Thursday, August 25, 2016

The Importance Of Having Your Own Website

Sparrow In The Light

© Norma Wilson, original oil on canvas 6" by 6"

This little miniature is currently in the last hours of auction on If you click on the link above you can put in your bid. It is at a very low price so give it a try!

So why should artists have a web site? Well, most importantly, you need a place to exhibit your paintings and give people the opportunity to buy. I have been a member of or since 2007. It is an artists web site designed and run by artists. They have beautiful templates to choose from and it is SO easy to just upload your photos and information.  So much has changed since 2007 with so many options online now but I have still remained loyal to FASO because they have produced a really good product and have unsurpassed customer service. I use their help....alot! I have done special pages for time limited sales. I have wanted to personalize the way I wanted my pet portraits page to look and added my blog from another platform, blogspot, to my web site and also my print store on imagekind now is accessable directly from my web site. They have monthly art contests with prizes and good marketing advice and much more. You can choose a template that is compatible with cell phones with is really important these days when many people are looking up web sites on their phone when they are on the go. I have their gold plan which is their highest plan and have been very pleased. Twelve years without changing says a lot about this group and you can have a free month to give it a try. Tell them I sent you. Yes, I can get a free month if you sign up but I would send you there anyway. Once you have your web site and you get your business cards you are well on your way to being a professional. Next, you have to send people to your site. Nothing beats word of mouth and YOU promoting your work.  Go to for more info!

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Taking On Commissions


"I'd rather paint what I want and not do commissions." This is a commonly expressed thought among many artists and I have had my moments when gripped with those gremlins of doubt or worry of meeting expectations. I have learned to ignore those darn gremlins and the joy of accomplishing the job and getting wonderful feedback from a client who is thrilled with the painting is well worth it! I would say that a third of my painting efforts are devoted to doing commissioned paintings especially around the holidays. Pet portraits done from a photo provided by a client are especially fun. I love animals. If my landlord allowed I would have a menagerie. Instead, I enjoy being surrounded for a time by other people's pets in the form of paint and canvas. Beatrice was a commission by a collector for her neighbor's birthday. She took the photo on the sly and contacted me. I can't imagine a more special personal gift. She was very touched. Send me an email for more information. Thank you for checking in with me. Hope you have a great day!

Monday, August 22, 2016

Taking Time Off From Your Studio

Wait For Me!!

© Norma Wilson, original oil on canvas 18" by 24"

For me, taking time away from my studio and any thoughts of prepping for classes, marketing, sending emails, filing receipts, shopping for supplies, shipping paintings, etc. is a challenge. When things are hopping, putting time in seems imperative, and when things are slow....even more so. That is when you have to step up marketing efforts, organize your studio, find new avenues for getting your work out there etc. So how do you balance life as an artist and having a life beyond your business? I'd love to hear from fellow artists or anyone self employed on how you manage to take
time off. For years, I had a studio that was in a public space which was helpful to separate my work
from my home life. The flip side was that there were many distractions that come with having my space open to the public and fellow artists. Now I have the convenience of a home studio that beckons to me every time I pass it. :-) For today, since I worked all weekend, I have decided to blog,
and do a few business related emails and calls and then take the rest of the day off. Which will include laundry, cleaning my house, and a nice walk with Bailee around my neighborhood! 

Monday, August 15, 2016

Take The Plunge!


© Norma Wilson, original oil on canvas 11" by 14"

Why is it SO HARD to try something new, something so out of your comfort zone, yet something that really seems awesome? Do you have anything in your life that you would like to do but keep finding reasons why now is not the time or you have probably thought was not even possible for you? I hear people say how much they wish they could paint BUT they have no talent. I ask if they have ever tried it or if they ever took lessons. Well no, just when they were in school. I tell them how I struggled with ADD in school and didn't even know what my problem was until recently. I just know that while all the children were busy getting paper and paint and ideas were flowing....I was still trying to understand what we were supposed to do. Usually my art project never got off the ground. I had major fear issues when I was an adult and took my first watercolor class. We all painted the same painting with the teacher guiding us and amazingly...I did o.k. I was twenty-five years old. I continued and took some drawing classes and another water color class. I felt my old demons in that class when everyone seemed to know SO much more than I did and I couldn't seem to catch up. Fast forward fifteen years when my good friend Susan told me about a local art teacher who taught from a home studio and she was an amazing teacher. The perfect one for me. I was actually teary-eyed a few times in class as my passion for learning met my fear and frustration. She didn't let me quit and was very nurturing and supportive. It all started to come together as I learned the skills and practiced what I was taught. I had my light bulb moments and times when the hair raised up on the back of my neck. I had found a joy in painting that I never could have imagined. It truly was a gift that has sustained and delighted me for twenty years now. So take the plunge!

