Category Archives: Art

Project NOW : Part 2

Continuing from yesterday’s post, here’s what I’ve done with my N O W wooden letters. And I’ll also explain the Philosophy behind the Art.

NOW:
N = Notice
O = Observe
W = Witness

We must learn to stop rushing about and Notice the little things around us, which makes us stay in the present. Then, Observe in greater detail that which you have noticed, so you may further learn from it. Once you’ve learned the lesson, be a Witness of it and tell the world about it, i.e spread the word.

The funny thing is, I was listening to a CD of Wayne W Dyer speaking, (The Importance Of Being Extraordinary, with Eckhart Tolle, 2 CD set 2013), and he mentioned almost exactly the same thing. Wayne Dyer was quoting a famous poet, Mary Oliver (from 5:12-5:47 of track 1 of CD1), on the secrets of a successful, enlightened life:

“It just boils down to: Pay Attention, Be Astonished, and Tell Other People”.

Now, I was out cycling when I listened to that CD. And when Wayne Dyer said those words, and they were so similar to what I’d been thinking, I nearly fell off my bicycle. Talk about synchronicity!

Another idea I developed from the NOW model was this:

If you live in the Now, you will learn to Own your life for the true miracle that it is, and you will have Won over your egoistic needs.

And so, I present the fruits of my labour, the NOW Project, in its three different configurations:

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The lovely glossy sheen you can see in the photos above come from a spray varnish for cars, of all things. I love that varnish!

The next photos show how all the sides of the letters are covered by Gelli® prints.
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I hope you’ll be inspired to give this a go yourself. These were easy enough to do, as the letters are modern sans serif (no curly stick-out parts). Go on, give it a whirl. NOW! 😄

Project NOW: Part I

Lately, I’ve been hankering after decoupaged wooden letters, the sort you see in trendy homes spelling inspiring words like LOVE, HOME, PEACE, JOY etc.

Like these that I saw on a Google Image search:

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So, when I saw some large wooden letters for sale at Thingz, one of my favourite home decoration stores, I decided to buy some to create my own cutesy letter art “sculpture”.

Why the word NOW? Well, I would’ve bought the letters H O M E or L O V E, but for the fact that each letter cost $7.99 but I could buy 3 for $20. So, I had to choose a 3-letter word, and N O W seemed a great idea.

Those of you following my humble blog will have noticed that I haven’t written about any Gelli® plate printing lately. That’s because I’ve been busy vacillating between reading Mind, Body & Spirit books and creating digital photography art on my Samsung Galaxy Note 4. While at the same time fantasising about my Next Big Project. And getting nowhere. There’s just not enough time in the day to do everything, and I can’t clone myself.

As it so happened, I had a whole pile of Gelli® prints lying dormant, awaiting further action. Now would be a perfect time to use up some of them.

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I selected the prints I wanted, then traced around each letter with a fine-tipped Sharpie pen. Then I used scissors and a scalpel (for the fiddly bits) to cut out the shapes.

I used PVA woodworking glue as my adhesive, and stuck the cut out Gelli® print letters to the wooden N O W letters.

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The wooden N O W letters were about an inch thick. I wanted to cover the depth of the letters with my Gelli® prints as well as front, so I measured and cut out several strips of Gelli® prints for the sides.
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And here they are, with front AND sides done. All that’s needed is to seal the surfaces and then varnish the letters.

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There’s another reason why I chose NOW instead of another 3-letter word such as JOY, but I’ll tell you what that is in my next post. 😄

Artist Inspiration : Elspeth McLean

I’ve got dotty over Elspeth McLean‘s art. I mean, literally.

I came across a shared post on Facebook, with a photo of some round stones painted with colourful dots reminiscent of Australian Aboriginal Dot Paintings. The hyperlink took me to Elspeth’s Facebook page.

Elspeth uses mainly a No.0 paintbrush and acrylic paints to paint her dots, a technique she calls “Dotillism”. Her substrates include traditional canvas and board, but also pebbles or stones. Just beautiful!

Here’s a video showing Elspeth painting a flat round stone. It may look simple, but I reckon you need really steady hands and an eye for perfect symmetry and colour.

https://youtu.be/hEA7kpVN29o

Here are my favourite Elspeth McLean paintings, curated from Pinterest and Google Images.

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Artist Inspiration : Riusuke Fukahori and Keng Lye

Those lucky enough to have been in London in the United Kingdom from 1st December 2011 to 11th January 2012 would have had the opportunity to witness the extraordinary exhibition called “Goldfish Salvation“, by the amazing Japanese artist Riusuke Fukahori.

