Completed At Last

Hi Guys,….sorry about being late with my blog but as you saw from my last post we were having Carnival over here and that is like a huge celebration for 3 weeks straight and on Ash Wednesday everyone is either sleeping, took a day off, at the beach or working (kinda). Tinis like to party and when Carnival rolls around its constant events and fete. I went to only 4 this year and I played jouvert.

Jouvert 2015, 2016 and 2017 and 2019

But i’m really here to talk about my art site and the whole drive to sell my art. I started off setting up an Art blog a few years ago and i also set up an Etsy store t sell all my watercolour paintings. I had just started out and I have to say, things were dismal. After like a year i was so disappointed and demotivated that i closed the Etsy store, and ignored the website.

New time, new zest. I got more involved in my Art and started selling in the Upmarkets here and people loved my work, bought my work and i even gathered a few followers who sought me out to say hello and to let me know how they felt about my pieces. I did a few exhibitions with different groups (no sales with any) and I did my own exhibition (sold some a work). i’ve learned a lot and now i’ve reached that juncture in my life where i want some success with my Art business.

I run a successful Leadership Development Coaching business here in Trinidad and we make good money at least enough to allow 2 kids to study abroad and be comfortable. All of our children have their degrees and are prepared  for life and know what they want to become and where they want to be in the future. i  however, always wanted a second business that is fully mine. Yes i started this one and made my husband join me and now he runs it mainly but I want my Art to be a success online and that just isn’t as easy as one would think. Online is worse than competing with the many Artist in Trinidad. It’s like competing with that number times 100,000. So how does one stand out in that ocean of Online art.

It appears the answer is developing your skill in using Social media. Social Media is the magic wand that grants your wish but a magic wand that one has to understand how to use it or else you’ll cause the wrong effect from your spell. I’m a baby to Social mEDIA BUT i’m learning. All this is the preamble to tell you that I’m late with my blog because I’v been updating my Art site on Squarespace and I created another Art site on WordPress. Plus i’ve been creating more professional Digital planners for the Business person. They’re different in that they deal with Leadership Activities that we normally don’t get help with, such as how to plan out how and who you delegate to, how do you manage interruptions from team members, friends, family, and any significant other and how to set proper goals for achievement. Yes my planners are designed to help with these areas.

No I’m not advertising…I Hate when people do that….and I’ve noticed most of these site are doing that. No i’m imply explaining how I was spending my time and what are the results. So you can go take a look at them on either site. OH YES!!! AND….I also set up a new Etsy shop…DUH…with me it’s all about creating and developing all these artistic things, be they digital or hand made… they are so much fun for me but now I think my husband is jealous of my laptop…because i spend more time looking at that screen than I do looking at his face.

This is my new Etsy shop. I just love what I’ve done with it. lol

Compared to the Etsy store i created 4-5 years ago this one is great and soooo different, but it’s all due to how technology now makes it so easy to create when you can get stock pics easily and there are sites like Canva that make creating oh so easy. I LOVE THEM ALLLLLL!! Ok enough of that. I will talk some more later so see you soon.

Who is Gafra?

Hi guys…..in this post I’m going to talk about me. Yes…..I know you’ve been curious as to who is this GaFra person whose real name is Gail Francis. Yep…I know my “About page” doesn’t say enough so why should you even read my stuff or buy from me…well this may help. I’ll tell you more about me and where my head is at.

I will do this as if it’s a photo album, as every photo has a story to it and this is how you will learn who I am.

me+at+5.jpg

This is me when I was 5 years old. I lived in Curepe and my father was a labour officer and my mother a secretary with one of the Utility Ministries. One thing I remember more than anything was that my father bred doberman pinchers and he trained them. I remember a time when my father bred his pincher with another high bred doberman.

