Quote 3

“fall in love with the

process of creating,

it will only make your

life more interesting”

— Rebe Banasiak —

Where has the time gone…

Wow! It has been about nine months since the last post.  Too much has been going on at work that posting what I am doing in the studio and in the exhibit halls has taken the back burner.  I have been trying to set time aside but to no avail, the time escapes me.  You all know what I am talking about.  Just when you think you have the time to paint, write, update files, etc., etc., etc., the time seems to pass so fast that it is time to go to bed.  Well, that is how it has been for me since mid-June.

My regular job has taken the front seat since the division is short staffed.  When you are down one person, all the others pick up the slack.  I was balancing all my time perfectly; regular museum work, artwork in the studio, artwork in the exhibit halls, working out (got to stay healthy people), and time with family and friends. Probably the only thing I was not able to keep up with were my blog posts here.  Keeping the Facebook and Instagram active is easy.  Basically, you take a photo of what your working on and post.  Not much work there, lol.

Painting and drawing, I have had no problem staying focused all summer.  Focusing on updating my posts, website, and blog, that is where my biggest problems have been.  As many of you know, I consider myself a working artist. To me that means, I work my ass off to do my art but have a regular job to pay the bills (which I wrote about here, “Yes, I do have another job to pay the bills…”).  Well, the full-time job has needed me more than ever this past October through February.   We had an unexpected tragedy happen to someone we work with and someone I look up to and admire as both a mentor, boss and friend.  I have been helping out with taking care of what he used to do with the other three members of our division.  It has been hard but when “everything happened” I went into a slump, a kind of mini-state of parent neglect to my artwork.  Yes, this “mother of drawings” (pun intended) placed down her pencils, pens and brushes and forgot to finish work that I wanted to have finished before the end of the year.  Many things have been left on the sidelines, oil pastels needing glazing, mini-ink paintings needing layers added, drawings looking for pastel to start covering them.

Well, since the first of the year, everything has slowly been coming into place.  I have been able to go to my Artist at the field drawing dates to continue on paintings and drawings from this past couple years.  Slowly but surely, artwork will get finished this year.  I do not know how many posts I can write to update you all on the progress but I will try.  Until the next posting.  Happy days!

IMG_20151218_232806

 

Ink is for the birds…

Today I am going to focus my post on ink painting, specifically, ink painting with acrylic inks and ink pens.

I have fallen in love with my acrylic inks and ink paint pens. They are amazing and so versatile.  The wolf portrait I have been working on now for over a year (due to lack of some time in the studio) is being painted all in ink.  I started with Derwents inktense pencils as the base coat and then went on to Daler Rowney F&W acrylic inks.  I am also using Molotow and Montana ink markers.  Can I tell you that if you have never used or only used once or twice inks and didn’t like them, you are using the wrong inks. All of these brands (and not to sound like a commercial) work like either watercolors (depends on the amount of water added) or liquid acrylics.  I started using them on watercolor paper but soon found out the using boards is so much better with the inks.  I am going to highlight a step by step from my holiday in Florida for how I use the inks now.

So, first things first, I always draw my picture out.  I chose the majestic crowned crane.

Drawing of the crowned crane with palette, ink and pen set up.

Drawing of the crowned crane with palette, ink and pen set up.

I actually drew this out as a sample for my teen students when I was teaching them how to use inks.  I figured I would finish it at some later date.  I realized that since my holiday was about relaxing and rejuvenating, I would be able to get some sketching and painting in.  The resort I was at had tons of animals and guess what majestic bird.  Yep, that’s right….The crowned Crane!  So I was able to use the bird in the flesh to continue and finish my painting.  Most of the first base coat I did in class for the students.  When I got to the resort, however, I went into full-fledged painter mode.  My studio went from being in my home and the museum to the Animal Kingdom Lodge Resort down at Walt Disney World.  My balcony became my zen zone with all the animals outside my window.  It may have been hot and humid but I stayed outside to finish this little guy using the live bird as my color guide.

My travel studio at my resort on holiday.

My travel studio at my resort on holiday.

Nyala antelope outside my balcony.

Nyala antelope outside my balcony.

View from my balcony.

View from my balcony.

