Saturday, December 19, 2009

Sunshine Coast Memories Watercolor Painting

5" x 5"
Watercolor Painting

This is the final painting of four that I have completed as Christmas presents for this year. It feels good to get this accomplished

This again is done in the style of Ukiyo-e which I enjoy very much. The painting was mostly done with Derwent Watercolor Pencils, and finished with Winsor and Newton watercolors.

On another note, It just came to me that this blog is now one year old. It has been quite an enjoyable experience, and I want to thank everyone who has visited.

Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas, and good health and success in the New Year.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

View From The Ferry Watercolor Painting

6" x 4"
Watercolor Painting

This is painting number three of four paintings I am doing for Christmas presents. One of a series of paintings from photos of my trip to Gibson's BC on the Horseshoe Bay/Langdale Ferry last summer.

This one was also done with Derwent Watercolor Pencils. I quite enjoy using this medium, they are easy to control and the set my brother gave me has a fair number of colors to choose from.

I think in the future I will do some more paintings with the pencils using Watercolor Board which has an ultra smooth surface.

Langdale To Horseshoe Bay Watercolor Painting

6" x 4.5"
Watercolor Painting

This is the second of four paintings that I am doing for Christmas presents. This is also done in the style of Ukiyo-e, and part of a series of paintings based on the views from my ferry trip to Gibson's BC in July of this year.

This was quite a challenge as I was using a cheaper Watercolor Block, and it wrinkled up quite a bit when I was putting in the wash for the sky.

My solution was to try out the set of Derwent Watercolor Pencils that my brother gave me last summer. I must admit I feel more comfortable using drawing medium than I do painting. Once the color was laid in, it was easy to apply a water wash and blend the colors in. Additional layers of color were added after the paint was dry.

You might want to give the Derwent Watercolor Pencils a try.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Amazon Integrates With Google Blogger

Hot off the press, you can now integrate Amazon with Blogger which is a great idea which means that you do not have to open up a new window and log into your Amazon Affiliate account to get links and banners to advertise products that you wish to sell on your blog and get and Affiliate commission for.

The best thing of all is that it is easy, just log into your Blogger account, click on Layout, then Monetise, and choose Amazon Associates as shown in the image above.

If you already are an Amazon Associate, just enter your unique ID provided by Amazon click the setup button and it is done.

Once complete, it adds a Amazon Associates Search Box to the right of the post entry area which is searchable.

So if you want to link to "Drawing On The Right Side Of The Brain", just highlight those words and click GO in the search box for the Amazon link for that product and a link with text, image, or image and text is inserted as you see here.
What a fantastic idea, which will save me a huge amount of time.

Well done Amazon and Blogger.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Sunshine Coast Watercolor Painting-Ukiyo-e

4" x 4" Watercolor Painting
On Acquerello Watercolor Paper
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I am in a mad rush to get four watercolor paintings complete for Christmas presents, and this is the first one. Only three left to go and time is running out.

I wanted to do something in the style of Ukiyo-e, that I love very much, and this is my first attempt at this. However there is only one copy, and not a series of prints.

The subject matter is from one of the photos I took on a ferry trip to Gibson's BC from Horseshoe Bay to Langdale. This is a fantastic trip, as the ferry travels up through Howe Sound and arrives on the Sunshine Coast.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Kindle For Your PC-Free Download

Image Courtesy Of Amazon

Christmas came early today, as I just discovered that Amazon has released Kindle for PC that you can download for free by clicking Kindle for PC.

However I am always interested in FREE stuff, and I jumped on this one, just downloaded the software, and it works just fine.

There are also a good number of Kindle books available online also for FREE. How good is that? I did a quick Google search and found a few resources which have links to Kindle books for free, and downloaded a copy of the Bible and it all worked just fine. The whole process took about 15 minutes to complete.

Like many people, I prefer to curl up with a good Book or Paperback and read for hours, and have done that for years. However my budget does not allow me to buy many of the books I would like to have, so free books are not a bad option until that changes. As well I have a 22" flat screen monitor now which makes reading online much easier.

I also think the Kindle product is an excellent option for the person who travels a lot, or for students, or even if you are in the kitchen, and want to try out a new recipe. There are all kinds of advantages to having Kindle, and the number of books available online will explode in time with the advancement of this technology.

Here is one resource for a list of free Kindle books, Kindle Kevin, Free Books To Read On Your Kindle 2.

After going to some of the links I chose Free Kindle Books from the list, and downloaded the Bible.

For those of you who want the real Kindle which is nice and small and portable for travel click on the Amazon link below.

Makes a great Christmas gift.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

New Winsor & Newton Field Plus Set

At 9.9 ounces, this new Field Set from Winsor & Newton is a complete re-design of the original Field Box that I bought in 1981, and that I still use. The design is ingenious, and is the perfect companion for plein air painting, will fit in your pocket when you are on your travels, and also perfect for the studio.

Made of durable plastic, it contains two slide out mixing trays, top and bottom, a brush, two mixing cups, a plastic bottle that holds 60 ml of water, and 12 Cotman Watercolor Pans.

With no messy tubes of paint to contend with, the watercolor cakes (pans) last a long time, I still have not needed to replace any of my pans in my set after much use. You can also buy a wide assortment of extra pans of your favorite colors, and mix and match as you go.

