My Watercolours are Now Available on Etsy in Canada

I have been working at trying to get my watercolour paintings on Etsy and it’s been a bit of a learning curve but it’s a good beginning. Currently, there are 5. In due time, I will add more to the page. They are watercolours which I matted in a 9×12 mat.

I have also updated my website and there are links to my Etsy posts as well. I am trying to keep it cohesive and I am removing some unecessary and outdated information. Please feel free to read about me in my short artist biography.

I am happy with my little “tablescapes” to showcase the work. Luckily, I have a yard with a lot of natural items to choose from and a beautiful yet worn kitchen table from my husband’s childhood home I use as a surface. I have also learned how to make mats for my own little paintings and it is going pretty good but I suspect my mild up close “double vision” makes it hard for me to measure at times. But I have to work within my abilities and with time it should get easier. As should all the things I do not know about websites and Etsy promotion. Ha!

The works are only available in Canada (for now…babysteps please) and I offer free shipping, so if you are interested click on over and check out my Flying Mackerel Studio Etsy page. https://www.etsy.com/ca/shop/FlyingMackerelStudio

TRYING ETSY

I have been wondering for a long time if I would ever get around to opening an Etsy shop. I had not thought it would be so difficult! Everytime I would start it, I wouldn’t have time to finish. Somehow with everyone using my laptop for this or for that, I would lose any progress and that’s just for one listing. You see, you can’t save your work on Etsy and put it away for another day, until you get all the information in. This is what I recommend if you are to try it. Get one item ready for shipping and get it weighed at your local post office. It’s easier if every listing is the same size. Basically instead of freaking out like I did, just list all the things to need to fill out and then answer them on a sheet of paper before putting it online. Once you list one and you will have a general idea of what way to go after that.

The harder part now is how to get some online presence. I have no clue so I thought I would write this blog and see if it might help a little. I shared the items on Instagram and posted on Facebook as well.

I decided that starting with a few might be the way to go so that way every so often I might have a grouping to share on social media. I am trying to figure out how people actually get attention on their Etsy page. I have followed or liked a few items and that is rather fun. The friends and family I know on Etsy are being followed and some are following me. It’s fun to look around and see what people are up to.

I am going to continue this blog in a question and answer format. Have fun reading!

Why watercolours?

Well, paper watercolours paintings are small, lightweight and easier to ship than my acrylic on canvas paintings. I also have a small scanner that offers a really good image quality. I have a new mat cutter and therefore I am able to ship them matted. If I put these in a gallery I would have to have them framed which adds to cost. I am really enjoy painting the watercolours and I make a lot of them so they needed a place of their own.

Why Etsy?

Well, it’s worth a shot. I don’t know anything about how to get some attention to my page but I think I can learn this as I go. Months ago, I put one acrylic painting on Saatchi. But before I decide to put any other acrylic online, I think it might be best to get better photos. There are many rules about how to ship on Saatchi but with Etsy I think there is more freedom. I could look into a local market, I think that could take away from much loved and needed family time. So for now, Etsy is what I will try.

Why try it now and not before?

Covid19 changed a lot of things for many of us. I am selling on my own now therefore I need to have my work somewhere online. Instagram is great and attracts other artists with occasional sales. Facebook is the same with a range of people interested in many things and sometimes it’s art. But it isn’t enough. I could look into local markets but what if the virus makes it hard to be in contact with other people again. I had been wanting to do it but for a variety of reasons, I was getting in the way of myself. At times, I want to do too many things and get stuck. Last week I took a week off from painting anything to help with gaining perspective. I am actively trying to stay healthy by walking, skiing and doing Yoga with Adriene this winter. I want to eat healthier; which for me means giving up any sugar, unhealthy treats and excess carbs (I did have one chocolate last night because of Valentine’s Day). I want to live a more balanced lifestyle. I decided that these are things I can control. I can control how much I paint within my time limitations and where I place my work online. I can’t control whether other people like my work enough to purchase it. But that does not mean I shouldn’t try. I do believe this new found relaxed healthy lifestyle might be the reason I was finally able to let go and just do it.

I just wanted to share my latest life story and I hope it helps you and if you can perhaps check out my three Etsy listings at: https://www.etsy.com/ca/shop/FlyingMackerelStudio

Thanks for reading,

Kim

Teaming Up with Family

Sometimes teaming up with a family member to do something can be a really fun thing to do. My mother Karen is exceptionally proud of her grandchildren and one day she spoke so highly of my niece and her writing which I thought was just so great.

During lockdown, my thirteen year old niece Sophie Cote busied herself finishing a book. Through connections, this time it was going to be sent to a publisher. Louise Sproule, the publisher who guided Sophie throughout the project was so very helpful. Her parents, my brother Phill and sister-in-law Irene, were also very proud and encouraging with Sophie’s ideas.

