Category Archives: Tips

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:

image

image

image

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.
image

image

image

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:

image

image

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.

image

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.

image

image

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.
image

And here they are, with front AND sides done. All that’s needed is to seal the surfaces and then varnish the letters.

image

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. 😄

Birthday Bread

Today, the 1st of July, happens to be Canada Day. It would’ve been also Princess Diana’s birthday. It is also my birthday.

I’d been meaning to try out this recipe that I came across on Pinterest. It’s for a round loaf of crusty bread that needs no kneading. The idea of using a cast iron pot, instead of a loaf pan, appealed to me. I must confess I’m not very good at making breads. They always come out flat, or grey. Sometimes both at once. So this no-knead, “Dutch oven” crusty loaf recipe seemed too good to be true.

Here is the link to that recipe.
http://www.jocooks.com/bakery/breads/crusty-bread/

I didn’t follow the measurements in the recipe per se. I had bought a box of Laucke soy and linseed bread mix, so all I did was mix it with the amount of water and yeast as specified, and only from thereon did I follow the Dutch Oven recipe.

image

You have to leave the dough to rise for 12-18 hours. I’d prepared 2 lots of dough last night, and left them to their own devices overnight.

image
This is the batch The Kid mixed.

image
And this is the batch I mixed.

So, roll on the morning. The recipe says to preheat the oven to 450 Farenheit (around 225 Celsius). The cast iron pot you use (aka the “Dutch Oven”) also needs to preheat.

Next, all I had to do next was flour my kitchen worktop, scoop out the risen dough, form it into a ball, and drop it into the preheated pot. Like so.
image

image

And then, put the lid on the pot. Pop the whole thing into the preheated oven for 30 minutes. The lid is important for ensuring a crusty crust, as it keeps the moisture in as the loaf bakes. After the 30 minutes are up, take the lid off and continue baking for 15-20 minutes, to brown up the crust.

Et voila! C’est incroyable!

image
This is the loaf just after removing the lid.

image
Here it is after browning up.

image
And here it is in all its magnificent crustiness. Yum yum yum! Happy Birthday to me!

(I made 2 loaves. My neighbour Diane had baked me a loaf in her breadmaker, and The Kid loved it so much he urged me to get a breadmaker so we could have freshly baked bread every day. But I figured, if this recipe really works, then there’d be no need for a breadmaking machine. So I’m giving Diane a loaf and sharing the recipe with her).

Ta Daaa!
image

image

image

I’ve just realised something. Bread makes me happy!

OMG! It’s the OCD Grammar Police!

I recently purchased a deck of Oracle Cards, because the images were pretty and the colours sang to me. I won’t name this deck or the author of it, but if you ever get it, you’ll know what I mean when I say it brought out the OCD Grammar Police in me.

I never thought of myself as being OCD, until I started shuffling through those newly-acquired cards and laying out spreads and using the accompanying book to read the meanings. At first, it was just the author’s use of the symbol “&” for every instance of the word “and”. That started getting to me after a couple of pages. I mean, yes, using “&” informally or for texting is fine, but if you’re wanting your product to reach a global audience and be regarded seriously, please don’t! It just looks unprofessional.

Later, I noticed many more grammatical and spelling mistakes, too many to simply ignore. Don’t people learn simple English in schools anymore? Don’t they know when to use “You’re” and “Your”? “It’s” and “Its”? They’re not simply interchangeable, you know!

It got to the point that I found myself no longer reading the deck’s book for the meanings of the cards, but to find the next grammatical error, or spelling mistake, or wrong sentence construction.

The experience has really soured my enjoyment of using that deck of cards. I’m sorely tempted to rewrite the whole book myself, and throw the author’s one in the bin. Or even to cut out the cards’ images, stick them on plain cards and make up my own meanings and readings. Yes, I’m afraid the errors spill over onto the cards as well, in the short text on the top and bottom of each card.

This particular deck is self-published. The author most probably ordered a minimum of 1000 or even possibly 10000 copies, printed in China or Indonesia. She then approached a New Age store with branches across the state, to stock and sell them. The fact that she is one of their psychic readers may have given her some business clout.

Good for her. But she really should have asked a professional to proofread her manuscript first, before it went to print. Or, if not a professional, then someone with some level of proficiency in the English language. At the very least, she could have run a Spellcheck on her manuscript. As it is, although the artwork on the cards is truly beautiful and mesmerising, the horrendous grammatical and spelling errors on the cards and within the book really detract from it and may put people off from buying it.

Caveat emptor.

I’ve found some images on Google that might make things clearer to anyone struggling to figure out the English language, or who might know of folks who could do with a re-education. Feel free to share with your friends, and let’s hope it’s not too late to save the English language ;-)!

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

This one really gets to me. And I keep seeing it, time and again, on Facebook.
image

Just covering all bases LOL
image

Maybe this is what they’re being taught in “Shcool” these days. That about sums it up.
image

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.

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

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:

image

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! :-)

Square Collage Project

I made this mixed media collage a while back, but never got round to blogging about it, as the photos I took got buried under thousands of other photos in my camera roll.

Until now.

This collage was made using paper ephemera, washi tape and acrylic paints. The whole project, once completed was sealed with several layers of spray varnish. The substrate or base used is a cradled wooden panel that I’d made last year. For instructions how to make cradled wooden panels, read here.

