Supporting Independent Artists Summer 2019

Independent Artists Summer 2019

supporting independent artists and creatives, beechhouse media, mark taylor,
Supporting Independent Visual Artists

Each week I write a brand new article for members of our four wonderful art groups on Facebook, The Artists Exchange, The Artists Lounge, The Artists Directory, and The Artist Hangout. This week we cast the spotlight on the amazing talent coming out of the independent visual arts scene and why supporting independent visual artists can often be the best way of owning a truly unique artwork. We also showcase three outstanding independent artists you should be following right now!

For the past half a decade I have written about my love of independent visual artists and my love and respect for them goes way back before then. They are indeed the very reason I started this website in the first place. I wanted to share some of my learnings of the industry and the practice of art with other independent artists and I wanted for this site to hopefully become a useful resource.

Over those same years, I have been doing my best to support independent artists however I can. There really is some amazing talent out there and they are producing some of the best artworks you will ever find anywhere. You can almost hear the artist’s heartbeat and honestly, I am seeing that kind of passion, less and less in the major galleries.

It takes courage and an element of vulnerability for anyone to put their artwork out there. Art is part of an artist’s soul and to lay it all out bare takes a significant amount of courage because the very moment you bare your soul, you open yourself up to critique, some of it good, some of it not so good at all. As an independent artist, this is something that is done alone. There are no galleries to handle the PR, or to advocate you or your work, the dream of an independent artist is theirs and theirs alone and wherever or whatever level they get to within the art world is solely down to each of them and the hard work they put into realising their dreams.

The competition within the arts is tough although that competition is usually from the elements of the art world controlled by the super-rich or the mega-gallery, and gone are many of the galleries of yesteryear where they would scout out the local talent. Today you can walk into a mega-gallery and not be surprised to see walls upon walls of work from artists from every corner of the globe selected not necessarily for reasons beyond that it has sellable wall-power that feeds into a very specific market within the art world. There is a place for that kind of art but it's in no way accessible to everyone.

Working in a local context has become more and more difficult and without the major resources that sit behind the mega-galleries, a majority of working artist’s work of today can get lost beneath the layer that feeds the news stories in the media and a very select few who can afford to own whatever we believe the current trend to be. Yet independent artists still pursue their dreams and contribute to local economies, often through sheer grit and determination. These are the hungry artists who know that their work has to stand out to get anywhere.

By supporting an independent artist, a local musician, author, poet, sculptor, or designer, and others in the creative industry who go it alone, you also support not only their dreams but also the communities of which they are integral. So if you are feeling generous why not think about supporting an independent artist by buying a piece of their work, making a tiny contribution to their Go Fund Me page, share their work far and wide across social media or even write an encouraging comment. There are so many ways that you can support independent artists and it’s not always about having to make a financial contribution. Sometimes showing an independents work to someone you know in the creative sector can literally change an artist’s life and keep their dream alive. 

So this week we make a welcome return to my Artists Spotlight feature where we take a look at a few artists who have continuously managed to exceed and excel in their respective fields. The artists picked today are the ones who have continuously built up my belief that independent visual artists just never stop believing, care passionately about their work and never seem to ever stop working!

Colleen Taylor

Colleen Taylor has been a professional artist and mixed-media painter for almost three decades, living and working in the Denver, Colorado area since the early 1970s and currently in the Phoenix, Arizona area. Since 1981, she has completed hundreds of projects, small and large, for both residential and commercial clients. 

Colleen is known primarily for her extensive years as a prolific large format wall mural artist within Colorado and the Rocky Mountain regions. She has been featured and published in Denver Design Resources, the Parade of Homes, and many other publications throughout Colorado and the surrounding Rocky Mountains. Colleen is a rare blend of artist and an entrepreneurial business person.

She is renowned for her excellent attention to detail and depth of field. She has mastered the art of creating unique, elegant and stunning paintings from sources within her life. Her unique approach is to become deeply absorbed in the complexity and challenge of her paintings. Combining organic traditional paints with the latest technological advances in the fine art field makes her paintings one-of-a-kind works of art.

Colleen has appeared here on this website previously but what readers might not be aware of is that Colleen’s husband, Larry Keen is also an artist working in the music industry where he has been involved with many big names over the years. 

