Monday, December 29, 2014

What's in a name?

(start small)

It's no secret that being a fine artist is hard.  Really hard.  Feelin' like you're runnin huh?  Yuh.

So I got myself on a project.  It's a test tube project;  it's called 'make a name for yourself'.  I have two months. In fine art you have to identify and juggle an incredible amount of balls, and you have to do it all very well  and simultaneously.  If (some financial relief) success is in a good mood it just may knock on your door.

Test tube project experiment 1.  Start small. Rochester, NY. Green light. Go.

Todays post is about the nitty gritty of my situation lest i forget one day.  (doubtful)
I have not left whispers to carry the news that one of the reasons i migrated to upstate New York is because i could no longer financially independent. Currently, i'm still non-profit.  Mom lives in upstate NY so that helps. Thanks mom!

Anyhow. I set myself up in Rochester till i have to be back in L.A. by mid March.  I have laundry list; get together a body of work, get published.  Seem simple?
No man.
Research, action and reaction.   I have to know my galleries, meet the people who run them and if it's a good fit perhaps attain representation, at the very least the more you get out there the better.  I have to find out who the local artists are and meet them, go to the art museums,  hit the art stores and drop off my card/info see if they are interested in hosting a demo, hit the collages (with an art department) and some highschools.  I have to know where my potential clientele is, meet them, (meeting is not a quick introduction, it's connecting), what are the local publications, would they be interested in printing the story i'm composing/art? Who do i speak to in these said publications, do i know anyone who knows someone, who knows someone who knows they guy i need to talk to? Meet them. Write the article, print promotional material, and try to get booked for a show.   Set up a studio.  Get my lineup of paintings set up, get into routine.  Know business, know marketing, know how to invest and what the potential return will be.  I'm planning a couple more trips while i'm here too, where will that fit in? How long? Who will i stay with?
 I have set myself deadlines for sketches, studies and final pieces, which just doubled since i'm now going to be doing a solo show in the first week of March.  I have to make sure to spread the word to make it a successful show.  That's not all that's on my to-do list. Explore more patterns with my sketches is a misc. one which i find pretty exciting.

SO,  i'm starting to get into routine (thank god) and meeting my own deadlines.  I  have this incredible blanket which heats up and getting out of bed is yes... difficult.  I love that blanket... why haven't we made clothing with this stuff? I could use that for the winter... specially socks, and gloves... and clothes. I would love to walk around like a big self heated panda.  I wake at about 5 or 6am.

What i've achieved thus far; my research.  I know what galleries i'll be speaking with, which museums to visit, what schools i'll be stopping by, the art shops, the figure drawing groups and the art clubs.  I have a place to visit where i may meet my potential clients (took an investment), i have a place willing to host a solo show, i have  a location to set up my studio in the next couple days, i have selected the local publications i think will be a good fit, and i have some names of local artists.  I have a rough outline of a portfolio, a framer,  a place which will do high quality printing for me with proofs (yup, important), an idea of how i will design said documents.   By the way, i've been using my 'super savings'... meaning, my life savings that i never touch... just in emergencies. I hope to have earned it back in by the end of the show... fingers crossed, i hope i sell some paintings, i have to make my way back to l.a. after all.

 I've discovered Spotify and dropped Pandora.

Scheduling and organizing is becoming steadily more rigid. (while still maintaining reasonable flexibility because life will take place... i suppose that just means you can more quickly find solutions with desirable outcomes/in alighnment with your goals).

Now, gotta get these wheels turning AND make some artwork.
Woot woot! (what is a 'woot'? I'm almost offended by this)

Meanwhile, i'll show you my current process of coming about a finished painting.

I get an idea, sketch it out or feel it out as i'm painting or shooting.  I'll make sure my ref photos (even if the paintings begin from life) are good enough to work off of,  then i pair up my paintings.
I do academic sketches and play with potential compositions. Somtimes i'll do location or  gouache studies then i hit the oil paints.  I'll do small value studies, then small color paintings which i then put on the market for sale the benefit being that these are more affordable then their larger counterparts which don't always make it successfully to the finale in the first place.  I'm pretty fond of the smaller studies.

The painting we are going to follow is 'Room in Tuscany', it's the one to the left.

 Below is a commission along side my gouache study of 'R in Tuscany'.

