In The Studio With A New Idea

In the studio with a new idea

Now that I’ve recovered from a ghastly case of pneumonia, (which I totally did not need), I decided enough was enough. I headed to my in-home art studio to see what to work on next. Sometimes a little straightening up can give me direction.

I sharpened my color pencils, straightened out my watercolor and oil paint brushes, dropping them into some pretty jars, took a look at my oil mediums, and stacked up some stretched canvases.

Taking some photos to admire my neat supplies I had an idea: post to Instagram! Done. (One thing about Instagram is it’s readily available from a phone, like most social media these days. Which also makes it very dangerous if I want to get any work done.)

Then I had another idea: post some paintings to Instagram. OK!

Which led me to the next thought: Why not hold an online art gallery exhibit and sale on Instagram? I could upload a painting each day with the backstory, dimensions, medium, title, price and purchase information. While I’m at it, the Muse prodded me on, I’d post right here on my little old blog. Besides here, there’s all the other social stuff everyone is hooked up to.

Why not?

You will have to bear with me as I figure out how to link all these things together. In the meantime, I’m going to start by taking some photos and videos of a few pieces of artwork to show you.

Here we go!

The Greece Dream is Over, Get Back to Work

A view of St. John Theologos Monastery on Patmos Island, Greece on the easel
Painting of Patmos, Greece on the easel today, 9×12 acrylic on stretched canvas

So the Greece dream visit is over. Wonderful as it was, it’s done. August is almost finished as well, and it is high time I get myself back to making art. Being in Greece for any length of time and one can lose themselves in the beauty, the deep blues, the ocean, the light and white, the weather, the music, the food, the people..

Yeah, it’s all that, and more.

Work has been a struggle this past year. More than once I let my head get in my way. Life happens, yes, but it shouldn’t mean work, the blog, the whole thing, needed to suffer. Soon as my solo show was over I was spent.

Now that I’m home from dreamy Greece, and feeling a little better, days are my own for right now, artwork just has to happen. This week I pushed Mr. Resistance aside more than once to make sure I painted something, anything, to get into the process again. He wasn’t happy either.

Yes, I worked a little while I was away. No, it wasn’t any big deal, just some sketching in my Moleskin with watercolors a couple of beautiful beach days. I’ll show you soon enough. It’s more than I’ve done on other visits to our Greek island home. The plein air palette I purchased specifically for travel painting never made the trip with me. I was too stressed about where it would go in my bags that I couldn’t handle it. Next time.

All that being said, I have made a pact with myself. Posting to the blog must become a habit again. Rededicating my inner child artist once again to working at the easel regularly is the direction. Work isn’t going to happen by itself and the hustle has to pay off in the long run. The next art show is my focus and goal.

As long as I can continue in this manner we’ll be okay!

Fingers crossed..

The Art Opening Was a Success

The opening reception for my first solo art exhibit and sale was a wonderful success, if I do say so myself.

@Dora Sislian Themelis Fall Pond, 18x24 Watercolor, Arches paper
@Dora Sislian Themelis, Fall Pond, 18×24 Watercolor, Arches paper SOLD

This painting is my favorite, but somehow I found the guts to offer it for sale. To my happy surprise a good friend snapped it up. Now I can visit my “baby” whenever I visit my friend. What a relief!

All together eight pieces were sold. One large work was purchased before I even arrived that night, which was another nice surprise.

©Dora Sislian Themelis Garden Afternoon, 18x24 Watercolor, Arches SOLD
©Dora Sislian Themelis Garden Afternoon, 18×24 Watercolor, Arches SOLD

Can you imagine how I felt to find out one of my paintings was sold before I even arrived for the event? Shocked to say the least. I really liked this one, too.

It was a wonderful party with friends, family, and art lovers. The appetizer platters were lovely, the wines and sodas flowed. People were happy and upbeat. Celebratory sentiments and congratulations were many. Attendees brought flowers, and notes of good luck, success, congrats.

It was all well worth the hard work of curating and preparing my own artwork. Certainly, I learned a lot about setting up the show, and about myself.

