Experimenting amok playfully

My mom won’t like these. That’s what I tease her by saying whenever I do anything experimental or abstract. And I’m usually right. So, Mom… you’ve been warned.

Playfully

As I said, I had a really good time at the WSO convention and an especially good time at the Margaret Stermer-Cox (Peggy) break out session.

To recap, I took this image…

Sketch 3: Working toward detail and mood.

And turned it into this value study…

And threatened to paint it!

Amok

One wasn’t enough, so I ended up with two versions. Both use marbled papers from the Liz Walker workshop I took a couple of years ago.

“That’s Not the Shape of My Heart” – 11″x16″ mixed media

“The Unconfidence of Pink” – 12″ x 16″ mixed media on board

Experimenting

I don’t think either are finished, particularly “Pink”.

There is a glare on both that makes the photos a little weird.

I learned a lot. Such as better planning is necessary. And surface matters. And being able to use black is fun!

I like them. I like where they are going.

So… Mom… sorry, there are going to be more!

Healthy Steps – Week 40

I just posted Week 39 yesterday, but I’m trying to get more on track. I need it. Another 2 pounds up.

But I’m on a normal schedule now with a  fridge full of prepared food and a willingness to work toward my goals for the upcoming week (just like I said yesterday).

  • Eating my prepared food
  • Hit 10,000 all seven days, taking at least one break/lunch walk
  • Tracking 3 of 7
  • 2 Frappuccinos per day

And now… to keep going!

Why I don’t buy mass-market prints (and you shouldn’t either)

A couple of week ago two stories hit my inbox nearly simultaneously. They made me mad. And I decided to share my anger to (hopefully) educate my non-artist friends. So, yes, this is me on a soapbox. It’s a sermon.

And I’m not sorry.

Ripping Off Bev Jozwiak

The first incident was a Facebook posting by Bev Jozwiak, and inspired local painter from whom I have taken workshops.

This is my painting selling on ***.com without my permission. Get so sick of the rip offs. ~ Bev Jozwiak

For my non-artist friends, what Bev is saying is that someone took a picture of her work and/or stole an image from the internet, cleaned it up, and is now selling it for cheap at one of the big online print companies.

I’ve heard stories about this over the years. Placing a copyright on the image does no good because there is software that can take it off in less time than it took to put it on.

Some artists swear by only putting up low resolution images. Again, this can work, but software is so good that it can compensate for that. Additionally, some work (like Bev’s) is “impressionistic” so a little fuzziness just adds to the effect.

Further complicating the issue, not all countries have the same copyright laws as the United States.

The best the artist can do is to contact the “store” and complain. Most times, they will take down the image or at least move it to a place on their site where it will attract less attention for a while.

But the moral of the story is the artist is out of pocket. Not only for the image that was stolen, but for the potential art space. The buyer of the image clearly wanted something for that space and now it will not be an original.

The disputes of Charlie Mackesy

A few weeks ago I “liked” a new artist, Charlie Mackesy. I was drawn to his “Boy and Horse” series, a series which is brilliant in its simplicity.

A few days after Bev Jozwiak posted, a series of posts on Charlie Mackesy’s page indicated he was having a dispute with a company that he felt was ripping off his work.

While Mr. Mackesy has not been overly forthcoming about the details of the dispute, as I understand it, the company took his images and either used Photoshop to change them slightly or hired an artist to redraw them. Then they added words and printed the result on T-shirts and other merchandise.

And all Mr. Mackesy can do is sue. He probably won’t win. A simple line drawing is not hard to copy and the copyright laws indicate that if an image is changed a mere 10%, it is not copying.

So what should you do?

As Americans, all of us are familiar with the idea of using our buying power to effect change. It’s about the most American system we have.

As art consumers, I would like to implore you to start looking at what you are buying and insisting on using those dollars to move our system to support artists.

Don’t trust those websites! Only purchase directly from artists. Don’t know an artist… I can help you out! Or use Google to find a local art group. If a gallery seems too scary, consider an open studio sale or co-op gallery. A sidewalk artist. A plein air competition. I guarantee that any of these places are someplace you can find an artist who would be THRILLED to sell a painting.

Don’t have  the budget for “art”! You’d be surprised. Many artists have older pieces that they might sell at a discount or “bin” work that has a “flaw” (you’ll never see it) that prevented them from framing it up for a show or gallery. These pieces are a WONDERFUL addition to a space. And don’t discount some of the HGTV options such as framing up family photos or your child’s artwork. These options are MUCH better than ripping off an artist.

Finally, reconsider purchasing “prints” in all their forms. T-shirts. Plaques,  Posters. All of these are easy ways that an artist can have an image taken from them. If you want to purchase a print, get it directly from the artist.

