Sunday, November 8, 2009

Cactus Orchid, Part Two of Two

"Orchid Cactus 2" - oil - 36" x 36"

Hope you are all having a great painting week.
I'm starting a few new canvases, so I may be persona non-oblogata for a bit.

Here's the orchid cacti as a diptych.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Cactus Orchid, Part One of Two

"Orchid Cactus 1" - oil - 36" x 36"

This is part one of two over-sized 'portraits'. 

Monday, October 26, 2009

Fly the Friendly Skies

White Moth Orchids oil 30" x 30"

This painting will appear in a large group exhibition through January, at the vast Denver International Airport.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Commission for Children's Hospital

Butterfly triptych, each 30"x15"

Commissioned for Children's Hospital, Aurora, CO.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

27 Thoughts On Blogging For The Artist

"Hibiscus with Two Skies" oil 30"x30" SOLD

This tropical-looking beauty grows, amazingly, inside our front gate. It comes back from the roots every year in late spring, reaching a height of about 4 feet; Blooms of about 5" across appear beginning in late summer.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Blogging Protocol?

This question has been on my mind for quite some time, ever since my first baby steps into blogging, almost a year to the day. What is the appropriate etiquette for blogging and commenting? 

"Datura" oil 20" x20" SOLD

The lovely datura... so classic in paint, so startling in real life. When I was growing up in New Mexico, this plant was commonly known as 'Jimson Weed', or 'Loco Weed', as one of the plants qualities is that of extremely toxic hallucinogens. Cattle were prone to eat it in lean years, causing a delirious state.

I had a woman laugh at me once for not knowing this flower was also called a Moonflower. Well, live and learn. Wikipedia lists these names for Datura as well: Thorn Apple and Pricklyburr (from the spiny fruit), Hell's Bells, Devil's Weed, Devil's Cucumber, and Devil's Trumpet. So there ya go.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Agua Viva Coneflowers

"Agua Viva Coneflowers" - oil - 30" x 45" - SOLD

On the road to Taos, New Mexico.


Thursday, July 30, 2009

One More Box O' Fruit.

"Palisade Peaches"    oil    28"x36"    SOLD

(SERIOUSLY??? Only one day left of July??? How did that happen??)


Monday, July 27, 2009

When Life Gives You Lemons...

...paint lemons!

"Italian Lemons" 20"x30" oil SOLD

What can I say? I have a thing for boxes.
These were from an outdoor market in Venice.

Question for the day (also applies to any city outside your own native land): if the Venetians call it Venesia, and the Italians spell it Venezia, then why do we call it Venice?


Thursday, July 23, 2009


"Italian Tomatoes" oil 20" x 30" SOLD

Found this great box of tomatoes at an outdoor market in Rio Maggiore in the Cinque Terre coastal area of Italy. Seems crazy to go that far for the perfect box of tomatoes, but they just don't look like this in the states.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Quote for the day: Carlos Castaneda

Painting: "Blue on Blue: Morpho/Morning Glory" oil 30" x 15", R. Garriott

"Consider every path carefully testing it in whichever way you feel necessary, then ask yourself, but only yourself, one question: 'Does this path have a heart?' The path that has heart will uplift you, ease your burden and bring you joy. The path with no heart will make you stumble, it will break your spirit, and finally cause you to look upon your life with anger and bitterness."
— Carlos Castaneda


Friday, June 12, 2009

Painting for the Day: "Tomatoes in a Glass Bowl", plus making plastic sleeves for paintings

Thank you to Loredana of Torino, Italy who helped me with the correct title of yesterday's painting!

"Tomatoes in a Glass Bowl" - oil - 10" x 10"

I bought a set of these blue glass bowls with raised dots on them years ago at a Target store. I've used them at models a number of times, and continue to find them interesting and challenging to render. The fabric in the background is a favorite tablecloth.


This may be my last post for a few days or more. Today I'm loading up the show tent, paintings, and all the other stuff to set up at the Summer Art Market. The forecast promises (threatens?) rain through the weekend, so a rain jacket is in with the mix. (Weather update, 6 a.m. Saturday: Make that lightning, funnel clouds, heavy rain, and golf-ball sized hail...?)

Because I like to share ideas with other artists on practical matters, today I'm including a photo of my transport bags. I've had positive comments from gallery owners and show presenters. At outdoor shows, they are not only a handy way to bring the work in, but when someone buys a piece, It can easily/quickly be slipped in its bag, protecting it from fingerprints and rain, but still visible to the rest of the shopping crowd. Pretty cool, huh?

