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Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Make an artist happy, commission a work of art!

So you say you want some art, great! Collecting and displaying fine art is wonderful, fabulous. These days, with original Picassos selling in the low billions, and Warhols even cheaper than that, fine art is within the reach of just about... what's that? Oh, you don't have the budget of a major industrial nation to spend on a painting? Guess what? No problem! Because it just so happens that there are plenty of living breathing artists in the world today who would love to help you start your art collection. Plus, you have the advantage of being able to actually meet and speak to these people. You can get to know them directly, learn about their art and what compels them to create it. (Take that, Pablo!)

One very solid advantage of purchasing art from a contemporary "up-and-coming"
artist is that most will be happy to accept commissions. If you see an artist's gallery and appreciate their work, don't hesitate to contact that artist with your particular needs. For example, you could commission a portrait, request an original painting of the exact dimensions you want to fill a certian area on your wall, or ask if he or she could create a work of art in a color scheme to fit the decor and theme of a room in your home. Abstract art is especially well suited for these last two ideas.

I've done some commissioned artwork myself, and I always find it uniquely challenging and rewarding. Sometimes a prospective patron will want a piece based on a previous work I've done, but with some sort of subtle personal changes. (See the previous post about the "Masked Fish" commission.) There have also been requests where someone has only a vague idea of what they want, maybe a specific size or color scheme, and I have to translate that into a tangible work of art. (I said it was challenging!) One painting for a friend was based on this poem by Rumi:

Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing,
there is a field.
I'll meet you there.

When the soul lies down in that grass,
the world is too full to talk about.
Ideas, language, even the phrase "each other" doesn't make any sense.

Monday, November 3, 2008

A new commission completed!

Such excitement, I swoon. Seriously, I received a commission via my Etsy shop ( ) for an image similar to the print of the two goldfish wearing masks.

What the client was looking for was two African Butterfly fish wearing masks of two particular people. Thus:

Quite a challenge, these commissions, but I must say it's enjoyable. And YOU should enjoy such things as well! Yes, o painter, I speak to you. Because by accepting commissions, you must learn to work within the confines of subject matter and imagery you wouldn't necessarily have chosen in the first place. But to rise to such a challenge is an accomplishment indeed. And a learning experience. In fact, your homework is to seek out a commissioned work of art, in your chosen medium, and work on it with due dilligence, whatever that is supposed to mean and I just threw it in there because I liked the sound of it so there ha HA!, and... you know, make something good. It'll build character.

Thank you. Namaste.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Some useful information for artmaking.

Greetings, friends. I have a few random bits of, for lack of a better word, wisdom that have been helpful in my own artistic pursuits. This is, of course, not to say that I know a heck of a lot about anything. I believe it was Plato who stated that he was the smartest man alive, and tha he knew nothing. But I digress... these are just a few tips I've found helpful and I'd ike to share them.

If possible, paint or draw standing up. When sitting down, one tends to lean over one's work, the back gets a bit hunched up, and this could be bad for the spine. Standing up also allows for more movement, and Art should be a dynamic process. It's as much about thinking and seeing as it is about creating. (Salvador Dali has a great quote about "The Thinker", by Rodin. Something about "It's fine for shitting but not for thinking!" He was referring to the seated position. If anyone knows his exact words, please let me know.) Keep a chair handy so you can take a few steps back and take a break when you need it, and study your work in progress.

Keep a mirror handy. A medium hand-held one will do fine. This is so you can gaze adoringly into your own eyes and repeat to yourself, in a sultry lisp, "You look fabulous, dahling, yesss you do, very beautiful and sexxxy! Yes you are!" Ha ha, just kidding. No, the mirror is so you can look at your artwork in it. It will provide an alternative view, but an important one. Your composition should be as balanced reflected in the mirror as it is normally. Or, to put it another way, it should look just as good backward as forward. It's surprising how different the aspects of image will appear when viewed in this way. Turning the image upside-down or sideways is also helpful.

If you go to YouTube, look for "space4art". It's a series of videos by and about the artist Michael Parkes, (a favorite of mine,) where he explains alot of his techniques. His art is amazing, and he explains it very intelligently and articulately. Kind of an anti-Warhol. (Not to say that I don't respect Andy Warhol.) He talks about the mirror technique in this video: at about 3:30.

So that's it for now. Thanks for reading. I've got a new print in my Etsy shop, feel free to check it out, let me know what you think:

Also don't forget to look for Design Style Guide on Etsy, some great work there, visual arts and such, and I'll post some more hints, tips, tricks, methods, madness and what not soon.


Michael M. Koch

Monday, October 6, 2008

Halloween, or Samhain if you prefer.

Here are a few interesting things I've learned about this fun holiday:

Supposedly Halloween evolved from the Celtic festival of Samhain, although there is some controversy as to the accuracy of this information.

Jack-o-lanterns were traditionally carved from turnips in Europe. (Pumpkins aren't native to that continent.)

In England and Scotland, black cats represent good luck. I agree

So where am I going with all this? Halloween prints! Yes, I'm working on Halloween images for some new prints in my Etsy shop, ( and eventually the calendar I've started working on. Here's a rough:

Kinda cool, ain't he? Thanks for looking! Don't forget to check out , look for the Interior Design Team , and do great creative artistic things at all times.

Michael M. Koch

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

New print on Etsy!

This is a little something called "Surrealist Masked Fish, Number 24." This is a pastel drawing in the series I mentioned in the listing for "Surrealist Jellyfish." The little fishie looks down, and like Narcissus admires his own reflection in the gently rolling waters of the ocean he drifts above.

(If you look closely, you can see an image of this as a work in progress in the pictures of my studio below.)

Thanks for looking!

Michael M. Koch

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Welcome to my world.

Here's a chaotic photomontage of my chaotic studio. I thought you might find it interesting:

Now keep in mind that this is just a picture. The actual room is much messier., my all-time favorite website, does little videos of artisans in their studios and stuff. Hey, why not.

Thanks for looking.

Michael M Koch

Welcome to my world.

Here's a chaotic photomontage of my chaotic studio. I thought you might find it interesting: