Are you a yogi who wants to be in my next art collection?

Are you a yogi who wants to be in my next collection?

Yogi’s create some absolutely stunning shapes with their bodies. I have already been inspired by yogi’s and beautiful yoga poses when creating figurative artwork in the past. This year I want to create a cohesive collection of art inspired by yogis. If you are a yogi, I would love for you to submit your interest to be in my next collection at contact@the-art-of-flying.com.

Yogi Twist‘ Watercolour on watercolour canvas

What I am looking for

I am looking for photographs of yogis to create my first ever cohesive collection. Last week my blog post was about what makes a great reference photograph for figurative artwork. I hope you can all use that as a guide for the kinds of pictures I am looking for. So I am putting the call out to all you yoga lovers out there to submit your favourite photographs of yourself doing yoga for consideration.

From the entries that I receive, I am planning to select 12 images to use as inspiration for my yogi collection.

A Light Touch‘ Resin and acrylic on canvas

How to enter

I am so excited to see all your photos and hear the story behind them. So if you would like to enter send me an email with your photo attached at:

contact@the-art-of-flying.com

In the email please include:
  • your name
  • photo attachment
  • any information you would like to tell me about your experience with yoga and the context of the photo
  • the name of the photographer who took the photo (even if it was you or a friend, as I would like to give the photographer credit)
  • any relevant social media pages/websites that you would like me to link to (eg. yoga studio website if you are a yoga teacher)
  • I am happy for you to send me several pictures if you are not sure which will be the most suitable.

How to make sure you never get stuck in your comfort zone

‘Rise From the Shadows’ chalk pastel pencils on black gesso scraped onto mixed media paper

The fine print

  • entry open to people over 18 years of age
  • only submit photos of yourself
  • only submit photos I have permission to use to create artwork
  • I will be accepting entries for the next 3 weeks

I look forward to receiving your entries! Feel free to spread the word if you know anyone who would like to be in my collection. If you have any questions or want any more information feel free to email me at contact@the-art-of-flying.com

What makes the best reference photograph for figurative art?

What makes the best reference photographs for figurative art?

Sometimes when I see a reference photograph I immediately want to create something. Others can be a little more difficult to work with. I am sure that each artist has their own preferences for what they look for in a good reference photograph. This weeks blog post is about what I think makes the perfect reference photograph for my figurative artwork.

I know that some artists can work from images that they imagine. Others prefer to work from live subjects. However, I most commonly work from a reference photograph. I find it much easier to create figurative artwork from photographs because they are already two dimensional, the lighting does not change over time and they do not move 😉

All photographs are not created equal when it comes to using them as a reference for artwork. Previously I have written about my tips for a successful aerial photoshoot. This post contains my tips for the kinds of reference photographs that I find easiest to work with.

High Contrast

I am always drawn to photographs that have strong lights and shadows. Whether that comes from the subject or the lighting. I tend to also go for images that have little to no background so that all of the contrast is between the highlights and the lowlights in the figure. This appeals to me because the artwork I work on is also often very high contrast. Contrasting areas are difficult to artificially create in a painting if there is no gradient of shadow in the reference image.

The two examples below were studio photographs taken by professional photographers. They both have strong light sources and stunning composition focused exclusively on the figures. These are two of the photographs that I immediately wanted to use for a portrait as soon as I saw them.

 

“‘Hanging by a Thread’: Portrait of Hannah Lawson in Belay” is locked ‘Hanging by a Thread’: Portrait of Hannah Lawson in Belay

Reference photograph by Sari Blum of Hannah in belay next to her portrait ‘Hanging by a Thread’

 

The first reference photograph shows Hannah in her blue costume and red silk belay against a stark white background. In this image the figure contrasts sharply with the white. Whilst the second example shows Maia in a backbend hand balance almost blending into the black background. Even though Maia does not stand out as much from the background, there are extremely strong shadows in the image which make her muscle anatomy more visible.

 

‘Bend Over Backwards’: Contortion portrait of Maia Adams in backbend

Reference photograph by RJ Muna of Maia in a backbend hand balance next to her portrait ‘Bend Over Backwards’

High Resolution

The resolution of a reference photograph can determine how much detail I can go into in the resulting portrait. If the reference photograph is sharp and shows all of the nitty gritty details, then the more detail I am able to go into when working on the artwork. In contrast, a grainy photograph may mean that I need to guess where some of the anatomical details are. I prefer not to make up these details myself and prefer to work from a high resolution, sharp reference photograph.

How does aerial dance compare with aerial yoga?How does aerial dance compare with aerial yoga?

Reference photograph by Patrick O’Connor of Nicole doing aerial yoga next to her portrait ‘Touch Your Toes

 

The first example here shows how a high resolution reference image allows for a more detailed artwork. This is in contrast with the second photo taken with a phone camera, where the artwork needed to be simpler.

 

A picture of the strength to flyA picture of the strength to fly

Reference photograph of Ashe on aerial straps next to her portrait ‘The Strength to Float’

Good Lighting

I love when show lighting is captured in a photograph. When aerialists perform and the bright spotlight hits a pose it can create amazing effects on the body. In the example below, the lighting has made the triangular shape striking. It has also created a rosy hue over the silks and Alexa’s body.

