Monday, July 21, 2014

Ridges of Eastern Washington

Road from Jump Off Joe. ©2014, Lisa McShane. Oil on Linen. 18" x 36"
I'm delivering a commissioned painting today. It's of a road through wheat fields on a ridge in Eastern Washington.

It's funny to me to be painting this road - this is where a large group of us went sledding in high school. I think we were supposed to be in class but there was snow.

This is also where my husband used to run with his friends in high school, high above Kennewick with great views in every direction. He's got a great blog on geology here. Artists - you don't even want to know how many readers he has (yes, people love geology!)

Click here for information on hiking in the area. The post I like to describes the ridge as "one of only 18 peaks total in Washington state to be isolated from a taller mountain by a radius of 25 miles of more." It's not that it's tall, it's just on its own out there.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Fields of Lucania. ©2014, Oil on Linen. 20" x 30".
I am drawn to views of golden fields and skies. Simple farmland. I paint these over and over and sometimes I hesitate to show people. These paintings don't usually sell and it's clear to me now that these are images I paint just for myself.

Practicing skies? Maybe. Thinking through light and atmosphere? Sure. Playing with shapes and composition? A little. But to me there's just something about these sweeping views of simple things. This one is in Basilicata, southern Italy, where we saw beautiful fields of wheat grown on a smaller scale than we're used to in Washington State.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Fall on Red Mountain

Fall on Red Mountain. ©2014, Oil on Canvas. 22" x 44"
Red and Rattlesnake Mountains are in the Yakima River valley of eastern Washington and they interest me in all seasons. The valley seems to capture and hold light and over the years, painting in the area, I've found some great vantage points.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Artwork Archive: why I use this art inventory system

An inventory system for art should focus on tracking your art. It should do that easily, intuitively and it should quickly allow you to put together a list with images and prices for your gallery.

It should also be a system that survives when your computer - for whatever reason - does not. I need an inventory that will last for 20 years; I hope my computer lasts 5 years.

I've tried most of the art inventory software systems out there. I bought 2 or 3 and downloaded trial versions of the others. There was always something that didn't work and often it was that they were clunky or looked ugly. I'm an artist. I don't ever want to see strange cartoon icons. Some just had too many 'extras' that slowed down my process. I'm never going to use an art inventory system to write letters. I just need to keep track of my work.

So I kept trying out new programs and then wrote about my research in this blog post here.  And in 2011 when Artwork Archive contacted me and asked if I'd do a test drive of their system I said sure, why not?

That was 3 years ago. Full disclosure: Year 1 was free to me for trying it out. I've now renewed at full price twice and don't plan to switch. 

Artwork Archive is a cloud based system. Here's why it's different and why you should use it:
  • You can log in from any device. Traveling to Chicago with just your iPhone or tablet? Log in and show people your paintings. 
  • If your computer dies, your artwork inventory is untouched. This system will outlast your device (and you.)
  • Daily backups. Do you back up your computer every day? I didn't think so. This system does that.
  • Are you excited to download updates of software every year or two, crossing your fingers that it will work with whatever aging operating system you've got? Nope? With a cloud based system you never have to update again. Ever.
  • It looks beautiful (see screen shots below).
  • The reports function works easily. This was the only one I tried where I was able to easily transfer paintings to a gallery and have it generate a good report. 
  • The portfolio page works great. When I click on a painting, I can generate a good single image page that I can email to a potential buyer. I like that.

Also, this: if you click here you can get 20% of Artwork Archive, forever. Note that I receive no compensation for this. These folks have a great product. I want them to succeed; I want you to succeed. Great product, great price. 

It's run by 2 software developers and they are very, very responsive to artists and to galleries. If there's something that's not working for you just shoot them an email. I have. It works. There are features I don't use (track print runs) and things I haven't used but will (public page) and these were added based on direct feedback from artists.

Here are some screen shots. Notice how snappy the little red SOLD sign is? That's a new change that I like a lot. It's like a little party on my screen.

Screen shot of my work on my page, sorted by inventory number. You can sort this many ways.

Here's a shot of the report I drop off with my paintings at the gallery. It exports as a pdf so it's easy to save, email or print. So helpful for everyone.

Here's the gallery page. It's nice to pull this up and see what's there. This is how you track locations. My unsold paintings are generally in 4 locations and without an inventory, I don't remember where.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Cliffs, Sea

Edge of the Sea. ©2014 Lisa McShane. 16" x 20". Oil on Linen Panel.
I went fishing in May. It was a beautiful sunny day and I loved tracing the edge of the cliffs against the sky while people pulled in nets of fish, squid and octopus.