Monday, December 31, 2007


Great news, I found out the day after Christmas that I was accepted as a GAWKER ARTIST. GAWKER is an online daily media publication focused on news and gossip from Manhattan.

What is a GAWKER ARTIST you might be thinking? Gawker uses the artwork of their artists in the title space where there might normally be an advertisement. It's a fresh way of supporting artists and creating a stimulating online publication.

If you want to check out my bio, go to Gawker selects a few of its artists to be used throughout the web site. I don't know how they select who will be used or when they are used. I am awaiting to hear if they notify you of use of your artwork. Liz Dimmitt of Gumshoe, LLC curates GAWKER ARTISTS. Thank you Gawker!

Friday, December 21, 2007

The Question of Duplicating

Tuscan Farmland, 8" x 8", Ceramic Paint on Tile, © 2005 Jennie Traill Schaeffer, Private Collection (s)

Since becoming an artist full-time in 2005, I started painting and marketing tiles used as coasters, trivets, and framed art. They were a hit and are now 18% of my profits / year, this year selling 36 tile sets all together. This isn't something to laugh at. But, for the time it takes me to paint them and for what I'm selling them at, I'm getting paid on average $16/hour. This is hardly worth it selling this quantity.

The other concern I have is the question of duplicating designs. Initially as an emerging artist I thought, "why not"? Now, I'm starting to reconsider. Yes, it's somewhat easier to paint an older image that I've already done than concept a new one, but I'm getting bored and I think my customers might be appreciative that theirs is the ONLY one. The trouble is convincing my customers to pay more, convince them to trust me to do something custom, or find a new market.

This Christmas I painted four Tuscan Farmland tiles in an assembly-line fashion. I spent about two days working on them. They came out great, but now I think as I redesign my web site for '08 I will retire designs and urge customers to go out on a limb with me to make something great!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Christmas Crunch

This holiday I upped my email marketing and extended a special sale to my customers which led to increased holiday sales. The only trouble being that much of the work was custom or had to be painted. Not wanting to lose the business, I accepted.

As of yesterday I finished my final orders and will be shipping them out for Christmas delivery tomorrow. The frantic pace with which I worked for the past two weeks was challenging on both me and my husband. In addition to one wedding cake portrait, five 6 x 6 tiles, and calendar orders, I got a sinus infection and celebrated my anniversary and 30th birthday. Something's gotta give next year.

It made for a good year-end and I was certainly thrilled that people considered me as a source of their holiday gifts. But, I will reconsider next year about how I advertise and cut-off custom work as well as whether or not I will repaint images for customers.

March 27, 2004, 12" x 16", Oil Pastel on Arches, © 2007 Jennie Traill Schaeffer

Now I'm rushing to get out my much-needed holiday cards since I see the as a very important aspect of keeping in touch with my clients. There's nothing quite like receiving a piece of mail in today's world of virtual everything. Below is the image I'm using for my cards. I'm making limited edition giclée cards so people can frame them after they receive them. I painted this tile a few days before my open studio event and it sold instantly. I think it makes a wonderful image for a holiday card due to its wintry, yet brilliant colors.

Dogwood Winter, 8" x 8", Ceramic Paint on Tile, © 2007 Jennie Traill Schaeffer. Private Collection.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Published Online!

GREAT NEWS! Foliate Oak Online selected my work for inclusion in its December 2007 issue.

The Foliate Oak Online is a literary magazine out of The University of Arkansas-Monticello that found my work on a blog listing of artists and asked if I was interested in submitting work. I thought, why not? The publication is edited and laid out by ten English majors/minors at the university who have full control over what is and isn't included. Most of the contributors are published writers, poets and working artists.

This happened almost a week after I submitted my blog to many blog listing sites. It's amazing how much more traffic a blog gets after you make very simple efforts to promote it. I have to thank Andrea Lyn Van Benschoten who gave a workshop for BOAS (Business of Art Sussex) on various ways to optimize and promote your web site / blog.

Thanks to the staff of Foliate Oak and Bonnie Crump who contacted me!

Visit to view that publication and my work.