 

Aerial silks from a gymnast's perspectiveAerial silks from a gymnast's perspective

Reference photograph by Louis Montaño of Alexa performing on aerial silks next to her portrait ‘Subtle Splits Triangle

 

Interesting composition or shape

My favourite thing about creating artwork inspired by aerialists is capturing the amazing things aerial artists can do with their bodies. The beautiful shapes that these stunning performers can make allow for some interesting figurative compositions.

Aerial silks from the perspective of a captivating performerAerial silks from the perspective of a captivating performer

Reference photograph by RJ Muna of Anastasia on aerial silks next to her portrait ‘Inverted Diamond’

 

I also love the way that the aerial apparatus frame the figures and add to the interest in the composition. The silks can add movement and fluidity, whilst the rigidity and continuous nature of the aerial hoop contrasts with the bodies in the artworks.

What happens when a yogi becomes addicted to aerial arts?What happens when a yogi becomes addicted to aerial arts?

Reference photograph of Nadine on lyra next to her portrait ‘Golden Hoop’

 

A beautiful silhouette

Something that I look for in reference photos, particularly for resin pieces, is a beautiful silhouette. Specifically, it is good to have almost no overlapping areas, because overlapping limbs can be confusing in the resin artworks.

 

How I was introduced to resin painting at a resin workshopHow I was introduced to resin painting at a resin workshop

Reference photograph of me on lyra next to my self-portrait ‘Splatter Hoop’

 

Movement

Sometimes stillness is lovely but movement can also be so interesting. The problem with movement is that it can be a challenge to capture effectively. Below is an example where I painted a portrait of Angela from a video still. You can see the silks billowing out like wings as she flies through the air.

‘Wings’: A painting portraying Angela Chu on flying silks‘Wings’: A painting portraying Angela Chu on flying silks

Reference photograph by Patrick O’Connor of Nicole doing aerial yoga next to her portrait ‘Touch Your Toes

 

I hope that you have found my tips for the perfect reference photograph for figurative artwork helpful. In next weeks blog post I am planning on calling for submissions from yogis who have stunning photographs of themselves in their favourite poses. So if you love yoga and would be interested in having a portrait created as part of my upcoming yogi collection, use the tips in this post to get your photos ready 🙂

What I hope to achieve this year as an artist

What I hope to achieve this year as an artist

Lots of people make new years resolutions. I normally don’t, but I thought that the new year might be a good time to set some goals for this year to come. After taking a two week break from blogging over Christmas and the New Year, I feel refreshed and ready to plan for the year to come. This blog post will outline some of the ideas I have about what I would like to achieve this year in art.

2018 Beautiful Nudes Calendar

Approaching this year in context

I have been blogging on The Art of Flying for about 6 months now. So I spent that time trying to find my feet in my art business. After that first half a year I learned a lot. I now feel better informed to make some changes to my art practice to hopefully be more successful this year.

2018 Beautiful Nudes and Yogis Calendar

 

I created this calendar for 2018 to commemorate the setting of my new goals. Hopefully this post and the calendar will keep me on track in the year to come.

Feel like I have enough time for Art

What I mean by this is to basically build my life around the artwork so that the real world doesn’t take over too often and prevent me painting. I also need to be more organised so that I spend less time doing art adjacent activities and rather spend more time making art. Some of those things that are distractions from creating but are still part of The Art of Flying are:

My goal for this year is not to stop doing these tasks, but rather to be more organised and make completing them a more efficient process.

Create something I can be proud of

I am always proud of the artworks that I create, but I sometimes feel like the manner and order in which I create them is a little haphazard. This year I would like to plan my work in advance and attempt to create cohesive collections. These would be bodies of work that are aimed at conveying a single strong message.

I plan to release these collections periodically all in one go, rather than writing individual blog posts on one piece at the time. Hopefully this will allow people to feel more connection with my work and what I am trying to say. I want to create some drama and anticipation for each release.

Eventually I would love to do a solo exhibition with one or a few of these collections. I think that the first collection will be focused on yoga poses and the beautiful shapes that yogis can make with their bodies. In a few weeks I will write a blog post to call for expressions of interest for yogis who would like to participate. So if you have some stunning yoga pics, get them ready to send in soon.

Put myself out there more

Sometimes it can be nerve wracking to put myself forward for artistic opportunities. There is the fear of judgement and the potential for rejection. However, this year I aim to put myself out there more to give my artwork more exposure.

I plan to do this by doing more markets. Currently I have my work hanging in the lovely Yoga Therapia Studio. This year I will approach other local business owners to see if there are any other opportunities to display more work. If you or someone you know has small business that would like to display my work please get in touch at contact@the-art-of-flying.com or any of my other social channels.

Find clarity on who I am creating for

I want to focus a small amount of my time, especially at the start of this year, on doing market research. My partner suggested to me that I need to find out more about my target audience for my artwork and I think he is right. I am hoping that more information will provide me with more clarity on what to create and when. Ideally this will lead to faster decision making when beginning a new piece.

Be ready to seize opportunities that come my way

There are some tasks that could help me to act quickly if new artistic oportunities present themselves. For example, I need to learn to write an artists statement an artists bio and a press release (for all my future success obviously). I am sure there are other things that I will need to add to that list that I don’t even know about yet, but I am hoping to gradually work my way through this to-do list throughout the year.

