This past summer, I’ve had a renewed interest in painting. It has not only been fun, but also astonishingly productive. Even as I am painting something, I find myself planning for the next one.
I lovingly study all the varieties of fruits and vegetables in my home. Sometimes I look closely at food I’m cooking and consider whether it could be my next painting subject.
I keep looking at flowers outside and have ideas for those, too. Getting excited about painting again has been a huge change in my life.
My pile of new paintings continues to grow. Each subject warms my heart. I have white boards leaning against the wall in my dining room, since I am photographing there so often. Nearby, I have an eyedropper, bottle of corn syrup (for better droplets) and handheld illuminating light. I am amazed at the quality of my reference photos taken simply with an iPhone. In the past, I had a macro camera lens, lights and other assorted photographic equipment. In comparison, using my phone is a cinch! I like sharing my reference photos. Once I edit them, they appear almost identical to my painting.
In addition to my pile of physical paintings, I had another plan. I submitted my images to Getty Stock. I started out with submitting one image for each painting. But then I realized I could digitally reconfigure the elements into multiple compositions and intentionally planned for this. Two paintings of peaches yielded five stock images.
My devotion to creating new stock images is new. But I would say that things began to shift a year ago. For most of my career, I sold my stock images primarily on Alamy, which was based in England. I picked Alamy for the sole reason that they were non-exclusive and I could still sell my images on my own, which I did quite often. But I also had about 100 images exclusively on Getty; they were ones I wasn’t attached to. Unfortunately, neither site yielded significant income.
One day, I almost fell out of my chair when I received a wonderful sum of money for a single sale on Getty. That had never happened before. Instead of receiving $5, I received $5,000! Six months later, this happened again.
That was all it took for me to become motivated to accept Getty’s exclusivity. I contacted Alamy and removed my library of images. Then I put them all on Getty, while at the same time adding 100 more.
On my last post, I shared about my three-step process creating my paintings.
a. I edit reference photos until they are crisp enough to render from. I create a light version and print it on watercolor paper.
b. I stretch the watercolor paper and then apply frisket to all areas as a mask. After cutting the frisket with an exacto knife, I paint each area. When dry, I add texture with colored pencil. Pen-white is used for highlights.
c. I scan my finished painting. By moving around the elements, I can also create other stock images.
What is consistently in most of my paintings, are scattered water droplets. They captivate me and I keep discovering new and interesting ways to portray these jewels. Whether they are running down the side of a fruit or pooling on a leaf, those details are precious for me.
Some subject matter, like mushrooms, hold a different challenge. The scuffs and dirt are what makes them interesting. My painting of three mushrooms was a color challenge because they were relatively monochromatic.
Just like the music that I rediscovered ten years ago, it seems that “taking a leave of absence” from art didn’t diminish my technical abilities. Instead, I have renewed enthusiasm. At the age of 61, I feel like I am at the top of my game. I am confident that I will continue to improve. This belief fuels and uplifts me.
If I need to see proof, I only have to look at my older images. Below are two examples of an orange and avocado that are also sold on Getty stock. If I compare them to my recent paintings of the same subject, I can see that I’ve come a long way in 30 years!
Above, is an apple illustration of mine that is very popular on the site Pinterest. Just writing about my recent paintings motivated me to specifically create some new images of apples. They will become material for a “Part 2” of an early post on this blog that is named “An Apple a Day.” I decided to paint an apple a day in 2020!
Here are some of my new apples that will be a part of that post. It has been wonderful for me to see my improvement.
Another shift in my life is related to sharing my paintings. In the past, parting with an original painting was very difficult for me. My paintings were like babies that I didn’t want to lose. But now, I’ve noticed that I receive great pleasure when I gift an original to someone I love.
After giving a painting of three mushrooms to a dear friend, I decided that I would simply paint another one for myself.
For decades, I’ve kept my paintings in boxes. The knowledge that my art could bring joy by hanging on a loved one’s wall is much more pleasurable than holding onto it.
If I could sum up this entire post, it would be with this sentence below.