Modern Calligraphy Class

I've brushed off skills I developed at my very first job after college. I took a job as a lettering artist creating sample ads for the Southern Bell sales force to show prospective advertisers for the Yellow Pages. Yes, I am definitely dating myself! I learned how to use the old fashioned Speedball pointed pens with nibs (the writing tips) of all shapes and sizes. I also learned how to write in English calligraphy script and, in fact, lettered my own wedding invitations.

When I saw modern calligraphy starting to trend I decided to dust off my old pens and start practicing! I've expanded beyond pens to markers and brushes as well. I've put a few things "out there" and have gotten lots of compliments, and recently was asked to teach a class for beginning calligraphy. I said yes.
Part of the fun of a calligraphy class is a pretty table and just a little bit of chocolate!

And, of course, goodies to take home to keep practicing.
New calligraphers busy at work.
I ended up being a bit of a project to put together a supply kit with tools, papers, and written instructions. I had several students, we all had fun, and I think I may do this again. My students all did a great job and left feeling like they had learned something new, fun, and meaningful, as well as meeting new people with like interests! I could have told them that is what the art world is all about, but I think they know.

Many thanks to Bonnie Getchell, owner of Revolutionaries Market in Monroe, Georgia. Such a cute shop (on E. Washington St.) and let me tell you, she does amazing work custom painting vintage furniture to look like it is brand new.


Why DO People Buy Original Paintings

"Fig A Row", Oil on Linen Canvas
Private Collection

I often hear the question, "Why would someone buy original art, especially when they can buy a print and save so much money?"

I've thought about the answer to that question, read many articles on the subject, and considered what the answer could be that makes practical, reasonable sense to someone who isn't already an art collector.

Art Represents More Than Eye Candy
I saw a television show about a man who volunteered his time to help an elderly man. He helped install a ramp that would make it possible for the older gentleman to get in and out of his house without help. The volunteer, at the end of the show, understood that the ramp was more than just a ramp. The obvious reason for the ramp was the physical need. But, as important as the ability to get in and out of the house was, that ramp represented much more than  physical capability. 

That man could come and go at will again, and that represented freedom. It gave him a connection to other people, therefore opening up possibilities for experiences not possible to one who is housebound.

It made me realize that the decision to buy a painting also goes beyond the obvious solution for finding "art for the room."

Decoration as Expression of Style and Taste
  • It's true that a painting adds an important decorative touch to a room. It can literally define it through its use of color, subject, size, etc. That is a legitimate reason all by itself for buying a painting. But it also makes a statement. 
  • The choice of a particular work of art does say something about the person who chose it. It is an affirmation of taste, knowledge or understanding about art or an artist. 
  • It connects the owner to something beyond himself or herself because it is a unique item created by another person instead of a machine.

Emotions Count
The selection of art can be charged with emotion. The choice of a particular painting is often the result of a reaction the buyer had when he or she saw the painting in the first place. If you've ever seen a painting that "knocked your socks off" you know what I mean. The reaction is visceral, physical, and undeniable.

Feel Good About Yourself
Also, and perhaps most importantly, owning a painting gives one a feeling that goes beyond the tingle from the purchase of a new pair of shoes. It enables that person to feel special because he or she owns something that is unique. They don't wear it, or eat it, or sleep in it. It doesn't serve any practical food, shelter, or clothing function. But it does raise the quality of life because it is a thing that speaks volumes about its owner without saying a word.

One thing it says is, "It's not a print, dear, it's a painting."


New Year Planning

"Rhode Island Red", 24"x24", oil on panel
This one is new, so still available through me.
The new year has started. I've been painting, and thinking about the best way for me to show my work to the world. It is a big world out there, and it's intimidating to think of myself really putting myself "out there", not just once, but continually.

I've come up with a plan for letting interested people know what I'm up to. That includes what, when, where, how, and sometimes why. Of course, there is my blog, what I'm writing this minute.

These are all ways to see my work and find out a little more about the what, when, where, how, and sometimes why:
My website, Cathy McIntire Fine Art
Twitter (I admit I'm not a great tweeter.)
Newsletter. (The first one will come out soon. You need to sign up to get it. You can sign up by clicking on the Newsletter link at the top of the page.)

I've been involved with arts organizations for a long time. I have always liked being socially engaged with other artists, and I have learned a ton about art and the business of art. The thing is, I get so involved with them that I tend to push back my own stuff. So I've decided to pull back on the groups so I can truly concentrate on me.


Getting Ready for A Show, Part 2

"Taking Fllight" 16x20"
It's "crunch time", as the saying goes, in getting ready to take my work to Sautee Nacoochee for my show. The paintings have been created, and now it is time to gather them together, pack the car, and deliver them to the gallery. It takes organization and planning to successfully deliver a bunch of paintings to a show without forgetting anything. Or Breaking/Tearing/Losing anything. (Yes, I've done all those things, especially forgetting stuff.)

