Recap of 2015 and Goals for 2016

I can’t even believe that 2015 is wrapping up. Where did it go?

Beginning a painting of poppies
The beginning of a painting of poppies

2015 was a big year for me: I traveled a lot for my “real” job, I fell in love with someone very special, I squeezed in a vacation to Hawaii, and to wrap up the year, I bought my first house! It was fun and exciting and busy to say the least! With all this, painting was totally the forgotten middle child.

Adding colour to the flowers and leaves
Adding colour to the flowers and leaves

Some stats from my website for 2015 that prove that painting was totally neglected this year:

Clearly the stats show that I am putting in much less effort, work, and time into my art and accompanying blog since I had very few new paintings and blog posts last year. Interestingly enough though, my range has increased since I went from reaching 96 countries in 2013, to 112 in 2014 to 121 in 2015. I’ve also sold a lot of prints on Etsy which is something I’ve never done much of before.

Everything is blooming
Everything is blooming

Looking back at 2015, I notice that I only did commissioned paintings. I basically just waited for someone to call me and ask me to paint them something specific. I didn’t do any of my own paintings where I channeled my own creative ideas – I let others tell me what inspires them. On one hand, I’m really proud that I have built up enough of a following that I can do this – previously no one was knocking on my door and throwing money at me in exchange for personalized paintings. However, I’m also a little sad when I look back on the year and don’t see any reference to 2015 hanging on my own walls. It’s like the year never happened. I have several 2013 and 2014 paintings that I have held onto but 2015 is just a ghost year in my painting history.

The end is near
The end is near

2016 is going to be different. I’m realistic enough to know not to expect miracles, so I am going to set the goal of completing only 3 paintings of my own and continuing to take commissions (however many come my way). Realistically, my full-time “real job” (engineer/consultant, that is completely unrelated to painting) keeps me plenty busy and also fulfilled as I truly do love it so I don’t ever intend on making painting a full time gig, but it certainly can (and should) take up more of my time than Netflix watching does.

36"x24" - Acrylic on Canvas
Completed – 36″x24″ – Acrylic on Canvas

I have already identified my painting room in my new house – it is big, with lots of light and it’s going to be great. And now that I have shared this goal with the interwebs, I feel accountable. So look forward to some original paintings coming out of Agata’s Art Corner in 2016.

Displayed in the living room
Displayed in the living room

Happy New Year to you all and thank you for reading!

Side view
Side view

What are some of your goals for 2016? Art and non-art related. Please share in the comments :) 

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3 Times When Paintings Make Good Gifts

3 Times When Paintings Make Good Gifts

Search terms that bring many people to this website are often ones about giving paintings as gifts. I’ve written about this several times (here) and the consensus is, paintings usually do not make good gifts. Everyone’s style is different and it can be an expensive and awkward gift if you’re unprepared. But there are a small number of exceptions, and here they are:

1. When you know the person really well. For example, your wife/husband/cat of 20+ years. Chances are, you know exactly what he/she likes and hates by now. These are all paintings that were a gift for a spouse:

2. When they tell you exactly what they like. For example, if you’re ever in this situation:

“Hunnie, I love this painting. I think it would look great in our home”

Get hunnie the painting. He/she is being super clear. There is zero ambiguity there.

Or you get an email from your mom with a picture of something she saw elsewhere and loves, with a caption: my birthday is coming up.

You should get them the painting in these situations. Here are paintings I did after similar situations, all three for my parents:

3. If they previously owned it but it was burned in a fire, eaten by the dog, evaporated into thin air… If you’re just replacing it, I’d say your odds are good that he/she will continue to like it.

Bad Fido.
Bad Fido.

I recently did a commissioned piece for a colleague who wanted it as a gift for his wife. He said the image was her desktop background on her computer and she was really into meditation and yoga, so I’d say our odds were good here. Here is the progression of the painting:

collage

 

And the moment we presented the gift to her, which she had absolutely no idea about. Surprises like these are my favourite! They are such a cute couple and I was honoured to put a smile on their faces.

If you are interested in a commissioned piece of art work, perhaps as a birthday or Christmas gift for someone special, feel free to contact me. More information about my rates can be found here.

7 Tips for Throwing a Painting Party

Paint Nites have been super popular among my friends lately. These are basically painting events hosted by a bar, where you are provided with all the required painting materials and an instructor to guide you through a relatively simple painting, and in a few hours you go home drunk and with a masterpiece to hang proudly in your living room. Theoretically. I basically copied this idea and used it as a way to get my friends to paint with me. Here are my 7 tips for throwing a painting party:

Tip 1 – Instruction. 

Someone needs to be the instructor to hold everyone’s hand. Most of your friends probably have never painted before so they will need step by step detailed instructions and it also helps for them to watch you. I have never taught anyone before and probably went way too fast and had zero patience and it still worked out, so chances are you will do much better. Basically just be in front of the room and paint slowly while verbalizing what you are doing. It doesn’t have to make sense.