I make my reusable transport/storage bags out of 4ML plastic sheeting. This comes in a 100 foot wide roll (unfolds to 8' 4"), and can be found at construction supply stores, like Home Depot and Lowes. A roll lasts me a couple years. I've made bags as large as for a 40"x 60" canvas, and small as for a 10"x10" (shown at right). For smaller paintings, gallon size Zip-Lock bags work very well. Wish they made larger ones!

If you want to try this, it helps to have a large clean table to set up on.

  • Cut a piece of plastic sheeting using your canvas as a guide, leaving at least two inches on the left and right sides. Plus you'll want to fold the plastic in half; the fold will be the 'bottom' of your bag. Leave an extra 4 inches or so at the top so the bag can be grabbed or folded over. (So for example, for a 10" x10" canvas, cut a piece of plastic about 14"x28", and fold in half to 14" square to begin).
  • Using an iron at the very lowest setting (dry, no steam), place the folded plastic on top of sheet of newspaper. Fold one side over about 3/4", smoothing with your hand, and then fold it again. Place another sheet of newspaper on top. Carefully iron the edge of the bag, checking that you aren't melting the plastic. The heat will help make a nice flat fold. Using clear 2" packing tape, start at the edge of the bag and tape over the fold, finishing with a bit of tape to the inside of the bag, and over the bottom side edge. Repeat for the other side of the bag.
  • To keep track of the bags at art fairs, I mark the size on the upper corner with a Sharpie marker. When transporting paintings, I place them in the plastic sleeves, and box matching sizes face-to-face and back-to-back (this avoids injury to the painting surface from backing screws).
  • When hanging the artwork, I place the S-hook (or a nail or picture hanger for a wall, if you are inside), and then slide the plastic down partway. Once the painting is attached to the hanger, I slide the bag off (so I've hung the painting and not touched the surface once). Then I store the plastic sleeves upright in boxes of corresponding size, for easy access for sales, and for packing up at the end of the event.

How do you wrap and transport/store your paintings? I'm always looking for new and better ways of doing things.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Painting for the Day: "Off Duty", and finishing the backs of stretched canvases

Thanks for all your nice comments this weekend!
"Off Duty" - oil - 8"x10"

Inspired by the recent
Different Strokes week 32-34 challenge of Madison Avenue, NYC, I decided to try another taxi painting. I don't know much about cars, but found the colors in this scene irresistible.


Finishing the back of your stretched canvas

Because I work on wrap-stretched canvas, I paint the sides as I go to alleviate the necessity of framing. I also back my paintings in a manner that I've had a few comments on, so I thought I'd share that today. I'd be interested in hearing what your method is for finishing off the back of your paintings.

My personal choice is to back my canvases with Tyvek, which is a fiberglass paper that doesn't tear. Some art supply stores will sell it by the yard; I buy a 50 yard roll from a local sign supply which gets me through a couple years. White or brown kraft paper is still standard for professional framing shops and is a good choice (less expensive, too).

To streamline this task, I keep a template sized for each standard canvas that I commonly use(A), in the size of the wood inset on the back of the canvas. I cut these out of mat board scraps and label them. (TIP: make friends with a frame shop. Often they have a large supply of mat board scraps that they are happy to give to you free or sell at a low cost.)

When cutting the Tyvek or paper, lay the template on top, and then lay a metal ruler over the edge; this will keep you from slicing into the template.

(B) Line the perimeter of the backing paper with adhesive transfer tape (3M's product is 924 ATG; Jerry's Artarama carries a store brand for a much better price). Strip the backing off the adhesive, lay the backing paper over the wood on the canvas, adjust and press into place (D).

Using a scrap of mat board that has marks for placing screws for every size of canvas I use (which is faster than a ruler or measuring tape), I attach all small D-rings and plastic coated picture wire.

I finish with a label on the the back that lists my web address.

Why back the painting at all? Many years I found out the hard way that stretched canvases stored, or even hanging on a wall over a length of time can end up collecting a lot of stuff in the back... dust, spiders, etc. Much of this can be removed using clear packing tape, but sometimes chunky detritus can work its way down to the front edge of your painting and make a series of lumps... pretty unsightly! Backing a canvas can gives it a nice clean, professional look. It sends a signal that you value your work.

I also store paintings custom size plastic bags that I make... more on that in the next post or so.

So what's your method? I'm always look for new and improved ways of doing things. Would love to hear your ideas.


Saturday, June 6, 2009

Painting for the Day: "Olè"

"Olè" - oil - 12" x 16"

Sometimes a wonderful compliment comes through the email, in this case from someone who happens to collect my work...
"It will be fun to see what else you have been working on. It's always really hard for me to pick something from your oeuvre. Your pieces are better than prozac - they always lift my mood!!"
...Thanks, Carleen!

