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Monday, August 4, 2014

From New Year to the 4th of August

is actually quite a while, and so much has happened that you get in to the conundrum of that it is too much to tell in an orderly and quick fashion...... so I am not going to bother, but instead have a little rummage through the drawer of my mind that house the odd and funny stuff that life is made up of!

1) I had a month on etsy I could actually have lived of, happily I am not dependent on only my etsy income, and it has always just been a little cream on the already quite topped fairycake, but after having made a real effort it is paying off..... I like that of course, as I get all the proceeds, well, not all, etsy and PayPal wants theirs, but that is so tiny...... so yeah me....very happy about that.....

2) Buying the house in Denmark and moving there, feels like the best decision i have made in a long time.... i think my husband wonders a bit what it is going to be like, but he is happy as long as I am happy, he says... not that I was unhappy, but unsettled and feeling rootless, the way many, too many years of expat life, makes you rootless and unsettled, maybe I am having quite high expectations, well b-gger it, I will..... rather feel too much than too little!

3) getting a new friend for Becky is going to be great fun, I want a puppy, 6 months or I am sure they will play..... is there and RSCPA in Denmark??

4) why does it seem so difficult to take a good photo on etsy??? please, use a lamp for goodness sake, or..... get one of the many cheap, or free, photo enhancing software packages, and just use the exposure button, that would help a lot!!

5) How come peanut butter never seems to go out of date?

6) I had forgotten how fun it is to write something instead of proclaiming something, like one often does on Facebook... well, you can write on facebook too, but does anyone bother reading it?

On that note, I'm done, does not want to wear out my resolution to get back to blogging.....
oh folks, can't wait to get my studio up and running again, I am having severe working withdrawal symptoms!
my new studio space, up the stairs will be the gallery!

the studio is in the old warehouse, and the whole lot on the island of Moen, in Denmark

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

New Years day and thinking about Printmaking

New Years Day, and I'll be trying out some resolutions! For me, 2013 was a year full of other commitments than my studio, and that has to change..... so 2014 is the year for a big clean up!

Top of the list, is, that I'll move my studio out into the country side..... yep...... I love living in Mijas, but it is also incredibly distracting and somehow it is not working for me... hard to say what it is, so I am going back to base, to see how things feel and how it's going to work out with my husband retiring this year and coming home... exciting, all of it... we are off to Denmark to look at houses for example.
The island my fathers family comes from, Møn, is absolutely gorgeous, and house prices are something else! so we would like to go and see how it feels...... gard...winters again....are we crazy??

First up is my resolution to document some work being done on my blog again..... I am a bit lost in Facebook right now, but it does not lend itself all that well to sharing more than tidbits, so here goes,
back to blogging, which will also make me more conscious of working methods, and as I have discovered over the years, more open to try something new, even if it is just a different order of applying the ink...... sometimes in printmaking, big things come in small guises!

My second resolution is to finally get my textile work under way..... I would love to create a series, hang on, I have started to create a series!! of images to be printed on textiles for the home, and I think the country location our house is in is SO right for that... when we first moved in there, I did a lot of very nature based linocuts..... back to and more of that.... good resolution!!

My third resolution is to on a purely experimental basis do some abstract work, and I have today ordered some paper that will work well for printing in pale colors and using relief techniques......
this resolution feels very exciting, and like I am making myself a new door to walk through!!

My biggest and bestests ;o) resolution though, is to find calm, peace, tranquility and to get back to being the creative person I am, having had to step away for that for a while is actually having real negative effect, both physically, and phsycologially.... so a change is coming....... a fresh breeze is blowing!! mmmmm..... Happy New Year to you too!

