Lloyd Metcalf Inc.

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Have you heard this art?

Should I blog about a "band" in an artblog? Hell yeah!

When I see a live band on the billing for my favorite club, I usually start making other plans. I'm glad I didn't this evening! April 29th at the Asylum in Portland Maine, I met up with a few of my usual friends and some faces new to me and we tucked ourselves into the cramped downstairs venue. It was going to be Ludovico Technique opening for Aryia. Lights and gear filled  over 50% of the small floor space and I wasn't even sure what I was in for.
"Ludovico Technique" The words kept rolling around my head, where had I heard that? and what did it mean? The merchandise guy for the band finally put it together for me. It's the technique used to "cure" Alex in the movie "A Clockwork Orange".

So Ian, our friendly local DJ pulled the music down, and the drummer and keyboardist started in with digital, industrial ass kicking. Their sound is definately rounded out with the lead vocalist. I really enjoyed the digital sound mixing and keyboards with a real drummer. I could hear certain influences in their sound. Maybe they listen to Skinny Puppy? Some Trent Reznor for seasoning? but the music they were making was completely their own, fresh, exciting, driving, clean and totally "rock-out-able".
The whole band uses make up lights, and performance to present themselves as "goth industrial". I hope I'm not classifying them too much by saying this, certainly quite "industrial", but with an undeniable appeal.

The performance started to quite a stiff crowd, ignoring this, the band poured in 110% of themselves. The singer stepping into the crowd, up close and personal as he worked, began to spread his energy to the people in the crowd.
By the time their set was done, I was wishing for more, and the gathered people were well "lubed", dancing, and enjoying the show. I personally felt it was a shame these guys were opening and not headlining the night.

After their performance the guys came to mingle with the crowd. Their conversation and attitude were entirely positive, personable, and engaging. Complete professionals all around. I HAD to buy one of their CD's and find myself anxiously awaiting the full CD realease soon to come.
This is a band that without question fills the role of artists. In a time where the music business is filled with Disney and Nickelodeon made music with puppets holding microphones, I was wondering where the musicians are.
Here they are, I am so glad to push away the cobwebs of the old days. Iggy, Trent... subculture is doing just fine, look who we have in the next gen of musicians!
Get out and support these guys whenever and wherever you can. Do whatever it takes to get their CD's in your hands, like them on Facebook, Their website is in the works.
Just    -  wow  -

Has anyone else seen these guys perform? I would be interested in hearing other folks thoughts.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Billing for creative services (pt 2)

So someone needs a logo, video, website, or ad and you are a ninja in Adobe?
Great! sounds like you have a client on the line.
I have recently got some sound advice on how this should work and I feel it's worth sharing. Not all your customers and clients are going to realize what is involved with the projects you bring to the table.
This is especially true in logo design and things where simplicity rule as most effective. Editing video is another place where people tend to lose touch with what is involved.
So here is the meat and bones of what I have learned:

* Charge fairly, for what you are worth, and be up front about potential future fluctuations in price.

*  Have your client bring you examples of what they like and don't like. This can save you hours of guessing and frustration.

*  You are getting paid to deliver what your client wants, but don't bring proposals you hate. This work will be a rolling advertisement for you as a designer too.

*  Your computer is running, is the meter? Billing for time rendering animation and video is not only common place, it is essential. Especially in a world of HiDef Video production. Even the latest I7 processors with scads of Ram (which you laid out scads of overhead for) can take hours to render. This is time that you could be working on other clients projects.

*  Don't always try to under cut the competition. Production houses and Ad agencies charge what they do for a number of reasons. Often there is a formula behind it. A couple of people operating out of their home may be able to go a little cheaper, but keep your eyes looking forward. Are you going to want to do this job, for this price, a year from now?  I have found myself in this position for a couple of clients at this point. I am giving them a very sweet deal, but in my rush to secure the job and make a little income, I went too cheap.... now I am all but doing their work for free and renegotiating a price after the fact is much harder than before you start. (perhaps make it clear you are doing an introductory deal)

Billing for ad creation, logo design, and video editing is a little softer field than pricing your art. There seems to be a lot of "depends" in the equation. Solidify things as much as possible by estimating how many hours you will have in, how much overhead, and limit the number of revisions in the deal.
If you have unlimited revisions..... you will find a client to use the "unlimited" number up.

