Monthly Archives: May 2012

Sunday Morning Coffee #23

Food thoughts this holiday weekend run to hamburgers and hot dogs, which often go well with fries. Potato salad usually takes over at this time of year, but these sweet french fries go with anything because they are made of cake – and that is raspberry “ketchup” for dipping.

And they are easy to do . . .

The “Pictionary” Art Journal

Making daily entries in an art journal is an elusive goal for many, if not most art journalers.

I recently was reading about One Sentence Journals. The idea is to write just one sentence per day. memorializing the small moments, so they are not forgotten.

I was thinking about how that idea could be translated to an art journal, and thinking about simple drawing brought the Pictionary game to mind.

If you have never played Pictionary, the idea is to get your partner to guess a word by drawing a simple picture. This is done in a big hurry, of course, so the drawing has to be REALLY simple.

If only we artists could keep things SIMPLE!!

Anyway, I wondered if I could record something about each day with a simple drawing.

The hardest part seems to be picking the one thing that stands out in a day, because a LOT goes on around here –  every day.

But here are a couple of examples I came up with . . .

Friday was “about” Gopher Baskets (more about those in a moment).

Saturday was all about wind. It was one of those awful windy days we get here in the Southwest in the Spring – sustained winds of 38mph, and gusts of heaven knows what speed.

Now, this is not great art by any means, but it’s fun to figure out the most simple way to illustrate a thought.

I created these in one of my iPad art journals. June will bring the Art Journaling Workbook to the iPad Studio Workshop. If you love art journaling and have an iPad, now would be the time to join us (all past workbooks are there in the classroom as well, and the May Workbook is all about creating visuals for your upcoming art journals.)

About Wind . . .

Does anybody love wind? I know there are folks who love rain and snow and thunder, but does anybody love wind?

I just can’t make friends with it. It makes me a little nuts. No, it makes me a lot nuts.

I remember when I was a school teacher and the students would all be a little nuts whenever we had a really windy day. That was in California, and we didn’t have that many really windy days. I don’t think I would survive as a school teacher here in the Spring.

About Gopher Baskets . . .

I found a great solution to my disappearing plants problem – Gopher Baskets. Of course, if you are a He-Woman, you can make your own baskets out of small hole chicken wire or hardware cloth, but I can’t afford that much blood loss (even wearing leather gloves does not save me!).

So, thankfully, someone else makes them.

They come flat, and in several sizes . . .

And opening them up is not too hard once you figure out how. Basically, you pull the wire into a basket shape, and then bend the metal sides over at the bottom (This is not my picture – I use a pliers to bend those corners AND I wear gloves!)

So, everything is going in baskets this year. I have even dug up some favorites from other years and replanted them with baskets. I get mine from some nice folks in Arizona . . .

Arbico Organics

Woe is Me . . . MobileMe, that is

All of my workshop videos are hosted on MobileMe because it was the best possible platform for watching them, and because it allowed students to download their own copy.

Apple is doing away with MobileMe on June 30.

I am working feverishly to get some new platform set up, but meanwhile, if you have purchased or taken a video workshop from me, and have not downloaded all the videos yet, do so before June 30.

My workshops with PDF lessons are not affected. Affected workshops are Love This Journal, Art School, Watercolor, and PanPastel. Links in all these Workshop Guides will be changed once I have the videos parked in a new location.

Greatest Wedding Proposal Ever . . .

This is one those things you watch, and you feel your smile getting bigger and bigger all the way through. How wonderfully romantic:

Isaac’s Proposal

Artist of the Week

Kumi Yamashita is one of those artists who just amaze. Not only is the creative thinking involved in the projects astounding, the time invested in bringing them to fruition is beyond my ability to comprehend.

Remember doing “rubbings” with crayon or chalk? Well, imagine creating someone’s portrait using a gradual build-up of pencil rubbings from the raised numbers of that person’s expired credit card!

Or how about figuring out how to make this happen . . . or even thinking of it in the first place!

Explore her site – and the Press section, which gives you some insight into her process:

Kumi Yamashita

My coffee cup is empty, my plants are thirsty, and I better get outside. The winds are much calmer today and maybe I can get something done!

Enjoy your holiday!


Sunday Morning Coffee #22

I know I have said this before and I am sure I will say it again: you never know what a week has in store for you.

