31 March, 2012

Face Book page for JUST art...finally!

Click here to go to my Face Book art page

Another thing checked off my "To-Do" list, to make a Face Book "fan page" for my art, so I can keep art and personal stuff separate.  I hope you'll go "Like" it.  Thanks!

29 March, 2012

Is it important to fit into a Genre?

Recently, RedBubble.com had a blog post on pop surrealism and lowbrow art which got me to thinking about genres again.

When I was drawing creatures and strange scenes as a kid I had no idea there were any terms to describe my kind of art.  Or any kind of art! Later, in high school, some people began telling me my work was "surreal." That was when I first learned there was a genre called surrealism and felt a connection with it.  But it was never a perfect fit.

Throughout college, "surrealism" was the closest thing to what I did but the word alone wasn't sufficient.  My work certainly didn't fit into other well known genres like impressionism, landscape, still life, abstracts, etc.  Even if elements of existing styles and genres were in my work, no term ever captured it so that I could easily say, when asked what I do, that I was a surrealist or whatever.  It did and still does feel clumsy to say I do humorous surrealism. That still doesn't conjure up in anyone's mind a clearer picture, not without visual aids.

I was well into adulthood when I saw magazines displaying a more modern type of surrealism called pop surrealism.  Stylistically, I felt that might be closer to what I do but the themes seemed more removed from my concepts.  Soon, magazines existed to promote pop surrealism and other relatively new or perhaps renewed genres like raw art, art brut, outsider art, and lowbrow.  When I saw these last few I perked up.  But then, sadly, I learned that I could not be part of outsider, raw, or brut art, because I had an art degree. These genres were for the non formally educated.  Another blog at another time may be for my opinion of the nonsense about self-taught vs formal education, but long story short, lowbrow seems to fit what I do better than surrealism, at times, and yet it's not a perfect fit either.  I don't happen to believe an art degree has a bit to do with one's genre, but if technically I can't join the club, then I can't.

And my search for a word or short phrase that describes my work goes on!

Is it important to belong to a genre or movement?  When it comes to trying to describe what you do, yes.  Otherwise, no.  I don't think about it when I paint or draw, nor do I try to mold my work to fit a category.  My bio would be a bit shorter and clearer though, if I could find a better word for it.


 Finished a large painting, "Hen Party," plus two "Alien Boards," earlier this week and posted them on my Red Bubble site  In between painting sessions, it's a framing session, adding hanging hardware and so on.

Click here to see Hen Party on my Red Bubble site

Getting ready for two art shows, making sure I've dotted all the i's and crossed all the t's and have proper hanging and framing supplies for them

Hen Party had been started last fall but I got busy with a show, a commission, and some other things, and it just had to get put aside.  Finally got back to it this spring and am happy with it. It's acrylic paint on a wood panel that is well supported, ("cradled" wood panel).  The sides are painted so won't need a frame, which is good, because a frame for a 3 x 4 ft painting would be expensive.  Not even sure a frame would add to it, it might detract from the modern look of it.

Framed my largest collage and am very pleased with the way it turned out.  ("Too Late for Cheese," which is also on my Red Bubble site.)  This collage is done with my own drawings on paper, as well as acrylic washes and colored pencils.  It looks nice in its plain white matt and simple black and bamboo frame.  The artwork is about 11 x 14 ish, the frame is 16 x 20. I'm going to look into which if any kind of synthetic glass might have the right look and still cut down on the weight of glass-framed pictures.  Not to mention the fragility.  Though the shows I'm doing are local, if I were to ever need to ship a glass framed piece some shows require plastic (plexi) glass anyway.

23 March, 2012

More on the alien portrait panels

Working on edges and 'grout' and here's detail of the edge, etc, showing the aged treatment.  These aliens have been around for awhile. ;)  Still not quite done but it's coming along good.

22 March, 2012

Works in Progress

Alien Portrait panels in progress

Alien portraits, in progress

Hen Party in progress

These are a few of the things I'm working on right now.

The Alien Portrait panels are comprised of numerous 5x7 inch paintings, adhered to cradled wood panels that are approx 18 x 24 in x 1.5 in deep.  Once the grout, crackle, and other things have dried well enough that I can start the finishing process, I'll get more pics, (or maybe they'll just be pics of it done and uploaded to my RedBubble.com site, I dunno yet).

Hen Party was began last fall and got put aside when it got too cold to paint outside.  It's a large painting, 48 x 36 in., and there is no place indoors to work on it.  I also went into a drawing phase and didn't paint a lot for awhile but now am back into it.  Now, it's nice to be painting outside again in Phoenix's beautiful weather.  Soon enough it'll be too hot and I'll be back indoors making miniatures and drawings.

This is the weather people love AZ for in winter; days vary from the 60s to 80s, usually not too windy, and the nights cool off so those of us who like a little chill now and then get our fix, too.  I can paint outside in the morning even when the day time highs reach about 100, but anything over that, and it never cools down enough at night, and mornings are still too hot. The paint dries way too fast, it's miserable, etc.  But for now, it's gorgeous.  When I'm working on the patio, feral lovebirds zoom by, and thrashers and doves feed in the yard or drink from the bird bath.  It's quiet and peaceful.  Sometimes I take our cockatiels out in their rolling cages, so they can enjoy it all, too.

20 March, 2012

Most stolen image

It appears my Giant Coffee Drinking Chicken painting is my most stolen image as of today. I closely follow unpermitted uses via reverse image search tools, and regularly send DMCA takedown notices to site hosts, with good results.  So far this has been effective but the time it takes to do this cuts into productivity.  If the proposed small claims process for copyright infringements becomes law, I hope that lost time is going to be an allowable type of money damage, because it would not be hard at all to put a dollar figure on an artist's time.