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Collecting Original Prints

etchings in black and white as a theme

What is an Original Print?
Original prints, in difference to massproduced offset prints, encompass any form of printmaking where the artist has direct participation in producing the print! Surprisingly, many people do not realize that for example an etching on copper, has to be inked up, by the artist, for each and every print that is printed!
Click and see how an etching is made and printed by
Mariann Johansen-Ellis, Cascada Studios Resident Artist

2 great reasons to become a collector of Original Prints!
1) Price - find local printmaking artists, in shops and galleries or search the world via the internet, you will be amazed at the fantastic artwork for very reasonable money that is available! Have you tried ?
This is a website where artists from all over the world sell their work direct to the public, search under printmaking and the choices are wonderful, varied and very affordable! Between the website etsy and PayPal , it is also a safe place to shop online. 
2) Personality - collecting original prints for your home, puts your personality at the forefront, what hangs on your walls, is a direct reflection of you as a person! Why have a nasty offset poster,when you can have an original print? The nature of collecting prints is also such that you "never" fill the walls, as your art collection grows, you can rotate your prints. Every 6 months I change over the art I have on my walls, this way I "see" them again, and it is fun, over the years, I have collected so much, that I can now decide on my mood, just by the art I hang on my walls.
How do I start a collection?
It is easy to educate yourself in the "what am I looking at" with the help of the internet, I have a couple of favorites, that explain things very clearly
Coskun fine art gallery's website or , you can of course find information in your own language, that helps a lot. The bible on collecting original prints being Rosemary Simmons "Collecting Original Prints"

It can feel a bit daunting to start off, so why not start purchases deciding on a theme - you like birds - why not bird prints then? You like abstract art, search under abstract printmaking and start from there....... it is worth having a cup of coffee and thinking things over - what do I like??? Small, Big, a certain Color, all these things narrows your search, and makes a collection look more cohesive on the wall.
Above all, it is FUN to collect art! You become more knowledgeable about art, as collecting leads to wanting to know more, and your personal taste both develop and expand!

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Registration of Linocuts - always tricky?

linocut , simple line drawing direct on the lino
 My latest lino reduction, I decided to do something that is not so usual for me.... that is, be fluid..... a bit loose, not think too much, but try to cut in a more organic way..... hmmmm.... not me at all... as I am a bit of a control freak, which is actually why printmaking is SO for me....
I started with the simplest of line drawings, hardly any marks at all (again, for being me;o) but I did have a clear idea in my head, that I wanted a real color fest!
linocut , the first yellow...and it's yellow alright!!
the first color on is a yellow for the mimosa blossom, those incredible little yellow balls.... I made it a very yellow, below, you can clearly see what was cut away to remain white...hardly anything......
Linocut , the first inking, you can see what has been cut away to remain white...
then came the second yellow, for the vase, and for the "shadows" on the mimosa blossom...... I have cut my papers with the usual precision, you want nice hard corners, and I have taped down the registration matrix to the press bed, it is easier when it does not move about...... now, I think, that hands are very important in the getting the registration right..... you need to find a way, to hold the paper, so you have total control over it.... so it can't flap about, and you feel comfortable holding it.... if you are afraid of dirty finger prints, make the paper a bit bigger, so you can cut away dirty areas without it making a difference to the print! That's a simple solution.... when you start out, make smaller prints, easier to handle smaller papers, another simple solution..... think about your subject matter, faces, have to register really well, or they look horrible... so maybe, when starting out, avoid faces..... that might not be so simple if portraits are your thing ;o) it is a simple solution though.
Why do I go on and on about simple solutions.... well, I find on giving courses, that a lot of wonderful brave people, feel that linocut reductions are an uphill struggle... and I have to agree.... if you start out big....6 colors..... lots of eyes..... then yes, it will get you down.... who said it was easy.... so....
solutions, make them simple and make them nice to yourself. That way you enjoy the learning process as much as the result, find your feet, and then do faces.... learn your new skill, and then get real prickly about registration.... but don't let a little thing like registering a piece of paper get you down..... please!
linocut , well ahead, hmmmmmm
 here I have added my first blue on the bottom, and my 2 greens, and it is so evident that I should have had more mimosa blossom!!!! much for loose, hmmm. what ever..... oh, there are some blue blossoms to come in the middle....
linocut , it is bright..... just what I wanted!
 the colors, though, are perfect, just what I wanted..... it will be a really happy print! the vase, by the way, is printed in 2 yellows at the same time......

linocut , cutting
cutting away all the greens, preparing for the next to last color, the blue of the blossoms... I know by now, it's not going to work... and that, is why this post is done, because that is how it goes sometimes.... it does not work!!! It really is no big deal.... I had great fun... I found some things out.... the colors are all sorted for the next print, that's for sure.... so onwards and upwards!
oh.... the registration was really good though.... ;o)) gotta be an optimist, right!!

