Monday, June 22, 2009

coloured pencil rose finished, updates

Rose Center # 2, 18.5" x 8", Coloured Pencil on Stonehenge
Copyright Teresa Mallen

Here is the finished rose, number two in my series of rose center close ups. Due to its foot and a half width it looks quite dramatic when I look at it from a distance. I have it taped to my studio wall so I can see if there are areas I wish to tweak. Whew, number two is done and you know what? For a gal who doesn't like to work in a series, I think I even have a third rose in me. Wouldn't that be something?! My apologies to those of you who are following my blog who do not like floral art. I do other subjects as well. Please hang in there.

Okay, updates: well woo-hoo, I nearly fell off my chair this morning when I checked the status of my Chard's journey. I had had no new info since 3:30 a.m. Friday morning when it had left Syracuse and to be honest I wasn't too hopeful that all was well. Yippee, it has made it to the state of Georgia. Not only that, the scan says that as of 11:00 this morning it was in Doraville. I did a google map check and good ol' Doraville looks like it is about a half hours drive from the gallery! Can you believe it? Surely in the next 48 hours my funky chunk of chard can be transported just a few more miles. Surely...If it doesn't get delivered by Wednesday morning, I shall hire a taxi driver to go pick it up. So close I can taste it...

As for the adorable Miss Bambie, well if the big furry marmot didn't chew some flowers last night! Grrrrr....Not just ordinary lilies but the exotic ones....more grrrrr....I hope they gave her indigestion. We have a motion detector sprayer and while it can't cover the whole garden, I will make sure it is on tonight and in the area of the lilies. No doubt she will just enjoy the shower! :-)

New update: My tracking info is now showing a 3:04 Destination Scan! Destination, as in the gallery?!! Somebody pinch me or fetch some water, I think I have gone into shock. Time for a happy dance!!! Can you dance and be in shock at the same time? Let's see...Woo-hoo, woo-hoo, woo-hoo...

Friday, June 19, 2009


Look who joined me for coffee this morning...okay she didn't want coffee, she was happy to eat our wildflowers and clover. We have lots of deer that wander through here but this gal has decided she likes it here and I guess she is going to stay. We see her everyday, usually more than once. She is becoming quite tame. The other evening she watched me work in the vegetable garden. We had two deer that were around here a lot in late winter and early spring. I don't know if she is one of them and the other met its demise or if she is new. These two were responsible for eating most of my day lilies as soon as they came up through the soil. (My sentiments at the time ran more along the lines of 'big furry vermin'.) My dog is on window duty and if the doe walks across the lawn, heading for my perennial flower beds, he gets to bark wildly at her. She isn't scared of him. She eventually slowly wanders off, probably because she is at risk of going deaf! My veggie garden is protected by an electric fence.

So what about the DIY title? Well, sometimes you just have to do it yourself. I am referring to my painting being stuck at customs. After several days of letting the various channels sort things out, I wasn't happy with the results so I decided to see what I could learn and accomplish. I was determined to make something happen and after three hours on the phone yesterday morning I am happy to report that as I type this, my painting is now back on a truck heading down Interstate 81.

If you are curious as to what happened, I shall tell a bit of the saga. If you would rather, skip down and see the posies.

I started off with the UPS store owner in Ottawa as I shipped my painting from there. Officially, he is the shipper and he is the one who finalized the customs documents etc. that I filled out. He wasn't interested in helping me. So I started calling a 1 800 UPS number in Canada as well as the US. Their information wasn't much more detailed than what was showing on-line. It appeared that my painting was being held by customs "awaiting a special examination". No one could tell me what that might mean. The US representative told me that my Ottawa dude "had" to help me and it was up to him to contact customs on my behalf. I went back to him but I wasn't convinced that he was motivated to help me and at this point, I didn't want lame emails sent. I wanted action NOW. So I took matters into my own hands and I started my search to locate the phone number for the customs warehouse in Plattsburg New York. They don't publish these phone numbers as they don't want people like myself calling the warehouses directly. Thank goodness for my great long distance plan. After calling all over and telling my story for the umpteenth time, I finally was given the number for the warehouse!