And best of all, the price is half of what I paid for the original Winsor & Newton Field Box.

This is the perfect gift for you, or the artist in your family.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Elizabeth Gilbert: A New Way To Think About Creativity

This is too good not to share, and a big thank you to Marlene Hargreaves for posting it on Facebook.

Elizabeth Gilbert author of Eat Pray Love gives a wonderful talk about Genius, and how this aspect of creativity has become a burden on artists ever since the birth of the Renaissance.

Her research across history brought her to the teachings of the ancient Greeks and Romans who believed that creativity was a divine attendant spirit that came to human beings from some distant unknowable source, and did not come from human beings themselves.

Her talk is insightful, humorous and full of knowledge of not only the source of creativity but shares some wonderful stories about how and when creativity comes through the artist.

For some this may sound radical, for me I am overjoyed that another wonderful soul living on the planet at the same time as me has confirmed something I have always believed in.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Milton Glaser Draws and Lectures


Here is a great short video by Miton Glaser where he speaks about the importance of your ability to draw if you are pursuing any kind of artistic endeavor. Thanks to Jo Castillo for sharing this link on her blog.

This takes me back to my first year in art school in 1971 where we were required to attend two full days of drawing each week throughout that year. We had two different instructors and class one was for realistic, tight drawing where we set up still life, or had models, or sometimes had to draw from memory. Photographs and using a ruler were never allowed.

The second class was for expressive drawing where we were always chastised for tight mechanical drawings and always encouraged to loosen up and be more expressive.

In order to complete the hand in assignments for each class I had to draw every day throughout the 7 days of the week which was not a bad thing. We also were required to use many types of medium such as conte, chalk, and inks as well as charcoal, pencil, and sometimes even ball point pen or a brush.

The point here is that if you can draw well, you an do almost anything when it comes to art. Drawing truly is the foundation of all good artworks.

One of the books we were required to buy in first year was Drawing On The Right Side Of The Brain which in my opinion is the best book ever written on the subject. Betty Edwards goes through a good deal of very good exercises to do that will make you better at drawing, and is well worth getting.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Safety-What Every Artist Should Be Concerned About

Half Mask Air Purifying Respirator
Image Source Wikimedia
Public Domain

Nothing in this article should be considered as medical advice. However in my last job, one of the hats that I wore was Safety Specialist where I was knowledgeable in WHMIS (Canada) HMIS (US) TDG, and researched and purchased a wide variety of personal protection products on a regular basis.

One of the common comments I hear from artists who paint in Oils is the odor of Mineral Spirits which most oil painters use on a regular basis. Many choose to use odorless Mineral Spirits which are less harmful, but lets face it you are still breathing the vapors whether you smell them or not.

Mineral spirits of any kind contain Aromatic Hydrocarbons, a basic solvent. Acute or Chronic exposure to breathing the vapors in an environment which is not well ventilated can cause headache, dizziness and in extreme cases has an effect on the nervous system similar to a state of narcosis.

Some artists also believe that a simple dust mask will protect them against inhalation of the vapors given off by Mineral Spirits, but this is a false belief. A dust mask does not conform to the face, which allows the vapors to enter at the sides of the mask or under the chin. The only dust mask that might be adequate is the North N95 mask which has a form fitting foam core that provides a tighter fit.

The better option for your personal protection particularly if you are doing any burning where fumes are created, such as burning designs on a gourd, is to use either a full face, or a half mask air purifying respirator as shown in the image at the beginning of this post.

The air purifying respirator particularly with the silicone face piece fits snugly on the face (clean shaven, no beards allowed), and prevents the inhalation of harmful vapors, and is a very affordable personal protection device.

The hard reality however is that the air purifying respirator is not exactly comfortable to wear, and many would choose not to wear it.

The best solution with regard to mineral spirits, is to not use them at all. After all, oil painters hundreds of years ago managed to work with oil paints without the use of any kind of solvents. An excellent article on this subject can be found by clicking this link Oil Painting Without Solvents. I decided recently to start painting in oils, and I have bought some walnut oil, and will try to avoid solvents as I find that I am sensitive to them.

The best practice is to read the Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) which the vendor must supply on demand at time of purchase. Or you can find the MSDS for pretty much any kind of hazardous product on the Internet.

So in closing, take precautions and protect your health from the hazardous products that you might be using.

Below are a couple of quick links where you can purchase a respirator online at a reasonable cost.

North Half Mask Respirator

North N95 Particulate Mask

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

How To Mix Colors For Oils And Acrylic Paints

Here is a great video clip for a book devoted to how to mix colors for oils and acrylics with a sure fire practical method. The video shows how you can easily find a color by looking at an index of subject matter such as the color of hay for instance.

In the book there is a piece of plastic with a measuring guide printed on it that allows you to measure out a precise amount of paint onto a plastic sheet which is defined by the mixtures of the particular color that you have chosen.

Now that I am venturing into the challenge of painting in oils, this book has become a must buy in order to avoid wasting paint in guessing at the mixture when I am choosing a particular color to paint.

I am buying my copy today, what a wonderful idea for the artist's tool box.

