Friday, February 26, 2010

professional artist blog post .... tra la la ...

so ... usually i approach my blog with a whatever attitude ... whatever i've been doing artistically or whatever is going on, well, that's what you get ... today ... i have one unprofessional shout out ... here it is ... wow ... my last blog post wasn't even artsy and it might be my best comments ever .... made me happy ... 

and now on to the professional part ... you know, i can do it ... well, so long as you don't need punctuation, capital letters or, well, big words ... so here it is ... my unprofessional opening to my "i actually am a professional artist blog post" ... or maybe it's a "i'm trying to trick you into thinking i'm a professional artist blog post" .. you decide ... and, of course, the more i digress here, the less hotshot pro i look like, the more goofy artsy mommy artist girl i seem .... so ... 

ahem .... i'll begin ... 

i recently received an email from an art collector (oh, fine, an old college pal that i just reconnected with on facebook) ... the art collector, who must remain nameless, is a highly esteemed author in new york city with a number of books published... (fine, it's helen, but she's written lots of books and her most recent ones are about fairies .... for your daughter more than for you) ... the collector contacted me about a commissioned work ... with a hand written calligraphy on linen paper letter delivered by a (very cute) messenger....here is her letter:

dear e.beck.artist
i have chosen you above all other up and coming artists to do a commissioned piece. i have budgeted fifty thousand dollars and am interested in either a companion piece to your nest series or a glimpse into your next great thing.  please advise.
most sincerely, XXXXXXX, the anonymous famous writer


ok, fine ... 
here's her real email
hey!Greetings from a winter wonderland!  Crazy snow this winter!
I finally had a chance to look through....so love that you are an artist!  And I love your work. The thing is what I think that I love the most is the spontaneous creativity the series you create convey and your positive energy...and the fun you seem to have while creating.  Commissioning something kinda feels faux in some way :)  Anyway, I am drawn most to the nest with the egg with words (no big surprise there, huh?)...but a 6 inch canvas is hard for me to place.  I love the longer piece (I think that you had that long blue one at your show)  There's a great spot over my desk :) If t
he idea of returning to this series stops you or brings you back to someplace you don't want to go again, then I can wait for your next series to jump on.  I also love flowers....Again, there's something nice and fresh about being part of your vision at the moment.  Dare I ask what you are working on now????
And here's another important question -- how much do you sell these for? 
Hope that you survived the double 13 bday....wow two teenagers living in your house!  Shades of when they were 4?  Cause sometimes my girls say things and I get a scary peek into the future!!!!Hope all is well.
-Helen

clearly, helen is truly a professional writer with caps and standard punctuation!!!!!! .... there are a number of interesting bits to the email that have made me want to write an informative blog post (fine, i'm giving up on the professional sounding ruse)
first, i had made her a flickr set of the paintings that i have available in my house right this second, to buy ...as opposed to ones that are out in a gallery ..... you can look at that set of ready to buy right here if you want to see too ..... (these things take longer when you go to the set and see the one that went to a new home this week and you have to edit the flickr site ... i'm very scattered, do you know that?)  helen loves this nest ... but it is too small .... six inches square ... 
second, i told her my pricing .... my average size is 150 dollars ... that's long skinny ones, and the 18 inch squares .... bigger than that, more expensive .. smaller, less expensive .... 

and then i told her i would love to paint her a painting especially for her ... that commissions don't have to have bad karma or less joyfulness in the process or the product ..... 

but here's a commission story .... "i LOVE your work ....  i want a blue background with green lettering on a map but don't make the letters too smudgy like you sometimes do, i like sharp lines,  and then for the pear i want it green but if it's green will it be ok on the green letters .... "  .... the answer to that commission story is that i said no ... and i think she thought i was too ornery and didn't get a painting .... but that's ok ... i wouldn't have liked doing it .... and (don't tell my husband) i'm not really in this for the money, clearly, i'm in it for the paintings that are inside of me trying to get out ... i'm in it for the fun (and the unfun part is exactly what i'm horrid at and why i'm not wearing power suits and doing something, well, power suit-ish .. (am i dating myself? do women still wear power suits? i know they wear crazy power shoes still ... i wear clogs or flipflos or birkenstocks or anything in orange ... i digress ... again ... still ... ) ... so .. the commission, yes, helen, if you are open minded and give me a general notion of what you have in mind, i will so happily make it for you ... and you don't have to buy it unless you love it ... i'll send you a picture ... that's how commission works for me ... i'd hate to send off a painting that you hate .... tragic, that'd be ....

so, in general, when i get a commission, i need to know a size, a theme, and have a chat about what painting of mine you like and what color combinations you are drawn to .... 

but helen is special ... she wants to make sure i'm all blissed out doing her painting ... she doesn't want any negative energy from me doing something i HAVE to do rather than what i love to do .... so i said, helen, i LOVE nests ... i always want to make nests ... i could probably only make nests til the end of time and i'd be perfectly fulfilled with that (though i do reserve the right to change my mind and quit making them down the line sometime .... if so inclined)

helen asked about flowers ... and i haven't really been so flower ish lately ... not sure why .... if she had her heart set on flowers, i could absolutely do it ... but, looking for current good vibrations, you won't be looking for flowers ... 