Fukahori painstakingly paints goldfish and Japanese koi, layer by layer, in acrylics and poured resin. He’ll paint some details of the fish, pour a layer of resin over it, wait til it hardens, then paint another layer on top of the resin, pour over another layer of resin, paint, pour resin, and so on. It’s akin to 3D painting. It’s labour-intensive and also requires a good sense of depth perception and the ability to project that out to the viewer.

I saw Fukahori’s work on a friend’s Facebook feed, then did some more research on the artist. This Is Collosal did a nice write-up about Fukahori here.

In 2000, Fukahori, an art graduate, had been suffering from artist block when he started noticing his pet goldfish, which had been neglected for a long time, but which was still surviving. This goldfish gave Fukahori his artistic mojo back. Since then, Fukahori has painted thousands of goldfish and koi.

Here are just a few images of Fukahori’s work, and also a video, sourced from Google and YouTube. The video shows ICN Gallery’s “Goldfish Salvation” exhibition and features Fukahori’s works that were exhibited there.

Link to the video:
https://youtu.be/AVJOQG_bpQM

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Fukahori’s work has inspired other artists to try the same paint/resin/paint technique.

In Singapore, artist Keng Lye produces similar works of art. But Keng Lye deviates from Fukahori in that he repurposes household items as containers for his creations (Fukahori uses wooden and bamboo Japanese food containers), and Keng Lye also paints other aquatic animals – frogs, octopi, prawns, betta fighting fish, terrapins etc. And Keng Lye has gone one step further by making his aquatic creations seemingly rise up out of the water. He does this by cleverly using an eggshell as a terrapin’s shell breaking the surface, or pebbles and stones for a ranchu goldfish and an octopus. This makes his creations even more realistic.

Again, This Is Colossal has a great write-up about Keng Lye.

You can follow Keng Lye on his Facebook page here.

Here is a video showing Keng Lye’s work.

Keng Lye’s series is aptly called “Alive Without Breath”. Here are some images of his work, sourced from Google Images. Keng Lye also has a deviantArt page, where you can see more of his wonderful creations.

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FREEBIES! Gelli® Print images

I must admit I haven’t been practising my Gelli® printing lately, having been drawn in a different direction by my latest mixed media photography art projects. If only there were more hours in the day, if only I could split myself in 2 or even 3, one to do Gelli® printing, one to work on my photographic art, and one to run around town doing other things.

No, housework is NOT one of those other things.

Also, you may have noticed that every time I mention the word Gelli® I now use the ® sign after it. This is with the permission of Gelli Arts®, with whom I have no affiliation. It’s so folks don’t get confused and think I work for Gelli Arts®, or am endorsing their product.

What I Have been doing, these past month, is using photos of my Gelli® prints in conjunction with other photos and clipart on my mobile device, to create images for ongoing projects.

So right now, I have over 200 close up photos of my monoprints. Of which you’re welcome to do whatever you like with the following:

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Have a great weekend, folks!

Project: Inspiration Deck Booster Pack

In January of this year, I started a new project of cards with inspirational sayings. My intention was to create a deck of 25 different cards, which could be boosted by another 25 later on. In February, I finished the first 25 designs, just in time for the Chinese New Year celebrations. You can read about that first deck, and have a look at some of those cards in this post.

A few days ago, I was playing with some Apps and filters, and decided that, instead of trying to fit my prepared background images into some sort of frame, why not simply use a white shape template placed over the image, as a mask? I could then place my text on the mask itself. That way, I wouldn’t have to worry about my text being hard to decipher over a colourful background.

So, here are just a few examples of the “Booster” pack of my Inspiration Deck.

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These are just the rough gems. I have yet to trim, resize and polish them, before they’ll be fit for printing.

With the first batch of the Inspiration Deck, I gave several away at my Uncle’s Chinese New Year Reunion Dinner. And a few days after that, I Abandoned several in my local area, by putting them into envelopes with the Art Abandonment tag stuck on, and leaving them in people’s postboxes. (I live in Australia, where putting mail in postboxes without it going through the Postal system is perfectly legal. Hence all that junk mail one gets).

I expect when I’ve ordered and received a deck of these new cards, another Art Abandonment exercise will be in my diary of things to do.

Bearing in mind though that this is still in the early stages…I’m still playing with a couple of other design ideas in my head, so it all may change at the drop of a hat. I know, I’m fickle :-).

Artist Inspiration : Emily Williams

I first came across the work of Emily Williams in an article by Jenny Zhang for My Modern Met. Wowzer! I’d never heard of “flameworked glass” before, so my interest was piqued. Also, I couldn’t help but be awed and intrigued by the fluid, organic forms of Emily’s creations.

Here is the link to Jenny Zhang’s article. You’ll enjoy Jenny’s excellent full-length, exclusive interview with the artist, which provides insight into how Emily’s family background and experiences helped shape her fascination for biological lifeforms and the artistic format she has chosen for herself.

