We will be at Kings Drive Art Walk in Charlotte, NC this weekend.
Saturday 11am-6pm & Sunday 11am-5pm (25th & 26th)
We will have a few new pieces at the show including the Horses Pirtrait (currently unnamed)!
I finally finished the last piece of the Horses Portrait. All 6 finally finished. A project that has been 2 years in the making!
It’s such a nice feeling knowing that I have finally completed this last wood cut. I still have a few things life like making the frame, installing all that hardware on the frame & cutting the mat.
I will still need to make a box to transport the piece in from show to show, complete with padding to protect it.
I will update with the complete Horses Portrait mounted on a black background as soon as I can get a picture.
I hope everyone enjoys this Masterpiece!
Part 4 of the Horses Portrait is now complete. This piece shows lots of the detail in the fence and surrounding grass and trees. It’s easier to understand once added to the other pieces below.
The 4th piece starts to make the whole portrait come together. (Please disregard the excess shop clutter) there will be two more pieces added to complete the portrait.
Its starting to get exciting as it gets closer to the end of the completed project. I hope it turns out nice and I can’t wait to see what everyone thinks of the completed piece.
This is the 3rd part of the Horses Portrait.
This is the final piece of the top portion of the portrait. Three more pieces remain that run across the bottom.
This 2nd picture is of the three pieces put together. (Should give you an idea of what it’s starting to look like)
These are the top three pieces only.
I will update and add the additional pieces as they are finally cut out.
This is the 2nd part of the Horses Portrait.
There will be a total of 6 pieces, 3 across the top and 3 across the bottom to complete the portrait. This is the center top section.
This 2nd picture is of part 1 and part 2 both put together side by side to give you an idea of what it will look like. You will see some seam lines in this portrait once completed but they should be very minimal.
Once all pieces are completely cut out, they will be sanded and stained and mounted to a black background like the rest of my traditional pieces. This piece will also feature the traditional black mat & the custom made solid wood frame.
I finally started cutting on the Horses Portrait I finished designing late last year. The finished size of this piece will be 32″x48″ not including the frame.
Because of the size of the completed design, it exceeds the throat capacity of all scroll saws. It will be individually cut on the scroll saw in 6 completely different sections. Each of the 6 sections will measure 16″x16″ and once completed, all pieces will be put back together and mounted to a solid one piece background.
I spent approximately 15 months designing this portrait. This will be a new masterpiece for me, and the first portrait I have ever created that gets cut out in multiple sections and then put back together.
Once finished, I will make a frame and cut a black mat to accent the black background.
I am currently cutting on Part 2 of the design and will post more pictures as they are completed.
All That Paperwork
I am writing this just to give everyone (because I’ve been asked a lot) an idea of all the things that go into living life as an artist.
I will admit that I am a procrastinator. I don’t mind doing any of the paperwork for my business, as long as I am in the mood.
I’m going to break all this down into several stages so it makes it easier to follow.
Stage 1: RECEIPTS
Every single receipt for everything must be saved. I set up an Excel spreadsheet to do all of mine on. I separate all of my receipts into categories by month. Then each receipt gets entered into a separate section for what kind it is. I have sections for Materials, Advertising, Booth Fees, Motel Expenses, Food & Entertainment, Shipping, machinery & Equipment, and a few others. It makes doing taxes a lot quicker.
Stage 2: DEPRECIATION
I personally have another sheet that lists machinery & tools. My studio (its a separate building from my home) where I make my artwork. Computers, tablet, and my laser printers that I use to design and keep up with all of my business based stuff. All of this stuff falls into the category to do a depreciation for X number of years on taxes.
Stage 3: MATERIAL COST
I also have a spreadsheet for this. Before you can even begin to set a price on a piece of Art, one of the components you need is to know how much money you have in materials to produce the piece. For some types of art it may be simple enough but others a little more complicated.
I started a log for various things is use. Like for laser printer toner, glue, paint, stain, sandpaper, saw blades & bits on various machinery, and things of such. I log everything that is made with the various things and when I change the blade, bit, sandpaper, toner, paint, stain, and so on I know how many pieces of Art that item created. That gives me an idea of how many cuts I can get out of one saw blade and such. I then divide the price of the item by the number of pieces I made with it and that gives an idea of how much money is used to create each item. So the $60 price tag on a table saw blade is broken down into multiple pieces.
