me to see how far he took it!

Here's William's demo piece from Sunday with more added detail:
 I love how well it reads and the wonderful light!  One other thing that stands out from what he mentioned is that sometimes you need to let go of painting it right, to capture

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

2015 Calendars are here!!

2015 Calendar of Art
Oil Paintings
 $15.00 shipping included

These will be available at my Open Studio Holiday Event as well!
This Saturday November 22nd, 12-4PM

Free with purchase of framed painting!

Email me for directions:

Friday, November 7, 2014

Olawalu Memories

Oil on linen on board

This is a fun commissioned piece I did, that almost painted itself:-)   Treasured family-time in Hawaii.   It goes to show that a painting can capture a memory for safe keeping far longer than any photo!   And it's unique and original.

Happy Painting!

Today I go off to take a 3-day workshop with William Wray.   One of my favorite artists - Very exciting!!

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Memory Line - in Coronado

Memory Line
Oil on Linen on Panel

Artists know that some times we are just stopped in our tracks by the beauty around us.   Came across this lovely party by the Hotel Del Coronado this summer - as I was trying to find a public restroom for my son?!  
It was after a nice dinner that we went for a stroll with my sister's family.  And then we stumbled upon this beautiful sunset at the beach.  Perfect timing. The twilight was mesmerizing.  A favorite memory of Coronado Island for all of us.  Luckily I had my camera, so I could capture the scene for one of my paintings!

Also luckily, my son was a good sport about mom's obsessions, after the bathroom visit:-)

Monday, October 13, 2014

The Colors of Hard Work

The Colors of Hard Work
Oil on Linen on Board
To Purchase

This past week I had the opportunity to paint in Down Town Los Angeles for the first ever Los Angeles Plein Air Festival.   Talk about a different kind of Plein Air experience:-)   

The city is full of beauty.  The Colors of the Toy district are just up my alley!   And whether your audience is made up by sophisticated collectors, kids and homeless or intoxicated onlookers.   Art can always serve as a connecting point bringing endless fascination, opinions and shared joy.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

By Monahan's

By Monahan's
Oil on board

Quick little sketch where I wanted to keep the freshness of a plein air piecein the studio and keep my light and shadow areas in mind.

Monday, September 29, 2014

9.30.14 - First Steps

First Steps
Oil on canvasboard

Just a little painting of some of my favorite farm animals - Goats!  And when they are only 3 days old, they're extra cute - I'm just sayin'.  A very special thank you goes out to Kathy Jonokuchi for a very special paint out!!

Friday, September 26, 2014

9.26.14 - Not Yet Spring

Not Yet Spring
Oil on CanvasBoard

Aside from painting for the 30 in 30 challenge I did a few paintings for Randy Higbee's Urban Beauty Exhibit this month.  This one got in:-)  The reception is next Saturday October 4th from 6-9PM.  I'm hoping I will get to see some of the other pieces in the show.  It looks to be a beauty. 

Sunday, September 21, 2014

9.21.14 - Eyes on "Rice"

Eyes on Rice
Oil on Linen on board

Spent some time at the Thousand Oaks Arts Festival yesterday and worked on this painting.  A view I captured this spring, of a restaurant in Ventura that have since moved.  Had fun doing it upside down with all that was going on in that window...and I can't resist that color combination:-)

One week left of 30 in 30...

Friday, September 19, 2014

9.19.14 - First official demo

Morning Duo
Oil on linen on panel

So I've painted in front of people on several occasions, but this past Wednesday Night I got to do my very first demo actually talking about my process as I was painting - the whole way through!  Luckily there were only about 10 people so that helped it feel a lot more relaxing.   
My good friend Carolyn had encouraged me to do 5 practice runs, but I didn't quite get that many in. 
 What did help a lot was to write down some basic areas to discuss, such as my background, materials, exercises I do to combat my bad habits:) and my approach to this particular subject and why I chose it etc., but to then let it all go and trust that I could draw on what I prepared without following a script.
And even though I picked a subject to paint and did 2 run thru's I ended up going with a different reference photo the day of.  I think that's just me....I like a little challenge and I want to paint something I can respond to in a fresh way!

So this is how far I got by the end....still need to add a sky and fine-tune some high-lights, but I was pretty happy with the result:-)....which was surprising -  as both I and some of the audience was wondering how I was going to get thru it all in an hour and a

The biggest AHA was probably that painting it up-side down, not only helped me focus on shapes - it also created a natural Wooow moments as I turned it back right side up!

Big thank you to Michelle Honles for inviting me to come and demo!!  I really had a great time:-)

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

9.15.14 - Sunny Stairs

Sunny Stairs
Oil on Gessoboard

I'm getting back in the swing of things with the 30 Paintings in 30 Days:-)  Had to take a few days off the challenge to finish work for some deadlines and get ready for an outdoor exhibit - but I'm back.
 This is one I painted for that exhibit at the Adamson House Celebrating their 85th anniversary this weekend!
I also worked on getting my first ever newsletter out last week.  As any artist knows, the marketing aspect of our profession - is an important part, that takes a lot of learning, and a lot of time!!

