Getting To Know Belinda Grebb

My name is Belinda Grebb My favorite subjects are nature, landscape, and animals. Being out in nature, contemplating beauty, and observing the behavior of animals centers me, enriches my senses, fills my heart and lifts my spirit. I share that experience with others through my photography.

What’s your background?

I grew up in California and have a Master’s in English Literature. I went on to work in various corporate positions, primarily in Health Insurance. When I made a move to New York City back in 90’s, I changed course and ended up quite by accident working freelance in graphics arts centers for the finance sector

Does your artwork come from that background?

I always loved art. My mother is very artistic and painted, and growing up Los Angeles County, we had first-rate museums to visit. I also had a love of nature, since I grew up in the canyons of Calabasas. My love of wilderness lands and animals and wanting to see those protected are central to my work. Although I had interest in photography since high school, I never studied it seriously until after I was working with Photoshop and Illustrator in New York. At that time, I just had a film SLR camera. I learned digital post processing before I had a digital camera. After I moved back to Oregon, I started to spend more time with my camera and taking tutorials online to learn more.

What are you trying to say with your work?

I want to say, Look at this beauty, this is a gift. I want people to appreciate nature’s beauty and to care about it. I want them to look at animals and see unique lives, full of emotion and consciousness and to realize that life is a precious thing, as precious to that individual animal as our life is to us. Hopefully if enough people can care about nature and the other life forms that share the Earth with us, we can work together to save it.

What made you choose the medium you work with?

The camera is something I can take with me, out into to nature. I tried painting, and appreciate that form, but a camera is more mobile. That camera is magical in that it can capture aspects of time and place and preserve them. I love being out in the field and taking pictures of nature or animals, and then I bring them home in the form of an image to interpret or infuse with my own sensibility, and by working on them at home I rediscover the subject in a more intimate way.

Do you work in a studio?

You would not want a photo of my workspace. It is cluttered! I have had the same Cinema Display screen for almost 18 years now (it was the first version and knock on wood, it is still working) and my current desktop computer and my messy desk. Behind me are two printers, and a shelf where I keep my photo paper. I also have a table that holds my cutting board and packing materials. When I’m working on processing images, I’m looking at the screen and everything else goes away.

What is the one thing in your studio you just could not be without?

My big computer screen.

Who are your biggest influences?

My first loves are painters. I love Van Gogh, the Pre-Raphaelites, the Impressionists. I also loved the photographs in National Geographic magazines, and am a fan of Art Wolfe and Ansel Adams.

What is your favourite piece of work by yourself?

I have several favorites and they change. One of my favorites is Family Time Squared. It shows a harem stallion, his lead mare, and their two colts from two different years, and you can see the bonds between them. I became attached to these horses as I’ve followed them for a few years now, although they are no longer in the same band. A landscape favorite of mine is A Creek Runs Through It, because it shows the wildness and lushness of Oregon.

How much time (on average) does it take to complete a work?

There is the time in the field that results in many, a few or no pictures that make me happy – so much is dependent upon weather and luck (especially with wildlife). At home, I spend at least an half hour, and have spent up to a few hours on one photograph.

How do you know something is ‘finished’? Is it easy to walk away?

Yes, I get a feeling when something is finished. But I always reserve to right to come back and tweak something!

What project are you working on now?

I am working on photos that I took of two wild horse herds over in Eastern Oregon. I do a preliminary screening of my images, pick out the ones that interest me most, then go through them again. Often I have missed one or two, that for some reason I overlooked the first time.

What was the best advice given to you as an artist?

I think it would be to take constructive advice under consideration, but not take it personally. In a way, I try to step away from my emotions and any immediate feelings of inadequacies the criticism might bring, so I can assess whether there are truths or ideas that might make me grow or whether to reject it as not being right for me. Criticism has caused me to slow down and re-center and that is a good thing.

What was the first piece of art you sold?

A photograph called – Grand Tetons from Willows Flat.

Do you find it hard to navigate the artworld?

Yes and yes. I try to do a bunch of things and see what sticks. For a while, nothing seemed to work, and then, slowly, my art business has begun to grow–I believe due to social media. When the promotion gets too tedious, I take a break. I don’t want to lose the joy in creation because I’m focusing too much on thinking about trying to sell more. I do often enjoy the online community. I love talking to people across the country and even world on Twitter. That’s pretty cool, although it can be a time gobbler too!

What are you personally doing to advance your work career?

I’ve accepted that some things that work for others won’t work for me. Being an introvert, I’m not comfortable with going out and pushing my art. I like the online experience. I was part of an artists’ gallery and also exhibited my work at a few places, but it is difficult to know what somebody might buy, and there’s a lot of expense to printing and framing, whereas online, you can put everything out there and they can choose. I feel I can reach more people via social medial. I try to make my Twitter posts be meaningful either to my philosophy or my subject.

How do you price your work and why do you price it that way?

I feel my work is priced reasonably. I know it has value, but it is harder for me to place a monetary value on it. I know my work attracts nature lovers and animal lovers who aren’t always the most well off, and I want someone who loves my work to be able to afford it. On the other hand, I’m not about to give it away. I had an English professor who had a collection of Cruikshank prints, he was selling as he had a terminal condition, and he didn’t want to give them away to a museum as he felt it was important to have the buyer value the paintings, and that by paying a price for it, they would treasure the paintings more.

Do you use social networking in your day to day life?

Yes, I like Twitter (@BelindaGreb).
I also am on Facebook ( );
Pinterest (;
and Instragram (

Is there anything that really annoys you about the artworld?

To be honest, I don’t know that much about the artworld. I’m uneasy with competition. I want to create in a way that is as pure and authentic to me as it can be, and I hope that others can relate to it.

What advice would you give new artists?

I would probably repeat the often repeated advice of “be true to yourself”. I think it’s very easy to get swayed by what is fashionable at the moment. For me, the artwork is a form of exploration about my own connection with the world. If I’m trying to be in step with some ideal of what is trending, then I’m losing my own way.

Have you got hobbies?

I do love to travel when given the opportunity. I love experiencing a different culture and environment. I also still love reading.

Where are you based?

I’m based in Vida, Oregon, in a rural area East of Eugene.

Righteous Anger – Kathy From KeppenArt


The photographs accompanying this blog were taken in 2006 in Bay Saint Louis, MS, ground zero for Hurricane Katrina and are part of my Photojournalism Collection on KeppenArt.

When Hurricane Katrina hit the Mississippi Gulf Coast the insurance industry blamed almost all damage on the storm surge knowing that would release them from their responsibility to pay wind and homeowner claims. Residents, engineers and scientists know for a fact that there was an enormous amount of wind damage before any water flooded the coast. Two groups of people were very angry about the actions of the insurance industry.

Residents were angry that they had paid high premiums to be covered for wind damage but were not being paid for that damage. Taxpayers were angry that the National Flood Insurance Program was having to pay for flood damage even though quite a bit of that damage was caused by wind. It appeared as though everyone lost out except for the insurance industry who made millions of dollars of profit even after paying a small percentage of Hurricane Katrina claims.

The image above contains a few of the signs that residents made out of scrap wood found in the debris fields. These signs were posted in front of travel trailers that were being lived in or placed where homes once stood.

I was inspired to create this image because I knew how that anger felt.
The signs in the image Righteous Anger were approximately one mile from our property. We were called “slabbers” as Hurricane Katrina had left us with only the slabs where our houses had been. The photographs were taken seven months after Katrina’s almost total destruction of the Mississippi Gulf Coast.

Living in a travel trailer with only my legs and a tricycle for transportation, I spent many hours walking and riding around my neighborhood and community, picking up necessary items from the PODs (Points of Distribution) and documenting what I was seeing with my camera.

