Thursday, December 31, 2009

Saying Good-Bye to a Decade.

I know many of us in this world of ours will agree that 2009 has been challenging. I debated even posting this and thought if I learned anything this decade it is if you are to grow you need to open yourself, the good and the bad so you can move on to the next lesson or experience. So let me share with you the challenges I have experienced these past 10 years.

The millennium started with the passing of my father and although I miss him I realize his passing freed me to make the move to Vermont. In Vermont I became so connected to nature and formed a bond with the natural world which has only strengthened over the decade. It also brought me back to painting. If not for my father's illness I never would have developed the friendship I had with my mother. I discovered she was a kindred spirit and helped me to see challenges as nothing more than speed bumps on my life's pathway, you slow down but never stop where it is you need to go.
And then 2001, we all know what happened.
By 2002 Whitefield, my gallery and shop was showing a profit and I was expanding my creative muscle in every direction. On the other hand my mother who had come to Vermont with me was suffering from Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) and her beloved friend, Duffy, a very large 90lb. Standard Poodle, was diagnosed with Heart Arrhythmia. Duffy died on our kitchen floor in June 2002, we had just started our meeting with a lawyer regarding a land issue that was encompassing our property. Again life intervenes because it was not often we had two men in the house. These kind gentlemen wrapped Duffy in a blanket and placed him in the car. Four days later I found Tucker, enter Tucker.
Then came 2003 and everything in my world changed. My mother was diagnosed with Duodenal Cancer and as we had done before in dealing with my father's illness, we did it with laughter, good cheer and hope. We left Vermont and as we drove out of the state together for the last time nature sent us a farewell with a spectacular double rainbow. When I question if what I did, putting someones needs ahead of my own, was right I think back to the rainbows and I know it was right for us, for me. I had chosen to care for my parents. I guess this attitude or commitment to another may stem from being adopted but I believe that it is not our blood that binds us but the respect and joy in each other's lives that connects us. Surprisingly my mother's RA had lessened and she had stopped treatment for RA but the cancer would finally win and in 2005 she passed. I had experienced much loss but never the loss of a spirit or soul that you could be so comfortable with, it was a spiritual connection. It still amazes me that our lives end, one second you are here and one you are not. She passed in my arms and that moment is seared into my mind forever. For anyone who has experienced severe grief, the kind you feel when it feels as if someone has surgically removed this huge part of you and discarded what was left of yourself onto a pile of nothingness.
By the time 2006 came around my life was to change. Now in Connecticut I realized I had taken a wrong turn somewhere and started looking at other avenues and places. Again life was there to show me there is purpose in everything because during the year I spent in CT I had to face many of my demons and I needed time to heal. Unfortunately I lost the two dearest souls I had left in my life, my absolutely best friend and partner and my best furry friend, and during those months in 2007 I came to realize that everything and everyone I thought I could always count on and rely on had now vanished. I thought life had sent it's final blow and I did not know if I wanted to continue onward. Slowly the darkness fell away and light began to shine. I had completely surrendered my life to a higher consciousness and buds of new growth were forming. Without me even aware of what was happening I was being nurtured and cared for and I was extremely grateful.
Things happen, and events occur to all of us for a purpose. As chaos hit the housing markets I managed to sell my house and find my current home. Yes it was alot of work but I always feel there is something in the background lending that helpful hand or that all knowing little whisper in your ear. It is exactly where I needed to be so I could assimilate what has happened these past years and discover who I am. It has been my safe haven where I have emerged ready to travel once again down my path to a destination unknown.
So for me the past decade has been a challenge to say the least and one I am grateful to have had, well maybe not a decade. What I have learned is that you need to be true to only yourself and accept life for what it is, on life's terms, not yours. Believe in your uniqueness. Believe that your life is part of a divine plan. All thoughts have power so choose your thoughts carefully. Finally we are all responsible for our actions. This past year has been a wake up call for many and has unfortunately effected each and every one of us. My hope is that all of human kind awakens to the possibilities of a loving, accepting, fearless life and stops living in doubt, envy, greed, hatred and fear. But above all else may the world be encompassed with peace and the wars be stopped and all the sons and daughters, husbands and wives, men and women go back to their families and friends healthy and whole.

