Monday, September 30, 2013

Why Is Art So Expensive?

People, including myself have wondered from time to time what makes art so costly?  Is the artist making all that profit or is it the gallery?  How does the price break down.

So many times I am asked to donate art to charities and other events and I always want to donate to them all.  If it were possible, I would give it all away, and for years I have done just that to family and friends, plus lots of organizations and even my church.  I also want to win the lottery and grow a money tree in my backyard!  

One of my instructors told me that the best birth control in college was telling his date he was an artist.  No one wants to be involved with them because everyone knows they are starving and it is so true.

There are plenty of people who will buy art, plenty of venues to sell the art, and plenty of interested patrons if you are good enough.  One reason we struggle with money is the cost of supplies and instructions that are required to become "good enough."  You are only as good as your materials and that is the case no matter what.  A golfer can only be as good as his clubs, a carpenter needs good tools to create professional furniture, and a seamstress needs a sharp needle and strong thread.

To break down the cost of an average painting is simple...

Canvas or Board     Average price       $20  (If you use linen you can double that cost.)
Oil Paint                 Average tube       $10  (If you use cad yellow or red, be prepared to triple that cost)
Brushes                  Average cost        $10-$20  (You can expect to replace one brush per project.)
Workshops             Average cost        $250 for two days, thousands if it is a big named star instructor.)
Lessons                  Average               $20 per hour
Miscellaneous         Average               $10 for turpentine, brush cleaner, varnish, maroger, sealers, etc)

This does not include the cost for booth rentals, entry fees and so many more hidden cost.

We discuss this many times in different art groups and of course the value lies in the eye of the beholder, as they say. We also secretly wonder what makes some Picasso types sell instead of those long suffering Michlangelos.  Just plan to understand that most artist have about $50 minimum invested in their art piece.  Even that is a very low estimate and probably a small piece of work.  

So next time you see an artist selling their wares, considering being a supporter or even just an encourager of their work and time.  Because the truth is, most will sell for peanuts just to be able to continue.

A Little Cheery Chair in a Big Cherry Orchard

This chair just caught our eye last year on a trip to Michigan.

 All my adult life I have loved the movie, "Somewhere in Time,"  so when we got the chance to visit Mackinac Island last year, the countryside was just a bonus.  Cherry Orchards where all along the shores of Lake Michigan and each one was more charming than the next.  This chair sat near a roadside stand selling cherries and we could not resist snapping a photo of it.

It is my first auction item over at and has as a opening bid of $50.  The auction closes soon.  If you love this little painting and want a chance to own it at a great price, visit the auction and consider placing a bid.  It is cheerful and bright and needs a good home to land in.  Click the link below to view it.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Class is What You Are Made of, Not Where You Go...

This week was wonderful with two days spent painting with new and old friends and 'Yoda,' my instructor. His name is not Yoda, of course, but it is fun to refer to him as such.  It is so worth all the money to just have the time with such a fun group and getting instruction is the icing on the top. Not everyone there is in it as a profession, most are not. Not everyone who comes has the same degree of talent.  There are those that are novices and Yoda makes sure they stay on track and complete a painting.  Then there are true super stars Yoda calls his "Master Painters,"but we are all treated alike no matter what level you are. All ages are there and each person is so encouraging and helpful. We get out of our cars happy to be there and anxious to spend time together. For that I feel blessed and thank God for the opportunity to do something I love so much. To be able to use the talent He gave me in a way that potentially pleases others is just enough to make you feel joy in and of itself.  The people there are genius talented and create fantastic works.

Good grief this is beginning to sound like I am describing the show, "Big Bang Theory for Artist?!"  I must have swallowed some happy pill.  

The truth is that even though it may not be the most perfect setting and certainly not the best of locations, it is what it is and that my friends is good enough for me.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Take a Deep Breath and Hold on to Your Brushes...It's Gonna Be a Bumpy Ride!

If you want to be anything other than a hobby artist, you are going to need a way to sell your work. It is simply a matter of logic that over a period of time canvases are going to accumulate and expenses are going to mount. Art is no cheap business and they don't call it "Artwork," emphasis on the "work," for nothing! You can only give away so many to family and friends before they are thinking, hmmm not so sure I have room for another one of your masterpieces. Let me just say I have given away a lot, including some charity donations, but at this point in our life, if we intend to ever be able to retire, I have to out number the freebies with sold signs.

