Thursday, December 30, 2010

First Apple Group

Now that I'm in my practice mode and working on apples, here's what the entire painting looks like. In this case, I use a 14 x 18 canvas pad sheet that is taped to a cheap mdf(?) board.

Since these are only studies and not for sale, it makes sense to paint small paintings that are to be thrown-away. However, after reviewing the overall composition, it does make for an interesting painting. I think that my next set of apples will be done on a canvas with the lighting going in different directions. May be an interesting painting.

Still Life Study: Apple - Day 4

Still working on my studies of "An Apple a Day". Last night's value study was using Alizarin Crimson with the light shining directly over the top of the apple.

As you can see in this study, I thoughg that it was interesting that you get a significant reflection of the table directly on the apple on all of the bottom sides. The reflection is from the table cloth, itself.

The nice part about these value studies is that I can worry just about getting the shape of the apple correct, the roundness correct, and investigate how the reflections work.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Still Life Study: Apple - Day 3

So, yesterday, I was suffering from a migraine headache and spent most of the day laying down/sleeping. I really didn't want to stand at my easel, but decided that, I can still do some work by drawing a pen/ink version of my apple.

In this case, the main issue has been the drawing of my apple. I did not do any justice to this drawing. The shape is more accurate than the paint versions, but the shading was rather difficult. Rather than setting up the apple with the appropriate lighting, I just placed it on my coffee table with lots and lots of ambient light hitting it from all sides. This caused the shadows/highlights to be totally flat.

However, this is a good exercise in just trying to figure out the problems on drawing the apple. I'll have to try it again with my proper still life setup.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Still Life Study: Apple - Day 2

Second day of the apple study. This time, same apple, but positioned it differently and changed the lighting to be more from the upper left.

Still having issues with the shape/drawing of the apple. Need to do some basic pencil/ink drawings of it to get the rhythm down.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Still Life Study: Apple

After reading an interesting post about what NOT to do as an artist, one of the comments was that you shouldn't wait to paint every 2 - 3 weeks. Not if you want to be a good artist. So, taking that to heart, I'm going to try to step up my painting schedule. Since I have limited time and need to work on my still life studies/realistic painting skills, I have plenty of small setups to paint.

So, last night, I started on an apple. The last time that I did an apple, the colors of the apple were wrong, etc. This time, I decided to do some work on just values.

In this setup, the light is setup directly above the apple and the apple is on a fairly reflective table. The hardest part of this painting was to ignore the secondary light sources from my light above my easel. I had to continuously turn on/off the light to remove the highlights. However, it is interesting to note that the table showed greatly on the non-lit side of the apple. As I was painting, I was making sure that the reflected light on the shadow side did not produce areas that were brighter than the darkest part of the lit side.

Overall, for an initial value study, this was okay. Had some issues with the drawing of the apple and getting the shape right. However, that's why I need the practice.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Latest Painting: Return of Autumn

"Return of Autumn" is an original 14" x 18" oil painting created on a 1" stretched, high-quality canvas. The painting is presented as unframed (Sides are painted).

This painting is based on a concept drawing in which autumn returns to St. Albans, Vermont.

All Artwork is copyrighted to Doug Hoppes Studio and is not to be copied or reproduced in any form without the permission of the artist. Sale of this item does not transfer its copyright.

Got a couple of hours?

This week, I'm on vacation from my full-time job. So, as part of my vacation, as usual, I decided to get some painting done. So, in the last four days, I was able to complete two paintings (16 x 20 and a 9 x 12).

The important part of this information is that I still painted during my usual times. In reality, each painting took about 5 or 6 hours to do, but I worked on them an hour or two every day. Usually, when I think about working on a painting, I think that I need to have about 4 or 5 hours to really paint. What this week, so far, has shown me is that an hour or two every day or every other day, I can still be incredibly productive and get more practice in.

This means that I watch TV less or just don't make excuses that I don't have time to paint. If this is a serious business, and it is, I need to focus more and produce a larger inventory and get my name out there.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Checking out Galleries

Now that my larger works are starting to sell and I'm working towards a larger inventory, I'm considering approaching some galleries. A little while ago, I was thinking that I could never get into a gallery due to the work being far beyond my levels. However, I realized that I was wrong.

Today, my wife and I went to Stowe (Vermont) and checked out a number of their galleries. For galleries that fit my style, my work would not be the best in the gallery, but it wouldn't be the worst, either. This may not be a bad stepping stone to other galleries outside of Vermont.

Before approaching the gallery, though, I need to do several things: 1) Greatly increase my inventory. At this time, I do not have near enough work to show in galleries, craft shows, and around local restaurants/stores/exhibitions. That will be the highest priority for this year. 2) Define what I like to paint and the style. At this time, my favorite paintings are the landscapes with the abstract shapes. I will need to provide more of this type of painting. 3) Check out more galleries to see where I would fit best and the type of traffic the gallery has. The point of getting into a gallery is to sell the painting. If the gallery is not on the beaten path or if there are not a lot of patrons, then the chances of selling a painting at that location is minimal.

Once I can get several local galleries (in Vermont) interested in my works and start building up a recognizable name for myself, I can then expand to other galleries that are outside of the state.

The gallery would only be one avenue of sales. Craft Shows/Art Fairs, the internet, and personal sales would make up other venues. In addition, may look into exploring character creations in oils to try to move into the licensing market (although, this may not be as feasible as I think that it is).

For the time being, I think that, in a year or two, my confidence and skill will be high enough that I can start approaching the galleries.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Advanced Doodles

After the last couple of craft shows, I realized that people really do like my concept paintings of landscapes. The part that they like the most is the fact that it is not your traditional oil painting landscape that are produced by a lot of other artists. There are much better landscape painters than me, but I like to think that I provide a unique twist to them.

The current painting that you see is one still in progress. it is based on some photos that I took when I was in northern Vermont. The question from a lot of people at a craft/art show is: how do I come up with the final painting?

When I am not working on a traditional landscape or still life, I like to doodle. The random act of lines crossing each other produces some interesting effects and, eventually, leads to a final painting concept. In the following drawing, you see my basic steps:

The first step is to just start drawing random lines. From there, (2) shows that I got the vision of some sort of landscape lines moving out to something in the background. (3) I abandoned that overall lines, but decided that the the 'S' shape with the landscape plane in the background was potentially more interesting. (4) Shows that I started subdividing the landscape into two distinct areas, land and some clouds in the distance. (5) produces more clouds with some sort of abstract shapes at the base of the clouds/land. (6) I start getting more refined. The clouds begin to look more like bunched trees and then I get the concept of splitting the land in two levels.

