Tuesday, April 30, 2013


It's Wednesday already, and a new month too.  Happy May everyone.  As those of you who have seen my Facebook Page know, I'm having a Spring Event until the middle of  the month, offering two originals and a few 8 x 10 prints at a very pleasant price.  These are not E-bay prices because I won't devalue my original paintings, but the price is still very attractive.  And so are the prints and paintings - all with a Spring theme.

But . . . print . . . original . . . What's the difference anyway? Why spend more money on an original when you can get a print for much less?  Well, what we refer to as a Print, is really a Reproduction Print.  A true Print is a piece of art that was made as a 'plate' or tile, etc. and meant to be run off on a press  as a certain amount of  Prints.  I don 't do these.  Are we confused yet? :D
What we see in the mall galleries and on people's websites, including my own, is actually a Reproduction,  or a photo/scan of a painted or photographed image that is then run through a laser or ink jet printer on various qualities of paper. These are commonly, but mistakenly called PRINTS now, and I do it to, even though I know better.   Despite the rather astonishing prices asked for some Reproduction Prints, they are essentially a large photo of a painting, and in time, if not kept out of the direct light, they will fade away to a shadow. This happened to me when I bought a small print of a famous artist's work.  Some of these "prints" are limited edition, meaning there is only a set number run off, possibly a run of just 100, or maybe a "limited" run of many thousands.  And others are designated "Open Editions" meaning they can be reproduced forever.  For all these reasons, I keep my "prints" small and inexpensive.
So why buy a print?  Maybe you just enjoy the image and don't feel you can justify the cost of the original. Buy the print and you have something nice to look at that resonates with you.  Maybe you want a small gift and know the image will please someone you know. Reproduction Prints are a great way to enjoy a piece of art that makes you happy, or to have a collection of an artist's work or work on a theme.

If  you decide to spend the money on the Original painting, you have a one of a kind, painted using the best paint and paper, from the Artist's mind, heart and hand to you, and if properly cared for, you will have a treasure that can be handed down to your  grandchildren's grandchildren and so on.  It costs the artist a great deal of time, a lot of  emotion, and quite a bit of money (hey, art supplies are EXPENSIVE!)  This is the artist's voice, the summation of her/his skills learned over years of  hard work, the sharing of something important to the artist, and it has the immediacy of the artist's hand in every brushfull of paint or line of graphite/ink, etc.   Naturally an Original painting costs more than a print.
The choice is yours to make and enjoy, just be aware of what it is you are buying.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

"I Must Go Down to the Sea Again"

I  love the Sea.  I've only been twice, but it lives in my memory; the sound of the waves sending me off to sleep at night, the salt tang of the air, and the sweet scent of the Sea Mertensia along the shore.  Since I live well inland in Central Ontario,  I've made my own little ocean to meditate on.

I bought the little reproduction of the Walter Crane 'Poseidon' painting with the fabulous wave horses, the sponge, and the frilled blue and white dish that made me think of waves.  The sand castle and many of  the shells were gifts, as was the Sea Glass in the front.
I'm really excited about that Sea Glass.  Imagine it, tumbling around in the ocean for goodness knows how many years, becoming frosted and very smooth, and looking nothing like glass anymore.  "Nothing  . . ..  that doth fade, but doth suffer a Sea-Change into  something rich and strange" The Tempest.   
The ocean inspires me in my painting too.  I love using the image of the Horse in the Ocean.  It's a recurring theme for me, and as many times as I've painted it, I know I will return to it again and again.  

                                 Dawn Runners                           Watercolor

                               Legend and Story                    Acrylic
                                           The Gift Horse Mural

And I love the whole aspect of fun at the shore.  Get your swimsuit, your bucket and spade, and a good friend, and go get your feet wet!
                                    Spirit of Youth               Watercolor

In John Masefield's words: "I must go down to the Sea again . . ."
Are you coming too?

Heather Anderson                                                     

Tuesday, April 16, 2013


I love that moment in April when the air smells like liquid Spring for the first time, so sweet and soft.  On these mornings, the birds fill the air with song and the dogs are giddy with delight because they can feel grass beneath their paws instead of snow.  And I love the march of Spring flowers.  The Snowdrops come first, sometimes blooming through or beside the snow, and then come the Crocuses, but the first flowers to appear at the Garden Center for planting are the Pansies.  I love them, maybe because they were loved by my Grandmother, and maybe just because they are beautiful and smell so heavenly.

