About Me

My photo
Paramus, New Jersey, United States
No, this in not a blog about gardening in any way, but a journal of my journey to become a professional landscape painting artist. For years, I’ve given my paintings as wedding gifts without thinking of profiting in some way from it. I worked for 18 years at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC as a computer programmer. I have been a painter since 1990, coincidentally, when I started working at the Met. I watched Bob Ross do his thing on Channel 13 in New York and decided I could do this, too. I have no formal training. I incorporate Bob's wet-on-wet technique for sky and water. My subject matter is covered bridges, lighthouses, fishing village scenes, barns, etc. Maine, Nantucket, Martha’s Vineyard, Nova Scotia and Spain are some of the places I have painted. My style is detailed and sometimes people think a photo of the painting is an actual photo of the scene. I hope to continue and grow in this medium. I also like to cook & dance. I am also a committed Christian. I am taking commissions - painting your landscapes style photos or your vacation home. Prices on request. contact me - Jackmck@juno.com my website is www.artofjackmckenzie.com

Monday, January 31, 2011

A bit of redesign - from Photobucket to Flickr slideshows and other stuff

For some reason, my Photobucket slide shows are not working, so I've switched to Flickr, which I was going to do, anyway.

I've been getting some advice from many people on this venture. I go to a networking group on Monday mornings and one or two others. I was going to get encouragement and advice on my COBOL programming job search, they seem to have a few ideas on the art side, too. One man has cousins who buy rights to art images for cards, posters, etc in Houston and is going to check with them. Another suggested checking with college and other procurement departments because they are seeking art in various forms to fill he walls of buildings. Quite a few have have relatives who are or were artists suggested going to their websites. A good friends's mother is Gail Ingis, who has quite art biography.

I've loaded a couple of images on Etsy, but no hits.

The arts and craft show season is coming and it appears to a a bit expensive on the up-front side. I have to pay for a table and then produce at least 10 of each item I want to sell. That could be a thousand or so and I don't have that to spend. We will see!

I began loading some of my photos on Fineartamerica - several from Spain and Fez Morocco but forgot about the 25 image limit for the free subscription, so I left a few on. I that got huge comments and hit, but no sales was a picture I took of a Spanish sunset coming down the mountain from Ronda to Malaga on the way to Algeciras. The journey continues

Friday, January 28, 2011

So you want to publish your work in book form?

A friend suggested I take a look at this site www.blurb.com. Its a site to publish a book of your work, be it photos or paintings or anything else. I won't be doing this for a while, since I need a lot more good pictures of my paintings than I have. Just thot I'd let my vast(?) legion of followers know, if the have not found out already (which is likely)

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Upcoming Maywood, NJ Library show

Most libraries have local artist display programs. Some are rather hands-off providing only a space and letting what happens happen. Others take a little more interest in what goes on. Maywood, NJ is one of those. I will be displaying there shortly with 8 of my paintings.

They had, like all libraries, a main space for display that usually has a many month waiting list. maywood has a secondary space leading to the children's area that was originally designated for teen artists, but nothing ever happened with it, so it was opened to all. The word hasn't gotten around yet, so my work will be there almost immediately. They had the museum publicist do an interview which will be published in the Own Town newspaper and available to library patrons interested in who the painter is. She tried to get a picture, but the camera's battery died, so I will be emailing her one. I made sure to mention my blog and the merchandising links. So when the paintings are put up and ready, I'll let you all know.

I worked some more on my current 3 paintings. The Covered Bridge one has a wood fence that comes from the bridge and toward and past the viewer. Trying to get the angles and other things right is taking time cause I want to get it right. The Menemsha Pond row boats one is coming along. There are 10 rowboats in this of all types and next to each other.

Monday, January 24, 2011

I'm adding my photography to the mix and a possible name change

Well, now i'm adding photographer to the art mix.I am seriousl thinking of changing the name of this thing to the Art of Jack Mckenzie. I've gotta see how to do that and not lose what I've put in I've posted some photos on Fineartamerica.com site. The first bunch is from my trip to Spain. The Andalucian White Village of Ronda

It was Bull Fight day and an Iberian-American crafts show. There was dancing in the streets

And everything was festive, balloons everywhere and the ride home had a beautiful sunset

These are just a few that I put up. I also have my pictures when I was in Fez Morocco but thats another post.