The final drawing (7) shows that a more refined drawing into the final concept. In this case, I have the traditional landscape on the bottom of the painting, but a ledge that contains an abstract shape with a closer view of the trees.

As you can tell from the painting in progress, I still follow the general concept, but makes changes as the mood suits me.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010


Well, now that I've been trying the Etsy site off and on for a while, what do I think of it. It's nice, but not for me. My current store: contains my original paintings and prints. The cost to display an item is twenty cents (every time that you renew that item). On top of that, they take a small percentage of the sale.

The main reason that I used the Etsy site was so that I could expand my sales of prints/originals to people that I don't know. Since there are a lot of items on the site and a lot of people know about it, I thought that this would be a good place to start.

I was wrong.

The Etsy site works extremely well for jewelry, craft and clothing artists. It does not work that well for painters and other 2D artists. Part of the reason is that a lot of people are reluctant to purchase paintings in the first place and, more importantly, they come to Etsy to look for a bargain and get something hand-crafted for an extremely low price.

Although I've tried a number of the techniques that they mention, I've sold very very very little on my Etsy shop to people that I didn't know. Even then, the sales to people that I do know has been minimal. Part of the issue is that I don't have the extremely large inventory that is required to get noticed. Most of the people that I saw that was doing well, have more than 200 items to sell. In addition, since there are so many people on Etsy, it's extremely rare that you would ever get on their front page. There's been a number of times that I did a posting of a new item and would not see it on the front page because other listings came directly after mine.

So, as a site to help new people discover you, it's not worth it (for 2D artists). If you are only looking for a site to host your products, it's pretty easy. Although, I would recommend using the Paypal button on your site or using Artfire. As I'm rebuilding my website, I will be be adding Paypal buttons to my site so that people can purchase directly from me.

Note: someone was trying to find my store on Etsy and couldn't. Their store is not searchable by the Google engine and their search engine doesn't find the store unless you type in the exact name. Therefore, you could only find my store by typing in "DougHoppesStudio", not "Doug Hoppes" or "Hoppes", etc.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Still Life: Another Apple

Now that I'm working on the simple shapes, decided to finish up the apple painting that I was working on at home.

After looking at this image, I realized that it still needs work. The roundness of the apple is fine, but it needs to sit better on the table. Kind of has that "floating" effect. This has to do with the fact that the shadow may not be right and I need to include more reflective light from the table into the base of the apple.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Still Life: Apple Study

Last night was another class night (Last one until the beginning of the new year). So, back to still working on the basics, I worked on a similar apple that I am doing at home. Nice part is, since it was class time, I was able to ask for some suggestions about issues that I'm having with my current painting.

So, as you can tell, it's a very similar apple, in terms of shape. The shadows are different. While I was working on the basic massing, my first issue was to determine the relative brightnesses of the objects. I had the table brighter than the apple, but darker than the background. After some squinting, I realized that the table was darker than the apple such that the edge of the apple produces a lost edge on both sides of the apple.

So, after getting the general relative values done correctly, the next step was to go through the basics:

1) Mass in the lightest area (done)
2) Mass in the darkest area (done)
3) Mass in the reflected light (not done at home)
4) Add the darkest area in the shadow side (not done at home)
5) Add the highlights (not done at home).

So, the part that I was having trouble with at home, rounding out the shadow side, was due to the fact that I hadn't massed in the reflected light. Just the massing in the dark/light areas is not enough to produce the roundness of the apple.

So, once I finished all of the steps, the apple, that I did in class, looks pretty good. Now, I just need to remember to finish through with the steps on the one that I'm working on at home.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Booth Shot

Here's some booth shots from my show at the Greater Barre Craft Show. For this show, I had an unusual configuration: 16 x 6, rather than the traditional 10 x 10. But, this isn't too much different from my standard booth layout.

As you can see, I lay out my booth in a very particular order. The paintings are laid out so that the largest paintings are at the top and eye level. In the middle of the booth, I stagger the second largest paintings with my most popular ones in the middle of the booth. One of the panels is used strictly for the small 9 x 12 (in a vertical order). In addition, I ONLY show originals on the walls. No prints are hung. This reduces the confusion on whether any of the paintings is a wrapped canvas print or original painting. In addition to the paintings on the wall, I have a strictly black/silver style going on. Gives more of a professional look and ensures that my paintings "pop" when viewed from several aisles over.

Once I have the paintings up, I put two flip bins next to each other on the opposite side of chair. This gives customers room to look around without my hovering. I have two of my print bins underneath the table cloth next to my chair. This is also used as a table when making change or writing out receipts/credit card payments.

One of the things that you don't see here (as you can see by my 6 foot height) is my additional panels. I also have another 2 foot panel that goes on top of these panels. This raises the lights to be out of the way of the customers and blocks out the background from the customers view. I did not do that for this show because I don't have a sign or enough paintings to fill the spaces (yet). This is something that I need to work on.

Greater Barre Craft Show

For this weekend (Thanksgiving), I participated in the Greater Barre Craft Show. This is the third time that I have participated in the show and did nominally well. Rather than the traditional three-day show that is seen for this weekend, this craft show is only two days (Saturday and Sunday).

For setting up/break-down, the parking is right next to the building and there is plenty of parking. It was very easy to get in/out of the show.

The show itself is not very expensive to participate in, but you do have the downside that the booth is only 8' x 6'. The reason is so that they can make more room for more artists. This year the show was staffed by 132 booths. For people attending this show, there is no gate fee. So, you get a lot more people from the local area showing up. In the past, I was always had a small booth downstairs, but I was fortunate to be able to get a double-booth (they are limited) upstairs, in the main room. There are plenty of signs to let people know that there is an upstairs AND downstairs portion. So, the crowds downstairs are just as plentiful. The only downside to being downstairs is that it's a bit cooler. The show is always well attended and there are volunteers to watch your booth so that you may use the restroom or get food.

For Saturday morning, the aisles were extremely crowded such that most people had to enter booths to get around other visitors. I did a brisk business that morning and was able to make my booth fee in the first 30 minutes. After that hectic morning, the rest of the day saw a steady stream of people. There were brief moments where I was not busy but, for the most part, I spent a lot of time talking to patrons. During the afternoon, the crowds started to slow down. This was mainly due to a snowstorm.

For Sunday morning, the stream of people was pretty constant during the day. Didn't sell any paintings, but did sell a number of prints. It was surprising that there were a number of people there at the last thirty minutes of the show. Matter of fact, I was able to sell some prints within the last 20 minutes.

Most people responded very well to my paintings. Everybody thought that the pricing was reasonable and they loved the prints. The standard response to my paintings was: "These are very cool" and "I love these because they are an interesting take on the traditional oil painting landscapes". Although there was some minor interest in my still life paintings, they weren't the favorite. The colors and shapes present in my landscape/abstracts were what drew people to my booth.