Well. That's as far as i got.  This week will come a small paint study (color) of it which will go up for sale, and i have two sizes i'm considering for this pair.  The smaller studies will dictate which one i pick.  Stay tuned for the remainder of the process!

I'll post one more study from this week;  (gouache)

It's been a busy and exciting year. I've had to superglue and tape my agenda and i still have to update it with a couple things from the trip.  Pretty excited to see what next year has in store.

Happy New Year y'all and as the Declaration of Independence will have it; to Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness this 2015.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Happy Holidays!

Thank you to everyone who has made this year awesome. Thanks to everyone who has inspired.  Thanks to everyone who has opened and closed doors.  I hope that i can make life a little better for those around me as they do the same for me. Thanks XOXOXOXOXO y'all as we walk into a new year filled with great adventures, beauty, possibilities and happiness. Best wishes. Cheers.

So, post a one month roadtrip i have arrived in Rochester NY.  My new home for a couple months.  It is cold here but... happy to say, i'm still alive, kicking and inspired. The roadtrip was ofcourse, incredible.
I'm looking forward to putting ideas to paint and putting together a sketchbook documenting my travels to the publishers. Some pages;

In other news; 
A painting of mine has been accepted in the CAC 104 Gold Medal Show. This will be my third consecutive year participating in this incredible event. I am flattered, and it gives me another deadline to get back to L.A.

 My painting 'Doorway in Urbino'. 

I currently won't be going into all my goings and doings while i was traveling;  but feel free to check on some updates on my instagram and facebook, i also have some other plans which i'll elaborate upon when they've started unfolding.  Anyhow,  most recently I've gone from L.A. to Tucsan AZ, through the Grand Canyon AZ, Monument Valley AZ, Arches National Park UT, Colorado Springs, Boulder, and Denver CO,  North Platte NE, Omaha NE, Chicago IL, Sagamore Hills OH, Cleveland OH, Brooklyn and New York, NY, and ofcourse, Rochester, NY.  There are many small towns here i didn't get a chance to chat up but they were awesome too. I 'll have to find a better way to mass media update while I travel since it seems to be one of those habits i have no intention kicking. Time will tell.

I have visited many museums, galleries, danced tango, took a pole dancing class, somehow lost my tango shoes (although i'm sure i put them in that bag with my other shoes, maybe they are in a secret super safe place in my car...), got a commission, drew at Palette and Chisel Academy and Art Students League in NY,  drank scotch at Signature room at the top of the Hancock building in Chicago, got a really weird and ill advertised face massage, took a shower in a park with two jugs of water on a very cold day, camped in my car, got gum stuck to my butt, played poker, drank too much, went running, went hiking, saw snow, drove through a snowstorm (or two), stayed at a super ghetto hotel where the heat just screeched and the outlets didn't work,  ate awesome popcorn, cooked, explored abandoned homes and left before i got caught,  really wanted to paint in some places that i would be trespassing in yet and DIDN'T because i always have really bad luck with that s*** and saw some of the most beautiful landscapes, beautiful sunrises, beautiful sunsets, beautiful cloudy and sunny days,  and coolest black cows ever, and ofcourse met up with old friends (so you had how many kids? Oh just one... just trying my best to keep track man, those things are running around everywhere) and made many new ones.

For further updates, sketches, art, etc...
kathiuciadias on Instagram

The museums i stopped by were; The Denver Art Museum, Art Institute of Chicago (museum), Butler Institute of Fine Art (Youngstown, OH), Cleveland Art Museum, Joslyn Art Museum (Omaha).  
The following images are by no means the best of the best but they'll give you a taste of the incredible amount of goodies that are in these locations.

Dixon in Denver.

Rembradt in Omaha.

Oh my F***ing G**, Mancini in Chicago.  I'm so pissed, the museum closed before i was done!!  Do over for sure.

Sargent in Cleveland. Excuse the awful photo... couldn't get around that.

Andrew Wyeth in Youngstown.

I will actually mention that i'm making new business cards again, but this time i'll leave out my phone number because some creepy people keep calling either wanting a date or just being weird.  I can live without that.
In January i'll be taking another trip to two states, north of NY, and in February/March i'll be driving back to CA.  More discoveries to come!

Monday, November 24, 2014

Hit the road Jack

In Cali. 

And... if you are interested in a commisioned please, feel free to contact me
My website is
My instagram is
My facebook is

 Sketchbook page. Cali.
 Sketchbook page. Arizona and Utah.
 Sketchbook page, Colorado.
 On we go.  Nebraska is next.

