Works on display and available for sale: Canadian Blood Donor Clinic

art mixed media painting female nude dancer julia trops

Planting Seeds – The Artworks – June/July

I tend to work in series and projects almost like writing paragraphs that create chapters that creates a book. This particular series of works has to do with some soul searching, planting seeds, growing within and going beyond boundaries, and of course, the process of self-discovery. I feel these works are gentler than my past bold bright colours and to me, I can almost hear water lapping at the shore on a calm day.   Each one has it’s own message, it’s own story to tell. I’ve labeled them as I see them but it is very possible when you look, you will see your own. I believe that what we see is a projection of what is inside, so please don’t let my titles hold you back.

All of these mixed media works started out from a life drawing in charcoal and progressed through acrylic to oil and throughout, some graphite.   There was no direct expectation of expressing a specific thought, they evolved as they wished with me acting as conductor. Where I directed the flow was in the formal elements only.

If you would like to see the rest of the collection please visit They are located in the Painting/Mixed Media section of the gallery. To purchase one of these works, please contact me.  20% of the purchase price will be donated to Canadian Blood Services.  Below are a glimpse of works available at the Blood Donor Clinic.  You may go and see them in person if you wish.

mixed media art original painting female nude julia trops  mixed media original art painting julia trops  mixed media original painting female nude julia trops gratitude  mixed media original painting abstract female nude julia trops  mixed media abstract female nude original painting julia trops  mixed media abstract female nude original painting julia trops  abstract female nude dancer original mixed media painting julia trops  mixed media original painting abstract female nude back julia trops  art mixed media original abstract female nude dancer julia trops



Art and Money – dear to my heart

Art Money Julia Trops Kelowna Canadian Artist
Art Money Marketing Artist Julia Trops Kelowna Canadian
Art & Money by Julia Trops

In November of last year, I made the decision to write a book about Art and Money because I was asked so many times to do marketing seminars. When I was accepted to Can Serrat in Spain for April 2013, I also booked the month of May at our friend’s friend’s condo in Vinaros with this part of the Venus is Rising project in mind. During that month, before my husband arrived to do some touring, I worked on the book. It was bliss to just sit down and focus and get everything organized. It’s been three months longer than I anticipated, but the book is finally done.

So what is it about?  This is on the back cover:

This is not a book for those who like to fly by the seat of their pants.

This book will give you candid practical advice on what you need to do from a business perspective, to the art documents you require to manouevre around the art world, pricing your artwork, who are your cheerleaders, and what kind of requirements you should expect from dealing with charities as an art professional, who you might want to donate to and how, and consideration of who to stay away from, how to get involved with your local community, and create your own events.

Currently, it is self published, but if it works out, I’d love to have it published through a major printing house. Guess we’ll see. At least, for me, it was something I needed to do for myself, and it hopefully will fill a need in the community.

I will have the book in two formats – one printed, and the other electronic. Prices will be 15.00 plus tax and 5.00 plus tax.  If you are local, you do not need to pay for shipping, you can pick the book up from me, at a book signing.  I am told that it is the thing to do for a new book, so stay tuned for the dates.  Also the book will be available locally at Mosaic Books on Bernard.  This post here is for pre-ordering.  I expect that I will have the books here for mid September or perhaps before.

An unexpected pilgrimage to the self

I was very lucky to be chosen to attend Can Serrat just outside of Barcelona Spain. I highly recommend it to any artist who would like to be immersed in a life from 100 years ago. Both residencies that I went to involved highly spiritual influences, though I dislike to use spiritual, it is the only way to describe it. Mont Serrat is the mountain that dominates the area, and being from the Rockies, I was thinking, oh, another mountain.

How wrong I was.

There was a magic, a being-ness about that mountain; it would not be ignored. The days that I found myself wandering about, I inevitably ended up at its base. One day, a few of us decided to climb to the monastery, and I am glad I did. The trek up felt like a pilgrimage, and took about 3 hours. It felt like it was straight up, but you know, there was something that happened to me that day. I arrived at the monastery, ended up in the cathedral of the black virgin, touched her for hope of enlightenment. I fancy she did speak to me on some level, I am still not sure what the message was, but I felt/feel different and I believe this has come through in my work.