(Too busy to write much today, but I missed you so here's something zesty to look at. Talk to you soon! )

From my inbox, for those of you that like Painting Contests:
Jerry's Artarama, the great discount art supplier, has several Cash Prize Contests listed...prizes also include publication on the cover of Jerry's catalogs. Click here for details.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Postcards - Supersize Calling Cards

When the digital printing revolution took off, it began with postcards. At least that's how I remember it; if business cards were offered I didn't notice at the time. I had my first full color postcard printed by Modern Postcard for a show in 1995, with this painting on it ( I was in a Co-op gallery and we all had to do our own show promotions-- a great learning experience).

"Hot House Roses" - oil - 28" x 28" - SOLD

I quickly realized how much help these art cards were in answering the Inevitable "What Kind of Art Do You Do?" Question: hand someone a big beautiful postcard, and the conversation can really begin. Postcards of your art definitely have a bit of WOW factor, and I always try to have some handy just in case. Back then the minimum order was higher than some companies today, so as a result I still have some after all these years, and now I always order so that I have a stack of extras. Tomorrow I'll write about how the extra cards are still useful years later.

Marian Fortunati asked a good question yesterday; "How do you decide what painting to use on a card or postcard?"

  1. Use your best work (that probably seems like a natural)
  2. For your business card, choose a painting that is representative of your current body of work. So, if you feel your best painting is a portrait you did, but it's a one off and everything else you have is seascapes, then choose your best seascape
    *(an exception to this might be, if you want to offer portraits by commission, have a separate card for that).
    For a show invitation, choose the 'star' painting of your show.
  3. If you do two or more genres of work (for instance, still lifes and landscapes), consider a double sided card, or two or more cards.
  4. Be careful when printing images with a lot of blue; of all the cards I've had printed, blues are the least likely to match. It has to do with that RGB/CMYK thing, I think.
  5. Have reasonable expectations: if you are buying discount printing, there may be some color discrepancy. If the color absolutely must be spot on, choose a more expensive printer and pay for a color proof.

For most of us artists, I'd suggest printing short runs. You can order business cards in runs of 250 quite reasonably; this would get many artists through a year. I usually print a new business card every 1-2 years, depending on how much my work has changed. Postcards can be ordered in quantities starting at 100 at some printers.

I'm still sending out samples of printed postcards; those of you on my mailing list will see one in your mailbox soon! (Want one? Click here).

A big thanks to Megha Chhatbar, who has kindly passed forward the "Passion for Painting" award. Thanks, I'm blushing! I will try to name some awardees this week.


Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Painting for the Day: "Coffee, Cream, Tangerine"

"Coffee, Cream, Tangerine", oil, 14" x 14", SOLD

I love little odd dishes and creamers, and when shopping always have my eye open for new ones to use in paintings.

Okay, retraction here; in April I reported that "Mystic Tangerines" had sold in Boulder, as an email conversation with the very nice gallery owner had led me to believe that. As it turns out, I went up to Boulder to see a friend a couple weeks ago and checked in at the gallery to find that Mystic was still on the wall.... going though my inventory in my mind, it occurred to me that THIS must be the canvas that's found a new home.

Do your galleries list the name of the painting(s) sold when they send you a check? Most of the ones I've been associated with do. In some really good cases, they also provide at least the name and city/state of the buyer, and sometimes the full address. I really appreciate even just having the city and state for my records.

What's your experience been?

Monday, May 18, 2009

Three places to get affordable artist business cards

Artist cards in a series: circa 2004 and 2005.

The relatively recent revolution in printing has had enormous impact on the small business person, and that includes us artists. 20 years ago, just thinking about full color cards could set you back easily $500 or more. These days, you can compete with your peers in brilliant full color for less than the cost of meal out, in some cases.
A bit of detail, for the detail minded: Prior to current methods of modern printing, commercial printers used the Four Color Process (and many high-end houses till do). Recall our earlier discussion on Photoshop Tips about CMYK vs. RGB? CMYK refers to the inks in the four color process: Cyan (blue), Magenta, Yellow, and Black). Artwork had to be mechanically (or photographically) separated into four plates; and each printed sheet had to be run through the press 4 separate times. These are a couple of reasons why it was so costly.

