Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Art Hearts for Haiti - Mea Culpa! Mea Culpa!

It is with my sincerest apologies that I have not moved forward on this initiative before now. We are back on track and the derivative art has been created:

You should be able to click on the art to enlarge it and see the details. 

On the last two pieces of art, I have placed the words "Art Hearts for Haiti"....I am open to suggestions for alternative wording/no wording/additional wording on any/all art. Once the wording is added/changed, I will be opening up an ImageKind store later today to make the art available on T-Shirts and other items they have available. All funds (after tax, tag and title) will go to either the Red Cross Haiti fund or to Doctors Without Borders - your choice. (Please leave your choice in the comments.)

Last but not least, I am proposing an auction on eBay of any of the ACEOs available for purchase. I propose the auctions be started on Tuesday, April 6th, with a closing of Monday, April 12th with a minimum bid of $10.00. The auctions would be branded as "Art Hearts 4 Haiti" and plainly state this is to raise funds for Haiti's rebuilding efforts. If you have an Etsy store or other outlet and would like to offer the art through these outlets rather than eBay, please do so. As the art sales, send me a total of the profits and I will keep a running tally of the money raised in the effort.

I approached several other auction/retail venues and found most were overwhelmed or the ACEO art style was not conducive to their auction/fund raising efforts. I think it is best if each person handles their own auction/sale of the artwork as this spreads the workload around to all of us. I am open to other suggests and ideas!

Thank you for your kindness and patience!

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Chance of Rain - Wins!

I am thrilled to tell you that Chance of Rain won an Honorable Mention in the Open Aqueous Show hosted by the Florida Suncoast Watercolor Society at the Punta Gorda Visual Arts Center!

Chris and I went down to attend the reception last evening, and as always, came away from the show impressed with the caliber of the work, the artists and the Society that hosts these shows. This was a well attended event with over 125 paintings submitted with nearly 100 in the show.

One of the things that I love most about submitting to a competition is to talk with other artists and "hear" (not just see) the interpretations of their paintings - how they came to paint it, what muse they followed, and why, not to mention the challenges they faced.

It also provides an opportunity to see our own work in a bigger venue than our own living room. What may appear too bright in our environment is not so bright hanging in a hall with 100 other works. What seemed large, or even too big, may now appear small in comparison. It is always an education!

I also learned there is another show coming up in May at Selby Botanical Gardens, and I need to get busy and get my brushes wet!!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Simon's Cat

I tried to post a new short "film" of Simon's cat but it's way too big for the blog and it would not let me resize it. So do yourself a favor, especially if you have cats or are in need of a laugh, and visit this site and watch all the little shorts - they are hysterical!!

This individual has obviously been around a very neurotic cat for quite some time! "Snow Business" is the latest in a string of truly funny escapades! Enjoy!!

Friday, March 19, 2010

Creativity and Positivity Award!!!

The lovely Pam Johnson Brickell of South Carolina Low Country blog has awarded me the Sunshine Award for creativity and postivity!! Yay! (She must not have been looking on those days I was whining!!) The Sunshine Award - how perfect is that for Florida!!! Thank you, Pam, I greatly appreciate it!

I am to pass this award on to other blogs that I think do a great job on creativity and positivity which means I get to introduce you to some outstanding blogs you may not know about! How cool is that?! Now, speaking of whining, some folks roll their eyes and think this is nothing by a bunch of nonsense, but I've found some pretty cool blogs though these awards! You might too! If you ask me that's better than finding out what color my bra is!!

So let's get started, shall we.....
Clarie at Claire's Sketchbook - Claire has a wonderful style that will make you feel like you've just walked into a fairy tale children's book!
Elva at Elva's Field Notes - this woman is a fantastic artist and a lovely individual as well!
Kathy at Catching Happiness - such fun and sometimes thought-provoking posts!
Kelly at Red and the Peanut - this woman is a genius with a camera AND a brush!!
Krista at Hope in Every Day - this woman holds down a crazy busy life and still finds time for art!
Martha at Marthann's Musings - Martha is a very talented lady and a new blogger. Please stop by and say hello!
Susie at 1st Floor Flat - the woman is a wonder to behold with all of her finery and computer wizardry!
Teresa at Blueberries, Art and Life - another great artist that also happens to be a wonderful writer!

I do hope you'll go and check out all these lovely blogs as well as Pam's! You'll be glad you did!!

P.S. There's suppose to be 12 in the list and I'm to notify everyone, but since I'm the creative type, I'm not real good at following directions!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Easy-Peasy (Fun) Project!