For more information on color mixing read my post on How To Make Your Own Color Chart

Get Your Copy Now

Monday, October 5, 2009

Bob Krysak-Awesome Watercolor Artist

Vermillion-Watercolor Painting
10" x 14"
(C) Bob Krysak

This is another post in my series of "My Favorite Artists", and I wanted to introduce you to a watercolor artist I have known for 55 years. If you have not already guessed, he is my brother.

We were both influenced by our father, who dabbled in oil paints from time to time throughout our lives. We both started drawing and painting when we were young boys.

Although I wanted to write about him months ago, it was not until a few weeks ago that Bob gave me the go ahead to set up a blog for him so that he was able to show his work to the world.

The watercolor Vermillion shown above is one of my favorite paintings that he has done. The view is of Mount Rundle, perhaps the most photographed mountain in Banff, Alberta where Bob lives and works. This spot at the edge of the Vermillion Lakes in Banff is one of our favorite spots to view Mount Rundle, and enjoy it throughout the seasons of the year.

I hope you enjoy his work as much as I do, and take the opportunity to visit his blog, Bob Krysak Watercolors and take a look at his work. You will not be disappointed.

Visit Bob Krysak Watercolors to see more of his work.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Vancouver Photo Of The Day-August Rose

August Rose
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The Rose Garden is giving up it's delights every day which is sensational. I am trying really hard to get a good diffused background for these shots with the Nikon D70. Very happy with this shot, taken at 5:00 pm in shadow.

If you have been following, you will notice that this shot is the progression of the last post Friday Rosebud. It is amazing how much the flower grows in a short period of time.

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Friday, July 24, 2009

Vancouver Photo Of The Day-Friday Rosebud

Friday Rosebuds
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The Rose Garden gives up new delights every day. What a treat, I am really enjoying taking these macro shots. Especially on a hot sunny day here in Vancouver.

This was taken with a Nikon D70 DSLR with telephoto lens.

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Thursday, July 23, 2009

How To Get More Visitors To Your Art Blog

For the purpose of this post I am assuming that you have your blog set up, and you have registered with Feedburner so that you can add a RSS (Real Simple Syndication) and an email opt in section so that people can sign up for regular updates to your Blog.

If you have not done so already, sign with Google and get an account for free. I also suggest you sign up for a Goggle Gmail email account as well for free. You don't want your primary email address to show on your Blog because you will get more spam than you want to deal with.

The next thing I suggest is that you also sign up for IGoogle also for free. This allows you to put different applications such as Google Reader and Gmail on your personal page so that you can read blogs you may have signed up for, read your Gmail, and a whole bunch of other applications that they offer with this feature, again all for free.

OK here is a list of some of the ways that you can attract visitors to your Blog. This takes time, and you have to work at it and you will have to spend some time every day on this. It will take a few months before you start to get more visitors.

Comment On The Blog Posts Of Other Artists

I follow about 40 different artists who have blogs, and some times I will comment on a particular post because it interests me, I am responding to a poll, or I just want to make a positive comment about a particular piece of artwork.

However don't make a comment like "Gee great post", if the comments on the blog are moderated, the owner may consider those types of comments as spam, and not publish it. You want to provide a comment that is on topic, such as "I love this painting because of the vibrant colors you used". Many blogs have a section in their comments where you can put in the address of your Blog or Website, and someone reading your comment might be interested, and visit your Blog. This happens quite frequently, and is a proven way to attract visitors.

Register Your Blog Or Website With The Search Engines

It will take some time before your Blog will be looked at by the search engines and indexed, but this is something that you must do right away.

Register your Blog with Google.

Register your Blog with Yahoo.

Register your Blog with MSN.

Here is a link to a great post on how to do all of this by JTpratt, a blogger I have followed for a few years.

Register With Some Art Groups Or Forums

Art Groups and Forums are a great way to meet other artists and promote your work.

Join Wetcanvas for free, Registration Required.

Join Everyday Matters Yahoo Group, Registration Required.

Register Your Blog With Blog Directories

Registering with Blog directories is usually free, and will bring more visitors to your blog. They will often ask you to put their "Badge" on your website, and they provide the HTML that you can use to create a "Gadget" to add to your Blogger Blog.

Register with Blogged Directory

Register with Blogcatalog Directory

Register with BlogTopSites Directory

Register with Top Artists Directory

Link To Your Favorite Blogs By Putting A Link To Them On Your Blog

This is another great way to get some visitors. In the right hand column of my blog you will see links to the blogs that I like, and that I follow. This again is done very easily by creating a Gadget in Blogger. Sometimes Blogs you link to will reciprocate and link to you. Creative Spotlite which has a direct link to on my blog will add your blog to thier artist directory if you email them.

Some bloggers are very aggressive about this and ask for a reciprocal link right away. They believe you only get what you ask for. You might consider this if you are following a blog on a regular basis, and mention to the owner in an email that you have linked to them. I think it is best not to be too pushy about this. Remember that you are trying to provide more value to the readers of your blog.

Register With Social Networking Websites For Free

Another great way to get more visitors is to set up accounts with Social Networking Sites.

Register with Facebook

Register with Twitter

Register with Stumbleupon

Register with Digg

I have followed a few very successful Bloggers for over a year now, and some of them offer FREE Ebooks that you can download, and get a gigantic amount of information on Blogging and Marketing, and they are well worth reading. These Ebooks will give you all the information that you need to become a successful Blogger.