Monday, November 23, 2009

New Line of Functional Art is Here

INSPIRATION BOX WITH WREN

I am very excited to finally be able to talk about my new line of functional art. At the present time I have my Inspiration Box and Landscape Mirror ready and I am working on more designs such as Landscape/Garden Trays and Scenic Trunks. Below is a photo of my first two pieces completed in my wood shop on my treasured Delta saw. I have sanded them to a smooth finish and they are now ready for priming. They are primed and sanded twice giving me a nice surface to paint on.

SANDED READY TO PRIME



The little wren on the Inspiration Box adds a little whimsy. I sculpt it using Paper craft, a product I find is easy to work with because the forms can be air dried and painted with any type of paints. The mirror has mitered corners and is reinforced and the mirror is secured in place with cardboard and a plywood backing plate. To finish my pieces I apply lacquer or varnish and let it dry then I sand and reapply the varnish/lacquer sand and apply a coat of wax for a smooth hard finish.


CLOSE UP OF WREN


Both of these pieces are available on my newly designed website at www.laurierohner.com. My goal is to sell inspiration and quality handmade pieces of art.



LANDSCAPE MIRROR

Friday, October 23, 2009

Are you a true artist?

During this past month I have read some wonderful articles on line and in print regarding the different obstacles we artist always seem to meet. Through the words and thoughts but present in just about every article was the frustration felt by artists. First was the economy, a given, second galleries, third marketing but the forth was how artists and their contemporaries judged each other and harshly for the most part. Living a life as an artist is not an easy one and for many of us not a chosen one. Artist work in solitude and are far more sensitive to the world they live in. The average person may find this behavior unusual odd or dare I say abnormal but artist never seem to mind because deep within they carry that deep desire to create and to inspire others. So to think artists are criticizing other artists because they might not have top credentials or gallery following or a tribe (word used by gallery know it nots) or attended art schools and workshops I ask you now-are those who criticize other artist at the core artist or just skilled people?
Yesterday I happened to have Oprah on in the studio and as I was listening to her guest (a pilot who helped a women get over her fear of flying) say he believed an artist is anyone who inspires another person and his words resonated with me. Does it matter what it is an individual really does to inspire themselves or another? Is there any difference between the art schooled painter and a glass blower or floral designer and a sculptor? In any creative endeavor there is a degree of talent, skill and learned knowledge and it does not matter where an artist acquires it. Don't let an ego driven fearful society dictate whether you are an artist. Instead let that part of you that is deep inside shine through, that part that when you are truly in the moment creating, time disappears and your ego no longer has its hold on you. Some say this is what is known as oneness with the source of all creation.
I am old enough to remember when first starting out in the world thirty plus years ago, my artist friends were a source of inspiration. It was an ever growing group of different types of creative people working at a wide variety of occupations and not all as "artists". People took real joy in an others accomplishments and successes. It was a brotherhood of like minded creative people, a loyal family. Those days are long gone and I honestly miss them. Today we live in such a high level of fear with these huge fortress walls around our houses and lives afraid to connect to anyone outside our little group of people. No matter what you do artists need to support each other more than we ever have before. Take down just a part of the ego/fear based wall and stop judging and experience an others concept of creating. You might actually learn something new and grow as an artist.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

A Time For Change.

Wood Duck detail on one of my painted trunks.

