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Archive for the ‘modern art’ Category

Party time -- what to bring?More than flowers, more than expensive bottles of wine, your sweetie/friends/parents want to know you’re thinking of them. Here are 5 ways to impress the heck out of them — while showing off your creativity, originality, and of course, generosity.

1. Next time you are invited for dinner or cocktails, bring the music. And make it indie. It takes just minutes to burn a CD of your favorite independent bands, and your host remember the gift long after the evening is over. And you’ll make the artist’s day. Believe me.

2. Inviting friends over for a get-together? Cover your walls with original art — or limited edition prints — to show off your great taste. Original pieces will spark conversations and show your support of independent artists. Find beautiful prints for under $50 at etsy.com:

  • Shellybee’s Art Studio (my shop) — limited edition prints of ink drawings that celebrate life and nature
  • Birdnerd — collages and linocuts prints of, what else?, birds; gorgeous
  • Karingrows — originals and prints of oceany women and birds; love it

3. Need a gift on a limited budget? Make something — or easier, buy something handmade for the most WOW factor. I’m biased — I love etsy for handmade. Bought my sister something there I can’t tell you about yet, because she hasn’t had her birthday yet. But I know she’ll love it. I’ve also shopped Shana Logic for some really cute indie stuff. You’ll make more than one person super happy.

4. For no reason at all, make your favorite person an art book. Or a calendar. Or a T-shirt. Just snap some creative digital photos of some favorite things or shapes or colors and go to:

  • Blurb.com or Lulu.com to make a book
  • Kodak Gallery or Cafe Press to make a calendar or T-shirt
  • Target and buy iron-on transfers to make your own T-shirts — I’ve made lots of onesies for friends’ baby showers with printable transfers (I know Target isn’t indie, but my friend works for corporate, and they really do do good things) and they just LOVe them

5. Send a letter. A well-though-out, just because I like you, snail mail letter — on stationary that you create yourself. Seriously, just draw something or patch some photos together. It’ll be so surprising and lovely — they will so love you. I use Overnight Prints.

Express yourself! Be unique! Be independent. And give it away.

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My good friend grows a garden each year, and her boys help. These are her artichokes. Another lucky artichoke bloomed on the stalk; the background color of the drawing here is a reflection of the color of the feathery blossom.

artichoke drawing on lavender by shelly bowen

I had planned to switch to my sticky series, but had to get one more edible in to complete the pineapple and papaya. At my sister’s request for one more fruit or veggie. For her kitchen. I can hardly ever turn down a request.

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I’ve completed my Texas Trio of ink drawings — now showing at Shellybees.com — and shared them with two of my favorite artist friends. One said she loved the Great-Tailed Grackle drawing, and also the Papaya Passion from my Maui collection (of 2; the others flopped). She politely didn’t mention my Loving Longhorn.

Texas Duo of ink drawings by Shellybee\'s

And my Racing Armadillo hadn’t released yet. My other friend, who also happens to be my sister, and I were sipping bright-orange cocktails when I asked her about my Texas drawings. This was after her art opening at the Museum of the Living Artist in San Diego. Her family triptych was accepted. So you see why her opinion means more than just sisterly fluff.

“I love the bird,” she said, then glanced sideways.

“And the Longhorn?” I pressed, smiling, because I already knew, but I wanted her to say it.

“I hate it,” she admitted.

I waited.

She gushed: “It’s just so, I don’t know, it’s the composition, it’s elementary, I don’t like it.”

I laughed. What a fabulous strong reaction. I’d much rather love or hate than ambivalence.

So what do you think. Love it? Hate it? Is it the composition? The subject-matter? The color? Do tell!

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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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Shellybee’s Seashells of the DeepJust when I say size matters, I receive an order for three art prints, two of which are the smaller size — the third is my signature print and most popular. I printed them on large paper, though, to give them generous margins and allow for framing without a mat. When I started to wrap up the package, I was really struck by her choices.

My latest art appreciator chose three seashell ink drawings on deep blues. Together, they have a very different impact than I had imagined, and I wonder what drew her to these in particular, and what the combination might say about my subconscious thoughts.

Showcasing different drawings or paintings from the same series did occur to me — and I think I might still have suggested pairings live at Shellybee’s. But her collection is really unique and somehow mysterious and ominous, and I wanted to share it with you.

Oh! I should mention that I experimented with a new, smoother paper for “Starfish Nightmares” (the lighter blue one above) and it really turned out rich and deep and fabulous. I used Hahnemuhle Photo Rag Satin and the pigments look like paint — like you’d see with a fine screen-print or dyed fine leather.

All images copyright (c) 2007 Shelly Bowen. All rights reserved. Thanks!

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Knowing of my interest in the business of art and the launch of my shop at etsy, my friend turned me on to this site called 20X200, an online art gallery that features two new pieces each week: one photo and one graphic piece on paper. The thing that caught my eye was “Great Art. $20. Really.” The $20 editions are a limited edition series of 200, and are smaller than 8.5 X 11, from the small selection I previewed. Something about having all the prices be the same appealed to me. Also, they listed how many were left, rather than what print number you would get if you bought right then. Interesting. Larger pieces are $200 and $2000. Now, the small print seemed like a better and even better deal next to these “pricer” options. I also noticed they don’t really give the specs on the printing — just “archival pigment print.” I would want more, but maybe most consumers would prefer less.

My takeaways? Try:

  • A universal price and size for all prints, so it’s easy to shop.
  • Increasing my number of limited editions and decreasing the price.
  • Reversing the limited edition number to show how many are left.
  • Offering the originals to show comparison value.
  • Less info on printing specs

What do you think. Any of these appeal to you? Do you spot any other opportunities they are using I could borrow for Shellybee’s Art Studio?

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Wanna Dance?

Wanna Dance? Archival print of original oil paintingHere’s a new piece I painted in oils a few years ago, but wasn’t ever totally satisfied with it, and justyesterday I added bits of magnified dust and light, as if their dancing stirred up such disco spirals and spirographs of hearts.

I haven’t offered it up in shellybee’s art studio yet. Wanted to see what you all thought first.

This one is 4.5 X 9 inches. Archival quality print, as usual.

Copyright (c) 2007 Shelly Bowen. shellybee.etsy.com

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