Sunday, March 14, 2010


As of this very moment I won't be posting to this blog any more. My new URL is Please come visit and join my followers. I would love it! HOPE TO SEE YOU THERE.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Art Tip for the Day...Sign it right

This part is for women only-not anything too tricky- but have you ever wondered if it matters whether you sign your whole name on your creation or not- as far as marketing goes? Well, it does as proven by a female artist that I read about probably about 15 years ago. She did an experiment to see if it mattered whether she signed as a woman. She tried her full name, just her last name, and a made up man's name. Guess who sold the most? Well, you guessed it, ladies. Of course, the man. Not fair. After I read that article I decided that my best bet- if I didn't want to misrepresent myself all together- was to sign just my last name. I don't know, for me, if it really helped a lot as I didn't try her experiment but I thought it couldn't hurt, right? Dang. It's no fair that we can't be a woman all the way in this man's world. But, I just hate to break it to you, ladies, but from what I've learned in my "Human Heritage" class at the University of Utah-there has NEVER been a woman's world. That's right. I said it. NEVER. Never has there been a true matriarchal society. The Iroquois came close but still no banana. The women in the tribe could decide the leaders of it but the men could STILL veto her. So, we better go with the flow somewhat and that means we women have to be a little crafty. Therefore...the last name, only, is your best bet.

Okay men-you can get in here now. Your signature shouldn't ever be the only thought you put into your creative signing (because it is original to YOU only). If you want to protect your rights on your work you must put a visible date (yes, out in front pretty much-I guess a sculpture that is viewed with a 360 degree view would be an exception here) on the front AND the copyright symbol. Even though you haven't applied for a copyright-put it on there. From what I read- the copyright office takes forever to process claims and such. So, it would be a good bet that you would have plenty of time to apply for your copyright before the trial date, etc. Now this could be a Wickapedia fact as I haven't read up on copyright laws for quite a while but don't completely take my word for it.

While we're at it on the signature business-unless your signature is a world wide prize (like Van Gogh, etc.) you want people to look at your art work and say to themselves, "That's such a great work of creativity! Oh, who is it by? Julie Jacobsen". Get it? The name is less important than the work of art unless you are-repeat after me-Van Gogh or some other big time art whosit. You don't want your viewers to say, "Julie Jacobsen did this work. Now how about the art? Nice. But Julie Jacobsen is the artist". Do you get it? You don't want your name to be blatant. That brings up a whole other can of worms-framing. Let's hit that another day because it is, oh, so important.

Now, look at my examples of my signature. Notice something? The colors blend into the color scheme and yet they stand out ENOUGH. Of course they are really standing out to you as I magnified the view but if you go back in my blog you'll see many of my original works that were very successful marketing wise. If you look for the signature you can find it but you have to hunt a little. Sometimes I have changed the painting beneath my signature to have it stand out just a little more as it was too wimpy.

P. S. I forgot that today we were going to talk about drawing the viewer in. Alright, you people that looked at Dore. Hold that image/images in your mind for a day. I wrote myself a note to be sure to do it tomorrow.

Art History Moment: Okay. I heard this rumor. It could be another Wickapedia fact but I heard that Van Gogh lost a lot of marbles in his head because he would actually eat the lead paint that he painted with. Just a little here and there but nowadays you know what eating lead paint can do to you. That's right. Brain damage. Maybe I should Google that and see what the consensus is on that info. Interesting theory, isn't it.

Remember it will be in about 1 week or less.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Art tip for the Day...Get it moving

What makes an image inviting? Often it's the movement involved that will pull you in more than what the subject is. As I said before-our doodles say a lot of what we are thinking deep down-how we're feeling. There is a wonderful site called They have contests each week and I'm showing you my very first entry for the topic "circus". I started out drawing a ring with elephants in it and it just was a dud. I tore it up. Then I just let myself go with the flow and things developed. A lot developed in fact. 3 drawings and I used some watercolor on one of them. All 3 are filled with movement and turmoil. What have I gone through this week? Turmoil. There you go. Reflected in my drawing.

