My art-related list of thankfulness for the year

If you know me well, you realize that I have a naturally pessimistic outlook on life. I like to term it “realistic” when my wife calls me on it, but she is the optimist in our relationship. Somehow, we balance each other out.

Florida realism artist Kevin Grass painting a portrait of his wife as a Christmas present on Thanksgiving Day 2017.

I am spending Thanksgiving eve 2017 painting on a Christmas present. My wife is the subject of this portrait painting.

Coming up with a list of things about which I am thankful is not my natural inclination. There are the obvious ones, that include being grateful for my health, having a teaching job that keeps our bills paid, having a wife that works for my art business for free, and so on. So, I thought I would share with you some of the art-related things for which I am thankful.

They include, in no particular order:

  • My loyal art fans on social media.

Whether it’s on Twitter or on my personal or business Facebook accounts, I have wonderful fans of my art! They have offered me advice, titles for artworks, and encouragement when I was down about making art or teaching and lifted me up when I needed it.

I hope to grow my audience on Instagram this coming year, so I can gain different feedback from this platform as well. But my fans have truly helped let me realize that my art matters to some people, even when no one seems to be purchasing it.

  • More people seeing my artwork than ever this year.

This year I will have participated in three art fairs, from California, to New York, to Miami. Between all of them, literally thousands of people will have seen my paintings in person – more than ever before. I have received compliments and constructive criticism and every time I get to interact with collectors in person, I am animated to create more art.

I am looking forward to returning to Miami shortly, because I know I will get to see familiar faces there, and that’s always a treat!

  • My new website.

I have had a great-looking website since 2005, but thanks to switching to a new platform this year, my website now has eCommerce functionality. The fact that potential buyers can now see how a painting or print looks in different rooms, with different wall colors with the Wall Preview tool, for example, is something that has stepped up the entire buying experience a notch.

Having added embedded videos and a blog also lets my website tell my online visitors more about me than ever before. And if you still want to find out more, you can go to the FAQ section and find out how to set up a Skype session with me! Pretty cool, huh?

The wall preview tool on the website lets customers see how my "Black Friday" print will look like in different settings.

This screen shot shows you how my Black Friday print looks using the Wall Preview tool in a bedroom setting with the wall color adjusted.

  • Having a good print vendor to reproduce prints from my paintings.

I had researched many print vendors locally before I found a good one. Then, I won the [PLATFORM] Artist of the Year award, which was an exclusive contract with a print vendor. Unfortunately, the vendor was not pleased that I wanted to sell some of my own prints on my own website as well, and eventually we parted ways.

I ended up working with Skyline, a company that is fully integrated with our website, so even when I’m asleep, someone can order a print and it will get processed without any extra steps on my part. So, even when the power was out here due to the hurricane, I was assured that someone across the world could order prints from my website and they would be processed without problems. The quality of the prints is the best yet, even if one must wait a little while as the prints are custom-made. They are completely worth it!

  • Anyone who purchased any of my artwork!

This might go without saying, but anyone who actually paid real money to own artwork created by me (in original or print form) is particularly close to my heart.

It shows that you not only paid lip service to liking my work, but that you put your money where your mouth is. Thank you so much for your patronage! I truly appreciate you!

Beronica and Rob Dryburgh pose with a print of Kevin Grass's "Black Friday" painting, in which they both served as models.

Beronica and Rob Dryburgh recently purchased a canvas print of my Black Friday painting, in which they both served as models last year. They even dressed up beautifully for this photo, so I could use it on my website! I just love them!

  • Hurricane Irma sparing our home and studio from major damage.

Our family is of the “better safe than sorry” mindset, so we have hurricane shutters, which came to effective use when Category 2 Irma hit us directly this year.

We were fortunate that we did not sustain more than superficial damage to our garden and koi pond. That’s particularly important because I cannot afford to insure my artwork for its retail value and the hurricane shutters were our insurance, so to speak. We dodged a big one this time, and I’m so grateful for that!

  • Getting to go to the Figurative Art Conference & Expo.

My most recent blog will tell you more about this experience, but until I designed this piece (below) right after my return from FACE, I did not realize how much I had absorbed after all by getting to spend several days listening to artist talks and demonstrations.

Two ballerinas are rejecting sexual harassment from Harvey Weinstein in this sketch for a painting by Florida realism artist Kevin Grass.

This is the drawing of the design that I plan to use for a 7-foot by 14-foot painting to enter into Art Prize 2018 about how these young women reject sexual harassment from Harvey Weinstein. I still need to substitute his face for that of the model I used so far. 

  • Meeting nice artists like Ken Hershenson at Art Prize and hoping to enter the competition next year.

Another blog post will show you some of the art we got to see on our trip to Grand Rapids, Michigan, to the Art Prize competition. But even more fun than seeing the art itself was getting to talk to some of the artists, and my favorite encounter was with my “artistic alter-ego” as he called me, Ken Hershenson, an acrylic oil painter, who even uses the same brand of paint that I do! I look forward to meeting up with him next year when I submit my own painting into the competition.

Those are some of the art-related things for which I am grateful this Thanksgiving. I wish many blessings for you and your loved ones and hope that you have a stress-free holiday season. I hope to see many of you at my booth S1012 at the SPECTRUM art fair in Miami from December 6-10, 2017!

Kevin Grass's artist signature