I can do it and it can be good.


First Solo Art Exhibition March 1-31, 2016

I am proud and excited to announce my 1st real solo art exhibit/sale for the month of March 2016. This lovely gallery in my area, Barnes Gallery, has agreed to host my artwork at their location.

Postcard for my 1st Solo Art Exhibit
Postcard for my 1st Solo Art Exhibit

There’s going to be an opening reception with food, drink, and live jazz music.

It’s been a rough month of preparations, framing, getting mats and some custom frames done. I certainly can’t do it all myself. I am not a great mat cutter, but I get by.

It’s scary, though. Did you ever have a party and think that no one will come? That’s how I feel about this event.

Wish me luck. Better yet, come by and say hello. I’d love to meet you in person.


Sold Art, Somehow, Sort of

The more I get involved in this blogging thing, the more it makes me bang my head against the nearest wall.

It’s so tiring when things don’t work the way things are supposed to work. These people say it’s so easy, it’s so straightforward, cut/paste/link, Ta-Da!

They lie.

I promised a fellow twitter user I’d write up a blog post about some commerce we fell into online, and wouldn’t you know, I can’t figure out how to post our posts. Twitter embed something or other, and it was not working. At least I couldn’t figure out how it could look anything like what I saw on our twitter feed.

Just copy the block and paste it in the field. Yeah. No way.

So anyway..I’ll tell you my story now that I’ve ranted.

A while ago I signed up for an About Me page and a twitter user found me through it, told me he liked my paintings, and if I had some notecards he’d buy them in a snap.

Postcards of some watercolor paintings
Notecards of some of my floral watercolor paintings
Greek themed notecards of my watercolor paintings
Notecards of my watercolor paintings with Greek inspired themes

These are some of the notecards I had available at that moment and my twitter “friend” was thrilled!

Ed Milligan of @justasked on twitter purchased 6 of my notecards. We had a really lovely exchange and he was very nice about sending me payment including shipping costs.

Now, if I could figure out how to show you the photo of the cards he bought I’d be a genius. All I can do is copy the links to our tweets, so go ahead and click to see it.

Plein Air or Daily Painting?

In the last few months of my art journey, between listening to Mr. Resistance and trying to fend him off, I was intrigued by two kinds of art processes: the daily painting and plein air painting.

As I would love to be one of those intrepid daily painters, I’m not sure I can hack it.

Yes, I’ve been painting in twenty minute segments and getting work done that way. But real daily painting? And to be responsible enough to post that work? Hmm, maybe that’s not me.

Then there’s the plein air painter. Also an intrepid bunch of folk, some of who trudge out to remote locations to paint the scenery. I would love to be one of those artists, and I have done that, but not really equipped the way some are. I am working on that though because I think I could be one.

Then again, I do get anxious thinking I’m all alone somewhere, which I like, but it’s scary too. Anyone one could be lurking about, with little old me happily painting away unaware.

I had an opportunity to join a local group of artists who meet once a month to paint at a local plant and garden nursery. That was great fun to see flowers, tractors, fall scenery, and a rocky waterfall.

I particularly enjoyed the waterfall, and the tractor which I already showed you here.

Take a look at the waterfall sketches I did in my Moleskin notebook:

Plein Air Watercolor Sketch in Moleskin

Plein Air Watercolor sketch 2 Moleskin

Plein Air Watercolor Sketch 3 Moleskin

Quick sketches in micron pen with watercolor washes, and straight watercolor work without pen sketching. The idea was just to get something down on the paper, the feel of the subject, some color and light. That’s it.

Imagine, I did three sketches outside! Next up, I’m investigating outdoor painting easels and pochade boxes. Maybe if I am well equipped I can make the plein air thing happen more often, but nearby, in full view of civilization so I don’t get scared!

Resistance and the Challenge

Resistance is a real kicker. One day you’re cranking out the work, nothing can stop you. Absolutely nothing.

Suddenly, BOOM! Everything comes to a stand still. And yet, you fully expect the next day to be productive.

What happens next? Nothing.