Stage 4: TIME
Yes, another spreadsheet. It’s important to know how long it takes you to make your Art. If you have no clue you could be over charging your customers or working for free. I started another log to keep track of how long it takes me to create each piece of Art. This can be as simple as using a stop watch and stopping and starting it each time you work on something. My stuff requires a drying time that I don’t count that, I just work on something else. I usually have multiple projects going on at the same time. Once finished with a piece I simply go back and add up all of the stop watch logs for that project and it gives me an idea of the length of time for that piece.
Stage 5: UTILITIES
Lots of Artists keep track of utility bills and square footage used in their homes and things related, but I work from my home in a separate studio and I don’t include any of those things in my cost of goods.
Stage 6: CALENDAR OF SHOWS
Every Artist does lots of research on finding Juried shows that they hope their Art will fit well with. All shows have application deadlines and you must apply before the deadline. Shows typically use Zapp, JAS, EntryThingy, and the old fashion paper applications to mail in. All shows typically require you to pay a jury fee when you submit your application that is nonrefundable whether you get into the show or not. Most apply to multiple shows on the same weekend to ensure they end up with a show for that weekend. If you get rejected then that’s all you have to do for that show. If you get accepted you have to accept the invitation and make sure you pay your booth fee by the deadline. I won’t include galleries here because some artists only do Art Shows some only do galleries and some do both.
Stage 7: LICENSING & SALES TAX
I won’t mention the business license because that is a given for most people conducting any kind of business. If you plan to travel and do shows in various states you have send in applications to each state for various licenses and permits to sell retail and collect sales tax in each state. Some you only file after a show and no other time, others you have to file each and every quarter even if you weren’t in the state during that quarter. You collect the % of sales tax they tell you and then turn it in when they state you turn it in.
Stage 8: YOUR WEEKEND GALLERY
In order to display your work for potential buyers you need some kind of professional gallery. I personally use carpeted panel walls because all of my work is 2D and I hang everything up. I also have multiple boxes that holds all of my artwork for travel & a hitch pull trailer that I use to transport it all. Don’t forget all the things you need to conduct business.
Stage 9: MILEAGE
I buy lots of my materials and have them delivered to my house. I also try to set up a pick up time at my home for packages so I don’t have to drive to the shipping store. Honestly there is no way to get around it, you are going to have to drive for your business. You need to have a mileage log to keep track of all those miles you drive to pick up materials, deliver things, drive to shows, and everything that involves travel for your business.
Stage 10: INVENTORY LISTS
I pretty much have two inventory lists. One is the Artwork inventory and the other is my supplies inventory. Nothing is more frustrating than when you are in the middle of creating something and a certain material you need you are completely out of it. It’s simple enough, when you use something or sell something, mark it off the lists.
Stage 11: All THAT INTERNET STUFF
Artists vary on this. I personally try to maintain a Website, Facebook, Twitter, a Blog, and a Newsletter. Each thing requires you to set it up and update it as frequently as possible. I must confess I am sorta weak in this area but it’s on my New Years Resolution list to do better in this area.
Stage 12: PHOTOGRAPHY
You need photos of your booth and photos of some of your Art to send in with applications for Juried Art Shows. You need pictures of your Art to put on your website and social media sites and your newsletter. How will people ever see your new work other than coming to your shows, unless you take pictures of it. Seems I am always taking pictures of something.
Stage 13: ALL ABOUT YOU
I must admit I’m a procrastinator in this area as well. Part of making a living as an Artist is letting people know who you are and what you are all about. This is best accomplished by writing an artist statement and a biography for different situations.
I’m sure there are a lot more things that I probably didn’t cover but this is at least a good starting point and the basics.
I think of all these things when somebody tells me they WORK A REAL JOB!!!
I love when customers come to me and tell me their story and asked me to create something just for them.
The stories vary from customer to customer.
Sometimes it’s just wanting me to create something for them that they like to collect.
Often times it’s a portrait of that special something that they love more than life itself.
Other times it’s a special gift for someone that means a great deal.
Then I have the customers that tell me the story of their great loss and want a piece made as a tribute and most of the time it’s hard to get through the design ideas without us both tearing up.