At the warehouse I encountered a wonderful man named Mr. Lehman. He actually listened to my story. He was a bit perplexed as to why I was calling him directly but I was able to convince him that UPS was not interested in being my customs broker, at least not in a manner that was acceptable to me. Next, he did the unthinkable - he offered to search the warehouse to find my package. We had no corresponding numbers or codes but he went off anyway. I could have hugged and kissed him. When I called him back after fifteen minutes he happily reported that he had found a woman who knew what had happened and he could let me talk to her. Again, I could have kissed him. After more than two hours on the phone, I was now going to talk to an actual customs officer who was in the same warehouse as my painting and who had my paperwork in front of her! Yippee. Now it was time for the nitty gritty.

So here is the what happened... A 'formal entry team' randomly selected my package from the customs line up in order to check my paper work. They ended up disputing the value I placed on the painting. Apparently I had priced my art too low! Now let me interject that Canadian art work is exempt from duty and the value shouldn't be important. Add to this, the painting was entering the country for the sole purpose of an exhibition following which it was being shipped back to the original owner in Canada. I included pages of documents in the shipment that testified to these facts. The painting was for exhibit only and not for sale. I had even included the International Harmonized Code that was developed so goods could more freely between industrialized countries. Ha! Since they had determined that I wasn't being completely honest in my paperwork, my painting was on hold and would eventually be sent to another building where the UPS broker would then have to start communicating with me to obtain new documents from me here in Ottawa before the painting would be released. This was going to take weeks. She kept insisting that this was what was going to have to happen. I kept her talking. Short of hanging up on me, I was determined that she would give me a better option.

I finally found out that they had determined that my painting was valued at $1800.00. I told her this wasn't correct and I kept asking questions. Finally she revealed that someone had "looked on-line". You mean all of this was because someone came up with a number from a website that wasn't even mine?!? I told her to look at my website as I didn't even have prices on my gallery page where the Chard painting appears. Finally after much discussion of my limited options this wonderful lady relented. She even came around to the point that she agreed to physically take my package to the place where it would be cleared and she would sign off on it herself as the new documents required my signature! Hallelujah!!! And that is what she did. After almost a week in customs, (and other than my conversation there would have been no end in sight), my painting was finally released from hold and it entered back into the system. It went onto a truck last night and is in-transit now. A lot may happen yet to derail things but at least now I have a chance of my painting making it to Atlanta in time.

Time for a peony break...

To be really clear, the CPSA International Exhibition does allow paintings to be for sale. When I submitted my digital files for jurying, I had to declare whether or not the paintings being viewed would be for sale. As less than 10% of the paintings sell I decided to list the painting as Not For Sale as it would make it easier to set up the return shipping from here before the painting went.

So why is the exhibition so important? Actually it isn't, with one big exception - one cannot get CPSA signature status from being juried in alone. The painting actually has to hang in the exhibition. Also, you need to be accepted into the International Exhibition three times over a 10 year period. With over 700 entries and only 120 painting being chosen, the competition is stiff and the odds are stacked against you. I was accepted last year (and my painting made it to Seattle!) and I don't want to forfeit this acceptance by having my painting stuck in customs due to some wonky bean counting! If I go down, as it were, it won't be without a fight. The exhibition rule is that the final date for receiving our paintings is Wednesday. No late paintings are accepted. Now it is time for UPS to do what they do best - quickly and efficiently ship packages across the continent. Right now I am just glad my painting has cleared and is on a truck.

On that cautiously optimist note, here is another peony. I have several peony plants and they are all at their peak right now. Absolutely gorgeous. My rose work in progress is almost finished and I shall have a final image next week. Tomorrow I teach again. Where did the week go? Have a great weekend everyone and thanks for all of your concern and well wishes regarding my shipping woes. I appreciate it!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Rose wip, a lovely blogger gift and shipping woes

center of a rose, wip, cps on Stonehenge, 18" x 8"
copyright Teresa Mallen

Here is how my rose looks now. I still have petals on the right that don't have any colour yet and I am about half way along in developing values elsewhere. I haven't had much time to work on it as I have been busy getting my painting framed and ready to ship. I also wrote my newsletter last week and I had to prepare for my Beyond the Basics course which I started teaching Saturday. I have great students and I had a wonderful time with them on the weekend. I have also been out of town again cleaning out my parents' house (my on-going summer project). I shall have more studio time this week than last, so I hope to be able to finish this rose image soon.

