Monday, March 29, 2010

Promoting Our Artwork

Kindness trumps greed: it asks for sharing. Kindness trumps fear: it calls forth gratefulness and love. Kindness trumps even stupidity, for with sharing and love, one learns.  ~ Marc Estrin ~

Lately, there has been much discussion on the Fine Art America forum about the pros and cons of having a Facebook presence to promote artwork.  Some people are opposed to it, considering it to be a fruitless waste of time and they worry about privacy.  Personally, I disagree with the opinion.  I think artists must promote their artwork in all ways that are available to them.  The internet and social networks in particular provide a vehicle not otherwise possible to talk about art, network with artists, collectors and reach a very wide audience.

I enjoy Facebook although I do know there are many privacy concerns.  I don't let it get me down.  I've made lots of friends and contacts on Facebook.  It's a great place to learn about art related opportunities and meet like minded people.  We get what we put into it.  As for privacy, I believe it's good to exercise prudence on what is shared and the pursued activities online.  There is no privacy on the internet.  Everyone has to know it and if they don't they should be aware.  I tell my kids this all the time.  When it comes to the internet, nothing is scared.  We have to take precautions to safeguard passwords and basicially not do much of anything you think someone will raise an eyebrow or pass judgement.  Of course, that doesn't stop some people from doing unscruplous things.

I've created a space for my art on Fine Art America.  They offer varied printing options for art including reproducing work on canvas.  My work is offered via FAA on high quality prints in formats I'm unable to reproduce from my studio. One of my recent pieces is "Sculpted".  I created the art by first making a pencil drawing on Bristol.  I captured an image of it and digitially enhanced it in Corel Paintshop.  I like the mixed media effect I achieved using the tool.

Every now and then, I'll digitally manipulate a piece of my art.  It's interesting to see the different effects that can be achieved.  All digital work is collected in print form.  Using a resource like FAA makes these print offerings a breeze.  Art collectors will enjoy the reasonable prices.

Do you have a favorite place to sell and/or purchase artwork?  Please do share it here.  If you have an opinion about social networks or a favorite page or artist you want to share, leave your comment on this blog.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

The Creative Soul

"A quote can change the way you think about challenges you face."
   ~ Catherine Pulsifer ~

Lately, I've been studying mixed media and collage art.  In my journey of learning more on this interesting art form, I came across a blog.  On it, I found the following article that for me, sums up what it is to be a creative person.

Dreaming Goddess, Mixed Media by B Giordano

10 Attributes of Creative Types
Written by:  ~ Alease Mitchell ~

We all have heard it before, "You are one of those Creative Types". And typically my response is, "Yes I am, so I'm to assume you are not". The statement of being creative can come across as condensing or sympathetic , like we have problems. Others just don't know how to deal with us. Like we are a mystery.

But honestly the other types are the people I sympathize with. Being creative is a freeing and joyous experience. Creative people live creative, colorful, self reflecting lives. We love spending time with ourselves - because we can entertain ourselves with the most creative things. We enjoy being around other creative souls because we feed off of each other.

I've listed 10 of those attributes and have provided brief explanations of each.

1. Creatives are highly intuitive, big picture visionaries. We are at our best when we are working with abstract, analytic work that utilizes our divergent thinking. We can envision possibilities that don't exist, connecting the dots and recognizing what's missing in a given situation.

 2. Creatives are agents of change. Because of our divergent thinking we often see problems before they arise. And this thinking on many levels places us in roles of critics or evaluators.

3. Creatives want and need to be seen and appreciated for their uniqueness. We have an unusually high need to be seen and heard. We often work in companies that are small or in small groups. We need to be recognized and appreciated for being forward thinkers.

4. Creative are nonconformists. We like to do things our way. We like to define our own work and be able to take action without asking for permission. We hate to be micromanaged and we can feel stifled in companies with strict norms of behavior, excessive amounts of rules or large bureaucracies.

5. Creatives have their own internalized standards of quality. We may often outperform other employees, but this is because we have a personal, intrinsic commitment to work and feel creative ownership over our work and personal projects.

6. Creatives have a strong need to believe in what they do. Our engagement with work is first and foremost must have a sense of purpose and meaning for us. New projects, creative freedom, and unlimited resources are high on our wish list. If we are not stimulated and engaged in our work, we can in fact "Rust Out" - present a lack energy, sleeplessness, loss of creative ideas and withdraw from others, resulting into a debilitating depression.

7. Creative have many talents and enthusiasms. We tend to have 3 to 4 highly developed skills and enthusiasms far many more activities than most. As soon as we loose interest in one area, we move on to the next subject with great enthusiasm.

8. Creatives have an insatiable appetite for learning opportunities and new challenges that utilize their diverse talents. We need a place where our intellectual and creative boundaries are limitless and where there is an abundant of opportunities for self-expression and personal and professional growth. Many times if our day job isn't satisfying us, we have to seek other ways to express ourselves with hobbies and projects outside of our day -to- day work lives.