As I learned the true meaning of Life Is A Matter Of  Perspective after Katrina I also learned about Righteous Anger. There are many lessons to be learned during and after natural disasters, just as there are in ordinary, everyday living.

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Thanks! – Kathy From KeppenArt


Although our value does not come from what others think about us or our work, it helps to know that others like what we create. Of course that’s important, too, if you are selling your creations.

I have family, friends and other artists who have “Liked” my Art Page on Facebook, Liked and/or Shared the posts from that page, made complimenting comments under my posts and have purchased Wall Art and products printed with my created images. Others have read, commented on and shared my blog posts.

All of those actions have encouraged me to continue sharing my images and offering them for purchase as well as to continue my writing.

Therefore, today I would like to say Thank you to these people:

All of my family, friends and fellow artists who have supported and encouraged me in any way.

It warms my heart to know that each of you take the time and effort to let me know that you like what I do. Thank you for all of the Likes, Shares, Comments, Purchases and most of all for the love you show me by these actions.


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Getting to Know Dora Hathazi Mendes – KARAVELLA ATELIER

EDITORS NOTE: Dora did say that I could edit this as I normally do, but her words are so beautifully written, and show her wonderful accent, that I have left them alone. 

I am a real crazy cat lady, or better to say a cat artist, sometimes I think probably I am a reincarnation of a spoiled domestic kitty. My husband simply calls me Cat Woman because around 10 years ago I started to paint some colourful cats and I just cannot stop painting them, and Pet Woman because I have an ability to entertain myself at home with my art and other things, and sometimes just forget for days or weeks that outside word exist. Wherever we have been living, I loved to discover the world around us, but on the other hand I never had problem to stay at home for longer periods without talking to anybody in person, except to him or to my children, communicating only online with my friends from different countries. I am perfectly happy at home in my own world painting cats and other subjects after each other.

Music chosen by Dora

What’s your background?

I was born in Hungary, and although we didn’t have a professional artist in my family before, there were several members from my ancestors, who had “artistic veins” or talent, but as to be an artist was not considered as a real profession, mine was the first generation, when two of us were lucky to allowed to pursue our dreams, and they let us to study art. One of my grandmother who was a housewife was making beautiful embroideries, and she was a kind of Pet Woman too, as somehow after 40 years old, she refused to leave home. Her son, my father sometimes made awesome drawings as a hobby and some carvings from wood. He had a camera and a dark room to develop his photographs, which fascinated me as a child. He was an architect and had a huge drawing table and made the plans of houses on paper by hand. My mother was a geography and biology teacher before she got retired, so my love for animals should came from her. In fact, I haven’t seen much art at home, we never visited exhibitions, but I saw plenty of papers and drawings of houses from my father, and I was very lucky and happy child, that they supported me to be able to do what I loved from early age.

I always enjoyed creating, at weekends I was drawing and painting in the studio of our local artist community, I learnt there how to make enamel jewellery which I sold to German tourists during summer with profits. I won some art competitions at young age and had exhibitions with the adults from our local art community. When time arrived to choose school with the recommendation of my art teachers, my parents gave a green way, and they let me continue my studies in Art High School. I left home as young as 14 years old, to do what I loved, supported by my parents from the background.

Cat Portraits
Cat Portraits

Does your artwork come from that background?

I graduated at Moholy Nagy University of Art and Design MOME Budapest, Hungary in 2002 as Textile Designer specialized in handwoven textiles. Why I ended up in the textile department, I don’t really know, but probably my love for yarns came from my grandmother who loved to make embroideries, and my other grandmother had also a loom and a Singer to make textiles and clothes. But in fact I had chosen the Handwoven Textile Department because I had to choose from the given options, and when I saw their workroom with full of colourful yarns, I just knew, that was for me.

The University was useful to learn about history of art and gave support as technical knowledge for making unique handmade textiles and for drawing but didn’t prepare for the life in the sense of how to market yourself as an artist, or what comes after the school. In Hungary that time the Textile Industry was dying, they didn’t need more designers. Also, I was a bit full of the first 4 then 5 years of constant criticism from my teachers, so I was happy get my Artist Degree, and start to do something on my own. Yet during the University I purchased an old loom originated from Finland and started to work as a freelance designer, produced hand woven textiles for cushions and window blinds made by painted bamboo using my loom.

Cat Zodiacs
Cat Zodiacs by Dora Hathazi Mendes

Soon after I met my Portuguese husband, and I left Hungary, and left my loom and colourful yarn collection behind, and started a new life which meant in the following 10 years we have been living in 4 different countries including Romania, Poland, Portugal then Malawi, then back to Portugal, moving constantly. I had a black cat that time called Rebeka, and she accompanied us everywhere except Africa, I think probably she was my somebody important from my previous life, but for sure she inspired me to create my first cat paintings.

Without my giant loom, I thought it is probably best time to pick up painting again, because it doesn’t need much space; a person can do it everywhere, and while I was expecting our first son, I created 22 whimsical cat paintings, which now is the base of my colourful Cats of Karavella Collection. That 10 years was not a very productive period tough in my life in art sense, as I was quite busy to find my new role as a mother and build a new nest in every country we moved after each other. The real thing came only later when accidentally I found an article about Fine Art America and I realized I can be anywhere to reach people without involving myself in the local art scenes, and this gave a new purpose to my life!

What are you trying to say with your work?

Now I believe about 80% of my works are about cats, which will change in the future, as from September my second boy finally will start preschool, so I can become from a stay at home mom, a full time professional artist, and dedicate myself totally for paintings! Meaning, there will be even more cats, but other subject too.

Although cat lovers say cats rules the internet, life and the whole Universe, I don’t have ambition to change the world with my cat paintings. I paint about them because it is my passion, and simply I would like to show this beautiful animal to the world through my eyes. If somebody ask me, what is the word which most represent cats, I would say sophistication. When I opened my Artist Website through Fine Art America in 2016 starting out with my first 22 cat paintings, I realized with my cat art I can connect easily with likeminded people in the whole world, and receive encouragement from costumers, fans and followers, which is very inspiring.

I also paint commissioned cat portraits for custom orders, and my aim is to create a lovely looking portrait about a great companion or as a memoire. My costumers normally crying with happy tears, which is a proof for me, that I succeeded, and my painting is talking to them on its own.

I choose randomly my other subjects, I like to work from my own photographs such as places from our traveling, so I paint for my pleasure, not because I want to say something with them. I don’t have art about political messages, or critics about life we live in, and I am not really into abstract art, I love to paint what I see, and I paint them, because I find them beautiful. It is relaxing and good to my soul.

What made you choose the medium you work with?

I use mainly watercolours in different forms. For my colorful Cats of Karavella Collection, which are bigger size mixed media paintings, I prefer to use Ecoline, which is a water based brilliant liquid watercolour, comes in jars, very similar to inks. I combine this medium with metal gouache and permanent markers, which help me to achieve a very controlled look. I love this paint, because it can provide me the bright and intense colours which I need, to be able to achieve what is in my mind, and with silver and gold and bronze gouache I can add an extra touch which make them special looking in live, and hopefully turn my first-time buyers into collectors.

To my more realistic Cat Portraits I use also watercolours but in pan versions. While my 2D paintings requires more precision and all about colors, on my watercolour cat portraits, I like to let the paint flow, and create a different style. I started this collection last year in December, and I made so far 70+ paintings about one two or three cats together inspired by photographs, and I still learning with each of them to try to develop a spontaneous watercolour style.

Do you work in a studio? 

While living abroad, we purchased a place at the sea, which was meant to be my studio when we settled down, we also nicknamed it as my Karavella Atelier. But when we finally stopped traveling, I was expecting my second boy, so we decided as I will be a stay at home mom for some years, it will be more convenient if I work at home. We turned my studio to a seaside rental, and I have a room for my art in our house, but practically I use only a corner where is my desk, some shelves and wardrobes to store my art supplies, papers and paintings, and as a “Pet Woman” I am very happy with this solution right now, because it is comfortable, I can work with my cat at my side, and everything I need is near, and as I am not painting on giant canvasses, I can do everything on a A3 sized drawing board. I stayed with the name of my dream studio, that is from where the Cats of Karavella came from.

