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Learn to Watercolor

17 Aug
Purple Iris -- original watercolor by Steve Henderson. Learn how to paint your own Purple Iris with Step by Step Art Success -- Watercolor.

Purple Iris — original watercolor by Steve Henderson. Learn how to paint your own Purple Iris with Step by Step Art Success — Watercolor.

The other day I was at the post office, sending out DVDs of Steve Henderson’s new digital workshop, Step by Step Art Success — Watercolor. When I mentioned what was in the padded envelopes to the postal associate, she exclaimed,

“I took a watercolor workshop YEARS ago, but I’ve never done anything since. I’ve still got the paints, the paper, the brushes, everything — but I haven’t known what to do. What is the website link?”

If you have always wanted to learn watercolor, or if you painted years ago and want to jump back in, or if you paint watercolor now and wish you could improve, Step by Step Art Success — Watercolor, is the resource for you. First in a series of digital workshops (Steve is now, in between working on his next Santa painting, developing a three-part series on How to Draw), Step by Step Art Success — Watercolor is available as a DVD or $19.95 and a download for $14.95 — just follow the link in Step by Step Art Success — Watercolor.

With a one-hour running time, Step by Step Art Success — Watercolor goes over the same material Steve teaches in his two-day workshops, and you can take as long as you wish to paint the two sample watercolors, Purple Iris and Lonesome Barn.

Below, enjoy the informational YouTube video about Step by Step Art Success — Watercolor. If the video isn’t working, this is the link — http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2GTB8fnrD0Q

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An Affordable Workshop in Your Home

19 Jul
Purple Iris -- original watercolor by Steve Henderson

Purple Iris — original watercolor by Steve Henderson

Wait for it — but it won’t be long.

Steve Henderson is putting together a PowerPoint video series of how-to-paint workshops based upon actual workshops that he gives. First on the docket is Purple Iris. While he was painting this piece, Steve took photos every few brush strokes, and he is assembling a painting tutorial that will allow students to follow the process with him, step by step. This tutorial covers the same material that Steve presented in a recent watercolor workshop, and he finessed the final product based upon the feedback of his workshop students.

At the end of the tutorial, students will not only have a completed painting, they will have spent a considerable amount of time with Steve, learning what materials he uses, what colors of paints, what techniques, and how he chooses the subject matter for a painting piece in the first place. The information learned will enable students to launch forward into their next painting project.

It’s amazing — the information found in a two-day workshop, which can run anywhere from $100 – $300 — but for much, much less. Think more along the lines of the price of a book but replete with visuals, illustrations, and step-by-step instructions. For amateurs, the guides will gently lead; intermediates who are confident to push forward boldly can grab the information they need and keep advancing. As a homeschooling father, Steve is excited about the possibilities of working with the homeschool community; many, many parents have children who are interested in art, but the opportunities for lessons are limited, both financially and geographically.

We will post the new tutorials on the website as soon as they are available, and we will alert Steve’s Facebook followers and newsletter subscribers as well. If you want to move forward on your art and there is something that you want to learn, contact us at Carolyn@SteveHendersonFineArt.com with your ideas. We listen to them all.

Is It Worth Entering Shows?

16 May

Entering your artwork in shows — local, regional, or national — is not an inexpensive proposition. There are entry fees, which can range from $5 to $50 per piece — as well as costs to box, ship, send, insure, and return your work should it be accepted. Oh, and those entry fees? They apply whether your work is accepted or not, and depending upon the size of the show, “or not,” may be a very real option.

Homeland 1 by Steve Henderson. Original sold; open edition print available at Great Big Canvas.

Homeland 1 by Steve Henderson. Original sold; open edition print available at Great Big Canvas.

“But think of the exposure if I get in,” you tell yourself. Well, there is, that, but the exposure may not be as grand as you think. Some shows attract the same crowd, year after year; others, which promise exposure through national magazines, take out an ad, one in which your painting does not appear. The top tier shows, the ones that really do draw in crowds, are not particularly friendly to newbies.

So is it even worth it, doing shows? The Norwegian Artist, Steve Henderson, has entered and continues to enter shows, but we have found that far more sales occur in other venues — through the website, through contact with individual clients, through Facebook, even — than they do through shows. And doing the math at the end of the year — calculating entry fees, shipping, and shipping back — we find that there are more efficient ways to turn a profit.