It has been a long summer or maybe not long enough, but for me it has been a time of trial and errors. I have experimented with different marketing strategies and read many books about selling your art only to find I have more questions than answers. I cannot blame the lack of sales only on the economy nor can I blame myself in not implementing a marketing plan. I have had my work critiqued by a person who I greatly respect to either verify my ability as a painter or to tell me to find a day job. That was probably the hardest thing I have done to date. This person encouraged me to keep moving forward with my painting and felt my paintings had strong emotion, good composition and an understanding of technique and style. Also my website did not show the depth of my work which is quite common for online photos of art work. So now what?

I spent the next several weeks looking deep inside myself and tried to reflect on what I wanted and what was important to me. During this time I was approached by a gallery from an area I used to live in and wanted me to come in and talk. Before making the journey I wanted some background on the gallery and what they were willing to do for me. Everything seemed fine and I prepared for the trip. A couple of days before leaving I received a phone call, an out-of-state friend wanted to stop by for a visit and would I be there? It was the same time as my trip but my gut said don't go on your trip stay put. Well I did. I have discovered that to live an artistic life it is certainly not black and white and what is right for a few is not right for the many. I realized that what I had been so desperately seeking, gallery representation wasn't it at all. What I wanted more was to go back to what started me down this creative road in the first place, to build useful things for people and to add my painting to it. I can still paint my watercolors and oils for the elite few but paint and build a family keepsake or treasure gives me far more pleasure. People are hurting today and I want to be able to make the average person’s life a little better.

So I am reinventing myself (again) and will be changing how my etsy shop looks and I am checking into other websites to use. I am going to develop a more contemporary emotional impressionist style that appeals to our times. Bright cheerful wistful flowers animals and shapes will dominate. As I write this I know I have made the correct decision for me. So maybe what you think you want has to be just this or that way, save yourself some time and go deep inside and ask yourself is it really? You might shock yourself and at the same time be pleasantly surprised. I was.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Inspiration Can Make For A Strange Bedfellow.

'Fall Dream' - oil on canvas, 24" x 24".

This painting was conceived from a dream I had one night. It was a dream that was so vivid and comforting that when I first woke I tried to go back to sleep just to return to the swirl of color that in my dream seemed to encumbrance me. This vision stayed with me all day and is still as fresh as it was a few weeks back. I am not one who remembers her dreams and only once before did I have such a vivid dream unfortunately it was just prior to my Mom passing. I hope this isn't an omen. By the days end I sat down and sketched out my dream so I could finally put it on canvas. The intensity of color combined with the coolness of the forest and the blue of the sky above as if you were in the midst of energy with no real detail probably resonated the most in my vision and in the painting above. When things stand out in my life I have learned to pay very close attention. My paintings and my business are heading in a different direction all from one inspirational moment. Please stay tuned to see where it takes me and I am curious - Do you dream in color or black and white or gray?

Monday, August 31, 2009

Are your paintings insured?


Recently I had a heated discussion regarding who is responsible for protecting and insuring your work when it is accepted for an exhibition? Let's say a highly regarded group puts on an exhibition and contracts a gallery. The group states on the application upfront about their legal responsibility for artwork accepted for their sponsored show. So far this is a normal practice and no one had an objection. You receive notification your work has been accepted along with delivery instructions, dates for your work to arrive, agreements to sign and additional costs the gallery charges to receive your work (this is a real pet peeve of mine for a later post) and a few more instructions. You are thrilled your work has been accepted and can't wait to get it ready to send. But stop you may not be prepared for what could be a huge reality check on how the art world practices business.

This is where our debate went to a higher level. Once your painting is in possession of the gallery do not assume it is protected by their insurance. Most galleries today do not cover loss or damage on items which they do not outright own, therefore since they are only in essence renting their gallery for an exhibition they are not legally liable for theft loss damage or fire. Not to mention the occasional acts of God that might also happen. It is a business practice galleries have maintained for years and with the economy in a slump it is even more prevalent. Our discussion was only in regards to exhibitions in galleries just to be clear. My stance in the debate is that galleries should cover the paintings of an exhibition. After all the publicity of a show being held at their establishment and the potential added profits to their bottom line through commissions of sold work plus the outside chance of signing on a fresh new talent and added clientele to their gallery I feel backs up my stance.

