Saturday, February 28, 2009

Virtual Sketch Date ~ Lake Louise

Virtual Sketch Date ~ Lake Louise
original oil painting on canvas board, 8 x 10 inch, unframed
copyright 2009 MaryAnn Cleary

This is a painting for the monthly challenge of the Virtual Sketch Date. This month a photo of Lake Louise was the challenge. I really dreaded this one for some reason, but I figured I had better get my head out of my torso and "just do it". This afternoon when I did the challenge, this is what I came up with. Once I got started at the painting, it seemed to move along. It will be posted on Flickr under our Group called VSD Group.

Next I will continue some work on a commission that I am doing and I will also do the challenge for Different Strokes from Different Folks. I already have an idea for this one that I would like to try as an interpretation of the photo. Check out this week's photo if you want something that is very heady and is near insanity.

More to come! Sorry for the lack of posts this week. I got hit with the flu bug and I have been nursing a bum knee that I some how re-injured. My motivation has been a bit lax because of it.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Morning Google Snafu and Auctiva Malware Glitch

This morning after being awakened by the neighbor's barking dog, I got up, started the computer, made a pot of coffee and tried to check my gmail account. After 20 minutes and two different attempts of trying to access my gmail account, I received the above message. I tried to find out what the heck was going on. Apparently, gmail was shut down worldwide for more than an hours time. It appears to be back up and running. However, very SLOWLY. I tried opening a note from my daughter and it took several attemps and more than a minute just to get it to open.

On top of that, yesterday when I went to use for checking on an ebay listing and to also list more, I find out that they have been infected with a malware. Apparently, google had them as a malicious site and that is how they found out about it. It also seems to have come from China. The thing is my computer was acting crazy yesterday as I had actually used auctiva to list an eBay item during the prime time of the malware hit. My computer had really slowed down and behaved abnormally. I do have an anti-viral protection. I also use Firefox and that meant I did not get hit as bad as those using Internet Explorer.

To take care of the situation, prior to knowing that auctiva had transferred a malware, I emptied my temp files, did a disk clean and rebooted. That seemed to fix the problems. Only this morning did Auctiva actually send out an email to their users advising them of the situation. Their site is officially down and has been since yesterday evening.

I certainly hope that this is not a sign of things to come.

Monday, February 23, 2009

More Data on eBay Daily Paintings

eBay "daily painting" auction only bid results

The data for the percent of "daily paintings" auction only on eBay continues to be collected. As the month draws to an end the percentage is at 25% today for those with bids and the average being 21%. Of those paintings with bids, those with bids at or greater than $99 average 13 bids and those with bids of $45 or less average 13. Those with bids >$45 and <$99 are only 2. The average number of listings per day for daily paintings is 126.

I will continue to collect the data and post it once a month. Since the time that I have started collecting this, the percentage of those with bids has actually increased from 15% to 25%. This probably has to do with the number of listings previous to Valentine's Day. When I started collecting this data, there were 158 listings on Feb.5th. The number has since dropped and seems to be stable around 120 listings.

Commission Work:
This week I am working on a portrait commission and I hope to post the progress of it. This is being done in conte on paper and from reference photos. I was given several and from that I put together a composition that I thought the client would like. Once the rough merged photo is approved, I will start the drawing. Since this is a portrait with two children who were photographed separately, I used Photoshop Elements to manipulate, merge, and remove the color. This will help with making sure that the client and I are thinking the same.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Tangelo...not an Orange and More....

Tangelo (redone from yesterday)
original oil painting on canvas on masonite, 5.x6 inch, unframed
copyright MaryAnn Cleary

This morning when I got up and took another look at the orange thing, I just HAD to do more work on it. Sometimes it is best to just leave things set for a day or so and then go back to them with a clear head and fresh eyes. This definitely was one of those cases. I wanted to share the process with you so here is the "Tangelo"...not a tangerine/orange cross, but one of those Tangelos that has lots and lots of seeds in them.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

A Slice of Orange

A Slice of Orange
original oil painting on canvas on masonite, 5x6 inch, unframed
copyright MaryAnn Cleary

This is a slice of orange to go with the egg. I really don't think this is a true orange, but one of those hybrids that is orange and tangerine. The color is a bit deeper than a regular orange.