What is the one thing in your studio you just could not be without?

My first thought was to this question that it is my cat Riscas! I have a young Lynx Point Tabby boy for a year, and he believes that he is my assistant, or something like that. Like my other cat was, he likes to involve himself in the process, and what is for sure he is a big help in my marketing efforts! But as he is a cat, he is very independent, so he chose to stay near me when he wants, and not when I want, so my correct answer to this question is my computer with internet!

In this stage I am not exhibiting in physical galleries, so all my art activities happen online. I am not painting plein air, as it would be more assisting to my kids to paint that to paint myself. I need my computer for painting cat portraits from digital photographs, I need it for keeping contact with my costumers, fans and followers on my social media accounts, for taking care of my Artist Website and shops, also communicating with my friends and family.

Ginger Love
Ginger Love by Dora Hathazi Mendes

Who are your biggest influences?

I love Art Nouveau movement, the work of Alphonse Mucha, Gustav Klimt or Henry de Toulouse Lautrec, for an architect, Antoni Gaudi! In my Ecoline cat paintings I prefer bright, vibrant colours, and drew inspiration from the organic and geometric forms, motives and angular contours of this great decorative style. I like the look of stained glass windows and enamel jewellery, and I try to implement some ideas in my colourful Cats of Karavella Collection. When I somebody write to me, that these cat paintings would look great as stained glass, I know I achieved it, and makes me satisfied. From watercolour artists, I would have too many to mention, don’t have a favourite.

What is your favourite piece of work by yourself?

My absolute favourite painting is the “Blue Cat with Goldfish” mixed media from the early collection. This painting was shared and liked lots of times on different social media and was the second piece I sold from my originals and this is the painting which brought my first sale at the very beginning in my POD activity featured on a T-shirt! Since then it is my all-time bestseller painting, I sold several prints, and related products in different forms from my both shops. Sharing this painting to the world brought me not only lots of fans and followers, but also my main collector who has so far 11 original artworks of mine from the Cats of Karavella Collection.

Kingfisher by Dora Hathazi Mendes

How much time (on average) does it take to complete a work?

Depend on the size and the type of work. Right now daily I have around 2-3 hours purely for my art, when my little one is sleeping afternoons. The bigger sized cat paintings from my Cats of Karavella Collection takes 3/5 days to complete. The watercolours from my Cat Portraits Collection are made in one sitting, I try to finish them in that 2-3 hours, and I sometimes need some extra time in the evening to call them ready. If a watercolour portrait has more than one cat, I need 2 sitting to complete. My other themed artworks are the same, watercolour is a fast medium, and I use hair dryer to accelerate the process, to not to waste any minute for waiting from my creating time.
If I am not busy with some other programs, I make 2-4 cat portraits per week, and try to make at least 1 bigger sized Ecoline cat art every month.

How do you know something is ‘finished’? Is it easy to walk away?

I just feel it, I don’t need to think about it too much. My routine is, when I think it is ready, I let it alone for some hours, or a night, and have a look after with a fresh eye, to see if I need to correct or add something, but most of the time, when is done, is done. I don’t regret after anything, and I don’t have unfinished works in pile, I finish them all.

Nice and Clean Tabby Cat Painting by Dora Hathazi Mendes

What project are you working on now?

I love to work on projects, right now I have two ongoing one, and I will start a new one from September. I started a new Cat Zodiac Collection at the end of last year, to paint one zodiac sign per month, to have the 12 signs till November. I will be launching a new Cat Art Calendar for the Christmas Season. If somebody buys my Calendars, for me is a meaning that they like most of my cat paintings, they just cannot decide which to buy, and they want to see a variety of my paintings whole year long. I consider them as an appreciation, and as a type of free enjoyable advertising, for which I am paid for, and not opposite. My Cat Art Calendars in a home of a cat lover, with monthly changing paintings, can be shown during a whole year to neighbours, friends, family members and visitors, so I am already thinking the theme of the following year!

Music chosen by Dora

My second project I started in 2017 December, it is my Cat Portraits Collection. I wanted to start to make pet portrait commissions, but to receive them, you need a body of work to show that you are able to do it. So, I needed cat models, and volunteers, to help me to create and develop a style which is appealing enough to ask me for commissions. During this half year I made 70+ watercolour cat portraits, and lots of them are already commissioned artworks. I created a system at my Cats of Karavella Facebook Business Art Page asking for models, and because this way I know the owners of the pets, I can receive direct feedback from them. These are not commissions, because I choose the photos to paint from, but a great system to create movement, and make even people happy and it is much more enjoyable than to paint random cats from the internet. Those who cannot afford to buy the ready paintings, can purchase a print or a related product from my Artist Website. I receive more and more custom orders, I have already have returning costumers, or people finding me also by referrals, which is great.

The third project I will start in September, I want to develop my other Collections too, about non-cat themed paintings, I would like to make more watercolours related to Portugal, for local galleries, and when I have enough artworks, try to sell also at the local summer fairs. For this I need yet not only quantity or good paintings, but also to gather courage, because as I mentioned I am quite good now in online communications, but I am not taking part in physical art scenes.

Old Street in Obidos, Portugal painting by Dora Hathazi Mendes

What was the best advice given to you as an artist?

One of my very first teacher told me, that it is all about shadows and light next to each other. I need to notice these values, and apply them well, and if I succeed, the picture at one point will get together. I follow this while painting watercolours. At my mixed media paintings, I don’t follow any advice, I just do it how I feel, and I just let myself to go with the wave until is getting together.

Otherwise I think all my art teachers told me always the same, that I need to focus in what I am doing because they told I had potentials and I was not using them fully. I didn’t take this very seriously, because I was missing the ability to focus longer period on the same thing. I could make the given task in a quite short time compared with others, then I lost interest and went for my other businesses. I was not very interested anymore to create nice things just for the sake of being. And when I got ready and wanted to do something with my art and I found the online solution, I was already lack in time. I can create only in silence, for me is not very easy when young noisy kids are always around my legs. So that was a very good advice to use my time wisely, but I wasted some years.

I also liked another advice from a fellow POD artist, that if you sell something, do from it more. Well yes, this advice just working fine!

What was the first piece of art you sold?

I always liked to create art not only for the sake of being nice, but to be able to sell them, and as I wrote before I created different genres so far, not only paintings. If I consider my enamel jewels which I made as a young teen, they were the first ones I sold. Then if I consider art my one of a kind handmade textiles for cushions, and my window blinds, made on my old loom they were the first ones in that genre.

My very first original painting I sold was the “Pretty Me In Tuxedo” cat art form my colorful Cats of Karavella Collection, which I made as a surprise painting about a cat for someone who became later my main collector. He purchased it and right after the Blue Cat with Goldfish painting, which was also his absolute favourite. These two sales gave me courage to let my original paintings go, because although I received requests before, I was afraid of art scams. He gave me the trust, and that huge appreciation which I was needed, and I am very grateful for that till today!

Do you find it hard to navigate the artworld?

At the beginning I found it overwhelming and confusing. When I restarted in 2016 my art activity online, first I felt sorrow and panic, that I didn’t start earlier, and I will be never able to build up a presence on the internet, because it seemed will take an eternity. Of course, I also realized, cats as subjects of paintings are a totally oversaturated theme, so I have a very strong competition out there. Then I calmed down, prepared a plan, and listened to the advice to the experienced ones, that is not a sprint but a marathon. As I was lacking time with a young baby I dedicated my first year for learning and sharing my existing work to the world, to build up a presence, so when the time arrives to paint new works, I will already have an audience to show them. Luckily, I received positive feedback very soon, and I started to create new works earlier than I planned.