Friday, November 30, 2007

A Pretty Good Argument for Art

Auroches in a Cave Painting, Lascaux, France, Paleolithic

In Tuesday's NY Times, science writer, Natalie Angier, writes about new theories on the origins of art. The history and evolution of art is no doubt intrinsic to my life as an emerging artist. Prior to journeying on the path of becoming a full-time artist, I was a public school art teacher in New Jersey. I was passionate, excited, and couldn't wait to share all of the mysteries and visual stuff that man has created with my students.

Unfortunately, my principal at my first teaching job felt art was the lowest aspect of the curriculum and deemed it more appropriate for use as playtime, rather than an opportunity to create art and learn culture and history through the vehicle of art, which is a visual testament to humanity. In The Dance of Evolution, or How Art Got Its Start, Angier overviews a recent conference devoted to the "
evolutionary value of art and why we humans spend so much time at it." I wish this article was written in 2001 when I was trying to shift the perspective of my principal.

One of the speakers was Ellen Dissanayake of the University of Washington who shared a quite different rationale that makes a whole lot of sense to me. She argued that while contemporary westerners view art as elitist and detached from reality art is really intrinsically connected to reality and plays a large role in creating community. I have experienced this myself in moving to a rural county, where by becoming a member of a local arts council, I have become part of a community that is not only made up of artists, but all sorts of people who love art. The only other large draw for community is religion, argues Dissanayake. I have not known such an energetic, impassioned crowd of people since I was in a college setting, doing what else but studying art.

Art making is a magical experience that I believe all people have the capacity for in some way. But, when it is not supported in our schools, by our families, by our friends, art becomes less important. Without art, humans are not humans. Become part of a lively community - make art, buy art, encourage others to make art, support arts events.

The Line

Line, Oil on Canvas, 12" x 6", © 2007 Jennie Traill Schaeffer

Just completed before Thanksgiving, this painting is a continuation of my investigation of Italy and response to my trip in March. It, like all of the other paintings, is done from photo reference I took. What drew me and continues to drive my interest is the laundry line against the backdrop of an old-world building. We were walking through a magnificent Tuscan town, Castellina in Chianti, when I spotted the elegant laundry line. Perceiving laundry lines as elegant is a foreigners' perspective. But, it makes me reconsider my past critical views of Americans who hung laundry. It's a fabulous tradition that really makes a lot of sense both for reconnecting to the past and bridging to a future where global warming fills the headlines and being "green" is en vogue.

I am reminded of an article entitled, HOME WORK; The Quiet Pleasures of a Line in the Sun, in the NY Times last year about the tradition, resurgence and the art of hanging laundry. The author truly beautified and realized the process of hanging a line. I have never hung laundry to dry myself; we moved into our home two years ago and cut down the rusty looking clothing line that stretched 50 feet to the back yard. My mom never hung a line that I can remember. Maybe one day I will return to it when I have the chance to learn the art of hanging a line.

In the meantime I will continue to deal with the laundry line through my artwork. Here's relief print I did depicting a laundry line from Siracusa, Italy after returning from studying abroad in art school:

Memory of Italia, limited edition of 5, linoleum print, 10" x 8", © 2000 Jennie Traill Schaeffer

Monday, November 19, 2007

Calendars Make Great Stocking Stuffers!

2008 Calendars are still available for purchase before for Christmas.

Go to the following local retailers to purchase in person:
  • Radiant Essentials
214 Spring St.
Newton, NJ 07860
(973) 940-0777

5669 Berkshire Valley Road
Oak Ridge, NJ 07438

81 Route 10 East
Randolph, NJ 07869

OR Purchase from Jennie directly by:

Calling 973-383-3418

December 14th
is the last date to order for regular shipping and Christmas Delivery!
December 21st
is the last date to order for express shipping and Christmas Delivery!

Type Calendar in Subject Field and the quantity of calendars you'd like to order. I will get back to you with totals including shipping and tax.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Open Studio Recap

It's been two weeks since I held my first annual open studio/open house. I blogged about this event a few weeks back, regarding my nervousness about it's success. All in all, my nervousness was for nothing.