Saturday, March 9, 2013

etsy and shipping

printmaking in Spain
Internet, is the new way of doing business... online shopping grows and grows and grows..... and yet...does the post office know this????

etsy... and shipping... or rather, the cost of shipping...  is one of my ongoing issues with my etsy shop... do I include shipping? do I not?
What do I charge? what?.... "what do I charge??" ...what do you mean???? don't I charge the cost??

NO WAY.... as that is not possible... to mail one of my prints really safely, so it arrives in the pristine condition it has to arrive in.... I sometimes pay more than double, than what I actually charge for shipping! Yes, that is the stark truth when living in Europe and selling to the US and OZ..... maybe it is the same from all European countries, or is Spain more expensive? I don't know... ?

What do you do about this? I have no clue, although if you have a fantastic tip, then please get in touch....

I know that for me, it makes it impossible to sell anything that is not over a certain value on etsy,
forget selling greeting cards etc, which are fun and easily accessible for the first time buyer of my work. I see many etsy sellers selling things for under 5 dollars... and I wonder how, you have to list, 20 cents, you have to pay etsy when (if) you sell it, and you have to pay PayPal...thisis what makes etsy such a strange shopping experience at times, as if you have a good look around, you can find the "same" item for wildly varying prices!

Just before I went on holiday , I took my latest etsy sale to the post office, and the CUI...that is the
"carta urgente international" (urgent international letter) which I have used during the last year,
as it gives me a tracking number, has gone from 8 Euros,.... to ....wait.... 16 Euros.... wow...... thank you post office officials for that little nifty price raisin' it kind of took over the whole bun .....
last time I use that I guess.....

So, in solution mode, well, I self insure... and hope to h-ll that people buying from me are nice people who do not tell me that it did not arrive, as I then have to send another one..... not having any tracking number of any kind..... how can do anything else, and still be on etsy?

:o)) Mariann

Friday, February 15, 2013

Where would you be without friends?

Becky loves Maggie!

and we love Bar el Niño!
On the Wednesday morning, our "local" the lovely Bar el Niño opened again after their month long vacation. Living in the barrio (the neighborhood, literally) it makes the month of January slightly out of kilter, not having our watering hole to go to.... so our delight when they opened yesterday, to repainted, freshened up, blue chairs and tables was just wonderful...... having a coffee as per normal, with Joanna and Maggie, was also wonderful! Here are two women who in their individual ways, have adapted to small village Spanish life..... Joanna, who worked as a top notch art restorer on National Museum level in Norway, and Maggie who used to helm fund raisers for the high and mighty in Chicago, have both found a space, a place, to occupy and feel at home in, in the small village of Mijas..... it must be a very different life, a life I have only heard about in telling, which at the end of the day is not the same as having been there when it happened.

I have experienced, that this not knowing or having been there, in your friends "previous" life, can make for misunderstandings at time, as it is easy to forget, that these new friends, might have experiences that makes them better judges than myself on some issues.  It is worth thinking about and trying to find out more about those previous lives, in order to better understand where a person is coming from.
Even though it is a not very apt saying, the "never judge a book by it's cover" does in a way explain what I mean. For me, new friends, at the ripe old age of 50 ;o), are a gift! A wonderful parcel to open, and delight in..... finding common ground, hearing other opinions, discovering different view points. To that experience, I also feel, belongs often, some misunderstandings, some "not getting the point", this is part of a new friend though.
Perfect, does not make for more fun, it just makes for a bit boring, what's the point in friends who think and agree with everything you say?  It can be at times difficult to get past those bits, but it is possible, it takes a bit of being very adult, and thinking, "well, we are all a--es sometimes, we are all capable of the foot in the mouth disease", and just forgive.....