When doing logo design and other advertising, keep the old files on hand.
How simple is the Nike logo?
A client needs to understand that just because the end result is simple, it is not a simple process to get there. If you look at the Nike swoosh, or Adidas lines, yes someone could draw that in a few seconds....
You will find clients who expect you to bill them for how long it takes to draw that logo.  In their mind, that's all there is to it.
Justify your price with your research, color choice, design, discarded designs.
Lack of communication between creator and buyer can make for some sour times.

I have made the mistake myself, and that is why I think it is important to share it with my creative followers here and on facebook, twitter, wherever.
I was under the impression that someone with experience in advertising, video and film wouldn't need an itemization of the work involved. I could not have been more wrong.
I am now working on revising my invoices to allow for itemization of billing so no one feels shorted, and no one feels over extended. While this isn't always common place, the "small guy" in a smaller creative operation needs to stand apart from the giants like Time Warner who turn out 30 second ads for thousands upon thousands of dollars... with invoices not itemized.

So like fine art, here is my personal equation (-ish) for commercial creative work.

# of hours working on the project -estimated (the clearer the client is and more samples they have of like / dislike can shorten this), + account for agreed number of revisions, overhead? (Will I need to print samples? + studio overhead), + Uncle Sam %, + additional 15% as a buffer.

This all seems quite soft and it is. Many ad houses also look at their clients. How much are they worth? what are they going to do with the product? are they a non-profit? is there potential connections in this job?

A constant monthly deal needs to be revisited yearly, and agree to that up front. This way if you are losing on the deal, you are only losing for a year. Those on-going jobs are great for consistency, but not if you are losing money on them.

(more to come later)

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Pricing Art and Creative Services

Charging for creative projects (PT 1)

Billing is the most challenging aspect of being a creative person trying to make a living, why?

First it needs to be broken down into pieces. There is the artist and the person paying for services. between these two places there can be a million variables and a million mis-communications that makes charging for a creative service frustrating and send so many things into a downward spiral of a hatred of income.

Granted my experience around this is relatively fresh and I have found myself floundering with billing issues due to inexperience. I have spent some time learning from my professors at SMCC and other artists and creative professionals. I thought it might be important to share what I have learned with other people who are charging clients for creative services or products rendered. (this will come in a series)

To price a painting

Lets start with perhaps the easiest one. The creation of a product or work of traditional art (which I also do). This is billing for a painting, sculpture, or crafted item which the artist has created, not digital art (that falls into another place IMHO for billing purposes)
An artist can stand back, look at his/her work and have a rough estimate of what the raw materials in a particular piece has cost. If not, keeping receipts will be important. For me, I know what each board costs, what tubes of paint and mediums cost and how many were expended, and how many, if any brushes I wrecked creating this piece of art. This is what I consider RAW cost. That is not paying the artist for talent, time, studio overhead.... just the raw materials in the piece - be honest....
I then put a value on my time. That time may be from priming and gesso up to finish varnishing. I also try to consider shortcuts I use. I often will prime a number of boards all at once, and varnish a number of finished pieces all at once to save on time, effort and space. So this prep and finish time is often minimal as I may do 5 to 10 at a time.
How many hours did you spend painting and creating? Not drinking coffee, talking to your friends, and shmoozing collectors, but actually working and focusing on the piece of art. If you keep a stop watch handy, it may really surprise you how little time you actually spend with brush and mind on the piece.
Here is the place a lot of artists need to honestly look at their worth. It is very difficult to do, to admit you are a $13 an hour artist. Sometimes a $10 or $8 an hour artist.
If you don't have galleries contacting you to hang your work, you are in this place. You need people to buy your work, to start collecting it, to talk to their friends about it while it's hanging on their walls at home. We all want to throw a $10,000 price tag on our artwork, but if no one is willing to pay that price, you will be left looking at it for the rest of your life. I can say a chicken is worth $1,000, but if no one pays $1,000 for the chicken... it's worth nothing at all.
There is the idea that if an artist doesn't value the work, how can anyone else? So pricing SHOULD start at $10,000!!!
This will only happen if you win the lottery and have a "superstar" artist telling everyone how wonderful and great and valuable your work is, doing all the publicity and making you famous without earning it. This can make you a short lived artist.
You have to work your way to the $10,000 price tag, you need to sell modestly to begin. You need to increase your time value (hourly rate) to get to $10,000. I tend to start valuing my time at the same rate my current employer does, and I like a little extra for my education.
A studio has overhead and other costs for sure, but most likely you don't need to recoop an entire months rent, heat, lights, utilities in one painting, or sale. Divide down a daily operating cost of having a studio (really). You may decide that either your art isn't ready to support a studio, or you need to spend more time in it working. The best studios are free, or close to it. but once you get to the daily cost, consider how many hours you spent making this piece of art.
So heres where we are:
RAW MATERIAL + HOURLY RATE + small OVERHEAD = painting price