I am finding that the work coming out right now, is all to do with transient nature of existence. Skies change and evolve and blossom. Outside of the studio, I spent much time on my own, absorbing the culture, the surroundings, and the flavours of the people in the area. The food was amazing of course – it is Catalunya after all. I found the people to be very friendly and pleasant. I made the effort to communicate with them in Spanish, and there were times when I am sure I was confusing my French and my Italian. One time, the book shop lady responded to me in Italian, because she thought that is where I was from! So maybe my Italian was not so bad after all. With the help of my trusty little dictionary, I made out okay. I made up words, I am sure, and my pronunciation was horrible probably, but I felt that they appreciated my effort to live within their country and their comfort zones. I really enjoyed being out of mine.

Much of the work you see from these residencies are because of this fresh perspective. There were no boxes where I was, I was free to roam the earth and I did.

Artists for AlleyCats Alliance – Penticton Western News Aug 2012

Original story here:

By Steve Waldner – Penticton Western News
Published: August 30, 2012 2:00 PM
Updated: August 30, 2012 3:38 PM

Cats sleeping, cats jumping at laser-pointers on the wall, even cats staring adorably at the viewer — as anyone who’s been to the website Reddit will tell you, these images are gold mines for attention.

One local group is taking this mentality and putting an artistic spin on it, in hopes to raise awareness, generate funds for local feline friends and create support for their cause.

The AlleyCATS Alliance, a cat support group has opened a call for artists to submit electronic images of some of their cat-based artwork, which will then be voted on online. The top 12 will be put into the 2013 AlleyCATS calender.

The cause has garnered the support of a number of artists in the Okanagan region who have already submitted to the calender. One such artist is wildlife artist Terry Isaac, who has been painting professionally for 25 years.

“I’ve always loved animals since I was a little kid, and I’ve had several pet cats along the years,” said Terry Isaac, one of the contributors to the calender.

“I just think cats are particularly beautiful. I’m inspired by their beauty and I think they’re intriguing,” he added.

Isaac has high hopes that the support of artists will bring attention to the AlleyCATS’ cause.

“I think more people need t be aware that cats need to be neutered and spayed, and every cat needs to have a nice home,” he said, adding that feral cats in the area are likely to fall prey to various predators in the region, like coyotes.

The calenders will be on sale throughout the area, with all funds going to help with the care of the strays the alliance brings in.

With spaying or neutering costing between $50 and $100, plus the cost of vaccinations and deworming, taking care of these cats can be costly.

December Foster, the president of the AlleyCATS Alliance, which started last month, said while the funds raised by the calender are important, building a foundation for her newly-founded organization is another key goal of the project.

‘What we’re trying to do is get the support of a network of amazing artists behind us and create this calender of not only cute cats but beautiful art by well-known artists and some not-so-well-known that should be, and use that as a way to support our group.”

Artists for AlleyCats Alliance December Foster Julia Trops
Artists for AlleyCats Alliance

Recent work 2012 – everything comes around

In 2005, those of you who are familiar with my work, I did some paintings on a young female Botswana girl named Gobona. This was pre-Existence in the Dream, where my palette changed to jewel tones. Two of the Gobona’s follow:

Recently, I went to Italy and loved every second of it. I met this young man just outside of the Duomo in Lecce. He was just so gorgeous, I could not help myself staring. Finally, yes, I did take a picture:

When I came back to Kelowna, I was going over a number of different pictures, and came across him … I was already doing pairs of females prior to departure (some of which I think I will paint over).  New now, from my works from Gobona, and my dancers, and the time in Italy with the earthy colours, and returning to most of this palette. Everything comes around:

Acrylic Painting 24x12 Julia Trops

Acrylic Painting 40x30 Julia Trops

I am enjoying the return to the earthy colours, it’s been a challenge to come back to, but it feels right. The limited palette I gave myself in Italy was definitely beneficial.

Why are you an artist?

A question I got recently was this:
I’m really trying to get my art going on full time and I was wondering if you would be so kind as to provide any insight on how to get things going on, what works best, what to avoid etc.? I’ve been cold-calling a lot of galleries locally but it doesn’t seem to work very well.

I’m hoping that my XX Art Association jury will go well so it will lead to some shows, etc.
It’s frustrating to be relatively decent at something that can’t really be used to support my family.

My answer goes something like:

Yeah, cold calling galleries never works very well – always set up an appointment for sure. The art world is very different these days, and you have to be much of a business person too, and know what your work is about. You also should know why you are an artist. What’s your goal? Do you have a map?