Trinidad and Tobago Map

Trinidad and Tobago Map

The Flag of Trinidad & Tobago

The Flag of Trinidad & Tobago

That was a thing then where high bred dogs were mated to improve the line. These dogs were very expensive, so after the female was mated she had quite a few puppies. I remember daddy putting about 4-5 boxes with pups around my bed so that they could stay warm and I would hang over the side of the bed and stick my finger in the box so that the puppies can suck my finger. That was so cool and cute.

I was comfortable around dobermans, we had one called Devil and I would ride his back, play with him. He was extremely smart, even young as I was if I was rough with him he never bit me. My father would train the dogs to follow commands and were taught to never harm me or my brother. one day one of the dobermans, can’t remember which, while my brother was playing with him he got too rough and hit the dog and the doberman started to growl and snapped at my brother. He only nipped him but my father went ballistic. He dragged the dog to the back and via punishment told hi to never do that again. He never did.

There was one doberman we had that was extremely stupid, he did the dumbest things and my father got fed up of his behaviour and that was also the first time my father got a dog other than a doberman. he bought an albino German Sheppard. My father decided to sell both dogs. I was very upset as I really liked him. Daddy sold them both to a Security Firm. Later on I found out that the German Sheppard ran away and they were never able to find him, he must have been trying to get home but never did. The security firm after a few months asked if they could test Trouble the doberman we sold them. They wanted to make sure that he wasn’t still friendly and playful towards his former owners.

So my father and I went to a grocery and there was Trouble tied to the front with a man standing next to him. Trouble looked like a soldier, not moving, starring straight ahead, not making a sound. They asked me to approach him slowly to see how he would react. As I approached his eyes started to focus and he started to growl so I stepped back. He didn’t know me, he was no longer our dog.

Port of Spain, the Capital of Trinidad & Tobago

Port of Spain, the Capital of Trinidad & Tobago

Tobago.

This is a photo of the Capital of Trinidad and a beach in Tobago. Trinidad is the business and party island while Tobago is the rest and relaxation island with the beaches. We have sunny weather 80% of the time with a rainy season around May and June.

Carnival Queen Costume from Trinidad & Tobago.

Carnival Queen Costume from Trinidad & Tobago.

Carnival Band in their costumes.

Carnival Band in their costumes.

Trinidad is known for the best Carnival in the World. Or Carnival takes place in March and lasts for 2-3 weeks with the main days being the Carinval Monday and Tuesday where the bands dance and covort through the streets in their specific bands as they head towards the main stage at the Queens Park Savannah where each band is judged for the Carnival Band of the Year Competition. I’ve played mas once with Peter Minshall, aCarnival Band designer and well known Artistic Designer. It was great fun and I have to do it one more time.

My favourite part of Carnival was Jouvert. It occurs the day before Carnival Monday, starting at 3:00am in the morning until 9-10:00am Carnival Monday. Every band wears simple shorts and T-shirt and is either covered by chocolate, mud, or paint, depending on the band you’re in.

Me after returning from Jouvert in Trinidad and Tobago.
Jouvert in Trinidad & Tobago.

Jouvert in Trinidad & Tobago.

My Jouvert band called “The Duck Crew” covers us with paint. I used to play with a band called “Coco Devils” that covered us with chocolate, That felt really nice and you smelt wonderful after you washed off the dried chocolate.

Whichever band you’re with it’s amazing fun and helps you release the year’s tension. That felt really nice, smooth skin and you smelt wonderful after you washed off the dried chocolate. That’s what Jouvert is all about. I’ll tell you more in my next post.

Learning About Art

Hi Guys…..I want to share the confusion I went through when I first got into painting. I just painted t enjoy and experience what t was like to paint. Then as I learned the different rules that go with painting I realized it wasn’t as easy as I thought. I love to learn so I understood the rules quickly but I couldn’t seem to find out my style. I knew I could easily copy most pieces done by others but I eventually wanted to be able to recognize my style or my “voice” as Tara Leaver talks about.