Fineartamerica shows the "traffic' thru each picture and from where. Very interesting to see the places. No sales yet, but that will come.

I'm on the Fine Art America Site now

I've added to my on-line merchandising empire - I'm also on the Fine Art America site. I'm sure its like anything else, different people have a default place they go to for whatever they are looking for, so gotta be there, too.
One of the problems is different sites handle photo pixel content differently, so some will accept lower pixel content and some wont. And sometimes the files are too big for them to handle. Its your basic Goldilocks and the Three Bears sort of thing - the pixels gotta be just right! I've added the Fine Art America URL to the merchandising section on my blog, so go and check it out!

Jackson's Mill Bridge - Lancaster Postcards from Zazzle.com

I'm Posting a couple of my Zazzle products

Jackson's Mill Bridge - Lancaster Postcards from Zazzle.com

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Displaying my paintings via Ipod

I've loaded images of my paintings into my iPod. It a handy way to give people taste of what you do. I showed this to a couple of other artists at a party and they had not thought of loading their work into their iPod, or Iphone and were taken by the idea. Have I started something? Or am I one of the last to think of it?

Saturday, January 22, 2011

2 Posters now available on Zazzle and current paintings

I've made 2 posters via Zazzle - 1) Fishing Boats-Tarifa Spain 2) Spanish Cafe - Andulucia.For the posters I decide on, hopefully, more interesting title They are pretty simple, but I'm testing the waters here. I'm going to go to other sites and see if I can make something better. I will be adding more cards, postcards etc.

I'm still working on my three painting mentioned in previous posts. Haven't spent as much time as I want, but they will get down. I have a few more I need to do and at least 4 weddings in the next year or so to paint for. Gotta get moving

Thursday, January 20, 2011

My first sale on Zazzle!, commissions, and my next juried show attempt

I've been working on setting up my store on Zazzle and I've made my first sale! I've created blank greeting cards, postcards and magnets using several of my paintings, including my Tarifa Fishing boats one. A friend bought 2 cards. Its a small start, but its a start. We'll see what happens in the next week. I have a link set up on the blog, The cards are imprinted with y blog and not the Zazzle on-line store. Hopefully people who receive these cards will like them and want a package of their own. Going thru the blog creates traffic for the blog, which registers on Ad-sense. I get a few cents there, too!

As I've said before, I would like to begin accepting commissions in two areas - 1) doing paintings of people's houses. There is a market for this. I just need a couple of photos of th house and go from there 2) Photos of a landscape nature that you's like to see as a painting. I did two of those previously but was not thinking of this as a business and did it for free. Nevermore!

I sent in my entrance fee for the juried show at the Art Center of Northern New Jersey in New Milford, NJ. The painting has to be there the 1st Saturday in February. We'll see if I'm accepted.

More Snow!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

the merchandising experiment so far - Zazzel and other stuff

I've been researching sites where I can sell note cards, postcards, etc using my paintings. I've been looking at other artist's sites and seeing where they are going.There's Vistapint, Imagekind, Fineartamerica, & sendoutcards to name a few. I decided to give each a try and see what happens. I'm trying Zazzel.com come for now. There's no shipping charge. I have 2 items up so far - a notecard and a postcard using my Tarifa Fishing Boats painting. I will be adding more, so check it out at http://www.zazzle.com/Jackmck1. I will be adding this URL to my blog. The name is not creative, but its a test.

I'm still trying out various website generators. There's Yola and Vistaprint has a site generator. Its a bit difficult figuring out which to use, but again trial and error is the order of the day

www.Emptyeasel.com has a wealth of info for artists of all kinds, so take a look there.

I've been registering on a few sites and following other artists sites. I've registered with Landscape Artists International and they have an Artist of the day post and I've sent in pic of two of my paintings for that consideration. I'll let you know when that come up.

Thats all for now!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

some Vistaprint testing and works in progress

I decided to check out how a painting would look on a greeting card and a mug. I gave Vistaprint a try and here's the results. Let me know what you think of them. Im thinking the title on the card should be smaller or in back and maybe no border at all. The mug is okay, but I'm not sure I'd produce anymore.