John Chow Free Ebook

Yaro Starak Free Ebook

SEO (Search Engine Optomization)

There is a ton of information on the Internet about SEO, and it is important because it gives you organic search results from the search engines which the search engines like, and they will rank your blog higher in page rank if you have a lot of organic search engine traffic.

Empty Easel Articles On SEO

And Last But Not Least, Give Away Something For Free

A number of artists have had success by giving away a greeting card or small print of their artowrk for free. You may have done some painting tutorials or something like that of value that you are prepared to give away for free if they sign up for your Blog.

Well, I have covered a fair number of items that I hope will be of some help to you in getting more visitors to your blog. Please feel free to add comments or ask questions.

Good Luck.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Why Every Artist Should Have A Blog

I was watching Susan Carlin paint live on Ustream TV on Wednesday night, and a number of the viewers who were watching were asking questions about blogging, and how to get people to visit your blog.

In this post I will go into some detail on why to have a blog, and how to set one up for free using Google Blogger. Let me also say that it is easy, you don't have to be an expert computer user, all you have to do is to be able to follow simple instructions.

One thing I noticed after following blogging experts for over a year now is that most of the experts suggest that you register your own domain name, pay for web hosting services, and use Wordpress to start up your blog. I don't disagree with the experts, they have lots of reasons for their advice, but I also noticed that about 90% of the artist blogs that I visited were hosted by Google Blogger which is free.

So Why Should You Have A Blog If You Are An Artist?

  1. There are 1,596,270,108 people on the Internet in the world according to Internet World Stats, I did a quick search on Google to get that information. I have no idea how many of those Internet users are interested in art, but the basic idea is that with the Internet, you have a worldwide market that might be interested in your artwork.
  2. A Blog allows you to connect with people interested in art, and other artists that might be able to help you promote your art, and also help you with sharing information that might be useful, or even valuable to you all for free. Bloggers tend to be a friendly and helpful group of people.
  3. Blogging also gives you a platform to establish a community, or tribe (latest buzzword) that gathers people around your artistic expression, and allows them to contribute their views, feelings, and thoughts about your art in general, and the art world. This community can also help you find customers by word of mouth. If someone who visits your blog likes your work, but is not in a position to buy it, they might by word of mouth mention it to one of their friends which may lead to more business.
  4. Having a blog allows you to post a photograph of your artwork online for sale. You can easily set up a PayPal account, and allow buyers to purchase your artwork online directly. You can also offer your artwork on Ebay, and as well allow, buyers to buy your artwork directly online. Or you can set up the procedure to have the buyer fill out a sales agreement form, and forward a money order to you to complete the sale. Everything is possible with a blog depending upon which avenue you want to pursue.
  5. A Blog allows you to advertise your artwork across a wide audience that is only limited by the number of ways that you work at to drive traffic to your Blog, which I will go into in the next post.
  6. If you are a seasoned artist with knowledge to share, you can teach others through your blog, and even get paid for it as David Darrow does by offering classes on painting and drawing live over the Internet.
If the above are not enough reasons, feel free to read 9 Reasons Why Every Artist Should Have Their Own Art Blog written by Dan from the Empty Easel Blog, which is an excellent Blog to follow.

OK I am going to start my own blog, what do I do now?

I recommend that you start with Blogger which is free and easy to use.
After you click on the link above, you will go to a page that looks like the one below.

When you get to this page, the first thing to do is to go through the video tutorials which give you excellent information on how to get started in setting up your blog.

Here is a link on YouTube on How To Start On Blogger, very basic and simple. Blogger has a small number of templates to choose from, but you should find something that suits you for a beginning, and you can change it later as there are lots of free blogger templates that you can download for free.

One CAUTION regarding free blogger templates is that many of them do now work as they should, and you should always visit the demonstration page for the free template which always has comments of people having problems with a free template. If there are lots of posts with problems with the template, it may not be a good idea to use it. I suggest in the beginning that you stick to one of the basic templates that Blogger offers at the time that you start up.

Well I hope this helps you make the plunge into starting up your own blog, if you have any questions, I will do my best to answer them. You can email questions to

My next post will go into detail about getting people to visit your blog.

Vancouver Photo Of The Day-Frog In The Garden

Frog In The Garden
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Yesterday at dusk I was outside enjoying the cool evening air. It has been very hot and dry here in Vancouver. I decided to take my daily close look at how things are doing in my small garden, the Cucumber, Zucchini, and Squash blossoms are blooming in abundance.

I took a close look at the Cauliflower and Broccoli plants to see if there was anything happening there, and was startled by what I saw. A beautiful tiny little frog was staring up at me.

I dashed back into the house to get my cameras and get a photograph. I had no luck with the Nikon, but had better luck with my Canon Powershot. I shot the photo in macro mode without flash, and although there was not much light, the camera managed to at least get something.

What a wonderful delight to come across, mother nature truly is splendid.

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Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Vancouver Photo Of The Day-Tuesday Rose

Tuesday Rose
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Here is another shot of the Orange Rose from yesterday which has opened up some more. It is amazing how much they change in a 24 hour period.

