Sunday, July 31, 2011

Taste of Stowe:Day 3 (Overall Review)

This weekend, I attended the Taste of Stowe show in Stowe, Vermont. The show lasted three days and, for the most part, the weather was good. Nice and sunny, without being too hot or humid on all of the days. There were brief showers on Friday (the first day) that started at the end of the day. However, since I was under a large tent, my stuff didn't seem to have any problems getting rained on.

The crowds, for the most part, were not that large. Friday, to be expected, the day was slow and, although a steady stream, not a large number of people. This is to be expected since it was a work day and most of the crowd would have been retired people or tourists. I was hoping for a much larger crowd on Saturday and Sunday, but that didn't seem to happen. On both days, there were definitely more people, but they were, what I like to call, "tire kickers". A lot of them would come into the booth, look around, and then leave. This seem to happen to a number of the other 2D artists also. Now, in certain cases, they definitely seem to be buying prints, but not a lot of larger items. Several of the other artists around me had good luck and secure some decent sales (enough to make booth fee and some extra). I only know of one instance in which a person made a really nice sale on an extremely large painting. Other than that, the sense that I got from a lot of the other artists was that they didn't do well (like me) or just did okay.... nothing special.

As usual, a number of people commented on my booth and the vivid colors of my paintings. I showed them my pen/ink work in my sketchbook and the process that I go through to create a painting. A lot of them loved the sketch book and wondered why I didn't also sell the drawings. For the most part, people would come into my booth, look around, gush over how gorgeous and unique my paintings were, and then leave. Some promised to come back, but, as many other vendors know, this rarely happens.

In essence, the people who were attending the show were not my target audience (25 - 40 year old couples). The artists who did sell a lot of work produced nice paintings of traditional landscape/recognizable buildings of the surrounding Stowe area. Most people seem to gravitate towards the traditional landscape or definite Vermont-style photographs/paintings.

Setup and break-down went pretty fast and presented no issues. I did run into an issue with one of my painting titles (Rainbow Bridge). This upset several people and they couldn't bring themselves to purchase the print or the original. Therefore, I had to rename it "Back to Nature" to help with the selling of the print/painting (although, neither one sold after those incidents).

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Taste of Stowe: Day 2 (Should have listened to my wife)

Today was the second day of the Taste of Stowe. There were more people today, than yesterday, but, only sold a handful of prints. Standard routine: "I love your paintings...", then stare at them for a while and then walk away. As usual, the main people that loved my work were kids and younger adults.

Unfortunately, I lost some sales due to my stupidity. I also made a couple of people tear up and say "I love this painting, but I can't buy it (or the print)". What magic thing caused me to lose several sales? Simple. Naming this painting "Rainbow Bridge". Note: My wife told me several times not to name it that!

Now for those who don't know, the Rainbow bridge is the bridge that dogs cross over when they pass away. A lot of times, people will say that other dogs are waiting on the other side for your dog. It's a place where the dogs run around, play, and have fun with other dogs (Doggie Heaven). Not a good decision to have a constant reminder on the wall that your dog passed away. Not good for sales. My wife told me this, but I wanted to stay true to my artistic design. So, I have two options: 1) keep the painting for me and name it "Rainbow Bridge" or 2) rename it and sell it. I have lots of paintings and drawings that remind me of my dogs. In my mind, this will always be about them. For others, it will be titled "Back to Nature".

Hoping tomorrow will be a better day. I'd like to, at least, make booth fee!

Friday, July 29, 2011

Taste of Stowe: Day 1

Today was the first day of the Taste of Stowe Art Festival (Stowe, Vermont). The weather was predicted to be rainy all day with brief periods of thunderstorms. Fortunately, this held off until about the last hour of the show. Therefore, there were quite a number of people visiting the booths today (more than expected). Tomorrow is the really busy day, so, hoping that sales will be good and that people are in the mood for spending money.

Overall, today wasn't bad. Had a number of customers stop by and take some long looks at some of my paintings. No sales, but some potentials (We'll see if they really come through). Was able to sell some prints, though.

As usual, my work was most loved by kids (for the bright colors) and by adults who weren't interested in the traditional oil painting landscape. There were lots of comments about the paintings being bright, fun and happy.

With the weather tomorrow being a gorgeous 80 degrees with bright sunshine, there should be a LOT of people there.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Playing with Clayboard

Playing with the clayboard and starting to add watercolor washes to my pen/ink piece.

One of the things that I realized about clayboard is that, with watercolor, the paint dries really really fast. If you use too much water, it just sits on the board. If you use too little water, it dries fast on the board.

So, the next step is to lay down the basic wash for the clouds.

One of the weird things that I forgot about watercolor is that you can't move paint around like you do with oils. However, I'm liking the look of the watercolor and pen/ink on the clayboard. More practice will produce better results.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

New Surface

During the Illustration Master's Class (2011), I was just doodling a pen/ink creature in my sketch book when Iain McCaig (of Star Wars Fame) came over and said that he really liked my drawing. He suggested that the drawing would look awesome with a mixture of my pen/ink style and watercolor washes. Once I had the painting done, definitely send him the image. He was very interested in seeing it.

Well, it's been a month since the end of IMC and I'm finally getting around to actually doing the work. In the past, I've done the watercolor washes with my pen/ink work on very very smooth watercolor paper. However, this time I wanted to try something different. I wanted a sturdier surface.

I could try Donato's method for transferring the image or I could try something even more newer (to me). Using Clayboard. Once I started working with the clayboard, I immediately fell in love with the surface. It's amazingly smooth and the pen just glides over it. It'll be interesting to see how the watercolor washes work on it.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Latest Painting: Natural Construction

"Natural Construction" is an original 16" x 22" oil painting created on a 1" stretched, high-quality canvas. The painting is presented as unframed (Sides are painted).

