10 December, 2014

Changes coming for 2015

 
Our newest adopted family member


REAL BIRDS

Above is our newest adoptee, as yet unnamed. We got her from Ginger's Parrot Rescue and we don't know how old she is, only that her former owner gave her up to someone who didn't really want a bird but felt obligated to take her in. He then contacted Ginger, who then contacted us.  In the pic, she's playing with the favorite toy she came with, and this is her first day in her new home. She is very sweet, fairly tame, and she was company for me today as I updated my web pages. By early-mid Jan 2015 she will have been thru the 'quarantine' and be able to meet our other birds, but so far no problems found by our vet, so we hope that all will go well with that! We had always had budgies but when our last one died a couple years ago, we didn't for awhile. It's good to have one again, I love their personalities and singing! Of course, I still love our other birds just as intensely, too! They know she's back here in this room, they just aren't sure yet if it's a real bird or a video from Facebook!

ART SHOWS

Tentatively planned art shows in January and April 2015.

In the former I may have only one piece, or maybe several small ones, not sure yet, nothing's firmed up.  The gallery owner liked the 'sample' pic I emailed her, so I'm encouraged that in the coming week I'll have definite pieces to commit to it.

For the April show, which will probably be a 2 person show like this year's was at R. Pela, I was asked to do it and am waiting for the printed schedule to even say for sure that it's April.

I won't be showing images until things are confirmed. I want the art itself to be seen at the shows and not be old hat by the time they open!

I've been remiss in trying to get into more shows.  Anyone who knows me thru art business discussions is aware I dislike vanity shows, and that I care about things like the contract, reputation of the gallery, whether they're insured, etc.  All that takes time to look into, and often the deadline just passes. Other times I don't think it's a good fit for my work.  Sometimes, if it's a themed show I may draw a blank until the deadline passes, then get a great idea! I'm not really a planner with art, since my method is more spontaneous and does not lend itself well to 'coming up with themed ideas' by a deadline!

WHERE I'LL BE ONLINE

Changes to the ways sites work will be affecting where best to find me in the coming year! I tend to use the sites that work well for me pretty heavily, and just keep the alternates on life support unless there's a reason to switch (again). Since sites do change, I try to adapt. It helps if the account is already here, and it certainly helps if I want to connect, follow, comment, etc, on another member's page.

One of the sites that is changing how artists and others can self promote is Facebook. You can read about it on Katherine Tyrrell's Making a Mark blog, she has posted more than once about it and goes into detail and provides links to back up what she's talking about. http://makingamark.blogspot.com/2014/11/marketing-communication-facebook-pages-2015.html

The simplest thing is to go to my Redbubble page and see the links there to sites I'm most active on (besides redbubble) at any given time, e.g. Facebook, Wordpress, etc. http://www.redbubble.com/people/cschnack

 
Me holding a mug made from one of my paintings.

 NEW PRODUCT OFFERINGS

Redbubble has added new products this year, mainly under the Home Decor category, such as throw pillows and mugs. I ordered some of them to ensure that they were good quality before making them for sale to the public. Happily, they are really nice, and above is a pic of me holding a mug made from a large and detailed painting. I felt this would be a good test of the print quality and it was. The ceramic mugs are dishwasher and microwave safe according to info on them.  They come in two sizes, the larger one having sloped sides. As you can see even the 'smaller' one is still a good size. Granted, I am a small person with small hands. The pillow covers are dry cleanable, and one of these days I'm going to throw mine in the washing machine and see what happens. I just haven't been able to make myself do it yet, because I like it, and don't want to risk ruining it, but eventually it's a part of reality testing I want to do, LOL!

HAVE A GREAT HOLIDAY SEASON AND NEW YEAR!

© 2014 Cindy Schnackel

19 August, 2014

My new blog, Found A Chicken!



To celebrate my love of chickens, I started a blog a couple weeks ago about how I see them everywhere.  Everything from actual chickens, to chicken art, to seeing the shape of a chicken in textured walls or clouds, etc.  My latest post is an interview with artist Sarah Hudock who does some beautiful chicken art!  http://foundachicken.wordpress.com/2014/08/19/sarah-hudock-chicken-artist/

Go see the post to see Sarah's art!

Below is a pic I took while bike riding.



As for what I've been working on, some of what I'm going to be doing between now and next April won't be posted online because I want the first time it's seen to be at a show scheduled for April 2015. As with all things scheduled way in advance, everything's subject to change. I probably won't announce the show until the gallery does!