Our Purrfect Universe White Cat Painting by Dora Hathazi Mendes

I think it is a hard work, in a sense that there is a part which we all would love to quit, and it is the marketing. Most of us, artists are I believe more introverts by nature, but you must open to the world, step out from your shell and try sell not only your talent, but also show a part of yourself to the public. It is not easy to shout day by day openly to the whole world, that: Look! This is my art; do you like it? Do you like it that much, that you would buy it? Also today you need to be a bit of an everything, although I am not a marketing expert, not a writer, not an entrepreneur, not an actress, but I already did a bit of everything, and I am freaking out from the prospect, that what If I open also a Youtube channel, will I be able to speak to a camera?

An outsider can imagine, ohh you are so talented, just paint something, upload to the net and you will sell it like sugar and is not like that. It is a continuous work or developing, communications with your audience, always searching for new ideas, finding new people who can appreciate your work, try to use every opportunity to get out and show what you do, to make yourself visible in the sea of other talented people who are trying the same as you. So there is not a thing as overnight success, it is a long journey, but with all the frustrations, ups and downs, I enjoy every minute of it, and enjoying more and more as I feel really appreciated by my fans and followers. On the other hand, I believe the possibility being online as an artist, it makes so much easier. From my little corner studio, I can reach for the cat lovers of the whole world, isn’t it just great and makes it simple?

What are you personally doing to advance your work career?

I am painting almost every day. And planning to widen the mediums I am using right now in the future, but going step by step, letting time to sink to everything, because I believe is not good to jump fast from one thing to the other. I am continuously working on marketing, keeping contact with my followers, and trying to add new art frequently. Although I don’t follow art trends, I try to keep updated about new trends and ideas in marketing and try everything out to see if I can have benefit from it. Such as making time-lapse videos about my painting sessions, creating free giveaways, or involve my followers in my projects, etc. I keep what works and drop what doesn’t bring satisfying responds. I try to follow also trends in the Online Cat Community, because it is a way to reach more cat lovers and show them my art. After two years working on this, it feels great, that I am not talking to the empty space anymore but was able not only to gather a great base of followers, but also found new friends from all over the world. I try to collaborate also with other artists, participate in movements in different social media sites, to help each other to climb up on that ladder, and gain a better exposure. I am reading art forums, searching for practical advice to learn from them as much as I can, and trying to investigate and find out what other successful artist did to achieve their level.

How do you price your work and why do you price it that way?

I price my artworks by type, size, and the time I spent to create them. In case it is a cat portrait commission, I also consider the number of animals which are on the same paper. There is a never-ending discussion what price is a good price, and I believe everybody should do how they feel comfortable with. Normally the overpricing and under-pricing create big debates, and for sure I would be considered that I am under-pricing my work. But I need to add more one factor. Art count like a luxurious product, but I want to create widely affordable pieces, and want to make as much people happy with my paintings as much I can! Most of my costumers doesn’t have luxurious homes, and cars, they have cats, and sometimes lots of them. If a cat lover wants buy my original painting and hang it on their wall, or a mug with the portrait of their cats, it makes me very proud and happy, and I am already satisfied!

Once I read an advice from a fellow watercolourist on an art forum, that you can price your pieces lower, and sell thousands of them, or you can price them high and sell only occasionally. So, I prefer the first way and honestly, because movement makes me much happier, then overpricing my watercolours, and waiting for the big catch for months. It would make me depressed. Not to mention, that as I am in Portugal, I must also consider that I want to sell not only to the US market, but also for Europeans. I do not want to paint to my drawer to keep my unsold paintings forever, I am painting to make people happy, make movement, and keep myself motivated.

Music chosen by Dora

My goal is not to be super rich from art, or be a celebrity artist, not to mention since I spent one year in Africa, my world and priorities changed quite significantly. I live in a small village, where fortunately I am not bombarded daily that I need lots of unnecessary things for a fulfilled life, so I create my prices accordingly, and I am able to make from them what I need! With my pricing method in almost a year, I sold 60+ original paintings for happy costumers from 4 continents, 9 countries, and 20 American States. And have sales every month from my POD stores, so I think I figured a good pricing for myself which brings me satisfaction.

Do you use social networking in your day to day life?

Yes, I use every day, and I am kind of everywhere. Before I joined Fine Art America, I had only a Facebook personal profile for keeping contact with my family and friends from different countries. I put most efforts and find most effective is my Cats of Karavella Facebook Business page, and two Instagram accounts. One specialized to my cat art and going with the same Cats of Karavella name, and another general art account to my non-cat themed artworks. I tried to write blogs too, but I am not really into it, still have a free account on WordPress, and I am also on Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, to mention only the main ones, just to spread the word about my art. In the future I would like to open a YouTube channel to my art videos, but right now I just cannot do more.

Porto Rabelo Boats watercolour painting by Dora Hathazi Mendes
Porto Rabelo Boats watercolour painting by Dora Hathazi Mendes

Is there anything that really annoys you about the artworld?

When one artist doesn’t respect the way of the other. When they suggest that only that art worth something which cost thousands or millions of dollars. When they say, if you are under-pricing your work, you are not giving value to your own art, and the public also won’t give value to what you do. When you make a line on a paper, because it felt good, and they expect you to create a big story about it, for what reason you did it. When is difficult to decide, that what you see it a true success, is really a great celebrity artist, or only a bloated empty balloon supported by bots and a team of marketing experts. Looks can be deceiving sometimes, and discouraging to an artist, and can put you down. So that is why when I feel confused and overwhelmed, I try to focus on what I do and already achieved and not to look what others do. You can call this ostrich politics, or it is a way of protecting yourself, sometimes you just need to let it go, for not to be annoyed or discouraged because of the lots of information you are facing through the net.

What advice would you give new artists?

New artists when they just start out need lots of practice to be good in it what they do, patience, dedication. What we see sometimes it seems so easy and natural, most of the time there are many years of practice, sweat and probably a good marketing team behind those seemingly very successful artists. So, this shouldn’t discourage new artists, it is possible to build up your place with consistency, willing to learn from the experienced ones, and probably follow or at least try out their advices. But it is not going to happen tomorrow, more likely in some years, or some 10 years, or 20 or even more. I believe new generation want everything right now or for yesterday, if it seems not going fast, or they give up, or they start to cheat with robos, which will create only an illusion, but won’t give true results. You shouldn’t want straight a lot, aim less, and be happy for your little achievements, this way you can go further.

I receive sometimes compliments that God blessed me with a gift. I am sure I inherited artistic vein from my parents, but I joined my first art lessons as afternoon and weekend activity when I was yet in elementary school, and practically doing it since then. I am 40 now, so it is about 30 something years in my case and two years spent online trying to learn the tricks, to be able to make that satisfying cat art which make them most of the time shed happy tears.

Have you got hobbies?

If hobby is something you love to do in your free time repeatedly, then I don’t have a hobby, because I paint in my free time, but I don’t consider it as a hobby anymore. I like reading, and I still have a big yarn collection, and although my looms stayed in Hungary, once I would like to continue, but to make hand woven tapestry instead of textiles for home decor products. I created a homemade loom from a cloth stand and started to make a tapestry from one of my painting, but it was very time consuming, so I gave it up right now for painting. In fact, I was not correct before, that is my only unfinished artwork I need to complete yet one day.

Where are you based?

I am a Hungarian Artist living in the sunny Portugal, in a little seaside village called Povoa de Penafirme, 60km to the North from Lisbon

Getting To Know Janine Riley

Janine Riley


I am thrilled to say that I have two young Granddaughters whose Art will be displayed in an Art show this upcoming weekend .   The family legacy continues as these two also take care of a stable full of horses. One rides English, the other Western and Championship ribbons have been pulled already.  I may miss my days of competition – but seeing these two young beauties enjoy their horses is pure delight to me.