There are several changes that I need to make. First of all, I need a sign to say "Doug Hoppes Studio". Secondly, I need to make sure that I have enough prints. I ran out of 4 different prints early on Saturday. Thirdly, I need to have more paintings for my booth. I couldn't put my full display height due to the fact that I was lacking enough paintings.

Overall, it was a good show and I did well. With more paintings under my belt and more prints, I can do better.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Still Life: Back to Basics

Now that I'm done with working extra hours for my main job, back to my second job: painting. This week, I was able to go back to my painting class.... and it was not pretty. I had forgotten a lot of the basics (massing the shadows, massing the lights, etc) and my painting showed it.

So, back to the basics. When starting working with still life setups, the first thing that we learned was to paint round objects. On a round object, there is a highlight and you modulate the values to create the roundness. Important points, such as not putting the darkest or lightest parts on the edge of the material help create a roundness.

So, time to play with a simple apple. Here's the start. Essentially, I just massed the light area, the dark area and defined the basic areas where my light is hitting. The next step is to work on the apple to give it that round feeling. Once that is done, then I can start working on the reflected lights and the reflection on the table (to create more of a realistic illusion).

However, with every journey, there is just the first step.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

On a trip

Well, just flew in from my business trip and "Boy! Are my arms tired!" Okay, couldn't resist that one. So, whenever I do a business trip, I always bring my sketch book with me. There are plenty of times where you have 20 minutes here or there that you are doing absolutely nothing! Make use of that time.

This destination of this trip was Neuroscience 2010 (San Diego, California).

The first drawing is the convention center. This was a really fun drawing to do. The time was 9:00 p.m (at night) and the weather was a fantastic 65 degrees. The second drawing was one of the palm trees in front of the convention center. Then we have a flower in a vase (at my breakfast table) and a friend asleep on the airplane ride (he was in the seat in front of me). Most of the drawings were extremely quick (except for the convention center).

I really should be doing more of these quick drawings at home. Quick drawings help in ensuring that any realistic painting looks correct and helps with future compositions.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Thumbnail Sketches

Now, if you read a lot of art books, most of them say that the best way to create a composition/painting is to create a thumbnail sketch. These sketches should be around 3 to 5 inches in size and lacking detail. A lot of my works are usually created using thumbnail sketches of the landscape. It's a way for me to layout trees/clouds/rocks in different positions and decide what composition that I like.

One of my problems is that the thumbnail sketches are not simple. As you can see from the drawings above, they are more linear and detailed. However, the thumbnails that you see are the more finished products (more are at: ). Also, when you look at the art books that stress doing thumbnails, you see equally or more detailed sketches. This is not fast.

The latest blog posting of Muddy Colors ( ) shows a great example of how the thumbnails are properly done. Notice how there is very little detail. Just large shapes and the general direction of the shapes. Some of the thumbnails were abandoned during the drawing because they didn't have the right feel.

I really like this looser way of doing the thumbnails and will try it for my next painting.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Looking for some Craft Show in New England Region

So, spent the night doing some searches for shows for 2011. A couple of years ago, I have just been doing smaller shows in the Vermont area, but am confident about my display/products now. So, time to graduate up to the bigger shows. So, I've expanded my area to New Hampshire and Massachusetts.

After doing some searches, I came up with a small list of shows. The main thing that I was looking for was 1) more than 100 vendors and 2) more than 2000 attendees. The shows that I have no experience about are:

1) August 5 - 7 Hildene Meadow Festival (Craft Producers
2) November 26 - 28 Wilmington, Ma (Craftsberry Show)
3) November 5 - 7 Boston Christmas Festival
4) May 29 - 31 Meredith NH (Lake Winnaupasaukee (sp?))

Anybody have any experience with these shows? Also, I don't seem to see a lot of shows from January - June in the New England region. Love some more recommendations.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

No complicated software here

You know... I've been a software developer for 20+ years and have written a lot of software in my time. So, decided several years ago that I need something to manage my inventory and let me know what sales I had and when the print/original sold. I started layout the database, the user interaction, etc. However, it's been over two years and I still haven't written it.

Why? Simple. I don't want to. After spending the entire day writing software, the last thing that I want to do is go home and write some more. I need to improve my painting skills, work on my inventory, spend time with my wife/dogs, etc. Not enough time in the day for it or the inclination to write the software.

So, this weekend, evaluated what I really needed to do and how to achieve it. I realized that all I needed was to track my list of items that I had for sale and track what item sold at each show. Excel spreadsheet works just great for this. So, I spent about 1/2 hour and entered everything in Excel. Easy and done.

The point of this post is: Even though you may be able to do something, is it really the best use of your time to do it? Part of the program that I was planning to write was a tracking system to help me manage my task lists for shows, painting, inventory management, etc. I could spend hundreds of hours doing it.... or I could just buy a $40 program to automatically do it for me. I opt for the program.

So, is there something that you need to do and realized that it may be more cost/time-effective to "outsource" the work?

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Why I like Craft Fairs

Well, I was reading Wet Canvas and someone commented about craft fairs. They asked if they should do them? Would this doom them to never having gallery representation? My opinion:

Well, time to put my two cents in. :-) First of all, you make "craft fair" seem to be a negative/bad word. You seem to imply that a craft show is for "hobby home-maker", not serious artists (I hear this a lot from other "fine artists"). In my opinion, it depends on how you think of your artwork. It's also how you think of yourself as an artist. If you consider yourself a "fine artist", what does that mean? Are you doing art to make a statement or is it a business? For me, art is a business. I like making my paintings and I like selling them. I don't consider myself a fine artist (though, my work has been shown in galleries) or a crafter (I sell my work at craft fairs, among other venues). I'm an artist that has a business of promoting my art work.

Galleries are like craft fairs. Their job is to present your work and sell the painting. Depends on how "hands-on" you wish to take on the business of marketing/selling your work. For galleries, they do some of the marketing and handles the sales, but you are competing for a minimal space with a lot of other artists... and they receive a commission on each painting that you sell (typically 40% or more). Craft fairs, you have to sell your own work and do your own marketing. There's the startup costs of buying/building your displays and, of course, entry fees. To make a lot of sales, both are a lot of work.

Some artists make around $10,000+ at these shows and make a great yearly living. The key to craft shows is the size. If you are at a small show, where the fees are typically around $100 to get in, most of the sales are going to be prints or cards. If you are at the mid-size shows (booth fee around $300), you'll sell some original paintings (average price $500 or more) and a lot of prints. If you are at the larger shows (booth fees around $600), you'll mainly sell a lot of original paintings around the $1000+ range and a large number of prints.