The turnout was fabulous with about 23 people attending. Though I was hoping for 100 -- I had 23 wonderful people show up to see my work and to buy! It was my absolute best day ever for sales of all of the gallery and art shows I've ever done. There are many things I can attribute this to:
  • the art hung on a home wall giving people a sense of how it would look in their home
  • 20% of all proceeds went to support Kaleidoscope of Hope Foundation
  • I was there; most of my sales of my art have been facilitated by me.
  • I published a press release in the local paper.
One of the best parts of the day was that my mom's best friend's husband purchased my painting, Town and Country, a piece many collectors have been interested in. His wife, Barbara, passed away from ovarian cancer last year. They both always wanted to travel to Italy, but unfortunately never had the opportunity. I am so thrilled that he owns this painting because I know it is that much more meaningful to him.

This is definitely an event I would hold again in the future and need to plan further in advance to get a larger turnout. Two of my friends planned the food and catered the event for me; the food was fabulous! To get a glimpse of the work in my house see the photos below, courtesy of my mom.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Puppies and Business

It's been awhile since I've posted on my blog due to my new furry friend, Ringo and a lousy cold which many people seem to have. Ringo has been an awesome addition to our home and my studio, but he's definitely making me adjust my schedule.

He's got a great disposition, can be pretty independent, loves to run with me, and many times will happily sleep during my lessons. The problem enters when he has not exercised enough and I'm trying to get some painting in.

I'm reading Cesar's Way right now and starting Ringo in obedience classes tonight. What caught my attention was an excerpt about a photographer who brought his dog into his studio every day. While on the walk to the studio, the dog was well-behaved, once at the studio, he became unruly. Now, Ringo is not unruly in my studio, but he has begun to test limits, eating a part of my student's watercolor painting, eating paper towels out of the garbage and getting his nose covered in red paint while sniffing a wet painting. I can definitely empathize with the owner that once in "work" mode, it's difficult to properly handle the dog.

I agree with some of Cesar's points, but much of his books leaves me wondering, how? He doesn't give me the toolbox to actually correct the dog and he talks constantly of 4 hour exercise sessions which is just unrealistic with most dogs. This was the same opinion evoked by writer, Pat Miller for Bark magazine. I will continue to read Cesar's Way taking his ideas with a grain of salt, take my dog to obedience school, work on developing my role as alpha and continue to paint. Ringo will help this emerging artist, not hinder her. Look out for some artwork of Ringo in the future!

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Finally Painted Again!

Deadlines are a wonderful thing. I work better under pressure; some call that procrastination, I call it economy of time.

Since the spring I've been wanting to paint a group of tiles for my bathroom inspired by the dogwood blossoms at my parent's home. It's a tree that is so meaningful to me now as an adult. So many memories are tied to the tree. It grew up with me. It was there for every significant photographic moment. I miss this tree. Lee and I planted a dogwood sapling and to our dismay it did not take. Thus I must enjoy my dogwood through my painting.

Monday I sat down to finally paint the blossoms, spurred by the thought of people sitting in my bathroom at my open studio on Saturday with nothing to ponder. I developed two painted tiles - one 8" x 8" tile and a series of 4, 6" x 6" tiles in a horizontal grouping. Japanese Renaissance artist, H'onami Koetsu and Western painter, Vincent van Gogh inspired my composition and treatment of the subject matter.

Check back later this week to read about the Blank Canvas.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Open Studio

As usual, everything is running last minute.
I am somehow always finishing things right up to the deadline.
Why, oh why!

Saturday I've invited over three hundred people into my teeny tiny home and studio.
I decided several months ago to host an open house / studio sale to try to move some inventory and get clients more aquainted with me and my work.
This seemed like a likely step for an emerging artist.

Two of my friends are catering it for me.
I was considering hiring a cleaning service, but decided to do it myself.
Invitations were mailed later than I would have liked.
Only 14 people have RSVP'd (half of them are artist friends - great for support, but not likely to buy).
I'm banking on the assumption that people don't like to RSVP and I called the event an open house.

I am somehow going to manage the following before Saturday:
  • clean my house
  • finish two new tiles
  • finish a wedding cake portrait
  • start a new saints painting
  • make price labels for all of my work
  • set up displays
  • print more note cards
  • take slides of my student's artwork
  • follow up with customers
  • mail out calendar orders
I have these terrific lofty goals, but I find I always give myself too much to do and never finish my list of goals for the week. So, hopefully I will write again before Saturday to tell you more about my progress as well as other TraillWorks' goings-ons.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Great News!