First base coat, done before I got there.  Second base coat, started and done.  Since these are base coats I just watered my brush down and used the ink thin like watercolor.  Next, I started to add less water so that more bold color would start to stand out on the painting.  Shadows, highlights, anywhere I want overlapping color to come through is next.  Usually with watercolor, for shadows I water down slightly but for the inks I went back to watering down like the first base coat.  Inks are very opaque so using this method to add the shadows works perfectly.

Since I was outside painting, it did not take long to wait for the inks to dry.  Surprisingly, inks dry at around the same rate or faster than watercolors.

After all the base coats, shadow and highlight layers, I started adding detail.  Now, the fact that I was painting the colors from the live bird meant that I would have to be patient.  The bird is moving around, at a far distance so I would sometimes have to look through my camera lens to see the detail on the bird.  I started adding little by little strokes from both my brush and directly from the markers.  After overlapping many layers I finally finished.  The result is a colorful portrait of the crowned crane in all its majestic and radiant glory.

Finished painting. Crowned crane, 6x6", inks on aquaboard. Resource from my own photos and from life painting.

Finished painting. Crowned crane, 6×6″, inks on aquaboard. Resource from my own photos and from life painting.

I hope you enjoyed seeing my how I use inks as much as I love painting with them.  See you all really soon!

Rebe

Getting that social media support, frustration with uncooperative clients and friends and family who want your art for free

I have been absent for a while and I do apologize for that but April has been very busy at work with the bombardment of projects that I have slightly neglected both at the real job and in the studio (GASP, I’m neglecting my art) and the fact that another year in the life of Rebe has completed and started anew, LOL.  This month I decided to combine three topics together into one large post, basically due to the fact that I haven’t had the time to write three individual posts.  The “I can’t find where the time has gone” post will come later on in the summer, oh boy, that’s going to be a goodie, LOL.

I want you to keep in mind that this month’s topics will seem like I am ranting but that is because what I will write is from my point of view and my experience dealing with these situations.

So, as I stated, the first topic shall be (and say it with sass):

Getting that social media support you always wanted…

I have been on Facebook since 2011 (plug, Rebe Banasiak Art), Pinterest since 2014 (BrushHilt), Instagram (banasiakart) and Twitter (@banasiakart) both started this year.  But most of the first topic is going to focus on Facebook since that is the media I have been on the longest.

I have had some ups and downs with my experience of using Facebook (and starting to see the ups and downs on the other social sites) on the public and personal sectors (a whole other blog post of its own, LOL).  On the public sector, my page started out as Banasiak Art Gallery but at the beginning of this year I decided to change the name to actually reflect ME and my artwork, so Rebe Banasiak Art became the new name.  When this happened it was like a boom of likes.  Confession, that was mainly because I made my personal account into a public account and merged it with my Rebe Banasiak Art page.  (Hint: if you are sick of drama from some friends and the negative algorithms from FB, this is a good way to get more likes on your page, LOL, just saying.)

On a more serious note (which doesn’t happen all that often), I tried the whole “please share my page” or “invite your friends to like my page” and this just doesn’t work.  Either because most people don’t see the post or they just don’t want to be bothered to help you out (but there are always a couple really good friends who do help out, you know who you are guys, 😉 ).  There is one thing that always makes me cringe though.  It is when “those couple of people” (not all) would comment or message me that if they did share/invite friends to the page could they get compensation for their hard work in the form of a discount or worse, something for free (GASP).  WOW!  Really! Something FREE!  Seriously people, this is my livelihood. Those couple of humans need to realize this is how I make my living.  Right?  I’ll talk more about “these freebie wanters” later but if you liked my page to begin with just support me and share the damn page with your friends.  How difficult is it to hit the share button on a post to your wall.  I have done it for others and fellow artists.  Not that hard.  See the picture below, it is very simple to figure out where the share button is.

Screen grab SHARING

Screen grab of how someone can share your page on their wall.

If you don’t want to help because I won’t give you a discount or something for free than just unlike my page and leave me be.  I only want fans that really like my work and that are willing to interact with me on my posts and help me out by spreading the word, sharing the page, or inviting others to like the page.  I do try to help out fellow artists anyway I can by liking their pages and interacting with them in our art groups because this shows that I am looking and admiring their hard work (although, with a full time job, I haven’t been able to check out all the wonderful work that finally dots my FB wall).