Craft shows are like any other business venture. You have to have a booth that entices people to come in and look. You have to have a product that prices reasonably and that people think that it's worthy to purchase. You have to do your marketing to get more people to come. Also, remember: think of craft shows as marketing forum. I've had a number of people come up to me at the small craft show and get my contact information. Later on, they called to purchase a painting.

If you want to sell your paintings, remember that it's business. There's a look that you want to portray of yourself, your work and your business. Doesn't matter whether it's a gallery or a craft show. It's still business.

My point is that the decision is not whether to do craft fairs or not. It's your identity. How you want to be perceived. Craft fairs are just another avenue in the marketing/business of selling your work. Just like the ebay, etsy sites, artfair sites, galleries, selling out of your garage, etc. If you've done the marketing right and got a good product, people will find you, no matter where you sell your work.

For me, I like the craft show market, more than the gallery market. I find that I sell more paintings at a faster rate. It also gives me more of an opportunity to try out new styles and methods, to see the public's reaction to them. You can't do that with a gallery. It's more work, but, I'm building a name for myself. Remember, galleries also like it if you have a name for yourself and a following. That way, it brings more business to them.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Breaking into Business: Cash Flow

The next topic that we covered in the workshop was cash flow. The basic questions were: What was your best month? What was your worst month? How are you adding income to your worst months?

For me, this is pretty easy. My best month is November. This is due to the fact that it's my largest show of the year (Barre Craft Show) and it's also Christmas purchase time. During this time of the year, I sell a couple of paintings, but a lot of prints. The worst time of year is generally the beginning of the new year. At this time, I don't make any sales, but I have to start sending in payments for craft shows that are running during the summer.

What do I do during the rest of the year? Nothing really. I hang my paintings in my office and sell a painting here or there to one of my co-workers. Nothing spectacular. So, I need to increase my cash flow during the rest of the year.

The first part of the plan is to increase the number of larger shows per year. Right now, I was doing about 2 - 3 large shows and a couple of small shows. I should increase that to a total of 10 large shows spread out over the year (Large shows are defined as having around 200+ vendors, 10,000+ people showing up and an average of $300 - $600 booth fee). To do that, I need to increase my range for shows. Vermont does not have many large shows, so I will have to include Massachusetts and New Hampshire into the list of available shows.

In addition to increasing the number of shows, I'll need to increase the marketing to those shows to attract more people to come and visit me. Not sure about how to do that. Most likely using press releases, coupons, and Facebook marketing. These ideas are still in the air.

The point is to create a market for my work prior to doing the show. We'll see how it goes.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Breaking into Business: Elevator Speech

One of the exercises that we performed in the "Breaking into Business" workshop was the elevator speech. The premise of this is that, if you are introduced to someone in the elevator, what would you say about your artwork/business? Remember that you have a short period of time. We came up with about a quick 100 word description that talked about our business mission, goals, objectives, and what products/services that we provide.

Mine was:

"Hi, I'm Doug Hoppes. I'm a local oil painter. I primarily create and sell colorful landscape paintings of Vermont and also provide prints of my original paintings. If you would like to see some of my artwork, you can visit my booth at the Barre Craft Show on Thanksgiving weekend or go to my Facebook fan page (handing them a card)".

In this brief discussion, I mentioned who I am and what I do (interesting hook: local artist painting colorful landscapes of Vermont). I also gave them a way to see my work at my next show or online. By handing them my business card, this gives them a chance to look me up.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

New Business Card Design

Well, finally decided on my latest design for my new business cards. As pointed out earlier, I needed a way to ensure that people 1) took my business card and 2) kept it for a reasonable time frame (or used the information on the card).

So, using the idea of my monthly drawing for Facebook, I designed my card for two major areas. The front of my card shows one of my landscape paintings with information about what I sell and how to get a hold of me.

The back of the card lets people know about my monthly drawing in the hopes to attract more fans, and, potentially, any new sales of prints or paintings from those fans.

Now, time to send it off to Vista Print. Their prices are pretty reasonable and the cards look nice. When using Vista Print, they have a downloaded Photoshop template that you can fully modify. Once you get your design done, then you upload the template to the Vista Print site for approval and final printing.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Breaking into Business: Four P's

During our workshop, we talked about the 4 P's: Product, Price, Place, and Promotion. These items help define your work and how people find about your work.

Product: My current set of products include oil paintings on canvas (where the sides of the canvas is painted, so as to not require framing) and 11 x 14 matted prints. The prints are sized to fit within a standard frame that can be purchased from any craft store or frame shop without the need for special framing.

Price: In terms of the oil paintings, the price range from $75 for a small 9" x 12" to $400 for a 22" x 28" painting. The typical painting purchased is the 16" x 22" for $275. The prints are priced at $20. The reason for the pricing of the print deals with the fact that I sell my prints at craft shows. When people get money from the ATM, for a craft show, the denominations are typically $10 and $20. Therefore, I try to make it easy for someone to pull out a single bill out of their wallet for the print.

Place: Most of my paintings are typically sold in two locations: my office and craft shows. For my office, I give office employees a 10% discount on all purchases. This tends to provide incentive when the holiday's come around (Mother's day is a popular one for me) or someone needs a personalized gift. Most of my sales, though, come from craft fairs. I've been doing a couple of shows, here and there, for a couple of years and have sold a number of originals through this venue (although, the prints are typically the item that move the most at a craft show).

Promotion: This is the part that I'm extremely weak in. For promotion, I rely on the advertising of the craft fair. I need to improve this area of my business.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Breaking into Business: Success

The first topic that we covered in my "Breaking into Business" workshop was: "How do you define success?". This is an important goal to help you define how you should proceed with attaining your goals.

For me, success is defined by 1) Being able to pay for all of my art supplies and lessons without having to tap into my personal allowance or the house fund and 2) being able to buy jewelry, expensive gifts and take trips around the world with Melissa (my gorgeous wife).

Nothing fancy. No need to be a great painter or change the world.

Now that I know what I'm trying to achieve, the next step is to set up a set of goals to make that happen.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Breaking into Business: Overview

Today's post begins a long series of topics based on notes from a workshop that I attended: Breaking into Business: Professional Development Workshop for Artists. This was put on by the Vermont Arts Council. The workshop is broken up into two-days: Business setup and Marketing. I attended both days.

It was a fantastic workshop!!!! I learned so much about what I did know and what I didn't know. Over the next series of postings, I will be going over a lot of what I learned in more detail. For now, here's an overview.