Being Abnormal, an article by Carolyn Henderson in Fine Art Views (and yes, that’s me, the same person writing this article), talks about doing things differently, including entering, or not entering shows. After you read this article, make sure to check out the comments from the various artist readers; frequently, in any online article, the most interesting information comes from the comments, and most especially from the people who comment through the Fine Art Views site.

So what about you? Have you entered shows? Has it been a profitable experience? Or do you find that you’ve picked up more in experience than you have in monetary compensation?

Evening Waltz, original oil painting, 30 x 36, by Steve Henderson

Evening Waltz, original oil painting, 30 x 36, by Steve Henderson

There are a lot of people out there these days trying to make money off of artists, and one of these ways is through assessing entry fees on shows. I’ve always found that it’s worth being wary of the continuous e-mails in your inbox announcing, “We’ve extended the entry date for this show! You have another two weeks to enter!” Two weeks later, the deadline is extended by another week.

Also not a good sign is a show that is exclusively online. While there are verifiable and legitimate online shows, online events are increasing, and it is becoming easier and easier to put them on. Make sure that, when you send your money and enter your artwork, that there is the potential for something good to happen — actual exposure, to people who are genuinely looking to by art, comes to mind.

What Fried Dandelions Have to Do with Improving Your Art

10 May

From the Start Your Week with Steve Newsletter of Steve Henderson Fine Art:

Steve Says:

“Today my 18-year-old son wanted to make fried dandelions for lunch, a suggestion that initially didn’t meet with much excitement.

Dandelions are either weeds or flowers, depending upon your perspective. Original available at Steve Henderson Fine Art; open edition print available at Great Big Canvas.

Dandelions are either weeds or flowers, depending upon your perspective. Original available at Steve Henderson Fine Art; open edition print available at Great Big Canvas.

 

“But he’s a determined sort, and like the Little Red Hen he picked the flowers, dipped them in egg and breading, and fried them in butter. Oddly, they weren’t bad, although the egg, breading, and butter definitely helped.

“And, he told us, now that he’s done it, he has no desire to repeat the experiment, but he’s glad that he went through with it. ‘I would always have wondered,’ he commented.

“Good point.

“How many times do we want to try something but don’t, because it sounds odd — like fried dandelions — or our announcement is met with a total lack of enthusiasm and support?

“So we don’t. But we always wonder what it would have been like if we had.

“Why not stop wondering and just do it? At worst, we’ll have inedible flowers, but the compost pile won’t mind.

“At best, we’ll have a unique dish to share at the next family celebration.

“And in between, we’ve got a good story to share.

“The more we do, the more we try, the more we experiment, the more we dream — the more interesting we, and the lives we live, are.” 

What is it about trying new things that is so difficult for us?

Standing behind the easel, paintbrush in hand, who but we will know that we chose a different color for that brushstroke, or a different brush, or a different way of wielding it?

Go on -- jump in. Shoes, and feet, eventually dry. Reflection -- original oil painting and signed limited edition prints at Steve Henderson Fine Art; open edition print at Great Big Canvas.

Go on — jump in. Shoes, and feet, eventually dry. Reflection — original oil painting and signed limited edition prints at Steve Henderson Fine Art; open edition print at Great Big Canvas.

Too often we look at each potential painting as so precious that we don’t want to “ruin” it by doing something different or new, but the risk of this is smaller than the reality of falling into a rut.

Sometimes, we can jolt ourselves out of this rut by saying to ourselves, “Just for the next 15 minutes, I’m going to think about this differently, and I’m going to try something that I’m not sure will work or not.”

And, of course, the more regularly and often that we paint, the easier it is to experiment, because we tell ourselves, “If it doesn’t work out, I’ll toss it to the side and start over. Or I’ll keep slathering paint and see what happens.”

Ultimately, what this costs you is some time, a canvas, and some paint — a small price to pay for the potential to make mighty steps forward.

Color Coordinating Artwork with Interior Decor

9 Apr

From the Start Your Week with Steve Newsletter:

Steve Says:

“It’s always good when the person you live with thinks similarly to — or at least not radically different from — the way you do.

