Saturday, December 31, 2011

This is my Expressive Flower greeting card, front and back. See my previous post for thumbnail images of the fronts of other cards I have designed.

Greeting cards you won't find at Hallmark

Did you know that Hallmark cards are printed in China and that it's hard to find a greeting card at a Hallmark store that is blank inside? I don't know if such cards are scarce in all Hallmark stores, but when I checked the Salisbury, NC, Hallmark store about a week or so ago, there was only one card that was blank inside. And, it was small, with very limited space for writing anything.

In this age of e-mail , e-cards, and text messages, a traditional card, especially one that has a hand-written message from the sender inside instead of a mass-produced Hallmark sentiment, is something loved ones and friends will treasure, and save. I make my unique cards using images of my original paintings. Most of my cards are approximately 8.5"x5.5" (either vertical or horizontal) and they're no more expensive than a Hallmark card. Many other artists create affordable greeting cards, so support a local artist and send a memorable greeting card!

In my next post, I'll show an example of one of my whole cards, front and back.

Friday, November 25, 2011

New line of jewelry: Limited-edition Pendants

Samples of Images for Annette's Limited-Edition Pendants
I have a new line of jewelry: limited-edition pendants made from printed images of my original artwork. See above for samples of these images. There are many more to choose from. I will make only 100 pendants from each image, so once I reach the 100th pendant, no more will be created from that image. Each pendant will have the title and edition number on the back (e.g., 5/100) as well as my name. Right now, the only place you can order a pendant is at Stitchin' Post Gifts in Salisbury, NC. I'll be there this evening from 5pm - 9pm during downtown Salisbury, NC's Holiday Night Out, talking about how I make them and taking orders. I'll announce later where else they can be ordered. They are a great price, only $25. They'll be great as a unique gift for the women or girls in your life.

Friday, November 18, 2011

My latest jewelry painting: "Undersea World"

Undersea World - Acrylic on paper
 Here is my newest jewelry painting. I love the cool blue-green and pink/purple/orange colors. I'll be showing this at Stitchin' Post Gifts on Friday, November 25, 2011, from 5pm - 9pm during downtown Salisbury, NC's Night Out. People enjoy seeing these paintings and learning about how I create my jewelry. If anyone wants to save this painting from the cutting board and hole punches, they can have it for $600. Otherwise, it's going to be in pieces sometime in the near future.

Friday, November 11, 2011

A new jewelry painting: "Lady Bug Garden"

"Lady Bug Garden" - acrylic on 140#, full-size, hotpress watercolor paper 
This new painting, which I've already started cutting up to make hand-painted jewelry, is the first one of my jewelry paintings that isn't purely abstract. I wanted to create a garden  painting for this new collection of jewelry and it had to have lady bugs in it. As originally painted, and shown here, there were 18 lady bugs scattered throughout the image. I'm thinking of adding a ladybug to most, or maybe all, of the pieces after I've finished cutting up the painting. Having them everywhere on the original painting would have looked odd, but having one strategically placed on each cut-up piece will look really cool and make each piece even more unique.

Before I started cutting up the painting, I took it to a special event at Stitchin' Post Gifts, where my jewelry is sold in Salisbury, NC, and talked to people about how my jewelry is made. When people see my finished jewelry and learn how it's made, they're always impressed; they are even more impressed when they see one of my paintings before it's cut up.

Artists: put yourself on The Arts Map

I became aware of from one of Ariane Goodwin's recent smARTips newsletters. is an interactive worldwide map of artist's studios, galleries, arts organizations, museums, arts events, and more. Listings on The Arts Map are free and searchable in many different ways. To create a listing for yourself, your arts organization, or your arts-related business, go to and click on "create new listing" under the logo.

According to their web site, "Originally created to help the public find artists' studios, The Arts Map, with listings in 90 countries, has evolved into a global geographic interface providing access to artists, galleries, museums, public art, arts organizations, art schools, art services & supplies, and more. The Arts Map is, and will always be, a work-in-progress."

Right now there are over 6,100 listings on the map from all over the world. As word of this great marketing tool spreads, there will be more and more points added to the worldwide map. Be sure to add yours and spread the word!

