You Don’t Have To Quit Your Day Job To Live The Dream Life

By Nicole Tinkham

dream-life

SO MANY of us do this and I’m totally guilty of it myself. We put our dreams on hold and wait for the “right time” to go after them. It sounds logical but that perfect timing may not ever happen which means you just wasted a whole lot of time doing absolutely nothing. We come up with all sorts of excuses like “when I retire, I’ll do the things that make me happy” or “when I have some more money I’ll start working on my goals”. That’s great that you want to make some big things happen in your life but while you’re daydreaming about them, time is passing you by. Maybe you can’t just leave your full time job tomorrow to focus on your art but you can start focusing on your dreams right now. Here’s how!

1.    Make the most of your free time

I often hear people say they would love to work on their art, go to different events, do some writing, travel and many other things. The one thing that’s holding them back (so they say) is time. I get that most of your days are spent working but there are several more hours in the day that you could be doing something that you absolutely love. Think about the activities you’re doing after work. Are you watching mindless TV or are you exploring your passion?

2.    Do something special for yourself

Do you ever feel selfish just thinking about spoiling yourself? Maybe you feel like you don’t have the extra money or you don’t think you deserve a massage or fancy dinner. To me, these extra little things sounded so luxurious and I always thought “when I’m successful, that’s how I’ll spend my days”. But who says I can’t pamper myself right now? Sure, it may cost a little extra money that you should be saving up for other things but it’s also important to live a little and enjoy yourself.

Note: Your “me” time doesn’t necessarily have to be extravagant and expensive. Quiet time to yourself in nature could be your little escape.

3.    Go on vacation

How many times do you use your vacation days for some work around the house, to visit family, or just stay home and do nothing at all? There is nothing wrong with doing these things but every once in awhile you need to take a real vacation. Get away to somewhere you’ve never been, go on an adventure, explore, and gain some new inspiration. You will return a changed person.

4.    Change up your day job

If you’ve been in your 9-5 job for awhile doing the same thing every single day, you probably feel like you’re in a never-ending cycle. No matter what the job is, it gets boring after awhile! But there are ways you can make it interesting again and get more enjoyment out of it. You can explore different departments within the company or look for new tasks to do in your current position. Even just moving things around in your office (we suggest sitting near a window and bringing in a plant) can go a long way. If you can, see if you’re able to work from home or cut back your hours to part time. All of these changes can improve how you view your full time job and make it more exciting.

5.    Make a difference

There’s no greater feeling than being able to help someone else out. I always said that if I had the time I would volunteer more and if I had the money I would donate more. I think many of us say these things and we don’t follow through as often as we’d like to. Remember that every little bit counts so do what you can! Even chatting with a friend when they’ve had a bad day is helping someone else and it feels so rewarding to be able to do that.

6.    Do things that scare you

When you think about the “dream life” it probably doesn’t include things that scare you but when you get stuck in the day to day grind, there’s nothing more exhilarating than doing something totally insane. Maybe you jump on a plane next weekend and visit New York City for the first time on a whim. Or maybe you sign up for a cooking class when you’ve been using your kitchen as your art studio and haven’t cooked a thing in ages. By doing these crazy things, you will gain so many experiences, meet incredible people and have amazing stories to share.

Don’t let life get boring before you dare to have fun. You only have one life to live so you better start doing all those things you ever hoped and dreamed of right now! You are never too old, too young, too broke, or too busy to enjoy life. You can live the dream life without quitting your day job and you can start right now!

Top Tips For Traveling With Art Supplies

By Nicole Tinkham

travel-art-supplies.jpg

It’s that time of year again, time to vacation and travel!! So many artists we talk to love exploring new areas and taking in all the beautiful scenery as inspiration for art. Many will even bring their art supplies with them and get creative while vacationing. Sounds like the dream, doesn’t it? But the one thing holding artists back from doing this is the hassle of lugging all the supplies with them. You can ease your mind though because there are super easy ways to travel with your art supplies. Read on for our killer tips and start preparing for your next trip!

