Monday, November 30, 2015

MakeIt Edmonton show experience, by Natasa Vretenar

I am always looking for places where I can show my art in public. There are two big craft shows in Edmonton - one at the Butterdome and another one at Expo - MakeIt Edmonton. I looked at both of them for a while and decided to take a plunge sometime in the first part of the year and pay for the MakeIt Edmonton booth. The reason why I chose MakeIt Edmonton over the Butterdome show is that there were more fine artists in the MakeIt show. Both shows feature a lot of craft makers, but MakeIt show had about 20 artists signed up already when I applied. Another thing that MakeIt show has is a lot of (paid) parking - makes it easier for customers to come and park. Both shows have entrance charge, so that is about the same for customers.

My husband is an amazing man and he helped me setup and take down the grid walls and paintings. It would have been hard to do it on my own, and I am grateful. We set up the entire booth a day before the show - this took about a couple of hours. Then the show opened up on Thursday at 10 am. I was there until 9 pm, as well as on Friday. There were a lot of moms with little babies lined up in front of the show even before it opened! I have never seen so many cute babies in one place :).
Lot of people passed by and a few stopped by my booth to chat and ask a few questions about the art. It was a long day and I realized it was a good thing to have my kindle on me to read a book to pass the time. After the first day I decided to bring my work with me to the show and paint.

Painting in front of people can be intimidating, especially at first. I have not done it in a long time, so I had my reservations about bringing my easel with me. I also did not plan on doing this so I had no idea what would be a good thing to paint over the weekend. I brought my paint and supports and easel anyways on the second day! I worked on two wolf paintings that first day.

On the third day I worked on buffalo and  magpie paintings

The last day I worked on another prairie storm painting.

It was great to bring work to the show - my time flew by and it helped connect with people visiting the show- they stopped to look at what i was doing and commented on my work, and asked questions. It was really fun to talk about my technique. My improvised studio was small but efficient, even though I did not bring any of my texture building gels and mediums. It goes to show that if there is a will - there will be a way to create art - even with a limited space, and limited time.

Some of my friends also stopped by and said hi. It is a pleasure to see someone you know at the shows. I made two sales - one couple bought a painting without realizing I was from the same ex-country as they were from :). It is good to run into someone who speaks your native language. Another lady bought one of my favourite rooster paintings. I think that people who buy my art feel what I am trying to express with my art - I don't think my art is just a pretty picture that goes on the wall or matches a piece of furniture.  I appreciate all the art lovers who buy my art and support my artistic journey. It is not an easy journey to take in terms of financial matters, but it is a journey that is filled with continuous personal growth and introspection. I am looking forward to the future and creating more art.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

At the show

I am in my booth 618 at make it Edmonton. A lot of people are visiting the show. I am here today until 9 pm.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Monday, November 23, 2015

Summer in the North by Natasa Vretenar


I like to paint in series. This is one of my aspen series paintings that I really like - the texture, thick paint and aspen trees densely populating the painting.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Small gems I am taking to MakeIt Edmonton

These are just a few paintings I am taking with me to MakeIt Edmonton this week from Thursday to Sunday. I will be in my booth #618 all day each day. I hope that there will be a lot of visitors to stop by the booth and see my art in person and to meet me.

I decided to use one wall in my booth for small gems - these paintings will be $100 or less each. I love to paint big but I also paint a lot of small paintings to try out new things and hone my painting skills. This is a wonderful opportunity to purchase and own one of my original paintings at a great price.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Other benefits of preparing for the show

Putting together a show is a lot of work. From choosing a theme, to finding a place where to exhibit to doing the actual paintings, it takes many months to put everything together.

One of the important things about the shows is that it forces me to review my inventory and label everything and a lot of times even rework the paintings I want to take to the show. I spent several days this week going through my paintings and packed quite a few of them in polyethylene bags to take to the show next week. I find that the polyethylene bags work well (4 mil) for my acrylic paintings to protect them in transit to and from the show. They are of course not environment friendly but I reuse them and store my paintings in them to protect them from dust and scratching. I order them from U-Line here in Canada. Their shipping is fast and reliable for many supplies I needed (including grid wall accessories).

