Saturday, December 19, 2009
Thursday, December 17, 2009
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.
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
Monday, December 14, 2009
On Acquerello Watercolor Paper
Buy A Print
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
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
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
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
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
Image Source Wikimedia
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
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
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
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
Buy A Print
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.
Buy A Print
Friday, July 24, 2009
Thursday, July 23, 2009
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.
Wednesday, July 22, 2009
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?
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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 email@example.com
My next post will go into detail about getting people to visit your blog.
Buy A Print
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.
Buy A Print
Tuesday, July 21, 2009
Monday, July 20, 2009
Friday, July 17, 2009
Monday, July 13, 2009
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.
Buy some Postcards.
Created with Admarket's flickrSLiDR.
You can view the slideshow on my FLICKR page.
Wednesday, June 17, 2009
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.
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.
Thursday, June 4, 2009
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
Empty Easel-A Brief History of Japanese Artprints
The Woodblock Prints Of Ando Hiroshige