May 29, 2013

Behr Gallery

Debbie & Kent’s, 7x10"
If there is a couple I would call collectors, it would be my friends Debbie and Kent. I just returned from six days at their house while Debbie was celebrating her retirement from RBC in Minneapolis. Upstairs, I counted six of my artworks on their walls—two oils they had bought, two greeting cards they had framed, and two watercolor paintings I had gifted them as thanks for their hospitality as well as rides to and from the airport. Downstairs, I counted another six paintings, five of which were purchases.

I had wanted to, but never painted the outside of their lovely home. A commissioned work might never include the plant on the left or the vehicle on the right. Here’s what happens when you leave an artist to her own devices. The heart-shaped leaves on the shrub to the left actually belong to a small Weeping Red Bud tree that I gave to them in memory of Kent’s mother. The vehicle on the right is my ever faithful RAV4.

May 20, 2013

Sutton’s Drug Store, still bustling at 90

Sutton’s at 138 E. Franklin, 7½ x 9½ watercolor
I’ve had two requests for paintings of Sutton’s Drug Store in Chapel Hill in the past couple of months. I don’t know how a drug store becomes a landmark, but staying around for ninety years has to help. Popular as it may be, Krispy Kreme® was not my painting target when I set out to find a parking spot on Franklin Street last Wednesday, but conveniently located just an alley way across from Sutton’s, I managed to paint it as well. The drug store celebrated it’s 90th birthday just last month. The awning out front was faded to the point it looked beige and a pale orange. If I hadn’t painted it before, I would not have taken the liberty to brighten up the colors. Perhaps the owners wanted the drug store to look its age for its birthday.

Below is the interior scene of Sutton’s that I painted a couple of years ago as part of my Chapel Hill 23 show at Carolina Union. The painting was bought as a gift for the breakfast buddy of someone who eats at Sutton’s counter every weekday morning.

Sutton’s Drug Counter, private collection

May 18, 2013


Krispy Kreme on Franklin Street, 10x7" watercolor
In 2007 I was commissioned by the Parents Council of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill to paint Franklin Street. See painting below, now available as an 8x24" giclée reproduction.

Students who came up with the idea for the painting gave me the names of what they believed to be the most popular establishments on their highly revered block of Franklin Street. With my trusted little red canvas folding stool, I went all the way down the 100 block of East Franklin Street and did small watercolor studies of the various locations. All but one of those paintings sold, many of them to parent members on the Council. I was able to include the Ram’s Head Rathskellar in the final painting. Known as “The Rat,” the popular pub and eatery closed that very year, but has since reopened.

One thing that did not exist on Franklin Street in 2007 was Krispy Kreme®, a doughnut shop originally founded in Winston-Salem, NC some forty-five years ago. I consider the watercolor featured above my most successful attempt at capturing the HOT NOW sign associated with North Carolina’s iconic doughnut shops.

Carolina Spirit: Franklin Street, original watercolor 16x60"

May 17, 2013

How much for this watercolor?

The Neighbor’s House, 7x10" watercolor
People often ask, “How much?” For a watercolor this size, anywhere from 6x8" to 7x10", I charge $115. I like to present small watercolors like this in a clear sleeve in a white 11x14" archival mat with archival backing. The price includes the mat and packaging. When I am asked to do a special piece, which was the case for this painting, the price goes up to $172.50, one and a half times the price of a piece I choose to do on my own. I’ve found customers don’t like to hear that their special piece is more costly than that which they might find in my inventory or in one of the galleries that represent me.

Commissions mean I’ll be doing custom work, and most often, that I am going to do a painting based on my customer’s inspiration, not on my own. I prefer not to work from photos unless absolutely necessary, so it may mean a special trip to a specific destination. If someone asks me to paint a famous landmark like the Krispy Kreme doughnut shop at Peace and Person streets in Raleigh, or like the Old Well in Chapel Hill, and they don’t have an urgent deadline, then the price is $115. Selling an iconic landmark is relatively easy. For a piece like today’s painting, however, a piece that may be of interest only to someone connected to this home and not to the public at large, the price for me to paint it is the commission price, $172.50.

I’d love to receive knee jerk reactions to the statements I’ve made above regarding pricing. Please email me or comment directly below. Thank you in advance.

May 16, 2013

Painting cows ‘til they come home

Landmarked Landscape, 6x9" watercolor
One, Two, Tree, 6x9" watercolor
Laying Low, 6x9" watercolor

I can hardly believe these “Belties” scored me a weekend at Fearrington Village. I was so thrilled to do a trunk show last year at Dovecote, the quaint boutique situated in the heart of Fearrington. Only a few of the paintings are still available, so I’m busy creating a new crop of Beltie watercolors, these being three of them. Besides, painting the cows is amazing practice for the wedding watercolors I do. Two weddings are on the horizon for me to paint—one in June with a reception at the Nasher Art Museum in Durham, and another this September in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. Westward ho!!

Do get a sneak preview of mine and Robert Rigsby’s plein air Double Vision exhibition coming up at The Granary Restaurant Gallery at Fearrington. See post below. Opening reception for the show is Thursday, June 6, 6-8pm. Everyone is invited. Foodies will love dining at The Granary. I had a double evening there last fall when butternut squash soup was featured on the menu. Yum, to die for.

Double Vision Fearrington

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May 6, 2013

I love funk.

Safari Suite, 7x10" watercolor
Here’s the room I was given to stay in last week when I went to Winston-Salem, NC for a paint-out in Old Salem. The lady-of-the-house is the daughter of my dear Goldsboro friend, Miss Ellen. Daughter E. Scott just married a couple of years ago. This room is on the lower level of the couple’s first home. First thing I “spotted,” obviously, was the fake leopard skin on the rug. The zebra and rhino heads are fake too. They were given to E. Scott by her husband Hill for their first anniversary. Made out of paper mache, I say pretty dang clever of Hill on the couple’s paper anniversary.