Probably A LOT less than the fantasy number you plucked out of the air.
Now step up to the plate, Uncle Sam is involved and will steal 25% of everything at the end of the year, you are also making a retail sale (are you paying sales & use tax?).
If you make under a certain amount you end up not paying taxes at all and get the money back (bonus!). Artist fall under that "Self Employed, independent contractor I-9 category I believe. A place that can cost you dearly if you don't consider it now.

Bill of Sale

Not only does giving your buyers a bill of sale add to the authenticity of what they bought, but it adds confidence in their future purchases (My apologies to customers who didn't get one.... come back and I will give you one now that I have learned)
On the bill of sale you can add Sales tax.... but had better be paying it to the government not just pocketing the extra. IF not, don't add it, take a loss and consider it included.

So heres where we are:
RAW MATERIAL + HOURLY RATE + small OVERHEAD + 30% = painting price

Lets break it down.... I have piece I recently did on 2x4 foot board.
Raw material cost $25 + $56 (14 x 4 hours)+ $10 overhead + 30% =  $118.30

I started at $300 and will probably sell it at $120. Why? I wanted to see if my time value had risen. Seeing my buyer so pleased at $120 indicates to me, it hasn't yet. Keep making art at the current rate, keep collectors buying and supplies in the studio. As people become excited about my art, and the demand on my time heightens, I may need to adjust my time value again later. It takes a while to feel out what your customers are happy to pay. Don't squeeze them for what they are unhappy to pay.... it's what they are happy to pay. I do ask my customers to try to avoid discussions of price with their friends, although I know it comes up.
This is the way to find the value on your hourly time. Plug in the happy sales number on the end, and you can see where you landed for your hourly rate as an artist.
$14 to $15 an hour, not great.... but I could have been at work, not painting to get that. It is only one sale and $120 might only seem like a teeny drop in the bucket for the energy that goes into creating fine art.
It is, but if 50 people hang my work on their walls at home, and talk to their friends at dinner about it the value will grow.
If my work goes to a place of business where many people see it and consider it in a day, the value grows even more.
In the early days, you are selling your work to support your work, when it hangs, it is an advertisement for you.
Want to make more than $120 today? spend 8 hours in the studio, make 2 pieces, thats $240. When creating a product like fine art, the price can change and most likely people don't balk.  A painting you sell today for $120 might be worth $200 next month, and no one will blame you for it.... (if its selling)
It's when you get into billing creative services that things get tricky

to be continued....
(Coming up in PART 2)

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Supplies on sale

Today just a quick post to share my latest discovery for supplies. It's true that I get a lot of my supplies from Lowes or Home Depot. There are many things that just can't be had at home supply and hardware stores though. Particularly fine brushes, paint, pigment, and mediums.
I have recently discovered Mr. Art. Prices are pretty sweet, even for higher end Acrylics and oils.

The listed supplies on their website are far too extensive to cover. I have been perusing and drooling over much of their listed stock. I have seen a few things priced better, but most seem very fair. Even compared to the local craft store "deals". When it comes to pigment and paint, the artist gets what they pay for. More money, usually means more pigment. High pigment means purer color and better opacity, for less paint used. Essentially, buying cheaper paint is similar to buying expensive paint (takes more paint to cover). buying the quality saves a lot of time and frustration.