May 15 was the date to shoot photos for the One Day project that I mentioned a couple Sundays ago – and I hope some of you remembered.

If I needed to depict what my life is about on May 15th, it needed to be about the garden.

May 15 is the first safe planting day, and therefore, the official start of the gardening season, although we have had an early Spring here and I have been planting for weeks,

I often tell my students that a monkey with a cell phone can take a good flower photo, so if my subject would be flowers, I would have to come up with something unusual – and challenging.

So I chose a time close to sunset, and limited myself to only flowers with sunset colors. Photography students also know that yellows, oranges, and pinks are very difficult colors to expose correctly. So it was a good challenge.

The Petunias above are called Pink Lemonade, but to me they had the sunset colors I was looking for, and they were tossing in a breeze so the colors were changing several times a second. I shot a whole series. This was my favorite.

My Peonies also usually open around May 15, and on Monday, it was SO close that I went out and had a conversation with the plant about the One Day project, and asked it to please cooperate. It did, and I was able to get this shot by Tuesday evening. These are “hot” pinks and yellows – even more difficult than pastels.

And finally, I went after an orange and yellow begonia . . .

I have uploaded to the project here

and on May 30, they will launch the official website with the thousands of photos that tell the story of May 15, 2012 around the world.

A Cinderella Fella Story …

Ok, HIS name is not Cinderella, it’s Timber, and he doesn’t even have wicked step-sisters, but his story is just as good – you’ll see. I did not shower him with rose petals here – my wild rose bush did that.

I actually met Timber two weeks ago at an adoption event at our market center.  I could not believe that a perfect angel dog like this had been stuck in the shelter and rescue system for more than a year!

A Husky-crazy friend of ours wanted him right away, but she was moving to a place without sufficient fencing. Siberians are hard to place because of the “call-of-the-wild” side of their personalities. It is inbred because though they worked in the Winter and lived in the house with Chuchri families who originated the breed, they were let go to survive on their own in the Summer.

When I found out our friend could not take this boy home, I wanted him, of course, but we have three rescue Huskies already and Mark was being difficult about it – or sensible – one of those.

Not me. I sprung Timber from his kennel cage and took him home – only to foster, of course. It took until this past Wednesday to spring him (paperwork, you know).

So we went to town to shop for flowers and met a wonderful person named Carol, who has been looking for the “right” dog, and who fell in love right away like I did.

Long story shorter, on Friday,  I took Timber to his new home in the foothills in Santa Fe . . .

From a cage in a kennel to this in two days. That’s what the magic of love can do.

Dogs don’t care about palatial digs like we humans do, of course, and what matters most to Timber is how much room there is for him in Carol’s heart, not her house, but this makes a wonderful picture story anyway.

When I showed the pictures of Timber’s new home to the animal rescue ladies, they literally grabbed their hearts, and one gal said she would love to jump in the air and click her heels together – if she was only that coordinated. Yay for Timber!

Mark is going around singing “Movin on up . . . to the Eastside”.

I love happy endings – and I still get to be Timber’s babysitter when Carol needs one!

A Very Important Twenty Minutes  . . .

If you make art, if you want to make art, do not miss this fabulous commencement address by Neil Gaiman.

Artist of the Week

Sue McNenly’s blog is one I read consistently. She is on my Blogroll in the sidebar.

I sometimes try to analyze what makes a blog one that I read consistently – because I would like to make my own blog one of those (at least I am *writing* it consistently now and that’s progress!)

I love to read an artist’s “story”. I don’t mean their bio or their mission statement. And I don’t mean what they have for breakfast on Tuesdays.

What I mean is hard to put into words, but it is access to the artist’s process. What do they think that moves them along the path of creating? What discoveries, which mistakes, which inspirations and which frustrations lead them to the amazing art they make.

Sue works mostly in Silver Metal Clay – but her work is not what you would expect. She creates little worlds to visit, and invites you in.

I LOVE her work, and hope to be able to collect some one of these days.

Happy Sunday. I am off to plant flowers, and I hope I have planted some seeds of inspiration for you this morning!





Sunday Morning Coffee #21

Happy Mothers Day!

This should really be called Sunday Night Wine because morning is long gone, but better late than never, I always say.

These are my two favorite Mother and Child photos. The Praire Dogs were caught in a rare moment. I am pretty sure that Mom was sharing some of life’s better secrets.