Not that I'll be holding back everything. We're headed into fall and that means painting big outdoors again.  I've got too many irons in the fire, need to clean and organize my studio and find a place for all that's creeping out onto my work table.  Then, focus, focus, focus, on whatever it is that will leap from my hand and imagination.


07 August, 2014

The art of Paul Wilson

Great article in the Phoenix New Times today about my friend, artist Paul S. Wilson! Paul's presence in college classes in the 80s, and later scenic art jobs thru the 90s,  made a lot of those things so much more fun. I'm glad to see him getting this coverage!

http://features.phoenixnewtimes.com/paul-wilson-artist-lee-harvey-oswald/

01 August, 2014

Art Matters, that Don't Matter.: Adventures inScottsdale.Scottsdale looms on the h...

 Interesting read by Larry Willis, Phoenix area artist.



Art Matters, that Don't Matter.: Adventures inScottsdale.
Scottsdale looms on the h...
: Adventures in Scottsdale. Scottsdale looms on the horizon of the Phoenix art scene. Some see it as a commercial pit of southwest ar...

14 July, 2014

Useful art business links

Joan Beringer's blog on licensing art is very helpful. This particular post is on what sort of business you need to have regarding licensing your art.  In the recent past she has also blogged about details of registering work with the US Copyright Office, and lots of art business topics.

http://joanbeiriger.blogspot.com/2014/07/art-licensing-do-us-artists-need.html

Sell Art Like the Galleries, from Art Business, is another good one.

http://www.artbusiness.com/galcomp.html

Do you have a studio or space in your home where you invite potential buyers?

After our last move, I was able to claim a room for a studio for the first time! And, for the first time in quite awhile, we had room to have people over, a place to sit, wall space to hang a lot of art, etc, so I'm making use of that.  I decided to keep all the art I collect from other artists in my office. If a guest does see that area, I can easily say, "This is where I keep the art I collect."  Then they won't have to ask, and I won't have to explain, every single piece in there separately.

11 July, 2014

Getting started with your Web Presence; What to do with two blogs

A pic of my paints that has little to do with this topic. 


Though I was technically online in the late 90s, I really only started actively marketing my artwork online in 2010. The internet has allowed me to focus on my personal art full time, learn to market it, and make enough sales that I can justify continuing to do it full time.

It's really important for an artist to have:


  • A presence online, with images, and preferably a paragraph about you that makes it clear you're a real live person
  • Contact info that you actually respond to in a timely manner
  • Basic understanding of image protection
  • An understanding of how to promote yourself, and be found by quality traffic


Start small, figure out what works for you, then expand as needed or wanted.

Below are types of sites, and you may want to try one of each.

FORUMS

Discussion sites are good for reading the personal experiences of artists when choosing sites and learning how to use them best for your needs. I highly recommend wetcanvas.com for this, and most POD communities also have good discussion forums. (I'm not making everything here an active link, as I'm told that makes a blog look like spam.)

PORTFOLIO SITE

There are many free sites, although some limit how much you can do there unless you upgrade to a paid account. Though I've not tried wix or weebly, they are two sites many artists like. I'm considering choosing one or the other myself soon.

BLOGGING

Blogs are a good way to show images and talk about your work. Besides the one you're reading, Blogspot, also consider Wordpress.com which is free also. (Not to be confused with website building wordpress.org, and I'll stop there because I never used the dot org version to build a site!)  Some POD sites have a way to publish blog-like posts, e.g. Redbubble's "Journals."  As you learn how to use it, you'll see in the settings you can usually choose whether to allow comments and how strong of spam protection you want. The blogs I'm on do a good job of trapping spam so far.

SOCIAL MEDIA

Social media, IMO, is best for networking with artists, sometimes buyers, galleries, art supply co's, etc. It CAN also be good for marketing and even sales, it really depends on what the artist is doing with it and who their buyers are. I do not recommend paying to promote posts on social media.  Examples include Facebook, Twitter, Linked In, etc.  On social media you are the product, as they say. Ads, data mining, are all prevalent, so I don't waste my money paying for upgraded accounts, to promote posts, etc. I do find the Groups and Event pages most useful on Facebook for networking and promoting shows, etc, and on Linked In I like Groups for sharing professional information with other artists. Many artists swear by Twitter; I am not not on it. I tried it once a few years ago and just never warmed to it.

