Custom Orders: You Get What You Pay For

It’s not like me to custom order anything. The thought terrifies me and does something internally on a very basic psychological level. It’s rather ridiculous when you think about it but there it is.

As the Universe reflects back what we need in our lives, you can imagine my discomfort when first opening The Wild West Art Store on Etsy, to discover that there is not only a ‘Custom Order’ button but that people actually use it! No, really.

The first time I received a personal message with a custom order, I have to admit it threw me for a loop. What’s wrong with the billions of options I have already offered you, I thought to myself – you see how my own issues were causing me problems? – but that very quickly changed.

My first custom order, you see, was from a gentleman somewhere in Oregon who wanted to know what the BIGGEST size available would be for a selection of FIVE of my Oregon prints for his office walls – above and beyond the poster size that I already offer! After some to-ing and fro-ing we agreed on sizes for the various images (some looked better than others in the new LARGER dimensions) and the customer got exactly what he wanted and needed and I realised that that is what ‘service’ is all about. It’s about giving you what you want and need.

Since then, I have had other custom orders. People who have seen my images in the ‘flesh,’ so to speak (at exhibitions) and want to know if it’s possible to have this or that image on aluminium or canvas and have a budget of such and such.

One woman recently contacted me to let me know that she was looking for something special for a relative’s 75th birthday and had a fixed budget. “He loves Vegas, Route 66 and all that retro Americana stuff,” she said, “and it would be great to have one of your images on that really glossy stuff rather than a standard print in a frame.” Well, you have come to the right place I thought.

Another person contacted me having won a frame I made up with a selection of 3 individual prints for a draw, to ask how her friend could get the same, having coveted the prize upon the wnner’s wall.

Now I get the whole ‘Custom Order‘ thing and realise that that is the whole point of a site like Etsy. You really do get what you pay for.

Just sharing: you can see the unveiling of the Portland Custom Order here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_1m0bIlQfTE and the unveiling of a Custom Order aluminium print here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wxiJg–xkj4

 

 

Look Here for Amazing Office Art!

 

Copy of FineArt-Kitsch-Retro-Neon-IconicArt-WallArt-RoomDecor-DormDecor-Children'sArt-Gifts-Landscape-Vintage (1)A new acquaintance mentioned something the other day and for a split second I was struck dumb – which doesn’t happen often, as my husband will readily attest – and then my brain started whirring into gear.

What the acquaintance said was this, “I have just moved into a new office; bought the desks, chairs and equipment but I have no idea where to look for ‘office’ art.”

The reason he was telling me was because I was tagged in response to his Facebook post asking if anyone knew where he could start looking for ‘affordable prints that are cool and appropriate for all clients.’

It was his lucky day because I was able to reply with a big fat YES!!

I am a Saatchi Art represented artist and I sell art prints. Photographic art prints via The Wild West Art Store on Etsy and ship them internationally.

Most of my art is suitable for office walls, all are extremely affordable and all are also totally original, so you won’t have to worry that you will see the art you have spent your valuable time choosing wisely, hung on every wall in every office or home you ever walk into. Remember the days of the Athena poster? Well, not that. Or at least not yet.

Depending on what your ‘business’ is, I am certain I have art to match – from cityscapes, seascapes and landscapes, to powerful architectural buildings and bridges, kitsch and bold neons, vintage style retro signs & cars, flora, fauna, abstract, modern, pop art, black & white, colour and sepia.

Everything is customisable and can be printed on photo paper, fine art paper, canvas and even aluminium (with maximum sizes determined by the type of print you choose). It’s all up to you.

You deserve a break, so grab a cuppa and spend a few minutes browsing and imagine how that bare magnolia wall will look with an incredible and unique print right in the middle of it – in a week or so from now!

Just click here and make your choice!

My business makes your business look better.

 

 

 

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Oregon – You Little Beauty

We just got back from a 3 week trip to Oregon. Friends moved there 10 years ago and invited us to visit.

