Sunday, 19 November 2017

Packaging your Art

When I became a professional Artist I quickly realized that it wasn’t just about painting, a big part of the modern artists’ life is organizing, packaging and mailing. If you’re serious about making money with art, you had better get really good at those aspects of your business. I’ve addressed the issues of pricing and organizing many times in this blog, but I’ve never touched on protecting and packaging. Shipping costs are a real rats nest and very specific to location, so I’ll leave that to you.

In Western Canada we’re very much the poor relative when it comes to finding supplies. In our town there‘s a teacher supply shop, a large Michaels craft shop and a specialist art shop called Opus. If you’ve tried all of those, as well as the limited craft section at Walmart, the only option is to go online. Buy in bulk because shipping can be expensive if that’s the only option.

I’ve discovered over time that for effective protection of my mainly small art, the crystal clear cellophane (wood product) archival bag is the best bet. It can be costly if you produce over 100 pieces of art a year as I do, but it’s more costly to damage your precious work and frames.

EMERALD RIVER by Sea Dean with matching frame



Crystalclearbags.com and in Canada, crystalclearbags.ca are a well stocked supplier of crystal clear begs and if you buy in bulk they are a lot cheaper than buying elsewhere. To get the right size measure the width and height of the piece, then add double the depth to each dimension and a bit more for ease. For example, an 8” x 10” painting that has a wrap canvas 1/2” deep would need a bag at least 9” x 11” for a very snug fit and a bit bigger for ease. Even a flat piece of paper needs a little ease, and its best to package it with archival backing board or core board anyway, so order a little larger.

Recommended sizes at clear bags

B2XL for ACEO or ATC 2.5x3.5
B75 for 5x7
B86 for 6x8
B811 for 8x10
B1012 for 9x12
B11 for 11x14

WARNING - These bags all have the adhesive on the flap, which is good if you need to use one size of bag for slightly different sized art, however if you need to take the art in and out of the bag, the adhesive strip is in the wrong place and will stick to the art. It is possible to buy bags with the strip on the back of the envelope which is better for most applications, but these come in a very limited size range.

Clear Bags also supply glassine sheets and envelopes, rigid mailing envelopes and a dizzying supply of packaging products. The rigid mailers are less than half the price Canada Post are charging, which can really add up if you run a busy art shipping business.


I loved these art mailers on the US website, which reminds me that the websites do sell slightly different products, so its a good idea to check them both out if youre putting in a big order. With the low Canadian dollar, most supplies are more expensive and dont forget higher shipping costs and duties, but sometimes its necessary.


If you order from Clear Bags in Canada, they have 10% off till Nov 30th. Also once you’re a customer you can apply to be their feature artist on their Facebook page here http://clearbags.ca/become-a-featured-artist/

Wednesday, 15 November 2017

Winding up the color

A couple of days ago I went for a walk in the snow and had my iPad ready for inspiration photos. When I have time, I love to work with the color in my images and I find it really helps with my perception of light and color. As an extra plus, I get totally absorbed into another world and the stress drops away. If you’ve never played with imaging programs I heartily recommend it for all these reasons.

When I first came to photography we had to either set up an expensive darkroom or pay for costly developing and printing. It was an expensive pastime reserved for the wealthy or paid professionals. Today we never have to print the images and ask a professional to manipulate the color, we can do it in a few clicks and save them in a file. It’s all free and available. Amazing!


There are hundreds of photo apps you can try out and I’m sure you have a preloaded one on your phone, iPad or camera. Basic apps will at the very least be able to convert your photo to sepia or black and white. More fancy programs give much more flexibility, allowing you to change the color cast from blues to yellows, toggle to vivid or dramatic and change the light and exposure. If you’ve never done this it will open up a whole new world.


At the same time you can crop the images and find a better composition. I will certainly use some of these color ideas and that blue composition for my latest batch of paintings for Skyway.

Monday, 13 November 2017

UG2BK - Encounters

Mixed Media
16” x 12” Deep Wrap Canvas
Contact me to purchase

Recently I was looking for something radical to submit for the members exhibition at our prestigious public gallery. Although they reserve the right to refuse pieces that “don’t fit”, this exhibition is a thinly disguised way to drum up membership, so pretty much almost anything goes if you’re a paid member. I looked through my abstracts for something I could adapt to the theme “Encounters” and this was the one that jumped out.

The call is to submit your best piece and most contributors go all out to impress, however, for me, always the radical, it’s an excuse to push the boundaries. Last year I submitted an experiential video of digital work, which quite frankly they didn’t showcase well. In 2015 it was a large naked dryadd (water nymph) which is my all time favorite painting and currently hangs in my bedroom.

UG2BK is a small painting with punch. I loved it from the outset, but I’ve re-invented it many times to see just how far I could go. It’s extraordinary, but every time I add to this painting it gets better and better. The finished work has lots of texture created with molding paste, gel, acrylic skins, string and Pebeo Cerne. It also sports large helpings of irridescent copper.

Previous versions





And this is the digital preparatory sketch.