Anyway, adding movement makes things so much more intriguing. I'm going to talk about what will make for a successful painting-bringing the viewer into a place/space where they will want to remain a while and study things-tomorrow.

Art History Moment: Have you all heard of Gustave Dore, an illustrator from the 1800's? I want you to Google his Dante's Inferno illustrations to see how Dore pulls you into the story by creating drama, etc. Dore goes along with tomorrow's tip. So keep him in mind.

Remember next week, most likely, my address will be changing to

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Art Tip for the Day...Basics about creating distance

I have this really nifty chart that will help you so much with creating distance in your paintings/drawings. There are so many little tricks that create the illusion that things are receding besides just normal perspective rules. If you use these you will be successful at it. It's self explanatory, really. I think you will understand. The only thing that puzzled me a bit was where it says overlapped and overlapping. What this means is that in the foreground the object will overlap something. That shows it is in front. The object behind and , therefore, further back will be overlapped. I had a small copy of this chart that I just put on my table next to my easel that I could refer to from time to time until I fully understood it. I hope this is helpful to someone.

Art History Moment: For any of you that are interested in the history of art you will find that when you study it you can't do it without learning about the art itself (of course), politics, culture and religion. That's what makes it so very interesting!

Remember my new blog address will be Changing probably the beginning of next week. It's partially up but not in complete working order as of yet.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Art Tip for the Day...Let's do something different and low stress

Okay. I'm back. Yesterday was an extremely hard day. Just can't get over that my cat is gone. It helps to keep busy and not mope as this only makes it worse.

So, I'm moving on with more artsy stuff. When I get depressed I get busy! Do you all have a dark mug? I want you to hold it at an angle so you can see your reflection. It's going to be funky but that's half the fun. I did this years ago and you can tell by my drawing that I had a drink in the cup. This isn't necessary unless you want the reflection to blend from the mug to the drink. Anyway, get out your drawing paper and a pencil or colored pencils. Now draw what you see. Don't try to make yourself look your best. That's not the point. It's a lesson in forgetting about your nose, etc. and drawing the shapes and negative space + fluidity. Loosen up. The drawing I did was centered on the paper but you don't have to do that. Let it go off the edges but be careful about that dirty little devil, the tangent (see older posts to learn about that).

That's all there is to it.

Art History Moment: Eugene Delacroix, a French Romantic painter, was a master in the painting technique of fluidity. In looking at "Arabs Skirmishing in the Mountains" you'll see his paintings are alive with movement. Not only are the brush strokes fluid but the composition sings with motion-one element moves to another and so forth.

In keeping with the "fluid" theme go back a few days in my posts and look at the natural arch painting I did. Notice that my first attempt at it is so static. Harsh. The second painting has so much more movement and flows.

By the discussions of art history are not going to follow any sort of order. This isn't a class. This is just discussing what inspires me at the moment.

Remember that my address is changing to Most likely the beginning of next week.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Art Tip for the Day...Sad day for me....

So sorry to not have any tip today. I'm going to have to put my cat down this morning. She's been sick with diabetes and urinary tract infections for over a year. It's been a battle trying to get her through it and I am at the point where I just can't go through this any more. I don't need to tell all of the pet lovers (especially cats) how I feel. For those of you that don't know-well, I feel awful. Back with a more cheerful tip tomorrow.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Art Tip for the Day...Don't sell your best/most meaningful work

First of all I just want to say that today's samples are little "quick" paintings that I did of Gracie, my daughter, and Charlie, my son. They have helped me so much in my endeavor to get my new blog site going. It's almost done and I think it will look a lot better. After all-this page, now, is part of my maiden voyage. Anyway, Gracie works at a place called in the web page and marketing department. She looks at 100's of blogs every day and writes the online blog for their company. Quite a clever lady. Charlie is Mr. Computer Know it All around our house. He's fabulous also. I just want to say a huge thank you to both of them for all their help!