I've been accepted to participate in a residency program at Peters Valley in Layton, NJ! On a whim I applied to their guest artist residency program to spend a month in part of an artistic community where I would have a private studio and lodging accommodations. Thursday, Rick Marshall, head of fine metals and special topics phoned to notify me of my acceptance.

This is a phenomenal artistic growth opportunity! I will be putting my lessons on hold for the month and dedicating all of my time to painting new works. Peters Valley Craft Center along with the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation will provide me with room and board, plus a stipend. I'm required to live there for the month. Now . . . I just have to figure out what to do with my puppy, Ringo.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

A Fantastic Local Art Show Supports a Great Cause

Friday marks the 30th Annual Art Exhibition and Sale to benefit Sparta, New Jersey's Hilltop Country Day School. Each year area artists contribute about eight pieces each for display, along with portfolio pieces (unframed works -- either drawings, small paintings, or prints). Additionally, the school features one acclaimed artist to headline the show each year. This year's artist being Rita Baragona, an acclaimed artist of Columbia, NJ who paints flowers and gardens filled with luminous color and rhythmic strokes expressing patterns of change.

I found out about the Hilltop show from a local artist named, Carole Dakake, when I first moved to Sussex County two years ago. It was, I think, the first show I did in the county and I attribute it with really fast-forwarding my career. I made some sales at that show and more importantly, showing there and networking with both school professionals and parents have brought me even more clients and a strong reputation in the county.

It was one of the best career moves to do that show and so I will be participating again this weekend, showing many of my Italy-themed works.

From San Gimignano, Oil on Panel, 10" x 8", © 2005 Jennie Traill Schaeffer

Artwork displayed includes acrylics, oils, watercolors, graphics, pastel, mixed media, sculpture, and jewelry. 30% of all sales go to support the programs at Hilltop Country Day School.

Join me at the Opening Reception for Champagne and Hors D'Oeuvres from 7 - 10 pm on Friday, October 12th. There is a suggested donation for entry of $10.

View Larger Map

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Home Portrait

"Enchanted Cottage", 10" x 8", Graphite on Arches © 2007 Jennie Traill Schaeffer

I don't advertise this service but have done several home portraits for clients over the past few years. I attempted initially to do some business with real estate agents by offering this service as a closing gift for their clients. However, over time I realized that this is not what I wanted to spend most of my commission time on. As an emerging artist I keep trying new things and finding out more and more what I do want to spend my time working on and ways to make money without selling out.

I don't believe this portrait, "Enchanted Cottage," is selling out. It was a good drafting / drawing exercise as well as a compositional challenge. I'm happy with the resulting work and anticipate the owners returning from their trip to see it.

More tomorrow about a new member of the studio . . .

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Pre-Order Your 2008 Calendar!

The 2nd Annual TraillWorks Calendar is on its way from the printer! Hurry and Reserve yours TODAY. Pre-order your Calendar NOW before they Sell OUT!

Fully Opened Calendar: 8.5” x 11”

*Sales tax to NJ residents and shipping charges are additional.

tel. 973-383-3418
or email
Type Calendar in Subject Field and the quantity of calendars you'd like to order. I will get back to you with totals including shipping and tax.

BUSINESSES Are you looking for a unique holiday gift for your special clients? Ask me about a custom calendar featuring your business name and information . . .

Friday, September 7, 2007

2008 TraillWorks Calendar

Calendar Cover

I really have been super busy this week and have not gotten to blogging or painting as I should be. Instead I've been preparing for the Peters Valley Craft Fair to be held next weekend in Augusta, NJ. I've had some framing and matting to do as well as create some new promotional materials, which always takes longer than I intend. On top of all of that this emerging artist is finding time to train for a half marathon, paint our dining room, and adopt a puppy! Am I hindering my career or balancing my life? I think the latter.

And, now that we're in September it was time for me to design and publish my 2008 calendar; also entailing new promotional materials. It's been a marketing extravaganza. Everything's just about ready to go to print and I will be sending out information about the calendars next week.

