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Crossroads Workshop: Peek #2

I am developing a new mixed media workshop called Crossroads. My workshop will be one of 21 art workshops in 21 Secrets Spring 2015. In Crossroads, we will work at the intersection of thread, paper and paint and explore our thoughts in ink. I've been brainstorming, sewing, inking, painting and filming and will start the serious video editing next week! We'll be sewing & painting paper with watercolor and/or gouache.

This is my third teaching gig at 21 Secrets! Here's how it works! On April 1, 2015, you'll gain access to twenty-one workshops via a downloadable 150+ page ebook with video tutorials, photos and instructions... plus a private Facebook group to post your work. 

You can register for 21 Secrets Spring 2015 at a special rate of $89 for 21 workshops. Instructors receive payment for teaching via registration links. If you register via a link at Daisy Yellow, I'll get a portion of the registration fee. Thank you in advance for your support!

The workshops are for artists at any level and the learning environment is warm, friendly and down to earth. There are folks who have been art journaling for many years and others dabbling in art for the first time. 

Here's Peek #1!


Rainbow {Holiday} Lights


2014 Index Card Wrap-Up

"A great attitude does much more than turn on the lights in our worlds; it seems to magically connect us to all sorts of serendipitous opportunities that were somehow absent before the change."
Earl Nightingale

My cards from 2014; 4 minute video.

I'm drawn to these little cards, well beyond the scope & boundaries of the annual index-card-a-day challenge, well beyond logical explanation. Let's face it. They are imperfect. They are not the best substrate. But they are fun.

I prefer 3x5" index cards that are made of manila folder material and the decent quality lined white cards. I thought it would be fun to pull together all of the index card photographs I could find in my files and make a little video. In the 4-minute video, you'll see each index card for just a second. My guesstimate is about 240 index cards! 

An assortment of post-index-card-a-day cards for 2014.

The previous year, I actually DID have a goal which included a 365 project, so I completed a total of over 500 cards! There is definitely something positive about setting a goal and working toward that goal. And yet there is also something to be said for simply working on whatever you wish and letting the year unfold in whateever direction it unfolds. 

Index cards provide a lot of freedom to play. They are truly not precious, so you can feel free to simply GRAB one and create something, anything. The next index-card-a-day challenge begins on June 1, 2015. Here's the ICAD FAQ in case you'd like to bookmark the page.


Tips on Photographing Your Art

{republished from early 2014}

If you are a creative blogger or wish to share your art online at spots like Facebook or Flickr, sharing quality images of your art is a priority. Everyone has a different process for capturing their work, so I though I would share what I do.

This post covers photographing art with a DSLR camera rather than a phone camera. I should mention that I photograph art for instagram with my phone, but that's pretty straightforward and square! 

I photograph all of my artwork rather than scanning it. The pages of my moleskine, doodles, mandalas, art journal pages, stitched collages, art quilts. If you shoot when the sun is not directly overhead you can capture the depth and texture of your mixed media art and art journal pages.

Get familiar with the focusing distance on your camera - how close can you get to your work and still be in focus? Crisp focus depends on a lot of things and good light is a core requirement. 

If you've been reading Daisy Yellow for long, you know that I like to capture my work at various angles. I really like texture! Angled shots are not only visual interesting but they provide detail of the texture and shimmer within your work. 

Depending where you are on the planet and the time of year, try photographing early to mid-morning or late afternoon when the sun is at at a bit of an angle and not directly overhead when the light is harsh. There's sun in Texas most days, so I photograph in natural light outdoors. In fact the sun is so bright here that it's virtually impossible to get a decent shot during the summer mid-day sun.

Even in Texas some winter days are so overcast that grabbing a decent photograph is difficult. So keep a stack of art-to-be-photographed and get outside and take the shots when the light is good. If your climate is such that it is rainy or overcast part of the year, a scanner may be in your future. Or set up a lightbox with artificial lights and a camera on a tripod, looking down at the art.

For each piece of art, I take one photo directly over the artwork to try to show the entire piece as it would be normally viewed. I can photograph work up to about 2 feet x 2 feet in size. Sometimes I stand on a step on the back porch and place the art below. Hover directy over the artwork, with the camera lens parallel to the ground, you can get a squared photo... without wacky angles. As long as the sun is not directly overhead.

For paintings larger than about 2' x 2' try leaning the work at a slight angle against a wall receiving evening or morning sun. Then crouch down when you shoot so that your camera lens is parallel to the face of the artwork and you'll get a decent shot. It will take a bunch of shots to get it right but sometimes there's no option. I feel for quilters trying to get a good shot of their larger quilts! For larger works, a wide angle lens comes in handy.

Whenever I photograph my art journal pages I always take at least one extra shot of a specific part that I like. I started doing that for the blog, but now I love looking at the details within the whole. It's a treasure hunt within my art for the details I enjoy most.

Scanning is definitely beneficial if you need a very large shot or want to be able to take one shot of a piece of art and then drastically crop the shot or print just a portion and still have good resolution. It's also handy if the weather is poor, it's windy or thunderstorming or the sun is not cooperating with your photography! Some artists prefer to scan their work {if it fits on the scanner} and others prefer to photograph their work.

I organize my photos with Adobe Bridge and do post-processing in Adobe Photoshop. If you are looking for an inexpensive way to edit photos without investing in Photoshop/Lightroom, try Google Picasa software, a free way to organize photos and do basic edits like fix the tone, crop & straighten.

Make a folder on your computer specifically for art. I have an art folder for each year. If you do a lot of art, you can make subdirectories. I have over a 1500 photos of art from 2014 alone, so I have to stay ultra-organized. - Grab your camera and snap photographs of your art. - Plug your camera's memory card into your computer and upload the photographs to the folder you created for art. - ransfer to the computer, crop using a tool like the free Google Picasa, and then save to your hard drive and upload to FB. The first few times, it will be very clunky. But once you get the process down, and upload often, you won't even need to think about it; it will just be part of your week! You can always write instructions for yourself for the first several times.


Happy Bokeh

Wishing you a happy, healthy year ahead filled with laughter and joy and vivid paint! In whatever way you celebrate the passing year, happiness to you, wrapped in a vanilla-scented bow! I'll be announcing fun surprises and challenges for January in the days ahead....


Bubble Words

"Complexity excites the mind, and order rewards it. In the garden, one finds both, including vanishingly small orders too complex to spot, and orders so vast the mind struggles to embrace them."
Diane Ackerman

Another page in my Play Journal. This is gouache on Schut watercolor paper doodled with J. Herbin Encre de Chine black ink. I received a bottle of this ink and a pad of paper from Clairefontaine for testing. 

The coolest thing about this ink is the super shiny surface. Below, a photograph taken in the sun from a side angle so that you could see the shimmery shine. It's simultaneously fluid and opaque which is a wickedly wonderful combination in an ink.

I filmed a video to show you how I doodled this page. There was no advance plan other than filling in all of the sections I had created with paint. Isn't that the root of doodling, to just MOVE that pen, to draw or write or whatever, without thinking about it first? Watch it here or pop over to Vimeo to watch {2 min}

So here's my review! This is a very liquid ink that flows nicely through the dip pen nib. The J. Herbin website description includes, "This ink’s principal component is the lacquer found in the Punjab region of India. J. Herbin began production of China ink in 1829." "Shellac type lacquer dries to a nice shine." "Great permanency of color." There is no specific lightfastness information. The day after drawing these doodles, I went over a bunch of the lines with a wet brush and there was no bleed at all. Any bleed that you see in the photograph is because bits of the gouache weren't completely dry when I inked the page... or due to my clumsiness with the dip pen!