As of 48 hours ago, Linda Dunbar Fine Art is now sporting a Facebook Page, an Etsy Shop and a Gallery Page at thanks to my darling daughter.

Click here to see the gallery at:    Daily Paintworks

Tonight we were contacted by a restaurant in downtown Tulsa that is interested in displaying my work!  I have to give my husband props for that one.  He has been promoting for me to show there and went to the trouble to meet with the proper people to make that happen.

Not that long ago I was happy to have created a website and a blog, but now thanks to those who believe in me, I have had over two thousand people view my paintings on Facebook.  Who knows how many on the gallery and now I am just waiting to see what is next.

Technically speaking, that would be Jay Leno on The Tonight Show.  After that?  We will see what tomorrow brings.  What was it Scarlet O'Hara said about tomorrow?  Oh yeah, "I will think about that tomorrow!"

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

E-gads it is E-Commerce!

The market is a different place in the 21st century.  You no longer have to ring doorbells to sell brushes, have parties to own tupperware or go to a gallery to buy oil paintings.  The abundance of everything is available at our fingertips as long as we know how to turn on our computer and click on a link!

This girl joined that E-Commerce yesterday with an Etsy Store.  Etsy for those who may not have discovered already, is a social commerce website focused on handmade or vintage items as well as art. Sellers can set up "shop" on Etsy to have the opportunity to show their work in a world wide setting and sell their creations to the global audience.  Doesn't that sound professional?  In the words of a high school friend, "Cool Beans!"

Here is a sampling of my new shop on Etsy that is now up and open for market.  Help a starving artist out and share with your friends and maybe just maybe the world will be my oyster, or who knows maybe I will learn more as I advance in this new world of techno sales.  All feedback is welcome....

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

I Hope You Dance....

Time for a Giveaway!  Want to win an original oil painting?  Here is my Ballerina, "I Hope You Dance..." in a 5 X 7 that is ready for you to frame or hang as is.  It could possibly go to your home if you enter to win.  Not sure how many of these giveaways I will do, so be sure to enter to win this one.

For a chance to win all you need to do is go to my new Linda Dunbar Fine Art  Facebook page
by clicking on the Words Facebook Page at the top of the blog.

    1.  Like the page.

    2.  Share my page on your Facebook page.

    3.  Message me and let me know you have shared and your name will be in the drawing!

Share the page more times on more days and I will enter you more times to win.

Whew!  It sounds complicated, but it is not!  Help me promote my art business and I will enter you to win this painting. Even if you don't have a perfect spot to show off a ballerina oil painting, you will want to win.  Christmas is coming and this is a nice gift for someone.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Sometimes You Hit A Wall...

Sometimes as an artist you get called upon to do less than spectacular paintings, but still rewarding work.  That is the case for me.

When I was in a kid in a very small East Texas school, word got around I could draw.  Anytime a teacher needed a poster or a drawing of some kind done, I was the best, or rather the only resource they had and clearly the easiest and cheapest choice.  Many a math class did I get rescued out of in order to draw a sketch or two for some project a teacher was working on.  At the time, I was more than glad to skip class, covered by teachers like the American Embassy covers for a covert mission in a foreign country.  They wrote me hall passes, sent messengers to escort me to their rooms and even sometimes I was traded like a star football player in the NFL.  Not that I was all that incredible, I was the only one who drew.  It was great!  That is until I went to college and realized I could not diagram a sentence and had no clue who that elusive X was in Algebra or how to figure it out.  I took two years of Spanish and only learned how to say, "I have thirst, I have hunger." Probably important phrases in a latin country but not enough to justify those A's I got on report cards.

Now, that I am older and wiser, I realize that even though I might have be a little lacking in my education, I use those practiced drawing and lettering skills far more often than I do geometry!  So hats off to those who brought me there and the confidence boosters they were back then.

Today, I painted a couple of quotes on my grandchildren's playroom walls using those early learned poster painting skills. Maybe my education is paying off after all!

Thursday, September 19, 2013

A Painting For Someone Who Makes a Difference EVERYDAY...

Denise is a sweet dear person who listens when God moves her and that is exactly what she did when she joined forces and began Everyday Ministries.  When I felt the nudge to paint her, I had no idea what or when until she began posting photos of Ghana.  All I knew is that I HAD to do it.