Learn new things

For me, part of the excitement of art is learning about new styles and materials. I want to remain focused on figurative art this year since I have been enjoying working on The Art of Flying so much. To extend myself this year I would love to try sculpting. I fully expect to be awful at it because it is so different from drawing and painting. However, some of my current favourite figurative artists are sculptors. You never know it might give me a better appreciation for painting and drawing mediums.

Find Community

One of the most helpful things that I have done during my time working on The Art of Flying is meeting Elicia from Art by Elicia Jane. I have found it so helpful knowing someone who is facing some of the similar challenges that I am as an artist. I have also been part of an excellent Mixed Media Group at the Henley and Grange Arts Society.

This year I would like to build on this to learn from a larger community of artists.

Ask For Help

I am a firm believer in asking for what you want in life. I figure that people can’t help you to reach your goals if they don’t know what they are. So this post is part of my way of putting what I would like to happen this year out into the universe. If you think you have some information, introductions, tips or tricks that could help me to reach any of the goals I have been talking about, I would love to hear from you at contact@the-art-of-flying.com or on any of my social channels 🙂

Thanks for reading and following my journey so far!

The Art of Flying: Reflections on 2017

It is nearing the end of 2017. This year I made the scary but exciting decision to start blogging about creating artwork inspired by people who defy gravity. I wanted to take this time to reflect on my first half a year writing an artist blog. There have been lots of firsts, plenty of challenges and some really exciting achievements.

Commemorate my first year

To commemorate my first year writing The Art of Flying I have created a calendar containing the portraits of the 12 featured aerialists of 2017. This calendar is available for purchase and would make a great gift for anyone who loves circus, aerial or the human form.

2017 in review

25 BLog posts

 

My first blog post was published at the end of June 2017. Since then I have published 25 blog posts. I tried my best to keep to a weekly schedule. At times this was difficult to maintain when things got busy or when I couldn’t think of what to write about. Interestingly, some of the last minute posts where I just came up with something to write about were the most widely read.

Almost all of the blog posts were associated with a piece of artwork.

12 featured aerialists

These 12 amazing aerialists who have been my teachers and inspiration were featured in my blog posts. I created a portrait of each of them to try to convey the qualities that I think make them awesome aerial artists.

There has only been two male featured aerial artist so far, but I would like to include a more even split in the future. I have not had so many male aerial teachers, but the ones that I have had have been exceptional.

4 Apparatuses

I love hearing from featured aerial artists why they love their favourite apparatus. Each apparatus has their different strengths, weaknesses, versatilities and restrictions. I have found that in class different students like different ones for all sorts of reasons.

The different apparatuses were very different to represent in artwork. In particular there were strong differences in trying to capture hard versus soft apparatuses. It turns out that it can be really difficult to paint or draw a perfect circle of a lyra from all sorts of different angles. However, I do like what the circle of the lyra does to keep the composition of the artwork compact.

In contrast to the lyra, the aerial silks sometimes makes the composition more flowing or alternatively creates beautiful shapes around the aerialist. I have had such a lot of fun this year working with these subjects.

4 countries

I have had the pleasure to be able to work with aerialists in 4 different countries. My first aerial silks class was in San Francisco and I loved being able to start learning in a city that had so much rich circus culture and amazing talented teachers.

Subsequently, on my holiday to London I took some excellent classes with Astra. Then later I went to a yoga and aerial arts retreat in costa rica before moving back to Adelaide.

It has been so nice to keep learning aerial arts in my home city. There is a lovely sense of community around the two studios that I attend.

8 Aerial silks portraits

Aerial silks is my personal favourite of all the apparatuses that I have tried. I take mostly aerial silks classes with some mixed aerials classes thrown in for variety. That is probably why I have done so many aerial silks portraits when compared with the other apparatus.

I like the softness that the aerial silks adds to the portraits. The fabric has movement and folds that create lovely light and shadows for the artwork. There also seems to be greater versatility in the shapes that can be created using the aerial silks. However, this could just be my bias towards the silks showing through.

4 Lyra Portraits

There is something wonderful about the lyra and the way that it creates shapes with the aerialists bodies. It is almost like a stained glass window, with the hoop forming the frame. The hoop is then cross-sectioned by the limbs of the aerialist to create the smaller panes of the stained glass window. At least that is sometimes how I think about it.

1 Aerial straps portrait

Aerial straps is one of those apparatuses that really intimidates me. I think my favourite aerial performance that I have ever seen was the aerial straps performer in Luzia the Cirque Du Soleil show. The amount of strength required for aerial straps is just so far away from my current abilities. I think that is what makes those aerial artists who are able to make aerial straps look graceful and effortless so impressive to me.

1 aerial hammock portrait

Aerial hammock is an interesting variation on aerial silks which can be used for aerial yoga. My opinion is that aerial yoga differs from aerial dance in its intention. I think that aerial yoga is more for the benefit of the practitioner and has a meditative element, whereas aerial dance is generally meant to be viewed by an external party.

I tried to convey this difference in intention in my portrait of Nicole doing aerial yoga.

yogi portraits

I have also enjoyed doing portraits of yogis in beautiful yoga poses this year. The fascination I have with the positions and shapes that aerialists make transfers easily to other movement forms like yoga and dance. However, I also want to try to capture the meditative, zen component of yoga that contrasts with the flair that exudes from the aerial performers.

Nudes

Nudes are not everyone’s cup of tea, but I absolutely love them. My favourite kind are fine art nudes that show the strength, capability and beauty of the human form. My nudes so far have been decidedly feminine in nature, showing predominantly female torsos stretching or dancing.

