Tuesday, 28 July 2015

Discount Art

The Village, 30x40, acrylic painting by Tatjana Mirkov-Popovicki

Discount on art? Now there’s a title you don’t want to see if you are an artist. Good art is never discounted! It’s unique, one of a kind treasure, like gold nuggets, like diamonds! Yes, yes and yes! Yet, still, there are a few secrets of a savvy art buyer that I dare to share.

But before I move on to the juicy stuff, let me get one thing out of the way – discount art that I’m talking about is NOT sold by artists behind the back of their galleries. Don’t even think of it! Artists who sell their art through galleries are in a business relationship held by trust (and signed in writing), that all sales withhold the same market price, which guarantees that all buyers get the same value.

So where do discounts happen?

1. Fundraisers

 These are the events organized typically by a non-profit organization where artists donate their paintings, and donors either bid on them or purchase a ticket that guarantees them a piece of art. In the atmosphere of generosity, art typically finds homes for less than its market value, and artists typically put their best foot forward, so you can find some real beauties. The trick is to find quality fundraisers, curated by someone who knows their art. Yep, I can recommend one, I’m glad you asked.  Federation of Canadian Artists has an annual fundraiser called Paintings By Numbers, which is regularly a sellout, so hurry up to get your ticket. 

2. Art workshops

The best hidden secret in the art world. Art instructors demonstrate their techniques in art classes and workshops, and the resulting paintings often get sold to the students for a fraction of their real value. Many workshops, especially the ones that take place in beautiful locations where artists and students get to paint outdoors, organize a show and sell exhibition on the last day. The secret is that some very good artists sometimes congregate and organize workshops resulting in fantastic exhibitions. Artists are overjoyed by the whole experience, and thoroughly wined and cheesed, so they tend to put small numbers on the price labels. There is some wonderful art to be had this way. Look for art events in places with strong art communities, typically in late summer, slightly out of season when hotel rates drop.

3. Galleries

Even art is subject to the challenges of logistics, so when a gallery goes through a relocation, hundreds of paintings need to get moved, which you can imagine is a huge task. In an attempt to quickly decrease the stock, the gallery may organize a show and sale event and the artists try to help by agreeing to a discount during a limited time period. This happens once in a blue moon, and the blue moon is in Whistler between August 3-10, 2015 here.  My advice would be to try and catch it because it’s not going to happen again any time soon!



Sunday, 19 July 2015

Old Dogs and New Puppies

Shelves sag and creak under an overlapping load of unfinished paintings. Plein air sketches, blocked in canvases, half covered panels, canvas boards. Almost-complete and almost-ruined pieces await their coveted time under the brush. Some almost done, others just begging a touch up, a quick fix of this or that. Nagging. Pleading. Get me done! Get me done!

In another part of the studio, there is a neat stack of pristine new canvases, lined up by size, smaller ones in tight shrink wraps, large ones in acid-free plastic bags. Noble. Entitled. They are the preferred stock. They know how I yearn to push paint over their crispy surface, how I long to cover them with layers of mesmerizing pigment. They don’t beg. They don’t plead. They demand!

What to do, what to do? What to do next?

That is the everyday dilemma in my studio.  I wish I had two of me, one working out new ideas, the other fixing up incomplete works. Did I mention I was a Gemini?

Yet another part of me wishes there was a market for unfinished stuff. Anyone?

I imagine an older sister stuck with a toddler brother, so I try to make a rule – one shall always go with the other. For every new painting on the easel, one of the oldies must get completed. Most of the time this works, but somehow, by some act of magic, the pile of oldies keeps growing and growing. Every once in a while I go through it and purge the hopeless ones (this is how parenting paintings differs from parenting real children), but there are still many that make the cut. Some will never grow up, but there might be some really neat idea in them, a lovely passage, cool brushwork, or just pure and simple good feeling that I get when I see them. So they stay on the shelf. Perhaps, maybe, one day I will do something with them.

Gabriola Sunset, 20x24, acrylic painting by Tatjana Mirkov-Popovicki

This one was hanging around for the past few years. There was something about it that bugged me but I wasn’t able to put my finger on it until a couple weeks ago when I needed it as an entry into a very interesting group show. I harmonized the color temperature, added some texture in the foreground and changed the shapes of clouds. I am calling it done!

As a reward, I can now work on a brand new piece, a spring scene with Mt. Rundle in the background. Stay tuned!

I wish you a blue sky with white fluffy clouds, and a little bit of rain!


Tuesday, 7 July 2015

Art Lover in New York - MOMA

I've been dreaming of visiting art museums of New York for such a long time, I was afraid the real experience wouldn't match my expectations. I needn't have worried. I found everything I hoped for, and way more. Here are my impressions with a few tips for any first time NY visitor, hungry for a huge dose of big city art collections, and a real bite of great food here and there. What can I say, I never managed to make it as a starving artist!

Stop 1. The MOMA  (http://www.moma.org/)

MOMA's permanent collection was the main draw for me, so the temporary exhibitions of Latin American Architecture was a pleasant surprise. Also, as a part of the Yoko Ono show, you can catch glimpses of some derrière Ono-Lennon nudity - not really my cup of tea, but it's not lacking fans by any means. For more on Yoko Ono, check out the Ono page on artsy.net.

The main treat for me was the collection of impressionists and post impressionists - it is divine! (Searching for art on MOMA web site by using those terms doesn't give you much. You will find a much better selection from their overview of "Modern Art". It seems to me that "isms" are out of fashion.)

 I was especially struck by Cezanne's stunning mix of landscapes, still life paintings and figurative works. On every visit to an art museum one or two paintings particularly stick out and get etched in my mind, and this time it was The Bather.  The lively brush-marks, the shimmering greys and the simplicity of contours just blew me away. Thank you Mr. Cezanne for a lesson in mastery and elegance!

Another thing to enjoy are views from the gallery windows, of surrounding Manhattan streets and gorgeous buildings.  The tapestry of the city is as rich and satisfying as the artworks on the walls.

Photography is allowed, but you can also use their IPad to take photos of paintings, and they will be emailed to you - super cool! See http://www.moma.org/explore/mobile/iphoneapp for more info.

And last but not least, for a hungry visitor, I want to mention that the cafeteria serves very interesting rustic food and deserts. I recommend trying their smack-a-licious banana pudding!

Last view of Manhattan from MOMA before leaving... next stop, the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Stay tuned!