All this aside, the prices on paper, sketchbooks, canvas, and other supplies seem very nice on Mr. Art. I am working on putting together my own order as I work on getting the studio in order for warmer paint filled days.

Monday, April 18, 2011

I ain't just squirtin' on the wall!

Banksy! If you haven't heard the name by now, you ARE living under a rock. Although admittedly he is better known on the streets of the UK, if you don't know the name, it's time to get with the program.

Drop everything you are doing right now, zip over to Amazon and pick up a copy of Exit Through the Gift Shop. You can also click over to Netflix and watch it right now on instant watch ( I believe). No matter how you get introduced to Banksy, make sure you do. The website is up and holding some great images of his street art as well.

I mention all this because of the upcoming talk in Portland Maine around street art vs. vandalism (see earlier post) and I think it may be important to head into this talk with a clear image of street art, and ask yourself what separates the two. The piece on the billboard, admittedly makes me squirm a little. I don't like the defacing, but I think that is the point.
Also take some time to consider the ad it is covering up.... not really much of a loss. The messages are so well communicated in all the work. Banksy leaves little ambiguity in his work, minimal guessing about what he wants to say. This message I think is what makes a defining difference.

Before you folks run off to Lowes to pick up a can of spray paint, it is still illegal, and even Banksy is coming more inside to show work. Street art can be commissioned, and I think there can be a working solution for everyone involved.
"Writing on stuff" is a human condition. It may not be me or you specifically who did it, but we all did. Lets reward the art, and clean up the junk..... in order to do that we need to be clear about which gets a frame, and which gets the hose.
What is the difference between a TAG and ART?
Let me know....

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Sexy Art - Sexy Design - What?

   Making art around the topic of sex is nothing new. It has happened for centuries and it serves a multitude of purposes. It can get people talking about your work, some offend, some titilate, some just express. Those that have a message or emotion to express or portray something about themselves are in the fine art world. Many, fresh art faces are coming on to the scene with images verging on pornographic eroticism, but expressed in the right setting makes a good buzz in the arts community.

   I think these artists are taking a gamble. Will their content help or hinder their endeavors? It's a decision I think each artist makes when exhibiting work of this nature. Inevitably displaying risque work could lose an artist some collectors, it could also gain some new ones. It's an open experiment that can hurtle a fine artist or photographer into international fine art galleries, or land them in the street with "dirty" titles.

   What about the commercial artists charged with sexy endeavors to sell products? Spend a little time perusing the Macy's catalog and website. In particular I am refering to the lingerie department.
  At first you might think... woah, this dirty old man!!! just wants to see frilly draws!

While I can appreciate a good set of frilly draws, I am thinking of the photographers for this particular section. These photographers may have one of the hardest artistic and creative jobs in the business. Yes they have pretty men and women to photo, but lets consider the photos. These images are selling and presenting relatively risque items in a very conservative manner. They need to appeal to a VERY wide audience, something a fine artist often doesn't consider. The photographer has to entice the viewer, usually female, in and give her something to identify with and make her want to be what she is seeing (sounds like art to me). The photographer needs his model to be a blank slate on which the consumer is able to project their face, then see themselves as sexy in the result.

The models are heavily photoshopped, but left with curves, a couple even with ,albeit minor, love handles on occasion. these are not the cover models of vogue, although with Adobe's help they could be. The models have static, typical poses to highlight the product. Lighting needs to be perfect, not sharp, not dull, everything needs to look sparkling clean.

Where I am going with all this? I think that sometimes much more thought is going into the end product of a commercial photo shoot than often goes into a generally accepted "artistic" photo shoot. I wouldn't suggest either is more or less valid in the arts world than the other. The Macys catalog photographer, I am willing to bet, gets very little artistic appreciation for what he/she does outside their immediate peers.

   My artistic hat is off to these people today who are grinding away, using their talents to photograph coffee mugs, carpet tiles, vases and homegoods. Sexy bikinis for summer and frilly draws too. The under appreciated photographic artist. I honestly believe the skills they use everyday in their work, MUST reflect in some truly remarkable results in their private work. Practicing the skills of lighting, shadows, communicating and idea everyday makes them an easy habit.
Indeed some googling on people in this commercial profession have some remarkable artistic work in their off time.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Art or Vandalism?