Please let me know if you would like to be on my mailing list!  My plan is to always have some great info and tips for artists, on top of the latest off my easel and updates on events.

Send me your email address to anettepow(at)
if you'd like to be included.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

9.9.14 - And that's not a Tatoo. - Favorite things

And That's not a Tatoo
Oil on Linen on board

This was an interesting one...I can still see adjustments I would like to do, but I had a lot of fun working on getting a little experimental and pushing the colors of the skin tones as I've seen so many artists do successfully...I'm a work in progress working on bigger brush strokes, not blending everything and being painterly about it all, there's a lot to think about when you're painting faces...:)

This is our oldest son, who has been into animals of all sizes since he was real little and has shown a knack for lizzard catching.

Monday, September 8, 2014

9.8.14 - More of More Mesa

More of More Mesa
Oil on Linen on Board

This is a larger studio version of one of my favorite plein air studies, which just sold - which was great! - although a little bitter sweet...   Fortunately I got a chance to paint one to keep before I let it go:-)

Sunday, September 7, 2014

9.7.14 - "Leo Life Tower"

Leo Life Tower
Oil on Gessoboard

Had this painting around for a while and couldn't quite figure out what it needed...?  Then I decided to push the reflective light and the sky and it created a lot more mood.  My favorite thing about this stage in my art career - I'm taking the freedom to change look at what the painting needs and hopefully(?) improve things.

1 week in - 3 weeks to go in the challenge

Saturday, September 6, 2014

9.6.14 - Bulbs On a Ledge -

Bulbs on a ledge
Oil on Gessoboard

Not an expert on bulbs like Carol Marin, but she's inspired me to take them on, and here are some more in my series of them with one of my favorite composition devices (if it can be called a device? :)...a high horizon-line and focal point.
Happy Painting!

Friday, September 5, 2014

9.5.14 - The Sweetest Smile - Faces and Favorite Things -

The Sweetest Smile
Oil on Gessoboard

I just love the reference photo I used for this painting of my mom!  It captured her sweet smile.  And today is her birthday!! - Happy Birthday Mom!...or... Grattis på Födelsedagen!  som vi säger i Sverige:-)

Thursday, September 4, 2014

9.4.14 - Favorite Beach

Wedding Season
Oil on Linen on Board

This is looking south on one of my favorite Southern California beaches, El Matador.   When I took this picture during there were a slew of photographers and even a wedding party there taking pictures and I knew I would have to paint that light.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

9.3.14 - Treasured Moments

Treasured Moments
(or my husband's choice for a title - Time Sight)
Oil on linen on board

We got to spend some special time with family on the Cape this summer and the kids got to hang out and spend some very treasured moments with Grandpa.   I did as well, as I was doing my usual lurking around with my always visually composing the world around me for the next painting.   Grandpa was a really good sport about it:-)
Painting faces I'm learning that it helps to keep transitions softer, at least as I get started, and here I wiped off some paint to help facilitate that.   Painting on these linen Raymar Panels makes it such a smooth and easy process and I love the way the paint both glides on and can be wiped off easily!


Tuesday, September 2, 2014

9.2.14 - Favorite Fowl

Favorite Fowl
Oil on linen on board

I didn't have pets growing up, but my friend Jeannine grew up with both dogs and chickens...and she speaks fondly about the experience of having a chicken coup!   Now her son is getting to have the same wonderful experience and I got to meet their chicken brood on my last visit there.  Both my sons and I loved it - and I got a bunch of pictures, as it was also my favorite time of day!  Some of my favorite ingredients in a painting - back-lighting and finding a composition that includes a high horizon line = a fun time painting it:-)

Monday, September 1, 2014

9.1.14 - Faces and Favorite Things

I come in Peace
Oil on Gessoboard

Today is the first day of Leslie Saeta's 30 in 30 Challenge and it's the 3rd one I've participate in.  Call me crazy, but I'm doing it again:-)  

It's always a good practice in moving on and leaving well enough alone!   This time I wanted to spend some time painting some familiar and new faces and work on getting looser and more interpretive in my handling of it.   I might pick some inspirational work of other artists and see if I can try some new techniques in my own work!
And then in between, I will post some of all the other work I want/and need to finish this month.  I look forward to seeing all the work of the 800 or so artists participating this time.

Happy painting everyone!

Monday, August 4, 2014

Reflections on "Aha's"

Reflections on "Aha's"
Oil on Gessoboard

Today was a day of Aha's for me!  One "Aha" was that I now know that I really enjoy sharing what I'm learning with other artists!   Two, was that in doing so I got the satisfaction of experiencing my fellow artists having"Aha's" as well.   Three, this as we all tackled a concept that I first heard about from Kevin Macpherson in his key note address at the Plein Air Convention in April that packs a big punch of AHA!   (Amazing that I had never come across this wisdom in my years painting, but perhaps I just had to hear it when I was ready.)

What Kevin mentioned then, is that one of the secrets to a successful painting is never having light and shadow cross paths.
At the time I had no real clue what he was talking about.   And it wasn't until I read Liz Wiltzen's excellent blog post on the subject, along with her great pictures and explanations, that I could finally start to grasp how the "Power of Black and White" can help in understanding "the Essential of Truth Light and Shadow".   Take a look, read her blog and see if you will find it a little eye-opening as well!