First, let’s talk about why you should create while on vacation. Not only will you be excited and relaxed while away, but the different scenery will spark new creative ideas. We bet the pieces you create while traveling will be like nothing you’ve ever done before. You’re in a different state of mind and a new state (or country). Things will be a bit different. Now that you’re sold on the idea of bringing your art with you, let’s make it happen.

The simplest way to create art while away is to take an art workshop, preferably one with all supplies included. You could even visit an open studio with an artist in the area. Sometimes it’s nice to observe and learn from a different artist.

But say you want to actually get outside and create on your own with your own supplies. You’ll need to know what to bring and how to get it there. We can help…

•    If you’re flying on a plane, you’ll have to be careful with your oil paints as some can be hazardous. Artist grade oil paints are made from vegetable oil and are totally fine to bring on the plane. Make sure you let the security guards know this.

•    You cannot have any sharp tools or knives in your carry on luggage. Pack them in a checked bag instead.

•    Be sure you have all the original labels on your supplies.

•    You will not be able to bring anything flammable onto the plane, checked or carry on. This includes solvents, fixatives, mediums, etc. Instead, purchase these in small quantities when you get there. Look up an art supply store ahead of time and make that your first stop if you need these items. Another idea is to ship these type items where you’re going ahead of time if there aren’t any art supply stores in the area.

•    All manufacturers have a Material Safety Data Sheet that would be a great thing to have on hand while traveling.

When traveling in a car, you have more freedom to bring what you want but that doesn’t mean you can just throw everything in and go. You still need to do a lot of planning and organizing.

•    Anything you can prep ahead of time will save you space and time once you get there. For example, if you have paper that needs to be cut down in size, you can do it before leaving.

•    Plan your projects and only take the supplies you absolutely need. We believe it’s better to be short a tube of paint and have to purchase it when you get there than to have 11 extras that you don’t need at all, just taking up space. Think about the paint colors you have and what you can mix on your own. You probably don’t need every single tube. Also take a look at your brushes. Do you have one in particular that can be used for various techniques?

•    If you don’t need full tubes of paint, buy a really good palette with lid and fill the pan with watercolors before you leave.

•    Having the perfect storage containers goes a long way. You don’t need to throw all your supplies in a bulky cardboard box. Instead, take a look at the various options ArtBin provides. They have very specific containers made just for art supplies. A really good brush bin is essential! We also love the crates on wheels or art backpacks when walking/exploring the area.

•    Think of supplies that you can use for more than one project. For example, Matte Gel medium could be used as glue and for collaging. Ink could be used as watercolors or with a pen. There are so many things like this that can cut down on the number of supplies you bring with you.

•    If you’re used to working in the studio, you’ll have to consider what you’ll be working on when you get there. There are some really nice travel easels available or large boards to lean against depending on the project.

•    Have some projects in mind before you get there. Will you be doing a few drawings and a watercolor painting? Map it out in your head and then group supplies together based on type.

Whether you’re driving or flying, you’ll also have to consider how you’ll transport your finished artwork back home. You may want to consider working on a smaller scale to make transportation easier.

One last important thing you must remember is to expect the unexpected. When traveling, you really never know what will happen. You can have everything planned out (which we encourage) but remember to be flexible if something doesn’t go your way. Do not let some rain or anything else totally ruin your trip.

A huge mistake we all make when going away on vacation is stressing out over packing the right things and becoming upset when things don’t go according to plan. Remember that this is your time to relax, soak in some new scenery and get creative. You can most likely find whatever it is you forgot when you get there or make do with what you have so don’t even worry about leaving your favorite color paint at home. Even if you only bring a sketchbook and pencil, you’ll be well on your way to creating incredible pieces while on vacation.

