Monthly Archives: February 2013

Sandy Steen Bartholomew


You don’t spend your life in the arts without meeting some amazing, talented people, and I know a lot of amazing, talented people.

But, once in awhile, you meet an amazing, talented person who is just plain over the top amazing, and talented, and you step back and shake your head and wonder “How the hell does she do all that?!”

And you get to know that person as a friend and fellow artist, and you find that she sometimes wonders herself “How the hell can I do all this?

And she deals with the old familiar vulnerabilities we all do, and she sometimes sticks her head in a corner and cries – as we all do.

Lots of people love her, but the one or two who don’t can bring the house tumbling down on occasion, and make her forget she is amazing and talented. Sound familiar?

I think this person can use some reminding, so I am going to make a friend blush now.

I first got to know Sandy Steen Bartholomew when she was a student in my Love This Journal workshop series (yes, folks, the series will be back when the video hosting issues get worked out).

I LOVED Sandy’s illustrations for obvious reasons – wonderful drawing, high color, and my favorite thing – whimsy. I found out she had a rubber stamp company and a store in a little town in New Hampshire.

4seasonsSeasons passed (see what I mean about the whimsey?), and we started to chat by email and phone. We became good friends – although we still haven’t met in person.

Sandy loves design and pattern, so she got tangled up with Zentangle and became a CZT so she could share the love.

This led to a series of books . . .


Which you can find on this Amazon page:

Sandy Bartholomew Books

To be honest, I was never very interested in Zentangling. It was a “been there, done that” for me because I used that type of patterning in my 70′s pen&ink work. But, when I got Sandy’s books, I understood the “meditative” side of the doodling better and became more intrigued – and there was more of that whimsy thing too.

So Sandy got some fame and started teaching at conventions, and survived the end of a marriage and the closing (and reopening) of her store, and all the rigamaroll that being published entails.

Her plate was very, very full.

Was there anything easier she could do to help make a living?

One day I suggested that an ebook might be a good idea.

About three days later, Sandy emailed her finished ebook – which is wonderful . . .

Tangles of the Kells


Right now, Sandy is taking both my iPad workshop (look out, world of iPad art!) and the Inktense Workshop. Again, I get the pleasure of seeing her wonderful illustrations . . .


Naturally, she is working some tangling into her homework too (a great combo) . . .



So, let’s see . . .

We have someone who is an artist, illustrator, teacher, store owner, book writer, blogger, online entrepreneur, and who is creative beyond belief. And her great desire is to enliven creativity in others. Really over the top amazing, right? (and that line-up even sounds a little familiar to me for some reason – grin).

But, what I have neglected to mention until now, is that Sandy is also a MOM! Just the biggest, most important full time job in the world, is all.

And she doesn’t brag much (although she should), but her son (Alex) and daughter (Lilah) are also over the top talented and amazing. And Sandy is a great Mom because her kids love her to bits – and kids don’t do that if you aren’t doing something right.

Sandy’s About page on her website modestly mentions some of the things she does, and it ends with these words:

Please contact me if I can help you be more creative 
or if you would like to make me rich and famous.
She is joking with that second part, but I think making her rich and famous is a great idea.
Here’s to you, my friend. You are amazing.



Sunday Morning Coffee #29


I have long been fascinated by the concept of a hole in the sky.

Don’t know if it is a “Someday, I’ll fly home” thing or what.

I used to paint some pretty strange skies – long before I ever encountered the even stranger skies of New Mexico. One of those paintings has a little girl (the scared me) watching a little boy (the brave me) “returning” a red balloon through a hole in the sky. The painting is owned by a wonderful lady in Canada, but I may be able to find a photo to show you, and you will know how weird I really am.

This hole occurred about 6 pm on January 10, and I broke all the village speed limits getting home to the good camera. I shot this from my back patio.

About Sizing Photos . . .

I’m not sure how many times I have posted how-tos about this, but this time, I just want to say how important it is in our new digital existence.