First consider: Why are you an artist? Are you doing it for the money or because you love it?
If you love it, then selling shouldn’t matter and is actually a bonus. You need to ask yourself why you love it, what about it you love, what is it you are trying to say, are you trying to say anything at all? This is from Seth Godin, who asked What makes someone an artist? is worth reading.

If you are doing it to sell, well, then you have to play by other’s rules and dance their tune. And the art world is judgmental. Get used to it. There are a ton of artists in this world, many are trying to make a living at it, you have to figure out what makes you unique. Are you going to do prints?

Do you have a map: a one year goal, five year or even ten year goal? Being an artist is just as much a business as being a lawyer, a dentist or anyone else in the “consumer” industry, whether you sell your work or not. You still have expenses, you still have to get your name out there, you still have to produce work, regardless if it sells or not. You, as an artist, are always continually evolving, continually growing. It is your personality, your point of view, your existence that you use as fodder for your artworks, whether you sell or not.

Start off by writing your biography. Get to know yourself. Read this post about writing a bio. It is pretty short, and is a post on the Okanagan Erotic Art Show site, an annual show I organize. Another blog post on this explains this very well.

Then consider putting your work in to groups ie styles. You may do lots of stuff, drawing, painting, sculpting etc, like I do, but do not present that to a gallery in a submission. You want to give a unified focus of your abilities. Do NOT include any work that has been copied from photographs that are not yours, or ideas that are not yours. Photographs hold copyright, and that is as much plagiarism, as if you had copied someone else’s sentence.

After your work is grouped according to styles then consider writing your artist statement. You need one, period. Get over your reluctance to write it. It’s tough to do, yes. But it’s expected, and the professional artists have them.

Consider naming your artworks. I didn’t use to do that, but I’ve reconsidered the reasons why, and I explain it here in this post.

Finally (at least for this post), consider how much to charge. How to price art is tricky, and requires a lot of thought. Make a commitment and stick to it. It’s easy for prices to go up, hard for them to come down. Be smart about offering sales, and have a reason for them – a valid reason for them. Art sales in support of art ventures, like what I did for my residency in Italy, I consider well worth it.

If you are accepted in to a show, read this post. Your responsibility as an artist does not end with acceptance in to a show.

Never underestimate the power of an artist in the community. Help your community out. Go to the local organizations that relate to your art, and offer to give them a painting for raffle or such. Make smart decisions about this though, and don’t buy in to the “exposure” argument. You are a business person, and always stand up for yourself, because no one else will. And why would you expect them to?

A great book to get:

ART/WORK: Everything You Need to Know (and Do) As You Pursue Your Art Career

How to price art

About Pricing Artworks

The pricing of artworks can be a tricky thing, but if a few guidelines are followed, the process is actually quite transparent and easy. Yes, it is a bit of work, but with minor tweaking, it should be simple to continue.

Here is how I calculate mine.

The first thing I had to do was figure out “where” in the system I was. I did this by research, both on and offline. What were other artists selling for? What kind of work was selling for how much? What are these other artists’ qualifications? Am I ahead of them, or behind them? How long have they been selling or in the market? Do I have a reputation? Is my name known in my community?

Clients who search online have the resources and means to go to their local gallery as well: they know what art sells for in the “real world”. Some clients are brand new to collecting art. I applaud these people for “getting out there”. (Sometimes going in to galleries can be intimidating, for artist and collector!)

It also helped to know why I am selling online. What are my motives? To make money, pay the bills? Because I enjoy it? For myself, all of the above are true, but essentially, the internet is a marketing tool that I am using to get my name out there. The ability for this to occur for more and more artists is simply astronomical, and the power in the hands of the artist has never been greater! I am a big believer in the internet, in its potential and capabilities.

Making a Living as an Artist

From Making a Living as an Artist, the editors of Art Calendar suggested I do three things:

“1. Understand how much it is really costing you to create a work of art.
2. Research your market (that means you in compared to other artists, and you as in your artwork compared to other artists). What are they getting?
3. Confidence in the price you set. Self-confidence is paramount to being able to stick to your guns or negotiate with strength to get what you want.”

