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An Artistic Sense of Urgency.

July 25, 2016

Yellow Star Zinnia

This year is going by so fast! Nothing like getting near to the end of a month to make me think about how productive or unproductive I’ve been. (sigh!) Well, while there is still light, and into the dark of night, I still have plenty of time to work on a project, painting, taking or editing photos. When we work for an employer it is always good to have a sense of urgency to get things done. We want to show others that we will work hard for what they are paying us. I guess I think of it as a way of saying thank you to them for having given me a job and a way to have money to pay the bills.

But with my artwork my tendency is to be rather lazy in creating. This is probably true because there are not always immediate external rewards for what I’ve created. Yes, I need to create for myself but who would deny that they don’t feel some joy when you post your work on social media and people express some form of appreciation for their efforts. Yet… although I absolutely love seeing the images on the back of my camera or on my easel I know I do desire to have the reward of having my work hanging on someones wall.

The picture above is of a zinnia. I took this last night at almost 8 pm. The sun was gone and there I was taking pictures… as if maybe tomorrow I wouldn’t have that chance again.  And this is because I’ve learned to stop and take the picture when I see it, as next year those same plants will most likely will not be there.

Last week I told you about one artist that had inspired me with her online tutorial this past Spring, and today I would like to tell you about another, Danielle Donaldson and her tutorials offered through Jeanne Oliver’s website. If you click on her center picture that says ‘online creative network’ you will be taken to where Jeanne offers many different classes from different artists. http://jeanneoliver.ning.com/
Danielle’s classes combine watercolor with fun illustrations and are geared toward the beginner and even the more advanced. I am also enjoying her book Creative Girl. I like making little characters so it fits right with what I need for inspiration in my sketchbook. You can find Danielle Donaldson here.

With that… I am off to create something!

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Connecting Islands

July 18, 2016

A Passionate Bee

Hello everyone! I’m back after another very long hiatus! I’ve been through quite a bit in the last couple years, but thankfully, nothing life threatening. Life just has lots of twists and turns and one has to deal with it as it comes. But we go to sleep and wake up and we do the best we can. Thankfully I have the Lord that guides me and carries me through the really difficult times. I am very thankful for His presence in my life. In that time I lived in 4 different places, had most of my belongings in storage, worked 3 different jobs and hadn’t been able to do a lot of creating. And this became especially true as I became a grandmother and was blessed with 2 granddaughters who are now 7 and 4 1/2 months old. What a joy that has been!  During all this time I have managed to keep photographing but have yet to print or show my photos. I think it’s my painting and drawing that has suffered the most. In fact I finally put them in a gallery and didn’t sell a single one. But I don’t worry. I know we all go through seasons. I believe in embracing change and hanging on until conditions are in my favor. Yep, I’m an optimist. Have to be. I have no desire to be sad or depressed.

I’ve also gone through a lot of soul searching with my art during this time of waiting. The ‘what am I supposed to be doing’ and ‘am I doing the right thing’ kind of stuff. I think those thoughts creep in the most because I don’t have room to work or don’t complete anything new or sell anything. But I just have to keep saying, “ok, what is next”? That way, when I have room will I be ready.

I also had completely ignored my blog because I just didn’t know what I wanted to say. Part of that searching meant I had to listen to thoughts that said I wasn’t an expert in anything so why bother trying to write a blog. But I figured that when my mind was ready to write again I would find a way to bring my thoughts back here.

Strangely, it seemed that having a website and taking my wordpress.com blog over to it seemed to bring my blogging to a halt as well and then all I was doing was paying too much just to have a place to share my links. So this week I redid my website to a free one, for now, until I decide if I want to connect my domain and I brought my blog back to it’s original location where I seemed to connect with people more. I guess I felt like I was marooned on my own website. I’m learning that I need to create my art life in a way I am comfortable with, and not because someone says that to be an artist you have to do it a certain way. I’m not too crazy about fitting into someone’s little box. So here is that new website. Let me know what you think.

http://karenlforsyth.wix.com/portfolio

Today, and in my next post, I want to share a couple of artist’s websites with you. These are  where I have done some online courses this past Spring. It’s part of my ‘staying upbeat’ strategy because their classes are very affordable and I simply don’t have money to waste.So the first workshop I did was one I was wanting to do for some time as I’m a big fan of her illustrations.

http://stephaniecorfee.com/workshops/

I did her Character Sketch Workshop and still hope to do Layers of Color. The other two are geared toward children.

It feels nice to be writing again. I’m glad to be back and hope to start making this a habit. Not because someone says I should post on certain days or a certain number of days to get noticed but just because, well, I want to share things with you and not stay on my own little island but be connected to others.

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Welcome to my new website!