I love my special customers and their stories. These are some examples of some pieces that I created for my customers in 2014!
I have lots more & will add more pictures as I get them resized.
Some new things to come for 2015.
This year marks my 13th year anniversary of doing my Art. Things have changed quite a bit over the years and I have certainly learned a lot.
Part of the process of learning is finding easier ways to do things, little short cuts, and sometimes just eliminating difficult time consuming tasks in light of more efficient ones.
Another part of the learning process is mastering certain skills and developing new skills, which sometimes makes artwork evolve as time goes on.
This year I will be releasing several new bodies of work. They will all be the same wood cuts you have come to know and expect but with a slight twist.
I will be featuring some that have added bright colors in the background instead of all black. Others will be featured including glass inlay in the pieces.
Finished this year is a new masterpiece. It will be 4 foot wide, which is the biggest Art piece I have ever created. Cut out in multiples sections and then assembled back together again. If you are a fan of Horses then this is a piece you won’t want to miss.
Another not as big Art piece is of a Harley Davidson Motorcycle, not quite as big as the Horses but at approximately 3 foot wide it will be sure to get the attention of lots of motorcycle enthusiasts.
I will be releasing several new abstract pieces this year as well. If abstract and lots of color is what gets your attention then this new line of work will have you covered.
I will be featuring a few new Art people portraits of some well known people that have left a mark on all of us and will forever be remembered.
For those that like my traditional work……
I have added some additional dog breeds, for dog lovers out there. Maybe that certain breed you were looking for will now be on the list.
I also have a few new animals in the traditional style as well.
I will update as I get new photographs of the pieces & add them to my blog and also for sale on my website. I try to add around 25 new pieces each year!
I hope to see everyone at the shows this year,
Before the artwork is created……..
Every artist must start with raw materials.
All of the artwork I create is framed in frames that I have made.
All of the wood blanks that I cut designs in on my scroll saw must be broken down.
All of the wood backings that my pieces are mounted on must be broken down.
Pictured in the center are pieces to make two different sizes of frames for the artwork.
Pictured to the left & right of the frame materials are various sizes of wood blanks and backings.
Each of the pieces must be measured and individually cut. One by one until you have everything broken down into useable pieces.
Many days are spent cutting up wood into various sizes.
Some of the wood is used to make picture frames for each piece of artwork. Once the strips are cut for the frames, they must be cut to the proper length. Each piece gets sent to the router and the slot that holds the artwork is cut into each piece. The next step is cutting the mitered corners on each of the pieces. When all cutting is complete the frames are sanded and assembled with glue and nails.
Other pieces of wood materials are cut up into smaller pieces awaiting a new design to be transferred so it can be cut out on the scroll saw.
Other pieces get cut to size and then get painted, awaiting a woodcut to be glued onto it.
There is no ordering of prefinished goods. No wood blanks that come in the mail. No finished picture frames in which artwork is simply added.
It all starts with a plan and it starts with a lot of work.
This is a small sample of a years worth of work. When Art is done as a business and a means of existence there is an arsenal of work just to create enough to survive…..Hence the phrase of “Starving Artist”
I wanted to start a new section called “The Business of Art” just to give an idea what all we go through to live this hectic life as Artists.
I will be adding new topics to this section. Feel free to sign up for our newsletter and subscribe to our blog.
I moved to a new location one year ago.
As soon as we moved I had to move all of my tools and entire studio contents into a new shop. The new space didn’t have wiring or insulation but because I had so many Christmas orders, I didn’t have time to wait.
Christmas came and went and then I had to start building up inventory for my 2014 shows. So again, no time to fix up or update my studio space.
It’s one year later and I still have a ton of Christmas orders to get completed. I need to get some materials but while the rain is delaying it, I found a short amount of time to squeeze in some projects.
Slowly I will be adding more things to get my shop cleaned up.
I still have a few more tool stands to build.
More plywood to add to the walls and ceiling.
A little more wiring to get completed.
Slowly, little by little my studio is starting to look more like a comfortable work space.
We will be at Artsplosure in Raleigh, NC this weekend. If you will be in the area and would like to drop by we are booth #171.
To learn a little more about Artsplosure you can check out their website.
We will be featuring a few new pieces at this event & will be adding them to the website soon.
