Saturday, April 30, 2011

Southeastern Plein Air Invitational

Just got home from the SE Plein Air Invitational. Here are some photos:
"Sweet Home Alabama" - my favorite painting  that I did this week... 

But....Blessed to be awarded winner of the Quick Draw this week.

Craig Reynolds of Alabama won 2nd place with this beautiful painting! 

My friend Millie Gosch from Georgia won 3rd place with this wonderful loose painting.
All the winners did the SAME house!!  Weird, huh???

I did not get his photo image, but here is my little painting of artist Ralph Parker (from Texas) painting. 

"Blue Skies Return" was done the day after the devastating storms.

 "Evening Song".12x9, Oil. Sold. 

One evening I did the above image of "Evening Song" (sorry iPhone image was not too good!)  from 5-6 PM after a full day of painting, This was just prior to a lovely reception held in a beautiful  private home... It was painted outside on the grounds of this home up on the mountain overlooking the city. A sting orchestra was there in a a wooded cove playing lovely music while we painted! The gracious family who hosted us added Evening Song to their collection of beautiful paintings in their warm and welcoming home!
Artists Katina Weber and Craig Reynolds with my painting that I had done last year. Such an honor to see my work in these collectors' lovely home. 
Here is a photo showing where we found  my painting that I did here last year - in their beautiful breakfast room...
What a week!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Southeast Plein Air Invitational

The Gadsden Museum of Art is blogging about the Southeast Plein Air Invitational. I hope you will check out all their blogs, but do check out the nice article they wrote on Monday. 

And here is a painting that I did on Tuesday... I named it, Sweet Home Alabama!

Sweet Home Alabama- 12 x 36 by Dot Courson

Note: Please keep Alabama in your prayers as we sadly had tornadoes in this state today... 

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Diversions: Speaking of Reading

Here is a very interesting "Guest Blog" with books listed for artists. It's  from my really good best (virtual) friend, artist and writer Linda Crank:
Diversions: Speaking of Reading

On Being an Artist

"All Creatures Great and Small..." 24x36 Oil - ©Dot Courson
Here was today at Dot Courson Fine Art: 
I'm in the middle of working on two events that I'm organizing:

  • #1 An upcoming painting workshop with John Pototschnik
  • #2 A traveling show I'm co- chairing and organizing for the Mississippi Oil Painters Association (MOPA).
  • ** I also have a "real" life! 

My husband helps me to host workshops for artists.  The instructors are artists and are wonderful teachers- and usually American Master Artists, and people that I want to work/study with myself.  I have Texas artist John Pototschnik here teaching to a sold-out group in less than a week. He and his wife Marcia will be here on Tuesday and will stay with us in our home - and I'm looking forward to that visit! Today I spent time "readying" ...aka: "cleaning" ... my home for over 20 of the artists to who we will host here for a dinner/cookout here at our home one evening during the workshop. ( For those who follow me on Facebook: I still have not gotten around to cleaning my studio!)
John Pototschnik students on the deck at the workshop cookout - 2009
Jackie (note the maroon apron) and  other workshop participants around the pool. ( Pototschnik workshop 2009)

The last two weeks (month?) was busy as I'm co-chairing and in charge of pulling together a traveling show called Reflections in Oil  for my art group, the Mississippi Oil Painters Association - (MOPA ). Today and tonight I have been trying to finalize the press release and get that to the media outlets I've been collecting addresses for an email "contact group",...as well as finish organizing my Excel spreadsheet with the 29 artists for the show --and getting the images on a file in my computer so I can put it on a CD to send to Southside Gallery in Oxford- where the show will "premiere". I've emailed the other artists and have been emailing them today as well - artists who still do not have their images to me yet. I also requested statements from the galleries for the press releases.  

I need all this finalized before Monday...No pressure!

Midday, I received a call from one of my galleries who had a collector in the gallery who wanted to buy a painting... (see "All Creatures ..." image above)  that they had seen as it was pictured online. This gallery is 3 hours south of me. Problem is that the painting is not at my home- it's in another gallery - over an hour north of me- in Corinth. I called wonderful Sonny Boatman- a volunteer who manages the guild gallery -to see if it was still there and to him to hold it...... and before I was off the phone with him I had donated a painting to the Veranda-Curlee House fundraiser event that they are having!

So then I had to think of how I can get it to my gallery 3 hours south of here to take the painting and possibly to meet with the collector who will return by the gallery on the 20th of this month. That is the week after the Pototschnik workshop here that I'm hosting... I need to rest and get my house in order and paint because 5 days later on the 25tho of April I have to be in Gadsden, Alabama all week for the 3rd Annual Plein Air Invitational where I WILL get to paint daily as I was so honored to be invited to be a part of this amazing festival that they have every year.
Downtown Gadsden, Al street last year in front of Gadsden Art Museum - sponsor of  Annual Plein Air Invitational.

I thought I had a good idea about the delivery of that painting to the 3 hours south of me gallery, and called a local artist friend who I already knew needed to go to the same city on an errand to see if she could take my painting down --but honestly she is so busy that I ended up telling her that I'd go --and save her a trip!

Right after that I had a call from my gallery again, asking me  to call a client who insisted on talking to me about a painting commission. I called the client and she was so sweet- bless her heart- she wanted a "French style" painting, and said that I was, "The best landscape painter in Mississippi"!   Wow that made me feel good! She was very matter-of- fact about it and I really think she felt that way. But, basically, as flattering as all that was- this sale did not work out. I think they were really wanting a print or something less expensive than an original oil paintings but she was truly, truly, a very nice person and it was fun to talk to her about what matched her home architecturally and the traditional interior design from the rug colors to her oatmeal colored sofa, etc.  Turns out we actually do have similar taste...