Recently Colleen was tasked with creating the beautiful images that appear within Larry’s new book which was co-written by RJ Pollack and James Copacino and here she explains the process of going from idea to publishing a successful book with music and video.

the cat the fiddle and me, larry keen, colleen taylor, beechhouse media,
The Cat, The Fiddle, and Me...

The Back Cover…

In the summer of 2018, early one morning, ”The Cat, The Fiddle and Me" began to take flight with singer/songwriter, Larry Keen composing the song, the music and a few lyrics in our kitchen. I knew immediately that Larry was onto something special. Larry Keen, a lifelong songwriter, singer and acoustic guitar player, wrote all the music to "The Cat, The Fiddle and Me." In order to complete the remainder of the lyrics of the song, Larry contacted his long-time friends, Jim Copacino and RJ Pollack for their valuable and creative input to complete the remainder of the lyrics but that was merely the beginning.

Larry then individually assembled a host of highly talented professional musicians for the remainder of the mix.  With the evolution of technology in recording studios, musicians can record tracks individually all over the world. Sent electronically, these tracks can later all be mixed together to form a composite recording. The musicians and songwriters of this song were from 10 different locations throughout the US. With the help of Larry's Austin, TX recording music producer, Jeffrey Teveraas, the compilation of the mix began.  

After listening to one of the first rough cuts, I determined that the necessary component of a fiddle player was missing and absolutely essential to this song. Having been a music major, I have a pretty good ear for many music varieties and sounds. Larry wholeheartedly agreed to my suggestion and called Jeffrey in Austin who contacted his Austin musician friend, Richard Bowden.  Mr. Bowden, the fiddle player in this song, is the fiddle player for the country-western star, Dierks Bently.  Mr Bowden was on tour at the time with Dierks, so we waited until Mr Bowden returned to the Austin recording studio, to add the fiddle player. In the recording studio, all musicians, technicians and recording studio producers, who contributed to this project, were paid for their time. 

One of the lines Larry wrote, “We sailed down the river, so calm & so silver, the cat, the fiddle and me” happens to be a line in the song, “Marco Polo,” written 40 years ago with RJ Pollack. That line had always been one of Larry's favourite lines and knew it would fit well into “The Cat, The Fiddle and Me,” 

We sailed down the river, so calm & so silver, the cat, the fiddle and me, larry keen,
We sailed down the river, so calm & so silver, the cat, the fiddle and me - Copyright Colleen Taylor

Larry asked me for my artistic expertise to create all the illustrations of this book. I knew this would take an abundant amount of time to visually create the ideas that would coincide with the lyrics perfectly.  I began those illustrations in August of 2018. With a great deal of work, time and persistence on my part, I was able to partially complete all the illustrations at the beginning of 2019.  Numerous editing was done until I was pleased with the results of all 20 illustrations. 

Many times I faced complete burnout. For me, this was one of the most difficult projects to accomplish creatively and technically.  Then in sequenced lyrical order, I began the tedious task of assembling the illustrations to coincide perfectly with the mp3 recording in iMovie. After that, I uploaded this into YouTube.  After sharing the YouTube video on social media platforms, we received overwhelming requests for a book to be produced.

The beautiful illustration you see at the on the top image is of my granddaughters. This is the cover of the book. I incorporated all the songwriter’s grandchildren within all the illustrations. I included each grandchild's first name on the last page of the book. I thought this would add a sweet touch for each child to see their name mentioned as a memorable keepsake. On the last page, I also determined to give each whimsical character their own name. "Oscar" the cat, "Frannie" the fiddle, "Wally and the Wailin Walruses," "Giovanni" the Giant, "Leonardo" the lion, "Desi" the dragon, "Urseline" the unicorn, "Seamus" the spider, "Wiley" the whale, "Penelope and the Rockhopper" penguins and "Gaga" the Queen.

Being the illustrator and the publisher of this book, I then began the enormous task of electronically self-publishing this beautiful hardcover book in an e-book and hardcover.
If you've ever thought of writing and illustrating a hardcover book similar to this, I recommend you to follow your dream to create your project. Be prepared for it to take a massive amount of time and be aware of many expenses. Hiring quality illustrators is very expensive. Take in consideration that there are copyright fees, one or more ISBN numbers to purchase, fees from your printing or book company in addition to other fees for an e-book. If you are not able to technically format the book, there will be a number of other fees where you may have to hire someone to accomplish this. It can be a full-time job. Now that I have this book completed, I have the proud feeling of accomplishing something I thought I would never be able to do.

