{Giveaway} “For My Love” print by an FOF artist

FOF artist  Naomi Lees-Maiberg is giving away “For My Love,” a luxe print of her original oil painting. Enter to win by answering in the comments below: What was the last piece of art you purchased?

Six years ago, FOF artist Naomi Lees-Mailberg and her husband left their frenzied metropolitan lives in Tel Aviv, Israel, for an abandoned farm house in coastal Maine.

For 25 years, Naomi was an illustrator for major magazines and newspapers in Israel, all while she raised three children, taught drawing at a college and showed her art in galleries. “It was a crazy life–deadlines until 2 in the morning, two cell phones, two land lines.” Now, she spends her days painting from her quiet, scenic studio, which has breathtaking views of Acadia National Park. Here we chat with Naomi about her major move after 50 and what inspires her and her now. (See more of her pieces in the FOF Shop!)

What did your friends  say when you decided to leave Israel?
It was shocking–no one believed we were going, but we plunged into it, thinking Maine would be a nice place to grow older. It’s dead silent out here but it’s really beautiful. I totally recommend doing something like this to people living a crazy life.

Why did you choose to move to coastal Maine?
My children were going to college in the United States. Also, my sister and her husband moved to Maine, and I’d visit every summer. Each year, it became harder and harder to leave. Finally, my husband and I bought a 1830s farmhouse on 16 acres. Much of the house is built from old ships.

What inspires your work?
My surroundings–the landscape. For the items that I sell such as “For My Love,” (a painting of rose petals) I look for things that would be universally appealing. These were painted from roses in my own garden. I have also done more abstract paintings, and I’ve even done performance art.

What mediums do you paint in?
A lot of watercolor, but I also do acrylic and oil.

What kind of paper do you print on?
I use the best paper I can–Entrada. It’s really soft, so the prints look like originals.  I can also print on canvas and have them stretched on a frame.

Where do you sell?
A local gallery, and now, the FOF Shop.

Enter to win For My Love,” a print from Naomi’s original oil painting, by answering in the comments below: What was the last piece of art you purchased?

One FOF will win. (See all our past winners, here.) (See official rules, here.) Contest closes February 16, 2012 at midnight E.S.T.

Thank you for entering. This contest is now closed.

{What Do You Think of This Look?} Zany Ladies

You’ve seen them before — zany FOFs donning uber-artsy duds and strutting the streets practically crying out to be photographed. Popular street style blogs such as Advanced Style and the New York Magazine Lookbook are quick to call these women “stylish,” But do you agree? Just because an FOF dresses zany, does that mean she’s stylish?

“I’m a walking collage. I bring art to the street, it has nothing to do with fashion,” says Sue Kreitzman, one such ‘zany lady’ who we met on at the Union Square Greenmarket in New York City, last week.

On Sue:
Necklace — Anna Tai
Bracelet — Old Earth Creates
Jacket — Sue found the fabric at a store near The Antiques Garage flea market, Lauren Shanley a well known fabric artist sewed it into a coat
Glasses — Eley Kishimoto

Image Sources: Advanced Style, New York Magazine Lookbook

{DIY} High-Design DIY

For many, “crafting” conjures images of kitten sweaters, macrame plant holders and cross-stitch samplers. But a new generation of DIY-ers has created an online crafting Renaissance, of sorts, with sophisticated, high-design patterns and projects. Why check your style at the knitting-store door?  You don’t have to…. Here, our FOF knitting & sewing gurus recommend the websites that will inspire you to make something FOFantastic.

1. Deborah Purtell Coaster Squares. FOF Deborah Purtell designs delightfully preppy needlepoint canvases for beach totes, belts, glasses cases and more. Your family will be shocked when you DIY your own Lilly Pulitzer look-alikes.

2. Hazelwood by Robin Melanson Pattern and Budding Apple Shawl, (9). This nifty nautical sweater looks like J.Crew’s fall favorite but it’s actually a knitting pattern from Twist Collective, a carefully curated online magazine created in partnership with top knit designers and photographers. –Recommended by FOF Guru Diannerj

3 Purl Soho Color Change Scarf & (7) Purl Soho Pillow Purlsoho.com is the web home of Purl shop, a crafting mecca in Manhattan launched by two former Martha Stewart editors. The site is a beautifully organized archive of knitting, sewing and needlework ideas inspired by vintage clothing, folk art, modern art, Asian art, and of course, Martha.