9. Creatives like variety and dislike routine. We like to use different skill sets on evolving projects. Rarely do like repetitive work. Working on an assembly line would just kill us.

10. Creatives often have acute sensitivities. It's very common for creatives like us to have one or two areas of hypersensitivity. We can have anything from a strong intuition, an appreciation of nature to an extraordinary sense of taste or smell.

Well, Do you see yourself in any of these attributes? I did! I totally understand why I do what I do. 
~ ~ ~
Thank you, Alease.  I remember once during a brief encounter, a person referred to artists as "quirky".  I don't know, I honestly do not see myself in that way.  What do you think?  As an artist, how do you see yourself?

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Little Journal

One must learn by doing the thing, for though you think you know it, you have no certainty until you try.  ~ Aristotle

I've taken an interest in bookcrafting.  This is the 2nd art journal I've made using a different techinque.  It's done with mixed media where I used stamping and collage on archival card stock paper.  It's a small book that fits in the palm of the hand.

It's very cute and semi functional.  I made the book with book board and binding screws.  It makes the book very sturdy but also rigid.  The front cover opens about half way.  It has a secretive feeling to it like when a kid uses their arm to cover up their work in school.  At least, that's what comes to mind.  I imagine it would be great if you wanted to jot down notes to self or sketch something while obstructing the view from onlookers.  Inside, I used sketching paper cut to size.

At this stage, I'm experimenting with the craft trying out different techniques.  Mostly, I'm having fun learning something new.   Book binding is an art form which there are many different methods from simple to complex.  The artist is only limited by the extent of their imagination.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

It Must Be Envy Because They Criticized It Without Knowing

So many times people are afraid of competition, when it should bring out the best in us. We all have talents and abilities, so why be intimidated by other people's skills?   ~ Lou Holtz ~

So yesterday, I received what I call a "nasty gram" email from some unknown person regarding the pricing of my carefully, handcrafted bracelets.  Oh, yes, did I say handcrafted jewelry?  I know, I've been talking a lot about my fine artworks, but my whole art career was jump started with my jewelry designs back in 2003.

Ok, so on to the email from a person complaining about the prices.  Wait.  Let me show you what I mean; here's the email:

Your jewelry is very basic and could not have cost more than $15 to make.  Why are your prices soo high? I googled looking for handmade jewlery and ran across a blog post you put on then found the address to your website.   But your prices are insanely high. I realize you consider it art work and you use a formula to determine your prices. But I was just looking for something different for a gift. I would not pay $80 for a bracelet that took less than 30 minutes to make with beads you bought wholesale. I can't help but wonder if you make a living at this. Or is the advertising you do on your website that earns your income. Just some thoughts. Obviously that is a fake email address I put in. 
She not only complains about the prices but makes a lot of assumptions about the cost and time it takes to make the designs.  In addition, she states her  email addy is fake and if that is true, doesn't allow me the opportunity to respond.

How could she possibly know what I pay for material or the time it takes for me to handcraft a design?  A while back I got a similar email and the wording is very much the same.  Too bad, I didn't save the email to compare.  I dismissed it but when I got this one, it screamed to me it's from the same person.  I'm just wondering if this is a competitor making a lame attempt of knocking out the competition.  I mean, this approach is mean spirited - right?  I also wonder if there are any other jewelry artists out there getting the same or similar emails.

If a person wants to pay less, buy a mass produced piece of jewelry of lesser quality, places like Walmart or Sam's Club are well stocked with it. My Aunt, may she rest in peace had an expression "if you don't like the direction you're looking in, there are three others to choose from." And, as many a mom instructs their child, "if you don't have something nice to say, don't say anything at all."

Please let me take a moment here to talk about my jewelry designs.  All of the designs are my creations.  The designs are not "knock offs" or another person's idea.  A great deal of thought and education goes into handcrafting these designs.  The prices are based on high quality material, labor and overhead.  These designs are original, many are one of a kind and all of it is made by hand, by me.

Thankfully, I have a wonderful customer base and many repeat customers who come back and refer their friends.  I have testimonies on my website from my customers letting me know their reaction to the jewerly and purchasing experience.  I appreciate each and every customer.  I also appreciate all the feedback I receive including the "nasty gram".  It inspires me and keeps me on my toes.  All of it, is very, very good and I thank you all for it.  It helps me become a better artist and a better person.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

New Blog Face

"Let me tell you the secret that has led me to my goal. My strength lies solely in my tenacity."  ~ Louis Pasteur ~

Yesterday, I was running into a problem where the comments to posts weren't showing up.  Actually, it has been a problem for a while.  It was quite frustrating.  When those type of things happen, I have to keep working at it until I find a solution.  I have a very solution driven personality which I guess is the underlying force to my creative spirit.