More artist cards I like:

(more fun artists business cards: the one of the left uses a closeup of a large painting; the center one is a nice example of a simple black ink on cream card stock; the right one features on of the artist's sensitive pet portraits)

Modern offset printing, on the other hand, streamlines the color spearation and printing process making it much more cost effective. Here are some things to consider when looking for a printing supplier:
  • What kind of quality do I want? Good enough, pretty good, really great?
  • How much am I willing to spend?
  • Can I have business cards printed and still be environmentally conscious?
  • Am I happy to have one card with one or two images, or do I need lots and lots of variety?
  • Do I have the software I need to set up my own card, or do I need an online template that will help me set it up?
Here's a quick run down of several printers who may meet your needs, based on your criterion above. I'll include a brief bit of information on each one; please refer to their websites for more details. For a fair contrast of pricing, each price mentioned is for a single sided full color card, and includes the least expensive postage, and any other standard charges. Postage may vary according to your location. is the low price leader. If price is your main deciding factor, they will be hard to beat. Like all the other printers, they produce a wide variety of items, including biz cards, post cards, brochures, mailing labels, etc. There is a $5 upload fee for any design or image, but you can use that on multiple items, if you wish. This is currently my printer of choice for postcards.


  • Orders start at about $11 for 250 cards
    (this includes their 'free' business card option, with one image upload charge (about $5) and slowest shipping (about $6). Choices on matte or glossy paper may change from day to day; paper upgrade is about $13)


  • low price
  • some online design capabilities -- also offers a design service for an additional fee
  • often runs specials and price breaks
  • delivers all over the world


  • Slightly lighter card weight than other printers (-- still far superior to print-your-own variety; they do not curl and the ink won't run or rub off)
  • Cards are slightly undersized (1.93" x 3.43"-- standard is 2" x 3.5")
  • The gloss card stock coated is on one side only
is a reliable mid range online printer. One different thing about their process is you place the order and pay first, and upload your artwork later. They do offer an online design tool, Design It!, if you do not have access or skill to design your own card (caveat: I haven't tried this tool, but it looks interesting). PS Print is currently my printer of choice for business cards.


  • With the current special 250 cards start at about $32; the regular price is about $54 (both with with standard shipping).


  • Heavier card stock, gloss on both sides
  • Full size cards
  • Recycled card stock available!
  • Current special: 50% off business cards until May 31


  • Pay first/upload later is confusing to some users
  • a lot of choices to wade through in terms of turnaround (printing and shipping)
  • This both pro and con: Small orders starting at 50 are available, but it is much more cost effective to start at the 250 amount.

Moo.comThis European printer (but now with a plant in the US) is new to me, but both Kim Denise (see her special offer below) and Manon Doyle give it excellent reviews (see their card sets on last Friday's post). The biggest attraction: you can have multiple images printed in a single order.

Cost: (does not include shipping; I was not able to ascertain this in time for the post)

  • $24.95 for 50 (upload up to 50 images) plus shipping
  • $70 plus shipping for 200
  • 100 mini cards for $19.95 (upload up to 100 images)


  • Great print/color quality
  • Heavy card stock with a smooth matte coating -- nice to touch
  • Environmentally conscious paper available! Choose from 'Moo classic" sourced from sustainable forests OR "Moo Green" 100% Recycled Fibre
  • Multiple images available in a single order
  • Upload is very simple
  • Trial ten-packs available for no cost except shipping


  • A more expensive option than some
  • Shipping was slow (2 weeks) because they came from England, but it should be a lot faster now that they've got a printer in Connecticut.
  • "One more negative about the cards is that everyone loves them so much they want more that!" (says Manon)

Kim Denise has put a promotional code in the comments on her blog post. Click here to use it for your first order and get a 20% discount! Thanks, Kim!!!

Other vendors to consider: If this hasn't confused you enough, a couple of other reputable printers are Modern Postcard (Cathyann mentioned she likes them, and I had my first color postcards printed by them years ago) and Overnight Prints (a super-glossy favorite of one of my design clients)

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Seven Reasons NOT to Print Your Own Business Card

By now I've heard from a number of people anxious to hear about good sources for affordable, professionally printed cards. Fear not; that information is being compiled and will be posted early this week. In the meantime...

(image: Pansy with Two Skies, oil, 20" x 20")

I know that some of you print your own cards from your home or office printer (or are thinking about doing it). That's how I made my very first ones, too, and if you really want to know what I thought of the experience, they were worse than no cards at all (and I spent a lot time and money on them, too). In the end, I threw them out.

It was a good learning experience, and I'd like to give you the benefit of my early disaster.

