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!

Buying Fine Art Directly from the Artist

21 Feb

I don’t know about you, but ten years ago I had difficulty buying anything but a book online over the Internet. I mean, what if I bought socks and they didn’t fit? (This problem was solved when I started knitting my own socks.) Or shoes?

And then I started buying things. I started with tea — I found a reputable tea dealer (Upton Tea, for those of you who are interested), and was ecstatic to find that their product — in addition to being something I couldn’t find locally — was superb, and their customer service was unparalleled.

Buying direct from the artist -- at least this artist -- saves you money. AND you can communicate with the artist personally.

Buying direct from the artist — at least this artist — saves you money. AND you can communicate with the artist personally.

From tea we went to all sorts of products, and now, a significant amount of our monthly purchases are made online through the Internet.

So what about fine art? Can you successfully purchase it over the Internet?

Given that we sell Steve’s paintings online, I would say, “Yes, definitely, depending from whom you are purchasing.” In the same way that I was ecstatic over my tea purveyor’s selection, quality, and customer service, we at Steve Henderson Fine Art take seriously these same elements:

1) We have a wide selection of artwork, in various prices, from which to choose. From originals to limited edition prints to posters, we span the price range and meet any budget.

2) The quality of Steve’s work — both of the actual artwork and the materials upon which it rests — is superb.

3) We stand behind everything we sell, from a PDF Article Booklet to an original painting.

4) We work as closely with our clients as they wish — each and every purchase made through the Buy Now Button is inidividually acknowledged, and clients are given detailed information as to when and how their product will be shipped. Many of our clients who purchase originals or limited edition prints communicate with us back and forth via e-mail or phone (and we now have the option to Skype), and we ensure that their questions are answered to their satisfaction — before, during, and after the sale.

5) For those people who wonder, “Who are you, anyway? How do I know it’s safe to buy through the individual artist as opposed to a ‘real’ gallery?” we willingly provide business and character references. You will not offend us by asking.

As you will see by reading Our Prices, one of the best things about buying directly from the artist — at least this artist — is that you do not pay the extra price to cover the gallery’s commission, which is frequently 50 percent of the painting’s sale price. Buying direct, in this case, really does save money.

Please feel free to contact us anytime at Carolyn@SteveHendersonFineArt.com.

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.

What Parallel Parking Has to Do with Your Art

16 Feb

Okay, I’m going to share with you my dirty little secret:

I can’t parallel park a car.

Lots and lots of space -- that's what I need when I parallel park a car. Diaphanous by Steve Henderson

Lots and lots of space — that’s what I need when I parallel park a car. Diaphanous by Steve Henderson

Well, I can parallel park a car as long as I’ve got three blank spaces, in a pinch two, and it helps that I drive a Honda Fit. But for the most part I’m willing to drive blocks out of the way and walk, or slip into a diagonal space, or let the Norwegian Artist drive when we’re in the city and masterfully fit that hunk of metal (the car, not the Norwegian) into the allotted space.

In other words, I compensate for my lack of ability.

Ideally, I would learn how to parallel park, which is what our two youngest teenagers are doing with the Norwegian Artist this year before they take their licensing test, but that would mean hours of practicing with the Norwegian, and I’d really just rather spend the time knitting socks.

Because, compensating works.

It doesn’t always, you know — if my problem involved driving skills, say, like the inability to make a right turn without banging into the curb, then I’d need to work on things, but if I can get by — as I have for 35 years — without parallel parking and I’m not hurting anybody and nobody’s yelling at me — then I do, and focus my energy on difficult things that I need to learn and I can’t compensate for.

So it is with painting — some techniques you may never get — something to do with color or brushwork or the ability to draw hands so that they don’t look like elephant feet — and you compensate, by never showing hands, for instance.

As long as this works, it works, and you develop your style by compensating around what you cannot do. The key is determining just how important the technique you can’t do is, and making a decision about it.

More on this next week . . .

I know you’re probably an artist, but, interestingly, artists are some of our best clients. If you like Steve’s work, we’ve set up a number of affordable ways to make it yours — our originals are reasonably priced, our signed limited edition prints are archival quality, and our inspirational posters are uber, uber affordable. This is our philosophy on how we price our paintings. Write us — we answer every e-mail — carolyn@stevehendersonfineart.com.

Do It Your Way

1 Feb

It’s good to learn from others — we all do. Whether we’re reading books, taking classes, or talking one on one with another, we increase our knowledge base when we ask questions and, most importantly, listen to the answers.

And then, the crucial thing is to take what we learn each day and apply it to our unique and specific situation. Too many artists — and writers, and people in general — hang on to every word of the chosen “expert” in their field, slavishly copying what the master does or believes in the effort to reproduce the look of the person they admire.

I Do It My Way poster by Steve Henderson

I Do It My Way poster available at Steve Henderson Fine Art

It’s more important that we hone our skills and abilities — and along with that our confidence — so that we can take what we learn to create the best that we, individually, are capable of producing. And if we’re doing it right, our artwork won’t look like anybody else’s — it will look like ours, because we see through our eyes, make decisions based upon our experience, and create in accordance with our passion.

We do it our way, individually, and the more confident we are in our skills and ability, the more sure our steps as we walk our path.

If you’re missing the basics and that’s always made you feel bad, then act — figure out a way to learn those basics and get them behind you already. If you’re beyond the basics but admire someone else’s work immensely, then study that work and see why it impacts you so much. Think, analyze, question, experiment, move.

Great artists get that way because they’re learning, and painting, all the time.

Dream Big!

31 Jan

Bold Innocence poster -- Dream Big! by Steve Henderson

Things change as we get older.

Christmas and birthdays come and go without the weeks of agonizing beforehand, that feeling that the good day will never arrive, the sheer joy and abandon when it does.

In the process of growing up, do we become . . . boring?

“Dream Big” reminds us to reach for something that is bigger and grander than what and where we actually are.

Someone wrote me the other day, “Yeah, I could do what I want with unlimited money and time.”

So do we all think, but when we look around at those people who actually do have unlimited money and time, it’s intriguing to notice that even they don’t seem to be doing what they want. Rather, they’re more concerned about keeping what they have, and are worried that if they don’t look a certain way, act a certain way, speak a certain way, they will topple.

Dreams are big things, and they are not achieved overnight, nor without hard work, perseverance, determination, and patience — the gritty elements that work in the background.

Dream big!

(The Bold Innocence poster — Dream Big! is part of Steve Henderson’s Inspirational Poster collection, and is available at Steve Henderson Fine Art.)

Nobody was listening?

11 Jan

Lately, most of my salient news comes from Facebook, like this story shared by Knowledge is Power.

For those of you who don’t want to read the story link, here’s the short version:

Rejoice! Ocean Breeze poster by Steve Henderson, available through Steve Henderson Fine Art

Rejoice! Ocean Breeze poster by Steve Henderson, available through Steve Henderson Fine Art

Man in busy Washington D.C. metro station plays violin for 45 minutes. Nobody pays attention.

Of the approximately 1100 people who pass through in that time, a 3-year-old is the most attentive, turning to listen as his mother drags him on.

The man with the violin is Joshua Bell, one of the world’s most talented musicians, playing on a $3.5 million dollar violin. In his day job, Bell plays at concert halls to people gladly paying $100 per ticket.

As Knowledge is Power puts it, “One of the possible conclusions from this experience could be: If we do not have a moment to stop and listen to one of the best musicians in the world playing the best music ever written, how many other things are we missing?”

The world needs art — visual, musical, written — and seriously does not know this. Artists — keep it up, keep at it, create beauty and promote it to this sad, busy, lonely world.