Sunday, August 19, 2012

Flying Lessons and the Art of Giving Back

This is our month. Our Flying Lessons group one year anniversary. The earmark that we've made it...and we've made it together. There's been lots of laughs, some growing pains, family issues, kids, and all the things that make up life. We've built a community and can call each other friend. This kind of thing doesn't happen all the time and we decided as a group that we want others to experience this same kind of sisterhood.

We have gotten together and have eight spots in the last session ever of Flying Lessons. Pop on over to:

Leave a comment after the post to be entered to win. But WAIT! There's more!! If you check out Kelly Rae Roberts blog she matched our donation and there are another eight classes being donated by Kelly! (Yay for Kelly!)
That means for your comment on our Fly Tribe blog you have a chance at 16 possible spots! Wow! So get on over there and comment!!!

Secondly...we have a blog hop to share all about how each of us tries to give something back for the huge gifts we've been given.

My turn.
The view into kiln unknown.
The last decade has been all about my two children and their school experiences. We are extremely lucky to be involved in an arts focused school that allows for as much artistic creation as we can come up with. In parallel to building my creative business over this same time I have been doing as many odd art projects as I can fit in at their school. I've painted, sketched, held art sessions for 120-8 year olds, colored in CSI images, designed hall murals, and helped do menial PTA tasks. But this was our last year at this particular school.

The latest project started as a crazy idea to represent all the kids in the school by immortalizing their fingerprints in clay. I asked (held hostage) several other Mothers and made them roll two ounce balls of clay until they were crazy people. I needed all 1000 kids to press their fingers into the clay, hence 1000 balls were needed. They were distributed to each classroom then brought back to me to play with. You can see the black dots in the kiln pic above. Honestly, once I got them all back, I had no clue what I was going to do with them. Shhh...nobody knows that but me!

The beginnings of my project taking flight...
Mosaics are my first love. If I had only one choice of what to pour my creativity into everyday, mosaics would be the one. It hit after consulting with another artist friend of mine through her blog, without her knowing about it I might add, what the fingerprints should become.

So it took six months, a couple hundred pounds of clay, and a bunch of volunteers and we made it happen.
...partial flight...
Bit by bit we worked and fired, fired more clay and worked some more. Each day it all became more and more clear. are up! 
Fingerprints became flowers...lots of them...they were joined by bees and dragonflies...and an enormous butterfly. The kids watched us as we glued each piece to the wall and ooh'd and ahhh'd.
A little more.
Between the hot days and long hours it slowly came to be done. Three weeks longer than I thought and if my mosaic "team" hadn't stuck with me we'd still be trying to finish!
Needs grout!
 I'm not sure how many people know that I, along with a select few, designed and put this up for the kids. Truly I don't care if anyone knows. The kids faces while we were in the midst of this project are my payment for these projects. The bee wings are mirrors so they can peer at themselves. The flowers have faces and the petals are all hand-sculpted so it can be felt as well as seen. Everytime we visit the wall will have it's own story to tell me. And visit we will have to since we've moved onto another school.
Complete and in flight.
Now please move into the blog hop (below) and join the rest of my Fly Tribe as they share their giving back.
And thanks for coming by!

Giving Flight, Giving Back Blog Hop

Rachél Payne
Live Laugh Love Retreats

Friday, August 10, 2012

Video Beginnings..

Trying my hand at some videos and hoping to answer some of the frequently asked questions by some of my clients.

Let me know what you think. Many others in the works...proper ways to open jump rings, how do I figure out how to get this charm on my bracelet, resin tips....and what ever else I can think of!

Have an especially artful day!


Thursday, August 9, 2012

Back to picture taking...

Do you take pictures of your product, art, family, then look at them and there too dark...too light...the color is off? Happens more than we like, huh? So let's take a look at some pictures I took for my Etsy site.

A post or two back I showed you my set up but here it is again...
Wheeled cart set up for picture taking.
Even with all my lights and white box there is still room for improvement. Let me show you a picture of some of my charms for my supply shop straight from the camera and the photo box, taken inside.
Music Charms
Here's another taken with the photo box but at midday outside. (I like these and they need very little help but you can't always be outside)
Photo Charms
Different huh? Now the background for these is always the same. I have brown paper bag laid across the bottom of the box, a blue ruler for sizing (sometimes I also use a coin), and that's it.

Now I'm a Corel geeky husband picks on me about because he just cant understand why I don't use Photoshop but I've had Corel for a long time, I'm used to it, I like it and it likes me...that's all there is to it! And I think you should do the same! If you love Elements, use it! If you're a fan of PS then by all means use it. Find something that works for you and stick with it! It truly makes your time manipulating photos faster if you know and like your photo manipulation program. (that's my story...)