Seven Reasons NOT to Print Your Own Business Card

  1. COST - Think you're saving money by printing your own cards? Think again. The cost of a pack of Avery Clean Edge Business Card blanks is about $15 at your local office supply store, plus figure in the cost of both a color ink ($20-35) and a black ink cartridge ($12-20), because these take a lot of ink, and you're looking at $47-70 to print 200 cards (IF they all come out, which is doubtful; see #6).
    You can have 250 cards professionally printed starting at about $10 (-- this would include 'free' offers, so this is mostly shipping cost).
    You can have even higher quality cards printed for $25-40, and in a later post I'll lead you to some reliable sources.

  2. PAPER QUALITY - Because the cards need to be thin enough not to jam the printer (which they often will anyway), the paper tends to be on the thin side, and will often curl once you separate them into cards.

  3. PRINT QUALITY - Standard business card blanks are of a somewhat soft paper, which helps it absorb ink. This gives the card a dull appearance. It can also make your type appear fuzzy.

  4. PERMANENCE - Ink jet ink runs if it comes in contact with water (think of an outdoor show, and it begins to sprinkle, or a hot day and sweaty hands). It also tends to fade fairly quickly.

  5. TIME - When printing cards on your printer, you pretty much have to babysit the whole time to make sure they don't jam up or that your cartridge doesn't run out of ink. Wouldn't you rather spend that time painting?

  6. FRUSTRATION - At least half the sheets tend to get stuck in the printer or don't line up correctly.

  7. PROFESSIONALISM - A card printed on your average inkjet printer is never going to have that certain 'je ne sais quoi'. It's going to look, and feel, exactly like what it is: a card you printed yourself. A professional card will enhance your professional status as an artist. You'll look like you really mean business. Plus, you'll feel better about giving them out.

Stay tuned: Sources and tips for getting a professionally printed card coming very soon.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Basic Art Marketing Tools: The Art Business Card

The Art Business Card

You've heard that phrase, a picture is worth a thousand words? It's as true today as when Confucius (if it was actually him) first said it circa 500 BC.

Being one to shy away (for many years) from discussing my work, I have found that always carrying a business card, with a image of my artwork on it, has saved me lots of unnecessary chatter. While I fumble for my five word speech, that gives me time to fish out a card. From there, a quick bit of 'Wow!' factor when I'm lucky, and the conversation can proceed.

Here's my current card, 2 sided, one side for each of my two main types of painting, still lifes and botanicals. I do a new card about once a year.

A few more examples of art cards:
(Thank you to all of the artists who emailed me their cards for samples, as well as my local art friends who agreed to let me post their cards.)

Dana Cooper uses a black background which really increase the drama in the lovely full length portrait. Like many artists, she prefers to keep the contact information simple. Especially if your studio is in your home, chances are you don't want people just stopping by.

Chris Beck uses a playful image on a clean white background. Since cards are small, images of a smaller painting or a closeup can often work better than reproducing a really large painting:

Here's another fun card (and yes, Holly does make glazed and fired popsicles, among other objects):

Some artists choose to use a set of images to express their range of work, as does Niels Henricksen:

Some artists like to use a series of cards, with full front reproductions of artwork, and a simple back side of contact information: such as Manon Doyle....

...and Kim Denise:

Are you wondering... Where and How do these artists get these cards? Can I afford them? (The quick answer is YES). That will be the subject of a future post.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

How to Answer the Inevitable Question, Part One

(Image: Sidewalk Poppies, oil, 30" x 30")

We're still getting great comments on "13 Things NOT to Say to an Artist". A few painful, but many outrageously funny.
You've also given me an idea for a topic today. Several of you mentioned the discomfort that can ensue when someone asks what you do, and you reply (if you're brave enough!) "I'm an artist", which is usually followed by "Oh, what kind of art?"

As visually oriented people, we often find talking about our work difficult. For obvious reasons, though, we need to find words for these moments. Most non-artists are genuinely fascinated by artistic types; they assume we possess some mystique and super powers (don't you wish??).

Here's some ideas to get you past that tough question:
  • The "Elevator Speech"
  • The art business card
  • The event or informative art card

Above: a simple business card based on 'Sidewalk Poppies' painting

First, the "Elevator Speech".

I first heard this term at an art marketing workshop. The idea was to think of yourself with a stranger in an elevator, and you have the time it takes to go between floors to explain your work. This means sifting through the self doubt, leaving out the extraneous words. (And by extraneous consider this: Did you ever have a kid in your junior high class, who when asked a question (say, "What is the symbolism of the whale in Moby Dick"), would mutter and stall for minutes at a time: "Um, well, I don't like really know, but I think maybe, y'know, it kinda, um, could mean, like, symbolistically, y'know, like DUUUDE!!! WHOAAA! Like an awesome wave or something maybe?" -- or maybe you WERE that kid...?)