Is there anything prettier than the light shining through a copper Pansy?  I admit, I go a bit crazy when it comes to Pansies.  I buy them for the front porch, and for the old cast iron fountain/planter that sits in the center of my garden path, then I go out and buy more.  I love the light blue and the dark purple, the pale, pale yellow ones, and I go wild over the copper ones.  What can I say . . . it's Pansy Passion!  And I tell myself that I need every, single one because this Spring, like every other, I will be painting Pansies.  So I guess I'd better get out paper and paint, because I've just been on a buying spree!

Tuesday, April 9, 2013


I  never enjoyed school until I went to Art School at our local Community College.  My experience there  got me hooked on education :) I was fortunate  that they had a truly wonderful, traditional Fine Art program available at that time.  The instructors were all well respected, successful artists in the various mediums and subjects, from basic drawing (4 whole courses in that alone) to Design. (I never really did get the hang of Design, but at least I passed it.)  
While I enjoyed it, Life Drawing class was a new thing for me, both the work itself, and getting used to having nude models.  Yikes!    I often focused on the faces of the models, and because we were allowed a lot of lea way  for our own creativity, it was allowed.  This is one of my quick portraits from so many years ago.

I absolutely LOVED the Community College I attended - Algonquin College, in Ottawa.
I still go there to take the occasional interest course, and to attend the annual (until this year) Flower Show presented by the Horticulture students.  Next year sadly, the course is changing to a different, less ornamental focus, but whatever is taught will be well done.  This last show was a Patio Garden theme, and I love the way the students combined food and flowers - the Sweet Potato Vine (I think) surrounded by feathery carrots and a patch of chamomile right next to it.  And all around are the ornamental flowers.  Great idea!  Your Community College is full  of them.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

"COPYING?" . . or NOT?

Here I am, starting a new blog.  Life sort of interrupted the last one, and for the best part of a year, I had no time to make entries, so I though a new beginning was in order.  My painting, "GOLD FIELDS"  (11 x 14 watercolor) has nothing to do with my topic today, but I thought it would make a nice first image - bright, hopeful, and going forward.  Sometimes I'll talk about art, sometimes animals, and sometimes home stuff. Even the occasional  recipe!  So please stay tuned each week and follow along.  I'd love to share my thoughts and adventures with you.

Today I'm thinking about that old bug-bear "COPYING"!!  A few days ago, I saw a lovely painting on someone's website that was of a specific colored horse and the title was one that I had used some time ago on a painting of a same colored horse.  My first thought was "She COPIED me!!"  But then reason raised her head.  First, those of us who paint animals in a realistic style have a limited image/situation pool to choose from.  There will be a great many similar paintings of  Horses, dogs, cats, etc.  No one is copying, it's just the  nature of the game.
 Then there is the "Collective Unconscious" to think about.  The theory (much simplified) is that ideas are floating around and some people just pick up on them, often many people at more or less the same time.  And because  images get stored in our mind, sometimes what we think is our own brilliant, never-before-painted idea is actually our own version of something we saw months or years ago.
Also, let's not forget that one can't copyright IDEAS.  You can patent or copyright a thing, but not the idea. itself.  If that were so, there would only be one painting in the history of time of a horse standing in a field :0

So, did this artist "Copy" me?  Of course not.  The horse was the same color, and the title reflected that, just like mine did, but there were lots of differences that made each of our works individual.  A copy, is an attempt to duplicate someone's work, and unfortunately,while that does happen sometimes,  I think we professional artists (mostly) want our own work to be seen, not a pale copy of someone else's.  Personally, in my life as a professional artist,  I have never, nor would I ever try to duplicate someone's work and attempt to pass it off as my own.  Throughout history, artists have shared models, painted Plein Air together, or painted the same myths, historical events or bible stories. But each produced work on those same subjects that was uniquely theirs.  Today, we all work from our own photos or photos that have been given to us by friends/clients, but they are all of animals/animal events and there are only so many ways a horse, dog, etc, can be photographed and painted in the same (realistic) style. There will be similarities - that's to be expected. But there should also be a uniqueness to each painting that shouts to the viewer, "this was painted by  . . ."      I hope we professional artists are all mature and confident enough to accept that.  And for those very few blighted individuals who do actually set out to duplicate our work?  . . . get out the fly swatter! :0

Heather Anderson.