Sunday, 20 April 2014

More looming fruit....

I think one or two of my most die-hard and dogged readers paid heed to my pitiful whining last post and signed up to my Artfinder profile, for which I am profusely grateful.

The very lovely Katyboo knocked me over with a feather by writing an entire blog post about me (which feels all kinds of undeserved - it made my chin wobble and I ended up doing that double-handed face fanning thing while trying not to cry too much).  I was deeply touched.  She is a very kind and lovely person, and I'm very proud to call her my friend.

Sadly, we don't see that much of each other because we live a few hundred miles apart, although we have managed to coincide in That London a couple of times, and it was a shame that last week I actually found myself not too far away from Leicester (where she lives).  However, the circumstances were not really conducive to meeting up as TLH and I were driving up to Macclesfield in Cheshire to attend a family funeral, and it was a sad and stressful few days that didn't really lend itself to conviviality.

The death had been rather sudden - my mum's youngest sister (aged 62) had gone into hospital about 8 weeks ago suffering from heart palpitations.  Investigations showed shadows on her lungs.  Up until that time she'd (more or less) been fine.  The shadows were inoperable Stage IV lung cancer.  Six weeks later she was dead.  She hadn't even had time to start any chemotherapy.  It was so quick it was shocking.  But, on the other hand, it's better the inevitable end came quickly.

My mum is (was) the oldest of 5 siblings, one of whom lives in the Netherlands, the other in Canada, and they both managed to get to the UK to say goodbye before she died.  We've now got to the stage where we only see that side of the family at weddings and funerals, which is a shame, but is, I think, generally the way that families go these days.  It was really lovely to see my aunts and uncles, and some of my cousins, again but sad given the circumstances.

Anyway, we set off the day after the funeral and really just wanted to get home so even though it did cross my mind that I could've had a small detour to have a cuppa with our Katy, I just wanted to get back.

Still, the weather was lovely and I was pleasantly surprised with how beautiful the countryside is around Knutsford, Macclesfield and Poynton.  And we managed to get in a visit to Jodrell Bank where my brother (who is a brilliant photographer) took some fab high-definition photos of the radio telescope:

And a really cool selfie in front of the infrared camera monitor they had there (I'm probably going to paint this as a portrait of him - look at the colours!!):

It was also lovely to get to spend some one-on-one time with him, as I don't get to see him often enough, and when I do, it's invariably with loads of small (and not so small) kids knocking around, demanding his attention (well, he is their dad, after all).  So to be able to spend two entire evenings with him, laughing like loons and knocking back the vino without interruption was a real treat.

But I seem to have sidetracked - I've finished another painting!  I'm really pleased with how this one has come out.  It's another in my 'Looming Fruit' series (I'm sure there's a joke about Fruit of the Loom in there somewhere...) and has more than a touch of the Dutch Old Masters about it.

As usual, I took a few photos as it was progressing - weirdly, seeing a photo of the painting as it's going along helps me to 'see' it better, and spot what's going wrong or what needs doing next.

Anyway, this painting was of three apples, set slightly off-centre.  The lighting is very strong and the background is pitch black, so it's very dramatic, and this is how it progressed:

The bottom photo is the finished version but the colours of the apples look a bit washed out - the real colours are more like the penultimate one.

I'll probably be putting this one up on Artfinder too but at the moment I'm rather enjoying looking at it in my sitting room!

I've started my next painting already - cherries tumbling from a pail - which is slowly coming together, and I've got another three, no, four, paintings planned, not to mention the Russian icons paintings I'm thinking about (have I told you about those?  Can't remember...) so I'm going to be pretty busy.

Plus it's my forty-eleventh birthday this coming Wednesday, and TLH and I are off to London on Thursday to take in the British Museum's current exhibition on Vikings, followed by a trip to the theatre to see Jeeves and Wooster starring Robert Webb and the utterly brilliant Mark Heap.  I've promised Katyboo I'll tell you all about about it!

Friday, 11 April 2014

Hello! Hello! I am not dead!

Indeed, dead I most certainly am not.  This is, of course, a very good thing.  I've just been a bit quiet on the blogging front, yet again.