On the first day, we went over the basics of our business. At first, we had to provide an "elevator" statement. Essentially, this is a quick statement detailing who we are and what is our product. It was interesting exercise to ensure that we have a "identity". The most effective business model is to have a "brand" or "identity". Customers want to know you for a particular aspect, rather than being semi-known for lots of things. For the rest of the day, we went over basic business aspects: insurance, accounting, lawyers, business plans, knowing your customers, etc.

The second day was about marketing. Once we had the basics of business down, it was time to determine best methods for marketing your work. This included, first, traditional methods such as press releases, building relationships with newspapers, radios, etc, and standard mailing/brochure marketing techniques. The next methods dealt with using the Internet and social medias (facebook and twitter) to increase your customer base. Also, included were techniques for email marketing and surveys. A final procedure dealt with methods for building effective web sites.

There was a lot of information for the two days and I was pretty tired by the end. Now, I just have to get my final plan into motion.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Still Life: Bobber and Lure

Last night's still life class, I worked on a trying to mass in a fishing bobber and lure. In this situation, the light was directly overhead, which makes the shadows small and harsher.

As usual, the first process is to lay down the basic color masses for the background, table, bobber and lure. Ran into an issue when I first started: The relative value of the table was too close to the background. However, in the still life, it was significantly different. So, once the relative values were fixed, laid in the bobber color and the lure.

Once the basic color values were established and I had established the light/dark values, I began working on the reflective light from the table onto the bobber. Interesting point was that the table reflected into the base of the bobber, which, then reflected back into the shadow.

Also, it was interesting to note that there were interesting lost and found edges of the lure and the table. So, I played with more of the lost/found edges around the base of the bobber and other parts of the lure.

CVU High School Craft Fair: My Booth

Now that the craft fair was done, I'd already posted about how the show was run. The next part is: how my new booth fared. Overall, the booth turned out much better than I'd hoped. For sales, I had sold 14 prints (11 x 14 matted) and one small original painting ( ) . This was better than expected since I had never done this craft show and I had no idea what to expect.

Setup: The setup of the booth took a lot longer than expected. I should have figured on that. My old booth of four panels and two lights took around 40 minutes to setup and hang the paintings. The new booth of nine panels and eight lights took around 1-1/2 hours. In addition, the setup took almost the entire back section of my truck. This left very little room for my paintings/prints. I'm going to have to figure out a way of transporting more stuff (for outdoor shows, I need to be able to transport a tent/weights and for bigger shows, I need more inventory/paintings).

Lights: The new lights from Ikea worked out great. Easy to setup and the lamp hoods did not get extremely hot. For $8.95 a piece, they were a great deal. I may consider switching from the 40 watt bulbs to the 60 watts to see if there was an appreciable difference in lighting. The gym had considerable lighting, so I couldn't tell how much of an effect the lamps had on the painting.

People's reactions: This was awesome. Almost consistently, people would walk by fairly briskly, say "Wow" and slow down their walk, as they went by the booth. So, it got people's attention without being gawdy. In most cases, simply saying "Hi" brought people into the booth for closer looks at the paintings. So, the reaction was quite favorable.

Overall, I think that the new booth design works great. I'm going to have to figure out how to speed up the sales of the products and replacing of prints when they are purchased. The slowest part was the negotiation of the sales/receipts/bagging/print replacing. At times, it was a bit crowded with eight to ten people in the booth and trying to do the sale.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

CVU High School Craft Fair

Several months ago, I decided that I had enough inventory to start doing craft shows again, but wanted to try out something small and local to test out my new display and lighting system. I had heard good reviews from past exhibitors about the CVU Craft Fair (Champlain Valley Union High School, Hinesburg, Vermont). The fee was minimal ($100) and it was a n0n-juried craft show.

So, doing this craft show, I didn't have high hopes of making a lot of painting sales. The show was only running for one day (9 - 5) and it is in the high school gym, which is a bit away from the usual tourist areas in Vermont. I just wanted to check out people's reactions and, at least, make back my booth fee. More of a learning/marketing experience.

I was extremely surprised at the level of organization. Several weeks before the show, the vendors were sent various emails about the loading procedure, etc. I also saw signs around my town about the show and listings in the local newspapers. When I arrived that night (night before the show), they had a number of dolly's and pull-carts available for the crafters to use to transport their materials inside the building. Students (who were hired) were helping direct people to their booth areas and helped people bring in their supplies. The students even assisted in setting up the crafter displays. Setup went extremely well.

For the craft show, the next day, the amount of traffic was nominal. In addition to the craft show at the high school, it was also Spirit day and a boy's football game and girl soccer game was scheduled (The soccer game was canceled due to rain). Between 9:00 - 10:30, I saw very few patrons with bags. If they did purchase something, it was pretty small. However, from 10:30 - 12:30, the place was packed. I was selling a number of prints during that time. At any given time, there was usually 3 - 8 people in my booth. Not everybody buying, but a lot of people were interested in my paintings. Between 12:30 - 5:00, there were a lot of lookers. Some sales during that time, but not a lot. Most of the people had gone out to the football game.

Also, during the show, a number of students were walking around taking cafeteria orders for people. This was extremely helpful. Would have been nice if they had offered to watch the booth for bathroom breaks.

Breakdown was just as good as setup. At 5:00, we all started breaking down the displays. The hired students then came around helping people load their cars and break down the display. There were a number of exits from the school parking lot, so that there wasn't a massive traffic jam.

Overall, for a small show, it is extremely well run. I would highly recommend this type of show for a lot of new crafters in the Burlington, Vermont area.

Later, I will post about people's reactions to my paintings and what I learned.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Still Life: Drawing Study

Last night's class dealt with drawing on the canvas. Up until now, we've just been doing the basic massing of shapes. However, no matter how good the massing of shapes are, you are still relying on the under-drawing of the objects to make sure that the placement/composition are correct.

When drawing the basic pot, a good idea is to draw a line down the middle of the pot. From there, you can make sure that the roundness of the edges of the pot are consistent on the left/right side of it. For this pot, the first thing I did was draw my horizon line and then a line down the middle of the pot. This allowed me to define the height of the pot. Once the height was specified, I measured the neck of the pot and drew lines where the neck ended, top of the pot ended and the base ended. I then measured to define the width of the pot. All of these lines generally form a general shape.

Once the general shape was defined, I laid down my background and basic middle color values. The hard part about this was that the pot contained lots of decorative detailing. I needed to make sure that I ignored the detailing and just made the general pot round.

Once the base of the pot was done, I added the handle. By adding the handle last, I can make sure that my background is correct around the pot. It's a lot easier to put in the thin handle after the background is done in that region.

