Friday, January 30, 2015

4 artists (and their galleries) to follow on Instagram

I have been following more and more artists as I find them on Instagram. I'll share a few with you and the galleries that represent them are worth a follow too.

Brian Coleman (@briancolemanart) was featured on the blog The English Room(@theenglishroom) last week and had a solo show at Anne Irwin fine art (@anneirwinfineart) in Atlanta. That is one show I was sorry to miss.

Ellen Levine Dodd (@ellenlevinedoddart)and I are gallery mates at Anne Neilson fine art in Charlotte NC (@anneneilsonfineart). She is new to Instagram but I bet we will get lots of peeks into her studio and process. Her work is also available on Serena and (@serenaandlily)

Casey Matthews (@casey_matthews_artist) is represented by Gregg Irby gallery (@greggirbygallery) in Atlanta and a new friend now that I am represented by the same gallery.

Tim Hussey (@husseyt) has been on my radar since I began following The George Gallery (@georgegalleryanne) in Charleston, SC. That gallery is a definite stop on my visit next month.

My post with all four artists will be on my Instagram (@kerrysteeleart) today for Follow Friday.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

How to build a crate for shipping artwork

I have been asked by many artists why we build our own crates. "Isn't that hard?" they ask. Not really and building them yourself saves big on shipping costs and clients appreciate that.
 This post will show you every step involved in building a large wood crate for shipping. Its picture heavy and long, so grab a cup of coffee and take notes.

We buy the sheets of plywood at a big box store and have them cut it there. Be sure to know your measurements when you go. This crate is for a 36 x 36 canvas so the crate must be 40 x 40.

We also buy the side pieces (whiteboard) in the desired depth. This crate was for two canvases so its deeper than most.
It is super important to sand all of the edges. Splinters are no fun and you don't want your clients  with a big fat hunk of wood in their hands.

The tools aren't fancy, in fact, our saw horses are employed elsewhere so a large, sturdy box stands in.

We use two drills. One to drill a pilot hole for wood screws and one to screw in the screws but its fine to use just one. Pistols grip clamps are a must too.

These are the simple screws to buy.

Lets get started.

Use the miter box and saw to cut the side pieces. Important: Cut two pieces the full length of a side and two pieces smaller by the thickness of the board times 2. This will make the shorter pieces fit inside of the two longer ones. See photo below.

Remember to sand the edges.
Once the boards are cut place them flush with the edge of the first piece of plywood and clamp them in place.

Next you will need to drill two pilot holes so that you don't split the sides when you screw them together.

 Be sure to place the hole farther down than the length of the screw because you will be using another screw vertically later and they should not bump in to each other.

When you are finished it should look like this.  Now you are ready to attach the bottom board to the sides.Remember,  The plywood on the bottom is not attached to anything you are just using it to steady the sides.

Make sure the sides line up!

Clamp all of the pieces together and and drill pilot holes and screws about 12 inches apart.

We like to steer slightly to the side of the other screws just in case.
 You should have one flat side attached to the four side pieces. Flip it over and remove the clamps that held the other flat piece in place.Now you can pack the art.

Start with a single layer of peanuts.

 Add the wrapped artwork. You can see that there is little room around the edges. This allows a tight pack that keeps the work from moving around the the crate.

We pack the space very tightly with paper.

Then we add peanuts until the crate is very full. Important: The goal when packing anything for shipment is to keep it from rattling around during transit. Never skimp on packing material!

Now you are ready to close her up just like you did with the bottom piece.
Update from a question: I ship with UPS or Fedex. There is sometimes an extra fee for the crate as opposed to a cardboard box so it is helpful to call ahead and get a quote for the cost of shipping. Something this size usually costs less than $200 to ship. I often put my company label and an address on the crate but it is not necessary.

As you can see, some simple tools and a few screws are all you need to build a sturdy crate that will protect your artwork.

Read about shipping smaller pieces in cardboard HERE

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Life lately-lessons on buying paint, etc.

