Glinda told me to follow the yellow brick road…. but where do I begin?
Three weeks ago, I quit my job. (The real one ~ with the bi-weekly paycheck and navy blue/khaki uniform).
It was an amicable parting; I had verbally told my supervisors in late June that I would be leaving, and I gave written notice three weeks in advance.
It was a bittersweet ending to a nine-year partnership with that company…. which included 6.5 years of 40+ hour work weeks in management, and 2.5 years of part-time 16 hour weeks. I hesitate calling it “a career”, because that sounds too much like a commitment, and my plan was never to stay permanently.
However my initial excitement to embrace self-employment, focus on my future art business, and even to home-school my 5-year-old daughter, was tempered with the reality that I would be leaving behind a team of people who felt like family to me.
In fact, when I started working at the Waynesboro, PA location … Joe and I were still dating. These guys have known me nearly as long as my husband has!
During my final days at work, as I hugged dozens of people good-bye, it felt like I was breaking off a long-term relationship every half hour.
I’ve stopped into the store once or twice each week, though it’s a 30-minute drive from our house, because I haven’t fully accepted that I’m no longer part of the system. I feel drawn back to work, as if the last three weeks were an extended vacation.
They tease me about being bored at home, but quite the contrary!
I have finished the Six Wives of King Henry VIII, and I will start painting the portrait of Henry himself this Saturday, the 28th, at the Carroll County Farmer’s Market.
I will be attending every show this winter! Since I no longer have a retail job forcing me to work holiday weekends. ;)
[see sidebar for show dates]
I can spend Thanksgiving at home for the first time in years ~ instead of producing enough cupcakes for everyone in the North Eastern US, or guarding a pallet of cheap office equipment.
I will also be participating in the upcoming 8th annual “Art for the Animals” charity auction to raise money for Guiding Eyes for the Blind. You can check out their Facebook page for details, and I will be updating with pictures from the opening reception on October 5th.
This is the 3rd year I have donated artwork for this fundraiser. “Africat” was my contribution in 2011, and the “Duke and Duchess of Welfurrd” were last year’s submissions.
This year, I decided to paint four 5×7 paintings in a series…. and asked my Facebook friends and fans for suggestions. Everyone had wonderful ideas!
From the Fab Four and Kiss Kats… to Civil War soldiers, the four seasons, and my daughter’s favorite: the cast from Les Miserables.
Someday I will have to paint them all!
One popular theme was The Wizard of Oz, and it was the idea that inspired me most…..
Perhaps because I’ve been identifying with Dorothy lately, lost in a magical land, surrounded by wonderful and caring friends (and a few wicked witches, too!), but all the while just trying to find her way back home.
I’ve never had a sense of belonging to any place, any person, or any job.
Nothing felt quite right.
Even this townhouse we are currently renting has lost the “glow” it had when we first moved into our subdivision…. now that I know our neighbors, the defects of the building, the cost of utilities, and did I mention the neighbors?
If I had a pair of ruby slippers to click together, where would they take me?
Will I wake up tomorrow in an old farmhouse in Kanses?
Or will I… like Dorothy…. realize that I’ve been carrying HOME along with me the entire time?
This is a question I typically get asked by other artists looking to sell reproduction prints of their own art… and also by a few customers who are amazed at the amount of “stuff” that I sell, in addition to original paintings.
To be honest, I’m always amazed to learn that not every artist reproduces their work to sell. Many artists still don’t have their own websites, or sell paintings directly to their customers either.
I didn’t know anything about being a professional artist, or how to sell art, when I started sharing my paintings online… first through Deviantart and then on Etsy. But I took for granted the vast demand for reproduction prints (as not everyone can afford to buy the original painting they love!).
I knew that selling prints was the way to go, and I sought guidance from other artists who were successfully reproducing their artwork.
I learned that collectors were looking for quality reproductions, and I chose to invent money in a professional grade Epson printer that uses archival pigment inks.
My printer retailed around $1,400 a few years ago… but it has depreciated a bit, and can be purchased for about $550 now, which makes it much more affordable to replace if necessary.
For now, my all-in-one $99 office printer serves as a scanner, although I’d love to get a flat-bed at some point for larger pieces…. as it’s tedious having to stitch multiple scans together in Photoshop.
How I Make Prints
I scan my canvas paintings at 600 dpi, which allows me to offer enlarged sizes, like 11″x14″ and 16″x20″, from a painting which measures 8″x10″.
My printer can actually handle paper up to 19″ wide, but I haven’t printed anything that big yet.
I’ve known people who scanned their work at 1,200 dpi or more; they could make enormous billboard-sized prints! LOL Unfortunately, my poor computer can’t handle working with huge files.
My 8″x10″ artwork scanned at 600 dpi translates into a 16″x20″ print at 300 dpi… and 300 dpi is the quality standard for printing, although printing labs will accept files as low as 150 dpi, so I can technically print even larger than that.
Once I’ve scanned my work, and saved the original scan as “the master copy”, I use Photoshop to adjust the levels a bit (because my acrylic paints occasionally reflect the scanner’s light… especially black, which turns grey).
I’ll also remove unwanted blemishes, such as dust particles, scratches in the paint, and stray pencil lines.
I re-save my file as my Master-Edit, and then proceed to crop the artwork into various print sizes: 5″x7″, 8″x10″, 11″x14″, etc… Additionally, I’ll crop them into (2″x5″) bookmarks, cut round and oval circles from them (to use for my wooden plaques), and also paste them into my greeting card templates.
From there, it’s just a matter of printing them as I receive online orders… or printing in bulk quantities to stock up for craft shows.
I have been really satisfied with the quality of prints that my Epson printer produces. In fact, I recently experimented with the quality of a professional photo lab, which came highly recommended by Etsy artists… by ordering a few of their fine-art prints to compare with my own.
And I couldn’t tell the difference! Their prints turned out great, but so did mine. ;)
I could save myself some time and out-source my work, but I enjoy being involved in the process from start to finish.
I create my art, I scan my art, and I reproduce my art…. in a continuous cycle.
My reproductions are as high-quality as you can expect from a professional, and they were born right in my studio alongside my acrylic paintings.
So whether you purchase an original work of art from me, or one of my reproduction prints, know that it has passed directly from my hands to yours. =^,,^=