Friday, February 24, 2012

What's in a Name?

This painting is by “A. Simpson,” one of many artists who (I suspect) cranked out thousands of similar seascapes in the 50s and 60s (in Asia?) to feed the cheap art market in America. I hear that most of these works were signed with WASPy, made-up names to make them look more yankee to the public. I receive a few emails each year from people (who have come by one of A’s paintings in a yard sale) asking if I ever signed my work “A. Simpson.” This makes me consider a few different aspects of having an online presence as an artist.

Before the internet I felt bad for people who had odd names or names with weird spellings. Now that I have my art online I have to think about making it easy for people to find me. Do you have any idea how many images Google comes up with when you search on the word “Simpson?” Just 476 million! There are a lot of The Simpsons fans out there, then there are a lot of people who are interested in what Jessica is doing, and Ashley, and OJ, etc. As if that weren’t bad enough, there are a lot of people named Steven Simpson in the world, there are even quite a few fine artists and illustrators with that name, and some of them BETTER than me!!! This is why I started insisting that my middle initial be included when my name is used online, and why I started getting the “A. Simpson” inquiries. So, if you have a distinctive name — be glad! It’s going to make your online life a lot easier. As for “A. Simpson’s” work being confused with mine, at first I was offended. I dashed off a few cranky emails in response — “You’ve got to be kidding! Have they SEEN my work?” Then I started thinking, whatever drives people to my gallery site is a good thing, right? Actually, A’s paintings aren’t so bad. Sure, they are hasty and formulaic, but the one above has some nice things going on. It’s colorful and it fits a lot of waterfront icons into a reasonable design. So, thanks “A. Simpson.” You made me a *tiny* bit easier to find online. And, no, I never signed a painting that way. BTW, if you like “A’s” painting I’ve shown here, it’s available for purchase on Etsy for 23 bucks — here.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Sold a Painting!

I recently sold this painting. It shows the back side of Crane Beach and Hog Island in the Essex River watershed (MA). In a rather cool coincidence I did this painting “The Snowless Winter” some years ago when we were having a mild one. This year, when we are again having a record mild and snowless winter someone is touched by this image and scoops it up. I think it surprised both me and the gallery owner (winter is usually slow). You just never know how long it will take for the person who will identify something in your work that resonates with them to stand in front of your painting.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

New (small) Painting!

I just turned this 8"x10" field sketch into a finished painting. There's a small works show coming up at The Copley Society and I needed something, uh, small. Normally, I save my field sketches as reference for a larger painting, but I tried tinting this canvas panel orange (as I’ve seen some other artists do). Well, IT WAS A DISASTER! I ended up making the sketch WAY too warm as the orange blazed through my thinner strokes. It was not going to be help in referencing the scene for me. So, I took another pass at it using my photos as refs and I’m calling it a finished small painting. Maybe I'll wait ’til summer and paint the small ref again, THEN do the larger version?

Friday, February 3, 2012

News: I just heard that I’ve been juried into the Copley Society of Art in Boston. This is a great honor for me, not to mention a rather big deal for my career.

Really, I am much happier than I look in this picture at right. In my head I'm jumping up and down and waving my arms! > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > >