Painting Asian Watercolor: Protecting Your Work

 Judith Kingsley, Contemporary Asian Watercolor and Oil Paint Artist

1. What drew you to doing Asian Art on rice paper?

I enjoy doing Asian Watercolor on rice paper ever since I studied with Frederick Wong, a Japanese teacher at the Arts Students League in New York City and author of Oriental Watercolor Techniques: for Contemporary Painting, who combined the principles of Asian painting with the principles of Western art. The process I learned was the crushed paper technique, a method that inspires one to expand their thought process and be freer with the technique of painting. The method allows the artist to explore all creative possibilities while painting as it develops. Instead of capturing every detail, as in traditional Western water color, I strive to capture the essence. One doesn’t have to employ the use of proper perspective, nor follow certain rules as in Western water color, therefore Asian Art allows a greater form of self-expression, driven by one’s own confidence and experience. I consider myself a colorist, an inborn gift, so therefore, the use of color and its combinations, plays an important role, not only in my works on rice paper, but my oil paintings on canvas as well. My oil paintings are also influenced by the techniques employed in Asian art.

2. Do you put a lot of time into marketing, and where do you concentrate your efforts?

I realize the importance of marketing, and therefore have recently expanded my website www.Judithkingsleyart.com. However, I need to plan to spend more time on marketing, which involves a great deal of promotion. It is difficult to find the balance between painting and marketing, as both are important. My manner of producing an original painting takes an excessive amount of time, as there is no pre planning, and my work progresses as I go along. In other words, my painting involves a considerable amount of exploration and experimentation, which sometimes can be frustrating, yet very gratifying when I feel that it is finally complete.

As of eight years ago, I have been producing high-end greeting cards of my paintings, which are often embellished with various components, depending on the order. Because of the price bracket, they are sold wholesale to quality stores throughout the country, as well as to Museum Shops. At present my cards are in the shops at the New Mexico Museum of Art, as they have been for many years, as well as the Minneapolis Institute of Art.

3. Which institutions have played an ongoing role in your work as an artist?

There are many institutions that have played an important role in my work. I was inspired to paint when I was 15 years old, at which time I traveled for an hour to study at weekend classes at Parsons School of Design. I then studied at Syracuse University, Crouse College of Fine Art, and from then on, because I lived in New York City, I was fortunate to study with well-known and respected individual teachers and at prestigious Art Schools.

The New Mexico Museum of Art Foundation, as well as the prestigious new Albuquerque Cancer Center have requested of my lawyer that I bequest the remainder of my paintings to them. I consider this an honor.

4. At what point should an artist consider getting involved with Artist’s Equity?

When I lived in New York, I was a member of the board of Artist’s Equity, an organization that includes thousands of artists. Artists Equity has been an important force in protecting artists’ rights for over forty years. It serves as a resource network and a support group regarding all legalities involved in the business of Art. I first became a member when I had exhibited almost thirty paintings in a gallery in Palm Beach, Florida. Two weeks after a very splendid one person opening, the gallery went bankrupt, and according to Florida Law, they were allowed to keep my paintings. I had to buy my paintings back at a percentage, but there were many artists represented by that gallery who could not afford a lawyer, and lost their work to the gallery. There was a law in Florida, as well as in eight other states that if the artist did not sign this Uniform Commercial Code form (which was not shown to us) that the gallery had the right to keep the paintings.

There are many unscrupulous gallery owners, as well as owners of other various businesses, and an artist has to read a contract very carefully before signing. I then contacted Artists Equity and because of the injustice of this law in Florida, as well as other states, numerous members went to Washington to protest this law, resulting in banishing this law in Florida as well as the other states involved. Therefore, I recommend that all artists become a member of this important organization, which exists in most states, in order to have their rights protected. I had written a letter which I named ”Artists Beware” which was circulated and published in almost every art magazine and newspaper in the United States as well as Europe. In it I stated that we have to be hard-nosed business people. That is not easy for most artists who themselves are trusting and trustworthy.

Judith Kingsley has been represented in galleries throughout the U.S. and Europe, as well as the Hofburg Palace in Vienna, Austria. She’s listed in “Who’s Who in the World”, “Who’s Who in America”, “Who’s Who of American Women”, and “Who’s Who in the South and Southwest”.

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