After a final varnish on a couple new pieces, I have to select which paintings to take. I had the new work but needed more, so chose several from my inventory...
From the cabinets under the counter
A couple big ones from the closet
New ones all ready to go
Now time to put together an inventory list.

I identify each painting with a number on tape that matches numbers on the inventory sheet. This makes it easier for whoever hangs the work to put the right labels with the right paintings. Artists put titles and other info on the back of the painting, so it's hard to know the title without having to unhang the painting and look at the back, in order to be sure the label on the wall is correct. That may sound silly, but you can't imagine how frustrating it is to have a label in your hand and not know which painting it goes to.

On to packing the car.
I'm taking 20 pieces of art to this show. I can pack as many as 40 in my car, so this "pack" takes some thought, but isn't too big a deal. The main thing is to be sure everything is secure and won't slide around. I use carpet padding between paintings to keep them from slipping...works like a charm. The big ones, shown at an angle, are 48"x48", so they go in first, and everything else gets packed around them.

Okay, so now it's time to hit the road. The gallery is a couple hours from my house, so I picked up my sister and made it a road trip. The weather was gorgeous and the leaves were at peak color in most places. What was essentially a work day ended up being a fun day with my sis!
Heading toward the North Georgia mountains
And we arrive at the school house at Sautee Nacoochee.
Bring the paintings in.
Sister Susie and another artist bringing work in.
Someone else will do the actual hanging, so all we had to do was bring the work in and put it in the hallway where it will be hung.
Placed along the walls where they will be hung.
And that is it for this phase of the show.
Done. Going back home.
Next, I come back for the opening reception, when I can see how it all looks hung on the walls!


"Feline Repose" Original Cat Oil Painting by Georgia Artist Cathy McIntire

"Feline Repose" 24"x24", Oil on Panel with Resin varnish, $950
Some cats have a great life. I think this one looks like he has, well, it all. That look! No cares, no fears, living life in the moment. I may be just a teensy bit jealous?

I have started painting on panels, particularly since I can talk my husband into making them! He does a great job, making them square, solid, and super smooth. This painting uses a panel as its support. The finished painting has smooth areas and textured areas. Some detail and some broad strokes. I like the interest that comes from combining opposites to a painting. Kinda ying and yang.

The painting has been varnished with epoxy resin, the equivalent of 50 coats of traditional varnish. The result is a glass-like finish that is very clear and shows every brushstroke, enhances the color, and makes the painting look like it was just painted.

...thought you might want to see a little of how this painting evolved:
Initial sketch

Adding the first layers
This painting is currently at Art of Oconee.


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Getting Ready For A Show, Part One

I've been invited to show my work at the Sautee Nacoochee Center in north Georgia. It occurred to me that most people don't know what is involved in getting ready to show paintings. So, I decided to explain the process as I get ready.
The first thing I needed to do is see the location. I've not been to Sautee Nacoochee (between Helen and Clarksville), so I asked my friend, Gail Vail, to go for a road trip to see it.

When we got there I got a photo of the sign, but forgot to take a picture of the outside of the building. So this is a drawing I found of it...
The art gallery is actually a restored schoolhouse. I believe it was built in the early 1900's.

I will hang my work, as visiting artist, in the hallway.
I get both sides. I could see immediately I need to bring a lot of work!

I also met the gallery director, Jim Thomas.
He showed us around, explained what the shows are like, and gave me needed paperwork for the show.

By the end of the show I will have traveled to this little schoolhouse four times and packed and unpacked my car twice. This is in addition to creating the work, photographing the work, logging information about each painting into the computer, creating an inventory sheet for the show and filling out labels for each painting.
There is a lot to do that has nothing to do with painting. It's all a part of the process.
It's all good.


Oliver, A Good Old Boy

"Oliver", 24"x24", Oil with Resin varnish, $950
I have a longstanding love of horses. This guy belonged to some friends of mine, and was more a backyard pet than a workhorse. He has since gone to live with new owners, so I'm glad I got his picture to work from. This stance, for a horse, with the back hoof resting, means the horse is relaxed and comfortable. Just hangin' out, watching me take his picture, probably curious as to when he was going to get a treat from me.

This painting uses a panel as its support. The surface of a panel is strong, doesn't move when paint is applied, and smooth. That creates a different surface from canvas. I like the way the paint flows across the surface, allowing detail or drips with ease. Because of that I was able to combine both, allowing a traditional subject contemporary presentation.

The painting has been varnished with epoxy resin, the equivalent of 50 coats of traditional varnish. The result is a glass-like finish that is very clear and shows every brushstroke, enhances the color, and makes the painting look like it was just painted.