Music chosen by Janine

What’s your background?

I grew up in the country in the Hudson Valley of NY. Barely one hour’s drive from NYC – but at that time it was a whole other world. Surrounded by fields and farms, as kids we were able to roam the mountainside, play in the woods and spend our days down at the waterfalls. My earliest memories were of pony rides down at Clove Acres ranch. Little did I know then how that would shape and guide my future . My sisters and I grew up working at that farm . Taking care of the stable, our own horses, and riding in the horse shows. I had a Paint horse at the time and competed in Gymkhana events. That horse was very aggressive in competition and pulled plenty of Championship ribbons and trophies, it was my job just to hold on. Ah, the glory days….   My son lives on a farm and has several horses – the grandchildren now ride horses and place in shows !

Horse I Dream Of You ©Janine Riley

Does your artwork come from that background?

Yes, my love for all things “Country ” and being outdoors in Nature. It is all that I know really. My artwork is a memoir. A reflection of my life and how I experienced those times. It is a longing for “Home” and to return to cherished times, if just for a few brief moments. Most of our time spent with family is on the farm or at horse shows – the land provides me with most of my inspiration.

What are you trying to say with your work?

My wish is that I can evoke a memory. I hope that the viewer feels invited in to a scene, and wants to spend some time walking around. Not everyone will enjoy or be interested, but for those who are – I hope to pull forth a strong emotion for them.

What made you choose the medium you work with?

I learned how to paint with Oils along with Bob Ross of course .  As the years went by and the family grew with children, dogs and cats – it was no longer convenient to have wet canvas lying around drying.  Watercolors, while convenient, quickly proved to be quite the challenge .  Although quite difficult at times, they were filled with wonderful surprises. It seemed to me to be a reflection on life . You don’t always get what you expected  – but if you can get through and get past the struggle – the results are always well worth it.  I still believe that  ” the Fairies ” finish my paintings for me. Every Painter knows that there is this horrible phase where it is just so ugly – and you can’t believe that it will ever turn in to anything. But it does. The watercolor Fairies do it.

My job is just to introduce colors together.

Do you work in a studio?

I am fortunate to have a small spare bedroom that is converted in to a studio .  Tons of art supplies stuffed in to buffets and hutches. All ” my specials ” are kept displayed on the hutch – as they inspire me.  Bird’s nests and Robbin’s eggs, feathers and crystal rocks. Hand made gifts and ornaments that my family has given to me. They remind me of who I am.   I have my Painting easel displayed between two windows that look out in to the forest . My Art studio feels like a tree house to me . A herd of deer is a daily sight, and several times a season I will see a bear moseying by. Last year he spent an entire hot lazy day just lounging at the base of a tree,  possibly a whole 20 ‘ away – with not a care in the world..

What is the one thing in your studio you just could not be without?

Interesting enough it is my camera that I would not wish to be without. Even though I am primarily a Painter- my camera goes with me everywhere I go. It captures all the details for me that I can bring back to the studio. I paint the emotion from the memory, and the picky little details come from a photo.

Who are your biggest influences?

My greatest influence of Watercolor is Andrew Wyeth. My heart aches from his portrayal of the rural Pennsylvania countryside. The bare bones of the land – the austerity of its stark Winter existence. Although I am completely drawn to his stoic nature – you will quickly observe that I paint nothing like him. I may desire to – but my paint brush has a habit of picking up orange or purples and throwing it in a scene. My style is somewhat whimsical and Illustrative . My trees can be spooky at times but my scenes are typically uplifting.  Blame it on the Fairies.

One of my greatest joys is that I get to share my artistic sense and way of seeing things with my two grown children. Each an Artist in their own right . My daughter Jasmine has won awards at local Art shows. She enjoys the use of multiple mediums – but excels at using charcoals and doing Portraits.  When I am painting a scene – I will always call her in to critique it . A split second and she will point out what is needed for the finishing touches.  My son Christopher is a Photographer who is always out there capturing the bridges in the Hudson Valley . His work can be found by the name Christography. I enjoy when we get to go on an adventure capturing the local scenes. Our last day out shooting pics together was at the Scranton Railyard.  A cold rainy late October day ( and we were both recently released from the hospital for different ailments ) and we had a blast. There is much to celebrate when you appreciate the time that you have.

Pete The Mule ©Janine Riley

What is your favourite piece of work by yourself?

That is like picking your favorite child.  I also create Photographic Art, so each creation was a journey – complete with fond memories and stories to tell.

One piece that has touched my heart in a special way was – ” Pete the Mule ” .  I met Pete up on my way to Cooperstown NY as we were going to visit with family. There was a farm down the road – and for some reason we decided to stop and say Hello. I’m sure I had my camera out to take pictures. Pete had so much love in his heart to give. You could see all his old scars from days gone past – but was grateful to his new owner who was a kind gentleman . Look in Pete’s eyes, and you will see his soul .

How much time (on average) does it take to complete a work?

A painting can take from three days to three weeks.  I am getting too edgy with that lately – and want a piece completed in under a week. I have a lot to say – and feel the need to get pieces out there.  I have been painting with Watercolors for over 25 years – still learning new techniques every time I paint. They’re actually called mistakes, but if you can remember how to replicate them – you have a new technique.  For the first twenty years I was a “Traditional Style ” painter. Basically that means no white paint used or any other mediums to enhance your work. I am no longer interested in challenging myself that way – I paid my dues. I will use whatever means it takes to express myself. Life it too short to not leave your authentic mark on it.

What do you want people to say about you when you are gone  ?  ” She followed the rules ”  isn’t it.

Autumns Romance Little Country Church Unionville NY ©Janine Riley

How do you know something is ‘finished’? Is it easy to walk away?

I have a very difficult time knowing when to finish a piece. I love painting intricate details, I find it relaxing. Not a splashy loose painter by any means . Perhaps when I have exhausted myself with a scene and am no longer obsessed with it.  I like to push my skills to the limits. I quite often win, but sometimes I do lose.  I’ve learned that I can always paint it over again. With new insight.

Music chosen by Janine

What project are you working on now?

I have been working on a series of painting Little Country Churches. My son will catch a few images for me in his travels, and I have the local shots. I’d like to do a favorite church from each of the local little towns. In small towns many of life’s memories are surrounded by the local church .

Windswept Paint Horse ©Janine Riley

What was the best advice given to you as an artist?

It was Wyeth again.  Painters often have anxiety about ruining a fresh clean piece of ( very expensive ) paper or canvas. Wyeth’s simple cure for that was to take a pencil and make a strike on the clean paper. ” There, your paper is ruined now ” he said,” and the only thing you can do to improve it is paint on it “. That is paraphrased, but it sure did stick with me.

Also I credit my husband for purchasing a huge roll of watercolor paper for me. No more worries of ruined paper – I now had tons of it.

Esu The Future Looks Bright ©Janine Riley

What was the first piece of art you sold ?

I’ve been painting since about ten years old – I simply can not remember my first sold piece. I do remember my first Oil painting of an Ocean wave  that I painted – it came out so beautiful in teals and aquamarines, I was shocked that had happened. Throughout the years I have painted everything in sight. I have painted and sold several houses – inside and out. I have painted many pieces of decorative furniture . I’ve painted hair for a living . My family seems to collect Paint horses. It’s in the blood. The sale was never as important as the doing.  Maybe I should rethink that ?

Do you find it hard to navigate the artworld? 