POD's (Print On Demand)

A POD is a site that you upload art images to, and they handle payments, printing, and shipping, of products made with your images. Many are free to join. They take the lion's share when a sale is made, but you typically can mark up your prices as you see fit, having some control over how much you make. They all have their own Terms about payment, like paying when you reach a threshold amount, or at a certain time of the month. People DO sell on POD's, but they have to actively market their POD page; the site does not do it for you. You can work to capture some of the site's traffic by use of search tags, promotion, community involvement, etc.  Some PODS show up on search engines well, and some don't. Since you don't have up-front costs you won't have piles of unsold merchandise to store. That is why they call it "print on demand." Nothing is made until someone orders it.

As you probably know, I use redbubble.com to sell a few of my things as reproductions on products. I am also using it as a stand-in portfolio at the moment, since I have established a good network there that's been beneficial. While RB is my personal favorite, other PODs include Artwanted, Bluecanvas, Fine Art America, Society 6, Zazzle, and more. Do your research first.

A photo of yourself on at least one of your sites helps. I think it's fine to use a pic of your art as an avatar especially if it's very recognizable as your style. But somewhere, people like to see who they're dealing with, and it makes it easier to recognize you when in person opportunities arise from your online networking.



CONTACT INFO

Set up an email address specifically for art site contact, social media etc, if you're not ok mixing it with your personal email. Check it at least a few times a week. Write it out rather than make the email a link, e.g. "your name AT domain" instead of "yourname @ domain".  I don't recommend publishing a phone number or address but that's up to you.  Have business cards made to hand out to people in person, with your site's URL on it, email, (and if you like, more contact info).  Take business cards everywhere. Most people are online and it's easier to hand them a card if they inquire, than to try and spell it out for them.

IMAGE PROTECTION

Having had a significant infringement problem, this is one of my favorite topics. I want to help other artists prevent this, and many don't even know it's happening, because they have not yet done a "Reverse Image Search" of their own images.  Read about finding and dealing with infringements here: http://www.redbubble.com/people/cschnack/journal/7750976-art-theft-copyright-infringement-find-it-act-on-it

On most sites there may be image protection available to you but it may be weak. It is often a combination of things that works, and in my experience a strong watermark is the most effective but nothing is 100%. We lock our doors to prevent most burglaries; we don't throw up our hands in resignation, and that's the way I look at preventing infringement. If I don't make the effort, it eats up too much of my time to deal with it after the fact.

Ways to prevent infringement include:


  • Watermarks (of your name)
  • Right click disabling
  • Disabling share buttons
  • Uploading only Small (low resolution) images of 500 to 800 pixels per side
  • A stated copyright policy


A strong watermark, (that includes your name), is one you add yourself in photo editing software, that is large but semi transparent, and across the image. Many add the copyright symbol as added notice even though it's not required anymore, because many people still wrongly believe that no notice means it's not copyright protected. On a PC you make the copyright symbol by holding down the Alt key, then on your number pad 0169. ©

To add your watermark, Photoshop Elements is a graphic artists' staple and still relatively inexpensive. GIMP is a free online art/editing program.  Showing you how is beyond the scope of this blog post. There are many ways to do it, and numerous tutorials on Youtube for example.

Removing a strong watermark is possible, but relatively few people can or will remove it, so it remains worthwhile at this time.  More people will remove a small watermark on the edge which is easily cropped off. Removing a watermark can be considered criminal infringement and can increase the money damages infringers would be liable for if sued. http://www.theartistsjd.com/copyright-management-information/

Right click disabling, disabling share buttons, a no-pin code, etc, are weak protections.  They probably serve to send the message you don't allow it but they won't stop many infringers. Be aware that much 'sharing' lacks attribution. Do not assume it's free advertising. If your images are marked well, at least they might still be identifiable.

The main reason site's display small images is that the page loads faster. It is of minor deterrence to infringement, because most web use only requires the same small images most sites typically display. On everything BUT PODs you  typically upload only  low resolution images.  Even PODs create a smaller version for display so the page loads well, (they keep the large version on their servers for making products).

On all of your sites there is likely an About page, or some spot where a copyright notice can go. It's not much of a deterrent but it's some, and adds to the message you're sending, making it more "willful" if someone ignores it.

A painting that sold hours after posting it online, hanging in its new owner's home.


BEING FOUND (Search Engine Optimization or SEO)

About a year ago, I felt like I was facing the opposite direction in a stream of lemmings headed for a cliff, because I had noticed search engines' new models were actually taking my traffic and increasing infringement. (E.g. credit for my work given to "Google.") Their new large views and easy right-click-copy were making it unnecessary to go to artists' sites, where there might be image protection options in place.