I have really enjoyed trying to depict the contrasts of the female form, the strength and softness that exist side by side.

Mediums

One of my favourite things about writing this blog is that it gives me a great excuse and a slight push to try new things. Experimenting with different mediums is one of my favourite things to do.

Other Firsts

There have been many other firsts this year along with my first blog post. I was in my first performance, had my first market stall, first commission and my first original and print sales for The Art of Flying.

If you have any suggestions for what you would like me to cover next year please email me to let me know at contact@the-art-of-flying.com

 

 

How to survive creating a commissioned painting

I don’t have a lot of experience with painting commissions. Recently I have had several inbound requests from aerial artists asking about my rates for commissions and what would be involved. However, this week I had a commission request from people who are not aerialists, but who like my style of capturing aerial acrobats. They had a bare space in their house and commissioned me to create a piece of artwork to fill it. In this blog post I will describe how I found the process of creating this commissioned artwork.

‘Hoop Trio’: Portrait of Erin Shredder acrylic on canvas

How the commission came about

Just before a family holiday last week, my cousin Matt and his wife Courtney asked me if I would be willing to take a commission from them. They asked me to create a painting to fill a space in their bedroom that was meant for a TV.

Photo showing the proposed location for the commissioned piece of artwork

 

The reason that the holiday is pertinent to the story is that I live in South Australia and they live in Queensland. So I was going to be in Queensland with them for 2 weeks. Timing the painting around the holiday was advantageous because I was able to complete it during my stay in Queensland so that there was no postage cost for such a large piece.

Questions that I asked

What is the size of the space?

Matt measured the size of the space available for the piece. He suggested that the piece needed to be bigger than the metal bracket attached to the wall so that it would be covered. The piece also needed to be smaller than the indentation into the bedroom wall so that it would fit within.

Do you want a canvas or a framed Artwork?

Matt and Courtney both thought that a canvas would be better to cover up the bracket in their bedroom. In the shop that I went to, the largest size of canvas available was perfect.

Do you have any colours in mind?

Courtney asked me if I could incorporate some of the blues and greens found in their bedspread. She did not want the painting to clash with the colours that they had already used in their bedroom. Matt, had some slightly different ideas of incorporating red into the painting. So I suggested that I make the painting predominantly blue and green with the addition of  rosy gold. They agreed with this plan.

Photo showing the bedspread pattern that Matt and Courtney asked me to match some of the colours of

 

Do you have a subject matter in mind?

Courtney said that she liked the idea of a painting of an aerial artist rather than a nude. I asked if they had a preference between someone on aerial silks or on lyra/aerial hoop? Courtney said that she liked the way that the hoops worked into the composition of the artwork.

So I came up with a potential reference photograph, which they both seemed to like.

Would you like me to paint in a similar style to any of my previous aerialist portraits?

Matt and Courtney took a look at the artwork that I have created before and chose a few that really appealed to them. They said that they especially liked the ‘Flying or Falling‘ piece and my portrait of Anastasia Sauvage ‘Inverted Diamond’. In particular they liked the style of acrylic painting that I used in ‘Inverted Diamond’.

Challenges

Overall, creating this commissioned artwork was very smooth sailing. Mostly because Matt and Courtney are family and we trust each other. However, there still were some personal challenges for me, which I find often come up when I talk about a commission.

Pricing

I have trouble setting a price for a piece before it is completed.

So many doubts go through my head:

  • What if it doesn’t turn out like the buyer expects?
  • What if I have an off day and don’t create something to the standard that I normally do?
  • What if there is a miscommunication between me and the buyer and I create something that I think they want, but they actually wanted something totally different?
  • What if the buyer thinks the artwork is not worth the price agreed upon once the painting is finished?

These are all mostly my own hangups. Although I have heard some horror stories from other artists about people refusing to pay for work once it is finished.

However for this particular piece I was more worried that because Matt and Courtney are family that they would not tell me if they didn’t like it. Or that they would keep quiet if it was not what they expected.

I think that most of my doubts have to do with lack of confidence. I much prefer when both parties know exactly what they are getting when going into the transaction. Hopefully I will gain more confidence as I work on more commissions and have less doubts.

working with family

This was not a challenge in the way that you might think. Both Matt and Courtney were very accomodating in what they wanted and gave me mostly free reign creatively. They did have a little trouble agreeing on a colour scheme, so I tried to incorporate elements of what each of them described.

The major issue for me was that I felt very weird about setting a price for family to pay. Thankfully Matt and Courtney were very understanding and we muddled through it together. I think that we came up with a number that made all of us happy, I certainly was.

It also was really fun having my little cuz Sam working with me on his own artwork as you can see below 😉

Sam giving me some moral support and hanging out with me while painting

 

landscape orientation

I had surprising difficulties finding a lyra reference photograph that would work with the landscape orientation. The piece needed to be a landscape orientated rectangle shape because of the space available on Matt and Courtney’s wall.

Most aerial photographs that I have permission to use are in portrait orientation. I guess that is because gravity is always acting upon an aerialist so a lot of poses involve vertical extensions. Eventually I found a suitable picture of Erin Shredder one of my aerial teachers from San Francisco who I have been wanting to paint a portrait of for awhile. I will talk more about Shredder and the creative process of the piece in a subsequent post.