Portland Maine is seeing it's share of tags, spray paint and street art lately. What is it and where is the line between art and vandalism?
A valid question asked by Jay York,Jessica Lauren Lipton,
Jennifer Hutchins and plenty of other business owners around Portland who are not insensitive to the arts, but are finding their buildings and property spray painted and marked up. This is something that causes real losses to these people and costs real money to fix. Plate glass store windows can not be left with "tags" in the name of street art. We are not just talking about sidewalk chalk either. Large permanent marker, spray paint, and in some cases canned paint are a few of the tools used by the taggers.
PACA creative conversations: Street art or Graffiti  is happening at SPACE gallery 538 Congress St. Portland Maine on Tuesday April 19 6:30-9:30 PM. to quote the event description 
"If you are a property owner and have had to deal with acts of graffiti vandalism or you are someone who thinks that street art adds to the urban environment this discussion is for you!
This panel will explore many facets of the issue, from defining what is graffiti vs street art and the socio-economic causes and effects of the two. Come lend your voice to this exciting issue.
The panelist will be Kyle Bryant, Andy Graham, Trish McAllister, and Jay York."
 The conversation is already heating up online. It should be worth coming out on a Tuesday evening to hear what people are saying. I am hoping to hear from both sides of the issue. Where do you stand?

When DOES Tagging and Graffiti go from being vandalism to street art? 
Is this just kids and "Gangstas" marking turf? or is this an art?

Friday, April 15, 2011

Art, pixels, computers, Where is the limit?

Here is a name all digital artists should know and recognize. Massive Black. This team employs some of the most cutting edge talents in the digital arts realm. Once all the digital art geeks are done buzzing about this group, I would like to introduce the classic fine artists to this team.
The work on the website is just amazing, full of energy, movement, life, and.... Art!
I have been known to regular the site when looking for inspiration and to explore the possibilities of what can be done with a Wacom and Photoshop.
The art and animation these people are turning out is setting the in a very high place. Does this mean that everyone needs to reach this level of artistry to work in the field? I don't think so, there is room for artistic interpretation. It never hurts to look ahead at what the pros are doing and know that what you see there is possible with discipline, practice, and dedication.
I have nothing but the utmost respect for the artists on this team, and I would urge all artists, especially those in the digital field, and my fellow students of Communications and New Media to keep both eyes on these people.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Secrets of pulling an income from art?

The events of the past week have kept me struggling to get back in step with terminal positivity. I have now done it.
Let me introduce you all to Alan Bamberger owner of Art business.com.
Some may already be grumbling about this guy who is a professional art appraiser and apparently also helps artists to price, sell and market their work effectively.
I discovered this article (click it after you read this post) on his website and I think it summed up a number of things going through my head and heart lately.
That was fine and even better than fine terrific. I found this article very inspiring for me personally and ate up the whole thing.
Have you ever heard the saying "tip of the iceberg"? What if the ice berg was the tip of the north pole?
This man has a SLEW of articles aimed at helping artists learn or become familiar with the business side of what they do. After trying to catch my breathe at the amount of information and "sticky" articles on his site, I then realized there was ANOTHER section devoted to people interested in buying and collecting art.

I am now a Bamberger fan for sure I thought, look at all this!!! Scrolling through I realized he was also addressing digital art, and a modern world for artists to approach when they are ready to consider going pro.
I found his advice solid, "Price and sell locally, the national galleries will come later."

Things we should all know, he seems to state plainly and put your head back in the right place.
I found many of his articles inspiring, and very helpful. It's true that you are left with the full impression that the get the full "pro" experience you should call him.
Mr. Bamberger can easily consult world wide, phone or skype! For now I will be lost in the multitude of helpful articles and getting my studio in working order, but have his consulting tagged and marked on my "to do" list.
I don't see these articles as complete directions of how to, but as springboards of things to consider, research, and know when moving forward as an artist.
The articles give the ambitious artist and entrepreneur a place to focus, things to work on. No one can "make you a success" it has to be done first hand.

~Worth the read~
Lloyd Metcalf

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Custom digital toys?