Denise does a Christmas Show called A Christmas Gathering each year in several states thru different churches, but in the Tulsa area she does a HUGE one that is wildly popular and reaches thousands of women in a unique way with holiday decorations, cooking, music and giveaways.  You can read about it on Facebook at:

No one makes me laugh harder than her and her spirit is contagious.  There were so many wonderful snapshots of her in Africa, and I instantly knew how much the people there must love her as they do here in Oklahoma and surrounding states. She is a warrior for Christ and a force to be reckoned with!

This was an experiment in linen canvas paper for me.  First time to use it and anxious to see how it holds up for portraits.  It was a lot of fun to work with and I will be definitely using it a lot from now on. The linen paper will be dry press mounted on to gatorboard as soon as the project is dry enough.  Homosote makes the perfect stabilizer to pin the linen to for painting. Not easy to find, but available at a few Mom and Pop type lumber yards and worth the effort.  This was a tip I learned from Daryl Reimer when I was able to take drawing lessons from him last year.  An amazing artist you should look up!  Incredible work.

It wasn't difficult to figure out my cast of characters and decide the style I wanted this painting to be.  Denise is casual and fun, yet stylish and edgy, so I wanted the painting to capture her light and essence and here's hoping I was able to make a feeble heart felt attempt at that.

Her's is the lightest face and the center of attention in this group, and the most focused face was what I decided was needed to best represent what was happening.  Even though the woman in foreground was extremely interesting, she had to remain a supporting character to Denise in order to make the whole thing work.  

Even the clothing needed to be toned down so that Denise herself shone thru.  After several days and some last minute tweaks, the painting is finished and patiently drying awaiting varnish and its home with the rightful owner.

You can read about Denise and her work at:

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

A Rose Is A Rose or Apparently Not a Rose! Who Knows??

This summer a Facebook friend posted this photo of a rose in a simple glass bowl and it really appealed to me because of the color and the fact I was interested in tackling painting glass.  

This was supposed to be a self confidence builder.  Not the kind of self confidence building exercises you go to the desert with a group of friends and a self proclaimed Guru guy who teaches you to trust yourself.  Nothing so Zen as that.

The plan was to learn a little, teach myself a little, create something beautiful and maybe sell a painting.  It really had such bright colors that I had never seen in such an old fashioned rose.  Old fashioned bowl...Old fashioned rose...Old fashioned composition, Old Fashioned me!  Seems like it could work.

Sat down at my easel and popped it right together in an afternoon.  Feeling pretty impressed with myself I sketched with my brush the image on a gallery edged canvas.

 The bowl came together pretty darn quickly and with a result that boosted me right up to that Guru Zen phase thing without a trip to the desert!


Even the rose looked pretty fresh to me and pretty.  Then I took my prize to the art critic and zap, snap, whip...He pointed out several things that I had not noticed.  Once again, after he showed them to me immediately I saw it too.  First, the background was a tan color.  Looks dirty.  Really?  Yes, really it does.  Change it to a blue grey.  Second, the petals of the flower will pop if you glaze them.  Really?  Yep, right again.  Darn those Guru types, they come in all professions and the Yoda of mine is an art teacher who is tough to please.  Well, maybe tough on the first attempt.  

Background blue grey, and yes it is better.  Below is after it was glazed and not sure how well it photographs here, but it is amazing how vivid it made the colors of that flower.  One point for the teacher!  Back to the drawing board, or rather easel for me!

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Sticks and Stones can Really Mess You Up, So Can Some Critics!

Recently I saw an article about famous quotes on artist' works by other famous artist.  I mean really!  These were some mean old passive aggressive comments that really took the skin off of you.

Art is very subjective, but unspoken praise is really criticism.  The people in my various art groups are mostly supportive of each other.  They are encouraging and usually like to invite others to join in and be successful.  Of course there are a few objections to that statement, but for the most part they are all great.

This does not mean that criticism can be all bad.  Sometimes I need to hear it in order to get better.  A teacher once told me he would rather be ripped to shreds in criticism than to have no comments at all.  It stings for a day or two, but once you take a deep breath it usually motivates improvement.

When researching the critics of famous artist, I was astounded by the wounds they must have caused their fellow painters with what seemed to be obvious jealousy.  It was almost funny to read them.  Here are a few.

Edgar Degas on Georges-Pierre Seurat:
"I wouldn't have noticed it except that it was so big."

Marc Chagall on Pablo Picasso:
"What a genius, that Picasso...It's a pity he doesn't paint."

Pierre-Auguste Renoir on Leonardo da Vinci:
"He bores me.  He ought to have stuck to his flying machines."