No one knows better than an artist there is no free lunch. But consider your part in the cycle before you grab that candy bar!

Healthy Steps – Week 39

It’s Tuesday, one day before I weight in for Week 40. That should tell you about how I did last week. I gained 4.6 pounds. This was NOT a shocking result. I had the WSO show followed by two days of travel where the most nutritious thing I ate was a box of cheetos.

Unfortunately, on Thursday I hit the road again and that was followed by a three-day weekend where there was some travel, some volunteering, and some chores.

But at the end, I had fridge full of prepared food and a willingness to work toward my goals for the upcoming week.

  • Eating my prepared food
  • Hit 10,000 all seven days, taking at least one break/lunch walk
  • Tracking 3 of 7
  • 2 Frappuccinos per day

I’m proud to say I have done ALL of these things for Monday and Tuesday of this week, so here’s hoping that tomorrow’s weight in is just “even”. But whatever it is, I’ll survive and keep going.

My total weight loss is 29.4 pounds. That’s great, no matter what happens. And if I keep plugging away, that number will start increasing again.

As I’ve said before, I don’t have to be perfect in this journey. I just have to keep going.

My peeps ask, “What color did you get?” with deep and sincere interest

This weekend was the Fall Convention of the Watercolor Society of Oregon. I was really lucky because it was in Salem (where I live) so it was super easy. I was also able to offer accommodations to my friend, Sandra Pearce, and when she won third place (!!!!) at the show, I think some of her prestige rubbed off on me.

Sandra and I went to the juror meet and greet on Friday night, then to dinner where we saw lots of painting possibilities (that’s what happens when artists get together…)

Saturday morning, Sandra went to teach a plein air class at Minto Brown, and I started the first of my four classes of the day.

Of course, I perused the vendors first and spend FAR too much on two TOTALLY necessary brushes, a cradle board, more matte medium, and lots of (free?) swag.

Class #1: Color Confidential

Ruth Armitage and Beth Verhayden gave a talk on use of color in painting, focusing on the emotional impacts of color choice. It was really good and gave me a lot to think about. As a “getting started” excercise they asked for volunteers to play a “Jeapordy”-like game on color. I volunteered and walked away with a tube of Quinacridone Coral by Daniel Smith. Score!

Class #2: Paint and Collage like Picasso

Jean Lea, a fellow Salem artist, lead this interactive session. Class participants had been told to bring a variety of items and use them to experiment.

I apparently didn’t read the instructions well, so I had just brought my sketchbook, pencils, eraser, and pens. I decided to play anyway, stealing some paint from a neighbor to finish the experiment.

I flipped through my sketchbook and saw this sketch from the spring convention.

Sketch 3: Working toward detail and mood.

And so, by the end of the class, I had created this!

And I had taken this little doodle…

Marsh wren

… to this.

I might even paint it someday.

Juror Critique

Next I went to the juror critique. Our juror for the show is highly respected painter Robbie Laird. I would have liked to take her workshop, “DISCOVER THE ABSTRACT NATURE OF NATURE” but I have this pesky job.

I don’t believe in submitting images for critique that you are “finished” with; I like to submit images and I haven’t completely signed off on. This time I got down to the submission wire and realized I didn’t have anything special to submit, so I send in this little experimental piece.

I had briefly spoken to Ms. Laird on Friday at the meet and greet and she had asked me if I was putting something in the critique. When I told her yes, she asked me (something like), “Do you really want to hear my thoughts or are you just wanting to show off?” I told her with a laugh that I had submitted an experiment that I was stuck on and I would like to hear her thoughts on getting unstuck.

Ms. Laird had each submitter (not just me) stand up and explain what we were hoping to get out of the critique. She had a very pleasant way of tactfully saying something interesting about each piece. When it was my turn she told me that she was enjoying my experiment, really liked the area around the head, but that the elbow was too stark. Fair enough. She said a little more, but the moral of the story was to keep going!

At the beginning of the critique, Ms. Laird imparted this quote from artist Mary Whyte.

Mary tells her students that they need three things to become accomplished artists:

  1. Something to say

  2. The ability to say it

  3. The courage to do it

 

I had my marching orders! I’ll go back and do some more and see if I can resolve this piece.

Simplify

The class I had REALLY been looking forward to, however, was the last of the day. I had organized all the break out sessions and I had talked Margaret Stermer-Cox (Peggy) into teaching a class entitled, “Can You Simplify?” If you’ve seen Peggy’s stuff, you’ll see why I was so excited; it’s GORGEOUS and full of big shapes.