And this will always be special to me – one of those really rare photo ops that you can’t believe is happening. And you thought you had a mouthy kid! Mom looks like she’s really on the edge, doesn’t she?

I don’t have any furless children, and the furry little ingrates I do have did not even come up with a card! After all I do for them!

But part of being a mother is being selfless, or so I hear.

On that note I want to share something that at first take, seems a little dark. But, when you think about it, nothing says “self-less mother” better.

In the early days of photography, the subject had to stay still for quite some time for the long exposures necessary. Babies and small children are not always willing to sit still, so their mothers had to hold them.

What I don’t really understand is why nobody wanted Mom in the photo.

Anyway, they covered the Moms with dark cloth. Problem was that the shrouded Moms did not disappear into the background..

The shrouds were not always black, and there was some real cleverness in the draping. There is a whole Flickr page of these strange photos here:

Moms Under Wraps

Exciting New Sheer Heaven for Art Journals

Sometimes, letter size sheets of Sheer Heaven are just not right for the artwork you are doing – especially if you are an art journaler.

Maybe you want to print one photo to transfer to your art journal. It does not make sense to waste a whole sheet to print one photo, and if you wait until you have a group of small photos, you will probably have lost your “groove”.

Maybe you want to use a small piece for a drawing or painting, but if you cut it off the larger sheet, the larger sheet won’t feed through the printer anymore.

Maybe you want to create a portable palette to fit perfectly within your journal, or make an overlay for an illustration.

When I recently converted my new mill roll, I had the opportunity to turn some of the Sheer Heaven into smaller sheets, which would work well for all of these art journaling ideas. Most inkjet printers will print a 4×6 sheet because it is the most common photo size,

So 4×6 it was, and because of a lot of things you don’t want to know about how mill rolls fit machines and how cutting must be done, I can sell this size for 23% less than the regular sheets ($8.50 for 20 Sheets).

For a limited time, (Until June 1, 2012), to celebrate the introduction, I am selling the 20 Pack at a 35% Savings!

Each 20 Pack is only $7.50!

Also, because the whole transfer idea has taken over Sheer Heaven’s identity, most folks have forgotten all about the fact that it is the most amazing paper to use with any and all media. It will not wrinkle, tear, or react to any amount of moisture. These small sheets allow for experimenting and creating any type of illustrations – watercolors for your art journal if it doesn’t have heavy pages, for example.

There are lots of other things too, and videos to explain them.

Find the details on the new Sheer Heaven Art Journal Page:

Sheer Heaven for the Art Journal

Have You Noticed?

For the first time, I have added a list of favorite blogs to the sidebar. This is an easy way for you to check back to the blogs I have recommended in previous posts. These are the ones I personally consider worth following, and it is a small list.

I did not find an Artist of the Week this week, but I really enjoyed watching this video about a jewelry maker in Brooklyn. I think you will too.

Dirty Librarian Chains

Now I must go sleep.

Sunday Morning Coffee #20

If there is something more heavenly than Lilacs, I don’t know what it is!

Surprise late frosts have meant no blooms for the past two years on my many Lilac bushes (and one that I have to call a “tree” now because it is huge!)

Well, I guess they stored up all that beauty and fragrance because this Spring’s bloom was amazing. My largest, the “tree”, is right outside my office window and  fills the room with that fabulous scent.

Garden Lesson Learned This Week:

Gophers love Siberian Bugloss (perennial Forget-Me-Nots). One day I had a full, lush plant filled with sky blue blossoms like this . . .

and the next morning. . . nothing.

I was able to dig up the crown of the plant and pot it for recovery, but no more little blue blossoms for this year.

Three days later, all the leaves of my David’s Phlox did the same disappearing act.

I don’t kill things, but I am sorely tempted.

So, we have a war going on, with me trying to make things unpleasant enough that my little pal will move out of the courtyard. MoleMax and cat litter clumps and black pepper and even mothballs – which nearly drove me out of the garden!

Sheer Heaven is back!!

Finally . . . things are back to normal. The machine is fixed, the first mill roll is converted, and I can once again supply this magical material to artists worldwide. It has been a very trying time, but all’s well that ends well. Maybe I can relax a little now? Nah.

Let’s talk about copyright infringement and what it really means.

