About Katerina Mertikas

Self employed artist for 20 years. Shows in many fine Canadian galleries and holds annual solo art shows across Canada. Ottawas first UNICEF artist in 1993. Uses bright bold colours capturing chldren in all their joys of daily life, especially depicting the outdoors with a lot of movement and fluidity in the artwork. Has illustrated a childrens book 2009, Days to Treasure - A book of Seasons- Many articles have been published about Mertikas and her vivid art style, i.e. Calgary Sun, Ottawa Citizen, Monteal Gazette, and many more publications, T.V. and radio interviews as well. Katerina enjoys visiting schools and talks to youth about pursuing their dreams and encourages other artists to develop their style and enjoy the freedom she does from painting and earning her living doing what she truly loves. Katerina has two daughters and now can pass the love of art to her young grandchildren as well.

Unveiling new art at Embassy of Greece Ottawa 2015

greek emb. official photo me and amb. unveiling.545644_693888710729073_6005964277979765464_nHad a delightful time at Greek Embassy in Ottawa in February.  

When the new ambassador to Canada from Greece asked to meet with me I was very happy to oblige.

Upon hearing that he would love some artwork, I jumped on the suggestion and created a piece that symbolized 2 great countries.    Of course Canada being one and Greece the other.  In this 18×24 vertical piece painted on canvas in acrylic I captured both the Parliament buildings in Greece and Canada, our local church in Ottawa, the Ottawa Canal and ended the piece with the Embassy of Greece on MacLeod Street.  In my typical fashion my art would not be complete without some children and I inserted a little boy and a little girl carrying the flags.  The mountains behind the Greek Parliament represent Greece and the blue skies remind me of my homeland.  The evergreen trees are a symbol of Canada for me.  

The reception at the embassy was very well organized and many invited guests enjoyed drinks, the unveiling and a lovely buffet meal following,  in the grand dining room on Queen Elizabeth drive in the lovely official residence for the  Ambassador Marcantonatou, and his wife Vasso Tsirou Marcantonatou.

My art shows and special appearances give me joy to have my family attend as many as they can.  Below are my parents Antonios and Georgina Patrinos, my grandsons Dimitry and Christo Zigoumis,  Katerina Lavictoire and Gina Mertikas Lavictoire.  Absent from the photo are my brother Harry A. Patrinos who resides and works in Washington D.C. and my son in laws Constantine Zigoumis and Sean Lavictoire (little James is not in the photo).

It’s with pride and honour that a special evening was held for this occasion and it was my treat to see this painting now part of the permanent art collection at Ambassador Marcantonios residence.

greek embassy family photo 693894394061838_2594250549107155560_n

Finding Time

1234261_646216188745196_1456603907_nFinding time to paint for so many art shows this fall is challenging this season but, what a wonderful art season it has been for me this fall.  I am so blessed.

  I was commissioned by the South East Ottawa Health Community Centre to paint 3 38×48’s and that was just great, I know they will be viewed by thousands in the entrance way of this centre.  Art should be as public as possible for many to see and take in the colours and feel the action in my paintings and find ways to relate to the art.  I was pleasantly surprised with Michael obyrne from CTV presented me with the UNITED Way- community builder award on Sept. 19th during the unveiling. 

The best part of that was that my girls were there and my wonderful grandchildren who were clapping for me. Truly a touching moment.

 

Now just before Christmas art demand is high (thankfully) with 3 art shows due in December and just when I worry about where to find the extra time to paint, it just happens so naturally and all my panic turns into colourful art. 

 

I guess we find time and make time for what is important to us and that is what I am doing. Hope to see many friends and make new friends and new collectors of my work at the shows this year.  Singing off for now~

 

Souless Art

I am no art snob, and I do understand not everyone can buy expensive art.

  Now that I have said that,  I also want to talk about mass reproduced art, made in China, I call this Souless art.

These Chinese painters sit in hen like spaces and just paint and copy and then prints are made and a few in China get super rich.  The “paintings” you may find at places such as Winners, Home Sense,  souvenir shops,  copies transferred onto loose canvas.

 As long as you know you are buying something that is made into thousands and thousands of copies.  

As a mid career artist who toils every day in a studio trying to put out some quality art, and much thought into each canvas I find it very disturbing. 

I know I have no voice in this and in the end it’s your dollars so choose to spend as you wish.  As long as you know you are buying something that no one cared about except a $ sign, this art is simply a filler for your wall. 

It sure won’t say anything about the life you live, the person you are.  When I overheard a couple choosing this “art” and simply calling it by blue or purple I knew that they a)didn’t much care about art and b)it’s just a colour to add to match their furniture. 

Hoping that you can see your way to make it to a Canadian gallery and support Canadian artists and that the gallery also offers layaways, and sometimes can negotiate with the customer. 1554499 

Meanwhile, I will pour my soul into my art no matter what and hope that people will understand what they are buying and who they are supporting.

Thanks for reading!

 

 

No guarantees!

:-) I have been working daily, always creating, painting, buying more supplies, sometimes twice weekly, and just giving my full attention to painting.  Whether painting for an upcoming show, or just to keep current art pieces in the galleries, I paint. 

 

Sometimes I stop and think there are NO GUARANTEES.  For what?

 

                                                                    For sales. 

 

But, I still paint, because it’s second nature to me.  A day of not creating and painting feels like a wasted day to me. 

 

Friends or family calls me and I tell them I am busy working, and they ask “where will the next exhibit be?” and, I stop and have to think that sometimes no show is coming up but this is what I do.  You can say it’s for the love of painting but selling is vital, but again there are NO GUARANTEES. 