The listing I created for myself is here:

Friday, June 10, 2011

When you're wearing it, you're wearing art

Until this month, I had been selling my hand-painted jewelry on consignment at a couple of galleries in North Carolina and at the gift shop at the National Tropical Botanical Garden in Kauai, Hawaii. The sales were slow and I finally came to the conclusion that women are more likely to buy my jewelry if it's available in a boutique or gift shop where clothing is also sold. So, I decided to start selling my jewelry on a wholesale basis only, to nicer boutiques and gift shops. To that end, I created some POP (point-of-purchase) and jewelry display materials, came up with a tagline, designed a two-page web site,, designed and ordered some new business cards, put a whole lot of new jewelry pieces together using some new glass I found that I like better than what I was using before, and set out to make my first sale.

This past Friday, I took a large selection of my jewelry and my POP and display materials to a very nice gift shop here in Salisbury, NC, called Stitchin' Post Gifts. They really liked my unique jewelry and purchased a nice selection, more pieces than I've sold previously as a whole on consignment! It was quite encouraging. I hope their customers like my jewelry so much that it sells out quickly and I get a call for replenishment.

One thing I learned from Pam Coffield, the owner of Stitchin' Post Gifts, and her staff, is that silver is the "in" color for jewelry. Gold isn't as popular. So, my latest collection, Swirly Gig IV, has only silver bails on the pendants, and the color scheme of the acrylic painting from which all the pieces were created was painted with silver in mind.

My next step is to continue to build my jewelry inventory with beautiful new pieces created from new paintings, and make the rounds to gift shops and boutiques all over North Carolina, and then on to the surrounding states. As an added incentive, I am giving shops who want my jewelry exclusive rights to sell it in their local area. I like selling on a wholesale basis much better than on consignment. You get paid up front!

If you have any nice boutiques or gift shops in your town where you think my jewelry would be a good fit, I would be very grateful for the referral.

Below is a sample of some 2" pendants from my new Swirly Gig IV collection. As my new tagline explains, "When you're wearing it, you're wearing art."

Samples from Annette Ragone Hall's "Swirly Gig IV" jewelry collection

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Wanna know a secret?

Each of my hand-painted jewelry pendants and earrings is unique, but I don't paint each one individually. If I had to do that, I would have to charge WAY more for each piece. What I do is create one  large acrylic painting on paper, and then CUT IT UP. I have to say it is very, very painful to do that, and I've agonized each time I make that first cut because I really, really like the paintings as is. But, if I want to make my jewelry affordable, that's what I have to do. I could save the master painting and have a high-quality giclee printed and cut that up, but then it wouldn't be hand-painted jewelry, would it?

I'm going to do something I haven't done before, which is to show everyone what one of my jewelry master paintings looks like. I completed this painting a few days ago. It's 21.5" x 29.5" and I haven't made that first cut yet. I'm dreading doing it! The pieces from this painting will become my Swirly Gig III collection. If anyone wants to save this gorgeous painting from the cutting board and circle punch, make me an offer I can't refuse! Otherwise, it'll make some fabulous jewelry, which you can purchase from Southern Spirit Gallery in Salisbury, NC, the gift shop at the National Tropical Botanical Garden in Hawaii (on Kauai), or directly from me by coming to my studio in Salisbury.

- Master painting for Swirly Gig III jewelry collection by Annette Ragone Hall -

Saturday, April 23, 2011

An article by Artist Jack White that all artists should read

12 Steps to Failure, by Jack White
I want to share the article at the above link with you, which originally came to me today via my online subscription to FineArtViews Newsletter. It is an excellent, excellent article that all artists who want to make a living with their art should read and take to heart. It's extremely enlightening. It made me rethink a few things.

"In North America, there are an estimated 20 million people who, by definition, are called artists. Less than 8% of those earn $1,000 or more a year from their talent. Are you one of the millions earning less than $1,000 a year? Are you in hiding?"

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Beside Still Waters

Beside Still Waters
Acrylic on Canvas
36" x 48"
I did something a little different last year by painting this fairly straightforward landscape. I was in the mood for something other than a floral or abstract image. But, like most of my other work, the scene is purely from my imagination. I originally had thought of a different name for it, but someone came to my studio and saw it shortly after I completed it. It was still on the easel. She said it reminded her of the 23rd Psalm. I immediately knew that I needed to rename it, so I did. I think the painting is quite serene and felt like posting it to my blog today.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Daffodils Discussing the World Situation

Lately, I've painted more abstracts than florals, so I decided to get flowery again. It's spring and it's bustin' out all over, so daffodils were the perfect subject. I painted this 36" x 36" piece for Rail Walk Studio & Gallery's "It's Hip to be Square" show. The show runs through May 28th.