Advantages

The main advantage of a commission is that there is already a buyer before commencing the artwork. This is so helpful for artists who often have to outlay a lot of money for materials before beginning. Not to mention all the time artists can spend on non-commissioned artwork that ultimately may not get purchased.

 

‘Hoop Trio’ being held up, where it will eventually be hanging, by its proud new owners

 

The other main advantage for me is the idea of collaborating with the people who commissioned the piece to create something that I may not have normally worked on. For example, using colour palette and orientation that I would not have normally have gravitated towards.

Prints of ‘Hoop Trio’ are available in my online store

Interested in commissioning your own piece of artwork?

If you are interested in commissioning a piece of art feel free to contact me at contact@the-art-of-flying.com or on any of my social channels.

I am open to commissions and am happy to work with you to create a piece of artwork that you will love. My work would suit most homes and businesses, in particular gyms, yoga, dance,  aerial or circus studios.

An original artwork starts at $150 for an A3 drawing like my ‘bend over backwards’ piece and varies in price based on the size, materials used and estimated time taken. I am based in Adelaide, Australia, so shipping costs would be from this location and would be quoted in advance once the size and weight is known.

My artwork is a great gift if you have an active person in your life. It is also the perfect way to commemorate a significant physical achievement like nailing that yoga pose you have been working on for ages or finally getting that crossback straddle 🙂

What I learned from my first art market stall

What I learned from my first art market stall

A week ago I had my first ever art market stall. It was at a yoga and music festival in Adelaide called Sanctuary. The theme of the festival was ‘air’ and there were aerialists performing at the event. So it seemed the stars were aligning to bring me the perfect event at which to sell my art. However, I did not end up selling any of my work. This blog post is about the things I could have done better to set myself up for success. I will also talk about the things that were out of my control.

What I learned from my first art market stall

My artwork set up for sale showing the original ‘Yogi Twist‘ and the printed towel version

My first art market stall

On the internet, you often see a very skewed view of people’s lives. They may only post the positive and exciting things that happen to them. I can be a bit like that too. However, after my first art market stall, I think it is important to be honest.

Although the day was a positive experience, I did not have any success at selling my artwork. So on the bright side, I want to document the things I learned from the experience. I also want to emphasise that people do not always find success initially, but need to work harder to reach their goals eventually.

What I learned from my first art market stall

Me standing behind my table (which you cant even see because there are so many paintings)

Things I learned:

You need volume of people

I think that the major issue that prevented me from selling any of my artwork was that there was a smaller turnout at the Sanctuary festival than expected. There are many possible reasons for this, like it is close to Christmas and people get busy or the weather was a bit overcast….etc. All of these factors are outside of my control.

So I have tried to look at the experience not as a failed art market stall where I put in a lot of effort and did not get any sales, but rather as a learning experience. As they say in Monty Python ‘Always look on the bright side of life’ 😉

Having said that, there were several things that I could improve upon for my next art market stall…

I ordered too much stock

I had visions in my head of running out of stock, so I ordered way too much. Then because I had all those prints and products all over my house I figured I should take it with me to the market. I now think that was probably the wrong move.

I am just starting out in my art business, so I probably should not have invested as much money in paying for inventory for my first time. Instead I think that I should have taken only my best-selling and standout pieces with me to test the waters and see how people responded to them.

I think that part of the problem that caused me to over-order stock, is that as an artist I think that each of my pieces is unique. In the past I have seen how people can instantly fall in love with one of my pieces of artwork when all of the others don’t really appeal to them as much. So I thought that I needed to have examples of all of my pieces to maximise my chances of this happening.

This would have been fine if I had have had infinite space in which to display my work, but that is not always the case. So I think instead I should have ordered a smaller selection of prints and products.

What I learned from my first art market stall

Stacked prints from my art store

Do a practice run

Since I had so much artwork, I was reluctant to do a test run of my art market stall setup. This should have been my first warning sign that I had too much stuff.

When I arrived at the Sanctuary festival, it took me a lot longer than expected to set everything up. The way that I had imagined I would set up my art market stall did not end up working out, so I had to reorganise on the fly. It also meant that I was still putting on price tags and rearranging things as the festival started.

What I learned from my first art market stall

 

Talk to experienced people

I am so glad that I talked to Elicia of Art By Elicia Jane about her experience with art market stalls. She gave me so many helpful tips about things that she had learned so far and about things she is also hoping to improve upon in her stall. Elicia and I have very different styles of artwork, but a lot of her learnings are still very relevant to me.

I learned from her that you need public liability insurance for art market stalls and that you can purchase it in partial year chunks. In addition, she gave me great suggestions about how to take credit cards.

I think that the best tip that I got from Elicia was to try to do things to make people spend some time at your booth and interact with you. She suggested that I stack some of my prints in front of my table so that people would need to rifle through them in order to see them all.

Based on this, I also set up a bunch of my work behind my table. This meant that people could wander through it like an art gallery. Therefore I could see what pieces people were most interested in and tell them to let me know if I have any questions.

What I learned from my first art market stall

I need a cheaper price point

I think that a lot of my artwork is at a higher price than what people are willing to spend at a market. It is not possible for me to drop the prices of my work since I order the prints from Society6 and I need to cover the costs of creating the prints and other products.

However, I think that I could introduce some cheaper products that cost me less to make. The cheapest product that I had in my art market stall last weekend was the tank tops for $30. Perhaps in the future I should have some greeting cards so that there are some products in my stall that cost less than $10.