Most people (and sites) were still trying to just get big traffic numbers. I was trying to do what seemed impossible; to be found by good people, and not be found by bad people, LOL! I wasn't the only one who noticed the train wreck, (just one example):  http://creativitytech.com/google-image-search-hurts-photographers/

Some easier ways you can tailor your traffic include possibly cutting back on the search tags to only those most relevant and that would be the most likely to be used by a buyer. Your name is an important search tag!  On many sites you simply type in search tags in the allotted space for it, (sometimes called labels).  Or, using more tags to get people to a blog post to read about your process, which then leads the truly interested to go to your portfolio.

If your images are watermarked before you upload them, then search engines will display a marked image. This helps keep the image identifiable as yours. It also puts potential infringers on notice, that the image is NOT free to use. Many people mistakenly believe that the internet is "the public domain," (free), but it's not. Public Domain refers to (for one example) copyrights that expired due to age, or never existed, like the Mona Lisa or many govt documents. Public Domain Sherpa is a site that explains more. Public Domain is not the same as public place. Infringers are not your audience and they're not your buyers. They are junk traffic, like spammers and scammers, some just annoying, others quite nefarious.

Work on being found by legitimate people. See Ask Harriette's blog for more technical info: http://askharriete.typepad.com/ask_harriete/2014/07/10-tips-for-artists-and-makers-to-attract-web-traffic-to-your-site.html

On many sites you don't have the option to add code, etc, and are limited to the check box and fill in the blank options.

Judicious use of search tags and watermarks has gone a long way for me.

READ SITE TERMS CAREFULLY

Read ANY site's Terms before joining, and especially before uploading any images! Compare them to other similar sites. Choose the one that is the most friendly for what you want to do, and once joined, use the site in the way that best serves you. E.g. I don't upload usable art images to social media, because their terms are kind of grabby and I don't want to find out how far they'd go as far as those clauses that say they can do pretty much whatever they want.  Studio shots, prominently marked images, etc, are mostly what I post on social media now. I got tired of finding restaurants and coffee companies using my art to advertise their businesses, without asking or paying me.

Don't be afraid to try more than one site, find out what you like, and put most of your effort into it, rather than being on too many sites to do any of them well.  I feel that one website, one or two social media accounts, and one blog, are plenty. A POD could fit in there if you like, and I'm not alone in using a POD as a portfolio. Having accounts allows you to comment, follow people whose info interests you, and network, even if you aren't particularly active on all of them.

MY TWO BLOGS, OR IS IT THREE NOW?

When I set up both accounts, for wordpress and blogspot, I figured I'd choose one and delete the other. But it ended up being useful to have both accounts even though I gravitated to using my wordpress blog the most, to discuss my art.  E.g. this post I just did about what tools I take with me to sketch away from home: http://cindyschnackel.wordpress.com/2014/07/11/taking-a-sketchbook-almost-everywhere/

For awhile, I figured I'd just save Blogspot for the registration, or to blog about not quite relevant enough topics for the 'art blog.'  Then Google Plus came along and  now I'm trying that, still not really using it a lot, because I forget it's there and haven't gotten really comfortable with it. But it is useful to have the account.  https://plus.google.com/u/0/111601554468647360732/posts

There will always be evolution in social media and other types of sites, and how we use the net.  It's good to be ready to adapt, but to have a sort of home base site or two that you stay on long term. That way, even if some sites don't work out and you try new ones, you're always findable by your buyers and network.


© Cindy Schnackel.

02 July, 2014

Art Matters, that Don't Matter.: Art Geek

Post by fellow Arizona artist Larry Willis:



Art Matters, that Don't Matter.: Art Geek: Confessions of an Art Geek   At MOCA LA  (Larry Transformer) . I have drawn all my life. But it was in high school that I gain...

30 June, 2014

July show, "Dry," at R. Pela Contemporary Art!


I'll have one painting in R. Pela's show this July, "Dry," a show about living in the desert.  My painting is "Good China in the Bad Desert," Acrylic on panel, 48 x 20 inches. $600.  Hope to see you there.


The show opens for the First Friday Art Walk, July 4th, and is open thru most of July by appointment. There is also a paid event for Third Friday, speakers on their experience living in the desert. The speakers present their show three times that night, so if you miss one you may be able to catch another.

The art show is free to view.