I just love the colors in this as they have changed from yesterday.

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Monday, July 20, 2009

Vancouver Photo Of The Day-Orange Rose

Orange Rose Photo
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Here is another photo of a beautiful Rose from the Rose Garden. Taken with a Nikon D70 camera in the shade.

This Rose Bush keeps budding almost every day and this has been going on for months.
What a beautiful flower.

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Friday, July 17, 2009

Vancouver Photo Of The Day-Friday Rose

Friday Rose
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My Rose Garden gives more and more every day. This photo was taken with a Nikon D70 with telephoto lens in the shade.

And of course the aroma from the Roses is intoxicating. too bad that can't be put on the Internet.

Buy A Postcard 8 for $9.04

Monday, July 13, 2009

Vancouver Photo Of The Day-Squash Blossoms

Butter Cup Squash Blossoms
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At the end of April I planted my first garden mostly from seed. The garden is growing and exceeding my expectations. The Buttercup Squash is exploding and taking up a great deal more space than I thought.

I just love these blossoms that are popping up in several places. They just opened up over night.

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Ferry Trip to Gibsons BC

My brother and his son visited Vancouver, and yesterday we took the Ferry from Horseshoe Bay to Langdale. We travelled on BC Ferries Queen Of Surrey. It was a beautiful sunny day, and the trip was fabulous. I love being on the ocean.

Created with Admarket's flickrSLiDR.

You can view the slideshow on my FLICKR page.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Copyright 101 For The Artist-The Basics

I was reading a question about Copyright today on the Everyday Matters group on Yahoo, that asked if using photographs to create artwork from the Internet was allowed under the US "Fair Use Law" with respect to Copyright.

Someone replied to the question by saying yes, it is OK to use photographs from the Internet because if falls under "Fair Use". This is FALSE.

Let me start off by saying that I am not a Lawyer, and anything that I say should not be considered Legal Advice. If you require Legal Advice, you should contact a competent Lawyer.

Also this post is not intended to be a comprehensive tutorial on Copyright Law, but a useful guide for you the artist to educate yourself to the pitfalls of copyright law, and to give you some resources to read that will ensure that you have at least a minimum amount of information.

In 2008, a Canadian artist won the gold award from the American Watercolor Society for her ultra realistic watercolor. She used two photos from Shutterstock to produce the watercolor. The two photographers found out about this and screamed copyright infringement, and there was a comprehensive discussion about this that ensued on the Internet about the issue.

Subsequently she was stripped of her award by AWS, and asked to return her prize money to AWS, and the work was removed from the competition, and the traveling show of the winning works. AWS disqualified the work because it was derived from photographs that were copyrighted (against the AWS rules for entering the competition) on Shutterstock. The artist purchased the photographs royalty free, but this purchase does not include the copyright.

A comprehensive post on this issue can be read on the Making A Mark Blog.

So what is Fair Use anyway? (US Copyright Law Definitions)

Notwithstanding the provisions of sections 106 and 106A, the fair use of a copyrighted work, including such use by reproduction in copies or phonorecords or by any other means specified by that section, for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching (including multiple copies for classroom use), scholarship, or research, is not an infringement of copyright. In determining whether the use made of a work in any particular case is a fair use the factors to be considered shall include —

(1) the purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes;

(2) the nature of the copyrighted work;

(3) the amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole; and

(4) the effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work.

The fact that a work is unpublished shall not itself bar a finding of fair use if such finding is made upon consideration of all the above factors.

As you can see, the term "Fair Use" is quite restrictive, and as an artist you must be very careful in relying on this as a defense for using a copyrighted photograph to create a derivative work.

Other than using your own photographs which is the best option, there are resources for using photographs under the Creative Commons License (CC) on the Internet. In many cases in these resources you may be allowed to use the photograph to create a derivative work if you reference the name of the photographer in your name for your derivative work. An example would be "Eye Of The Totem, after a photograph by Time Ennis". Usually you are requested to provide a link to the original photograph as well.

In general in the US and Canada, an artist's work is considered in the Public Domain 50 years after his or her death, and the work may be freely used. However be careful, the estate of the artist might still retain the copyright.

It is also very important to remember that copyright laws may be different from country to country. What may be acceptable in the US or Canada, may not be acceptable in the UK and other parts of the world. (Thanks to Katherine for reminding me about that in the comments below)

Here are some resources on Copyright and Creative Commons Images.

Find Creative Commons Images In Google Images Search.

Picasa Adds CC Search

Flickr Creative Commons

Plagiarism Today Blog

Wet Canvas Reference Image Library (Membership required Free)

I sincerely hope that you find this information useful, it is not comprehensive, but everything you need to know about Copyright in your country and the world can be found by a simple search on the Internet.

All comments are welcomed.

Happy Copyrighting!!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Ukiyo-e-The Art of Japanese Woodcut Printmaking

Hokusai Irises
Source Wikimedia-Public Domain

Ukiyo-e means "Floating World" and I have been fascinated with this form of artistic expression since about 1969 when I saw a reproduction of a Japanese Print that my art teacher in high school showed me.

During this period a number of Japanese artists started print making using blocks of cherry wood which are turned into engraving plates by removing excess wood with small knives, and utilizing one single woodblock for each color to be printed.