It is an essential skill to put in your digital knowledge bank.

Because most phones and cameras save photos at a screen resolution of 72ppi, they are sized like billboards because the camera records a LOT of pixels (millions) to get a sufficient amount of image data for prints.

And 72ppi is the right resolution to use if you are sending or posting the photo on the web.

But the size MUST be adjusted.

The billboard size makes for a LARGE file which fills up your friends’ storage capacity, and makes trouble in many online formats like blogs and websites.

We have just recently seen what they do when added to our comments – you can’t see them and can’t scroll them.

I really want you to share photos with your comments, but they must be no wider than 600 pixels because that is the width of this column.

There are many ways to resize photos with software like Elements, iPhoto, etc. and there are online services that make it really easy.

Here is one I featured in an old Technical Tizzie post:


Once you resize your photo, save it with a new name (maybe add web to the title?) so you can tell which is the resized one when you look for it on your computer.

Personal Use Policies

I was so gratified by your response to my last post.

I think the time has come for artists to speak up about this – to the manufacturers.

Like you, I walk away and do not buy art and art tools that have the dreaded PU policy – and P-U is appropriate.

But most of those folks don’t know that I walked away.

So, from now on, I am going to do something extra, and I hope you will too.

In such situations, I am going to email the artist or manufacturer and tell them why I walked away from their product.

I am going to say something like this (and you are invited to copy/paste and use it yourself).


I have been admiring your site and the products you offer.

I was ready to make a purchase when I found your “Personal Use Only” policy.

Because this makes no sense and prevents me from selling anything I make using this tool, I have walked away.

Artists through history have wanted to become good enough that someone would want to purchase their artwork. To close the door on that opportunity is not supportive of art and the artists who make up your customer base. It is as odd as saying paint and brushes and canvases (which someone, somewhere, invented) cannot be used to create art for sale.

If you ever rethink this policy, I could be a valuable customer.

You could add or subtract your own words, or mention the product/tool by name if you want. But I think if people actually knew the sales lost because of the PU policy, they might want to think about a change.

The Silhouette Online store just lost $240 from me yesterday. I was going to buy their largest subscription because they do have some items with Commercial Licensing.

But, when I read the small print about the terms of the subscription, it was – you guessed it – PU only.

Bye bye, subscription – and the $64 worth of items that were in my cart!

I want to recommend . . .

a site called


The Commercial Licensing is presented in the most professional, simple, and well-thought-out way I have seen yet. Their product line is well designed and very attractive as well.

You might also want to drop a positive note to sites you find very empowering to artists!

A Wonderful Blog Post . . .

My friend, Sandy Bartholomew, is too cool to describe in few words, so I am going to do a whole post about how amazing she is.

Meanwhile, I just read her most recent blog post, and found it so SO inspirational that I want to share it with you . . .


Read the post now, and I will tell you why Sandy is so amazing later.

A Question of Balance


If you’re human, you wonder about balance once in awhile.

Artist, Michael Grab thinks about balance ALL the time, and uses it to create some very incredible sculpture that you must see to believe . . .


Enjoy the rest of your Sunday.



Commercial Art . . .


As has been my strange habit lately, my photo is a little disconnected from what I want to talk about, but there are some allegorical possibilities, as you will see.

This photo was taken inside the beautiful spa at the Herb Farm in Fredericksburg, Texas. I have lots to share about Fredericksburg, but at the moment, I have something else on my mind.

Basically, I want to rant about something that drives me nuts . . .

The biggest obstacle to amateur artists becoming professional artists is the very industry that makes a fortune by selling them supplies and tools.

Here is the phrase I hate more than any other:

For Personal Use Only

This has been driving me nuts for awhile, but I just bought a Silhouette Cameo cutting machine, thanks to urging from my good friend, Jerrie, and my frustration got re-enlivened.

The machine itself is a wonder. For anyone who does not know, these are desktop versions of the vinyl cutting computers used by sign makers.