4. Decorative Figure on an Ornamental Back, Henri Matisse, $8. Put down that “Home Sweet Home” cross-stitch sampler, and take a tip from FOF Guru Corky. “I love counted cross stitch, but most kits are mawkish. The Art of Stitching offers something totally different: fine art transferred onto cross-stitch canvass. The level of craftsmanship needed to create many of these masterpieces is very high. The results from some of the stitchers rival the finest Renaissance tapestries and anyone would be proud to display these works in their homes.”

5. Loom Knitting Bangles, free pattern. “I enjoy the work of Purling Sprite…a blog that includes lots of info on loom knitting (one of my passions!)” says FOF guru Dmhsny.

6. Penguin & Fish blog is a site filled with wonderfully quirky needlepoint canvasses designed by children’s book illustrator Alyson Thomas. Don’t miss her children’s alphabet series.

8. Brighton Bag from Knitty.com, FOF Amy Singer launched Knitty.com over ten years ago to showcase the gorgeous knit designs of amateur crafters across the country. As curator, Amy offers a discerning eye–and lots of fab free patterns. —Recommended by FOF Guru Diannerj

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{DIY} A Genius Flower-Arranging Trick to Use All Summer

FOF editors couldn’t stop talking about this brilliantly simple trick taught by Mike Gaffney, a master florist and owner of 8 flower arranging schools across the country. “Making a beautiful bouquet is not about being a creative genius. It’s about knowing some simple rules,” he explained.

Did your hubby forget to pick up a housewarming gift for the neighbors? Daughter getting married on a budget? Turn ho-hum garden geraniums or grocery store tulips into a beautiful bouquet in a flash. Just, watch this video:

{Art} Gorgeous art that you can afford!

A perfect storm of factors has resulted in amazing steals on top-notch art. First, there was the recession (“I had to come way down in price when the recession hit,” says FOF artist Patty A. Baker) and now, the mass-migration of artists from brick-and-mortar galleries to the web (“The galleries take up to 50%,” says FOF artist CheyAnne Sexton. “Never go to a gallery to buy your art. Buy it directly from artists online,” says Patty A. Baker.)

Case in point: these 7 fab prints and paintings, all by FOFs(!), for under $100….

1. Lanscape24 by RozArt. Signed 16″x20″ print using on high-quality Fujifilm crystal archive paper.

2. Plumin’ Around in Silver by JNociforaStudio. Signed 6″X6″ oil painting on linen canvas panel.

3. Harvest Art Fruit Print by WatercolorByMuren 12″x12″ print on 100% cotton, fine art paper.

4. Just Blue, Antwerp Blu by CheyAnneSexton. 11″X14″ original watercolor on Arches 140 coldpress paper with Winsor & Newton paints.

5. VillefrancheSurMer by marionbermondy. 6″X4″ print on acid-free Strathmore© digital texture paper.

6. Still Life with Palisade Peaches by pattyabaker. 8″X10″ giclee print on premium, archival quality photo paper with satin finish.

7. Piggy by workingwoman. 8.5″X11″ print on premium archival fine art paper.

One of these artists made $87,000 selling her art online! Find out which one and discover the secrets to her success.

{Giveaway} Artist Palette Cheese Tray from Fishs Eddy

Say cheese and smile….because FOF is giving away this adorable Artist Palette Cheese Tray from Fishs Eddy. Enter to win by commenting below and answering: Do you have better taste in art or cheese?

Thank you for entering. This contest is now closed.

We think this artist palette cheese plate from Fishs Eddy is such a crafty idea, and it looks like a work of art in person! It’s a great conversation starter for any get together (and just perfect for this art-themed book club meeting). Your guests will be green (and blue and red and yellow) with envy.

Enter to win by commenting below and answering: Do you have better taste in art or cheese?

(See all our past winners, here.)
(See official rules, here.)

Contest closes March 17, 2011

{Art} She made $87,000 in a year selling her art online. And you can too!

There’s a mass migration occurring in the art world. Many FOF artists have abandoned traditional galleries to run their own virtual galleries on websites like Etsy, Artfire and eBay. They’ve found that online they can make more money and offer art to buyers for less than selling in brick-and-mortar galleries (which take up to a 50 percent cut of their profits). “My first year on eBay I grossed $87,000,” says FOF artist Patty A. Baker. How’d she do it? Read on to find out how Patty and 2 other FOFs have turned their art from a love to a living.