I have many times, in a life that has moved around a lot, thought of what it would be like to have retained your childhood friends, the comfort you must feel with someone who has known you all your life, or is there also a sense of boredom with that? I would not know, as I have not kept any of those childhood friends. So what I have, is trying to be as good a friend as I can be to people I admire and like a lot, try to apologize when called for, and try to listen when needed.... I am by no means an expert at this... boy, rather a very faulty amateur, but in my own rather akward way, I do try, and thank them, for being there for me..... to have a coffee with when I need it!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Thinking of Holiday - on a Positive Tuesday......

etching, SightSeeing
You thought I forgot Monday, did you not?? And guess what... I DID!! I forgot to go looking for positivity, possibly because I was so busy being positive myself ;o)) Sorry about that.....

Making up for it, I have dug up a super duper couple or three places to go for a fantastic holiday, getting in some printmaking (if that floats your boat), some walking, or just in general being lazy and looked after..... my criteria has been:
1) Interesting Owners (as they are all B&B, kind of)
2) Fabulous Country Side
3) Something to do
4) No more expensive than any other package tour

So, today I present the first of the places: Maison Conti , a fabulous old town house in a tiny village in France, not far from Le Mans and Chartres.
There is a really nice story, to how I came to know Nancy and Rick, who run Maison Conti..... my husband and I had just finished building a house, and I had my first purpose built studio made! Huge.... over 80 square meter in one big area, with an outside "acid kitchen" under roof..... and I froze..... there I was, operating, being creative, printing away, for so many years, in rented expat accommodation where I usually occupied the 2 back bedrooms! This sounds not so fun, but hey, it was really good in many cases, and no complaints... but of course, it was not spaces meant to be studios, and I had to be very careful, printmaking is MESSY business, and these were rented houses.. so , my first "real" studio, and I could not think of what to do with it, how to "decorate" it, my usual tendency had been to use left overs or cheap IKEA tables etc etc..... but this time I wanted a "living room" to work in. So I found Nancys studio, at Maison Conti, where she gives printmaking courses, if you want, or you can just stay.... on the internet, and thought it looked just fantastic! Just what I had in mind... I wrote her a note, telling her thank you - for having been so instrumental in loosening my imagination for what I wanted in my studio... and we started talking! I have been back now, for a couple of times, learning new skills, and updating old skills from both Nancy, who is a great printmaker, and from Rick, her lovely husband who is a very practical person.... the 2 together makes for a good combination, whilst on course, you stay in one of the 4 beautiful rooms they have, work in the studio and eat divine food cooked by Nancy and Rick too..... multi talented! I can so whole heartedly recommend a stay, it is a treat, it is a retreat, it is great conversation with two very intelligent and fun people, and it is not that expensive!!!!! With easy jet, and Maison Conti's room rates, it is not going to be any more than going on packagetour to Tunisia...... how marvellous is that!
It is though, a 5 star experience! Just seeing an e-mail from Nancy in my inbox, puts me in a good mood! And that, folks, is a wonderful positive feeling!

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Happy Lazy Sunday!

etching, Sunday Afternoon
Sundays are for this! for sweeping a bit outside, putting a bit of white paint on my new bit of wall..... walking up to town to see the Carnival procession and having a coffee with friends, having a nap , if you feel like it.... and cuddling with your dog, starting a new book, and reading until you don't want to anymore, and, fixing something tasty to eat...... today I am my own positive person!!

What are you doing?  LOL Mariann

Friday, February 8, 2013

Being a Soroptimist - Positive Saturday!

etching , Bringing you Home
For my Positive Saturday post, I'll tell you a little story of mine:
Being part of a Group, belonging to associations, clubs etc etc, has never really been my thing.....
part, because I grew up like that, and part, because I tend to not have the patience for the time, decision making takes in a group. I am used to being the boss, hey, my family called me the Oberst, as a kid, so obviously that is not new ;o) but........ guess what...... coming back to Spain, after such a long time away, I thought it would be great fun to meet some new people, and I also am a huge believer in "doing good" in your local community. These two things, come together very nicely in my local chapter of the Soroptimists , an international womens association, with the aim to, in their own words: "Soroptimist International is a worldwide service organisation for women. We are committed to a world where women and girls together achieve their individual and collective potential, realise aspirations and have an equal voice in creating strong, peaceful communities worldwide."

