FROM THE ARTLAND continues!
Today’s featured artist is : Sharlene McNeill. I met Sharlene through the Facebook Group “Get Your Art Out There”.
She’s a prolific artist, painting a lot in oil, but she does illustrations and other paintings too. Let’s find out more about Sharlene McNeill.
- Please tell us, where are you from?
Northampton, England, UK currently living in Kelowna, BC, Canada. It’s a long story, but a love story with a happy ending thus far, so that’s nice 🙂
- When did you decide to become an artist?
I didn’t, I am a writer cursed with art.
- Art you self-taught?
Partly, or somewhat yes. I painted as a very young child and continued as I grew. I could draw a recognisable rabbit before I could tie my shoe laces, but then tying laces involved mathematical thinking which I didn’t get until very late in life, well about 8yrs of age so really not that impressive that I could draw a bunny by then.
I also wrote full stories from a very young age. I vividly remember rewriting Cinderella when I was six, I even remember the feel of the little blue book I wrote in and the odd ‘very creative’ smirk my teacher gave me. I have no idea what gems of six-year old words my rewrite contained but she obviously found it amusing.
- What inspires you?
The night. I like painting in low light and I like imagery with high contrast, I like those very quiet dark nights when the moon is high and the world below is silent, that I find inspiring. Also the sound and smell of rain fills me with serenity, that I love too.
I do take a lot of my more literal inspiration from film, narrative and animation, I like my work to tie into itself so that a cat study can later become a fictional character portrait, an illustration and a painting.
I have quite a penchant for macabre things but not to the point of describing myself as any kind of necrophile as I have heard other artists cite.
- What’s your favorite medium?
The one in my hand. Ok I won’t be so facetious, I guess I like pencils the most, I like concepts so my favourite part of any project is right at the beginning when those marks start to come to life. I don’t actually enjoy the process of painting in oils very much but oils are my favourite type of paint to use. I choose the water mixable one’s because I dislike faffing about with thinners and extra chemicals, I guess I like to keep things simple with materials so I can focus on the image I am trying to create.
- Who is your favorite artist?
I hate this question. Pass.
- Do you take art workshops? What medium would you like to try?
No I do not but I guess I’d like to try acrylics again, I forget why it was I disliked them. At present I am trying to learn more about digital painting because I am utterly in love with some of the very beautiful digital art I see.
- Where can we find your artwork?
On facebook: https://www.facebook.com/spirearchive
On my Website: http://drayguns-bazaar.wix.com/spire-art
On DeviantArt: http://de-vagrant.deviantart.com/#
On eBay: http://myworld.ebay.ca/devagrant
- What was the first thing you drew or painted?
I don’t recall. Possibly boobs, I remember as a child anatomical parts I didn’t possess and their associated childish names were very funny. However I do recall the first thing I saw someone else draw that very much inspired me. I was in love with my babysitter, an older girl who lived across the street and would come round and draw with me because that’s what I liked to do. I wanted to be her so much and I remember she drew a rabbit in pen one day, it just came right out onto the paper so effortlessly and I thought it was amazing. I still have that drawing actually, it’s not amazing at all but to me at that time it was fascinating, so much so that I still think of her whenever the name ‘Melanie,’ graces my ears.
- What advice do you have for other artists or people who want to get started selling their work?
Practice practice practice! The best bit of advice that stuck with me was one my uni tutor the legendary Peter Parr said, for every 100 drawings you make you might get one good one. Therefore to make 10 good drawings you need to have drawn 1000!! His point was, keep practicing and striving, keep moving forward and don’t worry about the 99 ‘bad’ drawings it took to get the good one. The other thing he said which still makes me smile is ‘your pencils are laughing at you!’ Meaning be the master of your tools and don’t let them dictate.
As for selling, hm, yes advice on that would be useful.
Only thing I can add to selling advice is I think consistency is important and that you should never lower the price of you work unless it’s a special sale. Be considerate of your customers because if they come back and see you selling the same thing they purchased for a lower price they will be annoyed, it’s quite disrespectful to yourself as an artist and to the buyer.
So set a reasonable limit based on your current skill and the market, under-pricing doesn’t help anyone and of course over-pricing won’t help you. It’s very easy to make prices higher so you can start low and build up just be wary of who you are selling to, some folks only want high priced art and some only want cheapies, be clear and concise when choosing an audience. Also be patient, market yourself where you can and then forget about sales and just keep working. Unless you have picked a particular demographic, it will take a long time to establish any kind of following so far as I have experienced and read from others. Don’t worry though, instant success isn’t all that great, the most worthwhile things in life usually take a long time.
- What really big thing has happened in your artistic journey?
I realised it’s ok to label myself as an artist. That it is quite a fine profession even if it doesn’t pay well right away. I feel I have been pushed into jobs I was useless at most of my life and constantly told I need a ‘real’ job. Funny then with hindsight that in each of those ill fitted placements I would sit around drawing, complimented and scalded at the same time for sketching at work. Now it seems clear I had a job right from the start, it was right there at my fingertips practically screaming at me ‘this is what you should do!’
Ok ok pencils calm down, I’m doing it now – stop laughing already!
So now, I feel I am finally doing a job I am good at. It’s longer hours, no pay and frustrating as hell but you know what? I have never been happier.
Sharlene posts her work often on “Get Your Art Out There” and she certainly has a great imagination.
Become a fan on her Facebook Fan Page: https://www.facebook.com/spirearchive
Thank you very much Sharlene for the interview!
PLEASE if you are an artist, I would love to hear from you and include you in an interview, sharing your art with others. Please click on the above link and email me your answers. I will include your artwork as well.
Thank you for visiting I appreciate you all!