I have recently begun to recognize my style and maybe even my voice. I have a minimalistic abstract style when it comes to acrylic abstracts. With watercolours I seem to be slightly detailed but fairly loose. I love painting road scenes, old historical houses, and simple scenes as are familiar to Trinidad. It took 6-8 years of painting and  trying different  techniques to reach this point.

I want you to be open to learning or finding different outlets to learn the different techniques needed to be good or even a great artist. There are downloadable E-books that can help you and I have read many as is this one called “Real Art Lessons, Downloadable E-books By Artist Delmus Phelps. He shows you step-by-step using techniques of old that makes painting easy. He allows and teaches you to be able to make realistic paintings if that is the style you want. If that is not want you’re looking to learn and you want to do portraits then another way is via Benneclli’s Popular Art Lessons on how to paint portraits or do calligraphy.

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The other mediums I’ve tried are pastels, charcoals, pen & Ink with watercolours. Once you understand the different rules for the basics of paining then you can transfer what you learn using any medium that calls to you or brings out a level of emotion from you. Another medium is Pastels and they can be quite freeing. As with the different available methods to learn you can learn about pastels through Pastel Piainting Secrets which is a Guide to Painting with Pastels. You can CLICK HERE to learn more. Art has this power over the artist. We have an inner need to let out something inside of us and although we’re not sure what it is that needs to be free we do know that there is a driving need to try whatever we can to get to the core of the internal energy that allows us to release it.

So lets talk all about the different aspects and definitions of Art. Th characteristics of art is how an artist creates emotion in their artwork. This includes shape, line, value, colour, space, size, smell, etc… properties can be described as how sensory properties are organized to create unity, balance, imbalance, movement, dominance, etc. There are also elements to art, these are:

These elements are:

·       Line.

·       Color.

·       Shape.

·       Form.

·       Value.

·       Space.

·       Texture.

The seven elements in art are colour, form, line, shape, space, texture, and value. The ten common principles of art are balance, emphasis, harmony, movement, pattern, proportion, repetition, rhythm, unity, and variety. It is how the Elements of Art and Design – line, shape, colour, value, texture, form, and space – are organized or composed according to the Principles of Art and Design to give the painting structure and convey feeling. The elements of art are sort of like atoms in that both serve as building blocks. You know that atoms combine and form other things. … Carbon etc, in art you have got line, shape, form, space, texture, value and colour and they combine to form artistic scenes, abstracts etc via different mediums. This is when you start to develop your style.

In the visual arts, style is a “…distinctive manner which permits the grouping of works into related categories” or “…any distinctive, and therefore recognisable, way in which an act is performed or an artefact made or ought to be performed and made”.

Often, these types are misrepresented or more often, misunderstood. Whether the work is three dimensional sculpture or two dimensional, it will still fall under one these three main types. These types are representational, abstract, or non-objective.

Art Styles

·       Fine Art By Movement.

·       Contemporary.

·       Pop Art.

·       Abstract Expressionism.

·       Cubism.

·       Art Deco.

·       Art Nouveau.

·       Post-Impressionism.

Then you begin to realise the importance of composition. What is composition? In the visual arts, composition is the placement or arrangement of visual elements or ‘ingredients’ in a work of art, as distinct from the subject. It can also be thought of as the organization of the elements of art according to the principles of art. OK. That’s the dictionary type definition. Composition is the placement of shapes and the use of colour, lines …all the elements to draw the viewers attention and keep their attention. The composition is what grabs the viewer.

Other important aspects of Art are as follows:

 The most necessary skills for a fine artist:

1.    Realistic drawing. …

2.    Constructive drawing. …

3.    Ability to draw from life. …

4.    Drawing from memory and imagination. …

5.    Knowledge of art materials and their skilful use. …

6.    Knowledge of the rules of perspective. …

7.    Knowledge of golden proportions. …

8.    Composition skills.

The Five Basic Skills of Drawing

·       The Perception of Edges.

·       The Perception of Spaces.

·       The Perception of Relationships.

·       The Perception of Light & Shadow.

·       The Perception of the Whole or Gestalt.