Hope everyone has a wonderful weekend,
We are currently relocating to a different hosting account (& domain for that matter). This current location Reminiscinginwood.biz will be our permanent blog site. You can still reach me Mel@reminiscinginwood.biz if you have any questions or anything. You can also still reach me through the contact form on this site, Facebook, and Twitter.
The other site name (reminiscinginwood.com) will contain the site of our store. The store will be down for a little while until the transfer is complete and we get the store site rebuilt and back up and running. For everyone that was using Mel@reminiscinginwood.com to reach me, you just need to change the .COM to .BIZ instead.
All newsletters will now be coming from Reminiscinginwood.BIZ.
Sorry for any inconvenience & thank you for your patience,
I have over the years developed a fondness for Squirrels. This past winter I kind of felt sorry for them because of all the snow. I decided that, since they are so entertaining, I would start feeding them.
You can buy any kind of large container to use for this project. You will need to get rid of the contents inside (eat them). You want a container that’s about a gallon in size or one pound. These containers come in glass and also plastic. The one I am using is made of plastic.
You will want to remove the lid & clean off the label completely (so you can see inside easier). Wash out the container & then dry it.
You will want to have something to mount the feeder to. You can use a tree or set a post of some sort into the ground. I used a treated 4×4 and put it into the ground over a foot deep.
Next you will want to mount the feeder. You can buy the feeder or make your own. You can find plans on Google.com of for those that would want to tackle the woodworking and build one.
I only filled the container up slightly so excess Squirrel food would not spill out.
You can insert the container with the food into the feeder and install the wedge to keep the container from coming back out.
The next steps are to wait for the Squirrels to come & hope my husband forgives me for putting the feeder in the Front Yard!
I have had quite a few things going on in my life. We got married (yes I am still currently considered a newlywed) and we bought a house.
What all this means is we have to take all the items from two different houses and make them all fit into one new home. This really involves lots of downsizing and basically which ever one of us owns the best item, the other will donate theirs. After all, we don’t actually need two of everything.
I have begun to realize that I possess a whole lot more items (junk) than I had realized I owned. I found lots of boxes and totes that I really wasn’t exactly sure what was in them.
I guess I could officially call myself a craft hoarder (this may be common among artists?). I am also a shoe hoarder (I am a woman after all…..really that’s no excuse). I am a book hoarder.
About two years ago my husband bought me one of those little Kindles. I had thought about buying one for quite some time but really didn’t know if I would even like it. Well after receiving this gift I have grown so fond of it I don’t read regular books very often now. Since I have two huge bookshelves overstuffed with hardback books, I have decided to get rid of all of them. This has been a difficult decision. Honestly, I can have all my books on that Kindle (I think it holds 3,000). I won’t even need the bookshelves anymore so out the door it all goes.
Shoes have always been a weak spot for me. I Love Shoes! I started thinking about all of the shoes that I own. I realize that if I wore all of my shoes in a one year time frame, each pair would only get worn maybe twice. Should we really keep anything we only use once or twice a year? I kept about 25 pairs and out the door the rest will go.
The most difficult of all are the craft items. I have materials to probably made just about any item, in just about every medium you can imagine (you have to realize I have been making and creating stuff my whole life). I was able to part with maybe 3% of the items, but decided instead to get organized. I invested a little bit of money for heavy duty shelving, various size totes, a label maker, and several drawer organizers. I may not be able to part with any of the craft hoard, but now I can call myself an Organized Craft Hoarder.
I currently have a little break away from shows, and back to the sawdust I go.
I finished designing a few new pieces that I hadn’t gotten the opportunity to cut on my saw yet.
A beautiful bouquet of Roses
Redesigned the Clownfish hidden in Anemone (I never liked the first design)
A beautiful detailed portrait of a Tiger (the 3rd piece in the Wild Cat Series)
A beautiful butterfly in a nature scene (very detailed)
Stay tuned for updates as these pieces are being made.
I’m currently working on a new kind of project. I started designing a portrait of three Horses standing at a fence. This will be a very detailed (exceeds all else) piece. This piece has continued to have more and more detail than I had originally anticipated. I am planning on cutting this project out in sections and putting it all back together at the end. Hopefully, this project turns out well. I just need to finish designing the pattern. If all goes well, this will remove all boundaries that I have previously been hitting.