Patty A. Baker

Sells on: Etsy, her own website and Art.com
Ogdensburg, New York

Why do you like Etsy and Art.com?
Etsy offers a lot of exposure. Art.com does all the printing, framing, and shipping. I submitted a bunch of high-res images to Art.com which was a lot of work in the beginning, but now it’s easy.

Do you sell in brick-and-mortar galleries?
I’ve been selling online since 2004. I support myself and two kids with what I make online. My first year on eBay I grossed $87,000. If things continue the way they are this year I’ll gross $50-60 thousand. I know one artist who makes $500-600 thousand selling her art online. It’s so doable.

What’s the secret to selling art successfully online?
You have to make art that people are going to buy. That’s a hurdle for most artists. You do have to bend, you do have to do some sort of selling out.

How do you price your art?
I had to come way down in price when the recession hit. I use a loose formula of 23 cents per square inch for the larger paintings. For the 16X20 paintings, I charge $160.

How do you choose what you are going to paint?
What I paint is secondary to how I paint it. I like to see how colors respond to each other. I also look around to see what’s selling. I’m just as happy painting a salt shaker as a river.

Buyers don’t need to see the art in person anymore?
A buyer recently said to me, ‘Many people buy art to match furniture. I bought a couch to match your painting.’ Also, artists who sell online will bend over backwards to make sure the buyer is happy. For my commissioned pieces, I send samples by e-mail before I ship to make sure it’s right.


Nancy LaBerge Muren

Watercolor Artist
Sells on: Etsy and her own website
Davis, California

What is your style of painting?
I like to capture interesting light. Light is so fleeting. I take photos of something I see with nice light, then take it back to my studio to paint it.

Why do your prefer to sell online versus in a gallery?
It’s a lot of work to get things ready for a gallery. I’d do all my own matting and framing. I’d cart around the art. Then the frames would get old-fashioned, and I’d have to update them. And in the end, it wouldn’t sell. On a site like Etsy, every day there are at least 2,000 people that are looking at my work, in a gallery you might get 5. 

So the exposure that the web offers is the biggest draw for you?
Yes, in fact, last summer I was contacted by a television art director who found me by doing a search on Etsy. Now my paintings are on the sets of the shows Modern Family and Better With You.

How do you price your art?
I look how other people are pricing their art. Sometimes people think because art is priced lower it’s not as good, but if I were selling in a gallery, they would take 50% and I’d have to pay for my time and materials. If I subtract all that I end up with a pretty good price for originals. I can price lower because I sell more.


Leslie Saeta

Painter and Host of Artists Helping Artists Blog Talk Radio Show
Sells on: DailyPainters.com and her own website
South Pasadena, California

How did you get into painting?
I’ve only actually been painting for 5 years. I had an emergency hysterectomy and after that I decided I needed to do something for me.

Why do you like selling on DailyPainters?
DailyPainters jump-started my art business. The visibility from the site is really incredible. Every day that I post a new painting to my blog, DailyPainters publishes it to their homepage. There are 80-100 new paintings each day. It’s difficult to be a featured artist on DailyPainters. Last year they only picked up one new artist, so I feel blessed my art is on their site.

How do you price your art?
It’s all priced by size. For instance, all my 6×6 paintings sell for $200 unframed.

How do you decide what to paint? Do you paint to what sells?
You have to think of both, what people are buying but also what inspires. I paint a lot of reflections because it’s what inspires me. I also paint a lot of universities and colleges because it creates a wonderful memento.

What is a common mistake people make when they try to sell art online?
You’d be surprised how many people write on their websites, ‘E-mail me if you want to buy my art.’ A lot of art purchases are on impulse so you need to make it as easy as possible for the buyer. Just recently, I led a workshop on how to add a “Buy Now” button to your website.

What’s a secret to selling art successfully online?
You have to market your art with press releases, newsletters and shows. Every month I send out a newsletter and it results in at least one sale. Over the holidays I ran a ’12 Days of Christmas’ promotion and gave away something each day. The traffic I generated to my site was amazing. You can’t just sit back and think listing it on a website is going to sell it.

{Poll} Which artist’s works would you hang in your home?

If money were no object, which artist’s works would you hang in your home?

Legendary impressionist Mary Cassatt was born in Pennsylvania in 1844. She attended the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts against her wealthy parents’ wishes. Mary was frustrated by the school’s rules, which forbade female students from painting live models. Eventually she moved to France where she studied the masters and made extra money by copying and selling famous paintings at the Louvre. Edgar Degas, one of the early founders of Impressionism, became Mary’s mentor, and brought her into the fold of the Impressionist movement. Mary is best known for her oil paintings, which explore the intimate moments of women–especially the bond between mother and child. They have sold for as much as $2.9 million.