Lately I've been using Photogene on my Ipad (also comes for the Iphone)...also very easy and you can change up your photos in front of the TV, bonus! So here's the first charm photo after a tour through Photogene.
Resampled Music Charms
Can you see the difference? Here's what I did...first I cropped the image to get it to be more of a close up making sure I left the ruler to show size. Under adjustments I increased the brightness and sharpened the photo by about 10%. Then I added my company name which is as easy as pushing two buttons and typing the name. Because I can I put the torn paper edge down the side and voila! Better photo to post to my shop. It's similar in Corel Photo Paint in that you up the brightness and sharpen, you can also add text in a multitude of fonts, don't have the paper edge available as easily but I'm sure it can be done, and I would also reduce the image resolution. Remember if you are posting paintings or any kind of art that can be easily duplicated or copied to use 72 dpi (dots per inch) resolution and put some kind of watermark across the whole picture! Very important! (not so much for my purposes here because this is resale)  Okay one more...
Huge difference. My only complaint when manipulating is that sometimes it changes the color, can you see it? The original is brown/tan, the after pic looks to me slightly peach/pink. I don't mind it enough to spend much time fixing it! Pink or not it still looks better than the first picture so...(and I missed the paper edge here! Whoops!)

Would love for you to share how you make your pictures better for your shop or website or shop? What program do you use? Pop in a link and show off your photo savvy!

Thanks and have a creative day!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Something New...

As much as I loved the old background I felt it was time for something new. So I put in my new header and some touches of favorite color (next to acidy lime green!)

Back tomorrow with the next photo installment...what a difference a photo program can make!

Be cre8ive!

Friday, July 20, 2012

I'm ready for my close up!

Photo taking...easy right? Ha!

This weeks time sucker has been wrapped up in trying to take photos of the 3010 things in the studio waiting for their close up. In addition to that I've been teaching my daughter how to take pics for Etsy and assist while I take some.

In a nut shell it took two days to take 250 pictures, then another day until 1 am to re-sample them and catalogue them for the shop. I still need descriptions, measurements, never seems to end.

But I'm getting ahead of myself...lets start at the beginning. Back here:
I started to tell you about my photo box and my attempts at taking pics of my jewelry. That photo box is one of the best things I've ever built and it cost the price of a recycled box, about 1/2 yard of white cotton fabric (maybe $2.50), and a roll of white duct tape ($5.00) which I didn't use up.

So here's the whole thing as it looks now in my new studio area:
It's on wheels!
So I put the whole thing on wheels which means I have the option of putting the light box anywhere I want. If the day is lovely I move the whole thing outside or if I have a class I can hide it in a corner somewhere. It's a beautiful thing.
Here it is a bit closer up with all the lights blazing. Those are photo lights on tripods with the exception of one, lower right, is an $8 clip lamp from Home Depot. The clip lights work great and work just the same as the other photo light set up. (I just had a friend gift them to me or I'd have all clip lights!) Currently they all have daylight old style light bulbs in them. (this has a two fold reason behind it...explanation for another post)

You can see underneath the box there is a roll of paper, a box of some kind...etc. we're were working on shots of vintage jewelry hence the vintage back drop pieces.
Playing with the backdrop
The cart allows the room for all my props to be stored underneath the light box...easy and within reach. So, we start with a couple of vintage cigar boxes and some sheet music. There is always a long sheet of white paper hanging from the back of the box. For experimentation sakes I changed it to this: 
Changed to vintage papers
Lets see what both look like through my camera lens...(I should note this is a shot with the camera setting to macro(tiny flower on your camera somewhere) and no flash. This is not a DSLR camera and its about 10 years old, she's my friend!)
Cigar box background
I kind of like that. Now this picture has had no adjustments or manipulation except that I made it 72 dpi (web sized). Other than that this is exactly how my camera saw it. Now for the paper:
Vintage papers from Upcycled and Remix on Etsy
Again no other manipulations except the re-sizing and it's a little different viewpoint. Hmmm, not sure if its the shot itself or the background but I like the other picture better. What do you think?

Next time I will show you my mixed media supply shop pictures and the magic of a photo program!

Have an artful day!

Monday, July 9, 2012

OMGosh...did you miss me?

My daughter reflecting how I feel about being away from my blog for so long.

How I feel daily expressed by my son.

And I thought I was doing so much for that! 

Keeping up with this blog thing, facebook, social media in general, teaching, shows, life, children....not to mention some sort of self care...sheesh! I need to be three people!

Well, I've made a list and I'm (once again) re-evaluating business life and all things attached to it. Be sure I will be back with something poignant to say (hopefully) and a project or two to inspire your creativity (with luck!).

Don't leave me! I'm ruminating but will write again soon...

Be always artful,

Friday, March 23, 2012

Desk View

Yesterday I posted this picture on my facebook page and this is what is still covering my desk this morning. Is your list so long that you don't know where to begin? Mine is trying to paralyze me. It's long....very long! So, breathing deeply, I am going to pick one item after another and knock them out! Cross them off! Get them off the paper! Here's one item from my list yesterday....
This is going in the mail. It was a slow go as I put this together with scissors, stick glue, and a couple of pens. It's a huge mailing label and, I think, it may morph into a sticker of some kind or at least some snippet of it.

So that's crossed off., next is pictures taking....resin experiments....and on and on. One note: I am getting back into my Etsy shop with my creations today. Look for it to re-open and be furnished with new things! 

Okay, off I go!