Tuesday, June 25, 2013


American Cocker Spaniels.                     watercolor    

Have I ever mentioned that I LOVE painting dogs, horses, and cats?  When I decided to make art my career, I didn't set out to paint them.  I knew there was little market for animal paintings - and guess what?  I still know that! :D  Fresh out of art school,  I set out to do Fantasy paintings, and although I still do some, the animals are what settled on the end of my brush.
I knew that if I was going to follow my heart and not only work as a full time artist, but even worse, an Animal Artist, I was going to have to make some sacrifices.  Just what was I willing to give up so that I could build a business painting the dogs, cats, and horses that I love?  (And make no mistake, this is my business.  I love what I do, I put a lot of myself into each painting, but I'm always ready to send them out into the world when someone falls in love with one of them. I offer an excellent product at a reasonable price, with GREAT customer service.  I want these paintings to find a home.)
After a lot of  thought, I decided that I didn't need a big home - a home of our own, yes, but small and simple would do.  I decided that I no longer had to follow fashion.  Hey, I'm an artist! I can wear Vintage with this year's Tee if I want!  I have a few nice classic pieces for when I need to dress up, and a lot of  well made, moderately priced things that have been worn to threads for everyday.  Did we really need to live in an expensive city, or could we relocate to the country where I'd always wanted to live?  If my Sweetie was working in our home village, did we really need two cars - or even an expensive "ego" car ( beautiful though they are)?  And since we both enjoy cooking and curling up with a DVD, did we really need a lot of restaurant meals and nights out?  If we were going to have so many animals, were yearly holidays practical, or even desirable?  Did we need all the latest electronic gadgets that no one can figure out how to use?
In other words, with my husband's willing agreement, we gave up most of the Bells and Whistles that most people feel they need in today's society.  And you know what?  We don't miss them!   We have kept the things we really enjoy, have all the things we need, we live a quiet, peaceful lifestyle, and we get up every morning eager to get to our work. I think we've gained far more than we've given up. :)

Heather Anderson

Tuesday, June 18, 2013


This week, the garden is at a high point.  Everything is lush and blooming and filled with perfume, and it makes me smile just to take a stroll down the winding gravel path between the flower beds. I'm trying not to see the weeds this season, as they are horrid invaders that came in with a bale of very bad hay that I used to cover the roses last fall.   I'll get them out, one by one, and next autumn, I'm paying the money to buy covers for the roses instead of paying the spring price in weeds!  Meanwhile, I'll enjoy the beauty of  the just opening huge poppies, the lushness of the roses, and the incredibly sweet scent of the white peonies.

In a few days, it will be MID-SUMMER, always a magical time in the garden, the forest, and outlying fields. This is the time of year the Fireflies arrive to hang their Faery lanterns to light up the night.  I've seen whole fields glittering with them, and just as spectacular, is a lone Firefly dancing in the dark.  And don't you just love it when Mid-summer is accompanied by a full moon?  It makes me feel that any sort of wonderful magic can happen.

                                      Moon Magic                                                                    watercolor

On Friday, Mid-summer, we will have a full moon, so go out if  you can and enjoy the beauty of your shadowy, mysterious garden under it's glorious light.  Hey, it's a magical night, so make a wish.  You never know what might happen . . . . . .


Tuesday, June 11, 2013

The Business of Art, & the Art of Business

Is art a business?  You bet your phthalo blue it is!  There is no substitute for good business practices.  You need to work steadily, offer a consistently exceptional product at a price people are willing to pay, and not suddenly undersell yourself or Heaven forbid, a gallery with whom you are working, or - horrors -gouge the client.  Raising your prices or taking any other step before time, is like shooting yourself in the foot.You have to deliver what you promise and at the time, or better yet, before the time, you promised it.  You need to keep meticulous records, use the best materials for what you are doing, keep your selling space user friendly and welcoming, have a great presentation, be polite, and above all, remember that the customer is always right.  Unless they are being totally unreasonable/rude, and then you still have to be polite as you decline their custom.  Or bite your tongue hard, if you choose to keep going.  Me, I politely say fair-well on the rare occasions when this has happened.  And you know what?  Mr./Ms. Nasty suddenly becomes very, very nice!
In normal business, you are selling/producing something that a great many people need or really want on an ongoing basis.  Art is not a normal business in that way, but an artist still has to get out there and market their work, often in a semi hostile enviroment.  Projections are useless.  Who knows what happens in people's lives that directs their expendable income when it comes to frivolities?  No one actually Needs art, and although many people may want  your work, real life stuff like groceries or shoes for the kids always have to come first.  I get that.
You need to have an art to your business, if you are going to stay financially afloat.  You need to find something that at least some people crave or find useful at least some of the time.  Some artists have drastic sales where  several hundred (or more) dollar paintings are marked down to a double digit price.  And the paintings sell.  But this approach leaves me wondering if that artist's work will continue to sell well in the long haul.  If I knew that an expensive 'anything' would likely eventually end up somewhere at a bargain basement price, I wouldn't be quick to buy it for the much higher price.
So what do I do?  After taking a hiatus from E-Bay for a while, I will soon, once again be offering small, inexpensive prints, etc. on E-Bay  that are suitable for little gifts or prizes at shows, but my watercolor originals, even the older ones, won't go anywhere near there. They will remain priced at a level that shows that  I respect my work and talent.   I plan to offer small, simple acrylic paintings that can sell at a low price because I haven't done anything like them before, so there is no established price to undercut.  I may also offer something that leans towards crafts.  Possibilities are opening up to me right now, and I find this a very exciting time with my work.
I'll be announcing one of the things I'll be doing, next week.  Stay tuned :D  And until then, enjoy our beautiful season of Spring/early Summer.

                                          The Lavender Path                                 watercolor

Heather Anderson

Tuesday, June 4, 2013


June is here, and Midsummer is just around the corner. And what goes with Midsummer?  Why Faeries of course! 

Midsummer Firefly - watercolor

I love to think that there are Faeries dancing at the bottom of my garden.  I don't exactly invite them in, because, well, Faeries can be tricky.  But I let them know they are welcome if they do drop by or decide to settle here.  
This spring, in a fit of whimsy, I created a Faery Garden and a couple of  Faery planters.
I found a nifty little door so they can make a home in the old Ash tree, and planted blue flowers, a Faery favorite.  I have mini stepping stones too, as Faeries wouldn't want to get their tiny shoes muddy on the way to the toadstool ring where they dance under the full moon.

I enjoy the fantasy of them dancing, so I wrote a short poem about it:                  
                                    The FAERY BALL

                                                 Owls are calling softly,
                                                 There's a ring around the moon,
                                                 And the Faery Folk are dancing
                                                 In their little silver shoe'n

                                                 They hang their firefly lanterns
                                                 On a crystal spider's web,
                                                 But they don't dance Guigues and Waltzes,
                                                 They Jitterbug instead!

                                                                                      Heather Anderson copyright

Heather Anderson