They work guided by vector art files, which are the type of files you create with software like Adobe Illustrator. Vector art is different from pixel art because it is really just a formula for the shape you draw. A printer, or in this case a cutting machine, reads the formula to guide its printhead or cutting blade.

I bought the Silhouette to create cards, lamps, and other products for my gallery, because outside of my own art journal, I have no idea what art for “personal use” might be. I have always sold my art and have made a living doing that for most of my years on earth.

I have also been creating Vector Art for 30 years, and having owned a San Francisco design firm for 24 years, I have at one time or another, created just about every box, bag. package, card, envelope, etc. known to man – for client projects.

But, I am pressed for time right now. So, I thought I could save some time, by purchasing ready made cutting files.

Imagine my surprise when I found that about 90% of the cutting files out there are “copyrighted” and rights are granted for “Personal Use Only”.

First of all. most of this stuff can’t be copyrighted.

You can’t copyright letter shapes because they are iconic symbols. You can’t copyright words either.

So, how about the design for an accordion book or a swing card, or a box with a cover? I could go on and on.

These templates have been around for a LONG time. If you don’t believe me, look through some of the Communication Arts Design Annuals published in the last 30 years. If there is actually any NEW template out there for these structures, I’d like to know about it.

Does creating vector versions of these patterns make them copyrightable? No – professional designers have been doing that since Illustrator was created.

So, – what are these people thinking?

Now, don’t get me wrong. I am all for people making cutting files and selling them. Yay – another way for someone to take their art to market.

But, why in the world would you not sell commercial rights? It makes you MORE money because people like me are willing to pay more for the convenience of not having to take the time to make the vector art ourselves.

Why would you want to sell a creative tool and then block other artists from the chance to sell something they created with it? Do you not want other amateur artists to become “professional” artists too?

As you know, I came into the “new artist” world about 12 years ago – from a lifetime in traditional, professional arts. I was excited that new doors were being opened into the art world that were not intimidating for beginners, and tools were being offered that afforded some instant gratification – like rubber stamps, for instance.

But, right away, these new art vendors put a locked door on a person’s potential to take their new found art to a place where they might make some money back on all the supplies they purchased.

Not only did this industry repackage thousands of pre-existing products and techniques, and market them as “new” and proprietary, they attempted to make sure no new artist could go out and sell their creations, and maybe realize their own dream of becoming a professional artist.

Rubber stamps, by their nature, are tools for reproduction of an image, but use them on your cards, and you better not sell those cards, unless you jump through whatever hoops the stamp maker decides you should jump through.

But, worst of all, the new “artists” themselves have perpetuated the problem – by slamming the door behind them right after they get through it.

The tight little paranoid attitude about copyright manifested by the new and huge population of self-taught artists on the internet, demonstrates not only ignorance of how a professional artist might create income, but also an inherent misunderstanding of copyright law.

Do I think I can change anything by writing this post? Probably not, but I had to say it.

A very positive thing is that there are so many new avenues for artists to create to make an income. As the blog world replaces traditional publishing, there is more and more demand for photos and other graphics as stock art. New tools needing new types of files, like cutting files, open a new revenue stream to those who invest the time to learn how to create them.

But if these creators themselves are going to continue the idea of closing off possibilities for other artists, the real potential of these new markets will not be realized.

What are your thoughts on this subject?

Pinterest, Copyright, Confusion . . .


This Mother & Child photo is the lucky result of a roadside stop to take a photo of this horse . . .


It took 15 minutes to get her to turn around, and meanwhile, a little sheep family ran up in the field across the highway. They wanted tp know what I was saying to the horse.


Of course, once I spotted the baby, I grabbed my telephoto lens for the portrait of Mom and Baby.

This all took place along a highway on the way to Fredericksburg, Texas, and a Llama and Shetland pony were involved too.

So what does this have to do with Pinterest and Copyright, etc.?