What I learned from my first art market stall

On the bright side

The Sanctuary festival was a really fun day.

What I learned from my first art market stallWhat I learned from my first art market stall

Left: Group yoga with my mum and auntie modelling my ‘crabby pants‘ and ‘look at me leggings‘ with my adorable cousin participating. Right: the collaborative mandala artwork that I supervised at the Sanctuary festival

Since the Sanctuary festival, I have had an uptake in the number of orders that I have had in my online store. I am not sure if that is because I handed out a bunch of business cards to people who seemed interested at the festival. It is possible that it is just because it is close to Christmas time that I am getting more organic art sales online. However, it is also possible that the people I met at the Sanctuary festival have looked up my site and put in some orders.

What I learned from my first art market stall

Me with my mum and my auntie all wearing leggings available in my online store

Big thanks to my awesome friend Clare and my mum who helped me set up and run the art market stall at the Sanctuary festival! Clare was also the photographer for most of the shots used in this post.

Do you have any other market stall tips? if so I would love to hear them!

All of the products you have seen in this post are available in my online store.

How I was introduced to resin painting at a resin workshop

How I was introduced to resin painting at a resin workshop

Resin artwork is very popular at the moment. I have been eager to get my hands on some to give it a go. Many of the resin workshops that I have seen have been very expensive. So when I saw that my friend and fellow artist Elicia was going to do a workshop at an the Gathered market, I jumped at the chance. I thoroughly enjoyed the experience and would heartily recommend that you sign up for one of her future workshops. This post will describe my experience at her resin art workshop.

‘Splatter Hoop’ Self-portrait of resin on canvas

Two weeks ago I attended a resin workshop run by an artist friend of mine Elicia. Her art brand is Art by Elicia Jane and she creates predominantly abstract minimalist resin pieces. I love her bright colours on stark white large canvases with her beautiful wooden frames.

The workshop was aimed at beginners to get a taste of what resin can do. I enjoyed it so much and have decided that I would like to do more resin work in the future.

 

Elicia teaching the resin workshop

Safety

Before we attended the workshop, Elicia sent us some very useful instructions describing what to wear. She advised old clothes that we would not mind if they got a little messy and closed in shoes. Resin is a skin irritant so it is important to keep everything covered.

Elicia also provided us with plastic aprons and gloves to keep us protected. She also advised to always only use resin in a well ventilated area.

Materials

  • Super sap CCR fast (comes in a set with a large bottle of epoxy and a smaller bottle of hardener)
  • apron
  • gloves
  • canvas
  • palette knife
  • plastic cups
  • silicone patty pans
  • acrylic paint, inks, powders
  • cloth rag

Method

  1. Put on all of your protective gear
  2. mix the resin with the hardener in a plastic cup at a ratio of 2:1 (it turns a cloudy colour when first mixed together)
  3. stir vigorously with the palette knife until clear, making sure to scrape the sides and the bottom so that it is well combined
  4. portion the resin mixture into the silicone patty pans, one for each colour
  5. place a small amount of paint, ink or coloured powder into each pan to mix with the resin (start with a small amount because if you put in too much you can end up changing the properties of the resin)
  6. start pouring!

Getting Started

Before we started working on our individual artwork, Elicia took us through a couple of exercises to familiarise us with the resin and the way it moves. I really liked the first exercise where we each had a plastic sheet. We had to combine 3 or 4 colours and try to get them to form a circle. This demonstrated to us how difficult it is to get the resin to go where you want it to.

It was also great for seeing how the resin continued to expand slightly after we finished tilting the plastic. We also discovered that we could use the palette knife to break the surface tension in places. This guided the resin into new areas.

 

The first exercise that we did with the resin

My Resin Artwork

Even thought I knew it would be a challenge, I wanted to try to create a figure using resin. I knew that it would likely end up more abstract than most of my pieces.

I chose the reference image of me doing a backbend on lyra/aerial hoop at CircoBats. The photo shows my body in profile. I thought that it would work for the resin because there is not a lot of overlap of my limbs.

 

Side by side comparison of the reference image with the finished artwork ‘Splatter Hoop’

 

It was fascinating seeing all the different ideas that each participant had for what they wanted to create. Each artwork was very individual. There were all sorts of shapes and colour schemes!

 

Everyone working on their resin masterpieces at the Gathered Market

 

Usually for my blog posts I would post progress photos of my artwork. I couldn’t do that with the resin artwork because it all happened so fast. There is certainly much less control when using resin than the other mediums I have used. However, I like the crazy swirling freedom.

 

‘Splatter Hoop’ just getting the finishing touches

 

The finished piece did keep moving a bit after the workshop. So it looked a bit different once I got it home. I attribute this to the car ride home where the canvas was on a slight angle. In the future I would only use resin at home and have a flat surface ready to leave the artwork for a lot longer.

 

‘Splatter Hoop’ final piece hanging on my wall

 

As always, prints and other products of my finished artwork are available in my online store.

 

‘Splatter Hoop’ prints available in my online store

 

Have you tried painting with resin? I would love to hear about all the different ways that people have been using it!

My first aerial silks performance was a success!

My first aerial silks performance was a success!

Shot of my first aerial silks performance

Two weeks ago I did my first performance on aerial silks at the CircoBats Talent Show. I was so nervous before, but ended up feeling great while I was up there. The cherry on top was that I ended up tying for first place in the adult section of talent show competition. I had such a great time that night, that I thought I would share the experience with you all.