The final portion was to layer the table so that I added more of the background color and greys to the back of the table (to help it recede). I also made sure that I added some of the table highlights into the pot. As a final push for this (I ignored the highlights, for now), I made sure that the edges of my pot contained a grey with some of the background in it. This helped "round" out the vase.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

New Light

So, this last year, I've been having some major issues with the lighting setup in my "studio"... ie. my living room. This has mainly affected my still life setups, more so than my landscape paintings (from sketches/plein air work).

The major issue is that I had a floor lamp to the left of my easel (not shown here). The light would shine directly on my canvas and I would get an enormous amount of glare. Also, I was using a larger, non-directed lamp for lighting my still life setups, and the larger light would shine through my canvas. So, needed to resolve it.

After a while, I found some people talking about the Ott-light easel lamp with daylight bulbs. Decided to try it. I LOVE IT. The lamp clamped onto my easel and is tall enough that it is not in my way. Also, I can shine the lamp down and reposition it so that it illuminates my canvas and not produce a glare.

So, started working on still lifes, at home, again. As you can see, I've started work on one of the paintings for my wife. Flowers are tough for me, since I don't do a lot of them, but, you don't get better by avoiding the subjects that you can't paint.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Still Life: Pumpkins

Now that it's turning to the fall season around Vermont and the weather is turning cooler, my instructor has decided that it's time to go back to painting pumpkins, again.

So, last night's class was a study in pumpkins. My first attempt at this set of pumpkins was immediately erased. The colors were wrong, the values were misplaced. It was not pretty at all.

So, after wiping off the paint, I was left with the basic mid-value shapes for the composition. Karen came over and gave me a hand. She mentioned to pay attention to the big areas that were dark and light. In this case, we had an alternate scene. The table to the left of the pumpkin was dark, then it went to light on the top of the pumpkin, then dark on the back of the pumpkin and then to light on the right edge of the back pumpkin. After that, she suggested that I lighten up my dark area (I used a burnt umber mix that was too dark) and lighten up the highlight of my pumpkin (I had too much terra rosa) using Cadmium Orange in my mixture.

Once I changed out the colors of the pumpkins and got the relative value of the areas correct, thing started to fall into place. After a lot of reworking, I started getting a better feel for modelling the roundness of the pumpkin (added some greys to the edges to roll them back).

At the final stages, I had gotten down some decent looking pumpkins and nice looking grapes. Had some trouble with the apple. My first attempt was too elongated and the values were not correct. This was strictly a lazy point on my end: I didn't feel like going into my kit to find my Alizarin Crimson. So, tried to mix a darker red with terra rosa and it wasn't working well. Karen helped straighten out the apple and get the planes right.

As a final note, she suggest adding some of the red from the apple into the grapes and adding more grapes to the top of the pile. This helped alleviate an issue where the silhouette of the grapes would create a visual linear line.

So, learned a lot last night. Good to get out of the comfort zone of the landscape and into the non-comfort zone of still lifes.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

After the rain

Now that I'm back into the mood of painting, started working on painting larger originals of my plein-air landscapes.

The newest painting, After the rain, is a 16 x 22 oil painting and is based on a plein air attempt that I did during a Spring workshop that I attended (studying with Karen Winslow of Winslow Art Studio). As usual in Vermont, it was a cloudy rainy morning and, at this time, the rain had stopped. It was just misty and cold.

In this case, rather than adjust the painting for a lighter mood, I went the opposite way. I made it a bit darker and gloomier than the conditions that morning. It just seem to fit better.

This painting turned out well.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

New trade show booth

Now that I have some more paintings done, time to start working on my trade show booth. Here it is... so far.

In the past, I was all over the place. I sold pen and ink drawings, watercolor paintings, oil paintings, oil pastel drawings, etc. I sold 11 x 14 matted prints, 16 x 20 original matted watercolor paintings, 8 x 10 matted prints, and 4 x 6 greeting cards. In addition, the wall displayed prints and originals.

This year, I'm going with consistency. As you can see in the display, I have original oil paintings on canvas (with the sides of the canvas painted). In the flip bins, I have 11 x 14 and 8 x 10 matted prints. That's it. The goal is to go for a recognizable single look that will attract people to keep coming back to my booth to collect my works.

The final part of the booth that I need to figure out is what type of lighting to use.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Along the River

My latest painting is based on another plein air landscape piece near Cambridge, Vermont. In this painting, I decided to diverge a bit from the actual plein air piece by changing the colors of the land and sky to be a bit brighter/richer.

Not much to say about this painting. It's an interesting experiment, but not one of my favorite ones.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Rive Bank: Fixed

Okay, now that I've let it set for a day, it was time to fix "River Bank". When looking at the painting, I realized that it was brighter than it should have been and the tall tree in the middle looked more like a dinosaur, than a tree. Kind of like a Foliage Godzilla attacking something.

So, needed to fix it. Fixes:

1) Melded the dark shadows together and the highlights together.

2) Added greys to the edges of the bushes to make them more rounded.

3) Restructured the tree to be more uneven and wider. This removed the "dinosaur" look.

4) Varied the height of the tree-line so that it wasn't too linear and aligned with the river bank.

5) Added some richer reds/purples to the shadows on the river bank so that I could bring up the brightness of the trees/bushes without having to add more highlights to the foliage.

6) Varied the river to be more interesting. Added more bright spots and a much lighter green to the area closest to the viewer and darker blues to the part near the river bank. This allowed me to blend the edge of the river bank with the water without having any distinct lines.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

River Bank

Worked on my latest painting, last night. Now that I'm getting more comfortable doing the massing of the landscape on my small 9" x 12", I decided to up the size. This latest painting is on an 11" x 14" canvas. It's amazing how much farther back you have to stand to see the color changes. By the same token, it's easier to make some subtle adjustment to the painting.

As with some of my other landscape paintings, this was painted based on a plein air painting that I did. The colors actually came out pretty close to the original painting.

Overall, I like it. To finish up the painting, I've got to do some edge work on the river bank to make the water line work up into the soil. I also need to make the left-most tree more rounded. But, it's a matter of a couple of touches here and there. Nothing significant.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Best to let painting sit for a while

Last night, I was taking a look at my latest painting and realized that there were some mistakes that I did not see when I finished the painting. Some of the mistakes were brought to my attention at the time of the finished work (by my wife) and some were found out by looking at it with fresh eyes.

Mistake 1: From a distance, the tree had a vertical line of dark/light. It was not rounded. In addition, the tree trunk was too bright and stood out.

Mistake 2: The picture of the painting was taken on too bright of a day. The colors of the foreground were washed out and too yellow. In addition, the colors on the mountains were too grey. The current picture matches the color much more closely.

Mistake 3: The road was drawn wrong. At the point where it nears the tree, it flattens out a bit and doesn't recede in the distance.