Twentieth century Mexican painter, Frida Kahlo, is best known for her colorful and sometimes disturbing self-portraits which have been described as “surrealist” and as “folk art.” “I paint myself because I am so often alone and because I am the subject I know best,” said Frida, according to biographer Andrea Kettenmann. Her paintings capture emotional moments of her life, from her tumultuous marriage to artist Diego Rivera to the (physical and emotional) pain she endured after a bus accident left her barren. They have sold for as much as $5.6 million.

Georgia O’Keeffe was born on a dairy farm in Wisconsin in 1887. She attended a top art school in Chicago and won several student prizes, but eventually stopped painting entirely, and became an elementary school teacher in Texas. There, she began painting again, and those works–abstract flowers, rocks, shells, animal bones, and landscapes–became the basis for her first gallery show in New York. The gallery owner, famed photographer Arthur Steiglitz, fell in love with Georgia and left his wife to marry her. By the 1920s, Georgia was considered one the America’s most important artists. She continued painting right up until her death at age 98. Today her paintings sell for upwards of $6 million dollars each.

Helen Levitt (1913-2009) was a famously reclusive photographer who live and worked in Brooklyn, NY. She was known for her New York City “street photography,” especially her photos of local “children living their zesty, improvised lives,” as noted in her New York Times obituary. Some of her most famous photos were taken in the 1930s, because, Helen said: “That was before television and air-conditioning. People would be outside, and if you just waited long enough they forgot about you.” She took photos for 70 years before her death in 2009 at age 95.

Sorry, there are no polls available at the moment.

Images via Girls Explore, The Art Institute of Chicago, Frida Kahlo Foundation, Biography.com, The Georgia O’Keeffe Museum, Laurence Miller Gallery, and BlogArts

{Art} A little-known NYC art gallery… you should know about!

There’s a time for the Louvre in Paris or The Met in New York… But, we really revel in discovering an offbeat and off-the-beaten path art collection that most don’t know exist. Take for example, the Neue Galerie. We had no idea about this hidden gem of a gallery until FOF Founder Gerri Shute tipped us off…

“I love the Neue Gallery. They show German and Austrian abstract expressionist art. It is a gem of a museum in every way and the shows are incredible. Many of my FOF friends in NYC don’t even know about it. There’s a great Austrian coffee shop with traditional pastries and some nights they have cabaret singers. But the art is what I love.”FOF Gerri Shute

The Neue Gallery
1048 Fifth Avenue
New York, NY 10028

What’s your favorite little-known art gallery or museum? Comment below.

{Giveaway} 1960s Vintage Fashion Illustration

FOF Liz Glasgow is giving away “Cyd,” a 1960s fashion illustration 9″X 12″ print from her brilliant biz, The White Cabinet.

To enter, tell us in the comments below: What era of fashion did you like the best?

Thank you for entering. This contest is now closed.

As a little girl, FOF Liz Glasgow loved art and crafts, much to the delight of her mother Hilda, a top New York fashion illustrator.

“We had a workroom with a metal closet that housed all the drawings, papers, art supplies and cameras,” says Liz. “Whenever I needed something art related, Mom would tell me it was in the white cabinet.”

Now, 50 years later, Liz has made her name as a freelance photographer for leading architects, interior designers and top publications such as Elle Decor and Woman’s Day. The white cabinet from her childhood has lived on, although her mother, Hilda, passed away in 2004 at the age of 91.

Today, the white cabinet resides in Liz’s Hamptons home and houses 80 drawings spanning Hilda’s career as an illustrator for Vogue, Saks Fifth Avenue and Best & Co.

“I’ve had her drawings hidden away and am now offering them to the world,” says Liz. Just last year, she launched a virtual White Cabinet where customers can order custom, printed Gicleé reproductions that mimic the look and feel of the originals. Currently there are 50 illustrations available on the site ranging from the 1940s-1970s, and Liz plans to release the rest in the near future. Later this year, the prints will be sold as wallpaper by Flavor Paper

“These drawings have lived in that cabinet for 60 years or so,” says Liz. “I  found it only fitting for them to reside there virtually online as well.”

Enter to win “Cyd,” a 1960s fashion illustration print, by answering this question in the comments, below: What era of fashion did you like the best?

(See all our past winners, here.)

Contest closes January 13, 2011