How to Keep Your Paint Brushes as Good as New!

Are you new to painting and not sure how to keep your paint brushes clean? Maybe you are an art teacher and frustrated  with always finding dry and dirty brushes that need to be thrown out. Read below to see my tips in keeping your paint brushes as good as new!

Are you new to painting and not sure how to keep your paint brushes clean? Maybe you are an art teacher and frustrated always finding dry and dirty brushes that need to be thrown out. Read below to see my tips in keeping your paint brushes as good as new! 

 

Tip #1 – Use Dish Soap

When you are working with Acrylics, ink or water colour I like to squirt a drop of dish soap in the palm of my hand and swirl the bristles around in the palm of my hand until that soap starts turning the colour of the pigment you were working with. After you have added dish soap you can rinse with water. Next tap the end of the brush with bristles facing down on the edge of the sink (this helps loosen up dried pigment that is further up in the bristles and is lodged). You could repeat this process twice if the brush is really dirty.

 

Tip #2 – Store Upright

The best way to store your brushes is standing upright (bristles at the top) sticking up in a jar. If the bristles are facing down this will cause the bristles to get squished and bent and they can stay that way permanently!

 

Tip #3 – Educate

You can’t assume everyone knows how to clean a brush or even clean up in general. You need to show people how to do it and explain why it is important -especially with kids/teens!

 

Do you have any tips for keeping your brushes clean- Let me know in the comments!

3 Tips to Save Money by Self-Publishing

In 2018, I published my first book Patched. Publishing books have costs associated with them and I want to break down how I saved money publishing and some other ideas as well.

 

Tip #1 -Grant Funding

First of allI want to start by saying that I was very fortunate to get this book self-published by receiving a grant from the Waterloo Arts Fund -that supports projects from local artist through a two phase application process. With that being said, I think it is worthwhile to search into local/regional grants in the area you live that might provide all or partial funding for a project like this. For this particular grant I applied to there was a requirement that the grant had to give back to the community in some way. So part of my proposal included that I would donate 10% of  printed copies to local libraries.

In 2018, I published my first book Patched. Publishing books have costs associated with them and I want to break down how I saved money publishing and some other ideas as well.

Tip # 2- Pre-sale/Self-fundraise

Selling copies of a your book with a pre-sale can be highly effective especially if you have an e-mail list that you can reach out to. You can offer a special incentive for people buying the pre-sale like save a certain percentage off, receiving early access to a chapter, receiving a free gift like a printed artwork or photograph. These incentives make it more worthwhile for someone to pay for something ahead of time.

In addition to pre-selling your book you could consider self-fundraising which might include a sale in your online shop or using something like a crowdfunding website where you offer something small or some kind of a gift to those who invest in your publishing project.

 

Tip # 3- Consider an online publisher- look for deals!

I used Blurb to print my book. You can look into other online publishing companies there are a lot. I wanted something Canadian since I am from Canada and I wanted more of a photo book with high quality printed photos since that is what the majority of my book contains.

A lot of these online publishing companies including Blurb has a ton of deals and discounts. I got my book printed on a Black Friday Sale and saved 50%. You can follow one of these companies in Instagram to see the types of discounts they have done in the past.

 

Factors to consider when printing a book:

Hard cover versus soft – I chose hard – I wanted a nice coffee table style book

Type of paper- I chose something with a bit of shine and a high quality photo paper

Removing the Logo of the Printing company – I chose to remove the logo as I found it distracting however this costed more

Consider Shipping – Shipping alone for me was close to $110

Consider a PDF Ebook that you can use to sell in addition to your hard cover book as a source of passive income or on your own to save even more money.

With all of my add ons and discounts I paid- (with the support of my grant) -approx. $55 per book + Shipping

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Let me know what your book will be about in the comments!

How I Over Quadrupled my Monthly Views on Pinterest as an Artist

See my top three tips on Pinterest below!

I quadrupled my Pinterest views doing a few quick changes – here are my tips below! They are all very simple changes to make!

First of all it is important to think of Pinterest as a search engine not social media – people go on Pinterest to get inspired and look for particular things. What people are looking for a very specific items that pop up in their search based on key words used.

Tip 1 – Use Key words

You need to use key words everywhere in titles, descriptions, board descriptions. The more key words the more chances of people finding your pin. You can also use hashtags on Pinterest that people search for. Do your research to plan what key words people might be searching for and that best describe your pin.

Tip 2- create high quality content

The first 5 pins you pin should be your own content and you should try to pin every day to attract more viewers and followers. You can pin from your website, blog, instagram and you can repurpose old content that was popular in the past. You can create new content using canva.com or choosing beautiful high quality images. Content that does well on Pinterest is DIYs, how to articles and tips and tricks.

Tip 3- pin to reflect your target audience

If you are an artist you should definitely have a board dedicated to your own artwork. You should also be thinking of what your ideal customer might be interested in and create boards to reflect that. For example does your ideal client have kids? Do they like home decor or cooking? You need to delete or hide pins that are irrelevant and delete pins where the link is broken. Keep your personal pins private as secret boards.

You can see my Pinterest profile here! to get more ideas! Follow me on Pinterest to see more helpful resources.

Here’s How to Add Freshness to a Stale Art Practice!

This quarantine for many, myself included has been difficult. It’s hard to lose income and not being able to see loved ones.

It’s so easy to realize all the things you took for granted before.

As an artist, this has been a good chance for me to reconnect with my creativity. I have been busy lately planning an online art class that I am currently teaching for a private school. I have used my spare time to take on creative projects which has helped me to take care of my mental health.