What I added to her explanation in our lesson was to use acetate/vellum to put over our reference photos to very easily be able to distinguish the 2 values.  We would use a black sharpie to cover everything in shadow and leave what was in sun-light alone, creating a really strong graphic and still readable design, even without all the detail.  

This step really helps in, of course; simplifying!   It also helps me see how I can make the painting and the design stronger, whether my focal point works and how I can strengthen that focal point.  It's a also a good start-off point for creating areas of abstraction.

For someone who continually has struggled with "detailitis", "licking the canvas" and loosing my light and dark pattern this is a great exercise to practice!

Happy Painting!

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Metal Pedaling

Metal Peadling
Oil on Gessoed Board

I've noticed that I really have a tendency to pick complicated subject matters - either a lot of different objects, or complicated pieces with a lot of shine and angles....The art imitating the artist perhaps?...and it doesn't help that my husband has a huge collection of robots in all types of colors and metals - calling out for me to paint them.   At least I'm just painting one at a time.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

"Duck out of Water"

"Duck out of Water"
oil on canvasboard

Just some fun with my slowly growing collection of Rubber Ducks.   They have a special meaning for me in memory of my niece Manda.

Painting-wise I'm enjoying adding more cools and warms together these days.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Studies on the pond

Young Tree on the Pond
Study in Oil on Gessoed Board
To Bid

I feel like I've been on a little vacation from blogging.  Seems to happen every now and then.  I think it's just part of the process of being an artist - Not that I'm not painting - just focusing more on the act of painting than showing...
And then I've actually been on vacation as well.  First camping and then 2 wonderful weeks on the Cape.  I got the chance to paint a little in between family and fun, 4th of July and impending hurricanes, and on this particular morning I actually did 3 little studies before everyone woke up.  I was just steps from the house down by the pond.   It was a greyish overcast morning, but the pond was delightfully still.

My first study seemed be-labored and I was fighting some bad habits of noodling - No likey!

In the second one below, I was determined to paint more loosely, focus on shapes and just have some hard edges define my center of interest.  It was a lot more fun than the first one:-)

Edge of the Pond
Oil on gessoboard

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Staying Late - 6x6 oil on gessoed board

oil on gessoed board

This week has been filled with kids activities; going on a school field trip, teaching art to 2nd graders, karate and all that goes into being a mom in between all that.   Balancing my love for the kids with my love for art is not an easy task and sometimes one wins over the other:-)   
So, after less painting than usual this week I did this little diddy to warm up today.   There's something I absolutely love about a light sky, reflecting in water at sunset.  It reminds me of the Swedish archipelago!   My reference for this was a picture of the parking lot by the Camarillo Art Studios after the rain.   I was able to keep it sort of loose, although there were a few places I went back and I get more and more familiar with what I want to achieve with my paintings...I seem to want less and less of that -

Happy painting all!!

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Still Here

Still Here
oil on linen on panel

This view is from the old barn off Las Virgenes.  So much history and so many stories of the past.  My favorite part of this painting is probably the bluish color on the chair.  I feel that it describes the light seeping into the shadow pretty well...what do you think?

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Farm Hound

Oil on linen on board

One of my recent goals have been to find ways to paint more in this beautiful local area close by called Hidden Valley.  It's like the name suggests, a hidden oasis, of horse farms and beautiful oak trees between Westlake Village and Newbury Park.   Today I was fortunate enough to have been invited by fellow local artist Kathy Levine along with several other painters to visit her friend Sally's farm in Hidden Valley.   I was such a happy camper!!  And on top of just the natural beauty there, you could also find dogs and more dogs, hens, ducks, horses and several goats,  of which one had just had 3 kids last Saturday...what a treat, right?

There was a truck that seemed to call my name, but I decided to set up and paint one of the many white and red-trimmed buildings from the 30s and 40s.
Here's a photo of this building while the elusive sun was still present.

Besides the charming colors, I was drawn to the light and dark pattern created by the sun in this scene so:
Starting out today, I decided to ask myself this helpful question I learned from Joe Gyurcsak

What is going to change sooner?   The light or the shadow?
My answer was "the shadows" so in order to remember what they looked like and get that down first I started by putting them in with a darker value (see below).
I've been paying a lot of attention to shadows lately, realizing that it's really easy to put them in too dark - and then they look sort of pasted on.
 I also now like to vary them more in color from one end to the other so to speak - get those nice warms and cools playing off each other and find where reflected light bounces into a shadow.
Looking at my painting as I write this...I feel like I need to bring in some of that reflected light into the shadow up top and lessen the contrast of the planks.

I love the work of artists like Tim Horn for his colors and the way he captures light, 
Mark Daniel Nelson for his beautiful values and simplified abstracted compositions, and 
Colin Page for his color combinations and brushwork!  They all paint the effects of light really well and I like to learn from other artists' work, as I always struggle a bit to simplify things more and leave out the details in my own work.

BTW, here are some pictures of the goats:
Sally and Kathy feeding one.

Just a little goat hug!

Wobbling about.