Back to the main topic. As artists we are constantly trying so hard to make a buck here and there. This I have done. I mean-who wants to live in a hovel? Not me. So, it's tempting to sell or give away/donate all your original work if someone wants it. Now, I do have to say that it would be hard to turn down a million dollars but you get my point when I say that you'll be sorry if you can't look at the originals any more. This is especially true of subject matter that is near and dear to your heart. These paintings above of Gracie and Charlie were sold and I miss them but I have a lot of paintings of my kids. So I thought I could spare a few. Plus I take pictures of everything before it leaves my house. Let me repeat that-I take pictures of everything before it leaves my house. That way I have an image of them for occasions, like today. I know it's tempting to donate your best work always but that's a mistake as you won't have anything to show (and this will happen) in your home when the time comes to show off your work.

Maybe I should go into the picture taking in more detail. That's for another day. Wow. I could do this forever. I never run out of ideas. Thanks for giving me the opportunity to share them.

Many of you know that I'm back in school after many years getting my Art History degree. I'm a senior. Well, pretty soon I've got to take "Senior Seminar" and it's been so long since I was really in the art history world. Of course I remember quite a bit but there's a lot I don't. I think, starting tomorrow, I'm going to add a "Art History Moment" comment to my blog. This will help me and help all of you to become a more well rounded artist. I've got to start reviewing everything, guys.

*****Blog address change reminder*****
emember my address will be changing very soon to

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Art Tip for the Day...The almost chain saw massacre

This was one of those sagas that went on and on for about 3 years. I'm not kidding. Chris and I wanted to have a painting for our living room. So we searched for ideas. This is what we came up with. It's a natural arch in Utah. I can't remember the name. Anyway, it's a very large painting and those can be so tough. I got it all finished and decided that it needed some animals. The photo I did it from actually had some sheep in it. Now, since I did this a lot from a magazine photo I could not claim this as original, at the time. In the photo there were some Navajos herding sheep. I was so happy with it but felt it was a tad harsh. I exhibited it at the Black Diamond Shop in Salt Lake City. One of the guys that worked there, his name is Conrad, told me that you would never see sheep in Southern Utah like that. We had an argument and I was quite ticked off. Conrad became a real star in the mountaineering world as he's the one that was up on Mount Everest and found Hillary's remains in the 1990's, I think. That's besides the point but, even though he made me so mad I learned a valuable lesson.

Back to the painting. During the space of 3 years I nearly drove myself crazy trying to paint this and that while it was on the wall. One day my husband came home from work and I was desperate. I told him to PLEASE get the chain saw and destroy it. I was going to the store and wanted to come home to the loss of a headache. Half way to the store I thought about what I could do to fix it and called in a panic at a pay phone to ask if he had. Fortunately for me he was too tired and sitting down for a while before he was going to get out the chain saw. I told him to stop and not do it!

Then I got it down and recreated the whole thing in many ways. As I said yesterday a dragon formed in the rocks slivering down the right side. There's a screaming face (probably reflected my stress over the whole thing) too. Plus other fun hidden objects. I felt that it needed some kind of framing and brought in the foreground. This was from my imagination completely. Then I decided that I wanted to put burros in it. As I worked and worked I decided to put oils on top of the acrylics to soften and add drama (lighting). I feel it's a much better painting now and it hangs over our fireplace.

The big lesson I learned from that little twerp, Conrad, is that it's so important to research everything-including the plants, animals, etc. If you don't then there is always going to be a "Conrad" that will make your blood boil. We artists have a hard time taking criticism from people that we feel don't know art. My husband has made me mad on a regular basis throughout all the years but, you know what? He's usually right and it's mostly about structures and perspective. Darn him. Good thing as I would have made a fool of myself many times over.

So, there you go. The famous Chain Saw Story! Ta da!

P. S. Notice something else weird? The sheep were too big. See. I told you. Lots of lessons from this painting.

Incidentally there are some other great lessons in this painting but that's for another day.