Here is a picture of my Swiss Chard Mosaic piece now that it has been framed. I thought you might like to see the scale of the work as it is hard to judge things from a compressed image of just the art. I had to frame it in acrylic as it is being shipped to the CPSA International Exhibition. Acrylic is painfully expensive. In fact the acrylic cost more than the shipping fee.

I packed it up and shipped it off last week. It hasn't gone very far. In fact my art is stuck in upper New York state in some sort of governmental limbo land. Prior to shipping, I spent 45 minutes filling out shipping forms and customs documents for the US, and for reentry back into Canada (for this purpose I am both a shipper and an importer). I even knew my International Harmonized Code for a work of fine art (I spent two hours on the internet trying to obtain this info). I didn't use it last year but hey, I figured the more info the better!

The art has cleared customs but I have been informed that it is being held by a Non Customs Government Agency. From what I can find out on-line, it would seem that after clearing customs, my package has to be cleared by the Agency Task Force. I guess they look for bombs and guns. I would think a simple scan of my box would determine that there is just a painting inside. It was to arrive in Atlanta tomorrow but right now my painting seems to have slipped into a black hole. My tracking info shows no new developments. I have one week to get it to the gallery, after that paintings are not accepted. So I sit and fret....

On a happier note, look at what I received in the mail last week.

Fellow blogger, Beth Macre mailed out gifts to those of us who commented on her blog. I am so delighted with my clay magnet. I love the colours and of course my big T. I think I may just convert it from a magnet to a pin so I can wear it! You can also see two cards that have examples of her work. Beth has wonderful clay houses, tiles, and other art available at her etsy shops. To see more of her work and to make a purchase visit and Thanks again Beth!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

New Issue of Coloured Pencil Newsletter

Coloured Pencil Bird Collage
Image Copyright of Artist Heather Gaff Mewis

A new issue of my Coloured Pencil Newsletter is now ready to read. Don't miss the artistic creations of featured artist Heather Gaff Mewis. Her bird collage is above and her jewelry is below. I am sure you will be inspired by all of her creative endeavours!

Jewelry by Heather Gaff Mewis

Also, if you are interested in taking my Beyond the Basics course, please note that you have just two days left to register. Hustle, hustle...

If you are new to my blog, do check out my newsletters by clicking here. Why not consider becoming a Newsletter Group Member? Membership is free! You will receive an email as soon as a new issue has been posted and is ready to read. I hope you will participate by asking questions, submitting art work to share, or making suggestions. If you would like to be featured or you have a business you would like me to mention, that would be wonderful too. If you would like some help with a piece just send me a photo or a scanned image and we can go from there. There is an on-line show coming up this fall that you would be welcome to participate in. So, if you are interested in becoming a member just email me.

Enjoy the issue!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

new coloured pencil rose

center of a rose, wip, coloured pencil on Stonehenge, 18" x 8"
copyright Teresa Mallen

Here is my newest work in progress. You might notice the similarity in size, subject matter and style to my last piece. Woo-hoo, looks like a series is in the making! Usually I am not keen to work on a subject that is so similar to something that I have just finished. As a result, I usually don't work in a series. Of course all artists know that it is a good idea to work in a series (at least once in a while) but I must confess that I am a bit too hedonistic to stick to this good advice. Ah, but perhaps this time...I would just need to complete one more and I would have a small series!

Like the last piece, I am working on a rose - cps on Stonehenge paper. Again, this piece is all about curves and delicately blended colour. As you can see, I have yet to add colour to some petals while other areas have been quite developed. I hop all over as I work, adding a bit of colour here and there. At 18 inches wide, the piece has some lovely drama to it already.

My flower gardens are flourishing. Peonies, poppies and lupines are all displaying their beauty. Here is a lovely lisianthus...

and an allium...

I think it is time to brew up some tea and to sit amongst the flowers for a spell. I want to rewrite some of my press material and sitting in the garden will help make this a more enjoyable task!

So how about you, do you like working in a series?