For more info see the gallery site: http://rpelagallery.com/

04 May, 2014

Updating price list for available artworks; Reprints and now pillows


Return of the Killer Pink Bunny Rabbits
SHAKING UP THE SNOW GLOBE (i.e. making some changes)

My price list has a new home! Available works, with details and prices, can now be found here: http://cindyschnackel.wordpress.com/sale-current-price-lists/

The show in April was quite successful, creating a need for a vastly updated list.  The old one, which I'd kept on my redbubble site, was having technical difficulties, and it seems I can accomplish the same on Wordpress without tedious code stuff.

Just changed the background 'themes' on both of my blogs. Everything should still be in approximately the same place and easy to locate.  Please let me know if you notice anything isn't working!

REPRINTS AND PILLOWS

Redbubble, the POD site I've been on now for 4 years, just started offering some new products. Many of them are various higher end type reprints, one option on metal. Anyone who has followed me over the last year knows I stopped selling reprints publicly due to an infringement problem, so I haven't had any feedback on these new type reprints.

Redbubble also offers throw pillows, new this week. Not being the home decor type, I drew a blank on what was meant by 'with insert' but 'cover only' was pretty obvious. If you buy a pillow be sure you choose the option you want, stuffed (insert) or unstuffed (cover only).  I understand it has a zipper. The cover alone may be a better value if you can get the insert locally for a few dollars, as the shipping of a stuffed pillow seems to be what really drives the total cost up!  JoAnnes is just one craft/fabric store that carries pillow inserts. (Not an endorsement.)

As for my offerings of pillows, I played around with the option a bit, and will offer just a few things and see how it goes. I really want to order one and see what they're like before I do much more. So far, Redbubble has not disappointed as far as product quality.




24 April, 2014

Last days of "For the Birds," and Grand Ave's artwork

ICED, Acrylic, 48 x 36 in., Cindy Schnackel
FOR THE BIRDS SHOW NEARLY OVER

April has been a fun month! It's been a wonderful opportunity to be in a two person show at R. Pela Contemporary Art. Scott Wolf is also showing there.  Our show comes down Sunday, so there is still time to see it by appointment.  Above is "Iced," a large acrylic palette knife painting, $1000.

It was great when, earlier this year, gallery owner Robrt Pela came to visit my studio and asked me if I'd like to do a bird themed show. Of course, I said 'Yes.'  I was pleased with his choice for the other artist, as I really enjoy Scott's bold style and humor.

If you're on Facebook, R. Pela gallery has a page there, and below is also the gallery's website.  Hope you'll give Robrt a call and set up a private viewing during what's left of this week!

http://rpelagallery.com/

https://www.facebook.com/RPelaContemporaryArtGallery

GRAND AVENUE'S ARTIST-DECORATED PLANTERS

Some of my local friends who do mosaics are doing amazing mosaic work on concrete planters in central Phoenix, along Grand Avenue.  There are also artists doing paintings on some. This area has been getting a real sprucing up. Below are some links (that I believe are all public pages), so you can see what's going on there. There are good galleries, too, and restaurants.

http://ktar.com/22/1724404/Grand-Avenues-new-look-has-business-benefits

https://www.facebook.com/BraggsPieFactory

https://www.facebook.com/FirstFridayOnGrandAve

https://www.facebook.com/FontalLobeCommunitySpaceAndGallery


17 April, 2014

Friday is the night!



Friday, April 18, from 6 to 9 pm! If you're in Phoenix, I hope you'll stop by the reception of my show, For the Birds, at R. Pela Contemporary Art.  Located at 334 W. McDowell.  Also showing is Scott Wolf. Our styles differ greatly but it's clear we both have a warped sense of humor! The show is up thru most of April, by appointment, if you miss the reception. 

I may also have a (non-bird) painting in a July show, details TBA when I know more, assuming the painting has not sold before I commit.


10 April, 2014

This is why more people are watermarking their images online

Amazing that people in professions that really require them to understand copyright basics hold such misconceptions!  "I found it on google." Puh-lease!!!

Be sure to read the comments in this article, too. When I last read them, by far the majority of readers showed the same lack of knowledge of copyrights as the infringers in the article, and seemed to have a sense that they're entitled to take anything they find online and use it for free.  Wrong!

Attorney sues hundreds over use of Indy skyline photo

http://www.ibj.com/attorney-sues-hundreds-over-use-of-indy-skyline-photo/PARAMS/article/47063

Putting a copyright notice or any other mark on your work hasn't been required by law for decades. Lack of a mark does not mean it's free! At any rate, you can see why more artists and photographers ARE permanently 'marring' their images with giant watermarks. It does deter many infringers, partly because some wrongly believe it's required to mark images. Even so, if an infringer removes the mark, I guess the people in this article think that means it's free. Idiots.