When adding new man-made features to a landscape, we tend to try to make something that contains the natural colors and seems to fit. However, more times than not, the linear shapes give it away. Also, the colors tend to be more saturated and pure. These are not the colors that you see in nature. Yet, as always, it's still done to serve a purpose and make some aspect of our lives more comfortable.

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.

Through the Looking Glass

Today, started to think about the next painting that I'm going to work on. In this case, there's a competition that is based on glass. Thought that it would be interesting to do a landscape painting with a glass structure that is semi-obscuring it. The centroid area could be some sort of glowing sphere.

During vacation, had some time to work on some traditional plein-air landscape studies. In this case, rather than do a full scene, I just wanted to work on some aspects of the landscape that needs practice. Besides, it was just fun to be out there drawing and painting.

Portrait Work

Over my vacation, I realized that one of my weakest areas is figurative work. For the most part, I really don't have an interest in figurative work, but more and more, as I start thinking about odd creations/creatures, I realize how important it is.

So, time to start practicing it.

As I started doing this drawing, I still seem to have some odd interest in eyeballs. Not sure why. However, it just seemed to fit that she should have an eyeball for a mouth. Not sure what that means, but, for me, there's something appealing about it.
Just before my vacation, came across an absolutely fantastic artist named "Daarken" ( ). Besides the amazing creativity of his work, I really like the detail of his characters and the contrasts of his paintings. So, to help me come up with more elaborate creature designs and character practice (for next year's Illustration Master Class), what better way than to study his paintings and then draw from them.

The first step is to just work on the basic reproduction of his paintings. See where he emphasizes the character study, the facial descriptions and the clothing. Once I have a good feel for that part, I'll move onto seeing how he paints his creations.

An important factor in simulating his paintings will be to try to reproduce his fine art portrait work. I still have a lot of studying to do before I can get to the painting phase.
More Studies. Well, just got back from vacation and was able to get a lot of painting time and drawing time in. One of the things that I recently learned was that I needed to start studying other works from other artists that I like. One of my favorite artists is Paul Bachem. I love the way that he does the greens in his paintings and the variety of strokes that he uses. I also like the simplicity of the painting. For me, the painting have a definite feel of peacefulness.

So, started doing some more 4 x 5 studies of the painting. In each case, I didn't do an exact replica of the painting, but tried to create more of the peaceful mood of the work. Also, I zoomed in (using my iPad) to see how he changes the strokes in various directions.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Comparing yourself to other artists

So, lately, I've increased my number of facebook "friends" to a lot of people that I met at the Illustration Master Class. It's been a great eye-opener to see their artwork and their processes. In addition, most of them are "friends" with other professional illustrators. So, I "friended" them also to check out their work.

The trap that I start finding myself drawn into is the comparison of my artwork with theirs. In many cases, all of their artwork seems superior and mine seems inferior. This is a trap that you can't fall into. When looking at the works, I can definitely see things that I really like (the detail of the paintings, the backgrounds, the way that they do lighting, the compositions, etc). Those are things that I can always improve on.

However, this doesn't mean that my artwork is bad. This just means that my artwork is different and is aimed for a different audience. My clients like the simple colorful shapes that accompany a traditional landscape. They would not be happy to see demons or dragons or fireballs, etc within those shapes.

So, what does this mean? This means that I can look at other artists' works, see how they do some effect that I particular like and determine how to put that effect into my simpler-designed paintings. In addition, it gives me areas to see where my work is deficient and, after studying the other artists' paintings, how to improve my own.

So, looking at other's works are definitely helpful. (Note: This comparison idea hit me when I started looking at the works of Daarken. An absolutely amazing artist whose work can be seen at: )

Monday, July 11, 2011

Latest Painting: Fishing Expedition

"Fishing Expedition" 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).

There are times when I just let my imagination go and see where it leads me. In this story, we have a traditional lure being used the "Eye" thing. What type of creature is he trying to catch, I don't know. However, as with most lures, the lure is bright and significantly different from everything in it's surrounding.

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.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Surprisingly good day

Well, the day turned out better than I'd hoped. As several years ago, today, I'd participated in a very very tiny art show at the Williston Central School. Today, there were only three artists attending (me and two other). In the past, there's been as many as ten artist participating. However, the show had no entry fee and it lasted several hours. So, the only thing that I would lose would be my time for the afternoon.

First thing, when I showed up this morning... there was no electricity. The entire school was dark. The town blew a transformer and there was no estimate when the electricity would be on. So, that pretty much will kill any potential sales.

Secondly, after about an hour (still setting up), the fire alarm goes off. Due to the fact that there was no electricity, the water pressure for the indoor sprinkler system was getting lower, and, eventually, triggered the fire alarm. We all had to evacuate the building. So, things seem to be getting worse. Now, it's about 45 minutes before the start of the art show, we have no lights, no electricity and we can't even get back into the building. The day was going to be a wash.

Finally, about 20 minutes before the art show was officially supposed to start, we were back into the building, the lights came on and we were raring to go. The crowds were light, but I did sell the painting above and I also sold about 8 prints. So, a profit was made for the day.

The day definitely turned out better than when it started.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Plein Air (Shelburne Museum)

It's a beautiful day in Vermont with the sun shining brightly and the temps actually hitting the mid-80's. So, figured that this would be a perfect morning to head on out to Shelburne Museum and get some plein air painting work done.

This little scene is a pretty quiet area near the back of the museum and there isn't a lot of foot traffic. Nice part was that I remembered to bring my business cards with me. Handed out quite a number to various visitors to the museum.