I try not to talk too much about advertising and things of that nature, but heres one I think Artists and creatives can enjoy AND profit from.
   Skinit offers peel and stick "skins" for all sorts of digital toys. Phones, controllers, laptops and a multitude of other things. Designable by the end user, and reasonably priced.
What if your laptop had a sample of your design work, with your .com and digital resume announced? The possibilities for this is endless. I really like the idea, and its market value to customers has some real world potential. I am considering the phone skins.
My laptop is one of those "rubberized" covers and won't be able to take a skin. It has my mind buzzing of quality places to put it to use though.
http://www.skinit.com/ I'm just saying... its worth the look if you are any kind of digital artist / graphic designer.

Want to live forever?

Through Time
When we are young, we think we are invincible and we will live forever. When we are older we want to be young again and think we will live forever.
Instead of heading up to the studio in the rain, and chill, I opted for a little digital experimentation. Why not free up the brain a little, have no intended result, compile images, technique, and layer on layer to see where it leads. I ended up with something that reminded me of all the adventures, and things I have experienced to get "here" today. Things are still moving up and on, but in 40 years I have really done A LOT of stuff to be who I am now with what I know.
living forever now I think is easier than I previously thought. There is art, we can always immortalize ourselves in imagery I suppose. The best and most common way I our children.
This image isn't as deep as it would seem. According to my last post (I think it speaks for itself).
What do you think ???? let me know

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

I think the work speaks for itself

Lately I have been staying up late glued to my Netflix account watching the Art :21 Art in the twenty first century PBS television series. If you are even mildly interested in creativity, fine art, or just the inner machinations of the hiccupping brains of artists, this is worth the watch.
    I honestly had no idea this series existed and was heading over to watch Art & Copy when I stumbled across this gem. Some of it, gets a bit dry and sleepy in places and some of it is just plain inspiring and enlightening. I think the dry and sleepy parts for me are either A) late night hours or B) An artist that just doesn't grab my fancy, although all in this series have my respect.
    While watching this series I have come to the realization that there are 2 typical responses that come about when an artist is asked about their work, a series, or a piece of their art.
    The first response is the expected one. It's an "educated" ramble about the deep meaning and struggle of the artist around every single piece they have ever created. Some do this to the point where you find yourself looking away, up and around thinking, "This HAS to be a sales pitch at this point." The talk runs on for so long, and is loaded with what seems like practiced vocabulary that everything suddenly seems a little bit contrived and you may be falling into a trap.
The second response is when the artist might say some sort of terribly brief thing only a sentence or so long, and ends with, "I think the work speaks for itself."

Louise Bourgeois was one of the latter. She spoke very strongly about the passion for her work, but put it simply by saying something to the effect of, "If my work says nothing, then I failed."
  That quote may be a bit off, my memory is failing a bit at the moment. The point she was making was, that if her work conveyed no message, no meaning, no feeling to the viewer... then she failed.
I hope to pool myself into this latter category of artists who, when asked about their work, let the art be what it is. I personally feel that if I make a piece, and need to stand next to it and speak for 10 minutes to explain it, it has failed. (Or it has now become performance art)

Some artists create wonderful works, and in my humble opinion need to stand aside, and let the viewer experience the art, without the artist prattling on with a practiced speech gleaned to perfection from an art opening or a masters degree in the art history.
Sometimes people like art because it is nice to look at. Or uncomfortable.
Sometimes people like art for no reason at all.
Just let it "be"
That long speech with all the big words to describe your inner struggle or the "deeper meaning" of the piece can be explained bit by bit to those who ask specifically about these minute details.

    Some buyers DO want to hear that stuff, and they will harass you until you spill those big words.
I think generally when presented with an opportunity to speak about the work an artist should give a general detail:

This piece is called __________ It is oil on wood panel (or whatever medium) __feet by __ feet. Making it represents an important piece in this showing of work, I hope everyone is enjoying the show.

If there is more to be asked, such as from the media, there will be follow up questions.