Changing soon to

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Art Tip for the Day...You can make blaa items fun

My husband and I just celebrated our 26th anniversary! It was on Wednesday. To celebrate we spent the night at Sundance Ski resort (you know where the Sundance Film Festival originated) that is up Provo Canyon in Utah. No, we didn't see Robert Redford. It was so beautiful. Loved the restaurant and our room was to die for. We didn't want to leave. It had all the extras: fireplace with wood to light, lovely natural soaps, woodsie smell inside all the time, and etc., etc. Then we went snowshoeing right below Mount Timpanogos. It was glorious and we didn't want to come home but here we are now.....

So, after that little ditty I will proceed with the Tip of the Day. I love to hide things in my paintings. It's especially nice when you feel the shapes are a little boring. I don't know about you but some of them I see all the time on my walls and it's so entertaining to look and see where I've hidden something. Added bonus: it's fun for others and they like to hear the stories behind them. The painting at the top is of our cat that died. It was so sad but she hung herself from her collar. If you look really close I've written "buy break away collars" right on the collar in the painting. Under closer examination you'll see that my leaves at the top are in the shape of cats and there's even one being teased by a dog.

Do you have this happen? There are some days that I have to put my hand up on the side of my face so I won't see my paintings. That's usually when I'm tired. I see all the parts that I think aren't successful. If it goes on long enough I will even get out the paint brush and fix it. Even with it still hanging on the wall. I almost fell backwards down the stairs once trying to fix one. Pretty scary. Did I ever tell you the story about my painting and the chain saw...........? Tomorrow.

For all of you that don't like cats or think this is a dumb bell subject matter-then so sorry. Tomorrow's painting has a scary dragon in it.

*****Another reminder of URL change coming up*****
My new address will be I'll just keep posting this until I can get the transformation finished.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Art Tip for the Day..."Working" tools

When I say working-I mean that they WORK well. They work great and I've been using these tools for years and years. The item on the left, as you probably already guessed, is a palette. This is the one that I use for my ACRYLICS and works soooooo much better than a throw away or reusable white one (that is hard to clean, you know). It's essentially a piece of glass that my husband cut for me and good 'ol duct tape to keep it safe. You can tell by how shabby it is that I use it a lot. It's not very big-just about 8" x 10". That way I can carry it around and put it in an art bin so easily. Now, here's the great part-the glass is so easy to clean. All you have to use is your palette knife or razor blade after it's dry. Or you can just squirt it with water and let it sit while you're washing your brushes (yes, EVERY TIME or the acrylics will eat the bristles and it must be with a cleaner). I even lay paper towel on it and squirt the water on top. Then all I have to do is just swish it around and throw it away. Then it usually takes one more quick wipe. Love it. Love it.

The other is a cut piece of levis used to wipe off my brushes. This is how I thought of this: my son was throwing away a bunch of pants that weren't even worth giving to the good will. But he thought they would be great for me to use with my art. I told him that I usually used t shirts but he said I could at least wipe off most of the paint on the denim. So he cut them all up for me and they have lasted a very long time. I'm giving Kip the credit for this brilliant discovery. They're great because of the rough grain of the material. It takes off more paint than a cotton rag and I always use it when I'm done and want to get off most of the paint before I wash the brushes.

Just some simple ideas that make the painting process so much more enjoyable (I always despised trying to clean off those stupid reusable palettes and they never got very clean).

Oh....Last point about the palette. Why do I have a gray piece of paper underneath it? Because gray is the perfect mixing background. The colors are more true if you use that. I'm always very careful to try and keep that part dry but it does need changing every once in a while (not very often).

*****PLEASE NOTE*****

I will be changing my URL (blogger address) fairly soon. My daughter, the computer wizard, deemed it necessary as juliesjabber doesn't fit into what I'm doing these days. So, it's going to be It makes more sense since that's my logo and it makes me smile just to look at it. I hope it does for you also!

Remember if you have a great tip...won't you please share it with all of us? That is if you feel you can. All of us in the creative world just love to learn new things because a good artist/creative person should never stop the learning process or their creations will become stale.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Art Tip for the Day...I can see the forest for the trees

Now that I've posted so many of my blunders I thought I would display and talk about one of my successful paintings. I know it's not an original concept but it was a commission for someone. This is a painting of Deseret Livestock Ranch in Utah-the largest ranch in the state. One of my best friends' family used to own it and I spent many happy hours riding horses there. We stayed in the little white house.