Sunday, August 14, 2016

How Can You Paint So Fast?

Photo Of Jake

 Portrait In Oil Of Jake

Email Me For More Information

About ten years ago, I made the decision to go "pro" and earn a living as an artist. I had been selling my work for about five years but only enough to feed my habit of purchasing art supples, pay for my studio rental, and attend workshops. I was given some advice from a marketing expert who had painted and marketed his work for many years and made quite a mark on the art world. His name was Jack White and I was very sad to learn that he recently passed away. He suggested that I post a painting a day to eBay. This was back in 2006 and artists were earning a lot of money with their own galleries on eBay. He also advised me to post the same time of day and start my bids under 10 dollars.  I took his advice and painted my little heart out. Many days I was just finishing a piece and photographing it right before 9 pm which is when I posted every day. Within a couple of months all my paintings were selling and many were going up quite a bit. As I accumulated feedback and a following many of my one foot squared cow portraits went for over 400 dollars. Aside from how fun it was to earn money almost every day with auctions ending, I was getting a lot better as a painter, and also ALOT faster. Much of what an artist does to create a painting is solve problems. The more
you paint, the quicker you learn to solve common problems and can move on. I remember in my early days as a painter taking months to complete a painting. You really can work a piece to death and sometimes you just can't figure out when it is finished. When I had hundreds of paintings under my belt, I realized that knowing when it was finished came very naturally. Occasionally when I photograph a piece, I will see something that I didn't notice before and can fix it. So the moral of the story, is to PAINT, PAINT, PAINT! I will never forget the night I was in my studio and the news was all doom and gloom about the economy and the housing market. That was the last good week on eBay and it has never been the same. I continued to sell pretty well on the daily painters site but we all had to learn to diversify and find other avenues. If the expense of painting often is daunting because you are not selling your work or not selling much yet, do what I did. I would go to Home Depot and get a large masonite board cut into common sizes and gesso them. Very inexpensive. Thanks so much for stopping by!

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Custom Pet Portrait In Time For The Holidays

Your Pet In Oil

These are just a few of the pets I have painted over the years. It is one of my favorite things to do. I have been an animal lover my whole life and was fourteen before I was able to talk my Mom into getting me my first dog. I have had several since then as well as a cat, hamsters, guinea pigs, turtles, fish, etc. So when I paint your pet, I look to find their spirit in the photos you send and as the painting develops, I find that it is like having them in my studio and it is such a delight. I do hold my breath a little until I hear back from you that you are delighted and that my efforts to capture your sweet pet have been successful. I am so grateful to all my collectors who have entrusted me to paint their pet or one of a loved one!

The process begins when you send me your favorite photos. Photos taken outside are best. It is good to send several and decide if you just want a portrait of the face or more of a full body pose. We decide on a size and then you send half as a deposit. I get started and when I am finished, I send you a photo of the painting. When you are thrilled with the results and it is dry enough to ship, you send the balance. The turnaround is anywhere from a month to six weeks depending on how many commissions I am working on. I named this post about being in time for the holidays so we can have plenty of time to have things ready! Contact me at to get started on immortalize  your furry friend in oil!

Tuesday, August 09, 2016

The Importance Of Tracking Your Art!

Real Rockin' Rooster

© Norma Wilson, original oil on canvas 6" by 6"

For years I was a fly by the seat of my paints artist. Well, how did that work for me? It wasn't pretty. Lots of crashing and having to dust myself off. I have painted ALOT of paintings. For several years I painted one a day, even on Thanksgiving and Christmas. Pretty extreme, huh? Actually it was a really great practice and just what I needed at the time. I would love to have a record of every painting I have ever created, sold, and of every collector. But alas, after many computer crashes, and photo programs, that did not happen. Until this year... I decided enough was enough and began using Artwork Archive to record everything. I can now pull up my program and key in a gallery and print out all of the paintings I am planning on delivering to that location. Very professional. All the important statistics like size, price, medium, etc. When a piece sells, that gets recorded and collector information as well. What a concept. This program has a yearly cost but it well worth it! There are many good programs out there and for those who are computer savvy, you can use free software that comes with your PC or Mac. Just don't do as I did. Use something! You will be glad you did as it saves so much time and galleries love it. Very professional. Oh, and most software programs give you a free trial so you can see what features you like and decide what it the best fit. Happy Painting!