January 16, 2015

Doing this myself is certainly been a challenge! I use WordPress so it’s pretty similar to the way my blog was on WordPress.com but I still have a lot to do and will probably be making a lot of changes in the days to come.

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Part 2: Where to show and sell your artwork?

October 25, 2014
Lookout Buckeye! There's a spider web behind you!

Lookout Buckeye! There’s a spider web behind you!

So as promised….part 2 of where I sell work online. Been putting this off for awhile as it’s so easy to forget all the things I want to do unless I put a big sign on my wall. I’ve added lots of links so you can see for yourself as well. I always try to share a picture with you that is current or relates to my subject and thought this little guy would be a good reminder that even when you post your pictures to remember to be aware of your surroundings and posting where your pictures are protected and resize for social media.

First I want to talk about Flickr, which is where I started putting my pictures online back in 2007. They were just from my little digital point and shoot but I loved them. Flickr has come a long way and so have I. They were purchased by Yahoo and I’ve seen an announcement that they have plans in the future to allow people to sell but so far I’ve only seen them saying that “you can now print from your pictures”. That’s very different… hmmm, perhaps that is what they really meant. Here  are their current guidelines and under ‘What not to do’ and then ‘Don’t use Flickr to sell’ they have more good info to stay familiar with. David Pogue wrote a review for the NY Times that is worth the read as well for those of you wondering if Flickr is for you. I had Flickr friends who did not like the changes and went to Ipernity.com which has a nice look as well.

The next place I started putting my work on was RedBubble after comparing it with Zazzle and CafePress. I didn’t do much with it, and soon I found Society6. I decided that I did like it and felt it was more a match for me, and honestly, I liked the fact that it was a company from my own country. Creative Cravings shares a nice tutorial for beginners that will help you get started.

But as so often has happened I got busy with working to pay bills and adding content pretty much got ignored. I really wanted to offer phone covers but I had the hardest time trying to figure out how to upload for the phone templates. There is a page there that tells you what size files but now how to do it, and I’ve been quite challenged in my knowledge of Photoshop. I’ve looked for help before but it wasn’t until last night that I finally put in the right question to Google and came up with a few good articles right away by asking “how to make templates for uploading to society 6?” Hope these help you: JIMIYO,  Shine On and from Andre Belaz on Behance. Now I didn’t have as much luck with that search on YouTube, which is kind of my go to since I learn best from videos. So if you know of one I would love if you could share with us in the comments.

Then last year I decided to try Fine Art America, which you can read about in my last post.

And finally this year I began posting to 500px. It took me a long time to commit as I suppose I felt a little intimidated by the excellent quality of of the photos I saw on there. I just needed time. Time to believe in myself and my work and to be prepared should I be ignored. And to tell myself that being ignored is not the worst thing in the world and I bet there is someone whose day, or moment might be a little brighter by looking at a lovely image. Well, what I found is that there are others who feel that way too and that there are many there who like to interact as well.

I really like the interface of 500px and how easy it is for others to see your work. Let’s say someone likes your work by clicking on the big thumbs up button or favorites it by clicking on the heart. Well, then all their followers will see that if they happen to be on the site around the same time. The UI is divided up into sections which you navigate and have other dropdowns to decide where you want to go. The mobile and desktop versions are somewhat similar and on the desktop you have the option of blocking adult content, which sadly there is a fair amount posted by photographers. They are also an evolving site as they learn what works and doesn’t but have been working to make it better. I would like to see them add a tab for blogs, but as it is, when you go to ‘about’ anyone can find all your links that you have posted . Here is a great review by SLRlounge

Flickr and 500px are also very easy to post to if you use Adobe’s Lightroom as you can drag and drop and ‘publish’, or choose old school and add them from your saved files. I’ve gotten into a kind of simple workflow by publishing to these two and then immediately saving in a file I call something like ‘Top Photos’ and then I can easily add from my hard drive file to FineArtAmerica/Pixels.com

The main thing I would recommend with any of these sites is to put a little time into your profile. I love to read about others. I see their pictures and my mind starts churning, “ooh where are they from, what do they do?” I’m always a little sad when I see that space empty. From one who has a hard time talking about myself and am shy in front of the camera I understand how it feels, but take 15 mins. and share. I can attest that it does get easier as you go. I put something on there and I didn’t explode…ok, I’m gonna be ok!:-)

There you go! Just a little bit of the marketing I’ve chosen to use! Whew!! Thanks for hanging in with me through all this as marketing is definitely not my strong point. Let’s get back to a lot of creating now!

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Part 1: Where to show and sell your artwork?

September 10, 2014
Painted Dahlias

Painted Dahlias

Completed a new painting today of one of my photographs of Dahlias and then I made it available online to anyone who might want to purchase a print of it.