Just to wet your appetite -- the calendar is a 12-month overview of paintings I've completed in 2007. When fully open it's 8.5" x 11" -- great for a small space or even a large purse. Last year was the first time I published a calendar and it was very successful.

The calendar has been upgraded from last year in these ways:
  • inclusion of the high Jewish holidays
  • shrink wrapped with a cardboard insert by the printer to protect from damage and easier gift-giving
  • custom option for Businesses
Visit Emerging Artist next week to purchase.

Friday, August 31, 2007

On the Verge of Big Things

I always thought I would bring it up. I was so wrong. Maybe I wanted him to bring it up to avoid the decision. After all I was the one who brought up marriage. My mom keeps telling me I'm brutally honest on this blog, and I think well maybe, but I could be so much more so. I'm hesitant to even go in this direction due to the very intimate conversation that was had. But, my blog is about telling the world about my life as an emerging artist. And, this is significant.

We had the children discussion. Though we had it over a week ago over a slight buzz from some Chianti wine the timing has changed. Lee's turning 32 and I'm turning 30. We certainly are still very young, especially with many women having children at 35 +. But, I knew that was too late for me only because I don't want to be turning 60 when my kids are going to college.

I've always dreamed of being an artist and a teacher and a mom. Now that the last one is creeping closer to reality I have a lot of concerns and questions as an emerging artist. The main one is how will I have the space to paint and teach. We currently live in a tiny home which does have room for a studio or nursery. I could do both by purchasing a laptop, and somehow condensing all of my office supplies/files to a small space in the living room. Then there's the idea of renting an outside studio space which would really solve the problem. I have the opportunity to possibly share space with a local photographer. But, will I be able to cover the rent?

It's all very exciting as our lives could change significantly over the next year or so. I don't want to lose momentum in my career but being an artist does afford a lot of flexibility. I guess with every change in life you just have to dive in and have faith that everything will work out. And, like Lee says, there's never an ideal time.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Goal Achieved!

Since last writing, I've accomplished one of my goals -- applying to Peters Valley's Guest Artist Residency for '07/'08. I completed the application last night and popped it in the mail today; due on the 1st. Whew!

And now I've realized after listening to NPR today I'm just another statistic of Generation X-ers posting their life lists online for all of the world to see. Humph!

Today on Talk of the Nation, an NPR program, one of the stories was "A List of To-Dos Before You Die", stimulated by Alex William's article, "Ten Things to Do Before this Article is Over" in Sunday's New York Times. Apparently there is a growing movement or trend to write life goals. Not surprising considering our society is burgeoning with self-help, therapy, and coaching gurus. And, I am pro lists -- always have been. Ask any of my friends or family.

Also today I was listening to Sound Check on WNYC's 93.9 and John Schaefer's guest was Brad Warner, a Zen-Buddhist and punk rocker. Yes, you can laugh all you want, I'm an NPR junky. That's what happens when you don't have TV and you drive without satellite radio. Well, I don't care for punk rock, but I do practice yoga once a week and have grown to appreciate many aspects of Zen, the little that I know.

So you can see my tidy, anal self was crashing with the sensitive, mindful self in one day on the radio. I want to be focused, I want to achieve my goals and since writing them down I feel more directed. But, I want to be present, not loose sight of NOW, and be able to adapt when my goals don't come to fruition or they do in a different way. My personality has always been to want the best of both worlds, happy in the middle. Maybe I'll be the one to find a way to inner peace through my lists. Hmmmm.

In the meantime, check out my latest saint that I finished today.

St. Perker, Oil on MDF Panel, 12" x 16" ©2007 Jennie Traill Schaeffer

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Goal Setting

I always thought I was the most anal and organized person; slightly out of whack for an artist. Yes, maybe I still am, but I've definitely changed since my mom used to turn things out of place on my desk just to annoy me. I was a little OCD growing up. And now there is an entire culture devoted to organizing our messy lives. Maybe I missed my calling?

