Friday, May 31, 2013

Painting Good v.s. Painting Great

Happy Friday!  I'm feeling pretty positive about some decisions I've been making for my business lately.  I've got some cute marketing pieces going out to vendors I know and love, I'm enjoying my wedding working Saturdays (yay for extra cash!) and after taking an initial 10 steps back on a painting, I found that it has really brought me about 15 more steps forward.  You'll remember my reference composition debacle and the decision I made to start from scratch with a much more focused image.  I wanted to show you the difference between the two.

Original is on the left; new composition on the right

Original progress before wiping out:

New painting:

Now you can really see the difference and why I needed to make the decision I did.  There are details, crispness and texture that I just couldn't get from the original composition.  Some may think that as an artist, couldn't I just have looked at the new composition and doctored up the old one.  Well, with the way I work and the system I have down, it would have been a struggle for me....and let's face it, I don't want to struggle any more than I have to.

This is where the side by side comparisons will end, and I will move on with regular updates.  I know I said Shane Welch would be in this one, but I think I'll save him for the next update.  In the meantime, have a good weekend!!!

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Painting Lessons: Good Photos are Golden

Today I want to talk to you about the importance of having good photographs for a painting.  It sounds simple....the better the photos, the better the painting.  I was trying to defy my own theory with my next painting but had my words slapped right back at me.
Let's backtrack with some introductions....

Last November I worked with City Girl Weddings as a day of assistant on a beautiful wedding held at Floating World Gallery for Anna and Wade.  After the wedding, I was magically hired by the bride to create a painting of her bouquet (I didn't even put 2 and 2 together until I received the images and recognized the bride, bouquet and event!).  So, like any post wedding booking, I contacted the photographer, Shane Welch, for some images to work from.  I couldn't have been happier with the exquisite images he took (and how incredibly easy he was to work with).

Aren't these gorgeous...and so artistic!  I love that background color.

Here is where our lesson pops is best to book me before the wedding so that I can converse with the photographer ahead of time and make them aware of my intentions.  No photographer is going to take a bazillion photos of your bouquet unless you tell them to and have a good reason to do it.  They need to spend their time capturing all of your other special moments.
So, although I love the modern sleek take on the compositions I put together from these photos, my client, Anna, was looking for all of the different varieties of flowers in one composition.  Well, this wasn't going to be possible from these 3 photos, so I moved on to plan b and dug a bit deeper.  Ok, a lot deeper....

Take this photo:

Do you see the box on the bouquet?  That's where I got this composition from:

You can see the granulated look to the image.  Now blow this up to 24 x 24 inches.  Yeah, not so great to work from....but, I wanted to make it work for my client's sake.

 Sketched it in and began painting....and struggling.

When you are use to painting sharp, crisp images, your eyes struggle to put all of the pixelation into focus.

Finally, after much deliberation, I decided to halt the project.  I could continue and produce a painting that was mediocre and did not completely reflect the art that Reenie Rose produces, or I could move on to plan c.

I kind of happened upon plan c while using additional images on my computer as painting references (which I never do during the process).  I found myself zooming in on an area that was very close to the original composition I had put together.  With a little cutting and pasting in Photoshop, I came up with my plan c:

Look at the difference:

Why I didn't find this in the first place, I don't know (guess that's why they call it plan c).  All of the flowers that Anna wanted to showcase are present and the color and clarity are soooo much better.  
What came next was a first for me....wiping out what I had already painted and re-gessoing the canvas.

I felt pretty bad about this process having gone awry but am thankful that Anna and Wade were so understanding and absolutely love the new composition.  Though I was originally trying to capture all of the elements my client was looking for in a painting, I managed to ignore my gut and include a painting choice that just wasn't true Reenie Rose material.  Since we are on like lesson 5 of this post, let's remind ourselves to stay true to ourselves and what we do and do so well.  But, don't forget...lesson #1 is using the best images possible for a painting.  I'm so grateful that I was still able to work with Shane's images.  In my next post, we are going to get up close and personal with the photographer himself!  In the meantime, I have a new paintings to start....Round 2!

What was your smartest "do-over"?