Peggy might not be the most natural teacher, but she has a lot of artistic training and knows her art history. She lead us through a layout exercise.

Sorry my picture is blurry; this time it wasn’t intentional

Then we added a figure to it. I used the same figure study as earlier in the day and came up with this.

I’m really going to try to paint this!

Having spent all my money and with my brain on fire, I headed home. I decided a few conventions ago that I just don’t like going to the awards dinner, and even though I wanted to support Sandra (3rd place!!!). my sanity won.

Sunday – Juror’s Lecture

Sunday is always the WSO business meeting followed by the juror’s lecture. The business meeting was pretty standard fare. The lecture was good, a bit of a preview of the workshop. I’m going to try a few of the things she demonstrated. It looked like fun.

So, another WSO convention in the books. I’m tired and my mind is busy. If only I didn’t have to work tomorrow, I’m sure I could get lots of painting done!

One last note

One of the things I  like most of the conventions is that when you go, you get to talk to about 200 people who are just as excited about geeky painting stuff as you are. If someone says they bought a color, everyone else wants to know which one. You can talk about your struggles, your failure, and your successes and the other artists nod knowingly.

Everyone needs that a couple times a year.

Healthy Steps – Week 38

Yeah! I didn’t gain this week!

Yeah! I did all my goals from last week!

Yeah! I’m going to have the same goals this week!

  • Eating my prepared food
  • Hit 10,000 all seven days, taking at least one break/lunch walk
  • Tracking 3 of 7
  • 2 Frappuccinos per day

7 random items for a Sunday post

1. I had guests this weekend. This is my excuse for no art.

2. I am tired tonight. That is my excuse for this post.

3. The last few weeks have had some fun art things. My painting, “Flammagenitus Clouds” (unfinished version shown below) got The Art Department Award at the Paint the Town event. $25 for art supplies!

unfinished – “Flammagenitus Clouds”

4. My painting, Arminda’s Poppies, got into the Waterworks Unplugged (NWWS 2018 Waterworks Members Exhibition) exhibition.

5. Next weekend is the Watercolor Society of Oregon Fall Convention here in Salem. My painting did not get in, but I’m still excited to go for two reasons (that are connected). I was in charge of scheduling all the classes and I think it’s an awesome line up. I’m excited about attending!

Second, my friend, Sandra Pearce, is coming to stay for the weekend so she can attend the convention too. Let me pause here to brag on her! She participated in the Washington County Plein Air event this weekend and took home “Best in Show”, “Best Nocturne” and the “red dot” (sold a painting.) Congrats, Sandra! Drop the mic, indeed!

6. I’m going to try to participate in Inktober. I’ve prepped my sketch pad. Wish my luck!

7.  It’s the end of the day. For the first time in weeks I am fully prepped for the week with food in the fridge, money in the bank, and a “clean” house. I feel really on top of things.

Let’s see what disaster happens…

Healthy Steps – Week 35-37

It’s been a whirlwind few weeks. The week before I left for Hawaii was full of odd events and doing a blog post just didn’t make the list. When I was in Hawaii I was having too much fun to even think about healthy steps (also, I ate… everything) and when I came back it took all my energy to make it through the first few days.

But I have come back. And I’m looking straight down the barrel at 7.4 pounds regained.

Time for a reset.

Between you and me, getting back on track is going to be tough. I have guests this weekend. Next weekend I have the WSO convention. Then two dog event weekends. Then Halloween. Then a trip. Then Thanksgiving. Then Christmas.

Okay, that was a little depressing. Time to think again about where I want to go.

I’m still down 34.2 pounds, which is enough to deliver the non-scale victory (as we say in WW) of not having to ask for an extension on 1/2 of the legs of my recent Hawaii flight. That’s real progress!

I think I need to look ahead at the next few weeks and concentrate on my little goals.

  • Eating my prepared food
  • Hit 10,000 all seven days, taking at least one break/lunch walk
  • Tracking 3 of 7
  • 2 Frappuccinos per day

You’ll notice I dialed back to 10,000 steps (my knee is still bothering me). And the tracking is modest, but a place to get started!

On a related note, in addition to all the event challenges, my work right now is… fraught. I need to remember that and take the topic of the week about not eating emotionally to heart.So I’m going to work on getting back into the into the swing of things and restarting taking walks at break!

And finally, they upped my medication again last week. So I need to remember that I’m still not back to “normal” and take it easy on myself!

Remember to say “Finish”!

This weekend Key and I went down to Grants Pass for a nosework trial. This will be his fourth trial this year, plus the ORT in January. This time he was competing for a Nosework 2 title.