Daffodils Discussing the World Situation
Acrylic on canvas, 36" x 36"

Friday, April 1, 2011

April issue of Carolina Arts is online

The April edition of Carolina Arts, a publication covering the visual arts in the Carolinas, is now online. If you want to know where to go to see fabulous art, this is a great resource. It’s amazing what’s going on in the visual arts in NC & SC. It makes me want to leave my studio, jump in my car and start driving! There is an article on page 19 about Rail Walk Gallery's "It's Hip to be Square" show (I'm one of the artists whose work is on exhibit). I have an ad on page 18. Download the PDF and read it at your leisure. At least 45,000 people downloaded last month's issue. Anyone who is an artist, or who has an art-related business or organization, should consider advertising. The rates are very low, and the husband-and-wife team running it are really generous people.

April Issue of Carolina Arts

Thursday, March 31, 2011

"Spring Has Arrived"

- Spring Has Arrived -
Acrylic on canvas - 6"x6"
I painted this small piece for the new exhibition at Rail Walk Studios & Gallery, "It's Hip to be Square." I have a total of eight pieces in ths show. All the participating artists have created works of art in a square format. I've been painting on square canvases quite a lot in the last two years. That format is very appealing to me. Not sure why; perhaps it's the pure symmetry, which is quite a contrast to my loose style.

The show opens Saturday, April 2, 2011, with a reception from 5:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m. Lots of "square" food will be served. We hope to see everyone arrive wearing their "square" attire. There is an art and music event going on next door at Looking Glass Artist Collective at the same time, so there is plenty to do Saturday in the Rail Walk Arts District.

Rail Walk Studios & Gallery is located at 409 N Lee Street, in Salisbury, NC. Plenty of free parking. For those who can't make it to the reception, regular hours are Saturdays from 11:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. The show runs through May 28, 2011. Be there or be square!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Another example of the jewelry from my "Swirly Gig" collection

1.5" hand-painted pendant with post earrings
I started creating hand-painted jewelry about a year and a half ago. I've always loved earrings and pendants or necklaces and purchased many of my favorite pieces from artists at art festivals. I didn't want to be a jewelry-maker myself per se, but I kept wanting to create some wearable art that was reminiscent of my paintings. I spent quite a bit of time thinking about how I could do that, what kind of materials I would need, what the process would be, etc. I finally figured it out and have been happy with the result. My pieces range in price from a small pendant for $10 to a set consisting of a large pendant and 2 earrings (like the set above) for $45. Each piece has a unique painted image topped by glass. No two are alike. The earrings are for pierced ears. The bails on the pendants are gold- or silver-plated. The earring posts are the same. Currently, Southern Spirit Gallery in Salisbury, NC, has my jewelry for sale, and I also sell it out of my studio. Prices are the same no matter where they are purchased (shipping is extra). I am working on getting my jewelry into other retail outlets.

"A Tribe of Iris": reference photo and finished piece, a comparison

inspiration for "A Tribe of Iris"
A Tribe of Iris - Acrylic on canvas - 12" x 48"
In my last post, I commented that when I use photos as reference for my paintings, the finished piece doesn't look like the original photo. I said I would show an example in my next post. Well, here it is! Be sure to click on the image of the painting so you can see the detail better.

Monday, March 14, 2011

"Through a Glass Lightly"

Through a Glass Lightly - acrylic on canvas - 20" x 20"
This painting came strictly from my imagination. When I create the majority of my floral paintings, I am trying to capture the impression of flowers rather than any botanical accuracy. What I think makes this painting interesting is the contrast between the organic shapes of the flowers and the rectangles and lines in the area on which the vase rests. I often paint florals out of my imagination. When I use photographic reference, the painting never looks like the photo. In my next post, I'll show a reference photo and the painting it inspired. 

Friday, March 11, 2011

Special gift on March 12th for the 2nd Saturday Art Walk in Salisbury & Spencer, NC

Swirly Gig Collection - 5/8" pendant -

Each month art studios and galleries in Salisbury and Spencer, NC, host the 2nd Saturday Art Crawl. Rail Walk Studios & Gallery, where I have my studio, participates. Artwork from seven artists is on display.