I am a very friendly and outgoing – Introvert, as most Artists often are. I tend to keep to myself and my family. I have enjoyed living in Milford and participating in the local Art shows and Black Bear Festivals – what I have not done yet is committed to hanging in a gallery.  It is because I enjoy producing my art in isolation that I have focused solely on online and print sales . I get to hoard my originals that way – I don’t have to worry about the immediate sale of an original painting when prints are available to the public.  Committees of large groups can be quite taxing and vexing to the spirit. I have not yet found my niche in the local arena.

What are you personally doing to advance your work career?

I just adore the town that I have recently moved in to. Milford PA is consistently listed in articles as one of ” America’s 10 coolest small towns”. The variety of architecture is an Artist’s playground.  I would like to focus on creating a body of work of local sights. I am intrigued by architecture as of late. They are more complicated to produce than a landscape – with all those pesky straight lines .  When I feel that I have a decent body of work to display – I will then focus on presenting in galleries in my local areas.

Liberty’s Light Newburgh NY ©Janine Riley

How do you price your work and why do you price it that way?

Pricing is probably the most difficult topic an Artist will face. Perhaps a look around the Art studio at all the ridiculously expensive supplies and equipment will remind one to take their work seriously.  Know who your audience is at first – I would like my art to be available to the average consumer. Thankfully prints are available in a variety of sizes – and price ranges.  On Paper, Canvas, Acrylic or Metal  prints  – the purchaser gets to choose.  That makes my life so much easier . If a Collector is interested in an Original  – they may certainly contact me .

Do you use social networking in your day to day life?

Barely. I keep an Artist Facebook page so that so that family and friends from back home can keep track of what I am doing. Everyone’s support has always meant the world to me. My family’s encouragement keeps me going   I try to add a few things to Pinterest Collections. That’s about as talented as I am with social Media.

Is there anything that really annoys you about the artworld?

I am sure there would be lots of things if I really paid attention. I simply do not  “Art Speak ”  for one .  I also do not engage myself with people who have a disproportionate sense of importance or entitlement.

Scranton Times Auld Lang Syne ©Janine Riley

What advice would you give new artists?

Being an Artist is such an individualized experience. I wouldn’t know what it is that each person wishes to seek. I would tell someone to be authentic in their art, and find your niche. Do not be concerned with the ” shoulds ”  and the latest fads.  As life gets busy – remember who you are. Keep a sketch pad and pencil in the car, or a cheap camera in the glove compartment if that is all you can afford .  I truly believe if you are doing what you enjoy – you will flourish.

Have you got hobbies?

Other than art ?  Let’s see… I do enjoy Flea markets and dawdling through thrift shops . I like to take time worn pieces and recreate them, using as decoration around my home. I’ve spent many years landscape gardening – but my new home is now surrounded by forest. I’ve picked up Kayaking recently . We enjoy fishing and hiking in many of Milford’s state Parks. Milford has so many activities going on in town – I enjoy a few hours stroll to stop in a say Hello to everyone. My camera is always with me of course .

White Country Farmhouse ©Janine Riley

Where are you based?

Milford PA is in the North East of Pennsylvania nestled in the Pocono Mountains. My family still has a home in the Hudson Valley, so we travel back and forth visiting. It is good to see the old sights of Home.

Janine Riley
Website URL:*  Janine Riley –

Getting To Know Viva Anderson

First placed on our old site, 1stAngel Arts

I first became interested in Art as a child, when I watched my handsome brother paint at home downstairs. He had lots of girlfriends and they loved having him paint them of course. At that time, around age 8, I also was making my own greeting cards/collages for my family. Lots of torn doilies, lol.
My style varies, depending on my intent for the image. I am au fait with all contemporary and historical styles of Art. My own personal favourite style is Abstraction.

Yellow Tree - Australia
Yellow Tree – Australia by VIVA Anderson ©All Rights Reserved

At first, I was glad to portray what I saw, effectively. Since then, I have evolved into an Abstractionista ! Although I still do realism, but with a twist. Abstraction gives me the freedom to respond to the subject in my own way …. feeling/thinking outside the square.
My favourite medium is charcoal drawing…it is so organic. And, I painted in oils for over 20++ years. Now, because of apartment living, I am using and abusing Acrylics. I chose acrylics to be free of toxins and odours.

Odd Man Out
Odd Man Out by VIVA Anderson ©All Rights Reserved

My ideas are sparked by my thoughts/imagination and also my response to a life situation or political issue. I rarely work from a set-up still life now. Imagination Rules. The images are the result of a life long lived and memory. The colours I use are usually a ‘limited palette’…it suits me on pieces that I want to paint for quietude and contemplation. But ……. I go mad with colour when doing abstraction,too. It ‘depends’.
I had the good luck to have a studio for years, right outside my kitchen door…it was a haven for me. When in the UK, I worked in the greenhouse ! Along with ‘pinched-out seedlings I raised and sold by the box! Now, in 2016, living in this new apartment, I am fortunate to have a lovely ‘loggia’ separate to the lounge room, and am set up happily.
It will surprise you to know my favourite artist – Ben Nicholson…I love his elegant simplicity, which is complex of course, and his palette, and thoughtfulness.
My favourite of my own work, hmmmmmm. As I work, each one is a favourite.
Over time, I must say, this is my Favourite: “An Iris For The Master”.

An Iris For The Master
An Iris For The Master by VIVA Anderson ©All Rights Reserved

It is done in a really minimalistic,abstract design, and causes thought in viewers, who like that it is an ‘iris – not’. A tribute to Van Gogh.
Time on any work, for me, is very long….I think a lot…..then I paint, then I re-paint, then I re-paint again.
And now, with acrylics, I paint 10 times as much due to the nature of them. I do not get the texture or depth with them, that is so much a part of my expression.

Windmills Of My Mind
Windmills Of My Mind by VIVA Anderson ©All Rights Reserved

I don’t mind criticism…..if I respect the source. Otherwise I quietly dismiss it.
How do I know a thing is finished? I just know. Yes, I walk away. I sign it as a gesture to ‘finito’.
I found an interested Gallery here in Sydney when we came here to live, and did quite well, though at the time, I was a very poor photographer, and have few images left from that time for that reason. Doesn’t bother me much. It was a thrilling experience.
There are no plans for a show in the future. Because….much has been sold. And now, from my own photos of my work, I am ‘enhancing’ them for POD (print on demand)…they have moved on, with me.
The possibilities for POD are endless.

Vessels Very Colorful
Vessels Very Colorful by VIVA Anderson ©All Rights Reserved

and now I am back painting, woohoo, and am doing, finally, a painting about Stones…I will have a gallery at FAA on my page when I gather all my images about stones, pebbles, rocks, mountains …….. Stones I love because I have collected them forever and each is from a place on earth I visited when I travelled. Also, stones relate to burials .. traditional use of them instead of flowers….I like the idea.
My plans, at 78++, for the future are to keep on keeping on as long as possible. I have a tremor, and it affects my abilities ….. but, I have made it a part of my Art !
See: Rhythms Of My Tremor image below

Rhythm Of My Tremor B&W
Rhythm Of My Tremor B&W by VIVA Anderson ©All Rights Reserved

The best advice I ever received was SIMPLIFY! The best I can give is, Follow your heart. Practice,practice,trust yourself !
I am a perpetual student…have taken high and low seriousness courses, world-wide, and they were wonderful experiences.
I am home-bound now, do not drive, and not near any local Art Schools, but am not sorry …… have had my fun. Driving at my age is dangerous…………….for others !!
I don’t market my work. I could, but it’s different now…my images are files…the originals are mostly sold or lost in transport………lived/moved/removed on 4 Continents.
I do upload to FACEBOOK, courtesy FAA link.