31 March, 2014

April Show, March Governors Arts Award purchase

 FOR THE BIRDS!

This Friday, April 4th, is the opening reception of my show, For the Birds, at R. Pela Contemporary Art!  If you're in the Phoenix area I hope you'll stop by. A second reception will be held Friday, April 18th. The gallery is also open by appointment. 

Artist Scott Wolf is also showing his wonderful mashups of unrelated things in delightful combinations. His style is very bold and graphic and the pieces are beautifully done. That's Scott's telephone/car/camera in the show ad.

R. Pela is located at 335 W. McDowell in Phoenix, AZ. It is in the back, as is parking, but there is more parking available in nearby lots, and it's a short walk from parking on Central and McDowell area, at the Phoenix Art Museum and Burton Barr public library.  

See the gallery site for more info: http://rpelagallery.com/


NEW WORK

I've been uploading more new work to my Redbubble site, much of it to be in the show.  Above is Some Sort of Sparrow, an 8 x 10 mixed media painting on panel, that will be available at R. Pela's.

Also included will be the whole six painting group of the Royal Poultry series.  Each is 5 x 7 inches and framed, acrylic. There will be more sparrows, more birds of all kinds, chickens of course, and sizes from itty bitty and very affordable framed original drawings, to very large, (and up to $1000).   Robrt has a great idea of offering some small pieces from artists that can be purchased and taken home right away. He calls them the Boutique pieces.  Many of my little drawings and tiny paintings are framed up or mounted on panel for this, and I believe prices for boutique items are around $25, give or take a few dollars depending on size. So, something for every budget and space!

Check out my page on Redbubble, where I still primarily display new art, and see what else is new! http://www.redbubble.com/people/cschnack


GOVERNORS ARTS AWARDS; PURCHASE AWARD

Last month, one of my paintings, Birds in Wigs, was purchased though the Arizona Commission on the Arts, as an award for an as yet unnamed recipient, for the Governors Arts Awards! The winner of the Arts Education Organization category, Rosie's House, A Musical Academy for Children, received my painting at the Awards March 25th, for their outstanding work providing music lessons for children in one of the toughest low income neighborhoods in the city. Most of their students go on to college, quite an accomplishment! http://frontdoorsnews.com/2014/03/the-33rd-governors-arts-award/  The painting may be in my show in April, I think that's still a detail to be worked out.


(All of my work, here and from other sources, is copyright Cindy Schnackel, all rights reserved.)

17 March, 2014

POD sites may not qualify for DMCA's safe harbor; Gardner v. Cafe Press

My comments on article, "CafePress, Self-Publishing and the DMCA," from Plagiarism Today, 17 March 2014. RE: Gardner v. Cafe Press:  http://www.plagiarismtoday.com/2014/03/17/cafepress-dmca/

This is very interesting and should make all POD (print on demand) sites sit up and take notice. For years, real artists, (as opposed to thieves and copycats), have been saying the sites need to do better 'due diligence' in preventing and removing infringements and terminating repeat infringers.  All this time many PODs claimed that by responding to takedowns they have safe harbor from liability. Maybe not. Even before Gardner v Cafepress there have been holes in that theory.

 With reverse image search technology, plagiarism checkers, etc, it is not impossible to do, it's just that none (that I know of) have done it yet. And it does not take special software to recognize when a member's entire portfolio is full of Disney characters. Why are such members there for years on end?

 Sadly, it seems infringement is profitable, as apparently is turning a blind eye to it. 

 Unless you get sued, like this site has been, (and this is not the only case). Many sites Terms say they can hold members accountable for legal costs. That is a message that infringing members need to receive, too.

Another case against the POD: Parker v. Cafe Press: http://www.courthousenews.com/2013/11/04/62592.htm


26 February, 2014

Upcoming show, unexpected honors, sharing an interesting blog post


As details become known to me, I'll post more, but it looks like I'll be having a bird themed art show thru the month of April in Phoenix!   This is the result of a gallery owner I'd worked with  before, coming to visit my studio.  I hauled out everything so he could see a pretty good range. The majority of my work anymore is birds, so it's not surprising that will be the theme! It's to be a 2-person show. I think I know who the 2nd person will be, but will wait until the gallery creates its own announcement before I say much more.