Once you’ve reached a certain level in your art skills , part of that process is keeping a scrap book or artists sketchbook where you experiment with ideas and collect drawings of your environment. Top artists have often used their sketchbooks to explore themes and make compositional studies until they find the right idea and subject for a larger painting on canvas. Keeping up a sketchbook is a great way to keep your drawing skills sharp. Maintaining that skill is important since sketching out ideas is a major part of your design process. … It also comes in handy when you’re trying to communicate ideas to others.

Gail known as gafra.org

HI! I’M GAIL (GAFRA)

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Get a copy of this great Poetry E-book written by my husband, published by me.

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Landscape Challenge #2

Hi guys….so lets finish off the landscape we started and I hope you were trying it. We left off where I did a simple wash of the different colours one on top of the other. Then I used my bottle that has black paint, a fairly thick mixture with a little water or you can mix black acrylic paint with a little water and have a bottle with black paint and one with white). I used my bottle of black paint to draw an outline of some hills on one of the higher washes. Do the same thing with the white paint going on the inside of the mountains.

Landscape Exerc. #4
Paint Bottles.

Also draw wavy lines moving away from the base of your mountains as if it were a river you were drawing. Let it look like waves of water if necessary. I decided to do an outline of some of the lines with a glittery paint. Only to realise that it wasn’t glitter paint but glitter glue. : 0 Ah Well !!! Think of it as mixed medium. Lol This is how the final landscape looked.

Landscape. Silvery water with glue bottle.

See how the mountains are a combination of the black and white paint intertwined but not totally mixed to make grey. you can distinguish the white lines within the black. You may need to let the black paint dry first before applying the white, if you use acrylic paint you don’t need to let the black dry first before adding the white.

Silvery Water Landscape

Silvery Water Landscape

The shiny areas are the glitter glue. use the tip of the glitter paint bottle like a pen and draw along some of the lines within the mountain or the side of the river. I hope you understood my directions, if not, I do apologise. But share with me what you created, I’m excited to see them. Remember there are no mistakes, everything is art, even using glue when you thought it was glitter paint.

These are some additional landscapes I completed. I do one a day.

Green Valley2 #5.

GREEN VALLEY

7th Landscape Challenge Piece.

Blue Field

BLUE FIELD

8th Landscape Challenge Piece

If you enjoyed trying this let me know and I’ll explain how I did some of the others. Choose the one you like then email me at gfrancistt@gmail.com and I’ll do the blog post.

“rocky cliffs”

ROCKY CLIFFS

9th Landscape Challenge

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Art & Poetry

But I never thought about poetry as Artistic until I started transcribing my husband’s deep romantic poems into an ebook. It takes a special type of writing skill to be able to express yourself romantically in the form of a poem. As with all the creative mediums, poetry is another way to release the penned up emotions that are riding you.

Hi guys…..I am on a campaign to publish some poems my husband wrote to me almost 28years ago….yes people the courting poems. Now in thinking about I realised that I am prejudiced. When I think of someone who is artistic I think about artist or as the markets have shown me  those who can create amazing things with their hands. Things for the kitchen like mittens  aprons, handmade soaps etc. One young girl produced them.

As I read the poems after all these years and while transcribing them over into an ebook I saw the creative dexterity it took to write poems where while you read you feel what the person is feeling and the torment, joy or sadness they were experiencing when they wrote the particular poem.

BUY YOUR COPY HERE

GET A COPY HERE

So what exactly is the definition of poetry? It’s defined as: Ideas given intensity by the use of a distinctive style and rhythm; poems collectively or as a genre of literature.

So my husband had a rhythm and it was based on what he was experiencing with me (I guess I was giving him a hard time) during his period of trying to gain my affections.

It’s the same with Art. You’re in a type of rhtyhm when you’re painting and it’s all based on your emotions at the time.  Okkkk….I know you’re curious…..So what’s the story?