Here are a couple of works in progress - Menemsha pond and Jacksons Mill Bridge in Lancaster

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Jersey Arts People's Choice Awards

Have you enjoyed going to the many places to be culturally enriched in NJ? Then participate in the Jersey Arts People's Choice Award. This is a chance to raise the visibilty of your favorite NJ arts group


Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Day of ones, Ridgewood Art Institute Show, selling on-line and other stuff.

You know I just have to do a post on a day of ones 1/11/11

First, the disappointing news that I was not accepted for entry in the the RAI juried show. This was one way of gaining entry in the local art world, but there are other ways. There is still the New Milford juried show in February that I will try for.

The second thing I want to talk about is selling prints, cards, etc on-line and the entire world of art on-line. There are many sites with business and selling advice. Emptyeasel is one - http://emptyeasel.com/art-business-advice/selling-art-online/ the NJ Arts Council is another http://www.njartscouncil.org/ and www.artbusiness.com

There are lots of places to sell - www.esty.com. Ebay, and other sites where you display your art for sale, take orders and you are responsible to produce and ship the art products. That is a big hassle.
An even bigger hassle is artist unavailability!
In checking out other artist websites, I've discovered a number with banners saying they are on vacation or for some reason unavailable and will not be taking orders until they return. Really? People want your product and can't get it. In most shopping there is a huge, spontaneous "its there and I want it" moment and that moment will be lost if you are not there to do the work. You may be getting a new customer and that person will move on to the next available artist's item that strikes their fantasy.
There are some that will do all that work for you for a fee. I will be trying them out for a month or two. One of those is http://artistwebsites.com/tourartistwebsites/your-own-website.html. I will set this up and see what happens. I'll let you know when its up.

Here are the photos I'm doing paintings of. The building being built in the second one will be completed in the painting. Like Bob Ross said all the time - Its your world and you do whatever you want.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

more "blizzard" painting

Well another snow storm. smaller than the last one(3 1/2 inches) has shut down all other Friday night activities so I'm working on several paintings. The storm was going pretty good most of the morning and afternoon, but my painting muse was not active. My photographer muse was. So after the plows came thru, the shoveling done and the snow stopped by 2 I went to the local park (Van Saun Park) by way of Dunkin Donuts and took some pictures around the park. The one displayed may be the most interesting.

After supper I worked while watching a tape of TV shows I recorded (Dancing With the Stars) I worked on 3 paintings - another Jackson's Mill Bridge, Menemsha Pond Row Boats, and a fishing boat with Church in background in Cape Ann. I am about to start another Brandt Point Lighthouse From the Ferry painting, this one showing 3 furled sailboats an anchor in front of it. Looks cool.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Framing and comments

One of the hazards of being an artist or any job for that matter is having a personal prejudice as to how things are that do not jibe with reality. There are people in your life who see things as they should be and the trick is to have you ego in check to listen to them. My personal prejudice in the matter of my paintings is framing. I have a strong tendancy for light colored wood frames. In my mind, it matches the bright pallet I use in my paintings. My sister and other people have been suggesting that black or other darkish color would be a better presentation, especially since I am will be entering into juried shows. What cemented it for me was going to a small gathering at Tom & Denise Frawley's apartment. For their wedding, I gave them a painting of a Nova Scotia fishing dock with with a yellow building and blue and red boats. They had put it in a black frame. It looked great! So I now have a black frame for the painting. One of the characteristics of a Christian is putting self aside. This is a situation to do that.

On another matter, I've been told that people have tried to enter comments, but could not. Turns out there are internal settings that need to be reset so anyone can enter comments, not just followers. So, it you have any, please comment away, though it would be nice if you were a follower

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Entering Art Center of Northern New Jersey juried show

The process continues.
I have been searching for any place I can display my paintings to get my name out there and I came across another juried art show at the Art Center of Northern New Jersey in New Milford, NJ, beginning Feb 7th. The title of the show is Celebrating Bergen County's Diversity. I called about the entry process and the application will be on-line tomorrow. Their website is: http://www.artcenter-nnj.org

There is also the Hackensack Art Club, which is affiliated with a few other art clubs, so I am checking them out. Their website is: http://www.hackensackartclub.com/

I'm also checking out the best ways to get prints made, so I'm going to all the framing shops to get ideas on this. I went to www.Vistaprint.com to check out prices for making greeting cards and it seems reasonable, but will be checking other places