Here in my home town, this organization, and NGO, has done so much great work, and raised so much money for all kinds of local charity work, as well as joining in the wider, round the world, effort. 
My little club, is also home to Dutch, Danish, English, Finnish, Arruban nationalities, and I am really enjoying meeting new people, and joining in the effort, to make the world a better place to live in.
New ideas are very welcome.... it's a gang of open minded and frank speaking women I have joined, thank goodness for that.... and I think, for the first time, that hey, this is fun.... and fun, makes it no effort to help out, to volunteer, to come up with ideas to raise money.... all it takes is a bit of enthusiasm, and I have that.... and that you go find that time....
Soroptimists are everywhere... never heard of them? well, neither had I..... my husband asked me "why would you want to join the chiropodists?" !!!! :o)))) but they are everywhere.... all working women, all from different paths of life, all with experiences to learn from!
Happy to have Joined!

Mens Underwear , that has got to be pornositive

Underwear for Men
Virginie Rouffignac, is a lingerie maker, and she has added men's underwear to her list of wonder garments, that she is my Friday Positive People Person... is for the photos of the guys showing her underwear, not only did I have such a laugh from them... and that is wonderfully positive, I also
thought they were so "tierno" as we say in Español... that means  "so tender" and it makes them even more wonderful....
etching, Peekaboo
Go have a peek, and enjoy, it is after all Friday, girls!!

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Optimist International , what a fabulous gang!

etching , A star for you!
Today - Thursday - I have some serious optimists for you, in the form of Optimist International,
a group of people who have got together to, in their own words:
Optimist International is an association of more than 2,900 Optimist Clubs around the world dedicated to "Bringing Out the Best in Kids." Adult volunteers join Optimist Clubs to conduct positive service projects in their communities aimed at providing a helping hand to youth. With their upbeat attitude, Optimist Club members help empower young people to be the best that they can be.
Each Optimist Club determines the needs of the young people in its community and conducts programs to meet those needs. Every year, Optimists conduct 65,000 service projects and serve well over six million young people.

If you want to find out more about them, maybe join , then find them on Facebook, and get optimisting!!

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Wednesday with a Smile

etching, Oops!
Positive People..... it is so EASY to find oodles of them..... and that makes me just so happy, and, oh yes, feeling so positive!! Now, this is not supposed to be a shopping guide... ok... but... it seems that most cheerful people are making something, so does this not really give a big bang for the arts/crafts experience, if it's hobby or full time, who cares, make something! it is so obvious it makes us happier!
Today, Fish and Pig, and yes, I do also just love the name...... shares their philosophy, about making things with your hands, and even though you might not have a penny, it is a wonderfully inspiring facebook page and etsy shop to visit! And the girls make you want to move to Maine....mmmm....
just to be able to have a coffee with them on a Wednesday morning!!
Thanks Nanako and Deb, for your super outlook ( marine pun...get it;o)

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Positive Tuesday.......

etching, Good News - yes, please!
Tuesday, and the sun is shining, the sky is blue, and all is right with the world! I made a little etching like this many years ago, and really felt the need to revive it, as it perfectly says how I feel......
someone else, who perfectly says how I feel is Pam..... she writes under her blog name yoborobo
and it is always a real pleasure to visit her blog, she writes about all of our every day, with heartfelt sympathy and a huge helping of humour, and she makes "dolls", if you can call them that, her creatures mirror my feelings and states of mind a lot of the time, and I could have them all!!
thanks Pam, for being my positive person!! I hardly ever leave a comment, I know, but I read you a lot! Maybe we could clone you..... what do you say... just a little dna sample and we are off and running!......huhuhu......