3 Popular Art Subjects That Sell

By Nicole Tinkham

Art-subjects-that-sell

Are you struggling to sell even your absolute best pieces of artwork?? We’ve written so many blogs on the subject (Like How To Price Your Artwork To Sell) because it’s one of the most common struggles we hear among artists. One thing that you may be curious about is “what does sell?” That’s our topic in this blog but honestly, we’ve had mixed feelings about writing it. Sure, we could tell you the subjects in art that tend to sell but how will this impact who you are as an artist? Will it change your own personal style? Or will it help form new creative ideas? Since these things could help your business, we decided to share. Of course you don’t have to incorporate these ideas into your work. You should always strive to be yourself! But take them into consideration and let us know your thoughts on whether or not an artist should implement them. Read on for 3 popular art subjects that sell.

1.    Landscapes

We see a ton of absolutely brilliant landscape/seascape paintings here in Bradenton, Florida. We also get to see beautiful northern landscapes as well from the snow birds that flock down to visit us so we really have the best of both worlds! Local scenery of a street, shops, or towns tend to be popular too as the buyer is most likely to purchase the painting after recognizing the location. It brings back memories and that’s something really special to capture in your painting.

2.    Pets (in particular, dogs)

We think pets are a common theme in artwork because people can connect with their furry friends on a deep and personal level. Detail and personality of the pet can shine through in a painting and make the work really fun. If you love painting furry creatures, consider getting into custom pet portraits!

3.    Abstracts

Here’s one that’s really not for everyone (artist and viewer alike) but a talented artist can have much success with abstract art when marketing to the right audience. Keep this in mind – not everyone appreciates abstract art. Many people see the talent and emotion behind it but not everyone does. This is why you must get in with the right people for it. Once you hit the right crowd of abstract lovers, you’ll be golden.

Should you paint based on which subjects sell?

After talking about the different art subjects that typically sell, the big question now is “will you follow the trends?” To be honest, there never really is a correct answer when it comes to art and we’ll tell you why. Everyone has a different motive. Some people will purchase a painting from you to match their couch and others will find a deep connection with your artwork. You just never know.

You also have to be true to yourself. Just because landscapes, dogs and abstracts may not be your cup of tea you can always give it a try anyway and see what happens. You may end up falling in love with the subject and selling it right away! But in the end, it’s important to go with what you enjoy doing.

In our opinion, what will sell is something you’re passionate about. The more passion you have for that subject, the better the piece will turn out and the more likely it is to sell.

With that being said, we’d love to know your opinions! Please leave a comment below and let us know whether or not you think an artist should follow what typically sells or just do their own thing.

3 Quick Tips For Mixing Summer Colors For Your Next Painting

By Nicole Tinkham
SUMMER-PAINT

When we think summer, we think COLOR with beautiful blues in the sky and water and bright greens in the foliage. It really is an incredible time of year (minus the bugs and hot sun) for a landscape painting. If you’re planning to get out there and do some plein air painting or even if you’re painting from a photo, your colors must be on point to really make the work pop and get that summer feel. To do this, you’ll have to get really good at mixing summer colors. Here are 3 quick tips for doing so.

1.    Define your blue

As you’re probably aware, not all blues are the same! There are cool blues, warm blues, blue-greens, dark blues, light blues, and many more. In a summer painting you have the blue of a clear sky on a nice day, the blue of the ocean, and the blue of pool water. You must first figure out what type blue you need.

For sky: You may want to use a mix of warm blue near the horizon and a little cool blue further away from the horizon.

For ocean: Use a cool blue and a little cool yellow for deeper water and then add in more yellow for shallow water. Make sure you have a smooth transition from deep to shallow in your painting. Using a mix of the same colors, create waves and details. You may even consider taking some of your sky color to create a slight reflection.

2.    Locate your greens

As with your blues, your greens will also vary. When it comes to summer foliage, you have to take into consideration the placement in your painting. For example, something closer to the viewer will not be the same shade as something further away. This will create depth in the painting.