Our first sight of what was to come was from the ‘plane window. The stranger in the window seat pointed out the mountain and the shiny waters of the two lakes beneath it and urged us to go visit. He turned out to be Kevin Rankin, the US-born drummer for a UK-born band: A Flock of Seagulls and had friends in common with our friends – which we discovered at the baggage carousel. Obviously.

Our destination was Portland – an incredibly vibrant city, full of coffee shops (very few offering decaf oddly), local breweries (very few offering low or non-alcoholic brews), cafes, independent cinemas and bookstores, ice-cream and doughnut stores, vintage and thrift stores, music and comic stores, the Willamette River, bridges too numerous to mention (and oh so beautiful. It appears that I have a thing about bridges…!), green and open spaces, defined neighbourhoods, fabulous live music venues, art! art! art!, wonderful and interesting people and scenery to die for, viewable from various vantage points at every turn.

Our trip was memorable mainly but not leastly for this one fact: it was totally effortless to have the most fantastic and restful time with friends who could not have been more generous, funny, hospitable and welcoming to us.

Our friends have two teenage children (at various wonderful stages of their lives – we shared first job interviews and acceptances with them) and two Irish Red Setter dogs.

The dogs enabled us to go for numerous soul-soothing walks; locally (at the Arboretum, the Pittock Mansion, Forest Park) and further afield; at Sandy (along the river with the snow-capped Mount Hood watching over us from a distance), at Cascade Locks, the Wahclella Falls, the Columbia River Gorge, Hood River, Mirror and Trillium Lakes and so on.

We felt like we saw everything and then some.

We arrived on July 2nd. On the 4th we celebrated Independence Day with their in-laws, in a sunshine and flower-filled garden, eating delicious home-grilled foods and catching up on ‘life.’

The evening of the 4th was spent down by the river-side at the Blues Fest, listening to live music (including the amazing Canned Heat), eating felafel and watching the fireworks exploding high into the night sky. The atmosphere was electric and joyful.

*Please enjoy my images from oregon. Post continues below.

 

 

The following days saw us visiting (in no particular order, as the magic melded into one perfect discovery of all things Oregon):

  • Petroglyphs in Washington State at Horsethief Butte
  • Art (including crazy, wonderful chess sets) at the Maryhill Museum of Art
  • The Maryhill Stonehenge War Memorial (yes, it really is a thing. Who knew?)
  • The Columbia River Gorge
  • The Dalles Dam & Bridge
  • Wahclella Falls – an astonishing hike and view and the waters so refreshing that when I stepped into the rushing water (by accident as I slipped off a small rock whilst taking photographs), I felt like I had gone to heaven and wanted to stand there all day long; cool feet on a long, hot summer’s day. Mmm.
  • Thunder Island Brewing Company at Cascade Locks for the most perfect and delicious lunch by the water, who also offered treats for the dogs!
  • The Audebon Society – to see the wild birds they are so carefully and wonderfully caring for and rehabilitating, where possible.
  • Bagdad Theater and Pub, so we could sit and watch a movie whilst food and drink was served directly to our seats.
  • Hollywood Theater so we could see Dunkirk on day one of its release in all of its 70mm gory glory.
  • Salt and Straw and Ruby Jewel ice-cream stores.
  • Mississippi Street Fair experiencing all sorts of original art, music and local energy
  • Nike Biketown bicycle ride (for 16 miles…ahem) along the river
  • Astoria for frozen custard
  • Cannon Beach and the most amazing volcanic rock display in the form of Haystack Rock
  • Fort Stevens State Park and the amazing Peter Iredale shipwreck on the beach
  • Voodoo Doughnuts for a box filled with the craziest yumminess including the bacon doughnut
  • The Doug Fir for a giant Cobb Salad…and one of the very few decaf coffees to be found
  • Laurelthirst for fabulous live music with Lewi Longmire and his band
  • Jesse Reno and his exciting contemporary-primitive abstract narrative art
  • Sauvie Island where I discovered Apple Butter for the first time in my life at the Pumpkin Patch Market
  • The Pearl for a visit to Anthropologie, Oblation and various other wonderful shops and being ‘ladies who lunch’
  • A death-defying walk across the St John’s Bridge (aka Captain Marvel’s Sky Bridge) as trucks thundered past only inches away and we could feel the bridge wobble hundreds of feet in the air beneath our feet. It was terrifying and not something we would recommend (because we are wimps and vertigo is not our friend!)
  • Ate tantalising fare from food trucks
  • Devoured the biggest ever ‘loaded’ hot chocolate at the Timberline Lodge (where they used the exterior for the hotel in The Shining)
  • Drove by the ‘Twilight’ house
  • Searched the Chris Haberman mural in Milwaukie for the nod to the Cleveland Browns…