Those darn weekends! Blink and they're gone!! This one flew by! I did a presentation at the Bloomingdale Library on Saturday on Artful Journaling and ways to add art to your journal. We did a really fun (and easy) project that I thought I'd share here....

Skim through your photographs and find one you like. If you have the capabilities on your computer, turn it into a grayscale, like the image below.

If you're going to be printing on your ink-jet or laser copy at home, make it lighter than you think it needs to be, sort of like a ghost image. (But not too light! LOL!!)

If you don't have the capabilities at home, take the photo to a copy shop (be sure you are the rightful owner of the image, if it has a copyright on it - front or back - they won't touch it) and have them copy it onto heavy paper. Make sure they lighten it first. You may want to have them do a test run on plain copy paper if you're going to have the images copied onto a special paper.* If you want to add watercolor, it's best to use either 90 lb. or 140 lb. watercolor paper.*

*You'll have to take and cup a piece of paper to 8.5 x 11 or thereabouts and take it with you to the copy shop. It's doubtful they will have any watercolor paper. Make sure to test your paper first to determine if it is appropriate for the medium you wish to use.
• Now, here's the fun part, depending on the paper you print/copy the image out on, you can use various types of media to "colorize" the photo into "art!" Colored pencils, watercolor pencils, acrylics, inks, stamps, egg tempera, gouache, pastels, and anything else you can think of!!

• Put the original image out of sight and let your own color sensibilities take over! You have a photo, use your artistic license to let loose with the color and make the image your own!

• Do the same image more than once to see what kind of different looks you can get - vibrant, pastel, old fashioned, etc.

• If using watercolor, be sure to "prime" the area you are painting with water first, then add pigment. This helps to get past the barrier the toner or ink creates on the paper.

• If using an inkjet printer, test to make sure the inks are waterproof.

• Try turning the photos into a sepia color instead of grayscale for an old-fashioned look!

• Lay different media onto the image to see what other unique looks you can get!

This is the image that was done for Saturday's demonstration. It has both pink and lavender petals as we had two different paint options. Have fun and enjoy! If you decide to go for it, leave a link in the comments - I'd love to see what you come up with!
P.S. One last idea - have you drawn something in ink or pencil and want to add color but not to the original? Perhaps it's in a journal or you want to test out color ideas? Print or copy it out and add color just as you would to a photo!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Dealing With A Critic - Part II

Continued from Dealing with a Critic....

Criticism: Who Needs It?!!

Critics. We all have them. Both internal and external. We usually have a love/hate relationship with a heavy emphasis on the hate. Because we identify strongly with our work, with the struggles of bringing it into this world, let alone finding the courage to share the work, we tend to take criticism to our very hearts.

The word “oh” uttered without enthusiasm is enough to make us want to curl up and hide. Well-meant but non-constructive criticism can cause us to avoid artmaking for years. And, let’s face it, some criticism is not well-meant, constructive or beneficial. It’s rare, but it does exist. So how do we cope with these demons? How do we keep from succumbing to the potent, toxic, highly addictive, poison of criticism?

We start by recognizing it for what it is–another tool in the toolbox of artists.

And like all good tools, we must evaluate it and determine its usefulness to our work. We need criticism in order to grow. We’re often too close to our art to see where we can/need to improve. We set ourselves up when we ask open ended questions like “Well, what do you think?” to unsuspecting, non-artisan individuals. Especially spouses and significant others. They often answer from a position of what they like rather than from a base of artistic knowledge.

When they criticize the very thing we’re most proud of, it hurts! Why, didn’t they see all the toil and the hours and the tears and the frustration to get to this point?!! Ummm…no, not really. Spouses don’t usually get it. They try to be honest and say something neutral that won’t hurt our feelings because they know they’re in emotion-land-mine territory.

Some thoughts on using criticism as a tool:
  • Instead of asking open-ended questions, ask specific questions....“I’ve been working on getting stronger lights and darks in my painting. Do you see this as having a stronger value pattern?” (Be aware that you may have to educate them on values, but that’s a good thing!)
  • Try the criticism on for size. See if there's any truth in it at all. (The more the advice or comment bugs us, the better the chances are there is some truth to it!) If the criticism fits, use it as motivation to improve! If the advice doesn’t fit, see yourself physically dropping the criticism into a trash can, and walking away. Kick the can, if necessary! The trick is to not go back and dig that piece of advice out of the trash and let it start to hurt all over again!
  • Ask yourself if you’re taking the criticism personally and why. Evaluate whether the criticism is directed at the work or at you as the artist. Many of us get tangled up in separating the art from the artist. Once you’ve established which is being criticized, evaluate the criticism for relevancy.
  • Never ever, ever, never take criticism personally!!! Criticism, simply put, is another person's opinion. It may or may not be relevant or valuable. Opinions come cheap and often unsolicited. They're often said (shared) without thought as to how they might be "heard." 
  • We give the criticism its power - to hurt, wound, irritate, annoy, dismay, or otherwise, harm us! When we take away the power, we take away the sting.
Criticism is just another tool in the tool box - sometimes it's handy and just what's needed. Other times, it's the wrong tool for the job. In this case, you should feel free to dump it in the nearest proverbial trashcan!