    Very few artists who do speak seems to know when to turn off the stream of verbiage when it comes to their work. Sometimes more IS wanted, but it becomes mis-read by the artist I think and assumed EVERYTHING you can think of is wanted!
There seems to be no happy medium. The artist will either tell you it speaks for itself, or they will spend the next 10 minutes describing a tsunami of emotional adjectives, psychological terms, and art critic jargon that brushes upon used car salesman at some point.
It's a rare artist that finds this mid ground and a place I will strive for in the future, with the intent of the brief, "I think the work speaks for itself"

Recently I was asked about my work. It was a friendly sort of conversation, and I found myself asking, "Do you want a real answer, or an art gallery answer?"
Perhaps more appropriate goal would be to find the polite way for the artist to ask that question. Just like sometimes viewers like art because it's nice; Sometimes artists just paint birds because their nice.
Sometimes we make a painting of a flower, because we just wanted to paint a flower.
Sometimes the art has to just "be" and the answer just hast to be "because"

-Lloyd M

Monday, April 11, 2011

Studio - Back in Action

Maine finally decided to release its wintery grip and things came to life at every turn. The fuel of creativity woke up with the spring and I just could not wait to hit the studio and get some work done.
   Last night I found myself milling about, clearing some space and trying to figure out what all the stacks of sketches, torn paper and tools were doing in their various piles. Once these were sorted through an older idea came to mind, and that was to do a series of smaller pieces.
  I cut 10 boards and Gesso'ed a layer in place. A couple more layers to go and work can begin on these.
I really am anxious to get started and have had to remind myself to be patient, enjoy the process, and take things one step at a time. I have been keeping my nose in  a small sketch book I picked up a month back. I have a long string of possibilities in place for these smaller pieces.
   There is still some cleaning and much organizing to do around the studio, but it's in quarter swing anyway, full swing soon to follow. I have had a wave of inspiration lately of new techniques and loosening up of the styles to make new work that will blow your head!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Sketchbooks are your lifes blood!

Early this morning I ran out my door, hopped on my motorcycle and sped off to work. Once i got there, it was about 70, and the guy i support just didn't feel like doing much.
I found myself sitting on a porch, a head full of painting ideas with my coffee and nothing I could do about it.
At my work, its all about reusing as much as we can. A bunch of scrap paper quartered and stapled is my new sketchbook.
I had always heard artists humming the mantra draw everyday, keep a sketchbook handy but never thought much of it until I got a bit older. Practice does make perfect, or at least better, and a sketchbook doesn't need to be an investment made at a snobby art store.
Just a vehicle to record thoughts, ideas and doodles will fill the gap when inspiration runs low. This is how artists make it appear that they are a never-ending fountain of creativity. They work hard at their craft, refine it, and plan ahead.
With some sort of sketch pad, you can go back and refine your rough ideas you had when you were inspired. You will be grateful for this running art "savings account" when you find yourself under a deadline and without ideas.
So... No matter how fancy or humble, jot down, doodle and sketch those ideas!

Friday, April 8, 2011

Photoshop quick tip

In the Web 2.0 world one of the new things I have noticed is the desire to put a little page curl on images to make them look like stickers or book pages. People are doing it on Facebook, Blogger, Orkit.. all over. Why not join the crowd? It will be as popular as rounded edges before you know it.
This Blog even is currently using this little visual tid bit.
   Over the past week I was asked a few times how to do this and make it look believable. So many times a page curl is put on an image and it just looks very plastic. Many folks are just putting a grey gradient on the back and frankly it looks a little cheap and a bit lazy.
   The good news is, you can be lazy and have a good clean page curl effect on your digital images. I popped together a quick video to explain how to make it happen. I know everyone out there isn't a photoshop user but many of you are and some are just breaking into some how-to sort of things.
Hope this helps!

Studio Vision

During the winter months, the studio took a break. Wood for heating the house was running low, and I made the decision, not to heat the studio for the rest of the winter.
Well, now the studio has become a stumbling ground as tools have been dropped, The enduro is just living among the paintings... this is just not going to work.
Tomorrow it looks like we might see 60's.
I would so willingly take volunteers to help me make that place look like a studio again, but alas, I have none.
My stuff, my job I guess.

Over the next couple of weeks the studio will be back on track. I am considering hitting the Last Friday Biddeford Art walk with  a renewed vigor... and some low prices to get supplies back in hand.