Step 1 is to create a detailed line drawing, carve that out into a block of cherry wood, and then print that line drawing as many as 100-150 times. W.J. Phillips in his book mentioned that he was able to get a maximum of 150 prints before the block would degrade from the process.

The watercolor paper is kept wet with water during the printing process. The wet paper is laid on top of the block, after the colored pigment (watercolor) is painted on the block. The back of the paper is then rubbed with a block of wood wrapped in leaves. Each impression is then stacked in a pile wet, with newspaper in between each layer.

There can be as many as 10 colors in each print, meaning that there have to be 10 blocks, so the printing process is a long and arduous one.

However the Japanese discovered a beautiful way to expand their markets by providing limited editions of watercolor paintings. In essence they are not necessarily exactly the same because each wash that is applied can have it's own subtle difference from print to print.

Here are some Ukiyo-e resources that you may find interesting.

A guide to Ukiyo-e websites
Ukiyo-e Wikipedia
Empty Easel-A Brief History of Japanese Artprints
The Woodblock Prints Of Ando Hiroshige

Watercolor Demonstration-White Blossoms Ukiyo-e Drawing-Step1

I decided to challenge myself, and create a Watercolor Demonstration and post it as it was in progress instead of completing the whole thing first and then posting it.

Read my post Ukiyo-e to get some idea of what style I am trying to emulate here. I'm not doing a limited edition of prints, but only one watercolor in that style.

The process for step 1 is to select a subject as I have done, this is a drawing from one of my photos of spring blossoms that I thought would make a good watercolor painting.

For this I used a Black Pigma Micron 005 pen on tracing paper.

The purpose is to tape this to my light box, and then to tape the watercolor paper on top. The black lines will show through the paper when the box is turned on, and you can create your drawing much quicker, and you can change anything that you want easily.

The drawing looks very complicated because many of the lines define shadows, and these will give me a guideline as to the boundaries of the shadows which can be changed as you wish when you start painting.

So the next step will be to complete the initial drawing on watercolor paper and begin painting.

Stay Tuned

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Vancouver Photo Of The Day-White Rose Afternoon

The roses on this white bush in the garden are getting larger every 24 hours. It is amazing how much happens within that 24 hours of growth.

The center of the rose was finally revealed today, what a treat.

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Monday, June 1, 2009

Vancouver Photo Of The Day-White Rosebud

The Rose bushes are in various stages of blooming, and I captured this photo around noon, bright sunlight with a bit of high cloud, a wonderful sunny day.

The aroma from the Roses is intoxicating. I think I will have to cut one off and keep it in my window sill.

This was taken with my Nikon D70 camera with a telephoto lensNikon D80 10.2MP Digital SLR Camera (Body only)


Saturday, May 30, 2009

Yellow and Magenta Rose Bloom-May Flowers

If you like flowers, now is a good time to go out with your camera and take some shots.

There is an ant inside one of the petals having some dinner. I love the the subtle colors inside of the petals, and the rose has a wonderful aroma.

This was shot Saturday afternoon shadow lighting 4:50 pm with a Canon PowershotCanon PowerShot SD1100IS 8MP Digital Camera with 3x Optical Image Stabilized Zoom (Blue)
which is a great in your pocket type of camera.


Tuesday, May 19, 2009

New Creative Commons Application For Facebook

Many Facebook users are aware of the uproar that ensued a few months ago when Facebook changed it's terms of use agreement, which raised questions about how creative content such as photos, video, blogs, and writing might be used by Facebook.

Thanks to a great post by Jonathan Baily of the Plagiarism Today Blog, there is a new application that you can install on your Facebook profile.

Jonathan goes into a fair bit of detail about the limitations of the new application for Facebook, and expresses some opinions of the usefulness of it, and provides links to the application on Facebook so that you can add it to your profile. Installing the applications is very simple and quick.

So if you are on Facebook, click on the link Creative Commons On Facebook and read the post, follow the links, and install it on your Facebook profile.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Orange Delight-Spring Flowers Photograph

Orange Delight
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I was shopping at the plant store in Marpole, and just had to take some shots of the fantastic planter they had out front with lots of beautiful flowers in it. What a delight, such a nice warm greeting at the front door of the store.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Saturday Blossom-Spring In Vancouver Postcard

Saturday Blossom
Postcards-8 for $9.04

Spring is coming along just fine, with new blossoms bursting out amongst the various trees in my neighborhood. I thought it would be a good idea to put this on a postcard, so that you can share the bounty of spring.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Celebration Of Spring Calendar 2009

Celebration Of Spring Calendar 2009
Buy One Now

Spring is busting out all over in Vancouver, so I have created a 2009 calendar so that you can enjoy spring every month of the year. Filled with a number of photos of spring blossoms for your enjoyment.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Pink Blossoms-Spring In Vancouver

Pink Blossoms
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I just had to get this shot today, the clouds are moving in quickly and it will be raining for the next few days. The pink blossoms will not last much longer, and will fall to the ground quickly when the rain arrives.

I shot this with my new Nikon D70, which I am still trying to figure out how to use properly. Out of 32 shots, this was the only decent one.

I love spring so much.