To me as a humble budding artist, trying to learn. and learning to promote and sell, it seems like they were possibly jealous of success or money?  Who knows, but this is my favorite quote on art:

Money is something that can be measured; art is not.  It's all subjective.
Jerry Saltz

Friday, September 13, 2013

Just Say NO to Long Skinny Trays!

Finally!  Put a fork in it, it is done!  The long tray has been finished and I can pretty much guarantee you I will never paint a long skinny pewter tray again.  Not on purpose anyway.  However, after all the angst and wanting to literally break my brush, I will have to admit I am satisfied with the results.

Truthfully, another lesson about art and artist that I have learned is that they are never satisfied.  It has been written that famous artist have been known to tinker with a work they painted decades before.  One local artist who has won numerous awards refuses to hang his own work in his home.  He says he would not be able to look at it without wanting to change something on it all the time.

Here is my painting and I done!  Click on the photo to make it larger if you like.

I was most pleased with painting the reflection in the table.

 I will place this one in my studio gallery wall for few days and allow it time to dry before I varnish it.  Then alas, it too will be on the website for sale.  It will take with it some of my sweat and tears.  
Get over yourself, Linda! Too bad I don't have those emocticons on my blog because I need to insert a big old smiley face here.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Finding the Right Frog to Kiss

If you kiss a toad he will turn into a prince.  Always I have loved Fairy Tales and okay I admit it, I did try to kiss a toad once or maybe even twice.  Apparently, I never ran across that right toad, because none of them turned into anything but toads. However,  I did wind up with a prince of a husband and he supports my art education attempts and schemes.  So when I say I need to find the right thing to paint and want to go looking for it, he says to me, "Get in the car." and off we go.

Still in search of the great photo that I can turn into a masterpiece, we spend half the weekend driving around looking for the "money" shot.  There are so many paintings I view weekly by reading blogs, websites, going to galleries and subscribing to at least five art magazines.  Packed with so many paintings that are just remarkable and usually make me say, "Why didn't I think of that!"  Since I don't want to steal someone else's idea, off we go on our photography hunt.  No lie, we took about 700 photos of various things and not one of them am I dying to paint.  Each day I get several emails of "Big Name Star Artist," who show off their work in daily blogs.  The trend these days really seems to be that they are painting everyday things like plain white houses, shiny cars, pickup trucks, shoes, funny odd people, glassware and kitchen items.  Where is the best place to photo things like that?  The flea market, of course.  We took off to probably one of the scariest flea markets I have ever seen but still I am searching for the right photo.  You be the judge.....

Monday, September 9, 2013

Slow Down Girl and Focus!

There are so many things I want to try and paint and I can't seem to narrow down one genre to focus on.  There are still lifes and portraits, abstracts and landscapes and florals.  All of them calling my name to paint them.  No I do not hear voices and I have not lost it, yet...What I fear is that I am fickle and like the Crow, I am always attracted to a new shiny thing.  A friend asked me today, "What are you working on now?  She asked expecting me to give her one answer, but the truth is I have about 6 things going right now and about 5 more I hope to start this week.

I have a portrait of my friend Denise, who has her own ministry group that works with people in Ghana.  I am really inspired to paint this one and it is further along, but I don't have a more up to date version to show.

Here is that crazy tray and yellow calla lilly I blogged about earlier this month.  It is finally showing a little progress.  Note to self...I don't ever want to paint a long tray again.  Guess I at least know one thing I can eliminate from all my painting desires.

I am working on a portrait of my grandson, Weston.  I try to paint all my grandchildren as toddlers at some point.  That sounds like I have painted so many grandchildren, doesn't it?  So far he is number 2. Don't listen to me, I tend to exaggerate.   

Even thought I had finished this one, but took it for a critique and the suggestion was I needed to blue the background because it had dirty look to it and the flower would be nicer with a bright glaze on it.  So here is the blue gray background and I admit it is better and when it is completely dry I will glaze it

Another one I blogged about earlier, but now have something to show.  This is for all you Tulsans, Whittier Square, across from Zieglers.  

Just for fun, a read chair I saw in Michigan last year that just caught my eye and looked interesting.

Stay Tuned Dear Reader for finished results one day soon.  Tomorrow, I will share the things I want to start soon.

CONGRATULATIONS!!  Melissa Robinson on winning the painting!  Hope you will love it. 

By the way I will be giving away another painting very soon.  Thank you to all who joined me and to those who have shared my blog on their facebook page.  I appreciate so much.