What we're shooting for is a short, succinct statement that distills the essence of what you do. Personally I think 5-7 words should do it. At that point, you'll have either caught their interest enough that you can go further, or you'll see that they've heard enough, and were only asking to be polite. Think 5-7 words is too short? Try these:

  • Large-scale contemporary botanicals in oils

  • Hand loomed natural fiber tapestries

  • Portraiture in the tradition of the Old Masters

  • Miniature woodcut prints of exotic animals

  • Plein air seascapes of Coastal Maine
    (or better yet just: "Seascapes of Coastal Maine"
    Thanks to Nancy ,who pointed out that a lot of non-artists draw a blank at 'plein air')

Another way to think of it might be to imagine you're being written up by an art critic (who likes your work)-- what's your best case scenario for a winning headline? (and you can't use this one, it's taken: "Local Artist to be Hung in Famous Gallery and Widely Exhibited!")

Preparation is the key. You're going to get asked, you know it, so you may as well be ready. It can be very helpful to practice this with a friend or friends. They can be artists or not; you may find it helpful to practice with both. Imagine what some followup questions might be, and practice answers to those as well.

In a later post, I'll talk more about business cards, if you like, and also event and promotional postcards: where to get them, how to set them up, etc.

In the meantime, I'm curious, what's YOUR answer when asked what kind of art you do? And do you carry an art business card to hand out? I'd like to post some examples of art business cards, so if you'd like to, send me a .jpg of yours to the email shown on the business card above. Thanks!

Monday, May 11, 2009

Painting for the Day: "Orchids in a Glass Bowl"

Thanks to each of you that left an observation on
"13 Things NOT to Say to an Artist".
(You DO know I didn't write all those, or ever say them? OK.) It was especially great to see that most of us have been able to maintain a sense of humor about it. Knowing that each of us is not the only one to have endured misguided (even if well meaning) comments helps to confirm our sanity (as in, it's THEM, not us).

"Orchids in a Glass Bowl" .......... oil ........... 9" x 12"

These dendrobium orchids were garnishing the lunch plates when I visited my mother-in-law at her independent living residence recently (she's 90). For some reason, each of the three grandmothers at the table picked up their blossom and put it on my plate. No words were spoken about it, and I'm pretty sure they don't know I'm an artist. Anyway, I took them back to the studio and dropped them in one of my blue glass bowls. They held up for a couple weeks.

Ready for a scintillating and intellectual discussion about art?
FROM THE STUDIO, a bold new blog by
incredibly accomplished artist Margery Caggiano.

Don't Miss todays' handy Photoshop Tip on Correcting Contrast.
Very handy for fixing overexposed images.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Some Humor for the Weekend: What NOT to Say to an Artist

(A note on the image: This photo collage was an experiment in 'Uncomfortable Textures', and an obvious play on the fashion industry.) You can click on it to see it larger.

It's the weekend! (Which for many of us artists is just another work day, of course.) Still, even as we gladly slave away at the easel, it's good to always keep a sense of humor. Take the following article as you will. I hope you'll find something amusing here.


(note from me: I DID NOT WRITE THIS. I started keeping a binder full of cartoons and humorous art articles years ago. The following magazine article dates back maybe 20 years?)

"Artists would just as soon never have to hear some comments, but the 13 statements below always seem to crop up at one time or another. Feel free to use the responses provided-- or just grit your teeth and think them.

“My kid could do that.”
So where Is this genius--cutting a deal with Sotheby’s?

“I wish I could do that but I can’t draw a straight line.”

Unless you’re Josef Albers, it’s not that important.

“I have a cousin/brother/great-aunt (pick one) who makes art”
Let me guess, on Sundays?

“How long did it take you to make that?”
Since birth.

“That must really be fun to do.”
Yes, it is—If you like poverty, rejection, and working with potentially hazardous materials.

“I’d like to show some of my pictures in a gallery—by the way, what are slides, a résumé and portfolio.”
(No response necessary.)

“I don’t know anything about art but I know what I like.”
A real mental heavyweight.

“If it’s local it couldn’t be good...I buy all my art In New York.”
So move to New York.

“I wish I had time to do that.”
After flossing regularly and rearranging our sock drawer, forget it.

“Did someone make that?”
No, it just fell to earth.

“I’d like to buy some art, but as I look at my Rolex, I realize that I have to jump in my Jag, hop on my jet and fly to my home in the south of France. When I do buy, could I have it for half price since we’re cutting out the gallery?”
Please get out of my life.