Today I watched a DVD by Morgan Weistling. What an excellent DVD. This one was about "Painting for the Impatient". It consists of 2 DVDs with the first showing two different portrait demonstrations with different lighting and two different approaches to painting them. The second DVD consists of Morgan critiquing and assisting students in his workshops. I plan on watching it again. I highly recommend the video.

With the painting of the orange, I actually tried out one of the methods used by Morgan on the video....painting from the inside out. With this approach one, paints as you go comparing values, shapes, and drawing. It is a little different than the typical way that I approach a painting. I like it as I now am focusing on the values, the color and drawing as I go. It seems to take the pressure off and it is fun to watch the painting suddenly emerge.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

The Economy and Ebay ~ Daily Paintings

eBay "daily painting" auction only bids percentage - limited data

One thing that I have tried, and I am sure other artists have tried as well, is listing my small paintings on ebay under "daily paintings". Since I am one of those left-right brain folks, I needed to understand what my chances of selling a daily painting on ebay were. Recently, I decided to start keeping track of some of the daily painting data. So far, I almost have 30 data points....something needed for a good sampling and reliable statistics. However, my data is still very limited as the info included is not for a very long period of time....just a little over a week & collecting at different times of the day. However, even with those few points and by collecting data at different times of the day, I found some very insightful info that I would like to share. Over time the data will become more meaningful. I definitely plan on continuing this.

Here is what I have found so far (all numbers are for auction only daily paintings):
  • the average percentage of paintings with bids is 19.6%
  • the average number of paintings listed is 130 (auction only)
  • the average highest selling price is $161 with the average shipping price of $8.60
  • the average lowest selling price is $8 with free shipping
I went a step further and took a look at the ones with bids. It seems that those with a strong following are 50% of those daily paintings with bids. They also receive a decent price for their paintings ranging from $100 and higher.

The data for the highest and lowest bids includes the bid price + the shipping price. There are actually bids that are for much less, but typically it is made up by charging higher shipping fees.

Last year when I did this just by a quick count, the number of daily paintings with bids was closer to 30%. I hope to continue keeping track of this to see if there is an improvement over time. It could be a good economic indicator. Also, I would like to know if is really worth the cost of listing paintings on ebay.

Right now I plan on listing a few of my own paintings each week with a low starting price. This has to do with the fees that ebay charges. I am using ebay as part of a marketing strategy with a small budget earmarked just for listing paintings. It would be great to sell a painting now and then to cover the marketing budget, but that is not my main reason for listing them on ebay. I hope to gain a bit more exposure.

For now, with the very limited data that I have, I am realizing that selling on ebay is not easy. One first should have a strong following or maybe use it to develop one - one artist that I have been watching seems to have accomplished this (more on this in a later post). However, right now I feel that most of my hits on ebay that check on my paintings are probably from other artists. That is ok as artists do buy paintings and one never knows who else might take a look.

By the way, I plan on keeping track of this data and posting my findings every week. I also would love to hear how others have done with ebay and what strategy others have used.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Another Egg or Egg No.2

Egg No. 2
oil on canvas mounted on masonite, 5 x 6 inch, unframed
copyright MaryAnn Cleary

When feeling frustrated, it is always good to go back to basics....or paint an egg. This is the first in another series of four. I am thinking this might be breakfast foods or something like that.

This painting is one that I did by mounting Signature canvas onto a 1/4 thick masonite board. It really was pretty easy to do and is quite a cost savings. I used my rolling pin to smooth out the canvas after applying the glue to the board and laying the primed canvas onto it. I then piled books on top of the glued canvas & board. Later I used an exacto knife to trim the edges. Next time I will take some pics of the process. It is really easy and I also like painting on canvas versus just a primed hardboard.

Click her to bid.