**Real Life: Believe it or not:  part of my life does not involve art much at all! 
For instance:  I had two wonderful homeschooler grandkids here for the last two days(very unusual for that to happen!) and spent some time with them. ( I did get to do some "project" work while they were here -and I even got to paint a bit!) They are truly self reliant and smart kids.
 And then today, our 3 little grandsons- ages 3 months, 5 years -and a 3 year-old,  came late afternoon and the two older boys will spend the night with Nana and Papa... and as a matter of fact- they just came by awhile ago and gave me the biggest "nite- nite" hugs of love in the world ...so everything's "A-OK" with me tonight - as I finish this blog entry...

His big brother calls him, "Goo"...I wonder why?

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Can We Talk Tech?

I'm finding out about some exciting new tech- y things for artists...and I'm thinking about how to use technology to assist collectors in being able to easily see my work.
For instance, here is a painting that I like and now have for sale -but only recently have I exhibited it in any gallery. This photo shows it here in my studio where I painted it. It's now the front of my website.

Golden Shore 30c40 ,Oil -©Dot Courson

I put it on the front my website over a year ago when I painted it. Since I have now decided to sell it, I need as many people as possible to see it:That is the first image of my work you see when you go to www.dotcourson.com .  I have had this website for 4 years, and this blog for awhile now. Two years ago I joined Facebook. Recently I added a "Page" on Facebook called, "Dot Courson Fine Art and Workshops".... Now I'm on Twitter @DotCoursonArt. I'm trying to be "out there"...

Smartphones and APPs- What I'm Learning
Websites are fine, but now people are using smartphones more than PCs. Fine Art Studios Online, my web host knows this. They already have "smart phone friendly" versions of all the sites they host. This makes the experience better for the small screens.

I'm learning phone tech possibilities and apps slowly. (I gotta paint sometime!)  One of my favorite apps is GeoCoupons where I get updated coupons that the stores can scan directly from my phone... and a Scanner that scans ANY bar codes as easily as a seasoned Wal Mart clerk about to go on her lunch break. It gives a price comparison form many websites and lists "storefront" places to buy it.  It's handy to pull out your phone at checkout rather than have clipped coupons, etc. They are always there!

When I first got my bar code scanner, I went around the house like a kid- scanning objects like Kleenex boxes, nail polish, and lotion bottles. BTW: Who knew that Amazon actually sells all that stuff? You've probably seen the app on the TV commercial of this guy using his phone to scan a bar code ...and showing the cute girl that she can get the same goofy looking knit hat "cheaper - just down the street!"  She says- "Where'd you get that app??" Right? ...Well, those apps are EVERYWHERE and they all work on smartphones...They ASSIST shoppers. 

BTW- This is a bit off topic, but I had the MOST fun using Shazam - an app that allows me to turn my phone on- punch Shazam- and it "listens" to about 10 seconds of music - anywhere in the air that music is playing clearly---and POOF- it tells me: #1 -the artist, #2-the lyrics, #3-shows the album cover and #4-tells me where to buy it- (iTunes of course!) Amazing world we live in, huh? My grandchildren were impressed to the point that they were almost speechless! he-he. That doesn't happen often!... Yep- Nana's still with it- got cool factor,etc.etc...

Finally, drum roll please - QR Codes!
I have discovered apps that read  things that are NOT bar codes. It one is an app that reads QR, or Quick Response Codes- which is like a 3-d bar code... I heard about them through Twitter.  Macy's and Target are already using them. Some are on billboards in NYC and on sides of buses, etc.  But for me- I want my QR Code for the backs of my business cards and to set up by my exhibits. That way, the public is more likely to actually GO to my website (listed on my card). Right then and there- BEFORE they go home and never actually get around to viewing my website. 
Here is my very own QR code that takes a smartphone reader two seconds to connect to my website:
Dot Courson Fine Art
The Effectiveness Test
This weekend, at an exhibit in Memphis, I put it to the test and put up the above QR Code image - printed on the front of a  blank greeting card, and stood it between my painting exhibition area, and was delighted to see that some attendees actually knew what it was and scanned it. Others were very interested in seeing how it worked as I scanned it with my phone which connected right to my website and while they were there on my website they were introduced to my other paintings! Artists who saw it were interested in using it for their own art. 

Here is what CNN Tech news said about QR Codes: 32% of people have scanned them and 82% say that they REMEMBER the website better if they scanned it to find it!

I've read articles on the internet about several uses - real estate- political campaign ads, etc, - I plan to get some peel and stick QR codes for the backs of my business cards and the backs of my paintings.... 
BTW - these codes are FREE at www.stickerscan.com. and they have reasonable priced items for sale using the codes.

Stickerscan.com says that more than half of smartphone owners are using phones to shop.  I'm not surprised.  Other sites say that smartphones are already used MORE than PCs! There are lots of ways to use the codes- you can order yard signs, magnets, key chains, even  (removable) tattoos!!!  One can use the codes to download information onto the scan like videos --or links to websites like I did mine. Tonight one person told me they put a scan clipped onto their cat's collar that contained her contact information! 

I like all the product ideas.  I'm wanting a T-shirt! (*No tattoos for me!)

(Note: I do not work for - or even know -StickerScan.com but they should GIVE me a T- shirt for writing this! Right?)