Saturday sights

We drove down early on Saturday morning because I wanted to volunteer at the NW1 trial in the afternoon (no volunteers, no trials…) We got up early and made several little pit stops along the way, seeing exotic wildlife of all sorts along the way.

We go to the trial site about noon and set up. Key did well in the car (he’s come so far), chilling out in his wire crate with the shade cloth to keep the sun out and windows open. He didn’t bark or guard, he just dozed!

While this was going on, I was a “competitor guide” telling teams when they could round a particular corner and move toward the search area. The 44 dog teams were all so cute, but these teams needed a picture.

We finished up around three and I decided to go explore a little. We drove about 30 minutes to Lake Selmac.

Of course, I did a little birding while letting Key enjoy the new sights and smells.

As you can see, I was particularly entranced with the turkeys.

We finished up and settled into the hotel where Key did MUCH better than his first experience in a hotel last year. Last year he insisted on being a guard dog and barking at everyone who walked by. This time… I brought the crate inside and that was the end of that!

Sunday – Almost!

We woke up on Sunday and took a leisurely stroll around a local park before checking in for the trial.

The Rogue River

And there Key handled himself with aplomb. I was so proud of him I could have burst.

In nosework, there are two basic types of trials: element specialties and “regular” nosework trials. At the element trials, the dog will do four “courses” of the same type; all vehicles, interiors, exteriors, or containers. At a “regular” nosework trial, the dog will do one of each type.

As the dogs move up in levels, more challenges are introduced. So at a level 1 show, the dog is just finding scent. At a level 2, the dog might be asked to find multiple hides and ignore a distractor. At level 3, there are even more hides, more distractions, and a “blank” or odorless room possibility. When they pass level 3 and move up to Elite… well, the sky is the limit.

This time, Key was competing at level 2. This was also a new challenge for me because (unlike at level 1) when we have found all the hides, I have to call, “Finish”. Fortunately, at this level I know how many hides there are (that won’t always be the case!)

And let me say again, Key rocked it!

We started out with a vehicle search. It was pretty basic. There were three vehicles and he had to find one hide. It also happened to be on the first side we searched.

3rd place: Key (American Shelter Dog) – Time: 0:18.78

Next was interiors. Now, this was a new test. There were two rooms. The first room had two hides, then you went to the other room that had one hide. The rooms were classrooms and quarters were pretty tight. I will admit I felt a little anxious!

5th place: Key (American Shelter Dog) – Time: 1:06.87

And that was with getting our leash tangled on table legs twice!

After a bit of a wait we did containers. It seemed like a simple challenge: there was one hide in 18 boxes that were arranged in three lines. But we were warned… there were distractors (think food or toys in some of the boxes.) With this in mind, I reminded myself that when Key find food he DOES NOT LOOK BACK AT ME, which is what he does when he finds scent, because that’s when he gets food.

Unfortunately, we found a food box before we found the scent box and I was not brave enough to, a) listen to the voice in my head that said, “He’s not looking back at you”, and b) Move onto another box and come back if necessary.

So… we didn’t pass. But now we could have FUN! Or even more fun?!?

We finished the day with exteriors. When we had looked at it, it had seemed pretty straightforward, though there were a lot of “items” within the search area. Shopping carts, ball bins, mops, etc. I carefully considered a plan to ensure we searched all the various item (I had been doing this all day, good for me.) Then they announced there were THREE hides to be found. Gulp!

10th place: Key (American Shelter Dog) – Time: 1:22.58

Key found the first hide in a dust pan, which took all my courage to call because in our first trial he had sniffed around one of these just for apparent enjoyment. But it was a “yes” and we trundled on. Key apparently REALLY liked the second hide and I had to pay out twice on that one because we had to go by it again (time sink). I was starting to worry however, because we were getting toward the end of my planned “path” and hadn’t found that third hide. We kept going on the plan and I looped him around a little step stool and his head turned and that was that! I called the last “finish” of the day and pranced off, each of us proud of Key.

I committed a breach of etiquette and did not stay for the awards because I was anxious to get home (work the next day.) But a friend picked up Key’s note sheets and third place ribbon, so we’ll get them later.

The shadow got progressively longer as we made our way up north, but we got home just before dark. And I know I wasn’t the only one who was tired…

But it never lasts…

If you can’t brag on your dog in your very own blog… where can you?

The Hawaii stealth project

I always seem to go on vacation with big plans. And then I spend my free time watching TV or reading. I am proud of myself on this trip, however, because I did a small part of my goal to do some painting!

A couple of years ago I made a journal in a class at the Watercolor Society of Oregon convention.

While I brought more supplies than this, I am very proud to announce that I filled the journal on this trip! Yeah!

And here it is…

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