Thursday, July 21, 2011

Interview with Sarah Scholl Bowie - Art Ambassadress

The lovely Sarah Scholl Bowie is truly a work of art herself. She has filled her home with an abundant (and growing) collection of original art that is absolutely staggering, as you soon will discover as you look through these photographs of her collection (which, I'm sure, is just the tip of the iceberg). It's always fun to do an interview with an artist, but I have never done one with a collector - this will be my first and I'm thrilled that Sarah agreed.

When did you start collecting art and what inspired you to begin your collection?

When I left my parents' house I "liberated" a few of my uncle's paintings - before he became the musical composer Harvey Schmidt, he was a commercial artist. I also had 2 paintings by a friend of Harvey's and then 5 years ago I made friends with the artist Leisa Shannon Corbett and realized I could afford art from someone OUTSIDE the family! An impulse purchase from a gallery in Golden 2 years ago led me to Carol Nelson's work and Daily Painters - the collection mushroomed from there.

What do you think your collection says about you?

It certainly shows my love for color and pattern, but there are also strong subject themes - women are probably the most prevalent theme (I'm a motherless daughter), minimalist landscapes, art-within-art. I love hanging paintings in color or theme groups, and that shows one of the quirks of my brain - a relentless search for patterns in everything.

What is your art buying experience like - do you go into it with something in mind or do you discover new art/artists organically?

It's a combination of both, and the internet makes that so easy. Yes, I have been known to search on Etsy for something like "orange sun" or "green nude."

What are your turn-offs when shopping for art - aka, what would make you not buy when you otherwise would?

I am so spoiled by Pay Pal buttons that now I hesitate to purchase any other way - although I did mail a check for a beagle watercolor earlier this year!

Do you look for art that is ready to hang or are you open to art that will need framing to be hung? When it comes to canvases, do you prefer the sides of the canvas to be painted?

I definitely prefer ready-to-hang art because that frees up more money to buy more paintings! I prefer the canvas sides to be painted although I do have many hanging in my house with the edges still white and I've gotten used to that look.

When it comes to shipping, do you have a certain expectation about the package you will receive or does the packaging not matter to you (as long as it gets there safely, that is)?

I am always impressed by the care that artists take when shipping their work. But when they use so much tape that cutting into the box feels like I'm doing a C-section, I get frustrated. A lot of my purchases are shipped to my office and my manager has complained the cutting and ripping of boxes is too noisy in our open cube environment. (So now I drag the boxes into a meeting room to unpack them, LOL.)

You purchased one of my paintings on Etsy. Is Etsy the only place you buy art online or are there other sites you frequent?

Etsy has become my primary site because of the great range of prices, but I have bought many paintings from Daily Painters. I've also bought from Daily Painter Originals, artist websites and eBay.

Is there something we, as artists, could do/say/show to make our art more appealing to buyers?

I think you and hundreds of other artists I follow are doing a fantastic job. I can hardly resist you on any given day. I can't imagine how you could make yourselves MORE appealing!

Finally, what are your hopes for the future as a collector?

I hope I can slow down my rate of collecting so that it doesn't feel so compulsive. I would also love it if my collecting inspires other people to buy original art - that's part of why I show so many paintings on Facebook. I also hope my collection stays safe for many years - there's a burned-out house in our neighborhood and every time I drive by it, I shudder!

Many thanks to Sarah for a wonderful interview and peak into her art-filled home! Visit Sarah's blog at

Friday, July 15, 2011

Product Review - Matisse Acrylic Paints

Here is the write-up about the Matisse brand of acrylic paint via Jerry's Artarama: "Now you can try brilliant Matisse Flow low-viscosity artists' acrylics with these fantastic sets! Well-balanced color selections and included mediums make for virtually limitless application choices, and are excellent for learning color mixing or for taking on the road! Matisse Flow Acrylics are a superb choice for any number of techniques, from folk art and detail work to glazing and even watercolor-like washes, and their high lightfast rating and pigment content mean your art is sure to stand the test of time. Try Australia's premier fluid acrylics with these terrific sets from Down Under!"

Paramount canvases 6" x 12"

There is nothing, NOTHING, like getting a fresh batch of supplies. I am a one stop shopper when it comes to supplies - either going in person to the West Hartford, CT branch of Jerry's Artarama to check things out in person, or just buying from them online. You cannot beat the prices and their customer service is second to none. I used to frequent some big name art supply stores in Boston and New York when I was in college - they were cool in their own way, but Jerry's gives you all of the knowledgeable staff, all of the quality materials as the others, PLUS a positive personal experience that sticks with you (and crazy good prices) - it creates a sense of well earned loyalty - and in this business, that is something that I greatly admire and appreciate.

The Mattise set comes with a good selection of colors - your basics "plus", if you will. Titanium White, Phthalo Blue, Ultramarine Blue, Brilliant Alizarin (Alizarin Crimson with bells on), Mattise Red Light (Cad Red as far as I'm concerned), Yellow Deep (this is the yellow I've been waiting for all my life, btw), Yellow Light Hansa (I've never been one for the Hansa Yellow, but that's just me - I think in time I'll grow into its mellow yellowness), and a solid Mars Black. Mixers know you don't need any secondary colors in there - multitudes of mixable purples, oranges and greens are there for the taking if you know your color wheel. ;) (Do you? Should I do a blog post about mixing colors? Let me know - no judgment!).

I began my painting session with a light wash of color (with no water or mixers by the way) to lay down an underpainting. The first thing I noticed was the thinness of the paint in the best way possible. It's smooth as silk without being too translucent. It isn't as thick as some paints I'm used to but it packs a punch nonetheless. I admire that in paint - I've dealt with cheaper acrylics that require you to layer and layer to gain the opacity you are looking for all the while being quite a thick paint to work with so it's not an easy process. This paint makes it easy...

Here's the first painting I made using the Matisse brand about half or 75% finished. I will say this... I like it... I like it a lot. My one warning would be to be careful squeezing it out - it comes out fast and a little goes a long way. You'd be surprised.

Amorous - Acrylic on 6" x 12" canvas, 2011 - SOLD

Here's the finished piece I called Amorous because, well, it reminds me of love (insert "aww" here).

Tranquility - Acrylic on 6" x 12" canvas, 2011

And here is another piece I made with these paints. All in all, I will definitely be using these paints in the future. I am also eager to try them on paper. Have you tried any new products lately? Leave a comment and share your thoughts!