No artist emerges from a vacuum; ideas and creations stem from our experiences and interactions with others, which form our opinions and beliefs and which provide our sources of inspiration. When I blog about artists who inspire me, under my “Artist Inspiration” titles, it’s actually about 2 things: 1) the Artists who inspire me, and their subjects or techniques, or any other intriguing point of view that makes them stand out from the crowd, and 2) how the Artist in Me is inspired by them, and what lessons or creative ideas I gain from learning about them.

Here is the link to Emily Williams’ own website: http://www.emilywilliamssculpture.com/

Here are some of Emily Williams’ beautifully flameworked borosilicate glass sculptures. I’ve curated them from Google Images, Pinterest and also from the My Modern Met article, and included several images that show Emily at work on a piece, to give you an idea of scale. These are not tiny, delicate handblown glass pieces, these are large pieces painstakingly worked with glass rods and a handheld flame torch, and they can take months to complete.

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Here also is a YouTube video by Emily showing her work process.
http://youtu.be/c3NhykkiFcI

New Artwork : Surreal Fantasy

I had a sudden surge of creativity last week, after stumbling upon some hitherto neglected filters and clipart in an App on my mobile phone. I got so inspired by the possibilities of combining several disparate elements together to create a new series of digital artwork with a Surreal Fantasy theme, that I stayed up late over several nights to finish them.

These have been submitted to my Licensing company for production, fingers crossed they pass the quality standards set by the company. Hopefully then they will be made available on various housewares, such as bedlinen, shower curtains, wall art, placemats etc.

Here are 5 examples, out of the 20 I created. I hope you like them!

image“A Sudden Grand Deluge”

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image“As Above, So Below”

These were a lot of fun to create. And I decided to give them all whimsical titles, to add to the surreal fantasy feel. Believe it or not, only 3 Apps were used to create these: PicsArt, Impressionist Fingerpaint and Photo Editor.

Fish!

I was sorting through my thousands of photos in my mobile phone’s camera roll the other day, and came across some poor abandoned, orphaned half-processed images of my Japanese Koi fish. I remembered that at the time of editing those photos, I’d been playing with an App called Trimaginator. And then some other project of mine superceded it, and it got buried under an avalanche of new photos.

My favourite App for blending images on my Samsung Galaxy Note 4 is “Photo Blender“. It offers more blend modes than you can think of, and is super-easy to use.

Another favourite App of mine for creating colourfield backgrounds is “Impressionist Fingerpaint“. I have a folder in my phone that is just for backgrounds I’ve created using that App.

I decided to have a play with my Fish images, Photo Blender and Impressionist Fingerpaint. The only other App used here is Photo Editor, for tweaking various parameters of the resulting blended images.

Such fun! And I really like the results too. Here are some of them. Please refrain from copying these images, full copyright remains with me, although I have submitted them to my Licensor for licensing on homewares.

These images hold bittersweet memories for me, personally. The fish you see are my own Koi, and since the photos were taken, the number has fallen from 12 down to 4. I’m not very good at keeping fish, and I’m determined to NOT replenish stocks anymore. When the last 4 go, that’s it.

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From Joan Beiriger’s blog : Tips On Getting Art Licensing Deals

I subscribe to Joan Beiriger’s blog on Art Licensing, where every so often, little gems of advice turn up to help aspiring art licensees get that licensing deal.

Joan’s post just the other day is just one of these valuable nuggets, and, just in case the link doesn’t work for those who aren’t subscribed, I’ve copied and pasted her wise words here for you all:

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On social media sites (Facebook, LinkedIn and blogs) artists periodically post that they are frustrated because they have not been successful in licensing their work while other artists continue to post comments and pictures about their licensing success. Why is it that some artists are successful and others not?

There are many reasons. But basically the reason why some artists are successful is that their work is very well done and can compete with other artists in the industry, have themes that consumers want on products, and has a lot of art that is licensable.

The following discusses the importance in knowing if your art is good enough, knowing what art styles and themes that manufacturers license for their products, and building a relationship with manufacturer art directors.

• Is your art good enough?
How do you know if your art is good enough (executed well, have the right themes, colors, composition, etc.) to be able to compete against other artists in the licensing industry? Below are tips on what you can do to figure out why you are having trouble getting deals and how to improve the chance in licensing your art.

– Hire a consultant
It is difficult for an artist to recognize why her/his art is not being licensed. Getting kudos from family, friends, and fellow artists will not help to get deals if the art is not licensable. And, one way to find out is to hire an art-licensing consultant. A consultant can tell you if you need to have more art, what themes you need, and suggest what manufacturers to approach. But, most importantly you need a consultant that will be very forthcoming and tell you the truth IF your art is not good enough to compete with other artists.