I wish I could be typing that I am putting my house on the market next week but, alas, it is not so. We are still stuck on painting doors. Still left to go is painting vast expanses of wall, mini master bath redo, new kitchen counters, sink and floors and a dozen other tiny things not worth mention. Hopefully Mr. Designdumonde will get the position he just interviewed for that is 7 miles from home as opposed to the 50 he currently travels 6 or 7 days a week.

We are using this Valspar color for all of the interior doors in our house. It is the story of a lesson learned for the umpteenth time. Don't buy cheap paint! The Valspar type that we got is not all that cheap but it is not the greatest going on the doors. It, in fact, prompted my husband to make me promise that I would never, ever let him try to pinch a penny on paint. 

This week I plan to start painting or at least choose a color for the large, interconnected part of our house. I think SW Repose Gray will be right but I might have it mixed at 50%.

Working from home is a wonderful blessing and a challenge beyond what I thought it would be. The tug of household chores and choosing whether or not to make dinner at all is huge. I knew when my family started asking "if" I was making dinner and not "what" there had been a shift. 
My son went back to college but not until he ate us out of house and home (food bill more than doubles when he is here) and hit a car (at the DMV!) 

My youngest has her first loose tooth and I must say I was not expecting that just yet, so it made me a  little sad.

Spending enough time in the studio has been a challenge but I have spent time reshooting work that I was not happy with images of, like these ink and gouache prints on Hosho paper.

My hope this week is to begin painting walls, spend time in my studio and finish organizing my closet. Oh yeah and squeeze in a dinner or two.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Hot chicks

I was painting in my studio all day yesterday and managed to fill an Instagram request for abstract figure studies in a small size on paper.

This morning, I leisurely pulled out my photography supplies and took the shots I needed. I posted them on Etsy and then Instagram. Boom! They sold in minutes. I guess I will be painting more this weekend.

I also worked on several canvases with figures too. This chick is the only one I finished. I think I am holding her back for a show later this year.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Online house hunting

I have been perusing the MLS to see what I can get for my money when we move. I don't have a specific neighborhood in mind yet, as that requires a personal visit to explore. When we bought our current home, we lived 5 hours away and drove here every other weekend until we found our house (15 times!). The houses we saw online were often a disappointment in person and the neighborhoods we thought looked good were in areas we ended up not wanting to live in so I take anything that looks fabulous with a grain of salt.

I found this amazing house and put a star and OMG next to it on my list. It had everything I wanted.

The beautiful light filled space thrilled me and was on budget. There was no feature that made me think twice in the photos. So far every other house had at least one thing that I would have to settle on. Usually the kitchen or carpet throughout.

 Absolutely nothing was disagreeable and I was trying to figure out if we could scramble and get this one.
Luckily, our move is 6-12 months from now because I had forgotten to narrow my search area and this beauty is about an hour drive from our target. *sigh*
Back to the search.
Have you ever done a house search long distance?

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Have you seen these?


Years ago, my accountant hired me to update her dated office. She had just insisted that her assistant remove all of the smoked plexi-glass wall pockets from the office and charged me with finding something new. 
I failed. There was nothing but the most pedestrian and/or ugly thing available. If I had been a bit more industrious I would have thought to spray paint them and rehang but I did not and she moved to a new office.
I would have killed for these!


I not only love the gold finish (they come in silver and white too) but the unobtrusive shape.
I love beautiful storage options. it has been on my mind because the first half of this year is about taming the clutter monster in my house...the second half is about moving south, in case you wondered.

Friday, January 2, 2015

All play and no work

Over the Christmas/New Year holiday I had the fun of the flu (all of us in turn) and houseguests and the usual flurry of activity of the season. I did not get one bit of "work" done. By work I mean paintings for galleries or my website. I just did not have the energy but like most artists, I gotta paint something. Out came the acrylics and some paper and I relaxed by painting flowers.

I just sat at my kitchen table and made these while my family buzzed around me or slept. The latter worked better.

 I even worked on these while sipping champagne with Mr. Designdumonde on New Year's eve so I was surely playing, right?

They were popular on Instagram and are listed on Etsy

I hope you all had a wonderful holiday and wish you a wonderful year ahead!!