Friday, November 21, 2014


On this trip my blogging abilities are very limited.

Please refer to
my facebook page;

and my instagram;

Thanks!  In Colorado now, incredible trip thus far!


Monday, November 10, 2014

Off the grid and onto the map.

"window grid"

a study for this week.

Busy busy. Had a show this past saturday.

The Man Show, @ Cope Studios in Glendale, CA.  Up till Jan 3.

I'll be on the rd fri morning. Exciting stuff to come!

Monday, November 3, 2014

When the levee breaks

Life, at 31 feels now like a blank slate.

I heard a song the other day, cheerful, telling its audience to follow their dreams. I thought to myself and then proceeded to share the thought with the others who were around me that i thought the song should be banned.  Not that i think it should really be banned but it made it sound like pursuing your dreams was as easy as a decision, they forgot to mention it took and arm, a leg, and everything else you had.  Doing this is hard hard work, i'm getting so tired of getting put to the test but i know that everyday i have to pick up speed.  It seems to be at times, hopeless.

Another interesting vision occurred yesterday as i was running.  I was listening to a song and giant Polaroid snapshots floated up amidst darkness.  These were my desires, my dreams, my self-expectations and they went up in flames and left me walking on their ashes. The ashes turned to little bits of gunmetal forming an interchangable skin and inside i was seemingly hallow.   My future unpaved.  All i can do now is place one foot in front of the other, hope this lower back pain caused from my moving so much goes away and survive.  A simple order of business made much more difficult by one who 'chooses to pursue a dream'.

Now, the above is one point of view. When i feel like crap and want to self reflect in a negative light, which happens less and less, this is what occurs to me. The other side of things is this; i still am doing what I love, i am still learning and progressing although in an unstandard sort of way.  Me, by not having an official home (maybe my car), am getting to know alot of friends in a way i wouldn't have known them before which has been a very positive experience.  I get the freedom to go where i want (within certain financial parameters) when i want and i barely own anything so i don't have baggage.  I get to travel, and paint.  My priorities are also being set straight; i am more focused, direct, patient, disciplined and considerate.  I'm also alot less judgmental.  Who am i to judge after all?  It's when we get our ass kicked by life that we break out of our mold and build our own structure.  Just make sure you have a bathroom.

Alot of this week has been sorting, working, and some art.  This coming week will be artwork, taking care of car stuff before my trip, planning my trip.  I'll also need to consider how i am going to handle my business this coming year to yield more successful crop.  Edible, the good stuff. 

There is a Rubens show at the Getty. Check it out;

Some people have it easier then i when pursuing a dream, for sure.  Some people have it harder and some don't have the choice.  At some point I'll have built a life which won't be as hard and lived in a solitary state but i no longer dream of these things.  My imagination has been beat senseless by reality and i cannot indulge on what is not laying on my hands.  Time will tell what the future holds and i must continue to work my ass off everyday while enjoying every moment to make this life worth living.


 quick sketch.
quick plein air. 

study done in V.Zanganians class.

...just to finish the day off, a painting by Sargent.  Just cuz i wanted to post it.  I'll be seeing more of his paintings in person soon as i roadtrip across the country. Not once, but twice.  I believe this specific one is at the Gardner Museum in Boston.

Monday, October 27, 2014

The lost lever.

 Small painting i did in the beginning of the week; 'Doorway in Urbino', 10"x8". 

5 min sketeches with ink.

 Figure study in V.Zanganians class at LAAFA.

 Value study with V.Zanganians class.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Gypsy Queen

The life of an artist may be that of an unconventional sort.  Tired or unable to follow parameters set by societies expectations we follow our inspiration and hearts to a world where we make and break our own rules. Nothing had prepared me for the unpredictable future of choosing this path, but the reward of thinking for myself and making the most out of days which do not seem to follow guidelines certainly make an exciting and rewarding pathway to happiness.   This may not be a cookie cutter lifestyle, but the mess eventually makes a damn nice cake.

My plan; I will be going on a roadtrip with the final destination of upstate NY.  I will be making many stops along the way to check out not only museums and galleries, but to paint which will be the driving force and reason.  Nothing feels as great as the liberty of just creating. Being on the open road, no commitments, just new destinations and making art. This is my comfort zone.  This is my destination for the remainder of the year.

I'm psyched.