Since starting a business and growing as an emerging artist, I've learned to live with clutter a bit more. True, I always need to clean up before I start a new work or project, but it inevitably gets messy. I never could have tolerated a messy desk, things out of their place. And yesterday I did break down an purchase very attractive storage crates for our laundry room because I couldn't handle the stuff falling off the wire shelving unit. Ok. I'm still a little OCD. But, the studio and office I can handle messy when I'm in the midst of work. And, I'm glad I chose art as a profession and not professional organization.

So I've been writing about my split personality regarding mess, you might be wondering what does this have to do with goal setting? Well, I think the two are intrinsically tied together. I've been working for almost 2 1/2 years as an artist, growing, pursuing new avenues, getting more known, but somehow without much of a concrete goal except to be able to financially contribute to my marriage. I'm starting to do this, but I've taken some workshops on marketing and developing goals and I'm realizing the importance of it and occasionally organizing the stuff around me so I can remain focused.

Suddenly after working through a workbook called The Artist's Marketing and Action Plan Workbook by artist, Jonathan Talbot, and sitting down and really evaluating my goals I've got some clarity. This was further realized when I reorganized my bulletin board toaday with a list of goals and various shows I'm applying for in the upcoming months. So if you're at all curious what my plans are here are my goals for the short term and as I broach them I will keep you informed. Hopefully you will see me accomplishing these things with the help of the knowledge that you are reading about it! I don't want to let me or you down.

Jennie Traill Schaeffer's Short Term Goals - 2007
  • Complete Outstanding Commissions.
  • Finish two new "Sainted Appliance" paintings.
  • Paint Castrocielo, Italy.
  • Increase Sales.
  • Hold an Open Studio event.
  • Consider renting a studio.
  • Promote the Release of a New Giclée.
  • Apply for a Fellowship with Peters Valley.
  • Increase Calendar Sales from Last Year.
  • Start Promoting Paintings of Wedding Cakes.
  • Decide how to update my web site.

Saturday, August 18, 2007


From the wealth of responses that I got about my question of the significance of the gold shapes behind my wedding cake in the previous post, I had a tough decision. All of the answers were quite creative and thoughtful and nearly on. But, two were the closest and I've decided to give both respondents a 30% off certificate for their answers.

Congratulations to Rachel Jemison and Bob Kays. You will both receive a certificate via email.

Rachel answered, "my guess is that your cake is "sainted" and is a blessing on your marriage!"
Bob answered, "The gold shapes are [the throne] the king or queen to sit on. Or in this case a cake!"

You were both on the right track. Above is a sketch of a painting I saw at the Uffizi in Florence in March. The artist, like many others representing the Madonna and Child of the Renaissance, used gold halos and shapes surrounding thrones to signify the religious importance or status of the subjects. I am using the same technique to saint and enthrone my wedding cake!

Thank you to all who participated. I'm in the midst of lots of new ideas for paintings -- keep posted for more news and exciting stuff happening from now through the end of the year.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

A Contest!

For my blog post today, in correlation with my email mailing on Wednesdays, I am creating a contest to give You, admirer of my art, an opportunity to win a 30% reduction of a single artwork purchased between now and December 31st, 2007. Read on art lover.

Look at the artwork below, read the question and email me the answer through the link below. You have until Thursday, August 16th at midnight to respond with the correct answer. The first correct response wins the 30% reduction certificate. To find out if you won, go to my blog ( on Friday, August 17th.

And The Artwork Please . . .

Enthroned Wedding Cake, Oil on Panel, 12" x 16", ©2007 Jennie Traill Schaeffer

And the Question is. . .
  • What is the significance of the gold shapes in the background flanking the wedding cake?
Email your answer here.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

To teach or not to Teach . . .

Artwork by Laurel, Graphite on Paper

Artwork by Laurel, Pastel and Cut Paper Collage

Artwork by Andre, Graphite and Pastel on Paper

Artwork by Andre, Colored Pencil on Board

Before becoming a professional artist I was a full-time public art school teacher who after two years decided that wasn't the life I wanted for myself. Though I loved the act of teaching and working with individual students, I wasn't painting and became jealous watching the students make work while I wasn't. After two years, and talking with my then fiance, we decided together I should make a try at becoming a full-time artist.