I have mostly packed my floral paintings so far, but three bears are going as well. I am sure there will be more animals ready to go by next week.

Friday, November 20, 2015

MakeIt Edmonton, Natasa Vretenar

I like painting this size paintings. I have a few more sizes that I prefer and these days I try to stick to these few sizes, as it helps with storage and framing issues.

I am going through my inventory today all day and finding nice gems to take with me to the show. One of the paintings is this "Spring is Here" painting - I just love the colours and textures on this one.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Koi IX, Natasa Vretenar

This is the last one in this series for now! 16x12"

All of these paintings are now varnished and I am going to buy some frames and will take them to the MakeIt Edmonton show next week. I can't believe we have less than a week before the show. Tempus fugit!

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Koi VIII, Natasa Vretenar


Got busy today with varnishing and preparing paintings for the show. The prep time is demanding and long. It takes a while to put all the hanging gear on the back of the paintings. I also needed new frames for all the koi paintings. These are done on a canvas panel so they need to be framed.

I am working on the smaller pieces at home when kids get sick or if there are other pressing issues, and have several large paintings in progress at the studio. I find it that when i do one thing right (for example dedicate my day to painting), everything else suffers no matter how well i plan things out.
I am working hard to have everything ready for the show next week. The show starts on Thursday and lasts 4 days until Sunday.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Koi VII by Natasa Vretenar


In this series, I started the panels with black gesso. I like black gesso because the colours pop out as you layer paint on top of it. Then I used some blue LUKAS paint I had (it is a thick acrylic paint, great for adding texture) to create water ripples. You can see this in the above painting around fish heads the most.  Once that layer of paint was sufficiently dry, i continued with glazing and with building the koi texture and transparency. This 12x16" series was a lot of fun to do and I learned a lot by playing with different texture building mediums. I am ready to move on to the larger panels and work on more koi in the near future.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Koi VI by Natasa Vretenar


I had a nice pond stocked with koi in Albuquerque, NM. It was delightful to watch the fish swim around, eat their food and splash. The pond attracted butterflies and dragonflies and was surrounded with native fragrant and hardy plants. A lot of my reference photos for this koi series come from that pond in our backyard.

Friday, November 13, 2015

Koi pond by Natasa Vretenar


I was convinced that these panels were 11x14" until i bought some frames for them! Guess what - they are a bit bigger :) 12x16".

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Feeding frenzy, by Natasa Vretenar


I am working on a few more koi paintings. These are 12x16"" - fairly small paintings (for me). I would like to take a few of them with me to makeit Edmonton.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Edmonton Environmental Report Calendar

This painting will be in Edmonton Environmental Report Calendar representing the month of April! This is my favourite month :). I am excited that it was chosen for the calendar. This painting is part of the show that is currently on display at The Steeps Lounge on Whyte until the end of the month. Stop by and see it if you are in the neighbourhood.

Monday, November 9, 2015

Working at the studio

It takes a few days to set up a studio. I cleaned it up - there was a lot of dust and some trash on the floors and brought in some furniture (a table to do some varnishing on or for smaller works) and reassembled my big easel. The space nicely accommodates it and I am happy i can continue using it in this space. I still have to get a nice lamp.

I got to work on two large paintings. They are landscapes, inspired by our own Edmonton ravine and North Saskatchewan river. Tons of texture already layered on!

I have a feeling my productivity will definitely go up with having my own work space.

I am also packing up for the makeit Edmonton show - that is coming up in two weeks.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Koi ponds continued


I am working on my koi paintings again  - i have several in the works and am making progress slowly.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Move in day

Today i got the keys for my new art studio and I moved in. It is good to have a space outside home to create in. I feel that I have been quite productive in the past few years - working in my living and dining rooms, but it was time to move the studio out! We will see how it goes.
My humongous easel needed to be completely disassembled and reassembled and that took most of the day. I still have to put a few more pieces together and bring more art supplies and canvases in. It is really exciting to set up the studio and not worry about messing the floors or walls up :). I wonder if that kind of freedom to be messy will affect my creative output.

Today we got our first snow. Thankfully, our winter tires are on now too and we are ready for more! Bring it on, winter!

The Messenger of Immortality 12x24"