After yesterday’s post, I got email from many of you who are excited by Pinterest, got a request in Comments for a little how-to, and another reader sent along a link she found while searching for Pinterest, which brought up some copyright issues.

I thought maybe, I could address all that, but could not think of any photos to go with the topic, so you get to meet the folks above.

And, I guess these photos are on topic because, when I post them in this blog post and have given you permission to Pin them, they enter the fray of confusion about copyright and Pinterest.

The confusion is well founded because, in the act of pinning to a public board on Pinterest, you are republishing an image without permission – unless, you have been given permission via a Pin It button on a website, or a statement of permission as I posted last time.

Now, the Fair Use section of current USA Copyright Law says something like this:

Copyrighted work can only be used without permission when someone is criticizing it, commenting on it, reporting on it, teaching about it, or conducting research.

I am no lawyer, but it seems to me that when you Pin an image, and type your comment to go with it, you could be doing any of the above. Certainly, you are commenting on it, and I have yet to see a Comment that was not singing praises (although I have read that there are snarky folks on Pinterest too.)

I have said this in conversations we have had about copyright in the past: Copyright Law is about money. It takes a long time and a lot of money to get a copyright case to court, and when you do, you have to show that economic harm has been done to you in order to win it – that someone else is making money with your image, and therefore, harming your ability to make money with that image. End of story. Nobody gives a hoot about your pride of ownership or hurt feelings. Were you harmed economically? Otherwise, go home and quit wasting the court’s time.

Having people come to your blog or website or Etsy shop because your image has been shared on Pinterest, would not be considered economic harm. Quite the contrary, in fact.

If you are not publicly posting your images on the web for attention in the first place, then why are you doing it? So, the more attention, the better, right?

People are busting their humps trying to figure out how to gain followers and customers and visitors for their sites. Pinterest is a very good way to do that.

With those thoughts in mind, here are some tips on being an upstanding Pinner who is not lilkely to get in trouble:

Pinterest Tips

When Pinning from a blog or website, be sure there is no notice on the site or on the image saying that Pinning is not allowed. Those notices are usually quite evident.

Look for a “Pin It” button on the site or blog and you know it’s alright.

The biggest problems on Pinterest come from Re-Pinning. When you are viewing the boards you follow, there will be a Re-Pin button on each item. By clicking it, you pin that item to your own board. ALWAYS add your own comment to stick with Fair Use sharing principles.

Unfortunately, the source of that image may not have been pinned correctly.

BEFORE repinning, click the image to go through to the source. Make sure the source is a direct connect to the creator of the image – their blog, website, etc. If you click through and land on Google images, Flicker pages that do not belong to the originator, or Tumblr pages that are not the artist’s own page, DO NOT repin.

If you really like and want to pin the image to your own board, Google search the artist’s name and find the source of the image that way. Pin from that page and you will be linking to the artist.

DO NOT copy/paste the whole tutorial, recipe, story, article, etc. in your pin. That is prime territory for trouble. Remember that Pins are reminders and you are MEANT to click through to the source.

To make your boards really interesting – and to call attention to your own creations, Pin your own content. Strangely enough, many folks don’t realize how easy this is. At the top of your own Pinterest account page is an ADD button. When you click it, you have a choice to Upload a  Pin. Click that and choose any photo from your own computer to put on your board with a comment.

This is a good start. If you have more questions, please ask and I will try to answer.


By popular demand, I will run another live session of the Inktense Soup to Nuts Workshop starting March 15. Here’s the page:



Interesting Things and Pinterest


She (me) was last heard from somewhere in Texas!

My trip was wonderful, and I plan to share some of the best experiences.

But, as soon as I got back, an unexpected event just knocked me right out of my life routine. My Mom got pneumonia (she is recovering nicely), and I moved in with her to be Nurse Cratchett for the past week and a half.

So nothing has been normal as far as scheduling goes.

