WHATEVER WORKS!

This watercolor painting was from one of my private art students in February of 2009. Sophie was ten years old.

“Can this be applicable to art and my life?”

I was supposed to start on a new art project; which in my case is usually an illustration of something that will be used on a food/packaging label. Normally I would share more, but this job is likely to be confidential. I’m anticipating that I’ll have to sign a paper saying I will not share any information about what I’m illustrating.

I find it interesting how clients really worry that their competitors will find out about their unique product! Nowadays with the advent of stock photography and illustration, it is so much cheaper to buy existing art. However, thank God there is still the mind-set of wanting something unique for their product. That helps my business by giving me commissioned work.

I did not hear from the art director, despite leaving a message, until this evening. I am off the hook for working this weekend. I wish that would mean that the “drop dead deadline” would be extended to compensate for this, but in my line of work the deadline will remain fixed while the art director and client bicker over miniscule details.

In the end, they are absolutely clueless about what goes into creating a painting and how cheating the artist of time actually lessens the quality. Like anything, more time spent is usually a better result.

So the motto that I used to teach my students in illustration classes was:

“Whatever works!”

Hmmm, that might actually be something applicable to the rest of my life, as well.

I plan to write more about the kind of work that I do; I think it might actually be interesting to know what goes into illustrating food for labels, billboards, FSI (newspaper inserts), and magazines.

With the advent of the computer destroying so many careers like mine, I actually have benefited by reaching even a faster level of creating art. I am able to recycle elements from my huge library of images and create new paintings that resemble “originals.” (Don’t tell the client that, please!)

Two years ago, I was desperately trying to find some revenue. I decided I’d try to teach private art lessons. On the Internet, I found a company that hired teachers for music and art lessons called “Picasso Art and Music School.”

They sold packages of eight lessons and I would receive $40 an hour. I was responsible for driving to the student’s home. I was quickly hired and thus began a brief foray into teaching private art lessons.

As a college art teacher, I was far more used to having thirty adults looking over my shoulder as I painted. I wasn’t used to working with a one child. I began working with a 13-year-old prodigy. Because it was quite a drive for $40 per hour, the family agreed to a two-hour lesson every other week to make it easier for me. It took me almost an hour sometimes just to prepare for the lesson. This was not economically viable for me.

This company ended up being a scam! Not only was I not paid for 8 lessons, but the company charged all of my students’ parents 2-3 times over on their credit cards. I was paid directly by the parents after that, but the sting of being ripped off still bugged me.

I saw more about this scam on the Internet later on. I don’t think my writing skill was put to good use, because all of my letters of complaint didn’t go anywhere. I guess it was another life lesson for me.

I did enjoy the two students that I gave those lessons to. The “prodigy” really has really expanded her abilities and I have gotten email updates from her mother occasionally.

I always hold out for the BIG project; one like Beech Nut Baby Food, where I was commissioned to create over a hundred paintings. It’s at times like that when I’ve “disappeared” and have relied on hiring more help.

Below are two paintings that show how I can utilize the computer to create two different looks (aside from reversing them). Notice that when the sky has different colors, it is very important for it to reflect into that winding river. It has been fun writing and sharing information about something passionate for me, something that is other than my family!

Farm Landscape and Sunrise.

Farm Landscape with Clouds.

I want to share something funny and totally unscripted.

I was waiting to receive a signed estimate for my current illustration assignment. I called today, to remind the art director to sign and fax it back to me. It was sitting in my fax machine and the picture is below.

I took it out of the fax, and wondered why the heck it said, “Thank you for my Bar Mitzvah Gift!” I was confused. It was the same font I used for youngest son’s thank you notes. Plus, she wasn’t at his Bar Mitzvah.

It turned out my dad had taken paper out of the trash in order to “use the back” and save paper. Oh my God, if this ever went to court, even the art director’s signature and date were obscured. Should I ask her to fax it again?

Now the cats out of the bag – I guess everyone knows that my son didn’t print his thank you’s all by himself!

My son’s thank you message ended up on my signed estimate!

© Judy Unger and http://www.myjourneysinsight.com 2010. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Judy Unger with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

About Judy

I'm an illustrator by profession. At this juncture in my life, I am pursuing my dream of writing and composing music. Every day of my life is precious!
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