Well my husband was my best friend but I didn’t see him or even thought about marriage. In fact I was eyeing some other guys and telling him about them….I mean he was my best friend and who else would I confide in? Not knowing that he was serious about me. Eventually I realised how amazing he was and what a great husband he would make…

So WHALA!!!!! That conversation came up….the big M word…and so we decided to get hitched and we’ve been together 28years outside of the 2 years we went around before we got married. So 30 years in total, with four great kids….a boy 27 and 3 girls 26, 24 and 23. 

Yes I had a child every year for 5 years so some people don’t recognise me, not pregnant. Lol and my husband and I run a business together. In reading his poems from those days I saw the turmoil and pain he was experiencing through that time of wanting but not being able to have. 

I felt a little guilty, but that is a part of life and loving but my realisation was how emotional the poems were.

I will be offering them on this site as soon as I figure out how to publish it properly because they are good and I want him to feel proud of them despite the memories they bring back although we can laugh about them now. 

Time heals all and thank God for these different outlets that allows us to vent and at the same time create. 

Keep following my different posts and get my Free Planner below or check out my more advanced planners on my Shop page. There are a few FREEBIES there.

I FIGURED OUT HOW TO PUBLISH IT BY THE TIME THE WEEKEND WAS OVER. YEA!!!!! CHECK IT OUT!!!

FROM MARTIN WITH LOVE….POETRY FROM THE HEART

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Research, Research, Research

Hi everyone, I decided to do more research and reading on how to sell my art online. I did a facebook course on social media marketing and I’ve set up my website, i’m on instagram, twitter and facebook but I really don’t get any sales from any of those mediums. I do get people viewing my work and liking it but no purchases thus far.

I think one or two people sort me out in an upmarket and may have purchased a panel or two but my larger pieces….they don’t get much coverage. I figure the best way to show those is via an Exhibition but that takes money and organising and time. So I will have one next year but for now I decided to do some research into figuring out what I am still not doing enough of or at all. 

I had hoped that I would sell most of my Art online and be shipping paintings abroad but that hasn’t happened and I have to figure out why.Right now I’m reading the book ” Sell you art online” by Cory Huff. So far its very good. Still just taking it in and then I will go back and pull out salient points. I love doing research so this is fun for me. 

One thing I’ve learnt so far from this book is that your talent has nothing to do with your sales. So I feel a little better because you tend to wonder if your work isn’t good enough but its not about that. It’s about getting infront of the right people who like the kind of art that you produce.

Being seen by the right target market and reaching them wherever they might be. That’s why social media is so great. Its the forum you can use to do that whereas to reach that audience long ago you couldn’t unless you travelled the world. Now you can travel the world with the click of a button.

I’ve resent this post because I am now adding an update. Todate things have been better on one front and worse on another. What am I talking about?….Well sales are even worse in the markets. Every market I’ve done I’ve sold absolutely nothing. Online things are a bit better as my viewership is increasing and I’ve been researching all the ways to up my website, for example, i didn’t realise that to post blogs on Pinterest you needed to create eye catching cover pages in Canva. So I’ve learnt to do that.

It is a lot of fun and can be quite addictive. But it does change the look of your blog, it makes it a lot more captivating and professional.I’ve also learned about the groups on Pinterest and I’m very interested in joining a few. People have approached me to add them to my board, but to be honest I didn’t really know how to do that, so that is something I have to learn still.

So in summary, what I’ve learned so far with all the time that has gone by:

  1. make sure your blog posts have the proper cover graphic so it can be easily posted to Pinterest.
  2. you can build up a large following on Pinterest by pinning your posts.
  3. Have a long list of topics that you can post on.
  4. Write these posts and you can schedule them to be posted as you see fit. I love Squarespace for this as the schedule is built in.
  5. Get people to join your list at every turn.
  6. Share your knowledge but not all. Develop courses to share the majority of your know how.

So people when I figure out what I am not doing well I will let you guys know but for now check you all later.NOVEMBER 8, 2018

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