For those of you who are not familiar with Larry, he is a singer-songwriter-musician who has been attracting enthusiastic audiences throughout North America since the 1970s.  Larry was a star on the legendary New York Coffee House Circuit, sharing the spotlight with the likes of Don McLean, Jim Croce, Linda Ronstadt, the Chapin Brothers, Jay Leno and Billy Crystal. He was a featured act at many of Los Angeles’ music meccas such as The Troubadour, Bla-Bla Café and Sagebrush Cantina. This is but a mere slice of his astounding musical history. Larry currently delights audiences with a wide range of folk, blues, country and rock tunes. His powerful vocals, nimble guitar and infectious stage presence have made him one of the region’s most popular entertainers.

Should anyone be interested in purchasing our book, they can be purchased through my website on top of my Home page (link below) titled, “The Cat, The Fiddle and Me.”  We try to carry a supply on hand and are able to send you signed copies of the books directly to the public for mailing. Each signed copy will include a CD and a DVD of the song and video. "The Cat, The Fiddle and Me" e-book and hardcover are also available on, Barnes and Nobel online in addition to 40,000 other worldwide online stores and libraries.

You can find out more about Colleen and her work right here,  and you can order online right here

If you want to follow Colleen on Facebook you can do so right here, and if you want to keep up to date with Larry and his music, you can do that too right here

Jane See

What can I say about Jane, well turns out there are lots of things to say about Jane and her work! I have known Jane for a number of years and she too is no stranger to this site. Her work is frequently inspiring, always bold, and if you want an example of just how hard independent artists work, Jane is that example and she shines.

Jane was born in Malaysia and has spent most of her adult life living in New Zealand and Australia, where she now calls home. She participated in online workshops with Kiwi artist Richard Robinson and has gone on to develop her own unique style and she specialises in abstract works.

She paints fast, something that I am totally in awe of and she paints directly to the canvas without any prior drawing or outlining and with many of her creations transitioning from a blank canvas to finished work in a single sitting. Jane has a remarkable talent when it comes to using a knife to apply the paint, a skill that many artists can and do struggle with but the results are that she manages to achieve a sense of peace and simplicity with a minimal colour palette and her favourite tool 'The Knife'.

There is an elegant simplicity that is difficult to pull off convincingly, yet she does so and makes it look effortless and her skills are way above her number of years of painting as a professional artist. Jane started pursuing her creative journey at the lowest point of her life in 2010. She has since turned a corner.

Jane See artist, silent dreams, fine art america,
Silent Dreams - Version 2 Copyright Jane See

Many of her artworks depict her thoughts and emotions, past and present and this year Jane will be focussing more on her skills and techniques, and she will be exploring a wider subject matter. Jane is an artist who not only manages to pull this kind of work off but she is also one who shows no fear in her craft.

Jane recently told me, “I express myself through my art in an imaginary world with an abstract out of reality in a style that captures my simplistic & positive nature and helps me to expresses my emotional journey. A personal journey, a new chapter in my life and the commitment to follow my heart. This has been the most liberating and rewarding journey so far.” 

Jane's work was part of a display in the SCOPE Art Fair in Miami and was nominated for the People's Choice Award from 3 Dec - 8 Dec 2013 and she exhibited in the #CreativesRising digital exhibition in New York City in 2013. Additionally, Jane was part of a globally recognized projection campaign throughout New York City, featured on 5 Oct 2013 along with thousands of other inspiring artists.