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Happy People with Happy Blogs - and New Beginnings!

etching, Love is in the air!
Without me noticing, a sense of doom got under my nails, in my hair, and sits like a little filter before my eyes!! This is called the "recession - syndrome" I am sure.....!! And it is quite easy to catch...
all you read about in the papers, all you see on the telly, everybody tells you how awful it is, and how half the village are out of jobs!!! And that is true, and terrible! And me sitting in a dark little cloud, is going to make NO DIFFERENCE at all to the present state of things....

So, I am celebrating the fact that life is wonderful!! with finding a seriously positive and optimistic person a day for the month of February! A person that makes you feel light hearted and that inspires you with their optimism and sunny outlook on life.... that is what I want to catch.... so here I go, rubbing shoulders as much as I can ;o)))

Monday: I discovered a blog called Fellow Fellow written and run by Claire!! Wonderful upbeat blog about fun things, about life that is good, about super little treatsy give aways and other things that just puts a smile on your face!! Claire is based in Singapore, can you believe it!! (where I used to live) Go visit and soak up the atmosphere!

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Collagraph , inking and printing

Printmaking in Spain - Mariann Johansen-Ellis: Collagraph , inking and printing: Click on the link to read the whole post on my Printmaking in Spain blog!
Collagraph , 3 plates inked and ready to print
collagraph matrix

collagraph , matrix and paper fixed under press roller

collagraph , first plate printed, second placed on matrix
collagraph , second plate printed, 3 plate placed on matrix
collagraph , finished print, "The danger of being Male"

collagraph, use talcum powder on the matrix to block unwanted ink transfer
Printmaking in Spain - Mariann Johansen-Ellis: Collagraph , inking and printing: Collagraph , the 3 plates inked up and ready to go Collagraph matrix Collagraphs, are always lots of fun to do, and I use them, quit...

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Art and Money

Clover, and lots of it!
Money, is ruining Art, we are told, in various documentaries, articles and even books, dedicated to this. New issues? I think not....
For a long time, I have been preparing, a post on pricing. Not because I am expert on this, but because I make a living from being a printmaker, which in some way, must qualify me to at least have an opinion on the subject. Right or wrong, here it is:

* Printmaking, was originally invented, for the very reason of making multiples of art in such a fashion that it would become available to the masses. So, printmaking was invented, to make art cheaper......yep, there it is..... cheaper, that is what "available to the masses" actually means.

* Having worked at a prestigious printmaking studio, we were well schooled in calling a print, an original print, as opposed to a reproduced print, an offset reproduction, where masses of prints come off a press, with no intervention from a human hand. I believe that is what sets printmaking apart,
from other forms of making multiples. It is also, what printmakers constantly struggle with, as the very word print, in said masses minds, conjure up the hated offset press ;o) and we are always trying, apart from to the few, to explain what an original print is, and why it can be called an original print. For me it is as simple as, that human hands made an original print, an etching, a linocut, a mono print, a wood cut..... a human hand inked a plate every time it was printed, a human hand corrected/made errors when printing from a plate, that was also made by human hands, marks were made with knives, stylus, brushes, etc etc..... and in making those marks, we earn the right, to say that this is an original print, don't you think?

* Right, so there it is... on the one hand, printmaking came about to make it possible for more people to buy something to hang on their walls, and at the same time, we should never forget that those things to hang on the wall, were made by artists... the printmaker!

* How to price this..... the multiple image, the handmade image......

First: I think it is VERY important, to persistently carry on with the mission of explaining what an original print is. For me, that means, including a little/large flier with each and every print, that explains what an etching/linocut etc is! In clear terms! Feel free to use my exact wording from my fliers if you want, you find them as a thumbnails with every linocut in my shop, or for my etchings, in my shop.
The flier, is great for explaining what an original print is, and I think it also serves a very important purpose, for example when giving away a print as a present, it makes the receiver understand what they are given, and the giver feels that "more value" has been added to a gift of original art explained! I have heard this over and over again from people who have bought prints from me, the flier is super important to them!!

