Day 18 - Inspiration
I live in North Devon UK, really close to the beaches and not far from Exmoor National Park. Its a dream location for a landscape artist and I find endless inspiration from the gorgeous scenery.
Today's picture is another photo of Saunton Beach. It's one of my favourite and most painted places.
I'm especially interested in places with a massive sense of space. Places with huge skies and distant horizons, where you feel small but in a good way.
These expansive landscapes have a way of putting things into perspective. The natural environment is so much greater than us. It was here before us and will remain after we are gone. Although its vast and unforgiving, a visit to an unspoilt natural place can be a very healing experience.
"One of the first conditions of happiness is that the link between man and nature will not be broken" - Leo Tolstoy
Day 17 - Customers and Feedback
Customers are what it's all about! Without my collectors I'd never be able to justify the amount of time and effort and money I put into my artwork. I'd definitely still paint, but I wouldn't enjoy it as much. I like to be purposeful with my work and painting for others motivates me to continually improve.
I love the idea that my paintings are now dotted around the UK and some live as far away as Japan. Without my collectors I'd have a huge pile of them in my loft or garage which would be such a waste! I'm a firm believer that if you make art you should work hard to share it with the world.
Art is such an important part of our culture. It helps to define a moment of time and is nearly always life enhancing. People who buy art from living artists are helping to keep the magic of the creative sector alive and are helping to create history. Can you tell that I think art collectors and supporters are wonderful?!
Day 16 - Helper
My main helper has to be my lovely husband Ed 😊
Although I run my art business single handedly, I really wouldn't be able to do it without him.
He works really hard to support our family and is allowing me to invest in my business while it grows. I had a fair few wobbles in the early days wondering if I was doing the right thing. Ed supported me through all of this and gave me the strength to keep on going.
On a day to day basis he's the best with our little ones. He gets up with them on weekdays and most nights he's the one who does bedtime, giving me time to work in the evening.
I've also had lots of childcare support from my in laws and my mum. I'm only able to work when the kids are asleep or with someone else, so this help is invaluable. Big respect and thanks to all the supportive family members, friends and partners out there! ❤️❤️❤️
P.s. The eagle-eyed amongst you may have noticed I have missed out day 15. The prompt for this was 'Boomerang' - a snap-chat style video that won't translate to my blog. It is on my instagram feed though if you want to follow me @amyjobesart over there!
Day 14 - Dreams and Plans
I've chosen to post a Stephen Hawking quote today after hearing the sad news of his passing. What an inspiration he was! RIP Professor Hawking ✨
Another of his quotes is "Never stop working". I'm a fan of that one too. I love working and plan to never give up! I might try other things when the little ones are older, but my artwork has always been a constant and I want to keep it that way. So there's a very long term plan of mine...
In the shorter term we have plans for a garden studio. Really excited about that one! I also have plans to approach some local galleries. It would be great to have more working partnerships.
In the medium term I'd love to try working abroad. I can take my work with me and the lovely other half also has a flexible job in terms of location. Sure the kids won't mind! The cat on the other hand....
I have daily goals and weekly goals too. A current aim is to meditate for at least 5 minutes everyday. The main reason is to try to stay calm even when my kids are driving me nuts haha! Only a few days in but think it's helping. Yoga three times a week and running twice a week are other goals which keep my mind and body healthy.
We also have a family bucket list for the year which is full of fun stuff like sleepovers, picnics, meals out and day trips. It's great to have a 'nice to do' list as well as all the dull as ditch water life admin.
"Remember to look up at the stars and not down at your feet" - Stephen Hawking 1942 - 2018
I could have done with some help with this one so I could have shown you my painting apron in all it's paint splattered glory.
But anyway, here I am in my work clothes. Rocking artiste chic at least twice a week.
I've got painting clothes for all seasons, but living in the UK I'm usually layered up with a cosy hoodie and probably some sexy thermals too. My work space needs to be well ventilated so I wrap up warm.
I'm a messy painter so I always put my hair up, and as I'm partial to a bit of finger painting I wear a glove on my right hand. As gorgeous as they are, oil paints and their mediums are pretty toxic. I try to keep them off my skin as much as possible.
Talking of gorgeous oil paints, I finished the painting behind me just yesterday. Sneak preview just for you... 😉
Day 12 - Postage and Packaging
After feeling pretty uninspired by today's photo prompt I had some fun with this one!