The Business Side of Creativity

In the Business Side of Creativity, Cameron Foote suggests that “many individuals assume that pricing is the most important factor in business success. Given this orientation, they often tend to underprice to ensure they’ll get work (sold). The logic is: “By being more competitive and busier, I’ll make up with higher volume what I lose through lower rates.” He goes on: “A reputation for low-price work attracts smaller, less sophisticated and more demanding clients, while repelling the larger clients. …an individual or (artwork) is not even considered because of the bargain-basement image low price conveys.”

I considered my qualifications. This means anything to do with art, and anything not to do with art. My past experience with military enhanced my innate ability for self discipline and direction. It also taught me to persevere and focus in the face of opposition. My previous failed attempts at university taught me how important education is and how privileged I was to have it when I finally graduated with an almost perfect GPA. It also taught me that my education didn’t end when I finished with my degree, and consequently I continually read art history and study old masters constantly. My university did not teach technique – they taught how to conceptualize and to think about art as well as doing it. All these are qualifications and extremely valid and contribute to the creation of my artwork. I am active in my art community as I run drawing sessions for myself and other artists – it was so popular, we started a non profit association called Livessence. An artwork is a snapshot of a total person in a specific amount of time – the caring, the curiosity, the passion, the drive, both on and off canvas – and all of this contributes to the whole picture of ME.

Art Marketing 101

Here is a brief calculation table I used from page 74/75 of Art Marketing 101. I have found this resource to be highly informative.

“Most working artists will have to be able to complete at least five original works a month. This doesn’t mean you will sell all five pieces each month, but you need to build a stock so your clients have a variety to choose from. If it takes you a month of working eight hours a day to finish one painting, this probably means you will have to get involved in the print market and forget about selling your originals.

1. Calculate the total business expenses for the year (dues, education, utilities, publications, postage etc) to figure the per month overhead.
2. How many pieces do you do complete in a month on the average?
3. Divide the number of pieces you complete in a month by the monthly overhead.
4. Decide on an hourly rate of pay for yourself.
5. How many hours to complete an average painting?
6. Add a 10% profit margin.
7. Add a 100% commission.
8. Add the frame cost (if applicable). If you do the framing this price would include your labor but no markup ie. The same cost as a frame shop.
9. Then add tax and shipping.

Market Value pricing:

A second method to calculate price range is to go in to the marketplace (on and offline) and see what other artists with the same type of background are selling their artwork for. “…Most prices in the artworld are related to the price paid for similar work sold in the recent past.” I also had to keep in mind how much I am selling work for out of my studio. It is extremely important to me that I am fair to my local clients in relation to my internet clients. I believe it is not good business practices to consider the internet as a separate world from reality – how would you feel if you purchased a 16×20 from me in the studio for $650 and then saw it in my store for $40? My store prices are my studio/gallery prices.

Once again from Art Marketing 101: “When comparing pricing, keep in mind the aesthetic and technical merits of works, the style, medium and reputation of the artist and the intrinsic costs of production.

“It is generally a mistake to base… prices solely on the amount of hours spent creating the work….Don’t undersell your work. You must feel comfortable with the prices you decide on otherwise you will feel resentful.”

Price By Size

And a third way to price artworks is by united inch or square inch. This is the method I prefer, but I keep in mind market prices as well. Length (for me, I use inches) multiplied by width multiplied by value a, depending on total square inches (for united, it is length plus width then multiplied by value a). Value b is the product according to the total square inches of the artwork: under 100 square inches is price x, between 100 and 300 square inches is price y and over 300 square inches is price z.

a 16×20 painting (320 square inches) at $2/square inch (value a) is $650(price y). I round up or down to the nearest 50.

As artwork on paper generally gets less per square inch than on canvas or board, and oil gets more than acrylic, a fair pricing system is necessary. Again, this is why I keep in mind Market values.


Remember much of selling artwork is hit and miss. If you don’t get your work out there, you won’t be seen. 98% of your success is up to YOU! If you try something and it doesn’t work, then try something else. Tom Venuto (a bodybuilder and a wise man) said “There is no such thing as failure, only results. If you don’t like the result, then change the game.”

Comments and questions are most welcome!

Julia Trops

The Business Side of Creativity, Cameron S Foote
Making a Living as an Artist, The Editors of Art Calendar
Art Marketing 101, Constance Smith
Messages from the Real World, Ted Godwin

Artwalk 2011 – a preview

Artwalk 2011 is just around the corner! This year the theme is Eye Tunes… and as you know already most of my work is centred around music and dance….

