Roy Rodger's Woods, 6x8

Roy Roger's Woods, 6x8" Pastel

This was a quick 1 hour plein air demo for my Advanced Pastel students yesterday. It's a small piece just big enough for a quick demo. The morning light was really beautiful for a fall day, and so I picked this particular scene because the foreground and background played upon the wonderful glowing atmosphere. This was painted on the West shore in Lake Oswego overlooking the Willamette River, OR.

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Dawn Over Day, 9x12

Dawn Over Day, 9x12" Oil

Fall is nearly hear and so I rush out to go plein air painting before the wet, chilly weather begins to unfold and keep me indoors. Some days are packed with responsibilities that I find it hard to get the time to work, especially before a big plein air event, and so I get up at the crack of dawn to paint a sunrise. This piece was painted just a mile from my home where there is a small wetland that is hidden by suburbia. I love finding spots like this. The slow moving water hosts mallards, beavers and frogs with plenty of space to live. They are challenging to paint because the little critters are in constant motion, just as the sun rises at an iridescent pace. It was a magnificent show.

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Phooey, I says! Suggested Direction, 8x10

"Suggested Direction" 8x10"  Pastel en Plein air   ┬ęBrenda Boylan

Warning! To be read with "tongue in cheek"

While I go about my errands being the friendly that I am, I oftentimes encounter people in conversation while standing in line at the bank, at some customer service desk, or at the Dr's office, or even while I am out painting plein air, and more than likely they will ask me what I do, like, really do? When I proudly tell them I am an artist, I am more than saddened when the reaction is faced with a kind of curious disbelief. It makes me feel rather odd, like I am irregular, or I'm out of pace with reality. It must be that fancy calligraphic, bold font tattoo that sits upon my forehead that reads "CrAzY!".    

It amazes me that there are hundreds of thousands of artists who live a creative life and carry on their business that the general population has never heard of the artist profession before, like the impossible of impossibilities. My head rings and tremors when I here people say...uh, it's hard to even write it, "starving artist". I just s h i v e r e d when I typed that... or even some lesser term for those who often struggle to get by with their talent. How many people do you know who started a business and struggled, failed, or succeeded? It happens all the time. Yup. Sadly, it is quite possible that the stigma of the "struggling artist" will never vanish from our vernacular. Phooey, I says!

What do you say or feel when someone tells you they are an artist, musician, dancer, or actor? I'd love to here.

Now if I could only wash off that tattoo!


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How do you Inventory your Artwork?

Whenever I here the word inventory, I nearly get ill to my stomach. The word takes me back several years to a time when I was willing to do most anything to save money for college. My sister had a contact for an automobile parts delivery clerk, and I filled the position. It was the pits, a play on the store's name Pitzer's, but really, it was not a great job for a petite gal in a man's world. The others often tested me, giving me inventory to move from one place to another that was 3 times too heavy for my size and ability. After a year of delivering parts, they moved me into the "Inventory Controller" position because the position was abandoned by the previous employee, and nobody wanted to do it. That should have been a clue to me right there that it was going to be a downhill slope. No one trained me, it was a job that I had to figure out myself with bits of information thrown at me from time to time. Besides being a creative, anything that had to do with numbers was not on my radar, and by the end of the year when the company had to take their yearly account of gaskets, bolts, batteries and spark plugs, the system was pretty messed up and therefore I was fired. But I digress.

Back to the present.

If you are a prolific artist producing for brick and mortar galleries, fairs, or sales venues online, you must take inventory of the what and where your work is. But how? You must first take into account your ability to commit as well as adapt, and I am a bit biased and old fashioned. Remember, I didn't have the best intro to inventory as a youngling.

There were a couple of systems that I have used in the past. I started out with a program called Working Artist. It was clunky and buggy, but I spent my hard earned money on it and that is what I stuck with. Then the programmer discontinued the update as computers were evolving, so it went belly up. Then I picked up Art Tracker and used it with success, but when I upgraded my computer, the system was not supported. As with the times, computers improve and new systems are introduced every day.  Just Google "artist inventory systems" and you will find a plethora of choices that are pretty much on a cloud base system.  But what if you are still trying to figure out what the heck this cloud is?

I just may be a bit old fashioned, stubborn, or biased, but I decided to track in a most old fashioned of ways.  I have resorted to creating a spiral bound book where I handwrite information of each piece into and then clip and tape each images with the info.  Yes, it's outdated, but I'm gonna give this a try before I plunge to the cloud and pay a yearly fee. This simple idea was shared with me in a workshop with pastelist Marla Baggetta back in 2011. It seems very archaic, but hey, I figure it won't be discontinued, bugged, or downgraded to a slower system. In the meantime, what do you use to track your artwork and what you like most about it? I'd love to know.

~ Brenda

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