Here I am with a massive roll of bubble wrap, some packing tape and one of my fragile stickers.
I'm on a mission this year to find some more environmentally friendly alternatives. Although I can't take any risks when sending an £800 painting away on its journey to its new home...
Any ideas on how to package paintings without using bubble wrap?
I use a courier service to send larger pieces, and small and medium paintings are sent by Royal Mail Special Delivery. It's always a nervous time when a painting is on the road. I always check with the collector to ensure its arrived safely.
I've now got paintings all over the UK, in Geneva and Japan. Its lovely to have creations near and far. One day I hope to have paintings all over the world!
Day 10 - time to relax
This was a bit of a tricky one.
Life keeping two little ones (and a husband!) fed, watered, clean and happy, and in the right place at the right time is pretty full on. Add running a business on top of that and some days I feel like I never stop! So much so that my doctor recently advised me to make a conscious effort to sit down when I eat...
I really value the importance of a balanced life though, and take every opportunity to do things I really love, for example running, especially on the beach, and yoga. Since having our second baby it's not been easy to find blocks of time big enough to go surfing or horse riding, but it won't be this busy forever.
The quiet and solitude of my painting sessions allow me to go into a different headspace (theta waves). So I use this time as a meditation practice. So much so that the paintings often create themselves, often with interesting results!
The photo I have chosen is of ultimate lounging time. Sitting on the sofa long enough for my beautiful tabby cat Miki to have cuddles. Best accompanied by an almond milk matcha latte. Bliss!
Day 9 - How it's made
Today's photo shows a blank 12 x 12 inch canvas, a tear-off paper palette, my trusty palette knife, liquin and oil paint in titanium white, paynes grey and phthalo blue.
I'm pretty sure I haven't created a single painting without using every one of these items.
All of my paintings are created on canvas or canvas board. I like the way it grips the paint, the slight bounciness and it's durability.
The paper palette is made from sheets of glossy paper. It's used for mixing the paint. But rather than washing unused oils down the drain with turps and other nasties, when a sheet is finished it's torn off and put in the bin. Not ideal, but better for the fishes and our water supply 🐟🦈🌊 The palette knife is my go to tool for applying the paint. I've had this one for five years, and although I've bought and used others none of them compare. Not sure what I'll do if and when it breaks... I try not to think about that!
Liquin is a medium which I add to the oil paint to speed up the drying time. Particularly for white paint which with certain brands can take months to completely dry! It also makes the paint slicker and easier to move around. One down side though, it really stinks. I always work in a well ventilated area, but with liquin the window needs to be wide open, no matter how chilly it is outside.
And finally, the paints 🎨💕 I simply adore phthalo blue, especially when it's mixed with linseed oil. The tones of this particular colour are to die for 💙
The titanium white is a massive tube as I use tonnes of the stuff! And paynes grey is my black...as in I don't use black. Never have. Its something my very first art teacher Mr Gummer taught me. There's no such think as true black, as all shadows have colour (or at least tones of grey) in them somewhere, you just have to look hard enough and long enough...
Day 8 - Flatlay
OK so I admit I did have to look up what Flatlay meant. I've seen this photo style before but hadn't thought about what it was called or even considered attempting one of my own. But here it is! My first ever Flatlay photo. What do you think?
Hope you like it as I put in the hours... Tried out a number of different props and compositions with my phone camera first. Then once I'd decided on the design I used my Nikon D60 to take the photo, climbing onto a chair and everything... Took loads of photos before deciding it was all too dark, so moved the entire set up over to a window sill (which I had to clear and clean first). Climbed back on my chair for another shoot. Then once I was happy I'd captured the image, I connected my camera to my laptop and uploaded the pictures.
Then chose the best one (in my opinion), cropped it to a square and made adjustments, mainly to the brightness. Oh, and I added a filter.
After that I emailed it to myself so I could access it from my phone. Download it from my emails on my phone and then uploaded it to Instagram. A bit more fine tuning to the brightness and contrast and Ta da!
I do think it's a better quality image than those taken with my phone, but man the effort! Big respect to all the IG users who do this on a regular basis! Oh, and if there's an easier way to get DSLR quality images on your Instagram feed do let me know. I'm all ears... xx