Friday, July 16, 2010

“Here Come ‘Da Judge”

Long long ago in the last century (but still in this galaxy) I attended a prestigious juried art show in Scottsdale with my art buddies. The paintings were stellar except for one and we wondered how it was juried into the show.

Oh well, maybe it was a quirk we thought. Oh were we ever wrong!! We gasped as it was awarded Best of Show. Completely stunned we knew would never have a clue why the judge arrived at this choice. It became a pivotal moment for me and I vowed if I sponsored a competition I would request critiques from the judge. So the RayMar judge’s selections may be final but why a painting is chosen will not be a mystery.

I’ve always wondered how a judge determines winning paintings. Recently Fine Art Studio Online published an essay by Stephen Doherty, editor of American Artist magazine, about the judging process. It is an in depth essay - an everything you’ve ever wanted to know about judging but could never ask the judge. It appears HERE.

I congratulate the artists who believe in their work and submit entries to our contest. Your artwork is the star and your participation allows us to show off your art and refine our contest to bring your work to the attention of galleries and collectors. The 2009/2010 contest ends the last day of July and judge Randall Sexton will announce the monthly finalists by mid August. Then finalist judge Scott Jennings will award cash prizes of $26,500 including the grand prize of $10,000 in September. Good luck and happy painting!


Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Don’t Think It…Just Do It

In my recent three-day Scottsdale Artist’s School workshop “Still Life From Start to Finish” with Susan Diehl, I became the still life. Then my brushes played dead. I toyed with brush burial ideas (a fireplace match box?) along with my aspirations of becoming a painter. But I returned the second day to be with the fun friends I’d made and enjoy the excellent instructor.

I searched for quotes to inspire me for that second day but the best and simplest was Nike’s “Just Do It.” So I threw out all my expectations for a masterpiece and just had fun smearing paint. With the pressure off some of the lessons “osmosed” in and by the third and final day I felt I could achieve any painting goal I set for myself. Amazing turn around!

Painting is not like riding a bicycle. Mastery is a mindset, requires I paint acres and acres of canvas and going in I know I will never know everything…. fortunately. And on this note I did find a quote, “Only when he no longer knows what he is doing does the painter do good things.” Edgar Degas.


Monday, June 7, 2010

Preparations for my Scottsdale Artist’s School workshop

After I gather the paints, brushes and support requirements on my instructor’s supply list, I wonder what do I need that’s not on the list?

A good artist friend offered Woody Allen’s quote, “Eighty percent of success is just showing up” to rev me up and to fight my fear. I like Shakti Gawain’s quote I found in The Artist’s Way, “We will discover the nature of our particular genius when we stop trying to conform to our own or to other people’s models, learn to be ourselves and allow our natural channel to open”.

So whether it is “good” art or “bad” art it will be my art. I begin tomorrow after being away for ten years, a perfect time to shut off logic brain and just have fun!

A thing or two I do know for sure: I may be a “begin again” novice artist but my RayMar canvas panels say professional. And all the inspiration I will ever need is online at


Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Product Testing of a Different Kind

Memorial Day weekend heralds the unofficial start of summer. Oh… the trips to plan and the scenes that will become stories to capture in paint.

At RayMar we especially enjoy the unplanned painting stories. It’s difficult to contain our joy when our artist customers share their “accident” stories about our products. We mentally turn cartwheels and grin like Cheshire cats when we hear tales I’ve come to refer to as RayMar lore.

So enter Robert, a long time customer from the North East who called to tell us about his cat painting. He deemed the painting unexceptional. And when his cat died soon after he completed the portrait he just wanted to rid himself of a sad memory. So the feline on the RayMar panel was tossed outside by the shed and forgotten.

Eight months later after some exterior spring cleanup Robert’s wife rescued the painting. The panel was hard hit with all the elements an upstate New York winter can muster: snow, ice, sleet, rain, freezing temperatures plus the spring thaw.

The panel was straight and undamaged and Robert’s wife thought the painting was pretty good. Framed in gold it now hangs in their house…. a reminder of the cat they loved and of a rugged painting support artists could easily love!

Then there’s the artist who went to Venice and her panel carrier flipped out of the gondola and floated because it was lightweight and waterproof. Her painting was saved. And we heard from the tired day painter who forgot she leaned her carrier against the car and backed over it. The carrier is very strong under normal conditions but was damaged. Miraculously the painting survived.

And okay I’m on a roll. One more. Justin “said” it best in his blog that our panels are tough. Tough? Yeah. So there.

So just paint and don’t be concerned about your RayMar painting support. Feel confident that your RayMar panel has been through extensive field-testing.

Till next time….Cathy

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Ready, Set, Blog!

Okay…so the blog meister at RayMar Art has not posted in eons. Blog fright perhaps?

Blogging slipped to the “backest” of burners and the range detectives had to be summoned to locate the forgotten burner to relight the flame. Or…. When you’re up to your ears in alligators its tough to remember it was your job to drain the swamp. This little graphic yarn was a favorite of our founder; which reminds me to thank our many artist customers who remember John and how much they enjoyed talking with him.

But that was then….now its now. RayMar Art’s blog is officially revived. Drum roll please!

The energy and passion that originally fueled RayMar has revisited co founder Cathy, artist, entrepreneur and novice blogger. She now puts on her “Blogs from R” hat with verve and heralds frequent blogs about art events and musings. So heeeeeere’s Cathy.

As a first time vendor at the recent national OPA show, RayMar sent me (Cathy), Emily and Elizabeth to man(woman?) our table, present our wares and meet artists. We are a product based but relationship driven company and have enjoyed knowing you through your work in magazines, your websites and your entries to our online contest. We’ve talked with you, processed your phone and internet orders but to connect names with faces and hobnob with you was a gargantuan thrill.

A close second on the “thrill-o-meter” was attending the OPA awards presentation. As Kathryn Beligratis, executive director of the OPA announced RayMar Art’s award and scanned the crowd for RayMar-ites, we raised our hands and smiled. We were doubly proud to be present as a sponsor for this important show of masterpiece paintings and to support representational art. Every one of the two hundred artists juried into the show was a winner!

It feels good to be back. I invite you to receive our blog, follow us on Twitter, and befriend us on Facebook.