But this doesn't mean I've not been doing stuff.  Nosirreebob, not by a long chalk.  I've been painting, so I have.  And I've been very fortunate to have had a couple of commissions as well!

My very lovely friend Katyboo has an equally lovely mother, Sue, who took a shine to my painting of a large jewelled beetle and asked if it was for sale.  I was very torn - I wanted to keep the painting (as I wasn't sick of the sight of it yet) but I also actually want to try and make some money from my paintings if possible so didn't want to pass up the opportunity of a sale.

I pondered.  Then decided the easiest thing to do would be to paint it again, and this time I could customise it to the size Sue would prefer.  I discussed this with Ms Boo and she agreed it was an admirable solution, so I painted the beetle again, but a bit smaller this time, and shipped it off to her in time for Christmas.  Hoorah! (I managed to get the photo thing to work this time so have now added the pictures).

I have decided to offer some of my paintings for sale, just in case anyone likes them enough to want to buy one.  Like I said, I've had two commissions - the first being the beetle and the second being a copy of a painting of a still life of garlic cloves on a windowsill (again because I couldn't bear to part with the original painting, so agreed to paint it again - this is not a habit I want to cultivate, though!), but as Blogger is being a bitch about pictures, there's no point just yet in putting up a photo of that painting but I'll try -

*Sigh*  okay, so that one worked.  I give up.  It'll be something technical...

But to get back to the point - I like my paintings, my art tutor likes my paintings, two other people like my paintings enough that they were willing to spend their hard-earned pennies on them (for which I am enormously flattered and extremely grateful) and, frankly, I don't have enough space on my walls to put them all.  So I've taken the plunge and opened an Artfinder profile and put 10 of my paintings up for sale.  These are the paintings that I'm happy to sell at the moment.  I have others that I've painted that I really like and want to keep hold of them for a bit longer; in a few months it's quite likely they'll join these ones.

Artfinder is a large, online gallery for artists to sell directly to the public.  As it's providing a service, it, justifiably, charges me commission, much like a traditional gallery would.  In this case, 30% and then they charge me VAT (20%) on the commission.  This basically means that I get about 63% of the asking price of the painting.  In other words, I have to decide what sum I would be happy to receive for selling a painting, then add 30% (& 20% VAT) on top of that and putting that as the asking figure.

I also had to include a shipping fee and it wasn't particularly flexible so I went for a middling sort of price.

What I'm trying to say, in my appallingly British, unable-to-sell-myself-for-toffee, roundabout way is PLEASE go and have a look at my profile, and if there's anything there that takes your eye, then feel free to contact me directly at kaz DOT jones AT btinternet DOT co DOT uk (you know what I mean) and I can offer it to you for 30% (plus VAT) less than the price on the website, and the shipping will probably be cheaper too.   Admittedly there's not very many paintings available at the moment, but as I'm painting all the time, I'm expecting it to increase over the months.

Anyway, I'd be grateful if you went and had a look, and any feedback would be most gratefully received.  I know they're not going to be to everyone's taste but I don't think they're too shabby.  I've seen a lot worse sell for a lot more...

I'm completely hopeless at doing the hard sell so I'll just do the embarrassed shuffle back off to my studio and start working on my next still life....

UPDATE - I think I've solved the photo problem so here are the pictures that I've got up for sale currently (These aren't the best photos - I couldn't get those to work, and I can't for the life of me get the apple one to show up any bigger - the ones on Artfinder are better, but at least you can get an idea!) -

'Apple' - unframed canvas, 20" x 16"

'Kiwi' - unframed canvas, 20" x 16"

'The Lich King' - mixed media, including freshwater pearls, Turquoise beads, dichroic glass cabochons.  unframed canvas, 20" x 20"
'Orange Flower' - Acrylic paper, A4 size, unframed.

'Parrot Tulip' - Acrylic paper, A4 size, framed.

'Bluebells' - Acrylic paper, A4 size, framed.

'Shortspur Seablush' - Acrylic paper, A4 size, framed.

'Empire State' - Acrylic paper, A4 size, unframed.

'Reflections (in a garden pond)' - Acrylic paper, A3 size, unframed.

'Still Life with Vases' - Acrylic paper, A3 size, unframed.

'White Starflower' - Acrylic paper, A4 size, framed.