But, things are lightening up, my Sis came to town to give me some breaks and a chance to consider some of the interesting things I want to pursue in 2013.

The photo above is an interesting thing.

When I set off for Texas, I knew I would be traveling through some familiar (and uninteresting) territory.

So, I challenged myself to find one interesting thing in each small town I drove through.

Believe it or not, there are small towns where I failed to find anything at all. But, there were some treasures along the way.

The town of Ft. Sumner, NM is a place I have previously found less than interesting even though they have a claim to fame – hosting Billy the Kid’s gravesite.

But, this time, because I was searching, I found several murals on buildings in town that are painted by local artists (although I couldn’t find the names of the local artists).

I loved this dog, who seemed to be sniffing out interesting things in unlikely places – just as I was doing along this lonely highway.

And, I am always doing that on the web highways and byways as well – which are never lonely!

Social Media . . .

Have you ever been more sick of hearing about anything in your life?

Me too.

As a person with an online presence that is important to my livelihood, however, I have had to spend a lot of time figuring out whether I need to to have Twitter accounts, Facebook pages, etc. as a part of my “brand”.

I do have a Twitter account and can see no point to it. From my perspective, it is just another link source, and I care nothing for anything that anyone can say in 140 characters.

Facebook is also a completely foreign concept to me. Although I enjoy seeing family pictures of my nieces, nephews, their kids, etc., and it reminds me of birthdays, I would no more share my daily thoughts in that type of forum than fly to the moon.

I do have a Facebook page and post a link to my blog posts there for the sake of some friends and family who enjoy the blog.

But I rarely check the page, and when I do, I often get information that is sad (old and dear friends passing), or intensely irritating (old, dear friends who have fallen off some political cliff and can’t stop ranting).

I rarely watch television news, and I filter the news I get through my iPad to only my areas of interest (no murder, Hollywood, or politics). When I spend my precious time reading, I want to come away having gained something valuable.

Much of my reading for entertainment used to come from art and crafts magazines and books.

These days, it is very rare to find anything inspirational in those publications because they are all catering to one style.

But, here comes the positive part (I can’t keep whining) . . .

Awhile ago, a good friend turned me on to Pinterest.

Because it had pretty pictures, I joined up, even though I didn’t really understand what was going on.

Some time has passed.


Therein, I have found all that is missing from the art publications.

It’s a treasury of beauty and wonderful ideas on all the subjects that interest me most – art, photography, gardening, home decor, etc. I have even gathered some recipes! And I don’t like to cook!

For those who have spent the last few years under a rock, Pinterest is a place for you to save those inspirations you come across online – in a place where you can easily find them – on your own set of virtual bulletin boards. A bulletin board can be kept all to yourself, or you can share your boards with “friends”. Your boards can have themes.

You can also follow the boards of others – friends or not.

Every time I log in, there are pages of things my “friends” found interesting enough to post to their boards – all the newest additions to the boards I “follow”.

It’s so exciting – like years ago, when I ventured into a Texas Art Supply store and found a whole room of art books I had not seen before! New and different – got to love it!

I learn new things and get new ideas every time I visit Pinterest.

SO . . .

I have decided that Pinterest will be my “social media” place to be. It is there, on my boards that I will share all the things I come across that never make it to my blog because they have to wait until I have time to post.

I will also have boards with links to my blog posts, workshops, workbooks, videos, and everything else I do, so everything will be organized in one place.

So, I invite you, dear friends, to come and join me on Pinterest, and follow the boards that you find interesting.

You do not have to make boards of your own, but I bet you will end up doing that.

You have my permission to pin anything from this blog on your Pinterest Boards as long as the pin links back to my blog post.

And, you have permission to Re-Pin from my boards to yours.

As creative people, you will love the ideas, the inspiration, the learning, and the wonderful, visual environment.

Yes, there is a danger of spending too much time there, but I would never call it “wasting time” because there is no better way to spend your time than learning and feeling the joy of creative inspiration!