Available as an original and print at Steve Henderson Fine Art -- Beachside Diversions

Available as an original and print at Steve Henderson Fine Art — Beachside Diversions

“In our house, we decorate eclectically — espresso brown leather sofa; rust fabric glider chair; oak cabinets; sage green walls; knitted shawls and lace by Carolyn; a revolving array of paintings by me.

“In the process of doing so, we have discovered just how flexible color coordination can be — red, rust, lavender, blue, green, gold, orange — all hues wander in and out of our living room, and regardless of which paintings are on the walls, they all fit.

“When you purchase fine art, buy what you like, and don’t worry about how it will look with the sofa — if your home is filled with the furniture and accessories that you love, then it’s highly likely that the newest painting will fit right in.

“It’s your home, reflecting your life, your lifestyle, your family, your being. Surround yourself with beautiful things that you love, and make yourself at home in your home.”

Read more, and consider subscribing to, Start Your Week with Steve, the free weekly e-mail newsletter of Steve Henderson Fine Art.

Grammar Despair by Carolyn Henderson

Affording Private Art Lessons

22 Feb

When Steve, the Norwegian Artist, was a young boy, his parents sought out a local artist in his town and arranged lessons — people do this all the time with the piano, and yet when it comes to art, it seems so . . . impossible. But it’s not. It all starts with finding an artist whose work you admire and asking the person for lessons — which you, definitely, plan to pay for.

Rise up out of the sea as a new creature with your art by getting past the issues that you've been struggling with. Customized, online art lessons can help you do this. Aphrodite by Steve Henderson

Rise up out of the sea as a new creature with your art by getting past the issues that you’ve been struggling with. Customized, online art lessons can help you do this. Aphrodite by Steve Henderson

“I’ll never be able to afford this,” you moan.

Well, maybe, if the artist you’re looking at is on the A-List of artists whose names are instantly recognized, and they’re famous and all that.

But there are plenty of truly excellent artists whose names aren’t in the magazines, and the way you find these people is by wandering through your local galleries, or strolling around on the Internet, until you find someone whose art you like.

If the person is local, you can call or e-mail them and ask if they offer lessons. If they’re across the country, don’t despair, because it is possible to give and take lessons over the Internet — we ourselves offer this option, receiving images of your work via e-mail, and then communicating back with you via e-mail, phone, or — our favorite — Skype.

And it’s not like you’re a kid again, signed up for years of endless piano lessons — you may need one half-hour lesson to get you going, or you may want to set something up once a month for a year — be up front with your artist of choice and see what the two of you can work out.

Either way, sometimes a little push is all you need, and a session, or two or three or four, with an artist who is producing work that you keep coming back to look at can make a tremendous difference in what you do the next time you stand at the back of your easel.

You never know until you ask. If you’re interested in lessons or a consultation, contact the artist — if that’s Steve you can reach us at Carolyn@SteveHendersonFineArt.com — and just start asking questions!

Compensating

20 Feb

Last week we talked about parallel parking a car — or in my case, not parallel parking the thing — and how, if we don’t know a specific skill, we can frequently compensate by doing things another way.

Are you afraid of hands, feet, or faces? You don't have to be. Grace by Steve Henderson

Are you afraid of hands, feet, or faces? You don’t have to be. Grace by Steve Henderson

But sometimes, compensating doesn’t work, and if you, in your artwork, have reached the point of frustration that you just can’t draw a human figure to look like something other than a space alien, of if your still-life flowers look dead, or whatever it is that is driving you to distraction, then it’s time to admit that you don’t know how to do this, what you’ve been doing up to this point isn’t working, and it’s time to move forward in the matter.

So, where do you move?

The initial solution is to take a class, but there are lots of other options. My favorite, hands down, is finding an artist whose work you like and asking him or her if they will 1) teach you or 2) review your work and give some suggestions, this latter being called a consultation.

Before we move on, let me talk about that word “giving” back there, as in “giving some suggestions.”

By all means, plan to pay this artist for his or her time; many artists offer classes or portfolio reviews, and the best way to find out if the artist you’re interested in does this kind of thing is to ask.

Can you afford this? Yeah, probably. We’ll talk about this next week.

We do consultations and online lessons at Steve Henderson Fine Art, and as with everything we do, we customize, communicate, and keep flexible.