Distant green: Use cool greens with elements of blue for shadows and greenery in the distance.

Close green: Mix in warm greens throughout the greenery to prevent the painting from looking flat. Mix in some yellows or oranges for variety.

For BRIGHT beautiful summer greenery, keep the colors you are mixing close to each other on the color wheel. The further apart they are, the duller and grayer the color will be.

3.    Color inspiration

Of course blues and greens aren’t the only summer colors you’ll see this time of year. Think watermelon red, sunny yellow and brightly colored umbrellas as well. For inspiration, take a ton of summer photos throughout the season. It doesn’t have to be a subject you want to paint. Just try to capture the colors of summer you love. Pinterest also has a ton of ideas for this.

Now it’s time to play! Have fun recreating those colors in your painting. It may take some experimenting to get it just right but don’t become frustrated, this is a learning experience.

Make summer a time to have fun with your art. There are so many brilliant colors that pop up this time of year, so make the most of them. Explore and try new things! You can head to the beach or the park for an artsy day. Enjoy the great outdoors and capture the beautiful scenery. If you want to experiment with colors more, take a bunch of photos and head to the studio to mix your paint. As you get used to mixing the perfect summer colors, it gets much easier to do.  Keep it up artists, and be sure to show us what you’re working on this summer! Head over to our Facebook page and share with us what you’re creating 🙂

6 Quick Photoshop Tips For The Non-Digital Artist

By Nicole Tinkham
photoshop-tips

Have you tried to explore the possibilities of Photoshop only to give up after 10 minutes over how complicated it seemed? We hear you artists! Photoshop is an absolutely incredible program if you know what you’re doing. But for the newbie, the numerous tools can be overwhelming. If you’re an artist who just wants to adjust a few reference photos or simply get your feet wet in the program, this blog is for you! We’ll go over everything from sizing to saving in this super basic Photoshop crash course. Read on for 6 quick Photoshop tips for the non-digital artist.

1.    Adjust the angle

Adjusting the angle of the image is rather simple but you may want to use the ruler tool (in the left hand tool bar under the eye dropper icon – Click and hold the icon for other options to come up and make your selection) to draw a straight line to compare. When you draw your straight line with the ruler tool, you can hold the “Shift” key while you click & drag to create a totally straight line. See the screenshot below for how to make your angle adjustments.

Angle

2.    Sizing

See image below on how to open up the resizing options. When you go to resize your image, a helpful tool is the “Constraint” symbol which will keep the image in proportion.

sizing

3.    Enhancing the color

To play around with the color of your image, you want to go to “Image” at the top of your screen and then hover over “Adjustments”. There are many options here (we briefly describe them below) so the best way to discover what they do is just to play around with them. Have fun with this and don’t panic if you don’t like something. You can always go to “Edit” and “Undo” to take a step back if you don’t like it.

enhance-color

Brightness/Contrast: Adjusts the tonal range
Levels: Adjusts the shadows, mid-tones, and highlights to correct an image
Curves: Allows you to adjust the tonal range in more detail
Exposure: Allows you to adjust the shadows, mid-tones, and highlights
Vibrance: Adjust saturation of all the colors or selective colors
Hue/Saturation: Allows you to play with the saturation on a particular color
Color Balance: Bring out specific colors in the image
Black & White: Turns the image grayscale
Photo Filter: Applies different color filters like “Warming Filter” and “Cooling Filter”
Channel Mixer: Tints the image
Color Lookup: Different styles added to your image which are already created for you
Invert: A negative of the photo
Posterize: Produces a poster-like look
Threshhold: Creates a black and white version of your image
Gradient Map: Creates different gradient fills for the image
Selective color: Allows you to select a color and then change it
Shadows/Highlights: Easily adjusts shadows and highlights

4.    Sharpness

If your photo doesn’t look perfect when you get it into Photoshop, don’t worry. You can always sharpen it for more detail and crispness. See screenshot below for how to do it!