If you would like a preview of some of the works that will be in the show, please go to my Facebook artist page

The album is called Artwalk 2011, and will have a range of works, from extremely large charcoals, to tiny 3×3 inch watercolours. I have tried to cover all the price points, so if you have wanted to get a work for a while, please consider this weekend!

Remember, I do not do prints, only originals, so once a work is sold, it is sold.

Also if you see something in Ruby Lane but it is not in the album, let me know, I can bring it with me.

Any questions, as always, please ask.

The time has come the walrus said….

To speak of many things…

First on the list is that after ten years as a resident artist, I am leaving the Rotary Centre for the Arts. Now just because I am leaving the RCA, does not mean I am stopping being an artist… far from it…

And yes, it has been a blast. I met so many people, and the purpose of the Rotary Centre, to foster and nurture emerging artists, I feel has been completed in my case.

When I first came to the RCA, I was fresh out of university, new to Kelowna. I had applied for the RCA in March 2002, the same week I heard about it, and haunted Randy and Carlyn’s offices steadily until I found out I was accepted.

I had so many dreams and thoughts and wishes and goals when I went in to the studio that August 1 – eight years on my own, and the last year and a half with three friends-  I am very proud to say I think I accomplished 95% of what I was hoping and more that I did not even imagine. There are life drawing sessions now within Livessence, which grew from my drawing sessions – man that was hard work to get going – twice a week for two years, how did I do it, I am not sure even now. Participated on the board for the Arts Council, and then later helped to establish the Arts Awards with Corinne Zawaduk and Sharon McCoubrey. Still on the board for the Kelowna Museums Society – and trust me, these guys are a blast – not what you would typically consider a museum crowd.

I met a tremendous number of people from all walks of life – I remember I was so shy at the very beginning, barely could talk to anyone. (Okay, I am still shy, but not as bad!) I hid in my studio most of the time and worked my ass off, both online and off. People – including other artists – thought I was crazy for spending as much time as I did developing my online presence, selling work to begin with on ebay to pay bills. I am so glad I did that – it opened doors for tolerance that I would never expected. Many of my ebay artist friends I still keep in contact with – I find them incredibly invaluable as a source for common sense and insight.

My work has gone all around the world, clients from so many countries. Being the world citizen I am, I can only say how wonderful that makes me feel knowing that somehow my work has connected with others of different cultures and thoughts. I must be doing something right.

I did a stint as an instructor – both privately and in classes. I want to tell all my former students that you were all so fabulous for coming to see me, and thank you for believing in me enough to allow me to be your teacher.

I was on CBC Radio three times – once with Marion Barschel (Daybreak South) in Nov 2010 regarding the Culture in Kelowna and twice with Sheryl McKay (NxNW). The second was  March 2008 regarding the Okanagan Erotic Art Show. Sheryl said I was the first person in a live CBC interview to say the word *masturbation* on the air. That’s pretty distinctive. The first was in 2004 during a focused interview when I was in studio 203, and she came to visit all the artists.

Because of the “safety” of the RCA, I was able to branch out in areas I would never have thought possible. Exhibitions, books, painting gigs…. I am now working on my fifth book, three catalogs later (Livessence and two Okanagan Erotic Art Shows 2009 and 2011), and one based on my own work. More are planned.

When I think of what I have accomplished in ten years, all I can say is I am so glad I was in the RCA, it gave me the freedom and the confidence to spread my wings, it gave me the support and structure necessary, and it gave me the belief in myself, because they believed in me.

What a gift, and I thank you!

New website new look, old format?

Well kinda –

I am moving my website from dreamweaver format to the blog format – have worked out the database issues, I now get an email once a week with a back up for the site in case something happens and it crashes. That is a good days work done I think.

A blog format allows much more interaction, the updates are easily done, I can share and tweet in a much simpler manner. It doesnt have a tremendous amount of bells and whistles, and why should it? I am doing it all myself, and I am an artist, not a programmer. Think I have done tremendously well all by myself, and if I have any questions, I have some lovely friends who are always happy to help out. What more can I ask for?

If you have any questions about the site, or want to know what plugin I am using for whatever effect, by all means let me know. Integration is the key, being able to use tools that work well with each other for the good of the site… hmmmm… sounds like real life too I think.

Mirrors mirrors everywhere, always make us think.