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Archive for May, 2008

I recently traveled to Hawaii for the first time.

Shellybee\'s Papaya

Things I loved: the air, the ocean, the bamboo, and the fruit stands. Hand-picked by some bearded red-head guy who really knows his fruit. Passion at first taste.

I ate a lot of tropical fruit. The maui gold and the ungainly papaya were my favorites. So sweet and edgy. I tried to capture this for you. You can get your own custom art print at shellybee.etsy.com.

You may find a hospitable pineapple there too. Mmmm.

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My favorite of the shell prints (well, next to the abalone), the spiky conch, sold today, hooray!

Spiky conch shell print from Shellybee\'s art studio

People must be thinking of summer.

It was paired with the spiral shell print. Nice combo.

If you don’t see these art prints at Shellybee’s shop, just send me a note or leave me a comment. Chances are, they are available.

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Starfish Nightmares Art Print - Printer\'s ProofWhat do artists do with printer’s proofs?

I have three of these 5X7s — they turned out greener blue and more vibrant than I intended. Still very cool, but bright.

The funny thing? This photo makes the proof color look like what I really wanted (on my monitor). The print itself is really vibrant blue-green.

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This woke me up: I had been neglecting my little art studio because my day job was going through a particularly intense few months. Then I received a request for custom sizes of seashell prints that were not even available in my online shop.Shellybee\'s art - custom size order

I didn’t think the ink drawings would look good as large as she wanted them — 14 X 11 inches, 100% + bigger than the originals — but I tried it and she was on to something. They looked fantastic. You could see every little detail, including traces of pencil and indented paper where there had once been lead and I erased. The finished art print was more tangible and real than I expected. I hope she loves them.

Something else dawned on me: because each print is made to order, they are ALL custom. So whether someone chooses from my shop or requests something personal, it’s all the same to me. I want the buyer to be thrilled, so I now encourage custom size requests in my shop.

Also, each print has at least a couple printer’s proofs to get the color and quality just right. It takes me almost as long to fulfill an order as it did to create the original drawing. Ok, so that might be a slight exaggeration, but to give you an idea of what I’m driving at, the prints you see here took me four hours to get just right, wrap up safely, purchase extra large packaging, and ship.

Which means, at the prices I had originally scoped, I was losing money with each order. Sigh. So Shellybee’s has refreshed its inventory and is raising the prices of its prints. But not by much. It’s a break-even relationship now.

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He placed an order at my shop, Shellybee’s, and added a special request to frame the prints. Sure, I told him, because he was someone very special to me and no special request was too big from him. But as I created the art prints he selected (you should know that Hahnemuhle museum etching paper and the Epson R2400 do not mix well — the paper is too thick; paper jam every time) and found the right frames and mat board and started the work of assembling, I realized it was not something I wanted to offer everyone who visited my shop. And I’ve been suggesting that I’m open.

So I’m not as open as I thought. I mean, I’m an artist, not a framer. When I was sitting at my art table with backing board spewing dust on the glass no matter how many times I wiped up before closing the frame, I thought, dang it. This is taking just about as long as the art did.

Not really. The art took hours and hours and days of thought and refinement. And this framing project was just one afternoon. But the big different is, I love to create the art. I’m sucked in and the hours fly by and I resent the dryer for reminding me to fold my clothes. So I may be making pennies an hour selling art when you break it down from a business perspective — it’s really enjoyable to me, and I love the idea of sharing with strangers out in the world. Strangers who must have something in common with me, because they are drawn to my art (pun, yes).

In any case, when I had the prints all matted and framed and leaning against a bench, I understood his choices a little better. They did go well together. And for him, it was worth it.

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