If you are interested in learning more about Jane and her work you can find her on Facebook right here, and you can view and purchase her amazing work right here

Rising Star…

It isn’t often that I see a relatively new artist who I know has the passion to make it, or who where I just get the feeling that there is something very special. So this week I wanted to add another artist to the list of independent artists you definitely should be following. Say hello to Nea.

nea edmans, ocean rose, artist, redbubble, facebook,
Take a look at Nea Edmans on RedBubble

Nea Edmans…

An artist who is new to these pages and has really begun to make a massive impression on me is Nea Edmans. Nea lives here in the UK and since 2018 has been selling her creations on RedBubble and she also sells directly. You can see her creations right here on RedBubble and you can buy directly and keep up to date with her latest releases on her Facebook page right here

There is an overwhelming sense of peace, joy, and love within Nea’s creations which is refreshing to see but what makes Nea’s art special is that you know it is created from the heart. Art is Nea’s therapy and she has a compelling and beautiful story that needs to be heard.

Perhaps though one of the striking things about Nea and her work is that if you want a great example of how hard artists work to make their dreams come true, Nea is that very example. She is constantly creating, and for someone who is a relative newcomer to the art world, it is refreshing to see that she is doing everything exactly as it should be done. Pouring her heart into her art and making her dream a reality.

It’s not often that I see a young artist who gets what art really is about in the way that Nea does, and from the many artists I do get to see, you just know that she will rise and succeed not only through her art but from the sheer hard work that you know she puts into everything she creates. It’s refreshing too that she’s not afraid to ask the questions, or to support other artists, regularly participating in our groups. If you want to support Nea, give her page a like on Facebook, share her work and let’s see if we can collectively help her to get exactly where she needs to be.

You can be featured too!

The above artists are just a handful of the artists who work as independents and who tirelessly work to showcase their art. I have been writing artist spotlight features for a few years now and this really is what this website is all about. If you would like to be featured in a future article, all you need to do is get in touch, become engaged in our groups or engaged with my Facebook page so that I get to know who you are and what you and your art are really about.

All you will need to do is provide links to your artist bio, social media page, artist page, store, or portfolio and provide an image showcasing some of your best work and I will take the best ones and write a feature. It gives you somewhere else to link to, and whilst I can never guarantee that being on this site will ever get you noticed, it will get you noticed at least a tiny bit more!

Whilst I can’t always guarantee that you will appear immediately, I will try my best to give you some coverage and in the world of being an independent artist, this can provide another route for you to point people towards when marketing your work and it will hopefully give you a little more exposure too. There are no fee’s or charges, all I need is to be assured that you are as committed to the arts as I am and that you are serious about wanting your work to be seen.

I frequently scour our groups and see some exceptional work from some very talented individuals but if there is little or no other engagement in the groups or on my page, those posts are more likely to pass me by. With the hundreds of posts into the groups each week I just need to know who I should be looking out for but I also need your permission to write about you and your work! So if you think you have the talent and drive and are committed to being the best independent artist you can be, reach out and let’s try to make a little magic happen!

Please note that I don’t use Facebook Messenger regularly, and I do get literally hundreds of messages every week. The best way to contact me is via the contact me section of this website and if you want me to pay particular attention to a post in any of our wonder art groups on Facebook, mention @beechhousemedia somewhere in the post so that I get the notification!

Coming soon…

As always there are plenty of articles being written to feature on this site but if there are subjects that you would like me to cover, let me know! Over the coming weeks we will be taking a look at art titles and ask why they are so vital in marketing your work, and I will be asking the question of what art really sells.
If you want to take a look at one of my previous artist spotlights, you can do that right here, and if you want more reasons to support an independent artist, you can find those reasons right here

Lately, I have also been on a roll and have been busy creating more new works in my latest landscape series. You can see works created over the past month below, and as always, they are available through my Pixels store right here

In the meantime, best wishes, and happy creating!

Mark xx

About Mark…

I am an artist and blogger and live in Staffordshire, England. You can purchase my art through my Fine Art America store or my Pixels site here:  
Any art sold through Fine Art America and Pixels contribute to the ongoing costs of running and developing this website. You can also view my portfolio website at

You can also follow me on Facebook at where you will also find regular free reference photos of interesting subjects and places I visit. You can also follow me on Twitter @beechhouseart and on Pinterest at

If you would like to support the upkeep of this site or maybe just buy me a coffee or support an independent artist, you can do so right here through my Go Fund Me page. 


  1. Mark, Thank you for everything you do! The art world need more people like you, my sincere appreciation! xx

    1. You are most welcome Jane! I wish there were more artists just like you! xx

    2. Thanks Mark, you are just too kind! xx


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