Sharpen

5.    Adding text

If you want to add a title or quote to your image, you simply click the “T” icon on the sidebar and your type options (font, color, alignment, etc.) will be along the top bar. Draw out a text box and begin typing. Then you can format that text however you like.

Text

6.    Saving files

When it comes to saving your file, you have many format options. You can find these in the drop down menu “Save As Type” when you go to save. Below we’ve listed some of the most commonly used formats and what to use them for.

saving

PSD: Photoshop format, the default format that you can open back up and edit in Photoshop
EPS: Encapsulated PostScript, rasterized image that can be transferred between applications
JPEG: Joint Photographic Experts Group, compressed file used to display photos in HTML docs
PDF: Portable Document Format, A cross-platform format that preserves font and page layout.
PNG: Portable Network Graphics, Used for web graphics

We know this is a lot to take in all at once but take your time to explore Photoshop. There are so many creative things you can do with it. If you ever get stuck, there are a ton of resources out there that you can reference. You can also reach out to us (leave a comment below) and we’ll do our best to answer your Photoshop questions or at least point you in the right direction. Now over to you! We can’t wait to see what you end up creating with this incredible tool.

Blending Stumps Vs Tortillons And Other Tools To Blend Like A Pro

By Nicole Tinkham

Blending-tools

Whether you draw or are a makeup artist, you know that blending is essential. For drawing, you have many blending tool options from tortillons to stumps and many others. The right tools can make a huge difference in your artwork and when it comes to blending, you definitely have to think about your supplies of choice. Every artist is different and prefers a different tool. In this blog we’ll talk about the difference between a blending stump and tortillons and more tools to help you blend like a pro.
Blending Stumps

What they are: A solid “stick” made out of soft paper with a point at each end. These can be sharpened with sandpaper and also cleaned with a kneaded eraser which is super convenient! Since these are available in a variety of sizes, they’re great for many different projects.

Tortillons

What they are: Tightly rolled paper with a point on one end ideal for blending small areas. We recommend using it at an angle to keep that nice pointed tip in tact.

Tip: Have many of these in use at once. Once dark graphite gets on these, you won’t want to use it in a lighter area. Tortillons are inexpensive enough that you can be using several for different shades in your piece at once.

The difference

Tortillons can be a little more difficult to use since that aren’t made with the same soft paper that of blending stumps. This makes it difficult to keep a consistent tone. However, tortillons are perfect for precision! Our suggestion: Have both!

What you can achieve with BOTH options

1.    Blending: Push graphite around the page to blend tones together.

2.    Shading: Pick up graphite with your tool of choice (use scrap paper to scribble on and then rub your blending tool over the graphite to pick it up). Now you can apply that graphite to your drawing and layer it on depending on how dark you need it to be.

3.    Light values: A clean blending tool is key for blending light values!

4.    Dark values: When working on a dark area, it’s typical for tiny specs of the white paper to shine through. Using a blending tool can cover up those areas.

Other tools

Chamois: Not for detailed work but this cloth is perfect for a soft blend when using charcoal and pastels.

Makeup brush: We’ve heard from one of our artist friends that makeup brushes are excellent for blending!

Q-tip: Use for larger areas, not precise spots.

Paper towel: Fold in a triangle so you get some nice points on the ends.

Facial tissue: Wrap it around your finger to prevent the oils from your finger to get smudges on your artwork.

Cotton swab

Don’t use..

Your fingers! The oils from your finger can make the graphite impossible to erase.

If you aren’t already blending, you need to be! It can definitely transform your artwork if you do it right. Play around with it first though as it takes some practice. There’s no right or wrong answer here either. Try a few different blending tools out and see which one you like best. Every artist is different so we can’t really recommend blending stumps over tortillons or anything else.

Let us know, what’s your favorite tool to blend with and why? Please leave a comment below!