I didn’t take any photos of the collage while creating it, just of the finished result, including some shots of the sides (which are also collaged) and also some close-ups. So, here they are:

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

In case you’re wondering how a couple of the ephemera elements appear to be “floating” off the background…it’s done very simply with a black watercolour pencil. Neat, huh? :-)

Juicy Journals with Word Bands

I snagged myself a set of 12 Ranger Tim Holtz Word Bands on eBay recently. They cost me around AUD$20 in total, and that’s invlcluding postage. When the word bands arrived in the post, I knew they would be perfect for my next Juicy Journal project. (For the unitiated, my Juicy Journals are Gelli Plate printed and inked pages torn into segments and bundled together into booklets, to be either enjoyed as they are, as artist books, or they can be scribbled/doodled/painted/collaged on as you like. Both sides of the paper are printed. No 2 pages are ever the same i.e they are monoprints).

This is what the Tim Holtz Word Bands look like:
image
They’ve words of inspiration etched on them, like “possibility begins with imagination”, “dream as if you’ll live forever”, “life is about creating yourself” etc. There’s a handy loop on each end of the 2-inch tags, perfect for securing and binding to my Juicy Journals.

I used a modified Ledger binding for this project. I’ve written about that project previously here. This time, I didn’t tie the loose ends together, as that would’ve created a tented look where the threads joined, and would’ve partially obscured the word tags and detracted from the overall look. Instead, I simply tied up each loose end with a double shoelace knot.

image

I used 8 A3-sized art papers, Gelliprinted on both sides using children’s texture mats and various other stamps made from household items. Out of the 8 A3 sized sheets of 190gsm weight paper I was able to make 4 Juicy Journals.

image

image

image

image

Sweet, aren’t they? I’m considering putting up some of my Juicy Journals for sale on my Etsy store. Currently, all I have on offer there are Lenormand divination cards that I designed myself. Do visit my Etsy store! :-)

Handmade : Ledger

Here’s my attempt at ledger binding some Juicy Journals. I wanted to try out a different type of binding, and also a different size and shape of journal. I’d used a texture mat (read placemat) that looked like snakeskin, so the idea came to me to create a journal that was longer than it was high.

image
Here are the strips of Gelli printed paper that I’ve torn to size. They’re printed on both sides of the paper.

image
Make 2 holes through all the layers of your stack of papers. Take an 8 inch piece of twine (I used hemp) and, starting from the end edge on the left as in the photo above, thread the twine into the hole and out the top edge. Then continue over the edge and thread back into the same hole. Your twine should end up on the left edge, underneath the stack. Tie both ends of twine together.

Turn the paper stack over and repeat the step above for the other hole.
image
Your stack will look like the photo above.

Now, simply tie the loose ends of the twine together. You may want to use an bead, for added interest. I didn’t have any beads, but I did have some Ranger Tim Holtz thingys (I never know what to call them), so I used them instead.

image
It reminds me of an old Chinese coin. That, and the snakeskin effect Gelli prints and the shimmery ink effect I used, add to the Oriental effect of this project.

image
Here are the completed ledger-bound Juicy Journals. They can be “read” the conventional way, from left to right or horizontally.
image
Or, they can be hung up on a wall vertically, to be enjoyed as wall hangings.

3 Juicy Journals from 2 Sheets of Paper

Ok, make that 2 BIG sheets of paper. 58 x 42 cm each, to be exact. Or 22.5 x 16.5 inches, if you’re Imperial.

For this project, I wanted to create some square Juicy Journals. I decided to lop off 8 x 17 cm from the two 58 x 42 cm sheets of paper that I’d already Gelli printed on both sides. This meant I could then divide the sheets up into strips of 50 x 25 cm. When folded in half, this would give me a booklet 25 x 25 cm square.

From the 2 large sheets, I was able to get 16 strips of 50 x 25 cm, and the leftovers were enough to make another Juicy Journal, not quite a square one though.

image The 8 pieces that I further divided into 2, to get the 16 strips.

image The 16 strips that will be folded in half to create square signatures of 8 pages each. I’m going to bind 2 signatures together, to get 16 pages per Juicy Journal.

image Each signature consists of 4 strips of 50 x 25 cm, folded in half to create 8 pages.

imageI’m using a pamphlet stitch, so I’ll need 3 holes in each booklet.

Basically, this technique is a really simple one, and is an optical illusion. You simply put two 8-page signatures together and sew them using a pamphlet stitch, and then fold the pages back into their respective signatures. The stitches will be hidden within the pages. I could take this a step further and create a hard cover, but I like to show off my Gelli printing, so I’ll leave them naked, so to speak.

imageHere’s how I sewed the Juicy Journal. Stand the 2 signatures you want to join together like in the photo. Open them up and align their holes. Bind all 8 layers together using a pamphlet stitch.

imageSewing the pamphlet stitch.

imageTying the knot to secure all 8 layers together.

imageFold the 2 signatures back to their respective starting points. This technique produces a booklet with a very neat finish at the spine. The stitches are hidden inside the pages.

imageFrom my 2 big sheets of Gelli printed paper, I managed to create 2 square Juicy Journals and 1 not-so-square one (from the leftover paper). That’s the one on the right, with the pamphlet stitch’s final knot showing on the outside.

imageI like the square format and think I might create some more of these. They require a bit more thought in measuring and tearing to size, but the results are very encouraging.

I also like the technique of sewing 2 signatures together, with the stitches hidden on the inside of the booklet. Might make more the same, too.

Hope you enjoyed this tutorial! :-)