“I would like something to go over my couch. Could you do that in mauve, puce and teal?”

No, buy a new couch.

“It’s perfect, I love it! But I’ll have to talk to my decorator first.”
Does he/she hold your hand through all of life’s big decisions?

Note at the bottom: These comments originally appeared In Tower news, the publication of the Watertower Art Association (Louisville, KY)."

I have one of my own to add.
At one of my first shows, a lawyer came with his art enthusiast girlfriend. After a bit of pleasant chatting, he says:"Don't you feel it violates the spirit of your artwork to put a price tag on it?"
It took me six months to come up with a response, which I doubt I'll ever have the chance to use: "Don't you think it's inappropriate for you to charge for your services, since, after all, your only Practising law?" (Don't get me wrong, one of my best friends is a lawyer! Just not that guy!)

What's the oddest art comment you've heard?

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Painting for the Day: "Counter Culture"

Thank you to everyone who's stopped by lately, and big apologies to all for not getting around to your blogs this week to say 'Hi' and marvel over what you've done... This week has really gotten away from me. I'll try to catch up with you all soon.

"Counter Culture" .............. oil .............. 14" x14"

Sometimes you have to say to the painting, Enough Already! (even with all the things you'd like to go back and redo, again) ...and get on to the next one. This is a view at my kitchen counter, on the windowsill over the sink.

For those of you saying, why do some of these characters look so familiar, see:
Have you seen the Photoshop Tip on
How to Correct Contrast with Levels?

This is one of most versatile and useful tools in Photoshop.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Gallery Leonardo: A peek inside

Gallery Leonardo in Leadville, Colorado was kind enough to email this photo which shows a group of my paintings on display (for scale, please note that the two square paintings, the White Hollyhock and Italian Clementines are 36" x36" each). The gallery is located in the historic Tabor Grand Hotel, built in 1883-85.
The owner of the gallery, Michael LeVine, writes: "The space is amazing, AMAZING - it was originally the lobby of the hotel. It has a great entry way, the ceilings are 15 feet high in the gallery area, and in this area there is a sky light that is 45 feet long and 13 feet wide... if you have been to the Louvre, many of the galleries there have this type of lighted ceiling. When all is said and done - this space, as a gallery, (is) beyond the nicest in gallery Colorado - if not the west. Too many things to list - I could go on and on." It really is a wonderful space, with great art, the owner is one of the nicest people you'll ever meet. If you ever pass that way, stop in and say Hi.
A note on Leadville: At an elevation of 10,430 feet, it's the highest city in the United States. The town began as a silver, gold, and lead mining community. Most of the buildings in the 70-square block Leadville National Historic Landmark District were built between 1880 and 1905. It's very popular in the summer with bicyclists and high altitude runners, and hosts the Leadville 100 Race Across the Sky. Map to Leadville

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Painting for the day: "Ham 'n' Egg"

"Ham 'n' Egg" ............... oil ............... 10" x 10"

I have one of those brains that possesses the bad habit of transposing words for its own amusement. Yesterday I passed by a community college near us, which has recently posted a list of studies, in large architectural letters on the facade of the building. What two of the courses of studies read as to me were: "Culinary Justice" and "Criminal Arts". I'm not sure which category this painting would fit into. Perhaps it would be a dual degree.

Are your onscreen colors accurate? Click here to learn How to Calibrate Your Monitor.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Alternate Viewing Realities: Variable Gamma Values

Okay, first off: I'm not about to get into a who's better Mac-Or-PC tiff with Anybody (I've had both and used both). Frankly I'd rather argue religion, politics, AND sex before getting into that. There's no rights or wrongs here, just differences. So if you care to comment, leave your platform outside the box.

While researching separate issues for the Photoshop Tips blog, though, I happened to run across an answer for a question I had not yet fully formulated. Which is: Why is there such a range of contrast among Internet images? While each blog tends to have a consistent range of picture quality, some blogs images may appear to some of us as overly light or overly dark (and, like Goldilocks, some are 'just right').

Apparently we can thank something called GAMMA VALUES. From the Photoshop 'Help' files: "The gamma value of a computer monitor affects how light or dark an image looks in a web browser. Because Windows systems use a gamma of 2.2, images look darker on Windows than on Mac OS systems, which are normally set to a gamma of 1.8."

Sample of what an image might look like created on a PC (but viewed on a Mac)...

...vs. how it might appear created on a Mac (but viewed on a PC).

(image: Golden Wings Deaux, oil, 36" x 36")

Depending on whether you are viewing form a Mac or a PC, one of these images will likely appear 'more correct' than another.