Here are some fun ways to get back to a creative process that might have been previously on hold:

  • Get involved in a creative challenge or start your own— searching on Pinterest for creative art challenges is a good way to get inspiration. You can start your own based on your art practice. For example, if you are a quilter you could plan on making a certain number of quilts in a timeframe or if you’re a painter- plan on painting a small 8″x10″ painting everyday. Challenges work as fun goals to complete but they also act as a piece of accountability. Creative challenges can also be a good way to create social media content by updating your audience on what you are working on. As a creative it can be good to work on a series and challenges can help you to develop your own artistic style. 
  • Look at application deadlines as motivation— I love looking on websites like Akimbo  -websites like this provide artists with deadlines of submission calls for exhibitions and awards. These deadlines, I find hold me accountable and I write them down in my agenda and apply when I have time. You can read more on my goal setting process in this post   you can read the goals I made this year here 
  • Reach out if someone wants a commission or make artwork for a friend or family member’s gift—This can be a good idea to make a little extra money or to have a project to work on. Sometimes, I find I just need a project to keep me busy. Making a gift for someone or a commission  gives me a due date to stick to. You can read more about my commission process here!
  • Make a board on Pinterest for art inspiration or future project ideas— Pinterest is an amazing resource and I love pinning an idea that inspires me to try something similar with my own flair later on.  Check out my Pinterest boards here! 

 

Do you have any other ways to reconnect with your art practice? Let me know in the comments!

My 7 Tips on Art Portfolio Applications for College and University Students

I have been exhibiting my artwork since 2012. I have received artist grants and awards and I have attended artist residencies. With this experience I have done my share in submitting my portfolio for numerous applications. See my 7 tips for your college/university art portfolio application below!

After receiving my Bachelor of Fine Arts in Painting and Drawing from Lakehead University I also completed teacher’s college. I graduated being able to teach grades 4-12 in Ontario before taking my Master of Fine Arts at Concordia University.

During my time in teacher’s college part of my placement included teaching art to grade 12 students. In the first term I helped students with their portfolios as they were in the midst of applying for university and college arts programs. I volunteered my time to help these students during my lunch break by giving them tips and ways to improve what they had selected to be in their portfolios.

Currently I am working as an art instructor a private boarding school where I am helping international high school students with their portfolio applications in art and architecture programs.

I have outlined 7 tips on art portfolio applications below:

See my 7 tips for your college/university art portfolio applications in this blog post!

 

Tip #1

READ THE REQUIREMENTS -AND FOLLOW THEM

You need to know what they want and usually they tell you specifics!

Every university and college or even programs within the same school have different application requirements when it comes to their portfolios. Some schools are very specific asking for a certain number of pieces, certain media used or certain sizes of work. Some schools want original work, some/most don’t– they want photographs uploaded on programs like SlideRoom.  Some schools even have specific themes like “Make a work that is finished yet unfinished.” This can make the process more difficult and leave students feeling overwhelmed and unsure -often overthinking their decisions and ideas.

 

Tip #2

Show Your Creative Process

Most schools  want to see your process work – they want to see how you think about your art and why you made the choices you did. It is a good idea to explain your artistic decisions in either your descriptions of your artwork or by showing some sketches/tests and rough work as part of your portfolio.

 

Tip #3

Show Your Personality

The purpose of the portfolio is an introduction and a chance for your chosen school to get to know you and see if you would be a good fit there.  You want to show your interests and possibilities you might want to continue to explore while in post-secondary education. You should include materials you like working with and show your artistic style that is unique to you! You can show your personality through the subject matter by making art on things that interest you, that you’re passionate about and make you different from other people.

 

Tip #4

Show Variety

You want the professors reviewing your portfolio to be impressed by your skills and see you as an artist who is versatile. Therefore, it is important to show that you can do more. For example, if you are applying to an illustration program you want to show a mixture of digital and traditional artwork. You want to show that you can work with other mediums like water colour, acrylic, pencil crayon, pencil, ink, pastel… the list goes on and on.

By showing variety you are showing that you aren’t afraid to try new things and experiment with your artwork. It shows that you are open to growing and learning which is the whole point of college and university programs.

 

Tip #5

Show Program Specific Techniques 

If you are applying to specific programs like architecture or illustration you want to think about possible projects that might be studied in those programs. Once you have thought of those ideas you could try to include relevant pieces in your portfolio.

Take architecture for example:

-They create designs digitally and traditionally

-They make models

-They draw with perspective

These are just some of the qualities professors hope to see in your portfolio application.

If you are applying to a non-specific program like a Bachelor of Fine Arts for example- then again you want to show variety with materials but also what you are making include some drawing, some painting and some sculpture work in your portfolio. You need to show your range, talents and abilities. If you only submit drawings in pencil that’s all the review committee thinks you are capable of doing.

 

Tip #6

Details are Important 

You need to remember that review panels are looking at portfolio after portfolio for hours on end. You need to stand out and be memorable. Make sure you consider details to set you apart.

Edit your photos, think about your layout, come up with clever titles for your work. All these details are important.

 

Tip #7

Show Your Thinking, Your Writing and Research

Usually you will be asked to submit written descriptions about your work- make sure they are detailed and informative.

List your inspiration- if you did a drawing based off a building or place -state that research. You want to show your intelligence and critical thinking abilities in these descriptions.

Make sure you edit your writing, stick to the word count and choose a consistent and legible font.

Take time to plan your written descriptions and do not leave them to the last minute!

 

 

If you need more help with your portfolio- click the link below and book your calls by emailing me at jackiepartridgeart@gmail.com

Portfolio Planning Package

 

Good luck in your applications and all the best in your future!