Unfortunately not all consultants are capable in telling an artist the truth about their art since it is difficult for many people including consultants to hurt an artist’s feelings. Thus, when choosing an art licensing consultant make sure you stress that you want to know if your art is good enough to be licensed. If the consultant says your art is not, ask why and ask for suggestions on how to improve your art. Read “On Art Licensing Coaches (consultants)” for links to some art-licensing consultants.

– Compare art
Another way to determine if your art can compete in the art licensing industry is to compare your art with art that has already been licensed. Licensed art on products can be seen in gift stores like Hallmark, at trade gift shows like the Atlanta Gift Market, on manufacturer websites, and on e-store websites.

When comparing your art to art that is already licensed the purpose is not to copy the licensed art but to look at the art and determine what it has that makes a manufacturer license it and what your art lacks. This is not very easy to do since it is hard to accept that your art may not be good enough. Thus, you need to be open-minded and willing to admit to yourself that your art could stand improvement.

Below are some questions to ask yourself when comparing your art to licensed art.
1. Is your art style licensable? Not all art styles are licensable for products in all product industries. For instance, some forms of fine art appear like the paint was slapped on haphazardly and has not well defined motifs. Is that your art style? You probably will not find many products other than home décor prints with this art style because it does not appeal to the mass market. Read the article “Editorial: Not all art is licensable” for information on why not all art is licensable even if it is well executed.

2. Is the composition of your art pleasing and the motifs well arranged? For information about art composition read “Creating Licensable Art: Composition Tips”.

3. Do you have enough or too many motifs in your image? For instance, if you have a painting of one flower with a bird and the manufacturer is licensing art with a multiple number of flowers and several birds in the image then you probably will not be able to license that image because your image is too simple. But on the other hand, if your art is very busy with a lot of motifs and the manufacturer is licensing art that is simple with only a few motifs then you would have difficulty in licensing the art to that manufacturer. Closely look at licensed art in the different industries (fabric, decorative flags, greeting cards, jig-saw puzzles) and the different manufacturers in each industry to determine what they want.

4. Does the licensed art for a particular manufacture have a bright and pleasing color combination while your art is dark and drab looking (unsaturated colors)? You probably need to pump up the color saturation if you want to license the art to that manufacturer. Or, is the manufacturer licensing pastel colored art and you don’t use pastel colors. Then, probably that is not the manufacturer for your art.

• Learn what art manufacturers want
It is REALLY important for artists to create art specifically to be licensed for products in the industry(s) they target. And because the art themes must be popular in the mass or niche markets, it is REALLY important to know what art styles and themes the licensees need to be able to sell their products. Thus, it is REALLY important to research what art styles and themes the manufacturers license.

As pointed out in “Changes in Art Styles Used on Products” each industry (decorative flags, greeting cards, fabrics, calendars, jigsaw puzzles, table top, etc.) and even different manufacturers in the same industry have different criteria when selecting art to license. The criteria depend upon the manufacturer’s customer base and how they wish to differentiate themselves from their competition. Learning what kind of art they have licensed is a MUST before submitting art to them.

For example, since I am interested in licensing my art for decorative flags, I have spent many hours on my computer researching flag images on the e-store flagsrus.org to determine what are popular themes, what makes some art on flags standout more than others, are the designs simple or detailed, what art style(s) are used, do they use borders, do they use words, etc.

I now know what art themes are used by individual flag manufacturers. And I have discovered that some flag manufacturers tend to license pretty and more pastel looking art while other manufacturers license images with contrasting and bold colors. The most used word on flags is “welcome”. Some manufacturers use words on the majority of their flags, and others only have words on a few of their flags. Applying that information when creating my art has helped me get deals with six decorative flag manufacturers. Thus, researching manufacturers in the industry you decide to target like the example above and applying that information to your art can increase the likelihood in licensing your work.

• Build relationships with art directors
The art licensing industry is all about building relationships. Building relationships with manufacturer art directors is important because if your art sells their products and you are easy to work with then they will continue to license your work.

In order to build a good relationship you need to remember that it is not what an art director can do for you but what you can do for the art director. So being willing to edit your art to their specifications, willing to compromise, being flexible, being prolific in creating art, being reliable, and showing your appreciation helps to build a strong relationship.

• Summary
Licensing art is very commercial and competitive. And to be successful, artists need to create for a commercial purpose and not just whatever they desire. The art needs to be well executed in an art style that is popular for the different mass and niche markets. And, artists need to learn what manufacturers license art, the products they sell, and what art styles and themes they need for their products. Read “Finding Manufacturers that License Art” for more information about the manufacturers.

Good Luck on Your creative journey! :-)