* This post, is maybe needless to say, more directed at emerging printmakers, than at already established printmakers, as they should have their pricing in order, or sorted out for them by the various galleries/ shops etc that they work with. I think it is always very important to listen to the person who is going to be selling your prints to the public. Ahhhh, you think, but of course, and yet, I have seen many times, how artist come very prepared and quite rigid about their pricing, not wanting to hear words of advice. Fine, this post is NOT for you ;o)

* you can always go up, it's hard to come down......... this has been my measuring rod always. I tend to believe, right or wrong, that I sell very well, because my price is "right" for the public I turn myself to. I am very humble, when it comes to pricing my prints, I am not a "fantastic" artist, but quite good at what I do, I like to sell, it is a driving force for me in my creative process, so why be so expensive?
I have looked and sought advice on my pricing from many different people, before settling on a level that seems to mean, I sell very well, and I make enough to live from what I do.

2 stories to illustrate this post:
1) a friend of mine, recently participated in an open studio event, he is an emerging artist, with a clear vision of what he does, and I love his work. It was priced very well, even low, in my opinion, and during the event, he sold a lot. Somewhat to the chagrin of his fellow artists at the event......
who thought his prices were way to low. Now, if you are a "new" artist, not so tried and tested, would your objective in participating in an event like that not be to be seen and ultimately to sell, as every piece of yours hanging on someones wall, is going to be "advertising" your work? By pricing yourself well, you make that happen many times over. Each and every client, is going to tell how wonderful you are, after all, they bought a print from you..... and in that fashion, you become more known. My friend was very happy with the event, and I can understand why, because it is an avenue to higher prices...... sell well, and you can 'justify" a rise in price, simply by being in demand.
2) more than one student of mine, have participated in events, soon after coming to the world of printmaking. At these events, exhibitions, a sort of peer pressure has made for, in my mind, ridiculous prices.... so either nothing was sold, (which is very disheartening) or even worse, some family member or friend, bought a print, making it very difficult for you to now correct your pricing!
It is easy to over estimate yourself, but if you can listen, there are good reasons for not doing it.

In short, you are better off starting low, and going up....... there are so many sources online today that can give you a hint of what kind of prices are being asked for what kind of prints.... don't compare yourself to someone really well known, or compare one kind of prints to another kind, find something that kind of resembles our own sphere, and try it out. Being less expensive, does not mean you are going to sell like the clappers, it still has to be good art for that, but it does mean you are not closing doors, before they were even opened. Being less expensive, I think, often means that galleries and shops see a way of working with you, it shows you are being reasonable about your prospects and humble about your beginning, not bad things to be as an emerging artist........ actually, not bad things to be as a person either.

Don't agree, or indeed do agree... I'd love to hear your thoughts!
All the best

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Etsy photos - what's good and what's bad?

etsy staging objects
When I opened my first etsy shop, which is now aaaaaaallllllll the way back in March 2008, soon celebrating my 5th anniversary!
I fell in love with etsy, here was the opportunity to see what people made of my work directly, did they look at it? and , did they like it?
Although the honeymoon is now over, and my shops sometimes are no better treated than stepchildren, I am still there, for 4 reasons...... and more.....
etsy staging papers and stuff
1) it has made a MUCH better presenter and photographer of my work out of me!
without a doubt! I now take at least reasonably good photos of everything I do really,
and they are all kept in one place (well... 3 etsy shops ;o) and in a neat folder in my computer 
labelled "etsy".  All with a nice happy snappy, nothing complicated in cameraway!

2)  I have over the years, through my 3 shops, "met" customers I would never have met otherwise,
and they have inspired me to create new work!! This is for me quite an enormous reason to stay on.
Working as a full time artist, is at times, a very lonesome profession, ( ahhh, I can hear how
sorry you feel for me;o) and taking into account the courses I give in my studio and the very          inspiring people I have met through them, I still love when the feedback comes in on someones etsy purchase.