April Blossoms-Spring In Vancouver

White Blossoms
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I truly love springtime in Vancouver, and we are fortunate that we can enjoy this spectacular display of mother nature being reborn every year at this time. Spring has arrived a bit late this year for some reason, but I am so glad it is here at last.

There are many displays of pink blossoms to be found, and this is the first time I have come across a bunch of trees with white blossoms while I had my camera with me.

What a beautiful sight to behold.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Three Daffodil's

Three Daffodil's
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I went shopping yesterday, and I always take my camera with me just in case. I was sure glad, as it is spring in Vancouver, and there were lots of Blossoms and Daffodil's blooming.

Spring is my favorite time of year, I only wish it would last for 6 months, boy would that be a treat. Spring always energizes me, gives me hope, and makes me feel more alive than any other time of the year.

Friday, March 6, 2009

March Iris-Spring In Vancouver

Is this a sign of an early spring in Vancouver? I sure hope so.

I planted a bunch of Iris bulbs in October 2008. That was the first time in my life that I planted flower bulbs, and the funny thing is that I was thinking about them a couple of days ago.

This is the first time that I recall seeing an Iris starting to bloom this early in Vancouver. I usually start looking for them in May. I'm not complaining though, this means that there are about 20 more to blossom in the front garden. What a treat.

This was my first attempt at using a new Nikon D70 Digital SLR with a telephoto lens. I was in a panic to get some photographs this afternoon, because there is snow predicted to fall overnight, and I was worried that it would damage or harm the 3 Irises that have bloomed.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Julian Beever-Pavement Picasso

This is another in my series of My Favorite Artists. Julian Beever, a UK artist originally from Melton Mobray Leicestershire, has been creating amazing optical illusions in the form of pavement art for over 20 years.

I find it hard to stop looking at his work. The illusions are magnificent in that they immediately draw the viewer into a wonderful whimsical world. At the same time your mind is captivated by the fact that the 3D illusion is on a flat surface at your feet, and done completely in colored chalk.

As seen in the video, the artist uses Anamorphic illusion where a photograph is taken of the surroundings at a sharp angle, and a grid is laid over it. I don't pretend to understand exactly how this is done, but Wikipedia has a pretty good section on the history of Anamorphosis in Art.

His artwork is captivating, and thought provoking in the extreme, and I thoroughly enjoy his use of color, subject matter, and his magnificent way of creating wonderful 3D illusions via this process.

Visit Julian Beever's Website
Visit Julian Beever's Flickr Photostream

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Esref Armagan-The Painter With No Eyes

I had to add this to My Favorite Artists series because this is just an astonishing story.

Esref Armagan was born with no eyes, and has had no formal art training, and yet is able to create paintings and drawings without having seen anything in his life.

In terms of artistic fundamentals, his paintings and drawings contain correct perspective, and depth. In his paintings, he manages horizon, depth of field, shadow, and the correct color combinations, again all with no eyesight, or having seen what he is painting.

He was born to an impoverished family in Turkey, and as a child taught himself to write and print. When he is painting in oils, he uses his fingers to apply the paint, and must wait until each color dries before applying the next color.

I hope you have enjoyed this fantastic story, and share it with anyone that you may know of that might benefit from it, as Mr. Armagan's accomplishments are truly amazing.

Visit the Esref Armagan Website.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Toulouse Lautrec-One of the Greatest Post Impressionist Painters

In Bed 1893
Toulouse Lautrec-Public Domain

Another in my series of My Favorite Artists, Toulouse Lautrec (1864-1901) over his short 20 year career, was a prolific painter, creating many canvasses, posters, drawings, watercolors, and works in ceramics and stained glass.

I first became aware of him in High school, taking my first art course, and immediately fell in love with his style, his amazing use of color, and his ability to depict a bohemian lifestyle rarely shown within the artistic community that he was a part of. At only 4 ft. 6 in. tall Lautrec suffered from a number of congenital diseases which did not allow him to participate in normal activities that the average Parisian enjoyed at that period in time.

When I was in art school, my work was often criticized as being "too tight" and my instructors often recommend that I study the work of Lautrec in order to "loosen up". Although this was good advice, I must admit I did not succeed in satisfying them, however any artist willing to take the time to study his works in detail will surely benefit from it.

I find his work to be very expressive, as it captures the very moment of what his impressions are, with such vibrant vivid color, and the ability to express these moments often with a minimal amount of information, leaving the viewer the opportunity of filling in the blanks.

Lautrec with great skill was able to depict average people engaged in their daily lives which brought a great deal of insight for the viewer of how life was being lived during this period. As historical reference, this type of imagery for me provides so much more than static, staged photographs that don't really provide the viewer with any internal feeling of the moment.

Additional Links
Gallery of Art-Henri De Toulouse Lautrec
Toulouse Lautrec The Complete Works
Website Devoted To Toulouse Lautrec
Virtual Tour of Lautrec Works

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

The Whistle Stop Train Tour

Hope, Optimism, Renewal, a New Day, and a New President.

In these difficult times, there is a need for positive change not only in the US, but the entire world. Many have been waiting for this day for months since the election. We need to congratulate our American friends for the election of President Obama, and hope that the next eight years are much better than the previous eight years.