I will be sticking in NY state for a couple months; painting snow, tutoring, working on getting published and most importantly, finishing a portfolio.  I will eventually make my way back to Cali, to take the remainder of my classes awarded to me be the ARC scholarship which i'm so excited about and to touch base with my shed.  The remainder of my belongings now amount to barely anything since, due to my constant moving i've had to donate or trash all superfluous items. Even a great many paintings and sculptures are gone and those were the most difficult because alot of it felt like i was getting rid of my history, which to be honest is not all bad. Alot of that stuff was just not a burden i wanted to bear any longer. 

In terms of my professional career I've had to let go alot of my ideals.  Things had worked out fine for me working in a studio but being in charge of everything is a different beast.

 I've had to swallow my stubbornness, ego, and self righteousness, and will now be considering engaging with galleries which ask 50%.  I could make ends meet before, i can't now.  I have no choice but to move forward and swallow the pill.  Such is real life. I'll mention though that I'm still completely in awe of the fact artists have been ok and abiding by these terms and for some odd reason haven't boycott.  But whatever.  History has many examples of things that make me go "ugh?"

This week has been another week where i've moved alot and haven't been very artistically productive.  Here's some stuff regardless;

 Figure drawing earlier this week. F and G open workshop.

black on black study of my tango shoes.  I cleaned out this canvas but i have every intention of doing another one.

In V.Zanganians class this week.

Monday, October 13, 2014

The Storm

yup. late by a day again.  I know it's tempting to say i've been out slaying evil demons and now, after battle and good bowl of cereal i'm ready to tell you about my adventures... but, that's not the case. I've been actually busy trying to keep a cool head on my shoulders as events are changing my life path for the remainder of the year. So, this week has been packing and moving week. I've checked out apts, i've searched for some jobs, but really, mostly it's been moving.

My own plans for the remainder of the year are going crazy and surprising. Just one more story in the adventures of being a fine artist. I've been hit bad in choosing this career path, but never this bad. (financially and professionally speaking, my emotions are steady enough and i have friends that are helping me out through this transition.)  I wondered if my life has been a series of bad decisions. Alas, it has not been, for when i get back to making art i get reminded of why i sacrificed so much to pursue this line of work. But man, it still hurts sometimes and i believe in a better present and in a better future.  But let me state that this is not a logical career path.

There comes a point in time when you realize fairy tales do not come true and get hit with a hard blow of reality.  Sometimes, it takes a couple times attacking different places.  I've considered myself a hard dedicated worker, with principles and morals and always thought i'd be successful.  I'll get there, just not yet. I'm taking the scenic route.

Meanwhile, here are some sketches from this week done with V. Zanganian.

Also, i got accepted to participate in 'The Man Show' taking place at Cope Studios.  Opening reception is Saturday November 8, 6-9pm, address; 926 Western Ave, Glendale, CA 91201.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

A river runs through it

Excuse the non-post from last week. Lot's of crazy stuff happening.

1)i'm looking for a new place to live/studio.
2)job hunting.
4)getting an education.
5)reg ol chores.

So.  Two finished pieces. Some in progress, some studies, some drawings, a photo shoot with a friend and tea/coffee with a friend i met abroad, entered some competitions.  Cleaning, boxing stuff, cooking for friends, drinking tea and eating too much sugar. Have i mentioned entering competitions is expensive? It is.

The two finished pieces, 'River in IT' and 'Harvested wheat in FR'.  Both 30"x15"

Two studies, couch on top... a skull on the bottom.  The couch i think i may push and make it a finished piece.

some quick plein air of a sunset in malibu.

A study i did with Vadim Zanganian.  It's not done yet.

20 min drawing.  I wanted to get the hands in there and almost did (page is larger)... if i only had 10 more mins.  The hands looked so great.

A cast study. I'm considering switching my medium for these to give me greater value ranges with less effort.  If i were to make these darker with the pencil i'm using now... it would take a very long time.

Alas. that's almost the jest of it.  But i must log off now, a great deal of work awaits me before the i can call it a night and ready myself for the adventures of tomorrow.  Ciao! :)

Gonna give a shout out to some great podcasts;

'Revolutions' podcast by Mike Duncan

NPR TED radio hour podcast, latest episode on creativity.

Lastly, Happy Birthday Richard Schmid.  You have been an incredible inspiration to many and will be for many more to come. Thank you.