11
My instructor easel, set up with everyone else facing it

Tip 2 – Booze. 

I provided the painting supplies and all my guests brought booze. The more the merrier, because  it obviously helps with everyone’s creativity. Just be careful not to dip your paint brushes into the wine. Or spill it on the carpet.

hhh

 

Tip 3 – Food. 

Because no one is happy when they are hungry, so make sure there is some food around. Finger foods are best so that you can still paint while snacking.

3

Tip 4 – Feedback. 

Um, excuse me, Miss, can I get some feedback?” was probably the most uttered sentence that night. Luckily everyone had been drinking so I didn’t have to really make sense with my “expert opinion.” But most people like feedback so be ready to help out and tell them how awesome their monkey inside their jar looks.

8
Can you spot the jar with the monkey inside?

Tip 5 – Planning. 

We planned this event about a week in advance and made a Facebook event for it where we set up a polling station so everyone could vote on the painting that they wanted to paint. I gave them 4 options, shown below. I think it helped get everyone excited for it.

collage
Which one would you have picked?

Tip 6 – Fun.

Just have it. Lot’s of it. Since in the end, it really doesn’t matter what you paint. The point of the night is to have a good time with your friends.

1
Can you spot the black puppy?

Tip 7 – Puppies. 

Bring some. Because everyone needs a cute assistant.

6
Rex and Daisy being the cutest assistants ever. Rex ate all the crumbs off the floor so no one had to step on them.

And that’s it for my advice for throwing a kick ass painting party. Everyone agreed it was a great time and we are definitely going to do it again! You are all invited.

image1
My paint night masterpiece

Have you ever been to an actual Paint Nite event? How was it? 

Top 10 Best Search Terms

I started writing this post in January 2015, and now that we’re officially over 6 months into the year, it’s probably as good a time as ever to publish it.

I think it’s hilarious what some people Google search and then especially when it links them to my website. Sometimes I wonder about humanity when I see these terms but then I remember the “people of Wal-mart” and am quickly reminded that we’ve been doomed for ages. So instead I just smile and laugh and share with you all.

Search Terms that Brought you to Agata’s Art Corner in 2014: (FYI, I kept the grammar/spelling mistakes)

1. “All about giving a painting as gifts for men”

Generally, just don't do it.
Just don’t go there. Full story here

My advice: generally, DON’T DO IT. Only exception would be if you have a direct request.

2. “Butt getting bigger in timelapse”

Big City Girl
Big City Girl – Watch timelapse video here

My input: Sorry to disappoint but my butt stayed the same throughout the video, although the painting progressed. In case you missed it, watch it here.

3. “Daisy in the corner painting”

No one puts Daisy in the corner
No one puts Daisy in the corner

My input: That search term is probably referring to this painting, but my cute little dog is named Daisy too. No one puts her in the corner!

4. “Do people usually like paintings as a gift” AND “What paintings do you give as a gift” AND “Don’t give someone a painting as a gift

I need a job.
This painting was purchased from me and given as a gift to someone else. The gift receiver forgot to say thanks.

My input: (1) Yes, decent people do. (2) Only give ones that you were asked for. And (3) generally yes, don’t give someone a painting as a gift (except when point (2) applies)

5. “Receiving a painting as a gift”

Beacon of Serenity
This painting was also given as a gift but the recipient shed some happy tears she was so touched by how personal it was <– Correct response right there. A+ gift receiver, A freaking Plus!

My input: … say thank you. If you’re touched by a personalized gift, shed a tear. Don’t ask if you can return it and get a big screen TV instead.

5. “Easy step to make sweets on birthday special”

My friends sent me this plate of happiness for my birthday. Winning.
My friends sent me this plate of happiness for my birthday. Winning.

My input: Add lot’s of sugar. Generally, just good life advice.

6. “Birthday gift for someone who lives in their parents basement

You go Glen Co-Co
You go Glen Co-Co

My input: A kick in the ass.

7. “Girls cheating painting

My input:  guilty

8. “What do you think of senan for a boy?

IMG_2487

My input: I prefer Rex. My other fur baby.

9. “She made me wear an apron”

Yup, my mom made this!
Yup, my mom made this!

My input: I hope it was as cute as mine. Otherwise, I’m sorry she did that to you. Girls can be ruthless.

10. “Moms in apron

Here's my mom doing her second favorite thing other than sewing. Just kidding.
Here’s my mom doing her second favorite thing other than sewing. Just kidding.

 

My input: Here you go, my mom in an apron (sorry mom)

———————————————————————————–

That’s it for search terms for now but since it’s been so long, I figured I should share a painting I’ve done too. This one was a commissioned one that I did about 9 months ago. I was told the size and then asked to do two paintings with women in suits but with shorts. The paintings should look like a set but the women should not look related. This is what I came up with.

We are so hip in our suits.
We are so hip in our suits.
Displayed in my parent's house
Displayed in my parent’s house (not the client)

That’s all for now. If anyone is still here, thanks for reading!!

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