For an easy tutorial on how to 'average out' your photos for the masses, see today's Photoshop Tip on Adjusting Gamma.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

The coolest friend ever.

Photoshop tips for Artists: CMYK vs. RGB which color mode to use and when

Have you ever had a friend that just 'gets' you'? Yesterday I got this great package in the mail. I know most people would have opened it and said, 'hey, there's nothing in here but plastic bags folded in triangles...what's up with that?'

But here's the friend Joel travels the world for his work, and now and then he sends me really cool odd trinkets from faraway places. I love getting packages from him. There have been pottery topped boxes from Chinatown in San Fran (the shards taken from vases destroyed during the Cultural Revolution in the Fifties in China). Freaky alien stickers from Malaysia, offbeat magazines and newspapers from around the world. (Just so you don't think it's a one way street: In return, I try to send the occasional dark chocolate bar (once with a $20 bill stashed inside, because I knew he was broke), a bag of pistachios, bottle of hot sauce, music CD... although lately I've been bad and it is really my turn.)

The folded triangles of plastic are fancy shopping bags from around the globe: Scandanavia, Budapest, Greece, Asia, Europe; covered in languages I've never seen. Which reminds me: there was an article in the paper recently about
How to Make Reusable Shopping Totes from store plastic bags.... hmmm... might have to try this out!
But the best treat of all was this tiny pair of scissors from Andorra....! (Seriously, how many of you out there have heard of this country, much less visited it?) Joel has previously sent me other scissors from Hangzhou, the Chinese capitol of scissor making since the 14th Century. And I don't think he even realized what day they arrived on... THANKS JOEL!!! ¡Besos y abrazos!


Saturday, April 25, 2009

Painting for the Day: "Red Leaf / Blue Bottle"

"Red Leaf / Blue Bottle" ........... oil .......... 11" x 14"

Overcoming fear of glass, part two (or maybe parts 2 & 3).


Photoshop tips for artists: Lossy vs. Lossless files



Thursday, April 23, 2009

Painting for the Day: "Marilyn"

"Marilyn" ..... oil ..... 10"x10" ..... SOLD

White flowers are always a treat to paint. This lily-shaped variety, Marilyn (one of my favorites), has the faintest pink stripe here and there.

File Types: What's the difference between JPG, PSD,
TIFF, and which do I use when?


An interesting post on the small works movement:

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Painting for the Day: "Coffee/Oranges"

"Coffee/Oranges" ....... oil ....... 9"x12"

Sometimes a painting comes out rather differently than the image in my head... I'm not sure what I think of this one, yet.


Monday, April 20, 2009

Painting for the Day: "Orange Emperor"

"Orange Emperor" ... oil ... 10"x10" ... SOLD

Finally (!!!) a beautiful spring-like day. Lurking under the weirdly dense and heavy snow/slush of last week, tulips continued to push their delicate stems up through their frigid blanket. Dozens of them are suddenly springing into full color today.I know tulips are tough, but that always amazes me.

I've lived half my life in this state (Colorado), so you'd think I'd get used to vagaries of weather (the foot-deep slush was definitely a new one). April in Colorado always has the power to turn me into a crazy person. If you live in this state you know that an average April day is between 20 and 80 degrees and will be sunny, cloudy, snowy, rainy, windy, sleety, or any other '-y' you can think of, sometimes all within 24 hours.)

By now I am so ready for full blown summer, that a cold snowy day sends me burrowing under the covers, almost unwilling to face the day (thanks, I'll hibernate until June). A gorgeous day like today and I'm tempted to close the studio and go walking downtown. Although sure enough a beautiful day like this won't suit some people: I heard a woman earlier emphatically state that '...this OPPRESSIVE!!" (for the record, it is about 60 degrees and sunny. I am quite sure I share absolutely no genetics with that woman, as I'm still in my fleece vest. Also for the record, our last snow date last year was May 14, so still about a month more of this manic-depressive weather to go).

Which brings me to this: I learned a new state-related weather saying from artist Gary Keimig of Dubois, Wyoming (thanks, Gary!). It goes like this, more or less: "Wyoming has just 3 seasons: Last winter, This winter, and Next winter."

The other two I know are for Colorado:
"If you don't like the weather, then just wait ten minutes";
and from my native state of New Mexico,
(of which is said about the weather EVERY year):
"It's been a most unusual year".

Oh wait, I do know one more, from a summer spent there:
"Minnesota has two seasons: Shovel and Swat."

Today's silly challenge is: What's the weather saying for Your state?