2 Days till the big event.

It’s just 2 days until the King’s Hall Market in Stoke on Trent. Over 50 stalls will be selling a variety of wares much of which is hand crafted. There are lots of unusual items that you won’t find on the high street – great gifts for the hard to buy for. There is also a cafe and other food outlets. i’m looking forward to my cheesy North Staffordshire Oatcakes πŸ™‚

All the details are below.

Have a great weekend and happy Creating πŸ™‚

King's Hall Market, September 18th
King’s Hall Market, September 18th


New and Unique at King’s Hall Market, Stoke on Trent

This weekend I will be attending the Craft Market at King’s Hall, Stoke on Trent. I love doing these shows as I get to meet some lovely people and chat about art and craft all day. It also gives me chance to sell some of the items I can’t sell online as they are too fragile to post – mostly glass.

Coaster sets are one of my biggest sellers. They go for just Β£15 per set of 4 and as each is a unique work of art, this is a real bargain. I sell them at this price as I want them to be used as they should be without fear of breaking a valuable item. They are actually very hard to break (unless you drop a corner onto a tiled or concrete floor :-(). They are made with hardened glass (so suitable to put hot cups on) and decorated with a glaze which is fired when dry to form a durable surface which is even dishwasher resistant.

It would be great to see you there, please come and say Hi πŸ™‚

Happy Creating,



Watercolour Hedgehog

This is a new painting which will be added to my shop shortly. I love painting with blues and purples but usually end up with quite a wintry scene as they create a cool combination. This time I decided to go for a night time scene with this little hedgehog stopping off for a drink. It will be in my shop very soon πŸ™‚

FREE signed print of any art from my shop.


This is your chance to get a free signed print of your choice of artwork from my shop.

Take a look around the shop and see if there is anything you would like for yourself or to give as a gift.

To be in with a chance to win, all you have to do is sign up for the newsletter in the box at the side of this page and share this blog on Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest.

All names will go into the draw to choose a winner.

All names will get a money off voucher to spend in the shop.

On top of that you will get our monthly newsletter with news, hints and tips on creative activities. Watch out for some fantastic guest spots as well as links to great places for art and craft on the net.

Happy Creating,

Janice πŸ™‚

5 essential tips to improving your painting.


Sometimes even the most experienced artist needs a reminder of these basic tips for good practice.

When I paint, I sometimes get so subsumed in the creative process that I forget some of the hard learned lessons of past works consigned to the “good idea but didn’t quite work” cupboard. Here are a few of my cardinal sins.

  1. Don’t overwork – less is more. When you are focused on a detail and struggling with it’s representation it can be all too easy to “labour the point”. Practice that detail elsewhere – in your sketchbook or on some practice paper/canvas. Come back to your painting when you know exactly what you are going to do.
  2. Know your colours – blue and yellow don’t always make green. I have a sheet that I keep to hand showing all the colours I use and their mixes with every other colour. There are some surprising results. To stop your mixes turning to mud, aim to use as few pigments as possible. To do that you need to take a look at the tube. Some colours are a mix of several pigments – these are best avoided to make your mixes from as they often create mud. Use them as they are or lightened only. Knowing your colours will help you use less paint too as you will know the mixing strength of each colour. The picture above is a link to an example of a ready made mixing chart with frequently asked questions answered.
  3. Practice, practice, practice. Like exercise to keep you fit, doing a little every day will help you improve in leaps and bounds. I know how difficult this can be – four children, moving house more times than I care to remember, working long hours, caring for family. The list goes on. That’s when you need to set aside even the smallest chunks of time to keep your creative brain exercised. In the kitchen while cooking, waiting for appointments, travelling on public transport to work, doodling in those tedious meetings and so on. It will soon become a habit and you will reap the rewards I promise. The saying use it or lose it is never so true as in any creative endeavour.
  4. Look for criticism from experts you trust who create work you like. And learn to take it. Your family and friends are all well meaning people and will enthuse about your work endlessly. If they are not critics though, it may not be helpful to rely on their input alone. I don’t recommend community groups either, especially those online as many are not trained to look objectively at a work. Also, many are looking Β to get comments on their own work and so aim not to offend. A good way is to join a class by someone whose work suits your genre or take one of the many courses that include a critique.
  5. Copy work by great painters especially the great masters. Yes, I really did say copy. Of course, this is work for you only. What you learn from this is invaluable. You get to see how a picture has been constructed, the design, how the elements relate to each other. What has been left unsaid for you to interpret, how the eye is drawn to what the artist wants you to see, how illusion is created. This is your opportunity to “stand on the shoulder of giants”. You can look at a painting and see it, it’s not until you complete that process of creating it yourself that you understand.