If you are selling or purchasing art may I recommend Fine Art America. You can start by finding beautiful canvas artwork here at my profile page: Karen Hernandez

I will post more ideas of websites for you soon, in hopes that it may help someone of you see where your work can be offered, or even where you can purchase amazing artwork. At FAA your work can also show up on Pixels.com and DesignerPrints.com, as they are also owned by FAA.

I’m first showing you FAA though as it is the main source for all of my work. Currently I have my my photographs and digital paintings but I appreciate that I can also put my original paintings and illustrations on there as well. They offer different kinds of prints as well as cards and phone covers, and I’m sure more is to come. I also appreciate that there are Community boards and Groups. FineArtAmerica.com makes it very easy to get started and then I just need to market my work.

They also have an amazing app, for the iPad, that let’s you visualize the art on your wall. Here is a list of their recent announcements where you will find more information on it:  http://fineartamerica.com/announcements.html

Marketing is certainly not my strong point, but I am learning and FineArtAmerica is certainly helping.

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What’s Your “about me” Say!

August 10, 2014

As I mentioned in my last post, I absolutely love what I’m doing! And I want to do so much more. I am just putting one foot in front of the other. Simple little things can be big steps, and it can take time to see results.

One thing I did recently was to update my about.me page.

And then today I worked on my Bio at 500px 

But then I wasn’t sure if I’d written a Bio or an Artist’s Statement. It made me want to look and make sure that I wasn’t confusing the two. So I did a little search and found a couple good articles    http://tinyurl.com/5tsd4k3     In it he gives quick points on the basics.

Here is another that was even shorter but really helped at  artbizblog

So after reading it I was thinking that what I wrote was more of an artist’s statement  and would need to go back and add new headings and add and define my Biography.  I’m happy with the latest version. My Bio is definitely short, especially since I’ve never put more work out to win awards or had any One Woman Shows. Everything takes time and hopefully those will happen soon.

So why is it important to have these things?

As an artist it’s important for art shows and for our art businesses it’s a necessity so that potential buyers can connect with the artist, blah, blah, blah! I would take this even one step further in that the world that most of us live in, where we share our pictures and paintings and blogs and web pages,  is a rather sterile place. I know for myself, I almost immediately am looking at profiles and “about me’s” to see who this person really is. I want to know where they live, are they real, do they have pink hair and wear cool jewelry, and I want to see how I relate to them. I especially love knowing if someone lives in my corner of the world, because there are a lot of creative people in the Pacific Northwest and maybe someday I’ll get to meet some of them.

A lot of times I find those little “about me’s” are empty. I want to know more! Did you take that bug picture in France or South Africa? Are you just now talking about Lilacs blooming in June because you live in Canada! I love to know the little things about people. Even online I guess I’m a good listener. ;-D  Sometimes I want my world to be very private and other times I say “oh heck with it, be transparent!” I guess today’s one of those days. We are pretty amazing people and I hope I have encouraged someone today to fill out that little form about yourself. ‘Cause I know people are crazy and interesting and we want to know a little about you.

Growing in Knowledge and Understanding

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Following the Swallowtail

July 27, 2014

Yep, that’s what I do when camera in hand and I spot a butterfly. The swallowtails seem to take a little longer to drink than the monarch, which  are very difficult to get pictures of. By the time I reach them with my lens, which is not a zoom but a prime 100, they are on the move again.

One nice thing this year is that I am already seeing more of both species than I have in the past few years. Although I’ve yet to see any caterpillars. This Oregon Swallowtail (Papilio oregonius) certainly had me following him around. One thing I do notice on some though, is how much of their wings they can be missing and still fly.

Swallowtail on Lavender Butterfly Bush-1

There is something very special about seeing a butterfly flying through the air. Maybe because they fly with such delicacy, but they can really move. I’ve watched them fly very quickly through the forest. Skippers have been clocked at around 30mph and some, such as the monarch, are known to fly thousands of miles. Amazing little creatures.

In the past year I’ve certainly been absent from here. Life has certainly been interesting. Technology difficulties such as my computer dying, twice! And then when I finally got a monitor calibrator in May it stopped working a month later. Now that things are fixed I need to keep the momentum going. Last year it was work that took me away from trying to pursue my art. But I find myself currently without employment and realizing this week that I must begin again and let inertia help keep me going.

I absolutely love what I’m doing! I have much to be thankful for in the midst of a lot of difficult things this Summer, but I keep following the Lord and finding ways to share the beauty He puts before me. I know that if I keep my eyes on Him, and not chase what is not the best for me, that I will do well.

I hope this week you have the opportunity to find butterflies and that your week is blessed in following your passions and the maker of our hearts.

“Show me the right path, O LORD; point out the road for me to follow.” Psalms 25:4

 

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