Recently, I was honored to have one of my paintings chosen as a purchase award by the Arizona Commission on the Arts Governors Arts Awards! There will be an awards ceremony in March at the Mesa Arts Center. About the awards: http://www.governorsartsawards.org/about-the-awards/  The painting is Birds in Wigs.

I had no idea selection for this was going on nor did I know how it worked. I was called one day by the Arts Commission's director, and asked to send him a few images of bird art that were within a certain price range. I did, and shortly, he informed me they were buying this one! That was followed by the documents etc that I needed to fill out. It was so nice of him to remember my work and contact me!

UPDATE 17 Mar. 2014, recent article on the awards: http://www.broadwayworld.com/phoenix/article/Tucson-Phoenix-and-Scottsdale-Artists-Selected-For-33RD-ANNUAL-GOVERNORS-ARTS-AWARDS-325-20140317#

Today, when I checked my email, there was a new blog post from Ask Harriete, ("I love your work and want to make one for myself"), an arts related blog I just recently started following.  From what I gather from her blog and a few others, apparently it's become fairly common now for workshops and paint parties to use artist's work without permission.  This is not flattering, and is not legal. I can't imagine why anyone operating a class, workshop, or party, would risk it.  http://askharriete.typepad.com/ask_harriete/2014/02/i-love-your-work-and-want-to-make-one-for-myself.html

And to end a post on a good note, (because infringement stuff never is), last I heard, the buyer of the 3-bird commissioned portrait was still thrilled with it! He bought Cardinal, too, and likewise has said he loves them. This is always good to hear!

07 February, 2014

Finished a pet portrait

This 48 x 24 in. acrylic painting on canvas went home with its new owner today, along with Cardinal, a small painting I did a couple years ago.  I will be updating my price/inventory lists on my Redbubble page, to reflect that Cardinal is no longer available.

It has been a good winter so far. Not too cold, no bad storms, am making and selling artwork, and we are happy so far with the house we just moved into.  When we moved here, first thing I did was set up essentials to start the bird painting above. Now that it's gone home with its new family, I will finish organizing my studio. Will also be getting out ALL of my artwork for a studio visit later this month by a gallery owner.  One thing I quickly discovered was that I needed a higher work surface.  My old back problems cropped up again when I spent so much time working over a standard folding work table. I need it to be about kitchen counter height, when it's not on an easel.

If you want to read about the process a little, and see some WIPs (work in progress pics), I blogged about it more on my Redbubble page today. http://www.redbubble.com/people/cschnack/journal/11499595-making-of-3-bird-portrait

Something else we did when we first moved in was put up wild bird feeders. Our birds love to watch them, and so do we.  I liked the shadows on the wall behind this otherwise crappy shot of what was probably the first bird to find the feeder in January.





Have a good weekend!

(All work © Cindy Schnackel)

31 January, 2014

Unraveled

Last night, my husband and I finally did something we've been talking about for months; we took our first knitting lesson.  We want it for the hand coordination, to make something useful, and as something relaxing to do while watching TV at night.  My husband had never knitted before, but he's so smart, he was figuring out how to fix his mistakes before the teacher even showed us!  I have to confess this was not my first knitting experience. At about the age of 10, I knitted a scarf for the cat.  It was surprising how it sort of came back to me, at least the principle of interlocking loops. Somehow I started with 18 stitches and then it increased to 25, and then went back down to 23. For the things we'll be making, that may not matter much. I love the colors and textures. The yarn shop was already looking like a candy store, now we'll really have to exercise restraint!  I appreciate that my hubby is man enough not to care that anyone knows he's knitting, too.

22 January, 2014

Moving On in 2014, and A(nother) Copyright Rant

"Swinger," acrylic on canvas, shown in buyer's home. Photo courtesy of buyer, used with permission.

FINISHING THE OLD YEAR ON A GOOD NOTE

The above photo is from December 2013. I participated in the outdoor Phoenix Festival of the Arts mural project.  Each artist had a 6 x 3 ft canvas, and the event set the price of $300.  Before the event, participating artists and others built and stretched over 100 of these!  Much of the credit for making the canvas stretching happen goes to event organizer Hugo Medina who does much for the arts in this area. The event sold the paintings for $300 each, with 80% of that being paid to the artists. I like projects that contribute to the arts while still valuing artists and their work. There was no fee for artists to participate. It was really nice to have it sell so quickly, (within hours of my posting an iPhone pic on Facebook). 

A NEW LOCATION, MY FIRST DEDICATED STUDIO SPACE, FIRST PAINTING OF THE NEW YEAR

A tiny bit of a work in progress is visible on the work table. Essentials are there, more organizing to do!

