(Submitted by Ingrid Mueller)
The last Friday Night Club for 2017 was a packed house…almost standing room only. We were all fortunate to have Amy Walsh-Harris join us for a presentation and demonstration, and she didn’t disappoint.
Amy Walsh-Harris is, admittedly, obsessed with Toronto. Born and raised in T.O., she “is inspired by the history, life and movement through the city streets”. As Amy seems to have lived in just about every neighbourhood in the city, each area has inspired her to paint the local life and architecture. Bars and streetcars are also a favorite subject. She also loves looking at vintage photos of the city, which inspire her to paint neighbourhoods and allies that most of us tend to overlook. Here is a link to some vintage photos: https://www.facebook.com/pg/VintageToronto/photos/
Amy admits to taking hundreds of photos of neighbourhoods around the city yet will select, perhaps, ten that capture the vitality, colour and movement that she seeks when planning a painting.
As she plans and draws out her scene the tools she uses for perspective in her cityscapes are remarkably simple: a T-square and acu-eyeball. Once she has selected her images she tends to work on numerous paintings at the same time, claiming she may have ADHD when, in fact, she actually allows time for each to dry, as she works in oils and tends to put at least 4 layers of oil on each painting.
After spending hours actually drawing out her composition her first layer is acrylic, where she will start with her darks, lay in the primary colour and work towards the mixed colours.
Amy is also a prolific, professional painter who produces dozens of paintings every year and has had good success selling them.
After a few fruitless hangings at galleries, Amy decided to market her art herself, thus eliminating the 50% gallery commission and allowing her to price her work at a price suitable to her market/customers.
Art fairs, including the Toronto Outdoor Art Exhibition, are among the promotional tools Amy uses to market her art. However she is also very active on social media like Twitter, Instagram and Facebook, as well blogging, recommending the use of hashtags to draw attention to your work. She also sells directly from her website and recommends posting prices for your work, as it eliminates the need for customers to seek information. (Links below)
Pricing is an issue for all artists and Amy recommends pricing that is not only sensitive to her customers but takes into account not only the size of the painting but the amount of work and hours she puts into her paintings. She has written about this subject in her blog which is available for viewing in the link below.
Amy grew up in the Beach and as a child enjoyed meals with her family at a restaurant called Good Food, affectionately known as “The Goof”. Nostalgia drove her to do a painting of this well known eating establishment which became an instant hit. Demand necessitated the need for prints and this is how another profit center evolved. Prints are a good source of revenue for artists and Amy uses the best materials and offers a selection to her customers. Experience has taught her to use reliable suppliers that provide the best quality product in a timely fashion. Currently her supplier of choice for giclee prints is QSQ Giclee Boutique. (Link provided below).
It was a fabulous evening and refreshing to spend it with a young artist who has a gregarious personality, limitless talent and energy and zest for life.
Giclee supplier: http://www.qsqinc.com/
Facebook link: https://www.facebook.com/awalshharris/