Being in several groups on FB has helped me get to see what other fellow artists are creating, ask for critiques on what I have created, and asked for support when I need it.  The groups have been one way to connect with other artists through various “share for share”, “like for like” or just “post you page” posts going on the past couple months.  This is where the big boom of my page likes has been from.  I am very grateful for all the support from all these great artists and their liking and commenting on my posts, but the main part of “my social media support” problem is getting the original fans from before the boom from the groups to help out in liking and commenting on posts and sharing the page with their friends.  I do have some very awesome friends who do like and share posts and the page every now and then, but they have always been the exceptional people in my life who have supported what I do in art and I thank them.  So, for the rest of the beginning fans, help out this artist and my fellow artists if we ask.  Please realize that most artists are not doing our art as a hobby; we are actually trying to make it a living and when you like, share, or comment that means everything to us because we know you are interested in what we are doing.

Now for our second topic:

Frustration with uncooperative clients…

Why is it that when someone does want to buy something or want me to paint or draw something for them, they become very uncooperative when it comes to paying me.  Hmmm….there is a price I place on artwork I create which usually reflects the size, supplies used and hours I spent working on the piece.  I also have a price list for portraits, both animals and people.  How come when I have these fixed prices, there is that one person (or two or three people) who want it cheaper, much cheaper where what they want to give me won’t even cover the cost of supplies (UGH!).  If I a discount for one person and others hear about it, then everyone else will want a discount.  How can I pay my bills if I give everyone artwork for cheap or free verses what I am asking for it.  Don’t get me wrong.  I do discount sometimes, but not always and I do not advertise certain discounts because I still need to make a profit.  You know, I have to pay the bills, the mortgage, the car insurance, and so on, and so on, and so on.  You get the point.

The other thing that pains me is when a client contacts me to draw or paint something and either wants to see me do every little stroke as I am placing it on the paper/canvas or decides to change something after I’ve asked them prior if anything needed to be changed.  The latter is a bitch because if I cannot “correct” or change something due to the medium I’ve used, I get stuck having to start over.  This is my biggest pet peeve with clients.  This is why I give updates and post as I am working on something so that the client can see the progress.  What I do like are the clients who are very patient, very aware of the fact that I do like and need the input and will give it to me when I ask for it; instead, some blow me off so that when they do see the pieces progress, they want to make changes that I may or may not be able to do.

Both of these are big problems that many artists face.  What do we do?  Sometimes it just depends on the situation or how well I know the customer or client.  I do want them to come back to me or to spread the word about my art and I don’t want it to be bad.  I am always upfront about my prices and how long something will take and I add in writing if there are any provisions that require extra time, that it will cost them more.  This usually helps a bit but as I said before, there will always be that one person, that one person who has to be difficult.  This is when I have a nice glass of wine and just nod head until it falls off, LOL.

The third and most dreaded topic is:

Friends and family who want your art for free….

NOOOOOOO!!!!! Can I stress this enough! NO! You can not have everything for FREE!  I call these people the “freebie wanters”!  How am I to make a living as an artist if I give everything away for free.  I know you are friends and family (and my biggest fans and supporters) but I have bills that need to be paid otherwise my ass is going to be homeless.  I also have two little furbaby mouths that need feeding; Stephie and Gracie are not forgiving when they don’t get breakfast or have dry food in their bowls.  So, my question to them is, if I give you something for free are you going to take over my rent/mortgage payments?  Are you going to pay my insurance bills, my credit card bills, my furbaby food bills?  I didn’t think so.  That is why I learned a new word about 10 years ago…NO!  If other customers and clients have to pay, so do you.  Maybe, I will give you a discount but never think that you will get anything for free or maybe, I’ll create something for you for your birthday or even Christmas, but sorry kids, I do have to make a living.

As I said before, this is one of my jobs, my livelihood.  I want to make sure that I did not waste 7 years in school learning from some great professors and professional artists on how to improve my craft and become a great artist myself to making this a hobby giving all my hard work away for free to live in a cardboard box.

So, what should we do as artists to get the proverbial public to help us out and interact with us on social media, to get the uncooperative client/customer to be more responsive, or to make sure friends and family realize that our art making is our job/career?  Well, I am still figuring all this out and if someone out there knows how to help all of us artists out with these “problems”, please share your ideas.  We will consider all suggestions. So, let’s keep this conversation going.

Until next time, artists keep creating, fans keep interacting, and friends/family/clients/customers please be patient and cooperative, and please don’t be freebie wanters and cheapskates.  We need to eat, too.  😉

Nigel, the Brown pelican – Part 2

Nigel is back and finally finished!