Sunday, August 07, 2016

Staying Inspired With Your Painting

Sheep On Red

10" by 10"

Shown larger to see possibilities if you would like to commission a larger piece that is similar.

I spent a few days last week painting with my good friend and fellow artist. I am always inspired and filled with renewed desire to paint bigger! So I will be painting larger pieces in the coming weeks and will be painting some still life as well. 

Do you ever feel stuck in a rut with your art? Painting with a friend is one of my favorite ways to shake things up. Sharing favorite colors, mediums, artists, upcoming workshops, and just watching another artist can be so helpful. It's also helpful to have a fresh pair of eyes to critique your work. 
So go set up a paint date!

Tuesday, August 02, 2016

What should I paint?

Moonlight Becomes You!

How do you decide what to paint? I'd love to get feedback on this as we artists are always trying to fill the well of creativity and keep our subject matter fresh and new. Some of my ways are to take photographs when I am out and about...even if I don't end up painting any of those subjects, I find that it takes my focus off the anxiety of what to paint and gets me noticing my environment and all the beauty that surrounds me.  Another is to look at art magazines and find the art that wows me. What is it about the images that draw me. The brush work? The color palette? Edges? Would a new color combination get my creative juices flowing. How about visiting a favorite contemporary artists web sites? That often sparks and idea from my own stack of references or reinforces an idea of my own that I was on the fence about. Painting with a friend is a tremendous help.  Sometimes when I am stuck, a friend will give me an assignment. Like paint a sea gull series. I did that one week and ended up sell two of them on Facebook immediately. I may have stayed in stuck mode without her prompting and without a healthy balance in my pay pal account! The cow above is an example of a prompting from an artist whose workshop I had taken. She said that I should be able to paint a cow from my imagination at this point so I did. And I loved it. She's a little more whimsical than my other cows done more as a portrait of that particular cow. She still has the feeling that all cows give me of sweetness and innocence. So get busy and fill the well and please share in the comments how you find inspiration!

Monday, August 01, 2016

The Advantages Of A Limited Palette



This piece sold this weekend at my show in Onancock, at the Red Queen Gallery. If I receive requests I may add it to my print shop. I can always be reached at

When I began my art journey, I focused on creating paintings using soft pastels. I fell in love with the immediacy of the process, the pure pigment and the way the light danced across the beautiful colors.
My palette consisted of two huge boxes of colors, both two feet by three feet! I had collected these over a couple of years ranging from hard brands to super soft which were great for adding final details. When I decided to venture into oils, the frustration level was pretty high! I had to MIX colors and learn to control a liquid medium that often turned to mud instead of the gorgeous pure color I was used to using. I wish someone had gotten a hold of me then and suggested I try a limited palette until I got the hang of things but....I may not have listened. I was already grieving the ability to grab any color or texture my heard desired and immediately put down the color I needed.  I painted for years with a pretty large palette of color but in the last year, I decided to adopt the palette of a local master painter named Charles Kello and it has been a great experience. Here are the five colors I put out on my palette every day.

Cadmium Yellow Pale Hue
Alizarin Crimson
Ultramarine Blue

Soft Mixing White  Or Titanium

These are the colors he had his students use to create any color they needed.  Now, I have to admit that I have a few additional colors that I find I enjoy for pops of color. Those are:

Naples Reddish Yellow
Charvin St. Remy Blue
Lukas Beige
Cadmium Orange  (This is a much more pure orange than the one you can make using Alizarin and
Cadmium Yellow Pale).

If you like Cerulean blue, you can create it using Viridian, Ultramarine and white.

Give the limited palette a try minus my additional colors and see if you don't get better at mixing
in pretty quick order. Being able to mix your colors is such a huge part of painting and getting
down to the business of painting more quickly and with less frustration!