Friday, May 24, 2013

Meet the Photographer: Amanda Marie

Hip hip hooray for the weekend!  Summer officially starts and so does another painting for me because I finished Madi and Bret's!  If you read my last post, you saw my hint that I was already a few steps ahead of what you were viewing (catch my most current updates on Instagram).  I'll be honest, I cranked this painting out like it was my job....oh wait.....
It was a quicker painting coming in at 28 hours, but managing to finish it in a weeks time still felt like an accomplishment.   Take a look:

I really love the way this one turned out and find myself staring at it and thinking how nice it would look up on my walls.  I might have to consider getting a print of this pretty.

I owe a big thanks to Amanda Marie for taking some amazing photos for me since I was not able to take them myself.  See people, this is the goodness that comes out of booking me ahead of time. It allows me to contact the photographer to give them the low down on what I need to work from.  Good images and great relationships with these vendors.  You've got to meet Amanda.  She has a fabulous sense of style and such a fun-loving personality.  I especially love that on her blog she has "Coffee With..." where she interviews other vendors...some of which are other photographers.  I really admire that kind of confidence in someone when they can go out and embrace their "competition" in the most flattering way possible.  Kudos to you, Amanda!

Isn't she adorable!?

1.  How long have you been in business?
I have been in business since 2008.

2.  Toot your own horn....what’s your specialty?
I would have to say my specialty is styling my clients as well as photographing them. When a couple comes to me with outfit questions for lets say their engagement session, not every photographer would be able to help them out with the wardrobe styling side as well, and I think it's a fun addition I give my clients :)

3.  Who or what are your favorite subjects to photograph....your dream photo session?
My favorite subjects to photograph is engagement sessions. They are so in love and excited about their upcoming wedding, that they just glow in front of the camera. My dream photo session would be shooting Carey Mulligan in a flowing gown in a beautiful white room in the heart of NYC. A girl can dream right?

4.  Craziest thing you’ve captured on camera?
The craziest thing I've probably captured on camera was a real life proposal. I've had the honor of capturing two and they were the sweetest, most beautiful things to witness.  

5.  What do you like about working in the wedding industry?
The thing I love most about working in the wedding industry would have to be all the love. I know it sounds so cliche, but even after all the chaos, stress and craziness of wedding planning is over, there is so much love among the couple and the families. I have a connection with them for a lifetime of being the one who got to document one of the most special days of their lives. I feel so incredibly blessed for that!

6.  What is something you wish your clients knew about your job?
I try to do my best of informing my clients of all the details of my job, but unless you are breathing it in and out everyday, it's not all that easy to understand. I wish my clients knew that I never completely shut off. I do my very best to relax on days off, especially on vacations and family time, but the truth is I am truly in love with my job and I am always thinking (most genius and thought provoking ideas come in the middle of a shower) of ways to better improve my business and ways to better serve them. 

7.  When you are not working, what are you up to?
When I am away from the computer and shooting, you can find me in any local coffee shop, journaling, shopping for those red sale racks (It's all about 50% off people!!) thrifting through antique shops and loving on my sweet husband and family.

8.  Anything new and exciting coming up that we should know about? (either professionally or personally)
I am approaching my 6 month anniversary of marriage (that half a year FLEW by) and I couldn't feel more loved and thankful that the Lord provided me with such an amazing partner to journey through life with. Newlywed stage, what can I say? :) Professionally, I am launching my new website and branding incorporating both photography and styling, this was all inspired by Kate Spade goodness and I am SO excited about this! 

Amanda was there for Madi and Bret's surprise engagement.  So sweet!

Madi and Bret's engagement session
And on their wedding day!

Amanda Marie Lackey | Fine Art Photographer

Thank you so much Amanda!!!

Have a great weekend everyone!!  Enjoy the holiday and take time to remember all of those that have served our country!

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Update: Madi and Bret's

You know how it feels when you lift really heavy weights and then switch to a lighter set?  You're still getting a workout, but man can you fly through those sets with the lighter weights.  That's kind of how Madi and Bret's painting is going.  After the last one, this is  a breeze.  I'm cruising through it and it feels good.

Guess I kind of figured out how to paint cotton.

Wait till you see the finished project....oh, did I just slip on that.  Yes, this one is already just have to wait!

Friday, May 17, 2013

On to the Next One

The weekend is here, and I'm already on to the next project.  This new painting is from repeat clients, Brian and Rachel, who have given my work as a wedding gift to each of Rachel's brothers (it's too bad she only has the 2 brothers).  They go in on this gift with other family members, making it a painting rich with more than just one memory.