The Bishop's Mitre
The Bishop’s Mitre  by VIVA Anderson ©All Rights Reserved

I would, if I were asked, be interested on working on commissions, though am not interested in family, animals, portraits …. or flowers/still life … Photographers do wonderful ‘flowers’.
When I could see well, I was also an accomplished seamstress…
I am based and living at Mosman, NSW, Australia, a suburb of Sydney. Out of: Philadelphia, New York, Toronto, New York, UK, Johannesburg, EU.]]>

Getting To Know Andy Jouan

First shown on our old site 1stAngel Arts



When did you first become interested in art?

I guess initially when I was at secondary school, though it was always like a class you did.  The education system and work system wasn’t particularly encouraging me to continue. Then, in 2014, whilst living in London, I decided I wanted to do something more constructive with my Saturday mornings and started attending classes at London Art Classes. Being in a studio environment fanned the flames of the neglected creative within on more than one level.

What were your musical influences growing up?

That’s a tricky question as I had such varied tastes, even big band, as I just liked music.  Though if I had to really nail something down, the legends such as Eric Clapton, Paul Weller, Fleetwood Mac, Pink Floyd, Eagles, Simon & Garfunkal … Just really too many to mention.

What is your style of music? Are you solo or in a group?

I generally perform solo, indie folk I am told, haha, though the EP has full instrumentals.  We tried to give each song it’s very own feel and sound and it was great seeing the creations grow as they were written as acoustic songs, guitar and vocal.

What about your art?

I’m definitely abstract, I enjoy the flow and creation of what might appear.  I can be a bit of a perfectionist so it also helps I think, where if I was a realist painter I’m not sure I’d have ever felt anything was right.  With abstract and expressionism it’s more about the feeling which I like in art.


Has your style changed from when you first began as an artist and musician?

Yes, my style of art has definitely changed though that might be more down to self confidence and understanding more.  I think my focus of subject has become more focused too.

Hmmm I don’t think my music has changed. I’ve hopefully improved, haha …. Big Eagle fan so there’s a lot of acoustic guitar folk influence, I should explore different styles really, but how I play really does express me I guess, so I feel it’s authentic and I like that.

What medium do you use?

Initially I started with acrylic paints and artist paper.  As I progressed I started using canvas at home and have now started using wood also. I’m trying to look around at different options to use as a canvas. I still paint with Acrylic, I really enjoy it as a medium though am playing with charcoal and pencils too at the moment.

Andy Jouan Soulsearch COVER

What about musically?

I sing and play guitar, I tried various instruments at school but guitar got my heart. On the EP we brought in session musicians depending on what we created cause we really didn’t know where each one was going other than my vocals and guitar.  The rest was all part of the creative process.

What made you choose those things?

Initially it was the influence of the art class and the artist Nick Malone who is predominantly an acrylic artist.  Obviously for the classes it’s a good medium so people can “take their master piece home” as Nick says.

Musically? To begin with it was most definitely the teacher.  I was going through some tough stuff in my life at the time as a little boy and this teacher sort of became my idol I guess.  He was a violinist in a folk band too and encouraged me to try violin and mandolin.  He really encouraged my creativity.  Really great inspiration.  I loved the guitar so much though so the journey begun.


When painting, do your ideas come from life or imagination?

Hmmmm Good question! Mostly from imagination, though I have thought about getting into landscapes.   I like the idea of expressing something from the universe that’s just flowing through rather than just copying an image.   I’m quite the musical and spiritual character so there is a huge influence from sound and spirituality.  What I listen to will often be part of what I’m painting, whether it’s POP, or Classical, it all has a place.

How do you choose your images and colours?

I guess at this point it’s a bit of pot luck, I’ll start with a base colour and that will dictate where I go but the images are imaginative and based around what I’m feeling at the time.

Do your write your own tracks?

Yes all of the tracks are my own, I’ve written on an off for years but one piece stood out and I decided I wanted to record it.  Gypsy Girl I wrote for a friend, then decided to do the EP and wrote all the material whilst we were recording last year. There’s more to come I hope.

Do you prefer writing or performing?

Oh writing and recording 100%!   I love to see something coming from nothing, it’s such a great experience. Maybe I would enjoy performing more in a band.   I think the group dynamic could be fun.

Have you had concerts/records?

Yes, so my first EP “Soulsearch” was released last year which is getting heard and liked. I had some CD’s made too which I’ve used to promote myself and sell.  I’m currently living in London so I have been lucky to play at some great venues, including Proud Camden, and Cargo Shoreditch.  It’s all about getting yourself in the seen.  It’s all the same circuit so you soon get in the right venues and meet the right people.  Just played at Proud in Camden on the 7th Feb.

Have you any concerts/records planned for the future?

At the moment I have been pretty busy with my painting.  Talking to a promoter about going forward. I’m online 24/7 though for you to enjoy hahaha

Are you nervous playing live?

I do enjoy it.  At the end of the day you’re there to help people connect and enjoy themselves depending on the gig.  I love connecting with the audience and will have a little chat between songs.  I also found last year that if I perform to enjoy it myself it relaxes my performance.

Do you paint in a studio?

I’m currently working from home but would really love to eventually work in a studio, I think it would be more freeing as I could make a mess haha

Who is your favourite artist?

I think Wallis Kandinsky, A Russian artist who was also influenced by Sound and Spirit, he felt there was so much flow and freedom in music and wanted to portray that in his art.

What is your favourite music track by yourself?

Tricky one, haha Probably “Have you Heard”.   It’s a personal story but I think will resonate with peoples lives and also getting a string section was a stroke of inspiration I really love, sweet sound.

If you could have anyone’s music career, whose would it be?

Oh easy – Eric Clapton, great guitarist and singer, love love love

What is your favourite painting by yourself?

I’m currently working on a collection of images. I think Soulsearch II it was the first I used darker shades and some metallic, really enjoyed creating it.

How much time (on average) does it take to complete a work?

The smaller ones I will try and do in one sitting at the moment, which is about a day.  The larger ones have taken up to a week at this point as I go back to them more with additions, and I’ve figured out pondering time is actually working on them.  It’s an important part of the creative process.

How well do you take criticism?

I’m probably my worst. At the end of the day I don’t like everything I see or hear so I try to look at it critically and not take it personally. Not always easy.


What do you do to overcome a ‘block’?

Walk Walk and Walk some more … I wear out trainers. I think a block can be a little depressive and getting out in the fresh air (cough cough London) is good to free the mind and you might see something that inspires you along the way. Also give myself time, our world is based around achieve, perform, result, repeat of course I want that in my creativity but I would like my art and music to give people time.

How do you know something is ‘finished’? Is it easy to walk away?

I do ponder a lot on pieces even when I am sure they are finished they might get an extra little flick of something. I think for me at the moment it’s just a gut feeling, sorry maybe a bit random.

Have you had exhibits in galleries?

I entered into the New Artist Fair, London in 2015 as my first exhibition, I sold three pieces, as my first exhibition of any sort I was really happy, gave me the courage to expand in what I do. I hope 2016 will bring more opportunities as really I’m a new boy anyway.

Have you any exhibits in galleries planned for the future?

Sorry not at the moment, I may do the New Artist Fair again, it was interesting meeting other artists as well as the people that came through, I also have very different art to show from last year. I try to be active online so if people follow me they will know if something is happening.

What are you currently working on?

I’m currently working on a series called Soulsearch. In todays stress filled world there seems to be an uprising in mindfulness and meditation so I am working on painting images expressing different feelings and ideas of meditation even if some of it is the annoying thought forms that interrupt the peace of mind.

What are your plans for the future?

Ideally I would like to work at Art and Music and creativity full time.  I was lucky enough to have some savings that carried me through 2015 but really taking up the challenge now. Maybe have a nice place by the coast I could run art retreats to help support my own work. Just More and More creativity, I have found my heart and I’m letting it out there. Rooooaar haha

What was the best advice given to you as an artist?

Trying to not make this a one line answer but “Nothing is wrong” I know it’s a bit of a cliche but that freed me up to just experiment, be the little child that is just playing and I soon felt my way through.