…and so much more.

The most memorable moments also include the valuable time we spent at home with the family, sitting on the deck, making s’mores on the fire and being bitten by mosquitoes!

Still recovering from jetlag and wondering how long it will take to save up for the next trip.

Thank you Fells for everything!! You have no idea just how much we love you and appreciate you sharing your time, home, family, pets and state with us!

*

If you have a space on a wall, are looking for a gift and are interested in any of my images from our trip to fill that requirement or just want to browse, please visit The Wild West Art Store on Etsy (and search ‘Oregon’). There are so many images that are on my hard-drive that will be edited and added over time, so do check back. If you are after something specific, please do let me know as it may be waiting for a nudge for me to post it up!

 

 

Woohoo!

Last night something amazing and unexpected happened.

We won an award! Our very first award.

We were invited to showcase our art at the Woohoo Achievement Evening and were more than excited about that. Such an incredible opportunity to showcase our photography to an audience of incredibly talented and successful business people.

Then, all of a sudden these words were read out in the category of A Dream Achiever – 2017, “Whatever she sets her mind to, I believe Toula could achieve it. She is caring for her mum who has dementia and remains so positive in life. Toula has changed her career, written books and developed amazingly as a photographic artist. She has recently been recognised by Saatchi Art and I believe she will become a widely acclaimed artist as she sets out to be. It’s a pleasure to collaborate with Toula. I really do admire her positive outlook on life and how socially adaptable she is. She has great ideas and is inspiring to be around. She definitely is a ‘Dream Achiever’ in my world.”

All nominations were anonymous so even more exciting and humbling! You just never know who is watching!

Woohoo!

If you would like to what all the Woohoo is about, click here: www.etsy.com/uk/shop/TheWildWestArtStore

 

The Boathouse

I had that sinking feeling in my stomach as we set off from my friend’s home – where we are cat and flat sitting – to head off into the Kent countryside. I’d left my trusty Nikon at home and only had my very old iPhone 4 to snap a pic or two and could tell I was going to be filled with regret in the not too distant future.

A few weeks ago when last visiting, we headed to Whitstable for the day and enjoyed fresh oysters and a walk along the coast. This time, however, we were after something greener.

Our first stop was going to be Royal Tunbridge Wells – but as we got there we realised that it wasn’t what we were looking for, even as a breakfast stop, so continued on to the nearest National Trust property only 11 miles away: Scotney Castle.

After a false-start, when Google Maps took us down a very private road towards goodness only knows where, we turned around and found our way to our chosen destination…and goodness me what a destination it is!

The main house gives away nothing of the fairytale magic that awaits visitors along the path. We did the obligatory wandering around with the laminated info – enjoyed the house – and then sat in the sun at the cafe delaying the absolute gratification that was yet to come.

It wasn’t our fault – we just didn’t know.

Eventually, we set off down the path and literally stopped in our tracks. There it was – the castle. A Medieval ruin so magical that it could literally have been designed as the film set for the latest Beauty & The Beast. I almost expected Emma Watson to come singing out of the door as Kevin Kline unhitched his wagon and set off into the distance.

The wisteria and jasmine covered building is just perfect in all of its decay. The empty window frames welcomed in a view of the bluest sky I have ever seen and the creaking warped wooden staircase sang of whispered secrets, in tones only audible to the electric blue darting dragonflies hovering all around.