 

Videographer Sam Matthewman

On the day

The whole day before the performance I was so jittery. I ended up getting to the venue early so that I would have plenty of time to put on my makeup and warm up properly. There was an air of nervous anticipation among all the performers crowding around the mirror backstage to create their theatrical artwork on their face.

I tried for some Cirque du Soleil style makeup since my costume was a bit on the plain sited. Basically I tried to create the pattern from my ‘Look at me Leggings‘ on my face.

 

My first aerial silks performance was a success!My first aerial silks performance was a success!

My show makeup

Warming up

Once I was all made up, I started warming up. I wanted to make sure that I was all warm and prepared. After warming up on the mat and stretching I did a couple of climbs on the silk before the audience arrived.

When I was climbing I noticed that my hands were shaking a little bit. That made me even more nervous! I was worried that I would not be able to grip properly if my hands were shaking like that during the performance.

I started to feel more confident when some of the more experienced performers arrived and told me that I would be fine. It was just nice to have the moral support.

Once I got up there

Backstage before the MCs announced me I was doing star jumps to try to get out some of the jitters. Once I got out on stage on the mat under the lights with all of the people in front of me and the music started, I was so focused on what I was doing. I forgot all about my nerves.

I had also struggled to smile and remember to look at the audience in all of my practice run throughs. Once, I was up there on the night and people were cheering for me I couldn’t keep the grin off my face. I think I was also lucky with the spin of the silk that I could see the audience in a lot of my poses.

Some of my favourite stills from the performance that my dad took for me

Once I finished

After I finished my performance I was on such a high. I felt so proud of myself! There were many parts of my performance that I thought could have gone better. Overall I think that I did a good job though. It all went pretty smoothly and I did not embarrass myself. That was my main goal with the performance.

My climbs could have been cleaner, I could have pointed my toes more and I had a little bit of trouble getting into my footlocks. Part of this was because the silk that I performed on was fluffier than the ones that I normally practice on. None of that really bothered me though.

It was also so nice to see all the rest of the performers do their pieces. I was so much more  relaxed after mine was done. Everyone was so complementary of my performance which was so nice of them.

All the performers in the CircoBats Talent Show

Artwork

In addition to performing in the talent show, I donated one of my pieces of artwork as a prize for the raffle. I was so happy when it was the first prize chosen. So many people came up to me afterwards and said that they had bought their raffle tickets just so that they would have a chance to win my artwork.

‘Subtle Splits Triangle’: Portrait of Alexa that I donated for the CircoBats Fundraiser with its proud new owners

 

Overall it was a very successful evening and I hope to have the chance to perform again sometime soon.

Do you have any good performance stories? If so I would love to hear them on any of my social channels!

How to feed your paint pouring addiction on a shoestring budget

How to feed your paint pouring addiction on a shoestring budget

Paint pouring using acrylic paint and pouring medium is extremely popular at the moment. In a flash a beautiful, complex masterpiece can be created using the random mixing and movement of the paint as it is poured onto the canvas. The only problem is that the medium and huge quantity of paint used can become extremely costly. I recently learned a neat way to practice paint pouring at a fraction of the cost and that is what I will share in this blog post.

‘Air and Water’ Acrylic pour

 

I go to a mixed media group where many of the members have become interested in paint pouring. Michelle Stratton, who teaches the group, dedicated one of our sessions to trying it out. I had so much fun experimenting with the different patterns that could be created. It is always nice to find more affordable ways to create new artwork.

I want to make it clear that I am not claiming to be an expert at paint pouring. Also the technique I will describe in this post will not have the same finish as the products that you can buy. Therefore it is not a technique that would be appropriate to use for pieces you wish to sell. However, I think it is a good way to try out paint pouring and begin using different colour combinations or styles without breaking the bank.

Materials:

  • Surface for artwork (canvas, gesso primed cardboard, glass or tile etc). I used a sheet of glass.
  • Water
  • PVA glue
  • acrylic paints (I like a restricted colour palette)
  • silicon
  • disposable cups
  • straw (to use to swirl the paint or use air to push your paint to the edges of the artwork surface)
  • gloves
  • hairdryer (I used a hairdryer to cause wavy lines throughout the mixing paint)

Method- Getting ready:

  1. Put on your gloves if you don’t want to end up with paint covered hands.
  2. Prepare your surface for the artwork so that it is sitting on top of a cup or something to raise it off the ground. I would recommend putting everything within a tray or box so that paint does not get all over everything.
  3. Dilute the PVA glue with water so that it is a similar consistency to mod podge. I used about 4 parts PVA glue to about 1 part water. This will be your pouring medium.
  4. Select your colours and put a small amount of each in its own cup.
  5. Dilute each colour with your pouring medium. I used a ratio of about 1 part paint to 2 parts pouring fluid.
  6. Add a couple of drops of silicone to each colour and stir. The silicone is what should give you cells in your artwork. Stir more for a lot of small cells and less for fewer large cells.

‘Fire and Water’ down and one to go

Now for the fun part!

There are many different techniques that you can use for the combination of the colours and the pouring part. I poured each colour on individually and then used the straw and tilting to combine them. You have also probably seen videos of people combining all the colours into one cup and then inverting it onto the surface so that all the colours pour out at the same time.