What advice would you give new artists?

See above, haha …. No, really, just get some kit and paint, paint, and paint.  Try and put your emotion on the paper and go for it, I think it was a bit therapeutic for me in the beginning but you soon get to a place where you get more focus.

Have you done any courses to help you?

Other than the 10 Saturdays I did at London Art Classes (which I really recommend) not really.   I am looking at doing some but I’m a bit of a loose cannon. I enjoy the experimentation rather than the “This is how it should be”. Surely art is about the discovery not the mould of a system ?

Musically, No not at all, other than the few lessons at primary school. I’ve learnt myself and just write stuff down a lot. You’ll write a lot more rubbish than good songs, it’s the same with my art though I tend to try let it flow and adjust later .

What do you do to market your work?

I have my own website, I at the moment try to limit where I’m at online, there’s so much out there and I think you can over stretch yourself. Website wise I’m on Fine Art America.  I like the format of the product options and SaatchiArt mainly because people know the name and there’s some kudos it carries…. and most important a nice business card and the gift of the gab when I am out and about.

With the music side, live performance is a big part cause it is fun, Social Media Twitter, FB, Instagram, youtube it’s all part of life these days  I don’t quite get how people make massive amount of cash from just talking about themselves, but I guess that’s the Kardassian world we are in … I like to think my authenticity comes across. I’m also on management sites where you can apply for your songs to go on Radio, TV and general A&R agencies.

Do you use social networking in your day to day life?

I’m probably slightly addicted lol …. I figure there is so much of it you have to post to be remembered and to hopefully gain real followers who are interested in me rather than just the numbers game where people don’t actually interact.
Twitter – @andyjouan
Instagram – @andyjouan
Facebook –

I think it’s pretty important to be out there to see what’s going on as well as people finding you, try not to be to distracted by it all though, it’s so easy to think you’re being busy when really you’ve just posted all day, don’t forget to create too


Are you available for work (commissions)?

Absolutely! I have dedicated myself to committing to following the creative internal me.  It is who I am and I am 100% sure it’s the road I need to walk to fulfil my happiness – contact me on social media or my email is

Have you got hobbies?

Other than enjoying my creativity, Walking, Kayaking (only ever had to be rescued once whoops) , anything outdoors I guess. I have been lucky to travel a lot so love to get into the culture of where ever I am.

Where are you based?

Amazingly London – I’m believing it can still work for creatives in London.  It’s a great city with lots to do and see and some amazing characters to meet. I hope the powers that be see the importance of us all.

Do you have a girlfriend/boyfriend? Are they supportive?

Nope not a the moment.  I Actually did have a boyfriend during the process of recording and he gave me the idea for “have you heard” asking me “what would you sing to yourself?” I’m a bit of a free spirit I guess.  I’m sure I’ll find someone who can be happy with my creative craziness eventually but no stress, I love life.

Soulsearch Gold

What do you dream about when asleep?

HAHA a friend of mine thinks I have a CGI budget for my dreams, they are often really amazing and graphic, space travel, different worlds, spiritual realms …. I’m honestly not on LSD haha

Do you think the internet has altered the way musicians can get known?

It’s difficult. It’s certainly opened up opportunities but I’m concerned it’s just flooded. It’s so easy to upload a song (even if you’re not particularly great) maybe contributes to the loss of so many music venues too  It’s a different world but I can’t knock it, it’s helped me a lot but I am a big fan of keep it live. I funded my EP myself in a professional studio which I hope shows my commitment to my journey.

What advice would you give to young musicians looking to get into the profession?

Ummmmmmm “You can do it” haha! Seriously, just start because you love doing it for yourself.  Get out to open mics to help your performance skills….treat like a gig though. Make it real. You’ll convince yourself and others you’re going somewhere.  What’s that saying “Fake it till you make it” haha!

Getting To Know Emma Barton

This interview first appeared on our old site 1stAngel Arts

@Emma Barton

When did you first become interested in photography, specifically?

I really became aware of my love of photography whilst backpacking after finishing university. I had begged my parents for my first digital camera as my birthday present that year, it was an old Olympus and I absolutely loved it. I still have images I captured of wildlife in South Africa displayed in my office – zebra and giraffe photographed whilst on horseback safari, a baboon running along the road at Cape Point and a lion basking under a tree.

On which style(s) of photography do you specialize?

I specialize in Equine Photography but am looking to also develop my Dog photography. Really I just love animals and photography so anything that combines the two makes me happy

I’m a total chocoholic – any chocolate in the house has to be hidden otherwise I will eat it all!

@Emma Barton

Has your style changed from when you first began?

Not really, I have always liked natural style photos.

What kind of equipment do you use?

Nikon d7100, primarily with a 50mm but also 55-200mm lens. I’m trying to decide which lens to purchase next – they are a bit addictive! I bring a Nikon d40x as a back up camera when I am out photographing. I prefer to edit with Adobe Lightroom but also use Photoshop.

What made you choose that equipment?

My father in law gave me his old Nikon d40x when he upgraded, I like Nikon so I have stuck with them.

Do you have favourite times of the days to take shots in?

Where possible I prefer to photograph in ‘the golden hour’ that time just before sunset where the sun is not too harsh and casts a lovely glow.

@Emma Barton

Are you a patient photographer, waiting for the right moment?

Haha, when working with children and animals I think you have to be patient. I can’t think of a particular shoot above the rest but trying to get a horse to put their ears forward for a photograph is a task that can sometimes require a lot of patience!

I’m a big believer in fate and I think things happen for a reason.

How often do you go out just to photograph or, do you have your camera ready at all times, even shopping?

Since developing my interest in photography I think I see the world in more detail, I see light and colour or just moments in time and often think ‘I wish I had my camera with me now’. It’s a big piece of equipment to carry with me all the time though.

@Emma Barton

Do you edit in photoshop or another programme?

I do all my own editing – predominantly in Lightroom

How much time (on average) does it take to edit a work?


@Emma Barton

What was your worse job?

When I look back at some of my initial images that I shot whilst I was a ‘hobbyist photographer’ it makes me realise how far I have come.

What was our best job?

It’s hard to pick a best job. I’m so lucky I love what I do and I always enjoy getting out photographing.

How do you know when a piece is finished? Is it easy to walk away?

It depends on the image, there are some that I would keep going back and tweaking if I let myself.

@Emma Barton

What do you do to overcome a ‘block’?

I work on something else for a bit and then come back to it the next day.

How well do you take criticism and how do you make use of it?

I want to be the best that I can and appreciate constructive criticism. I always ask my husband for a second opinion before showing clients their images.

Who is your favourite photographer?

I love Serge Ramelli, I think the colours in his images are beautiful.

Which one of your photographs is your favourite?

I have a photo I took of my own horse Coolio just after I had bathed him, he is shaking the water off like a dog and I feel it captures his character.

Have you used smartphone cameras?

Yes, although mine is not the best smart phone. I think the technology that iPhone use will open the world of photography up for a lot of people.

Have you exhibited any of your work in galleries?

No – hopefully that might be something for the future!

@Emma Barton

What are your plans for the future?

To continue developing my business.

What advice do you have for budding photographers?

Just go for it. Practice, practice, practice and watch plenty of Youtube tutorials!

Have you done any courses to help you?

No, I am self-taught.

@Emma Barton

What do you do to market your work?

I find Facebook one of the best advertising tools and also word of mouth.

I prefer to be behind a camera than in front of it

Do you enter your work in contests?

Not yet although this is on my ‘to do’ list.

Do you use social networking in your day to day life?

Facebook – Emma Barton Equine Photography

Are you available for work (commissions)?

Yes. Please contact me on my Facebook page.

Have you got hobbies?

I love horseriding, my horse Coolio takes up much of my spare time

Where are you based?

South Manchester, UK