P.S. I see Blogger is up to its old tricks of messing with the type - sorry for the micro-sized type!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Merry Old England - Here I Come!!!

There's one! A red phone booth! I've always wanted to see one–in England!!* And here I am!* I was riding on the top of a double-decker bus (which I'm going to sketch next) and there was a delay. So I started sketching.....and then we started to move and I wasn't finished [with the sketch], so as we traveled around I would draw from different phone booths. This one's a little wonky, but what fun!! Of course, I had to take the tour again to see what I missed the first time around!

I had to wait to paint this until I was off the bus- too wild of a ride to paint! So much fun, and a great way to see an area! I sat at a corner pub-like place to get some color on this.

Spring is in the air over here* even though it is still quite brisk and down-right cold at night! 

Now I need to go find one of those buses to sketch - I wonder if they'll hold still until I get my sketch complete........

*I'm not really in Merry Old England - I"m on "An Imaginary Trip to England!!" This "trip" will be leaving on Monday, April 5th! I hope you can join me for the fun!! Please click here for more information!

P.S. The March i•Trav•e•logue is now available! Check it out for the latest on Imaginary Trips!!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Dealing With A Critic

Did you see it?!! Did you see the Critic in here? Can you believe the audacity??!! To just show up on my blog like that!!

Of course, the Critic was invited. 

I even held the door open....

In yesterday's post, I made the statement, "....I can't help but wonder if the time may have been better spent on a brand new attempt!" That, my friends, was the Critic talking, and is totally unacceptable! My husband mentioned my comment last night and said something on point about me not practicing what I preached. To which I responded that I was simply evaluating the work and I wasn't entirely certain that it had not been a wasted effort. 

As I moved through the evening, I realized that indeed, I had let the Critic loose. If you've taken an Imaginary Trip with me, you know that on all of the class blogs there is a statement at the very top of each class blog that says "Imperfection practiced and encouraged here." As a recovering perfectionist, I stand by those words. They enable me to get things done that would otherwise hold me hostage indefinitely as I'm not able to do them perfectly. 

But every once in a while, I still fall prey to the Critic's voice. This time, by passing judgement on a piece of work that didn't need to be judged. That was not the intent of the piece. It's a sketch, not a competition painting. As a sketch, it's fine. Is there room for improvement? Yes. There is room for improvement in every piece I've ever sketched regardless of how good I may have thought it was, and I wouldn't have it any other way!

You see, I believe that perfectionism is fear. It is the ego's weapon to keep us from setting ourselves up for hurt, harm, ridicule, embarrassment or any other undesirable result. Especially, if it's happened before. So our ego uses a reasonable, logical voice and we listen!! It then becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy because too often decisions made from a place of fear are poor decisions, and we prove the ego right. 

Dealing with criticism–our own internal Critic, external, well-meant, hurtful, harmful, constructive, non-constructive, idiotic and down-right idiotic–is part and parcel of being an artist. It is necessary to learn to deal with all types of criticism. To learn to identify when it's harmful and how to make it useful. I'll be getting into that tomorrow. 

Meanwhile, if you see that Critic in here again, kindly ask it to LEAVE!!!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Turtles, Time and Oops!

Sitting at dinner last night, my husband casually asked me if I had stopped posting to the blog as he had noticed no new posts lately. Oops! Ummmm, no not really, I mumbled. I decided to check in (thinking it really had not been that long ago that I had posted) only to learn it had been over a week since my last post. I hate it when that happens!!

Oh, dear! I don't think it's ever been that long since I started blogging at this location. I could give you a whole host of reasons and excuses, but let's not go there. It could get messy. Instead, let me begin to post again! (And with more regularity!! Sound like a "drug" ad, but we're not going there, either!)

I have been painting......

.....this is the 3rd version of this one as I was must unhappy with the way it turned out the first time. And the second. This was one of the assignments for the "Imaginary Visit to The Beach" class. Not thrilled, I just tucked it away with the thought, next time. Then one of the other "travelers" in the class posted a beautiful piece of work that inspired me to try again. (Thank you!!)

I'm happier with this one now, though I can't help but wonder if the time may have been better spent on a brand new attempt!