Summer Updates

 Summertime is upon us, and with that comes daytrips to the James, dinners on the balcony and plenty of homemade ice cream.


A few updates as we head into the summertime:


  1. A greater selection of original artwork will be placed on my Etsy shop page for purchase. I will be announcing these paintings’ availability through social media, but as always, if there is a particular piece that catches your fancy please don’t hesitate to contact me directly :) 
  2. Commissions will be closed for the summer. I am clearing my calendar to make room for some new work that I am extremely excited about and I hope you will be too. I will be reopening commission slots on August 15th.

In other news, I am working on a series of Richmond alleyway watercolors that celebrates one of RVA’s hidden gems- the alleys in the Fan and Museum District. There will be one painting for each month of the year, all inspired from my many neighborhood walks with my son. I’ve affectionately dubbed it the “RVA Calendar” and it’s a project I’ve been thinking about for over a year now. Progress on the paintings will be posted to social media, and with any luck, there will be updates on the blog as well. 

2018 Plans & Dreams

Here's to a new year brimming with possibilities!

Reflecting on my goals for 2018 in this first week, I wanted to share a few hopeful future projects with y'all.

Free Fridays is officially up and running! Visit the contact page (underneath “about”) to sign up or click here!

Free Fridays is officially up and running! Visit the contact page (underneath “about”) to sign up or click here!

Free Fridays

Something that I learned through announcing my show at Cabell Gallery back in August and September was that social media posts are easy to miss. I can't think of the number of people I know that would have loved to have had more information concerning the time, date, and location of the show, but missed the announcement. So, the next time an opportunity rolls around for an exhibition or other art event, I want to communicate clearly, and the best and easiest way I can think of is to land those important announcements in your inbox.
So, as a thank you for all the folks who show their support, I've decided that every Friday in 2018 is going to be a Free Friday. This means that I will pick one person out of my email list to ship a tiny drawing or painting to. I figure this is a way to spread the love, spread the word, and be generous to all of you who support this art endeavor of mine. :) 

More (regular) blog posts
Writing is a very necessary component of making art, running a business, or paradoxically, staying sane as a stay-at-home-mom. While it seems impossible, I'd love to publish a short blog post every two weeks. It's a great way to take a step back and think critically about the hows and whys of why I am doing what I do, and as the years pass these posts can serve as a public record of where I am in my life and art. 

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Prints!!!
The majority of my bread and butter comes from commissions, which is really awesome and amazing and for which I am incredibly grateful. However, they are time consuming and a bit like giving haircuts- I'm always afraid the finished product won't match up to a client's expectations! I've thought of diving in to more illustration based landscapes for a while now, and would love to offer items in the store that are bit more affordable to the average buyer. My dream is to have illustrated postcards, stationary and prints of Richmond and other locations. This way, even if the amount of commissioned work dwindles, or another child happily squirms it's way into the world, I would still be able to offer items. 

Other Projects
While I am, and most likely always will be a landscape painter, I would love to brush up on figure drawing. Not only is this a huge gaping hole in my technical abilities, but being confident in portraiture would open up possibilities to pursue a wider variety of commissions and illustration opportunities. 
I would also love to display work in some sort of venue here in RVA- most likely something small and local. A sort of celebration of work that makes sense when seen together.  

I am not certain what exactly 2018 holds for my family, but I am so excited to get started on these projects, and see where this journey takes me during the course of these next 365 days! 

 

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

As 2017 winds to a close I’m finding myself reflecting on the past year. I learned a lot, grew a lot, failed a lot, and I am so grateful for the opportunities I was able to take advantage of. 

To recap a few of the more memorable projects I undertook:

All nine paintings!  There is nothing like a super serious deadline to motivate the soul and create some artwork!

All nine paintings!  There is nothing like a super serious deadline to motivate the soul and create some artwork!

I had my first ever "solo" show at Cabell Gallery in Lexington, Va.
This show was a huge learning curve. I think the biggest take-away is to use solid wood when framing- none of this composite IKEA junk. (and I LOVE IKEA frames!!) Oh, and to test hang all of the frames before delivering them to the gallery. 

Other than the framing snafus, some of my best paintings from 2017 were made for this show, and I figured out several (mostly) architectural techniques like painting brick, siding, and the gravel in front of buildings. I'm proud of the illustrations made for this project, and happy to say that a few were able to be sold as well. Many thanks to Cabell and Susan over at Cabell Gallery for graciously hosting my work and displaying it a month longer than expected!

100 Days Project- stroller sketch crawls of RVA with my little man <3

100 Days Project- stroller sketch crawls of RVA with my little man <3

 

 

I attempted (and failed) the 100 day instagram project. 
The idea of the 100 Day Project is to pick a prompt, and create something small relating to it everyday, for a 100 days. And then share your work with others via social media. My project was to use ink pens and watercolors to create a small, urban sketch everyday. I wanted the sketches to be done outside while I took the little man on stroller rides, so I could work directly from observation. I think I made it about halfway. There were several main problems that I encountered while working.

First, I was too afraid to share my bad sketches on social media.
Second, I limited myself too much. Only outdoor, from life sketches done with a fussing toddler who wants the stroller to continue moving proved very difficult. And the project just about ended when he finally figured out how to wiggle free of his straps and slide out of the stroller, a little past his 18 month marker. But, it was still a fun project and I have the sketchbooks and fond memories of being able to go on sketch crawls with the little one. Turns out a stroller makes for a great easel! I'm looking forward to a couple years in the future when we can draw together. 