Madi and Brett's bouquet did not disappoint either.

Love it!  Though I have never painted cotton before, this is sure to be a stunner.  Here's the comp:

Gorgeous, right!?  I love the soft hues and that it is actually a horizontal composition.  I'm so use to painting verticals that I forgot to rotate everything for this shot:

This one isn't as complex as the last one, but I'm sure it will have it's own set of challenges.  Bring them on!
Have a great weekend....2 weddings and some painting for me!

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Visit Me in Paris!

We all know my love of Paris and wishing to move there every other week (though this week I might take Chicago and the exceedingly warm temperatures).  Tomorrow I will be stepping into the Paris scene by painting at a Parisian themed event held at Shop 1021.  Take a look...

Besides Frenchie macaroons, berets and plein air painting, Ombre Soiree will be focusing on that soft dream-like color palette that whisks us away to eating a crepe and sipping a cappuccino on the Seine.

You'll get your first peek at my newest painting that totally fits this theme too.  You have to come by to see it and all of the other amazing vendors with their wares!

Also on display will be my most recently finished project.  Perfect for this summery weather.   Clocking in at 71 hours...voila':

I've been holding out on the real artist that created this bouquet....Beautiful Blooms by Jen.  Get to know Jen a bit more and view some of her other amazing creations.  I can just smell the roses in her fuschia and peach bouquet!

1.  How long have you been in business?
5 years

2.  Gotta ask...what’s your favorite flower?
Weird to say, but a rose. Love all the fun colors they can come in.

3.  Toot your own horn....what’s your specialty? 
Weddings- I love how the way you can tell it's a BBBJ wedding is because it is different and unique. Our weddings don't all look the same. We're the fun, modern florist in town!

4.  What would be your dream creation?
A bride that comes in with a wonderful budget and lets me be creative and design everything my own way! Pinterest has really taken away from brides letting me be creative.

5.  Craziest request you’ve had?
HMM I'll have to think about this one!

6.  What do you like about working in the wedding industry?
I love being a part of such a special day in someone life. I love it when they see their bouquet the first time and their smile!

7.  When you are not working, what are you up to? 
I'm almost always working : ) But when I'm not I'm hanging out with my husband, traveling, playing softball and making puzzles. lol
8.  Anything new and exciting coming up that we should know about? (either professionally or personally) I'm the only Certified Florist in Northwest Ohio and we love to travel and learn new things. We were the only one from our area at the Great Lakes Floral Expo last month and I'm traveling to Las Vegas for the American Institute of Floral Design Symposium this summer.

Beautiful Blooms by Jen
5646 Summit St.
Sylvania, OH 43560

Yum!  And in case you forgot already, come visit me tomorrow at the Ombre Soiree!  Merci beaucoup!

Friday, May 10, 2013

And Now, Painting Secrets

Time for a painting update, and this time I thought I would focus on the details....the real details that I probably only notice but thought I would enlighten you with.  Typically I do not paint in layers.  You guys have seen my work and process, and I really just keep filling in the blanks until they are all filled up.  I don't put layer after layer of paint on my canvas and go back to rework areas.  What's done is done, and I move on.  I don't like to fiddle with things cause honestly, you could be fiddling forever.  Of course there are exceptions where I might look at the completed piece and touch up something here or there, but at a minimal level.

Well, this current painting has proved to have its challenges where I sit back and look at it thinking, "How do I even do this?"  That's always a great feeling.  How do you make something look fuzzy?  How do you wrap your head around something with so much texture and parts?  Like any problem, you break it down...into layers.

Here, take a look...

Can you see the difference?  The left side was the first layer, and then I went back in with mostly white paint to make things a bit more "fuzzy".  The contrast always looks a bit heightened too.

How about stripes?  You can't do it all at once because you'll have a sloppy, smeared mess.  So, you let that base of yellow sit for a day or so while painting other things.

Return to add your stripes, and voila'!

It's little lessons like this that you learn along the way.  For those of you novice painters out there, practice, try things out and don't be afraid to mess up.  With oil paints, you can't really mess up too much.  It's so slow to dry, you just wipe something off or move the paint around.  You'd never know if I made a mistake!

I'm always open to help a fellow artist (or wannabe artist) out, so feel free to shoot your painting questions over to me anytime.  Happy Friday!