Now that these mistakes were fixed, the painting looks much better. So, taking a couple of days off and reviewing the painting later definitely helps seeing any problems that seem to be present.

Sunday, August 22, 2010


Now that I'm in the mode of reworking some of my plein air paintings (or repainting them), time for another one. During my landscape workshop that I took with Karen Winslow (Winslow Art Studio, Cambridge, Vermont), I was working on small thumbnail paintings to just get the basic techniques down.

One of the thumbnail that I did on a foggy morning was this one. The thumbnail was a 4" x 5" painting where I was just working on getting the mountains in the background to recede and determine how to paint the tree with morning light.

In the workshop, I made the mistake of rimming the entire tree with light. This is called "Chasing the light". Rather, by massing quickly, define the light direction and what is highlighted. Then, follow that pattern. Don't change it.

Overall, pretty pleased with this painting. The colors/values seem to hold together pretty well (in my opinion).

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Motherhood: Concept Drawing

Now that I've gotten some of my other paintings out of the way and fixed up, time to get back to my dinosaurs.

I set up a still life that features one of my toy dinosaur and some fake wooden eggs. As I started laying out the painting, I realized that I was having a hard time getting the full dinosaur and eggs into the painting. If I did, then the dinosaur and eggs were too small (the tail is pretty long). It wasn't that interestinsg. So, I decided to use Photoshop to work on the composition.

My general technique with Photoshop is to take a picture of the entire area with my camera. Bring it into Photoshop and set the Square Selection Tool to be a fixed size. In this case, It is going to be a 9" x 12" painting. From there, I resize the image and crop out different areas to create a composition. In this case, I wanted to focus on the eggs and the front half of the dinosaur. Make it look like she's watching over it. This way, I can get the detail that I want from the creature and the eggs.

Once the composition is done, I then work on doing a drawing. This helps solidify the composition. Whenever I'm not working directly from painting the entire still life setup, I always do a drawing. It helps me remember the shapes and let's me compose different ideas in my head. Easier to do it during the drawing phase, than the painting phase.

So, pretty happy with the composition, so far. Time to begin painting it.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Alone Time

My latest painting, Alone Time, is based on a plein air sketch that I was working on while viewing the Burlington Park (Vermont) next to Lake Champlain. While working on this painting, I nearly gave up on it. However, I'm glad that I finished it. This is a perfect place to take a nap.

The original plein air sketch (shown below) is just awful. There is no depth to it, the composition is weird, the trees are done totally wrong. Very flat and very bad.

So, somewhere in my head, I had decided that there was potential for this painting. I just didn't know what it was. I first started with the basics: Add more blue/grey to the background to send the hillside farther back. Repaint all of the trees to be darker and add stronger brights/darker darks to the front to "flatten" out the landscape and give some atmospheric perspective. After I laid down the basics, I looked at the painting and thought: That's awful. So, I decided that I should just chuck it and restart a new one with a better composition (go back to the lake and do a new painting).

At that time, my wife (Melissa) looks at it and says: "You need some bushes in the front and I don't like the white trees. They don't look like trees". So, I decided, "Hey! I'm a painter. I can do whatever I like". So, I just started to play with the painting.

I like the final result.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

The Swimming Hole

My latest painting was a plein-air piece that I started on vacation. The lake is Webster Lake in New Hampshire. My family and relatives go to spend a quiet week there and I get some more painting/drawing time in.

So, this is the view from back yard. I like this painting. The time of the day was late morning and the sun was coming over from behind my head.

After I set the plein air piece down for a couple of weeks, I decided to revisit it and see how it could be improved. There several pieces about it that I really didn't like.

A) The dark band of trees in the distance is the same value as the dark area underneath the tree. This is not possible. Due to atmospheric effect, the darker trees in the distance should contain more grey/blue.

B) The main leafy part of the tree is too flat. This was a more rounded tree, so I focused on making the shape more round using greys on the edges and brighter colors near the front.

C) The grass area and flowers in the front are too muted. I brought up the color intensity to warmer colors to bring them more to the front.

D) The tree trunk on the right is too exposed. It draws your eyes to it. Therefore, I added more leaves/brush to break up the vertical straight line.

E) The water contains two bands (blue and yellow ochre/grey). I varied the water to make it more interesting and to give it some perspective. Adding more greys to the back of the water and more yellow ochre/whites to the front help "flatten" the water and add more interest.

F) The large rock in the water in the front was darker than the shadows under the trees. I lightened up the rock a little bit and added some greys to the edges to round it off a bit. This made the rock sit better in the water. I added lightened up/greyed up the rocks behind it to send them a little farther back.

Overall, the beauty of taking classes is not to learn how to paint a particular technique, but to learn how to find the issues with your painting and fix them.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Question: Lighting Setup

This was a post that I put on Wetcanvas... what do you think?

I've got the standard question about lighting. I work a full-time job and do all of my painting at night. Rather than paint by myself in my studio, I have setup my easel, still life set up in my living room. This gives me the opportunity to spend time with my wife/dogs while I work. The issue that I have is lighting. Since this is my living room and my wife would like it to look nice most of the time, I'm using a lamp behind me (picture on the left) to light up my canvas and a light behind my easel to light up my still life.

The main issue is that the standing lamp that lights up my canvas produces a glare on the canvas. There's not much room to put that standing lamp anywhere else. Ideally, I would think that some sort of lamp that could attach to my easel would provide a good light for the canvas.

Any ideas? I always stand at my easel and can stand back about 5 feet to check out the painting from a distance. There's area that you see for the easel and cabinet/still life stand are all that I have available.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Still Life: Copper Pot and apple

During my class last night, we worked on cylinders again. Since I've been having trouble laying down too much paint and not getting my shapes drawn correctly, I worked more on a simple painting (other artists chose more complex ones with flowers). I'll be more confident doing the flowers once I get my basic shapes down on a regular basis.

While painting the copper pot, I learned a couple of things that I tend to forget. First of all, don't worry about the reflections, shadows, etc on the structure. The first task is to get the drawing done correctly and then lay out the basic values so that the pot is rounded. Once that is completed (and you've defined where the light source is coming from), you can then worry about the other features on the pot.

So, in my case, I first massed the table, background, pot and apple. By squinting, I needed to make sure that the relative values (compared to each other) was correct. I wasn't worried about the color. I just needed to make sure that the background was lighter than the table, the table was slightly lighter than the pot and the apple front was lighter than the pot, but not as light as the highlight. In addition, the sides of the apple was of the same value as the dark side of the pot.