Inktober was by far the most laid back and the most fun project of the entire year- look for more ink drawings in 2018!

Inktober was by far the most laid back and the most fun project of the entire year- look for more ink drawings in 2018!

I attempted (and completed!) 2017's Inktober challenge. 
I think I learned from my first social media challenge that I need less expectations, and more grace in order for this to work. I've already written another blog post on Inktober 2017, but needless to say, giving myself the freedom to work from my head, "doodle" and post no matter how awful I thought the previous night's exercise had been proved to be quite successful. It still amazes me how most people seem to prefer these little ink sketches to my more polished and time-consuming watercolors. 

Selection of commissions I had the opportunity of creating in 2017- I am beyond grateful for the people who reached out for an illustration this year.&nbsp;

Selection of commissions I had the opportunity of creating in 2017- I am beyond grateful for the people who reached out for an illustration this year. 

  

I started an Etsy shop... and painted a lot of commissions!
After my aunt and uncle ordered a house portrait off Etsy from another artist this past spring I decided enough was enough- that was a sale I should have been guaranteed! I joined the Etsy community  to offer up watercolor commissions in May. So far, it has gone well for me, moderately speaking. While I am certainly not a super savvy businesswoman, the little bit I've made has turned into valuable income during lean times this fall and winter. I am so grateful for all the people who took a chance and invested their money into my artwork! I've got a long way to go, and a large learning curve to overcome before my shop becomes anything really special, but to say that I am thankful for the business Etsy has brought me is an understatement! 

 

 

Other projects and plans for 2017
I had other projects and goals planned for 2017 as well, but to be honest, the fact that this stay-at-home-mom got anything else accomplished beyond keeping her child alive and housework and food halfway done is incredible! I am beyond grateful for the kiddo's nap time, my hubby's unwavering support and a space to work in and call my own. I've grown tremendously in learning watercolor and I've gotten a lot of positive feedback for all my ink doodles- which I never expected receiving. Even though there were a lot more projects that didn't get realized, I am proud to look back and declare it a year well spent. 

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from the Becker family! (and yes, we are are wearing our pajamas in this photo)

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from the Becker family! (and yes, we are are wearing our pajamas in this photo)

House Portraits for Tabitha

In October, I received a request for two house portraits via my Etsy shop page. It was my first time working simulatiously on two commissions for the same person, so I was understandably very excited. The homes are lovely, and it was a pleasure and a challenge to paint them. 

Here are a few details of the work in progress. 

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House Portrait Illustration Katy Becker Richmond Nashville Watercolor Architecture.jpg
House Portrait Illustration Katy Becker Richmond Nashville Watercolor Architecture.JPG

House Portrait

Well friends, we are solidly into November as I write this, and it's starting to become that time of year again...

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I've just wrapped up this house portrait commission for a client, and have several others underway to begin and finish. 

Here's a few in progress photos as I remembered to take them. Overall, this illustration took 4 days to finish. Unexpected interruptions to the kiddo's nap schedule threw a bit of wrench in my schedule, what with surprise (but much needed!) structural repairs to the apartment, a long awaited day trip with a friend, relatives visiting, a birthday party (guess whose kiddo turned two!), more visits with family, sheer exhaustion... well, I think you may get the picture. It was a pretty busy weekend all around. 

The initial drawing! I used a ruler and calculator to make certain it was to scale- a bit time consuming, but I would rather have it right the  first  time!

The initial drawing! I used a ruler and calculator to make certain it was to scale- a bit time consuming, but I would rather have it right the first time!

Filling in all the background areas with some light washes.&nbsp;

Filling in all the background areas with some light washes. 

Adding in more detail- each of these bricks were painted individually, and then washes were applied over them later in the painting to make it look a bit more believable.&nbsp;

Adding in more detail- each of these bricks were painted individually, and then washes were applied over them later in the painting to make it look a bit more believable. 

The home is not located in Louisiana, but something in the reference photo made me think of hazy, atmospheric, swampy, deep south sorta vibe. I added some gouache in the foreground for a bit of the foliage in the trees and a teeny bit in the shrubs. Personally, I liked the way it turned out, and that's a technique I'm keeping for future use. I also emphasized some glowing light from inside the house and the front- that was a fun, last minute detail I'm happy I put in. 

This is my favorite photo of the whole bunch! Each window pane was painted individually, so there was no white gouache used in that part- just the trees and bushes in front of the house.&nbsp;

This is my favorite photo of the whole bunch! Each window pane was painted individually, so there was no white gouache used in that part- just the trees and bushes in front of the house. 

In terms of areas that need improvement, I still see my struggle with 180 and 90 degree angles. Depicting those straight angles- that is a skill that must be practiced some more. If anyone has any tips, I would love to hear them!

Anyways, it is my sincere hope that this portrait is received with delight and cherished for many years to come- I really hope that in this painting I have captured something of home.

Doesn't that look like a cozy home?&nbsp;

Doesn't that look like a cozy home? 

Well guys, I hope you enjoyed looking at a few of these in progress photos. There is still time to order custom art for Christmas in the shop, if anyone is interested as- just click on the shop link on the website and shoot me a message. 

Best, 

Katy Becker