Well, 2 1/2 years later, I consider myself a full-time artist but I'm still teaching. Yes, I'm selling my work but not yet at a rate to contribute financially to our household solely on sales of art. I started teaching privately a year and a half ago and what started as maybe teaching just a couple of students has become a part-time job, about 15% of my work week. Now I have six students, with one coming for four hours each Friday for the month of August.

I love working with these students who are all very motivated, talented people eager to learn. It's also been a nice way for me to be able to start paying Lee and myself in terms of income. Some people say that by teaching, artists aren't confident in their selves to really be a self-supported artist. Well, my professors warned me of this when I left art school. Unfortunately, few artists start out selling their work at rates to make a living. It takes time, as with any business, to become established and known. So, I believe teaching is worth it for an emerging and established artist, but on my terms.

Go to LessonWorks for more information about lessons with Jennie.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Dad's Fender

Study for Elegant, Refurbished Maker of Music, 4" x 4", Watersoluble Graphite on Arches, © 2007 Jennie Traill Schaeffer

I completed the study above for the painting below at the end of June as one of my Coffee Hour Drawings. The painting was given to my dad for a very belated Father's Day gift last weekend. My dad is an avid guitar player, was in a band in college, and now plays for several hours each night. He plays both acoustic and electric -- Beatles, Steely Dan among others. The guitar featured in the sketch was his '65 Fender Stratacaster which was damaged in a fire during the '70s. As a kid my dad played nightly and my sister and I used to sit in the guitar case while listening to Yellow Submarine. As we got older, he gave up the guitar for awhile. At some point he regained interest, took out the Fender and found someone to restore it. He's played it ever since until recently selling it. You can see it at Guitar Villa online though it was recently sold.

Elegant, Refurbished Maker of Music, Oil on Panel, 8" x 8", © 2007 Jennie Traill Schaeffer

He was intending to replace the '65 Strat with a newer model, but I think that's on hold for the moment. So I gave him the finished painting on Saturday and he was enamored; saying that now he wished he hadn't sold it. The other remark was "where is the rest of the guitar"! Maybe he'll get bits and pieces in the future.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Photo Essay of an Opening

Photos © Lee Goldberg

There is much too much for me to write about this past Saturday's opening of ICON at Wired Gallery in Bethlehem, PA. And, I have too much painting to do to wax poetic on all that happened. But, briefly there was an energetic crowd, a loud, live band, and a Pop model from which I and other artists painted. The above photos were taken by Lee, my husband, and they give a very accurate portrayal of the exhibit. You must visit Bethlehem! And, Musikfest is coming up!

Friday, July 27, 2007

Watching Artists Paint

Seeing an artist at work is a rare, mystical event. Though recently many galleries, art festivals and artists themselves are taking to the act in public. It's a great way to see what goes on from start to finish since few people have had this opportunity.

This weekend at Wired Gallery in Bethlehem, PA, you have the opportunity to see 5 artists at work painting from a live model. I imagine for this public show the model will be clothed. I have not personally painted from a live model in about three years so this is your opportunity to see a very rusty emerging artist attempt the figure from life. Its assured to be entertaining at the least. Hope to see you in Bethlehem and come for the Top Ten Reasons to visit.

Top Ten Reasons
to travel to Bethlehem this Saturday to
Attend the Opening Reception of ICON:
  1. View and Buy Contemporary POP Art
  2. Watch Jennie Paint
  3. See a Live POP Model
  4. Listen to Live Classic Rock
  5. Eat and Drink Free Food
  6. Meet Lots of Artists
  7. Attend Bethlehem’s 1st Annual Artwalk from 4 - 8pm
  8. Eat at one of Bethlehem’s Fine Eateries
  9. Shop Downtown Bethlehem’s finest Shops and Galleries for special sales and offers.
  10. Go to eDavid Gallery to view a limited public exhibit of drawings/prints by Artist, Edward Hopper

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Ah! The Beauty of a Fence

Susans' Fence, Oil Pastel on Arches, 9 3/4" x 9 1/8", © 2007 Jennie Traill Schaeffer

$129 mounted | $149 matted

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"The first man who, having fenced in a piece of land, said, 'This is mine,' and found people naive enough to believe him, that man was the true founder of civil society."