3)   I have also over the years, learnt from other etsy sellers, I have seen their fun photos and their fun
efforts at presenting their work so it catches the eye.... and some of them are masters!!
So, as for a "free" masterclass in presentation, etsy is your place ! I should of course be giving you some examples , like

4) and reason no 4........ I love getting my whole "etsy set up" in place..... I am lucky enough to live in a land of mountains and beach and country side with fruit trees right outside my front door, so I collect, on my walks with Becky, over a couple of days, feathers, stones and shells, fruit and leaves and twigs and all kinds of other things, amongst them a little black and red dictionary that is just so "chic" somehow...did not find that on my walk:o)
all of these are natural or nature made things I hope nobody is going to think is included with the print ;o))) and I am not joking, it is not that easy to stage something you made, with other things, as they invariably, I think, distract from what you are supposed to look at.
I want the etching, the linocut, the monoprint or whatever it is that I made (yes..... all handmade on etsy, right...) to be what you see, at the same time, as I don't want it to be so sterile. Most of my photos are of course only the image..... that is what I am selling, but I have to my surprise, over the years noted, that when I take the time to place that image in a somewhat homey environment, then it gets more views!
etsy stage photo frame
5) ahhhhh, you thought I was finished? I did too, but apparently not so , a simple photo frame, like this cheap white Ikea one, in A4 size,  can make all the difference! it gives the viewer a chance to see what the print will look like framed. And as most of my work has a tendency to look good in a white frame, so much the better! It would be easy though to do what my sister does, she picks up old frames at the fleamarkets, for next to nothing, to frame what she hangs on the walls, and I should/could do the same to get some variation on my frame theme!! (on my to-do list) for my linocuts in it's new life as my shop for my new etchings, used to be for my childrens prints..... they are now being moved to a new Flickr account that should be in operation round February time! used to be for my drawings, but got so bored when all of a sudden there were gazillions of people drawing on dictionaries!

Happy Staging!

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Merry Christmas, and thanks....

for listening, reading, commenting and in general being very supportive! I hope you all have a lovely Christmas with your families, and wish you the very best for the new Year!

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Back to etching and aquatint

Aquatint etching Mariann Johansen-Ellis
 I spent some time up at our house in the Spanish country, having a look to see that everything is alright after the copious amounts of rain we have had, and apart from the fact that you need to be a rally driver to get to the house, (mud season, oh yes!) things are good! The river is teeming with life, birds, turtles, frogs, lots of little green lizzards and other creepy crawlies. The river and the next door farm, has always been a total delight for me, the river because of all the above, and the farm next door, because it always provides a backdrop of goat bells to life in the house, there is a huge flock of gray goats, beautiful.... goats are such an integral part of Spanish country life, that you almost don't think of them.
Living in a village, has reminded me though, and I came home, got out some copper plates and set to work. These 2 are the first results, and I hope I have managed to convey how cheeky my goats look, they are always and forever on the look out for something to chew on, much like myself actually ;o)
I am on a continuous path to find a language artistically, that stem from here, and depict my world around me, and as always animals are my favorite choice. It is interesting to see how over the last year, I feel I have grown as an artist, I look at things in a different, less rigid light, my line is less rigid, although this could be because I seriously need new glasses, (hold on to these though) and I am having such fun! Is there anything better as an artist, than these growth spurts? These moments of inner peace when you feel that actually, what you are doing is not half bad........ hmmm..... long may it last!
Now, instead of sitting here rambling on, I am going to go and proof the next 2 plates!
Happy Sunday to all of you!
aquatint etching Mariann Johansen-Ellis

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Hen picked, lino reduction

Linocut in black and white, Pecking Order"
"Pecking Order" 7 color linocut reduction
for once, I remembered to print some prints in black and white from one of my reduction plates! The way I cut, almost always means that when I am done with the colors, there really is nothing left to print. I did some hens a while back, and really regretted not having printed some one color prints, half way through, so this time, before cutting the last 2 colors, I did, and I really like them.... they look so different from the color prints, and it feels like a great way of "making a little bit more hay" whilst the sun shines.

This is also something I really want to introduce, for the lovely people who come to learn to do a reduction with me here at Cascada Studio, so they come home with more variation from their labor.