Monday, February 09, 2009

The Foster ~ Jar No.4

original oil on gessoed hardboard, 6 x 6 inch, unframed
copyright MaryAnn Cleary

Ah, another one of those little half-pint canning jars. This one is a Foster jar and is "sealfast". To add a little life to this painting I added a strawberry. All these little jars have been painted from life. The four of the paintings make a nice little grouping when placed together.

Click to bid.

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Another One of Those Little Jars.....

An Improved Gem
original oil on a gessoed hardboard, 6 x 6 inch, unframed
copyright 2009 MaryAnn Cleary

Here is another one of those crazy, little half-pint jars. This one has a few of those buttons and threads stored in it. You know those ones that come attached to clothes. I have yet to use one of the things, but I am terrified to throw them away. I finally opted to put them in a jar. Who knows maybe one day I will find a use for them.

Today is thankfully a sunny and warm one for this time of year. I am thinking of starting another blog and calling it "Minnesota Days". It will have my experiences, my photos and paintings of Minnesota. I will keep this one, but mainly it will be for just posting my recent artworks. I did save the blog name, but I am not sure what to do next....I guess "just do it".

By the way, as these little paintings begin to collect on my mantle in the kitchen, they are really coming together as a group. It is also giving me an opportunity to decide whether I like painting on gessoed board. It is ok, but I think that I like it better for using acrylics. My next trial will be to adhere primed canvas to hardboard. I like painting on a hard surface, but I also like the feel of the brush across canvas.

Saturday, February 07, 2009

Le Parfait Jar

Le Parfait Canning Jar
original oil painting on gessoed hardboard, 6 x 6 inch, unframedcopyright 2009 MaryAnn Cleary

Here is another in the jar series. The little one has the name Le Parfait on it. I actually did a search on google for these as I couldn't tell if the name on the jar was a "T" or a "P". I guessed wrong and the correct name came up. One can still buy these jars as well as the seal. The seal on this jar is stuck a bit....I could not open it easily so I just left it.

I am also putting them on ebay at a very low starting price. Check it out.

Check here to bid.

Friday, February 06, 2009

Half Pint and Red Ribbon

Half-Pint and Red Ribbon
original oil painting on gessoed hardboard, 6 x 6 inch, unframed
copyright 2009 MaryAnn Cleary

This little half pint jar is one of several that I have collected over the years. It amazes me how many different types have been made. I use them to store odds and ends and one of them is now a button jar. I hope to do a little series of them as they are a challenge with the reflections seen in the glass. This is the first of the series.

If any of you have half-ping jars, I would love to see a photo of it. So far, I have around ten of them.

Click here to bid.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

The Victorian House ~DSFDF challenge

The Victorian House
original oil painting, 6 x 8 inch, unframed

This is the latest challenge from Karin Jurick's Different Strokes from Different Folks site. I hate doing architecture so it was a real challenge for me....although I love old Victorians. With this challenge, I tried to simplify as much as I could and since it has been so cold here in Minnesota, I thought smoke coming from the chimney very appropriate.

Monday, February 02, 2009

The Flower in My Kitchen Window

conte on toned paper, 8 x 10.5 inch, no frame & no mat
copyright 2009 MaryAnn Cleary

Today I found a link to a widget for PayPal that lets one put a little store along the side of their blog or website. It is a beta one found under the PayPal Labs site. It looks pretty slick and much better than those little "buy it now" buttons. It can also keep track of inventory for those who want to use it for photographs or prints and there is also a place to write a little more about the item.

So far, I like it. There seems to be one drawback though. Tonight as I tried to add more paintings, the darn thing slowed down to a snail's pace. It seemed to take forever just to write a few comments. In fact, one time I just closed the thing down. There must be a way of making it so that once a person starts adding several items that the darn thing doesn't bog down. Now I am wondering if it is also slowing down my blogsite when it opens.

This is only a trial. I love having the ability to offer folks paintings easily in one little widget. I had thought about making a website or blog just for available paintings.

Has anyone else used this widget and if you have, how do you like it? Also, how do others offer their paintings for sale or do you on your blog or website.