Godspeed President Obama

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Niche Marketing For Artists-On The Coat Tails Of Obama

In these tough economic times, Shepard Fairey, a Los Angeles artist has taken advantage of Obama's election win to catapult himself from a Political Art street artist to a mainstream phenom in a very short period of time. Do a search on "Niche Marketing" in Google, and you will get 5,600,000 results, which is a lot of information to sort through.

A Niche can be defined as a segment, or portion of a larger market that can be exploited by the astute marketer particularly if the competition in terms of numbers is small. The smaller the competition the better, particularly if there are large numbers of buyers within a particular niche.

In a very short period of time, Fairey found a photo of Obama on the Internet and produced a silk screen poster of the image. He quickly brought it to market, made some money from it, got praise from Obama himself for the effort, and now the poster is being acquired by the National Portrait Gallery. A good example of being in the right place at the right time, producing the right product.

Think about it, by gaining national and worldwide media attention, the artist will certainly reserve and enjoy a footnote in the history of the world for as long as the world has a history.

So what say you? Is there an artistic niche out there that you can exploit? Could you use more information on the subject? It is not my intention to blog about niche marketing, but I have lots of information on the subject that I am willing to share if any artists out there want it.

Consider leaving a reply and let me know.
Los Angeles Times article on Shepard Fairey
Obey Giant Website

Friday, January 16, 2009

N. C. Wyeth-American Artist and Illustrator

Illustration for the Book Treasure Island
by Robert Louis Stevenson
Illustrated by N.C. Wyeth
Image Source Wikimedia Commons-Public Domain

Sadly, Andrew Wyeth passed away today at age 91, and considering I already wrote a post about him in December 2008, I thought it would be a good idea to write something about his father, Newell Convers Wyeth.

I am including this in my series of My Favorite Artists. Although I was not familiar with his work until I did my research for the post on Andrew Wyeth. I think his work understandably had an influence on Andrew, and without doubt N. C. Wyeth had a great influence on American Illustration in general.

N. C. Wyeth 1882-1945, was born in Needham Massachusetts and was a pupil of renowned illustrator Howard Pyle, who was considered the father of American illustration. He was an accomplished watercolor painter by the age of 12, and attended Mechanics Art School to learn drafting, Massachusetts Normal Arts School, and later the Eric Pape School of Art to learn illustration.

His first commissioned work was a cover for The Saturday Evening Post, and after another commission for the same magazine, was urged in 1904 to go west by Howard Pyle to gain direct knowledge and experience of the subjects he was using for his illustrations. Over a period of two years, he travelled through the west taking on various jobs, and soaking up the environment of Cowboys and Indians in the wild wild west which added a dynamic, romantic flavor to his work.

Over his career Wyeth managed to complete over 3,000 paintings and illustrations, and did artworks for books such as Treasure Island, Kidnapped, Robin Hood, The Last of the Mohican's, and also did work for magazines such as Century, Harper's, Ladies Home Journal, and Scribner's.
As if that was not enough, he also did posters, calendars, and advertisements for Lucky Strike, Cream of Wheat, and Coca Cola.

By 1914, Wyeth became disenchanted with commercial art, and thereafter had an internal struggle, as he thought the work he was doing only served his publisher masters wishes, and their desires to satisfy the needs of the buying public, and the limitations of the printing processes of those times. However he did make a successful living at it, and managed to raise a family on his income form his illustration work.

After sifting through images of his work for a couple of hours, I am amazed at his use of color, and his strong sense of design and composition in his work. His illustrations give you the feeling of actually being there, even looking at them today. The way that he painted clouds impressed me perhaps the most. The shapes and the colors, the lights and the darks are in my mind just perfect.

View more images of N.C. Wyeth's illustrations.
Treasure Island-Online Book.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Bill Reid-Canadian Artistic Genius

Jade Canoe-Bronze Sculpture
by Bill Reid 1920-1998
photo (c) Terry Krysak

Bill Reid another of My Favorite Artists was a Canadian artist whose father was of European descent, and his mother was a First Nations Haida aboriginal. Reid was profoundly influenced by his paternal grandfather Charles Edenshaw, a renowned Haida artist carver.

Reid became interested in Haida art while he was a radio announcer in Toronto, and studying jewelry making. In 1951 he returned to Vancouver, and began studying the work of Edenshaw, as well as visiting the remains of Haida villages on the Queen Charlotte Islands, and ultimately was responsible for helping to put together a small replica of a Haida village located in the UBC Museum of Anthropology.

The Jade Canoe as shown above (located at Vancouver International Airport) is a representation of an ancient Haida dugout canoe, bearing thirteen supernatural creatures, each in some way related to the Haida's mythical past. For many centuries the Haida people lived in a rich fulfilled existence, nourished by the wealth of their homeland, and watched over by the gods and demigods who peopled their world.

Raven And The First Men
by Bill Reid
Cedar Sculpture

I have always been fascinated by the art of the Haida, and Bill Reid has succeeded in taking this art form to an entirely new level by taking classical Haida imagery, and transforming and morphing it into three dimensional sculptures that would be the envy of many famous sculptors. His use of cedar, and eventually bronze has proven to be an enormous achievement, and has left us with many fantastic works of art that grace our communities for all to see.

Visit the Bill Reid Foundation
Visit the Bill Reid Gallery

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