In my last post about the brown pelican, Nigel (yes, after the pelican from Finding Nemo), I wrote about how I started to create this illustration: drawing the outline, shading and color decisions, and starting detail.  This post touches on the rest of detail and making decisions about whether or not to add extra bold details using a different media (ink) which is different from the main illustration.

Below, is where I left off on the last post.  I finished up the face, head and neck and started a light coat of color on the rest of the body and feet.

Nigel with head and neck completed. Light color on the rest of the body and feet.

Usually, I love to take a drawing like this and just add all my detail at once when using colored pencils that have a color range of 132.  However, this illustration I am using the Derwent 24 colored drawing pencil set.  As I have said on the last post and the Snowy Owl post, this limited amount of pencils has forced me to be more creative with how I add the colors, since the range of colors happen to be of a natural toned palette.  That is right, no bright colors like red or yellow.  That is why you should never challenge me when it comes to anything artistic, LOL.  I will sometimes, yet maybe, kind of, always prevail, LOL.  😉

A month ago, I met with all my other fellow artists from the Artist at the field group and decided to spend the entire day at the museum to finish this illustration.  Um, just for people who are not from Chicago, the month of February was free month at the Field Museum.  It was just a tad crowded!

So, I started adding my shadows and blending the colors for the back and wing.  What is nice about doing the feathers on a water bound bird is that they are matted down; that means, they are not fluffy and you cannot see nor distinguish the individual feathers on the body.  I am in heaven just thinking about it.  What you do see are the patterns and the color breaks.  This is basically where I started on that busy Saturday.  Adding the color breaks which are the shadows and lighter areas of the plumage.

The first part of adding shadows plays like a slow song; you have a slow and mellow beginning, a building of suspense in the middle, and a big crescendo in the end. So for the pelican, I first added the base color which is the layer you want to see through the entire area. Then, I started to add more reflective colors that will compliment the base color which enhances the detail which was the final layer added.

Now, on to Nigel’s back.  Using all the same techniques and procedures, I went through and finished the pelican’s back and then proceeded the finish the wing.

Once I had the all the color done on the body, it was time to start on the feet.  I was one my way home with this one as I added more and more color to the webbed little feet.  Knowing that I had just two feet left made me feel elated at getting the colored pencil part of the piece finished on that Saturday.

So, as I finished the feet I realized this is it.  Nigel, the brown pelican is done!

Finished brown pelican.

Finished brown pelican.

Finished piece next to the mount at the museum.

Finished piece next to the mount at the museum.

Until my next post, CHEERS everyone!

#5dayartchallenge Day 5

I was nominated to do the #5dayartchallenge by one of my besties, Frank. So, for the next five days I will be posting three pieces of art I have done over the past 20 years here, on Instagram and on my Facebook page. Hope you all enjoy the next five days.

#5dayartchallenge Day 5

Now we are at the end of the #5dayartchallenge.  I will leave you with 5 of my favorite sketches and journal entries from between 2011 until now.  Hope everyone likes the sketches.

Just a reminder you can follow my blog by pressing the blue “follow” button at the right and you can also follow me on Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest.  Have a great weekend everyone!  😉

 

Chickadee sketches, Sketchbook 4 page 20, 2013, graphite.

Chickadee sketches, Sketchbook 4 page 20, 2013, graphite.

Treasures from the sea, Journal book 1 page 10, 2013, watercolor.

Treasures from the sea, Journal book 1 page 10, 2013, watercolor.

Seagulls, Journal book 2 page 24, 2013, watercolor.

Seagulls, Journal book 2 page 24, 2013, watercolor.

Pretty shoes, Sketchbook 5 page 2, 2013, watercolor and ink.

Pretty shoes, Sketchbook 5 page 2, 2013, watercolor and ink.

Brown pelican, Sketchbook 5, 2013, colored pencil and ink.

Brown pelican, Sketchbook 5, 2013, colored pencil and ink.

JUST A REMINDER: All work is copyright to Rebe Banasiak and The Brush Hilt and only a written permission statement by the artist (Rebe Banasiak, that’s me) is acceptable for any and all image use from this website.  Legal action will be taken if use of any images from this website are used without the proper written consent from the artist (yet me again).