Copyright Law is really about money (isn’t everything?)

The intention of the Copyright Law is to protect the income and reputation of professional artists. Professional artists means artists who sell their work.

So, really, when you get right down to it, 99% of the ballyhoo online about copyright is, well, just ballyhoo.

Yes, it is true that you have an automatic copyright to most things you create, even if you just picked up your first art tool yesterday. But unless you are willing to hire an attorney and take your “right” to court to present a case that your economic well being has been harmed (never mind your hurt feelings), you may as well not worry about it. You can (and should) put a Copyright notice on work you publish, and if somebody blatantly copies you, you can write them and tell them to stop. But going off on a half-cocked tirade is wasting your time and spreading a lot of negative energy all around your art – which is not good for it, or you.

I will demonstrate my point through three little stories:

#1 Silliness Based on Ego, Misperception, and Biting the Hand that Feeds You

There once was a widely known and rather bad tempered online “art” personality, whose endeavors were appreciated by a well known blogger, who picked up a sample illustration, and wrote a glowing little review of the woman’s site. This resulted in a public rant that lasted for weeks about how the blogger used her image without permission – blah blah blah.

In the first place, this would fall under Fair Use, which covers writing a review of an artwork. In the second place, the blogger caused a lot of people to visit this lady’s website, which I am sure, resulted in increased sales for her. Meanwhile, her rampage caused a lot of people to no longer visit her website – because nobody really wants to listen to a rant.

This is not copyright infringement. If it was, I wouldn’t do it – and I do it all the time. (No, I was not the blogger involved).

#2 Silliness Based on Misinformation and Inflated Self Image

There once was a blogger who drew little birds by sticking a “beak” (a letter V shape) on doodles of the letter O. It is a cute enough little thing. Oh… and she added a spiral.

But, evidently, someone copied this little birdie on their blog, and the first blogger has not shut-up about her “rights” to her birdies since.

Unbeknownst to her, she has no rights to chirp about.

Animals, birds, and certainly the letters of the alphabet, are iconic symbols and are part of the public domain. The Spiral appears abundantly in cave art. Copyright Law holds that most possible renditions of these shapes have already been done, and no original work is possible. Ergo, no copyright protection.

Now, if the animal, etc. is part of a whole original composition, that’s a different story, because the composition can be copyrighted, but these little birdies are just little abstract birdies.

Copyright infringement? Not.

#3 Serious, Criminal, Copyright Infringement

Ann Kullberg is a very well known colored pencil artist, who publishes a wonderful online magazine on the medium, calle CP (Colored Pencils).

If you are interested in working with colored pencils, you can’t do better than her magazine.

Well, someone out there decided it would be a good idea to put new covers on the issues she purchased, and republish the entire magazines as her own – with a new title.

This is serious copyright infringement which can be prosecuted. There is very obvious intent to defraud, and damage to the livelihood of Ann Kullberg.

We will talk more later about the real nature of copyright in our ever-changing digital lives, but these three examples should help illustrate that most of the hollering out there isn’t worth the energy.


Remember when I used to tease you with things that aren’t here yet? I haven’t done that in awhile, so here goes.

I have known for awhile that publishing is a big part of where Cre8it is going, and there will be a lot of variety in what happens in that arena.

One fun thing will be a series of workbooks ($15) which will be filled cover-to-cover with creative thinking and doing.

Most content will be new, and some will be “legacy” – inherited and revamped from my past ten years of writing for art sake.

I mourn the loss of truly creative publications. Most of the market in periodicals and books has gone in the direction of parroting one style. These workbooks will be new and fresh and fun.

I am hoping Volume 1 will be ready for release this month, and I am wondering what you think of this idea. Seems like nobody has time for creating unless something is stuck right in their face, and looks easy to do. That is the idea of Creativity Knocking.

Seize the Day . . .

This project really pleases me. What a wonderful, worldwide idea.

In short, on May 15, 2012, everyone is invited to take a photo that illustrates something about life as we know it. There are categories and ideas on the site. All photos will become a part of the website and some will be chosen for a book.

I am certainly going to participate and I recommend that you do too. (and please, no sniveling about rights to the photo you upload).

Art of the Week

Here are 144 cartoons related to books and their role in our lives – New Yorker cover style:

Blown Covers

And that’s all for this time . . . enjoy your Sunday.