Karen helped by adding a couple of touches here and there, but nothing major. I also made sure that the shadow on the table was linked to the base of the pot and then moved up the side of the pot.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Finished Painting: Before The Sun

"Before the Sun" is an original 9" x 12" oil painting created on a 1" stretched, high-quality canvas. The painting is presented as unframed (Sides are painted).

This painting depicts a morning scene on Webster Lake, New Hampshire (USA).

All Artwork is copyrighted to Doug Hoppes Studio and is not to be copied or reproduced in any form without the permission of the artist. Sale of this item does not transfer its copyright.

Purchase Painting

Monday, August 2, 2010

Basic Procedure on drawing a still life

When practicing my drawing skills, I always go through a basic set of steps: 1) Quick sketch, 2) Mark important features of the sketch, 3) Define value structure, and 4) tighten up drawing and add background.

These steps are for the basic drawing of a still life. One of the important reasons that I stress this is because, unlike doing a painting, I don't worry about the environment or the background until I get to the tonal phase/final phase.

First step: Quick sketch. As you can see from the drawing, this is a basic quick sketch to just get the general shapes. I don't tend to erase, unless the drawing is absolutely wrong. This took about 5 minutes to do. The purpose of this sketch is to just get the general form and proportions correct. Notice on the legs/feet and the hands? No detail. I just wanted to get the overall form laid out and then I'll worry about the corrections later.

Now that I have the general shape and proportions correct, it's time to tighten up the lines to make sure that the drawing is more accurate. I pay particular attention to the position of the parts closer to me and how they appear to the parts that are farther away (make sure that the perspective is correct). For the hands and feet, I define the shapes better. Notice that the drawing still does not have a lot of detail. However, the lines are more accurate than they were before.

Once the basic shape's accuracy is defined, the next step it to outline the major lines. Most of the lines in the middle will be defined using cross-hatching to define the value relationships. Now that the major muscles are determined, the pencil lines are erased and only the general ink lines are left.

The third phase involves defining the value relationships between the muscle areas. This also includes deciding where the light is coming from and what parts of the figurine is still in shadows. This requires much closer observation of the model, for accuracy.

The lines of the dinosaur are still fuzzy, but the form looks better. The issue that I had with this current dinosaur was that I overly-cross-hatched the shoulders and back. Unable to lighten up those areas, the dinosaur turned out much darker than I wanted. In addition, my cross-hatch technique was suffering due to the fact that the "light touch" just wasn't there, that day. When doing cross-hatch work, it's extremely important to be able to draw really really thin lines that are close to each other. The closer the lines are, the darker the area becomes. This is the basic method, in pen and ink, to create a value variation.

The final phase is to "ground" the toy. It needs a surface, rather than floating in air. In this case, I was watching the clouds above my house and decided to model them. The point on doing the landscape is not to make it too detailed. The focus of the drawing is the dinosaur, not the landscape.

Tip: To help ground anything, always place some significant shadows at the point where the model touches the table. For the most part, in any still life, this will be the darkest area (See the dark patches where the dinosaur's feet touches the ground? This helps make him look like he's walking).

Overall, I'm pretty pleased with this drawing. The entire drawing took about 1 hour to do.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Drawing Study: Allosaurus

Today, I got a chance to do a drawing of my newest toy: The Allosaurus. As with the other dinosaurs that I've been drawing, this was one of the more realistic toys that I've used as a standard still life.

This was a fun dinosaur to draw. I was having trouble today with my cross-hatch technique. So, got to get my thinner pens out and practice a little more with it. Parts of the dinosaur are shaded too heavily and part have the lines a little too defined for my liking.

However, the size and proportions seem to be correct for the model. He's scheduled for some appearances for one of my paintings, so I want to draw him a couple more times so that I can get the shadow patterns laid out correctly.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Classroom: Cylinders

Tuesday night's class dealt with cylinders and the shadow structure. For this topic, I chose a simple paper-towel roll. It's wasn't near as easy as I thought that it was going to be. The main issue is that I laid down too much paint, so that I couldn't get a nice white coloring.

In the examples, above, we did did three basic paintings of the same scene. Each was timed to be done in 20 minutes. It's amazing how fast 20 minutes goes when you are concentrating. The benefit of doing the same scene multiple times is that you get better each time because you have the basic knowledge of the previous attempt to help you.

(A) was my first attempt. In this case, it was a matter of getting the shape correct and the basic color scheme correct. The critique that Karen offered was two-fold: 1) The value of the bright part of the paper-towel is significantly darker than the background, 2) The value of the background was closer to the value of the table, and 3) The value of the dark area in the folded over-paper towel roll is close to the value of the background.

(B) was the second attempt. In this case, I got the values closer together (for the background and table). The drawing was also more accurate. The critique, in this case was: 1) The table should be greyer/closer to the value of the background as the table goes back into the distance, 2) The highlight of the paper towel should be brighter, and 3) The base of the paper towel should contain some basic color of the table and the top of the paper towel should contain some base color of the background.

(C) was the final attempt. The drawing got better and the reflection was better. You see more of the table/background color in the paper towel. The major critique was that the edge where the shadow meets the light should be more feathered and softer. They should blend into each other better.

So, more practice with cylinders, this week, for homework.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Drawing Study: Unknown Dinosaur

Here's another one of my nephew's toy that I decided to draw. Drawing these dinosaurs were a lot of fun. I'll have to get more toys for my own personal collection. Nice part about drawing these toys is that the study is just like doing any other still life. You are still working on rounded forms and foreshortening.

This one turned out pretty well. I decided to make it look like it's more in a landscape scene. This allowed me to practice a bit with doing more realistic landscapes from the top of my head.

Now, I just have to do some google search and find out what type of dinosaur it is. Most of his dinosaurs that are realistic tend to be from Safari Ltd.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Finished Painting: Entryway

"Entryway" is an original 14" x 18" oil painting created on a 1" stretched, high-quality canvas. The painting is presented as unframed (Sides are painted).

The concept of this painting is to show the interaction between two different worlds and how one is an entry way into the next one. In each case, the environment affects each other. Therefore, it is impossible to create an isolationist setting.

All Artwork is copyrighted to Doug Hoppes Studio and is not to be copied or reproduced in any form without the permission of the artist. Sale of this item does not transfer its copyright.

Purchase Painting

Monday, July 26, 2010

Drawing Study: Styracosaurus

This was another toy that I drew: Styracosaurus. The thing that I like most about this dinosaur is that it's my favorite one. I love the frill on the head with the multiple horns coming off of it.

In this case, the toy was situated on a window sill and I was playing with the outside light that was illuminating the toy

I learned more from my first dinosaur drawing and mainly followed the general shadows of the toy and not get too detailed. This allows for a more rounded appearance.