One of the more recent examples of theft of this image was one where the thief complicated his own situation by removing my signature and copyright info and putting his/her own signature on it.  He or she also attempted to hide it by flipping the image horizontally.  Read more in my Red Bubble journal on the topic

(Just to be clear, I'm not talking about legitimate social media sharing where the credit, origin, copyright info, and metadata are not lost, and only a thumbnail is used.  There is more to it than that, but if you ARE posting pics that aren't yours, I urge you to read the info in the copyright forums HERE as some site's terms of service require you to get permission and will throw you under the bus if anyone were to sue the site for infringement.)

UPDATE Mar. 30, 2012: An update on thefts.  Occasionally I find my work being used to illustrate a writer's blog.  If there is a way to contact or comment without registering for a site I don't want to register for, I always ask that it be taken down.  If they don't respond or don't leave a way to contact them, I submit a takedown notice to their site host/provider.  Most bloggers ignore the request, hence the takedown notice.

Technically, the copyright owner has the exclusive right to determine how their work is used.  It is not permissible under the law to use it, even with credit, as an illustration, avatar, ad, etc.  There are very few, and narrow, exceptions under the 'fair use' parts of copyright law, and in no way is using work to illustrate writing, etc, fair use, when the image is taken without permission/agreement. Agreements need to be in writing.  And artists need to evaluate what they are agreeing to and with whom, carefully.

Altering and/or selling the work are additional infringements but are not necessary for the unpermitted use to be considered infringing by copyright laws.  Blaming the copyright owner and the copyright laws is not a legitimate defense for those who use work without permission.  Nor is the excuse that use of it was "exposure."  Exposure is a word long and incorrectly used to try to justify taking other people's work without paying or getting permission.

One of the places I don't allow my work to be 'shared' is not really sharing at all; Pinterest.  This site strips the ownership data out of the image, and upon repinning etc, the link, credit, and all data showing me as the owner are lost.  They also show a larger image, not a thumbnail.  Pinterest's terms of service appear to try and grab rights to use any image pinned there, with or without the owner's knowledge or permission, an attempt to skirt copyright laws even where non members are concerned.  Members of the site should pay heed, too, as the site's terms throw them under the bus if the site is sued over it.

15 March, 2012

Too Late for Cheese

TOO LATE FOR CHEESE is my 3rd collage of newspaper doodles affixed to one of my favorite types of landscape backgrounds; vast and open.  In a way these are made of things that usually end up in a drawer or tossed out; doodles on newspapers, papers that I wiped off my brush on, etc.  I recombine them, then work over them some more to tie everything together.  The colors are mostly visual mixes of numerous pen and pencil strokes, there is actually very little mixed paint color in this, though I do use a little thin, transparent acrylic, and by the time I'm near the end I usually pop in some highlights in just select areas with paint.

Read about my recent collage work on my RED BUBBLE JOURNAL too.

14 March, 2012

Vast monotonous landscapes and newspaper doodles

Working on a 3rd collage of newspaper doodles adhered to a landscape reminiscent of those we saw while living in Oklahoma for a few years, and enhanced with pretty much any art supply in the house.

Though there aren't a lot of things I miss about OK, I did like the vast, open, empty landscapes that some might call monotonous.  Not sure why I find these beautiful. Even the desert--which I love--seems 'busy' and full compared to the flat or gently rolling sea of grass and occasional trees or distant purplish blue hills.  In summer/fall the coreopsis (tick seed) bloomed in some of these vacant lots and fields even in town, covering it with waving, airy stems supporting yellow orange blooms.  Many people prefer deep woods, tall trees, snow capped peaks.  While I feel those are beautiful, too, for some reason I'm most drawn to the open landscapes.

It's no wonder my landscapes, when I do them, are reminiscent of this.  At any rate, the landscapes that provide backdrops in my paintings or collages are not accidental, even if I'm not consciously thinking about them at the time.  (I tend to work from the subconscious and wonder what it means later.)  I suspect there is some reason I'm drawn to the openness but I just don't know what it is.

Should have an image to upload to my site by the end of the week.  I think I'm done with the collage, but will sleep on it and decide in the morning.  Might also have to press the drawing so it lays perfectly flat in order to photograph it first, though, (would be nice to do that anyway for framing purposes!).

06 March, 2012


Late last year I did a small collage piece that began as ballpoint pen doodles on a newspaper.  I really enjoyed doing it, and this year got back into that and did a piece called A LITTLE BIRD TOLD ME (click title to go to my Red Bubble art site and see it).  This one's bigger and more elaborate than the first but still what I consider a miniature at only 12 inches wide by 6 inches high. I used just about everything on my little art table in it; pens, colored pencils, acrylic paints.

05 March, 2012

Don't Pin my Stuff!

Due to concerns about the Terms of Service on Pinterest and similar sites that remove info and/or claim rights to sell work pinned there, etc, I do not allow this type of sharing.  Sharing in it's true sense never removes the artist's name and link back and never displays more than a thumbnail or very small low resolution image.  I am not a member of those sites that have TOS I don't agree with and do not want my work on those sites that eventually lose the credit and link back and/or may attempt thru TOS that is contrary to copyright law to take rights to work that they don't have.  If you're a member there I urge you to read the TOS carefully as it affects you and what you post there of your own, too. READ MORE!