Enough of that nostalgia. After painting for many years I discovered the great attributes of a filbert brush while working on this painting. In fact I had to have several sizes. I liked the filbert so much. As you can see I had a lot of leaves to do. Two things I want to talk about here.

The first is-when you mix up your paint for the leaves don't mix it to an even color. Let little bits of different colors appear throughout. Also you can have small sparkles of light (different brightnesses). This is especially true for leaves in the foreground. Also, grass and whatever you paint that is alive. It can apply to other things but today I'm really talking about leaves. So, when you apply the paint let the different colors peak out somewhat. It adds life to the painting.

The second is-try to hold your brush as loosely as possible and stand back. In fact-way back if you can. You can attach a stick to the end of the brush and get very far away. If you are close and tight you won't be able to see the leaves for the trees (get it-like the forest, etc.-too close and involved when you should relax and detach some). You might want to get tight on a few leaves that are really close to give more of a feeling for what kind of tree this is but not necessarily.

Okay. Go out and pick your switch-I mean stick.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Art Tip for the Day...As promised-Sometimes you have to ruin it!

Just making good on my promise here. One of the things I like to do from time to time is show you how I CAN fail. No artist really wants to do that. We want to show the world that we are fully capable but I don't know any artist that really feels that way. A lot of us feel like impostors and the world will find out about it if we aren't careful. I'm just getting it out there now. I can't do everything possible in art-but I'll try my best to be successful.

Well, onto the tip. What I left off yesterday is: sometimes you have to ruin a painting/art venture to make it work. This really applied to yesterday's painting. Remember I said that it was getting to the point that I really just didn't like it. At the worst point (where I was ready to ask my husband to take out the chain saw-another story, another time) I decided to put a veil over it. For those who don't know what a veil is-it's a kind of cloudy wash put all over the area you want to change or create atmosphere, more layers to work on, etc. It's very useful for pushing things back, like mountains. In the case of the my painting it helped me to get rid of the stark tightness that was developing and that I couldn't see beyond. It helped me to look at it in a new way and try different things. Let me just put it this way-IT HELPED A LOT. At the bad stage I showed the painting to a neighbor and she probably thought what an idiot I was. I wish I could have gotten her back to see how it was transformed. Too bad I can't show you how it looked at the bad stage.

BUT I can show you one that is like that and it's the star painting for today. This is a painting of me at Lake Powell. We hiked into the most beautiful side area called Moqui Falls (not sure of the spelling now). I did this painting quite a while ago and have never been satisfied with it. I worked and worked on it. The other day I remembered the old mantra: sometimes, etc. Another little ditty by Bob Rumel, again, by the way. So, here you go. What I have done is globbed on a thick veil....well, just, actually colors-lots of cool dark colors-on the rocks in the foreground and middle ground. It's hard to see the difference as this photo didn't turn out that great but you get the idea, I hope. It might be a while before I can get this painting to the successful point. But remember what I said before-it's okay to throw it away or cut it up and use it for an interesting under painting for smaller paintings or whatever. The point is-it's okay to fail and learn.

What did you learn today? Sometimes you have to ruin it to make it work! Have courage. Be brave. Throw that veil on or whatever you have to do. That reminds me of something else you can do.........

Oh, by the way-sorry for the extra poor photo of this unsuccessful, as yet (see I have hope still) painting.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Art Tip of the Day....So your portraits/people look like Martians

One of the best tips I got from my great teacher, Robert Rumel, is about the eyes. You know, I never even thought about the fact that eyes don't always show a reflection of light until Robert pointed it out to me. Think about a bathtub when it's in low light....say you have lit candles around it. Now, do you see a big shimmer of white light? Not a chance. The reflected light, if any, will be gentle and probably have some color to it. Now take away the candles and let the very low natural light be observed and you really don't see much, if any, reflections.