It was a no-brainer that when my niece asked me to do the cover that I would do it! I made a number of quick sketches in coloured pencil and tried creating an image with gouache. Normally this works for me when I make paintings but I wasn’t satisfied with the overall appearance. It was back to the drawing board keeping in mind some of the great suggestions my niece had in mind. It occured to me that I did have Corel Painter on my touch screen laptop and luckily a scanner. I scanned one of my images and decided to block in the colours in solid forms. It was time consuming because at this point I didn’t have one of those Stylus “thingies”. I laugh because I am not at all inclined with technology prefering learning through trial and error. I decided it was time to look at a few book covers I liked to draw inspiration from and to finally purchase a stylus. Simplifiying the image and using colour suiting the narrative of the teen novel was the way to go. Now I was getting somewhere! I even decided to try my hand at a cartoon Sophie portrait. Unsure about how smooth the pixels had to be, I was quite hesitant to reach out to Louise. However, once she reached out to me, I knew it was time to let go and send it to her. Luckily, they had photoshop and as long as the title that I drew would not be cut off they could play around with the lay out. When I saw the finished jacket I was just so excited for her!

Today is the day that I received my first few copies in the mail. Here they are:

If you wish to get a copy of this teen fiction (ages 12-14) here is her website for Ottawa area people http://www.sophiecote.ca/

The book can also be purchased through Lulu.com https://www.lulu.com/en/us/shop/sophie-c%C3%B4t%C3%A9/the-scavenger-lords/paperback/product-rwendq.html?page=1&pageSize=4

The Show Must Go On

Sometimes bigger world events can lead to big decisions in life. Sometimes you think about them for quite a while before you actually do something about it. It took me this pandemic to know just how much I wanted to sell work on my own and show in more venues than I had been. I had no idea that this change would also lead to such a dramatic change in style and subject matter.

Some of you might know that I used to paint nostalgic paintings of food and toys. I was fully on board and was genuinely interested in making the work at the time. I learned so much about colour theory and had a lot of fun trying to come up with ideas. Yet, something was pulling me in another direction. I found myself longing to work on more complex and varied compositions and to work with the landscape as a subject matter.

For me, having a pretty good grasp on colour theory, composition and drawing is rather important. I think you can do anything you want to after working through those elements of art making. But I also believe, artists often use their knowledge and ability to explore a new way of creating and seeing. I have always been drawn to exploring in art. In art school, after my foundation semester, I took more than just painting classes. I took many drawing classes, intaglio, lithography, screenprinting on fabric, woodblock printing, bookbinding, jewelery making, and art history. If time and money had not been an issue I may have taken some textile and ceramics too. That was a long time ago! All I can say is, all experience makes us do the art we want to do.

All my rambling on leads me to what I actually wanted to say. Though we are once again in a second wave of covid-19 in Nova Scotia and I cannot attend, I am in my first group show in over a year entitled “Yuletide”. It is taking place in Tatamagouche at The Ice House Gallery part of the Grace Jollymore Centre and curated by Brandt Eisner. There will be a lot of gift type items and it is a seasonal show. The opening was today and due to travel restrictions, I am missing it. It runs until December 24th so fingers crossed things get better and we can all go, check out all the beautiful things and support art and craft during the holidays.

(titles of paitings- left to right- Imagining Snowfall in Inverness 10″x10″, Imagining Snowfall at Crystal Crescent 10″x11″ and “Blushing Sky, Winter Lake” 15″x30″)

Also, I thought I would share The Ice House Gallery website though it is still in its working stages.

http://www.gracejollymore.com/the-ice-house-gallery

Daily Walk

I walk my daughter to school every day. Often she asks me about when she will be able to walk on her own. It’s a great way to start my day and she’s my last little one and so, I wish I could do it forever.

This lovely spot has a view of the Bedford Basin. I have been walking by it almost every day for 10 years. I have seen it in all seasons and all weather. It’s a minuscule dose of nature in our ever growing small community in Bedford, Nova Scotia. I take a moment each time and look out or photograph and thank my lucky stars to live where I do with my growing family.

I have been working like this for a while but mostly on beaches. The truth about my surroundings have changed. School is back in session and I am often staying close to home. I am surprised about how much I enjoy staying near home. I would never have imagined that I would be one to prefer it. It appears that it has happened to me. I am not sure if this occured because of the pandemic we are living through or the fact that I am middle aged. I am glad though because it has been a great source of inspiration.

One thing that has changed in my work over the years is my reliance on reality to express myself. I have abandoned realistic imagery in favour of a more whimsical and imaginative one. This in turn has given me permission to change parts of landscape or adjust any composition to my liking. These watercolours on paper are a great way for me to express myself. I love including patterns and exaggerating colour in my work. They often lead to other larger acrylic paintings on canvas so none of this ends up wasted. It is my way of keeping a sketchbook. It is an affordable way to keep my creativity flowing.

The first image is of the view in the summertime. The second is the fall, and there is my daughter in the right corner. I have been occasionally including her in some of my sketches which is a side series I guess. The third is also an image of autumn. It is funny but when I try to make a bigger 9×12 watercolour I find it too big to make. I have tried several times over the last few months but I prefer working really small in watercolour. It appears that my acrylics are the opposite now. I find doing a really small acrylic not quite as interesting to make.

Every day is a learning experience and as I go I learn new things about myself. I think it’s important to just keep trying and exploring and learning. It’s also important to see the nearby things that are worth making art about.