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 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.

Gift Giving Made Easy

As many of you know, I’ve been a “professional student” for the last 7.5 years which didn’t exactly leave me with much of a disposable income. When it comes to gift giving, it’s almost inevitable that I am going to paint you something. Luckily, my friends and family seem to prefer this to store bought gifts anyways, so it seems to work out (or at least that’s what they tell me haha).

My mom’s 50th birthday was December 1st, and leading up to it, she gave me her wish list.

She wanted this painting.
She wanted this painting.

But MUCH bigger.

Okay, great, I can do that.

Ta Da! Is 30x40" big enough for you?
Ta Da! Is 30×40″ big enough for you?

To put it in perspective, here it is relative to me. Clearly, it is MUCH bigger than the original 16×20″ that I’m holding in the earlier picture.

Please pardon the terrible lighting...
Please pardon the terrible glare from the lighting…

Luckily, my mom seemed to love it, and she also had a wonderful night celebrating her 50th birthday.

And here it is proudly displayed in its new home
And here it is proudly displayed in its new home
And here it is again. Just because. I kind of really like all the colors.
And here it is again. Just because. I kind of really like all the colors.

 

Do you prefer store bought or homemade gifts? I personally LOVE anything homemade. I genuinely look forward to receiving cards more than gifts since they’re usually the only personalized part of a gift (assuming the person took the time to get one and actually write something meaningful in it). In fact, if you’ve ever given me a card and wrote more than just your name in it, I probably still have it 🙂 

Are you done your holiday shopping yet? If not, be sure to check out my online store of original paintings and prints, or contact me for a commissioned painting. There isn’t much time left, but I’m all done school now (FOREVER!) so I’ve got plenty of time to make something special for you 🙂 

 

 

 

Creativity – Nature versus Nurture?

I come from two very artistically creative parents. My dad is very talented with woodwork; he not only designed, but also built, just about every piece of furniture in my parent’s house, including the kitchen and all the bathrooms.

My mom on the other hand can knit and sew like it’s no one’s business! She grew up making a lot of her own clothes (by necessity more so than by choice) and still makes us curtains, throw pillows, and Halloween costumes, among other things. She openly does not enjoy doing these things, but she does them anyways and we love her for it!

A few months back, I came across a pattern on Pinterest for a very cute, girly, ruffly, apron. I e-mailed it to my mom, knowing she could easily make it. I never heard back so I assumed she simply didn’t want to make it. Understandable, since I am well aware of how much she dislikes sewing. My heart just about melted when I opened this on Christmas Eve (yes, we open presents on Christmas Eve here, not Christmas morning…).

Beautiful apron that my mom made for me.
Beautiful apron that my mom made for me.

I was beyond excited! I mean, how cute is it! And it’s purple too. Bonus. I think it’s too cute to wear cooking and risk getting dirty, so right now it is hanging on the wall in my kitchen.

She also made this one that was initially going to be a gift for someone else, but she didn’t think it looked good enough to gift, so she kept it for herself instead.

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. […sarcasm]
Pretty talented, no?! I will eventually show you some of the incredible things she has knit me over the years too.

Since I know how much my mom dislikes sewing (and cooking!) and yet she put in all that effort for Christmas, I gladly did another painting for her when she requested it. This one was for my parent’s bedroom, to hang over their bed. Like I’ve mentioned before in this post, my mom likes much different paintings than me. Knowing this, she was very clear what she wanted me to paint for her. Based on her instructions, this is what I came up with.

The finished product on five 10x30" canvases
The finished product on five 10×30″ canvases
Panel 1
Panel 1
Panel 2
Panel 2
Panel 3
Panel 3
Panel 4
Panel 4
Panel 5
Panel 5
The painting hung up in their bedroom.
The painting hung up in their bedroom.

Now back to the title of this post, do you believe that artistic creativity stems from our nature or nurture? I believe that nature has a lot to do with it. Before I could even understand the difference between the two, I know that I liked to create things. Because of this, I was always doing just that. This innate desire caused me to practice this skill over the years, which I am sure helped improve my creativity, however, had I not had that initial interest ingrained in me, I don’t think I would have ever practiced in the first place. So basically, our nature will often predict what we nurture.

On the other hand, I think if I didn’t have this interest and my parents tried to force me to do artistic things growing up, I would have only resented it. For example, I tried karate and I absolutely hated it. I’m athletic enough that I believe I could have gotten decent at it if I stayed in it, but I don’t think I ever would have grown to actually enjoy it and intrinsically want to pursue it.

What do you think on the nature versus nurture debate? What is something you always knew you enjoyed doing and thus pursued (or didn’t enjoy but did anyways) growing up?

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