However, some good things happened in the process, in the work that is art.

Hating the acrylic paints I picked up a while ago, expecting to like them but totally Not Liking, I vowed to use them and empty each and every little tube of it’s contents creating whatever seemed to move me.

Completing 30 works in the 30/30 Painting Challenge eluded me, but the process was there.

Let’s just say it was there on most days during the month long challenge.

17 paintings in the 30/30 Challenge
17 Paintings in the 30/30 Challenge

Let’s also admit that creating 17 works of art, however I like the outcome, is nothing to sneeze at. It takes commitment to painting as the work that must get done, no matter what else is on the list of to-do’s around here.

Daily Paintings 4 and 5 The Challenge Continues

The 30/30 Painting Challenge continues with these two works for Day 4 and Day 5. As you can tell, I’m trying to keep up. Posting to the blog and where ever has been a bigger challenge than the painting.

Day 4

Day 4 SeaShells, 8×10 Acrylic on stretched canvas ©2014 Dora Sislian Themelis

This acrylic was done from direct observation of the shells I’ve collected from the local beach. I love looking at them so it was a natural thing to paint them. I’m still not thrilled with acrylic paints.

Day 5

Day 5 7x10 Watercolor en plain air still life, Canson paper, ©2014 Dora Sislian Themelis
Day 5 7×10 Watercolor en plain air still life, Canson paper ©2014 Dora Sislian Themelis

And here, my lovelies, is a little plein air sketch done at the actual beach. I collected a few of these interesting shells, put them together to paint. I did sketch with a Micron pen first, then went to color. I don’t know why I love it so much. Maybe it was being at the beach with the quiet waves, the warm sun, the peacefulness of the place.

I know I’m behind in posting my additions to the challenge, but I am working at it, rest assured.



September is 30 Paintings in 30 Days

Welcome to September, friends! I am back and busy, painting new work in my usual twenty minute segments of time to stay alive in the process and keep Mr. Resistance away. Enter the 30/30 Challenge hosted by Leslie Saeta on her blog. (Do go take a look at all the artists signed up. It’s over 700!)

I am ready! Process!

Amorgos Boats, 8x10 Acrylic ©2014 Dora Sislian Themelis
Amorgos Boats, 8×10 Acrylic ©2014 Dora Sislian Themelis

Acrylic paint has never been something I wanted to bother with being primarily an oil painter.

I had a set of colors I thought maybe it was time to put them to the test. Other artists I know love them. I wasn’t so sure I would.

This first work for the 30/30 Challenge was done in twenty minutes with a fairly large brush and a small 8×10 stretched canvas. It’s a scene I’d already painted in watercolors.

My goal was to see how I liked using the acrylics, and if my painting style and techniques would be different.

Honestly, I don’t think the style is very different than my watercolor painting.  I worked a little faster because these paints allowed some mixing on the canvas and I used the large brush.

Let’s say I’m not in love. The work got done, so that’s a plus.


A Successful Art Event

The Greek Artists Guild Art Show/Sale was a success, for me at least. It’s been helpful to break the ice, so to speak, getting my work in front of people. I get a chance to talk to people about my process, get feedback, socialize a little with people I don’t know, and become more experienced at showing my artwork.

Here I am!
Here I am!

Participating in these low-key events is great. There’s no pressure, everyone is relaxed, the artists get a chance to met each other and discuss our work.

Another great thing is that it’s sponsored by the Federation of Hellenic Societies, a community organization in Astoria, New York, so there is no fee to show.

My table at the event with art and jewelry
My table at the event with art and jewelry

I brought plenty of work, too. Whenever I attend these events I never know what to bring as everyone has different tastes. One person may like landscape, another is drawn to still life work. So I bring everything!

Some work I matted, others I left flat. Nothing is framed. If I did that I wouldn’t be able to carry much with me. Like this I manage to fit it all in my portfolio case. Nice and easy.

It’s even more fun if a browser becomes a collector! I’m proud to say I sold a couple of works to some lovely shoppers.

Next post I’ll show you the works I sold and the stories behind them. A lot of fun for sure!