I kept thinking what if I changed the blog template; what would happen.  Would it make things worse, messing up my whole blog by throwing everything out of whack or would it make it better.  I'm reasonably comfortable when it comes to technical computer issues.  My background is in business education which is a story for another day.  What's important here is my creativity is what helps to push me forward.  This is a part of myself I have come to embrace more and more.
Sooooo, I decided to look around Google for blogger backgrounds.  I wanted a new face for my blog but mostly, I wanted to correct the comments issue.  I thought, if I'm going to change the template, it might as well be something with a little more personality to it.  What I found was, by changing the template, it straightened out the problem.  Walla!  The comments are showing up now.  Whew!  I let out a sigh of relief.
The website I used for blog backgrounds is Hot Bliggity Blog.  The instructions are straightforward and it's just a matter of opening up a gadget in blogger and copy/paste the code right in.  And, there you have it, a whole new party dress ready to rock and roll!

Monday, March 15, 2010

"I found I could say things with color and shapes that I couldn't say any other way - things that I had no words for."  ~ Georgia O'Keeffe ~

Comments Not Showing Up

First off, I want to thank everyone who visits my blog and leaves a comment on my posts.  The comments mean a lot to me.

Unfortunately, I'm experiencing technical difficulties in getting the comments to appear properly.  I configured a feed for comments; set up a section at the bottom of the blog for comments BUT, to my frustation only part of the comment can be read.  I keep looking for a solution to the problem and frankly, I'm at amiss in how to best rectify the issue.

I'm going to try to find a fix and may have to end up manually inserting comments on posts as I receive it.  This means for me, more time spent on  technical issues instead of being creative.  I may very well end up looking for a new blogging platform and ditch blogspot which is drastic given all of the work I've put into this blog.  That will be a big undertaking so I need to think about it long and hard before I decide.

If there is anyone who has experienced this problem and found a way to resolve it, I would love to hear from you.  I know there are many blogspot users who are experiencing this issue so if anyone has found a work around, lots of other users may benefit from the fix as well.

Thanks for reading my blog and checking out my artwork.  Please keep your comments coming and I will keep trying to find a solution.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

You can stay young as long as you learn. ~ Emily Dickinson ~

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Major 12

Major is the twelfth pet portrait in the series. He is a handsome pale yellow Labrador Retriever dog. I decided to take artistic license by making the fence in the background blue. My thought was it would make the dog stand out more in the portrait and compliment Major's coloring.
This has been a wonderful project. I have been enjoying receiving the reference photos. The project is still open so if anyone would like to submit their pet photo, send it on to
Major is available for sale at my website.

Select Pet Portraits at Second Hanging Gallery

The has expressed interest and selected these pet portraits for sale at their virtual gallery. This is a good opportunity for my artwork to be represented by a gallery. The gallery is hosted from W 23rd Street, NYC at the doorstep of the artists hub. It's located in the Chelsea area not far from the well known FIT, Parsons and School of Visual Arts.
I am very familiar with the art schools and the area in general. Over ten years ago, I was a newlywed living at W. 23rd Street off of 6th Avenue. It's a great part of the city with off Broadway playhouses, lively sidewalk cafes and clothing boutiques. As an emerging artist, I'm thrilled to have this first time opportunity in a most desirable artist location.
If you have the time, visit the website to check out all the great artwork in the virtual gallery.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Nana 11

Introducing to you is Nana 11, pet portrait #11 in the pet painting art project. She has such a dainty and graceful look with her sleek coat and compact body. I'm not sure the breed of this dog, maybe the owner will come back to let us know. She looks like a Whippet/Italian Greyhound and appears to have a body built for speed.
I ended up doing this one in a similar painting approach as my dog Sirius. It's an expressive, painterly style with obvious brush strokes in it. Since she is a dark furred dog, I chose to work with a very deep bluish purple for the main part of her body. I'm very pleased with the color result for this little lady.
I am finding that I enjoy the freedom of working in the expressive style and think I will be exploring more in my future artwork.
Nana is done in acrylic on 9 x 12 unframed canvas and is currently for sale at only $75.00. I will also offer this art at my Zazzle store designed on great products. High quality prints of my artwork is available with your choice of custom framing directly from my Imagekind gallery.
If you want your pet's portrait painted, send a good, close up photo no larger than 72dpi to This project will end on March 31st. There is no obligation to purchase the original painting. All paintings are available on a first come basis.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Queen of Hearts

My interpretation of the Queen of Hearts. This illustration drawing is inspired by my imagination. It is done using Zig Zag and Prisma Color archival, pigment ink pens on 9 x 12 inch Bristol. I will use this image on products I design at my Zazzle store.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Slow Down on Pet Portraits

In case you might be wondering, the pet portrait project has slowed down due to lack of photo submissions. I would love to continue if I receive more reference photos. In the meanwhile, I'll be doing other paintings and drawings. The subjects for the next art is to be determined.

I'm happy to say the Mad Hatter t-shirt I designed in my Zazzle store is selling. I'm happy people like my crazed Hatter character. It was a lot of fun to draw. Do you have a favorite character from Alice in Wonderland? If you do, let me know and maybe I'll see what interpretation I can come up with.

Here is an Alice drawing I did a while back. I've used the drawing to design products in my Zazzle store. Below is a greeting card.

Practical Artful Gifts


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