To get to the castle, a moat has to be breeched and it certainly does delay your progress. You cannot help but stop and wonder at the fairytale scene unfolding before you. The water is covered in blooming lily pads and waterlilies with red-finned silver fish swimming joyfully in the dappled sunlight.

Usually, faced with such untold beauty, I would have the viewfinder of my camera attached to my eye and would be capturing every stunning view. Today, however, with a heavy heart I fumbled in my handbag for my ‘phone and begrudgingly started taking pictures.

Let me confess right here, right now: I have never managed to take a good photo on my ‘phone. Hand me a camera and I just get it. A ‘phone; no.

We started oohing and ahhing as we wandered around the grounds, taking in the castle from every conceivable angle and then all of a sudden, as we meandered down a shady path, we happened upon what I originally decided was Snow White’s House – the one she shared with the Seven Dwarves. You can see why.

As we followed the path around, we could see from amidst the leaves and trees the perfect magical abode from the front.  It was actually a boathouse, seated on the edge of the water with no sign of any Disney characters in the vicinty.

Perhaps Belle was having a tea party?

Poster mock-up

To purchse this image and to view my entire portfolio, please click here:

https://www.etsy.com/uk/listing/536180887/boathouse-artscotney-castlekent

The Wild West Art Store – Etsy

THE WILD WEST ART STORE.jpg

It’s only 95 days until Christmas (as of today 20/09/2016). It will only be 94 days from tomorrow!

Yes, really. 

To get you in the mood for a leisurely shopping experience, here’s a jolly ad for my new and crazily cool wall art store: 

https://www.powtoon.com/m/cNnokfEFNa2/1/p

As you can see, there is a vast array of original and unique fine art (some might also say kitsch, vintage and retro) ‘wild west’ themed wall art and it’s suitable for everyone and for all ages, starting at a ridiculously low price of £10!

Yes, really.

In fact, you could do ALL of your Christmas shopping here by the end of today and spend the next 95 days (and counting) being smug and relaxed. Not only that, you will also win points from the recipients of your generosity for having chosen them the perfect gifts.

Win, win.

What are you waiting for? Nothing? Good – here’s the only link you will ever need:

https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/TheWildWestArtStore

http://www.powtoon.com/embed/e41MsJq2sVl/

100% Simply Perfect Photographs

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Book Description:

Toula Mavridou-Messer, member of the American Photography Association, shares her favourite images in this wonderful collection of 100% Simply Perfect Photographs. In her own words, “Art IS how your heart sees things, isn’t it? Sometimes everything is clear and crisp, other times it seems black and white but most of the time it’s filled with joy, happiness and a rainbow of all the colours and shades experienced by man.“ “My heart has captured every image that you see in our book. Hopefully, they will capture yours, too. One of the greatest photographers of all time, Ansel Adams, summed it all up for me with this perfect quote, “Sometimes I arrive just when God’s ready to have someone click the shutter.”

Available as a paperback from Amazon.

Reviews:

What talent! When you get this book, you have to read the intro before going through all the amazing photographs. They were taken with a used 10 year old camera. For those of you into photography this is a big deal as cameras have advanced so much today. Yet, the pictures are so perfect you would assume the latest and greatest camera available was being used!

These pictures are incredible! As I was going through them, I said to myself that I will mention my favorites in the review. Not even halfway through I was laughing at myself for having that thought because at that point, I had so many favorites, I would just be re-stating what you would find in the book. There were so many pictures that caught my eye.

The picture layout is fantastic as well! The color pattern flowed beautifully! (Word Forward)

100% Simply Perfect Photographs takes you on an adventure on land, sea and air. I was captivated by incredible pictures from an incredibly talented photographer! (Heather)

Love this book. Filled with stunning images that transport me visually someplace unexpected and unique. Can’t wait to get all her other books. A must have! (Annie Jeeves)

Gorgeous photos!! (Jason)

Featured photographs are available at prices for all budgets, as prints or merchandise (greeting cards/ T-Shirts/ ‘phone covers/ cushion covers/ tote bags/ shower curtains/ metal prints and much more)…just click here