#5dayartchallenge Day 4

I was nominated to do the #5dayartchallenge by one of my besties, Frank. So, for the next five days I will be posting three pieces of art I have done over the past 20 years here, on Instagram and on my Facebook page. Hope you all enjoy the next five days.

#5dayartchallenge Day 4

So, I am on the next five years from 2006-2010.  Let’s see what I can find to show you now.  😉

Tiger

Tiger, 2006, ink on paper.

Pansy III, 2008, Inktense and watercolor on aquaboard.

Pansy III, 2008, Inktense and watercolor on aquaboard.

The Year of the Dragon (Kimodo dragon), 2008, watercolor on paper.

The Year of the Dragon (Kimodo dragon), 2008, watercolor on paper.

 

JUST A REMINDER: All work is copyright to Rebe Banasiak and The Brush Hilt and only a written permission statement by the artist (Rebe Banasiak, that’s me) is acceptable for any and all image use from this website.  Legal action will be taken if use of any images from this website are used without the proper written consent from the artist (yet me again).

#5dayartchallenge Day 3

I was nominated to do the #5dayartchallenge by one of my besties, Frank. So, for the next five days I will be posting three pieces of art I have done over the past 20 years here, on Instagram and on my Facebook page. Hope you all enjoy the next five days.

#5dayartchallenge Day 3

Now, for the time after I got out of school and needing to get my ass in gear.  This next batch is from my first 5 years after graduation from SAIC.  Hope my skills are getting better as time goes on, LOL.

Clouded Leopard, 2002, pastel on paper.

Clouded Leopard, 2002, pastel on paper.

Tiger, 2004, watercolor on paper.

Tiger, 2004, watercolor on paper.

Hyacinth Macaw, 2005, pastel on paper.

Hyacinth Macaw, 2005, pastel on paper.

JUST A REMINDER: All work is copyright to Rebe Banasiak and The Brush Hilt and only a written permission statement by the artist (Rebe Banasiak, that’s me) is acceptable for any and all image use from this website.  Legal action will be taken if use of any images from this website are used without the proper written consent from the artist (yet me again).

#5dayartchallenge Day 2

I was nominated to do the #5dayartchallenge by one of my besties, Frank. So, for the next five days I will be posting three pieces of art I have done over the past 20 years here, on Instagram and on my Facebook page. Hope you all enjoy the next five days.

#5dayartchallenge Day 2

Now I will take you to my time at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago where I learned so much from my mentors Peggy Macnamara and Olivia Petrides.

Sight in Yellow and Violet (Wolf series), 1999, mixed media collage.

Sight in Yellow and Violet (Wolf series), 1999, mixed media collage.

Scarlet Macaw I, 2000, oil on canvas.

Scarlet Macaw I, 2000, oil on canvas.

Raccoon, 2001, graphite on paper.

Raccoon, 2001, graphite on paper.

JUST A REMINDER: All work is copyright to Rebe Banasiak and The Brush Hilt and only a written permission statement by the artist (Rebe Banasiak, that’s me) is acceptable for any and all image use from this website.  Legal action will be taken if use of any images from this website are used without the proper written consent from the artist (yet me again).

#5dayartchallenge Day 1

I was nominated to do the #5dayartchallenge by one of my besties, Frank. So, for the next five days I will be posting three pieces of art I have done over the past 20 years here, on Instagram and on my Facebook page. Hope you all enjoy the next five days.

#5dayartchallenge Day 1

So, I will take you back to my years at Lewis University.  Here are three of my favorite portraits that I did.  In my opinion, two of the best teams in sports! Yes, I am a diehard Chicago Blawkhawks and White Sox fan!  Born and bred, BABY!

Ozzie Guillen, 1992, graphite on paper.

Ozzie Guillen, 1992, graphite on paper.

Eddie the eagle Belfour, 1994, oil on canvas, 4'x6'.

Eddie the eagle Belfour, 1994, oil on canvas, 4’x6′.

Chris Chelios and Brett Hull, 1995, acrylic on illustration board.

Chris Chelios and Brett Hull, 1995, acrylic on illustration board.

JUST A REMINDER: All work is copyright to Rebe Banasiak and The Brush Hilt and only a written permission statement by the artist (Rebe Banasiak, that’s me) is acceptable for any and all image use from this website.  Legal action will be taken if use of any images from this website are used without the proper written consent from the artist (yet me again).