 

Finished pours sitting out to dry

Results:

I really like the results that I got using this method. The colours were not as bright once the artwork was dry. There was some blank spaces where the paint had cracked. However, the effect of the cracks was actually quite interesting. I have been told that the PVA glue may cause the artwork to yellow over time but have not seen any evidence of this yet.

Below you can see how the pieces that I did turned out once they were dry.

Finished dry artwork of  ‘Waves of Wind’ and ‘Air and Water’ hanging on my walls

 

Prints of these two pieces are also available in my online store. Below you can see the framed prints.

 

Framed prints of ‘Air and Water’ and ‘Waves of Wind

I also love the way that these abstract pours look on some of the other products in my online store. Below you can see the leggings, all over print t-shirts and backpack. There are also many other items for you to check out in my online store.

Printed all over print t-shirt, leggings and backpack

How I prepared for my first aerial silks performance

How I prepared for my first aerial silks performance

Today I am going to be doing my first aerial silks performance. I will be doing a solo aerial silks routine at the CircoBats talent show. This post is about how I prepared for it as a first-time performer. Hopefully this post will help others get ready for their first performance too!

A photo of me getting ready for my first performance

 

I took my first ever aerial silks class about a year and a half ago. Since then I have seen many amazing performances by my teachers and other professional circus acts. As my own skills progressed, I thought about the prospect of one day performing in front of other people.

I kept this in mind when watching first aerial silks performances from other people and took note on what I thought worked well.  In addition, I thought about what I would like to avoid in my own debut.

These are the steps that I followed in preparing for my first aerial silks performance:

1. Choose a song
  • slow beat (I didn’t want to get left behind the music)
  • some stand out moments with a bit of pizazz
  • between 3 and 4 minutes long (I don’t think I would have the stamina to be in the air for longer than about 4 minutes at a time)
  • a song that I like and makes me feel like dancing
  • a song that I would feel comfortable performing to in front of my friends and family

I ended up choosing ‘Fallen Angel’ by Cold Chisel

2. Create an achievable routine
  • all the choreography are tricks that I feel very comfortable with (nothing new that I need to work hard to perform safely)
  • lots of rest moments where I can pose and look at the audience
  • also lots of places in the choreography where I can catch up if I need to take more time with the previous movement
  • not too many tricks jammed in together
  • not too many climbing or wrapping parts (I am not very good at making these look pretty…yet)
  • natural flow (I wanted it to look like each move made sense in its place)
  • choreography that suits the tempo and mood of the music
  • choreography that plays to my strengths (moves that rely on flexibility rather then muscle strength are best for me)

I added a lot of poses that let me rest and relied on flexibility rather than strength

 

3. Find a performance opportunity

It might seem strange to pick a song and a routine before finding a performance opportunity. However, I did not want to be rushed in the lead up to an event. This would not work if there was the a theme to the event.

For my first performance I was looking for:

  • a solo performance opportunity (I figured my first performance would be difficult enough without having to worry about being in time with other people)
  • a show that my friends and family could attend if they wanted to come and see me
  • a show where there is not pressure to perform perfectly

The CircoBats talent show seemed like the perfect first performance opportunity. It is a community fundraiser show that is open for all types of circus performers to take part in.

Flier for the CircoBats talent show

 

4. Get feedback from others

I was a little nervous about asking other people to watch my routine when it was in an unfinished state, but it was extremely valuable. Other people noticed things that I was and was not doing that I could not see.

I asked my teachers and classmates to give me constructive criticism. Through this, I found out that I was concentrating so hard on getting the moves right that I completely forgot to make any eye contact or smile at the audience.

My teacher and classmates watching to give me feedback

 

5. Decide to do it

I think this step was the most difficult for me. Up until the last 2 or 3 weeks before the show I kept telling people that I MIGHT be in a show. I kept giving myself an out in case I couldn’t get my routine to a place that I felt comfortable performing.

Whilst I think that it is a good idea to wait until I felt comfortable, but at some point I just needed to be brave. So I took the plunge and decided to just do it!

6. Actually tell people about it so they can come

For the last little while, when people ask me what I have been up to, mostly it is aerial shows or classes. So it will be really nice for some of my friends and family who have herd so much about it to be able to actually see me up in the air in person. I am also looking forward to having a cheer squad there, just in case I mess something up. A supportive audience can make all the difference!

7. Decide on a costume

For this performance I have gone a little on the safe side for my costume. That is because my main concern is that I want to be comfortable and feel confident in what I am wearing. I think that anything that can be one less thing to worry about tonight will be helpful. So I decided on a black leotard and some brightly coloured leggings. Whilst I love a crazy costume, I might just have to save it for next time.

‘Look At Me Leggings’ available in my online store that I will be wearing for the performance

 

How to have have the Most Amazing Aerial Photoshoot

This photo shows an outfit that is very similar to the costume that I will be wearing tonight

 

8. Practice practice practice

I was a bit embarrassed at first to put my music on at open trainings and run through my routine. It was extremely important to practice to the music so that I could get a feel for what I had to do to finish with the song. I also found it super helpful to film myself so that I could see what parts looked nice and which parts of my routine looked strange. That way I knew which parts of the routine to work to improve upon.

Photos showing me practicing at ZigZag Circus

 

If you are working towards your first aerial silks performance or have tips for other people who are I would love to hear from you in the comments section!