September 22, 2014

Art makes the perfect wedding gift

For the second time this year my work was given as a wedding gift (read about the first time here). The girlfriends of the bride had decided they wanted to give the happy couple this very special gift as a group. Although the process of creating this piece was similar to doing a regular commissioned painting, this did feel more special. Because it was going to be a gift, I wasn't working with the people that would receive the painting so that always adds an extra level of difficulty.

I talked with the clients to get an idea about the subject and sent them some examples of previous works so they could give their preferences for a style, size and price range. Then I started creating a composition on the computer. I sent them a digital sketch and we communicated back an forth about some minor changes until everyone was happy.

One of the requests was that I add the details of a map that showed the place where they got engaged. I also added their names and wedding date in the painting to make it extra special.

Because art is very personal and each painting is unique I think it is an amazing gift for a special occasion like a wedding. I am honored that I was asked to create this painting, hopefully it will give this lovely couple lots of happy memories. 

Do you like the idea of giving art as a wedding gift? Do you have any questions about the process of commissioning an artwork? Don't hesitate to ask! I'm always available to answer your questions just leave a comment or send me an email!

September 15, 2014

The difficulties of crossing the US border as an international artist.

In last weeks blog post I announced I would be participating in the 2nd Arlington Festival of the Arts, unfortunately I had to cancel this event because I might get stopped and detained at the border because participating in the fair might not be legal. I say might because I'm still not quite sure, let me explain.

I know a lot of international artists that do fairs and festivals in the US so I initially thought that this was something that I could do without any problems. I had called the department of taxation and got a form that allowed me to pay my sales tax in the state of Virginia so I thought I was OK to go.

Turns out I thought wrong, because even though you can bring your artwork across the border for exhibition purposes, you are not allowed to sell said artwork, this blogpost by a fellow Canadian artists explains the risks and reasons. (

I emailed the art fair organizers, who have been organizing shows with international artists attending for 30 years but they didn't have any information about this at all. So I spent the week on the phone talking with multiple visa specialists, I exchanged emails with US customs and border patrol, the US business visa centre and US immigration services, I read multiple visa eligibility criteria on the homeland security website as well as part of the foreign affairs manual. After all this I still cannot say for sure that I would be able to sell my art on an art fair in the US legally, ever. Suffice it to say it has been a slightly frustrating and confusing week.

I have been advised to apply for a B1 visa, which apparently is different from ESTA which lets me enter the US with a B1/B2 visa status??? Yeah I'm confused too! Apparently the person that I would have my visa interview with would be able to give me a more definite yes or no, but even then it's apparently still up to the border patrol officer if I would be allowed entry each time! I don't mind applying for a visa if that is what it takes to do things legally but it is just very frustrating that nobody can tell me if this visa would definitely allow me to do sell my art in the US. But, since this seems to be my only option I'm going to go for it.

Obviously applying for a visa takes some time so I had to cancel the Arlington show :( I'm pretty bummed about that one! I thought I had done my research but since there are no clear rules about this it is very difficult to find information and I don't want to take the risk of being detained at the border like my fellow Canadian artist. Hopefully I will be able to figure all this out and do some US shows in the future.

For now I'm heading back into the studio, there's still a whole bunch of paintings that need finishing :)

September 08, 2014

The 2nd Annual Arlington Festival of the Arts (Arlington, VA)

I need to work, work, work! In two weeks I am going to be part of the 2nd Annual Arlington Festival of the Arts (Arlington, VA) so I am going to need some new works to bring with me! Today I'm focusing on creating the compositions for a series of new City Vignettes featuring Washington DC, I just picked up a bunch of panels for them so those are currently being prepped with GAC and Gesso.

I've also done a new pour this morning and will do another one tomorrow, for two more pieces that have been waiting to get finished. I have many, many new pieces waiting for me in the studio so this week I will lock myself in there until at least some of them are finished :)

Keep an eye on my Facebook Page for regular photo updates of my progress :)

Because of all these preparations there will not be a new episode of Creative Ramblings next week, but keep an eye on my YouTube Channel for an overview of the show in Arlington!

September 01, 2014

Creative Ramblings #16: How to varnish a painting with Golden and Liquitex products.

I know it's been a while but here it is! A brand spanking new episode of Creative Ramblings! In this episode I talk about varnish, why it is a good idea to varnish a painting, what you need to look for when buying a varnish and how to apply it. Enjoy!