Since I love to follow things to the end today I investigated an exhibition which I was entering today and made a couple of phone calls to the gallery which was hosting the event. Sure enough I found out the gallery did not have insurance that would cover the painting I was about to submit. This gallery located in an area where storms can be dangerous and damaging did not have insurance to cover their own assets. This is very disturbing to me and if not for my rather Bulldog attempt to retrieve the information needed I may well have sent a painting (if accepted) unprotected and in harms way. So I decided to further investigate my own insurance on my studio and I am thankful to say my work is covered and if I wanted to I could extend a rider to cover paintings I chose to exhibit. This is very costly to add. I am now rethinking a part of my marketing strategy.

It really comes down to if you are comfortable taking the chance that nothing will happen to your painting , which is probably the case, than keep entering unprotected. But I know when you least expect it things can happen. I want people to be aware and know the truth behind showing their work(right or wrong). For me I am still thinking and weighing the pros and cons of exhibiting my work.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Make a Donation.


Some might find it strange to make a donation of one of your paintings during times where paintings aren't selling but I think it makes perfect sense. An old friend approached me asking if I would consider donating to an auction they were holding to help raise money for their Hospice House. I had in the past given painted furniture but now it was a few years later and was no longer painting furniture so I offered a painting. I gave her a list of paintings she could choose from and she picked the one shown. Maybe I will gain some business or a collector and maybe not. What I do know is every time I think of that painting or see an image of it I will have great satisfaction knowing my little painting helped someone to receive compassionate quality care at the end of their life. I am certainly not saying to donate to whom ever asks but a single donation every year or two would go along way. Just a thought to ponder- money pays the bills but giving nurtures your soul.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

How networking can help your painting.


Yesterday I posted a small 10" x 10" oil canvas on Facebook and received great positive response but something was nagging me about the painting. Then I received a comment asking if they could make a suggestion. Of course was my immediate reply. Let's face it criticism good or maybe bad is how we can grow as artists and as human beings. I was so focused I never saw the obvious until it was pointed out to me. In the original painting the mountain had formed an arrow effect and made your eye jump up and out of the painting. As soon as I read this I knew that was what had bothered me and started to rework the painting.



To make the composition flow better and to prevent the eye from jumping off the canvas I brought the tree line up on both sides of the canvas. This allows your eye to move up the canvas in a zig zag fashion but now will settle onto the canvas. Your eye does not focus on the dominating mountain top.


I also softened the sky and mountains very slightly with a wash. The composition in this painting works very well now and all thanks to a very kind critique. It is a challenge to see a painting in its real light and sometimes a nudge can make all the difference. By the way thank you to my friend at Facebook for letting me see this painting in its real light.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Two New Paintings

Reflections 5" x 7" Oil on Panel

Painted in an Impressionist style I painted the water in a slightly lighter hue than the trees in the mid ground area, allowing your eye to move back to the waters rim which I highlighted using the palest of yellow and cream. The color is more intense with shadows of deep blues and greens which pushes the eye up and to the faint background of the mountain range. It may be small in size but this little gem has a lot of punch. The overall emotion of the cool shades of blues and greens give this piece a sense of serenity. Just sit on a rock in the heat of the summer and enjoy the cool water.

Pink Hollyhocks 7" x 5" oil on panel

Hollyhocks have always fascinated me because the colors with these flowers are so varied. These beautiful spires of intense pink explode against the green foliage. Painted much like the style of Impressionist's I placed the pink flowers in a way to draw your eye up from the lower corner and up through to the left upper corner. I highlighted the foreground with the contrasting bamboo and followed the color through to the background. These two small paintings are my newest additions to my site and as always are available for the great price of $95.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Birches


This weeks painting is Birches. A 6" x 6" gessoboard panel framed with a Shaker style black frame. Birches are wonderful trees to paint because of their contrasting bark and the way the bark stands out against the leaves and the sky. This painting is very much influenced by the Impressionist style. I applied color to enhance the effects of light and shadow. Birches is simply an outstanding buy for any art enthusiasts. Purchase this painting through http://www.laurierohner.com/ using easy to use PayPal.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

A Single Peony

'A Single Peony' Oil on Canvas.

The painting has dried and I finally shot some photos so I could get it on my site and this blog. When I lived in New Jersey I couldn't wait for my peonies to bloom. Being a florist at the time I was also an advent gardener and I had a complete section which consisted of a variety of peonies. This painting I did from a photo of one of my prized peonies. This is the largest size I am working on for this blog, a 10"x10" gallery wrapped canvas. It is not framed because I continue painting around the edges and is ready to hang. If you are interested in this painting please visit my website at http://www.laurierohner.com/. There you can purchase through PayPal.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Galleries - Are they worth the effort?

As I have mentioned before I owned and managed a gallery and was quite successful. So when recently I read a post regarding the need of galleries for artists to succeed in the art world my gut response is NO. Galleries are missing their real purpose which is simply promoting art from artists. Without art created by artists, galleries have no product to offer their clients or customers. This line has become very blurred. Galleries have always insisted artist need their services in order to be recognised as a serious artist and in the past was definitely true. Today with a wide range of marketing avenues for the artist it is not so true. Pushing even further that artist need to pay a rental fee for wall space, promotional packets, opening reception costs and then having the audacity to take a 40% - 50% commission. This practice was once only for the vanity gallery but fellow art enthusiasts no more. It is creeping its way into the entire gallery world. Now in these times of uncertainty the galleries who maintain their ethics and gratitude for the artists they represent will surly stay strong at least I hope so.

Where do artist go from here? Anywhere where we artists stay in control of our business. You the artist are the sole proprietorship's or the LLC's or the Inc's of the art business world. Having worked in corporate and retail businesses, the relationship the artist has with galleries is very dysfunctional. Free enterprise is simply produce a product, market the product to your niche, find a buyer and make the sale. OK. An artist paints the painting, markets to a gallery, finds a gallery but this is where I just loose it. The gallery doesn't have to buy the product and in fact has no out of pocket expense except to hang a work of art on their wall. A gallery or business is responsible for their own operating cost, not the artist. If so wouldn't that make the artist a business partner? Many galleries don't even have insurance coverage for your artwork in case it is stolen or damaged. The list supplied by galleries is never ending for many artist. The cost to the average artist well exceeds the saleable price of their work or the time and expense to create the work to begin with. Bottom line the artist makes zip.

When I owned my flower shop, I would buy fresh flowers every other day and sometimes they would die before you could use them. I did not call my supplier and say sorry I could not sell them you need to come and take them back at your loss. Galleries are nothing more than a retail store that sells art. Maybe galleries should buy art directly from the artist or realign their commission rates to 10% - 20% in lieu of an outright purchase. They are not these mystical places where all business sense and practices do not apply. Artist - business is business and you can not be unwilling to engage it. Leave your emotions behind you and step up to demand what you are owed, a fair compensation for your work and creativity.

There are many wonderful galleries in business today and I certainly see the value for artists to show in them. These galleries are becoming fewer and fewer. Things do change so lets change for the better - for the artist.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

STUDIO VISIT.