I hear and I forget, I see and I remember, I do and I understand. -Confucius

Happy Creating,

Janice πŸ™‚

Merchandise your Art for Free.

Magenta Dawn, Watercolour.
Magenta Dawn, Watercolour.

As I mentioned yesterday, selling art shouldn’t stop with just your original art work. Putting it on various kinds of merchandise is a great advertisement and means someone who may not be able to afford an original just now, may be able to buy something more affordable, even if it’s only a card.

Doing it yourself will earn you the most per item but that means laying out money up front and you may be left with stock you can’t sell.

Zazzle are one of a number of printers who offer a free option for getting your work out there. You can have your design put on almost anything from cards to bags, t-shirts to phone cases.

I have set up a shop myself today. It’s very easy and gives you complete control over what your image is used on. All you have to do is upload your image and create your item from the huge selection. I have used my images on cards and canvas prints so far. The wizards will tell you if your image is not right, for instance if you try and make a small image much bigger on a product. Options on cards include adding text to the back which can include your contact details or website address.

You also set the amount of royalties you earn. This will of course affect the overall price. For my cards I have chosen a 20% royalty which earns me 49p of a sale cost of Β£2.60. Zazzle deal with all the customer service side of things so it’s money for almost nothing.

The copyright remains with the artist and the license is non-exclusive to Zazzle, meaning you can sell that image anywhere else you like.

You can see the card I designed using the above image here

Happy Creating,

Janice πŸ™‚


Get paid while marketing your artwork.



Oil painting, Safe passage
Safe passage, Oil painting by Jan Gill

It is easy as an artist to create a work, put it up for sale and that is the end of the story. Move on to the next work.

If you are a bit more savvy you can actually earn more than just the selling price of your work and you may even increase it’s value. On top of that, your work will be marketing itself.

The secret is to put your work on merchandise for free. Well this is the site that aims to get you selling with the minimum of outlay.

One such opportunity is with Zazzle. You upload your work to their site, choose what merchandise you want it displayed on and set your royalty rate. Zazzle do all the printing, customer service and payment details and send you your royalties. Of course, you will want to promote your works, but you can do that at the same time as you promote your e-shop, exhibitions and shows.

Each of the items that sell is marketing your original works. A customer may buy a printed tote, for instance, then their friend may love it so much they want the original.

Why not give it a look – all it will cost you is a little bit of time πŸ™‚

Happy Creating,

Janice πŸ™‚


TT trouble in 2014


Guy Martin, Cronk y Voddy losing his wheel nut
Guy Martin, Cronk y Voddy losing his wheel nut

This picture is possibly the most significant picture I have taken for quite a shocking reason. It could well have saved a man’s life.

While holidaying on the Isle of Man to watch the annual TT race on the fearsome mountain course I was taking quite a few photographs of the competitors. On one particular occasion our group Β was at a stretch of road near Cronk y Voddy. A bunch of 3 competitors came past and as they flew down the road one of them lost a wheel nut. I wouldn’t have known where the nut was from but one of our group was a keen motorbike racer himself and new exactly what it was. What we didn’t know was which bike the nut was from. A quick look through the photos told us the last bike through was ridden by Guy Martin. We could even see the nut flying into the road from his bike. Our racer informed the marshall and Guy was black flagged at the next control point in Ramsay. Apparently Guy was none too happy until the missing nut was pointed out. We even get a mention in his latest biography – When your Dead, your Dead. Fortunately it wasn’t Guy’s turn that day and he remains a national treasure.

Happy Creating,


Scarey plans and a crafty tutorial.


Dragonfly pendant tutorial
Dragonfly pendant tutorial

I have a bit of a block today deciding what to write. There are lots of things I want to add to this blog but they are quite demanding of my time and it’s late on a Sunday evening. I have also already written 2 posts today, so I am going to cheat a bit.

I have another blog, a blogspot called Jangill Designs. I put a few how-to jewellery making ideas on there and quite a few of my photographs. It tends to get ignored when I get busy. One post that is regularly visited is this one. It’s a step by step tutorial on how to create the dragonfly pendants above.

Each Tuesday I would create a piece of jewellery and photograph each step to create a series of tutorials. It was great for me, as it kept me thinking in terms of teaching and demonstrating, as well as designing and making. It provided great added value for the demonstrations I was doing as people could look up steps if they forgot them later. It is one of the goals for this site too. I’m not sure if I will be confident enough to do a video, but it is a challenge I have set myself. It scares me, but that is supposed to be good for us πŸ™‚

Have you set yourself any challenges? Do they scare you a little? Would love to hear about it, so feel free to share in the comments πŸ™‚

Happy Creating,

Janice πŸ™‚