5 Ways Waking Up Earlier Will Change Your Life

By Nicole Tinkham

wake-up

I hear the excuses all the time. You’re simply not a morning person and I get that. Guess what? Most of us aren’t. Even the ones who are morning people now most likely weren’t always that way. I know I wasn’t until I discovered the major benefits to waking up early and getting things done. Now there’s no way I could ever go back to sleeping in. I understand that it’s not for everyone but I want you to give it a try for 30 days just to see how you like it. Trust me when I say it will be totally worth it. You may be wondering “but why??”. I have the answer to that! Read on for 5 ways waking up earlier will change your life.

1.    It helps you be more productive

First of all, rising early can add HOURS onto your day in which you can get so much done. Aside from that, getting an early start and focusing on yourself gets your mind right so you’re ready to take on the day. I find this to be true in my personal life. During the week I wake up early and I’m able to get more done than on the weekends when I sleep in a little. Even waking up an hour later on Sundays will put me in a lazy mood and it’s difficult to get going.

One thing I want to mention before we move on is once you get into the early morning habit, do it every single day even on the weekends. This is something I recently changed in my routine and it helps when Monday morning rolls around and you’re already used to the early morning alarm.

2.    It’s better for your health

Of course this all depends on how you spend your morning time but I’ve found that as people begin to wake up earlier they also start making healthier choices. This allows more time to get in some exercise and a nice breakfast. Another thing I recommend is drinking a glass of water as soon as you wake up. It will help you feel refreshed. If all of these habits are too much to change at once, just start with the habit of waking up earlier and you can always work on your healthy habits later on.

3.    It relieves your stress

There are two ways waking up early can relieve your stress. First of all, you won’t be rushing around running late for whatever it is you have to wake up for. Secondly, many people practice meditation, prayer, yoga, reflecting or journaling in their morning hours which also helps reduce stress. I really enjoy reading my book with a nice cup of coffee before getting ready for the day.

4.    It helps you get in touch with yourself

When you practice the things mentioned in point #3 (journaling, reflecting, etc.) you’re working on yourself. You’re discovering who you are and what you want to do with your life. Why are these things great to do first thing in the morning? Because most other people are still sleeping and everything seems to be super quiet and peaceful so you can really focus and get in touch with yourself.

5.    It helps you sleep better at night

Think you can’t possibly wake up any earlier simply because you’ll be too tired throughout the day? Think again! Waking up earlier has actually helped me sleep better. It regulates my sleep pattern so I naturally wake up at the same time every morning without feeling groggy. Read more about the shocking dangers of hitting snooze

I’ll admit, waking up an hour or even a half hour earlier is a drastic change. That’s why I always recommend baby steps. Wake up just 10 minutes early and do something that you truly enjoy. Once you’re comfortable with that, increase the time. Every little bit makes a difference!

I’ve talked a lot about why you should wake up early and how doing so can change your life in so many ways. By now you’re probably wondering how to become a morning person. Here are some quick tips.

•    Wake up just a little earlier at a time and work your way up
•    Focus on yourself and things you enjoy doing in the morning
•    Drink a full glass of water when you wake up
•    Brush your teeth right when waking up
•    Jump in the shower first thing
•    Enjoy some morning exercise
•    Place your alarm clock at the other side of the room and don’t hit snooze!
•    Eliminate screen time before bed to help you fall asleep quicker
•    Stick it out for 30 days to get into a routine of doing it

Many people I hear from, artists in particular, say they just work better at night. I completely understand that and agree that you should get the important tasks done when you’re most alert and creative. However, I was also like that and I’ve seen an incredible change when I started waking up earlier to get things done. It feels good to start the day with a clear mind and vision of what you want to accomplish for the day. You don’t have to become a morning person forever but I want you to consider these 5 ways waking up earlier can change your life and take on the 30 day challenge. Can you wake up just a little earlier every day for a month? Comment below if you plan to give it a try and let us know how it goes!