and pears ... i recently made that new set on flickr and looked at every single painting i have posted there ...not every one i've ever done, but most ...and i do love pear paintings .. some of my way favorites are pears .. because (darn, i'm about to be even weirder) pears are just like people to me ... as i paint them, they are completely anthropomorphized ... i have one called figure eight: pear love that i adore ... adore ... adore ... those pears are so in love ... you can't look at the painting and not know they are in love .... helen, i could do a pear family for you .... (but i think she wants a nest ... and i'm good with that....)

and then helen asked what i was working on recently .... and currently i'm doing quirky houses and/or words .... not sure if i'm staying with words ... or houses .... i'm actually in a searching phase ... i like series .. i want to do series ... i love being in a topic where all i want to do is paint it over and over in different colors and sizes and emotions .... i'm trying to move on to my next thing ... but just am not sure what my next thing is ... ya know? ...... 

and then i had a notion, and i emailed helen, "my paper or yours" ... because on some of my pieces i put in papers that are important to me  ... like spelling tests and math sheets and book reports ... but i said i could put in papers that are important and meaningful to her if she wanted to go through the chore of finding them and mailing them ... her four year old twins' drawings or writing (love little kid handwriting!), a page from her manuscript, a map of her neighborhood, a favorite take out menu (i was thinking that's so new york) ... the possibilities are endless ... and it would make a piece very personal .... a scrapbook without anyone even knowing that at first glance ... lots of it would be obscured but much of it would be totally visible and readable ... but of course, i have a massive drawer of groovy vintage papers, maps, books, bingo cards, dictionaries, music .... so i maybe should be asking for anyone to send me MORE paper (don't want to show up on that tv show hoarders... eek!) ... helen lives in an apartment in nyc .. i'm pretty sure she doesn't have room for an entire drawer full of groovy papers ....i asked her, do you live in the ny suburbs or in the ny-oh-my-twins-in-a-tiny-apartment... she said the latter ... 

so there you go ... the anatomy of a commission ... they aren't usually like this ... it's usually ... can i have one kind of like that ... yes ... and then i do .... 

hey lavinia, i'll send you a photo for final approval next week ... 

hey helen, looking forward to painting for you ... 

hey the rest of you, can i paint for you too?







8 comments:

cath c said...

yes! you are a professional artist! and now you're a commissioned professional artist!

congratulations and happy painting.

someday i will buy a nest painting, i swear. but i may have to sell my novel first.

btw: my parents once comissioned an artist friend to do a replica of a painting that was in her house. of course she wanted to do it a little differently and did, changing some blue lines to lavender and green, and at first my mother was taken slightly aback, because she wanted the blue, but later, they decorated the room around the painting. it still hangs over the sofa in the same old den. three, maybe four sofas later. that's like a whole lifetime. practically mine.

so whatever you do, your friend the famous author will be happy indeed, no matter how far you take your vision of a nest or flower or pear.

e.beck.artist said...

cathy, i've done lots of commissions ... the blog post came from answering one of helen's emails and just having so much to say ...that it sounded more like a post than a letter ... so there ya go ... so ... did i sound all professional in the blog ... ya know? serious business woman and all?

Anonymous said...

I've got some paper for you! A whole box of maps...and some other stuff, too ---whew! actually right at this moment you saved my washing machine, because I just remembered-----yes,here it is --- earlier today I put a cool purplish GRAPE BOYLAN bottle cap in my pocket----I'll go add it to your pile. Michael drank that this afternoon when he met Grace and I at our local hang out. Love, Roberta
P.S. I love when the words show --- in the yellow poppies 6"x6" you gave us, I love how I ca nread the dictionary page that reafds "houseful, household, household arts (is that what I do?"

Helen said...

Hey Liz!
Thanks for the shout out. Let me just say how impressed I am with your html skills -- displaying links all over the place. Very impressive. Okay, pears were a close second and now that I read this post how do I not ask for pears as well? A pear family? LOVE that. But to make it truly mine, I will have to ask (oh to commission a piece!) that my little pears be blue and purple....those have been their chosen colors since 18 months...cups, bows, dresses....it's very clear whose is whose here. And they are not identical by any means! (Blue is a little bigger than purple) 6 inches will probably be good for my NYC kitchen :)
Oh, the internet is such fun -- so glad to reconnect.
xoxo

artmom said...

what fun to read this post and the responses!I love pears, nests and houses with words as well as everything you do---so there! hearts too.....

I do not like to do commissions although the last one was a huge success. yiou are good to do them and to make sure they are fun to do....

Around here, the def of a professional artist is one who sells frequently and shows fairly often at various venues...You certainly qualify for that definition!

Glood luck deciding on what Helen wants...I like the idea of blue and purple pears. very alliterative for a writer!

hugs to all.....

aimee said...

can't wait to see what you make! i love that nest!

Kelly said...

i must say i am now out of breath after reading that post! :-) of course you are a professional artist, you silly girl. me? i get commission jewelry requests fairly often....and as long as the commission-ee (is that a correct term?) just gives me a basic couple of colors and then lets me have my free reign, we're good. when they start getting too specific, i'm just not a happy girl.

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