As I patiently wait for my recent painting to dry so I can photograph it for my blog I thought I would show you where I do some of my work. I always like to see into artist studios - here is where I paint. As you can see Tucker is never to far - he is on the rug. My painting studio is in one of my north facing rooms upstairs in my home. It is a little smaller than what I have worked in the past but it is cozy and I love the feeling I get when I walk through the door. The trestle table is a table my father made and I cherish. There is a small room off the back I use for photographing and assembling the paintings. I truly utilize every inch in this studio.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Sheep in a Vermont Field


Sheep in a Vermont Field is an oil painting on a 5” x 7” gesso board panel and is framed with a Shaker style black frame. It was the end of the summer and certain trees were starting to show color – summer is short in Vermont. I saw these sheep grazing and decided to make some sketches and I just discovered them. I wanted to show the peacefulness I felt as the sheep wondered around in front of me so I chose to paint more with shapes and color instead of fine detailing. This painting is wired and ready to hang. To see more views of this painting please visit http://www.lrstudio.etsy.com/ or go to my web site to purchase with PayPal. Cost $95. + shpg.
©Laurie Rohner2009. All reproduction or copies of artwork are prohibited without consent of artist.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

A Happy Pansy


Red Pansy is a small oil painted on a 6” square gesso board panel and is framed with a Shaker style black frame. I think pansies are the happiest of flowers with their big laughing faces gleaming back at you – you just can’t stop yourself from smiling. A happy painting with loose detailing can surely lift your spirits. This painting is wired and ready to hang. For more veiws of this painting visit http://www.lrstudio.etsy.com/. $95 + shpg




©Laurie Rohner2009. All reproduction or copies of artwork are prohibited without consent of artist.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Turk’s Cap White Lily




I was drawn to this delicate lily as I visited the greenhouses of a friend’s farm. I always feel at home amongst the flowers and maybe the most joyful. Flowers just seem to sing to me and this is why I enjoy photographing and painting these wonderful gems. This painting I used more detail brushstrokes to capture the delicacy of the flower. This painting is wired and ready to hang. Price. $95.


©Laurie Rohner2009. All reproduction or copies of artwork are prohibited without consent of artist.

Friday, June 19, 2009

My very first painting.



Pale Blue Iris

The iris is probably my favorite of flowers due to their range of differences. The shapes and colors of the petals and how the shadows cast intricate designs absolutely fascinate my painterly senses. The iris I painted here was almost white but had a blue hue about it. I love the feel you get from the wild bush strokes and the placement of color. This painting is wired and ready to hang. $95 + shipping.

©Laurie Rohner2009. All reproduction or copies of artwork are prohibited without consent of artist.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Thank you to the Universe.




I quick note to everyone and a big thank you to the universe. I woke up this morning as always and started my day but with one big change - the way I thought. Well, the bell rang at the door and I found an old client standing there. I happened on his name while unpacking some forgotten boxes from my last move. I had sent an email to him with my new info but never heard anything more. Shocked I let them in and within minutes they had purchased my painting Autumn in Underhill. They were on their way from up north to somewhere and found they would be passing near me and my studio and took a chance. I am certainly glad they did. So you never know where or how something good will come into your life you should just think it is. I hope and wish all artists who read this change their thinking and sell a painting too.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Let me introduce myself.


I first want to say I am very new to blogging and the art world in 2009 but I absolutely love art and adore artists. What a wonderful way to journey through life being able to view a world with a spirit, a mind, a vision unlike most. The creative people I have known are open minded, free thinking, highly evolved, selfless, independent and extremely generous. Maybe it is because you have to utilise your entire brain daily. Or it could be how we open ourselves to the world when selling our artwork that allows us to see people differently, giving artists more compassion. I believe artists everywhere should seize this opportunity during this recession to expand their businesses and their art and ride a wave to prosperity. Let us combine our efforts and unite with positive thoughts and solutions and take back our rightful position in the world economy. We are more than lofty, way out there thinkers and quite honestly if the financial institutions held more of our beliefs instead of greed and pride we may not have been thrown into this chaos. I have started several businesses over my 50some years. After reflecting back to those days these sartups have been during recessions and I am still standing strong. Now against the fears of the many neighsayers I have decided to focus fulltime on my art. I hate it when people say you can't because I always will show them you can. Please join me as I figure the winding path ahead.

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