Unfortunately, a fence can be so old and neighbors can forget who owns their fence which determines what is theirs. Neighbors can be wonderful, they can also be not so wonderful. Lee and I have been blessed by not-so wonderful neighbors and it's been a struggle for nearly two years since our old fence was torn down without our permission by the dears. We've tried talking civilly to them, considered legal recourse which would lead only more aggravation, but without avail. We installed the beautiful dog-ear, board on board fence last fall and no, our neighbors are not now good since we put it in, but we now have our privacy. It was one of the best decisions we've made on our home.

Whenever we sit outside we always note how beautiful our fence is. I wish our situation was easier and we could have made amends, but the fence was the right solution. Last summer my mom gave me Black-Eyed Susans from her garden; this year they doubled in size and are dazzling! When I was thinking about what to draw today for my coffee hour drawing, I realized how beautiful it was outside and went to create the brilliance of my flowers against the fence, against the sky. The image is rather deceiving -- kind of a suburban bliss. Drawing behind my fence I did feel blissful this morning.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007


Hydrangeas from my Garden, 7 1/4" x 10 3/4", Watercolor on Arches, ©2007 Jennie Traill Schaeffer

My sister gave me a gorgeous Hydrangea plant when I moved into our home. I planted it two years ago, last summer no blooms. Finally this season it is bursting with flowers and color, starting out as a purple and changing to pinks. Over a week ago, I learned to cut a hydrangea and to make it last you must singe the end removing a waxy film that prevents the veins from drinking water. The flowers from more than a week ago still look stunning.

The above Coffee Hour Drawing of my Hydrangea is done in watercolor, a medium I have tended to relegate to my sketch book. It's not a medium I am overly comfortable with but have had a recent interest in working with something more transparent and loose in my drawings. My students have been inspiring me with the work they are doing and so I'm urged to play with mediums I'm not used to.

Enough with the computer -- I need a good night's sleep to prepare to paint tomorrow.

Stay tuned for the next post . . . Watching Jennie Paint.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

SOLD to the Client of the Art Consultant!

I've finally had my first sale through my blog! It was an exciting event, my art consultant, who acts like a "matchmaker" to fit artists with collectors, saw my blog and forwarded on to all of her collectors. Almost instantly she emailed me with a firm buyer. It was terrific!

This is the winning piece. I must finish more arduous, neck aching computer tasks before I get into my studio!

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Canonization of a Wedding Cake

Study for Enthroned Wedding Cake, 6" x 8", Oil Pastel on Arches, © 2007

mounted | $149 matted

I've finally started working on a full scale version of my wedding cake today. If you saw my sketches from Italy I made a very quick study of an Antonello da Messina painting that struck me because of the seemingly contemporary approach to its composition. I had intended to use it as a basis for a future painting and 4 months later, here it is.

While leafing through my art history books to find some reference materials for students I came across a painting by van der Weyden entitled The Crucifixion, with the Virgin and Saint John the Evangelist Mourning. Both paintings, painted during the Renaissance, seem to employ a theatrical, modernistic space that I was extraordinarily drawn to. The title for my study is in keeping with the Messina and van der Weyden paintings, as well as my "Sainted Appliances". The idolized wedding cake is now in its proper setting.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Summering in the Hamptons

Rosen Pool, 9.5" x 6.5", Watercolor Sketch, ©2007 Jennie Traill Schaeffer

The Hamptons are truly an ideal sort of fantasy land. I had never been, but my husband Lee and I had the opportunity this past weekend. We drove out to Long Island on Thursday evening to leave all our troubles behind and do nothing but relax. And that we did.

This sketch hopefully conveys the utter serenity of the place. It was a beautiful weekend, warm and sunny. We stayed at my sister-in-law's in-law's home where we had open access to the pool above, tennis courts, a hot tub, and the beach within driving distance.

The Hamptons has long been a respite for artists as the locale was at one point much more rural and less inundated by development and of course more reasonable properties. Jackson Pollock did his greatest works on the Island and living artist, Peter Beard maintains a residence on Montauk. I can see why, however the Hamptons of today are not within reach of an emerging artist unless through some generous friend or family. I am very fortunate to have spent this weekend away and hope to return sometime as a guest.