We moved to Tempe, from Phoenix, over the holidays.  Discovering the advantages of our new area is fun. I should be able to get back into ceramics this year.  It's great having indoor space big enough to work on more than miniatures. I do love making miniatures and painting outside, but there are times I want to work big, or the weather isn't conducive to art making!

Right now, I'm working on a large commissioned pet portrait painting.  I accepted the commission back in December. After we moved, I got my new studio-room well enough in order to begin the painting.  I'm enjoying it, as it's right up my alley. (Birds!) As soon as it's done, I will be finishing the organization of my studio. THEN I may have some prettier pics of my working space!

I love the light in this room. It's true about a North facing window being the best.

Can you believe I worked on everything from a bed to a kitchen table in the past?

A series of miniature paintings that I began in 2013 is almost done. They got put aside to look for a new place and then move, last year. I see now that the last painting in the series of 5 is about half done. Sometimes it's that last little bit that seems to take forever!  Of course, I might think of another piece to add to the series and then it'll be longer.  So far I'm sticking to my decision not to display any of them until the series is done. Not sure if that will win out in the end.





THE RANT

First, I want to express thanks to people who respect copyrights. Those who ask permission, read and honor artist's copyright policies, take the time to learn copyright truths instead of perpetrating myths, and 'share' correctly. They are a breath of fresh air.

More artists watermarking their images

I enjoyed several articles and blog posts recently on copyrights. The following two are by artists who've had to deal with increasing infringements like I and so many artists have.

http://awapara.wordpress.com/2014/01/13/copyright-visual-arts/

http://monawildgal.wordpress.com/2014/01/18/let-the-great-watermarking-begin/

Many artists welcome, or used to welcome, true 'sharing,' (a link, often accompanied by a thumbnail, that provided automatic attribution to us). I am not alone in noticing a correlation between certain types of so-called sharing sites and search engine changes, and the jump in damaging infringements. These sites enable infringement and mislead members about what's really ethical or even legal.

Users adopted a sense of entitlement. Sites adopted Terms that hold members accountable for legal costs if sued for members' infringements.

The myth of 'Public Domain'

Public domain refers to items that are off copyright due to age, or source (like govt documents), or owners voluntarily giving up rights. Being publicly viewable is not the same thing. Read: http://library.case.edu/copyright/cmyths.html

Images are products

We talk about not wanting to deface our images to protect them. I also cringe in doing it. But then, (screeching wheels sound effect), I thought, "Wait a minute!" 

These images are a tool to market what we are selling.  We're not in the business of giving away work any more than plumbers or doctors. Even food stores only give out samples, not the whole box. The fact we promote online like other professions is irrelevant.

Not sure when the idea took hold, that we had to put our art images out there unprotected. Sounds like an idea hatched by people who just want free stuff!  Even before the internet, ads for art prints were often on cheap paper, small, cropped, marked, or in some way NOT near as good as the real reprint being advertised.  Given that the reprints for sale were often mass produced and on cardboard, you can imagine that the ad was not frame-worthy. 

That's how our internet images need to be thought of; a sample, not the product itself.  

A digital image is by it's very nature a product. Even small ones are very usable as ads, etc, online, or as small products like keychains and cards.  Sold in volume, loss of sales of those things adds up! A mark effectively makes the image the sample that it should be.  A real problem exists for those who sell on PODs, (Print On Demand sites).  They can't upload a marked image, because reprints and products would then bear a big watermark.  And if they upload a clean image, it's easily infringed.  

That is exactly why I stopped selling reprints on a POD, and that is money damage to me due to infringement.

Infringement can be as costly or even more costly than theft of actual artworks.

Read one artist's story: http://www.courthousenews.com/2013/11/04/62592.htm

Marketing info on art needs to be updated to address copyrights

You will still see posts or articles saying watermarking is 'unprofessional,' but IMO that opinion is losing ground fast. One of my measuring sticks for marketing info is whether or not it's up to date on this subject. A marketing expert should be among the first to recognize that copyrights (essentially, reproduction rights), can be worth more financially than the actual artwork.  To be able to devote full time hours to creating art, artists have to be able to make a profit, and reproduction/licensing are often a big part of that income. Unauthorized uses can damage an artist's ability to profit from their own work. 

Watermarking can't prevent all infringements, but it seems to prevent, (or at least minimize the damage of), the majority.  That translates to a lot more time and mental energy to make new art.