 

The eternal optimist in me though happily paints and knows that the right buyer will come at the right time or someone needs a great new collection and more works will be bought at one time and just when I am left wondering about any pay cheques coming the call comes in to set up a new show or new commissions to be painted, so I thank my lucky stars that I can still at least afford the paints to paint, because there are NO GUARANTEES.

 

The only guarantee is that I will be painting!

 

 

Art as Investment?

Should you buy art for investment or for love?

 

I say both.  Do your research, see what is selling well, ask why the works are selling well, find out more about the artist, education, affiliations etc.    bio

For example my art over the past 15 years has tripled in value so I say that would have been a good investment if you were thinking about selling it to get cash if you needed it.  I have let my work rise very slowly over the years in price for many reasons. One major reason was that I am in painting for the long haul.  I paint because I enjoy it and wish many people to be able to afford my paintings. 

I have seen artists rise and immediately start selling their works higher and higher until they don’t sell any more. Then they have the unenviable decision to reduce the market value of their work. 

A word about Giclees, they are reproductions of the original, they should not rise in value as they are copies and hopefully controlled signed copies.  They are good to buy if your budget does not allow for an original, but if you can, buy the original as this truly will be yours and one day will rise in resale value.  In the photo inserted here, you can see the original artwork I created that was reproduced and sold as greeting cards to benefit Sick Kids Toronto.  I also feel that this original is already worth more than a similar original of the same size because it has been made into cards. 1554497

So, go enjoy art galleries, visit and buy what you love.  And unless you wish to donate or pass down your original one day, you may make some return on your purchase.

Path to Success

How could I use my past art sale experiences to encourage other artists in any form to “A Path to Success”.

From my own experiences, which are the only ones I am qualified to give would be that hard work, consistency and love of what you do might lead you to that path. 

You have heard it all before, keep trying, don’t give up, believe in yourself, but you know what? All of that is true.  It’s not a cliche.  Not everyone can reach fabulous success, fame, fortune or whatever they wish for.  But, by sticking to a plan you can say you gave it your all, kept on trying to improve you skils and reached some goals and grown along the way. 

Personlay, I have found that my word is my contract and this has helped me gain respect and trust from everyone I deal with on a daily basis. 

From all the dealings I have had with galleries, customers, greeting card companies, if I said I would deliver, I would.  That was it.  There were never any excuses for being late on a promised end date for delivery, amount of work for a show, quality of work for the customers.

By keeping my promises this has given me a good name,  and it’s something I value from people myself.  I never Promise anything that I feel I cannot deliver.  I am disappointed if anyone promises me anything and they don’t deliver and the bond is then broken. Short of a life catastrophe, I will do what I say or won’t say it. 

My dream was to be an artist, I made it happen, my other dream was to illustrate a book, I was happy that it happened.  My dream still is to keep creating art pieces to share with others, I will make it happen.

 How?  I work at it, I think it, I keep trying, I am resilient and bounce back from negative experiences as quickly as possible. 

A path to success might mean something different to many people but, generally I would say it means you have reached something you have desired and worked hard fo,r and got great satisfaction for your efforts.  We can’t all become millionaires or super famous but keep at your dream, (set some realistic goals) and by being focused and true to yourself and others you may find your path to success.  I found my path to my version of success, and am still working on it!  Who knows what lies ahead still?

Things I have learned.

I have learned that for art sales to happen for an aritst the following helps: 

a)Like what you paint

b)Each piece should be well executed

c) it helps tremendously if your work is liked by the gallery owners

d)Your work is liked by the salesstaff

e) and, liked by the PEOPLE

Some artists paint what they love only, ignoring what someone may want to hang on their walls.  I think that is a bit selfish.

They should paint what they love but keep in mind the public too.  Most people are looking for something to hang on the wall that they can also relate to, or at least give a gift to someone that they hope will also like the painting they get.

While I love what I paint, I have no problem doing the occasional  commission of a scene I may not be familiar with, or even relate to but, that is not a problem for me.  I just add my happy colours to it and the kids I paint in the commission, and then hope the customer likes my version of their cottage, or ski chalet o,r whatever.

I have learned people like to be remembered when they come to an art show (huge honour for me), and treated with care and be thanked that they made it to your event.

   I have learned that the staff is very important during an art show and that good wine or coffee during the event helps too.

Also, a great invitation card for the show is important, mailing the invites out at least 2 weeks prior to the event.  Framing is important, positioning of the artwork in a pleasing manner matters too. 

I have also learned about fair pricing of the artwork and I have learned being humble goes a long long way.. A gallery owner once was telling me one of his artist’s had Big Headitis, I love that!  Being proud is one thing, thinking you are super special is just plain stupid..

Also support from family and friends is a must so they can listen to your high points and low points and listening to their criique of the work you just showed them,  and just producing quality pieces over the years and treating every piece with care will get the sale all the time.

These young ladies have supported me since they were very little!

What’s a Niche, you ask?

A niche is a style that most people would recognize in art for example.  20 years ago I found my niche and painted my happy, joyous kids doing activities outdoors.  This niche has made my work visible, recognizable and easy to spot from other artists work. 

For years prior to my “niche” I tried all mediums and enjoyed them all.. But the style I am known for is the one that spoke to me and others! 

It’s o.k. if one does not find a niche if painting but it was a natural direction for me.  It’s like a fish who stands out of the school of fish.  So glad I found my style and my own type of brand.  Occasionally I do try other methods of style and colours but no matter what the original comes back to my canvass.  

I can give many examples of who had a style and Picasso would stand out for me.  He did many things but came to be known more for his style of art especially in the figures he painted and silhouettes.  Van Gogh for his thick brushstrokes, Degas for his dancers and on and on.  All styles are beautiful but I am grateful I have found a style and stuck to it and have seen much recognition and success from it.