This Saturday, March 12th, I'm offering a special gift to anyone who purchases at least $100 worth of artwork from me. The gift is one of a my small hand-painted pendants. They are 5/8" in size and are tiny acrylic paintings under glass. This size normally retails for $10.

Rail Walk Studios & Gallery is located at 409 N Lee St. in Salisbury, NC.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Pale Pink Tulips

Pale Pink Tulips - watercolor on paper - 14.5" x 10.5"
I wanted to create a tulip painting in watercolor that was more subdued in color than my usual style. I also wanted to use broad shapes and a lot of indistinct edges. I was inspired by my "Shy Tulips" painting. I like how it turned out.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Launch to the Moon

Launch to the Moon
Acrylic on canvas - 6" x 6"
I had started this piece and was trying to decide how to finish it. At the same time, I was working on some other pieces specifically for our exhibit at Rail Walk Studios & Gallery called "The RED Show" and had the sudden inspiration that all this piece needed was a bit of red. That did the trick!

Friday, February 11, 2011

Red Sky Sunset #2

Red Sky Sunset #2
acrylic on canvas, 6"x 6"
The painting above is one of seven that I have on display in The RED Show, a group exhibit by artists at Rail Walk Studios & Gallery in Salisbury, NC. The painting I posted here on January 29th is also one that I have on exhibit in the show. Our opening reception was last night and we had a very good turnout, even though it was a cold Thursday night with lots of competition from other events and activities around Salisbury. One of our visitors commissioned me to do a watercolor painting for her. A couple whom I had invited to the reception and who purchased a large piece from me in December 2009 told me they want to commission a series of three paintings to hang together in their living room. I'll be going to their home in the next week or so to see where they want them to hang so I can get an idea of the scale.

The RED Show was scheduled to end on February 26th, but the art exhibit by members of Rowan Arts Council that had been scheduled for March was cancelled, so we're leaving The RED Show up through Saturday, March, 26th.

About The RED Show:
If any month is associated with any color, the month is February and the color is red. All of us artists at Rail Walk painted, sculpted, and interpreted the color red for this show. The color red has the longest wavelength of all the colors that are perceived by the human eye. Red invokes strong emotions from bliss to rage. We hope you will feel bliss as you look at our work. The walls are filled with red!

Rail Walk Studios & Gallery is located in the Rail Walk Arts District in Salisbury, NC, at 409 Lee Street, and is open Saturdays, 11 a.m. - 5 p.m. and by appointment. For more information about RWS&G, visit

Saturday, January 29, 2011

An Overwhelming Sense of Red Is Making Me See Spots

"An Overwhelming Sense of Red Is Making Me See Spots"
Acrylic on canvas - 5'x5'
I decided to be whimsical in naming this piece. I created this painting for an upcoming group show at Rail Walk Studios & Gallery, which opens on February 5, 2011. The opening reception is Thursday, February 10, 2011, from 5:30 p.m. - 8:00 p.m. Everyone is welcome.

Our theme for the exhibit is RED. This painting is the "reddest" of the pieces I've created so far for this show. It's a large painting, 5 feet by 5 feet. Anyone who wants red to command a spot in a room, this painting will do the trick!

When I started it, I covered the entire canvas with red and stood back and looked at it. I almost left it that way because it looked so vibrant and commanding! But, that sort of minimalism isn't my cup of tea (at least not right now), so I started adding shapes and other colors. I like the color green I used; I find it very soothing, which is a nice counterpoint to the bold red. I had to be careful that the painting didn't turn out looking like Christmas colors. It might be red and green, but it's certainly not a Christmas painting.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Approaching Storm - acrylic on canvas

Last summer, my husband and I went to Carolina Beach, which is just south of Wilmington, NC. I was inspired by that visit to paint this piece. It's not from a photo, just from my imagination. I wanted to capture the feeling of a dangerous surf and an impending, dark storm. There was no storm while we were at the beach, so I don't know why I was inspired to paint something with this theme. Perhaps I just like drama!

Approaching Storm, 14" x 18" x .75", acrylic on canvas.

Monday, January 3, 2011

"There Are Mysterious Places"

This is a 5-foot x 5-foot acrylic painting on canvas. It would be a perfect painting around which to decorate an entire room. It makes quite a statement. I wanted to try a color scheme I haven't used before, and darker than I usually paint. I like how it turned out.

"There Are Mysterious Places" - 5' x 5' acrylic on canvas