It's the same with our eyes and that's why I am showing you, today, the portrait I did of my daughter with her friend when they were 3. This was a very difficult painting because in the photo I took I could hardly see their eyes because of the shadows. In fact that's where the charm lay in the whole composition. The contrast of going from deep shadow to bright sunlight makes it very intriguing. In fact one could say that it is a use of the technique called chiaroscuro-made famous by such masters as Rembrandt and Caravaggio (they differed in that Rembrandt's light dissolves into the form-whereas Caravaggio's hits something solid). But I digress. Back to the point I'm trying to make by showing you my painting.

As I was coming towards the end of this painting I kept wanting to perk these little girls up by bringing life to their eyes by way of reflections. Every time I did that I would stand back and think, "Yuck. I just don't like this painting at all." Finally I gave up and let the composition as a whole bring the much needed life to this painting. In my diligence to put in the eyes so they would be recognizable I forgot all about the charm of the painting-the drama created by light. That's when I gave in and only put in the reflections that would actually happen. Then it became a success and only then.

ALSO, it's not going to be the same reflected light in both or all of the eyes. Remember that as that's another key to making this person come alive. Plus the shapes of the light and placement on the eyes will be different. This means you really have to observe and if you can't get it from your photograph then have someone stand in similar light and observe what's going on.

Part of the problem I was having was being too tight. I just hated the painting and then a little thought came into my mind......which will be the topic for tomorrow's tip of the day. Now you will just have to wait until then.

Now, of course, if you are doing something in a more illustrative or abstract style these rules need not apply. All of this goes out the window. But if you want realistic people you should, definitely, follow these rules.

Oh, I should add that if you could see the original painting you would see that the light in the eyes are not matching.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Art Tip for the Day....BORING-This drawing is BORING!

I don't even want to have this be the main drawing for my blog today because it is, well, BORING. I just want you all to see the difference between a tight, boring, drawing and some loose and "dig deep" drawings. These drawings have a lot going for them. One, the bag lady, isn't exactly fashion magazine worthy but it has heart and interest. I would much rather gaze at her all day than the boring bird drawing that I did from one of my own photographs (remember? keep it original even if it's boring). The drawing of the angel and the little girl on the school steps has plenty of "dig deep" in it. It came from the depths of my memories of feeling like an outcast, often, in grade school. I'm sure many of you can relate to the feeling of having someone be on your side. Especially we artsie types (bad English, I know, but I didn't say I was an English major either). My couple that has the middle eastern flavor (I say flavor because I know it's not a correct's just what came out of me that day) has personality and movement. The composition is definitely one that keeps the eye moving back to what is important-i.e. the soul of the drawing as represented in the eyes).

Now, don't you agree that the birds are, well, you know. I did that in 1997 and it still stops me when I look at that sketch book. I always say what a cruddy one it is. Plus I didn't even bother to spray any "fix" on it. So, it's all smudged.

The main point of today's entry is that letting it flow, letting the muse in side take over, is what it's all about in art. Our audience is not dumb. Intuitively they seek something that they can connect with. Even if you never show these drawings to anyone you will know, yourself, if you have dug deep each and every time you come across them. DON'T rip them out as they are a constant reminder of what you have and have not been successful with. Well, unless they are too embarrassing for words. I mean, after all, we don't want the world to realize that we actually have the most bizarre thoughts sometimes or can't, actually, draw a nose.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Art Tip for the Day...I Aint Got No Satisfaction

So, you've finished your painting and it just doesn't do it for you. What went wrong? Why isn't it a masterpiece? Well, I want you to turn that painting upside down again. Now. Stand back and forget about the subject matter. Start looking at shapes.

1. Do you have interesting negative spaces?
2. Is it bottom heavy?
3. Top heavy?
4. Or, worse yet, all centered in the middle?
5. Any tangents?
6. looking at the color distribution
A. Is the color consistent? Say, you have a bright red wheelbarrow-you could put a little
red highlight on the person's hair, a red reflection in the puddle on the sidewalk.
Color distribution is important.
B. Does one color overwhelm everything? Or maybe the yellow you picked out for the
lemons in the wheelbarrow just looks all wrong. You knew something was off. This is the problem and you can fix it.
This is all conjecture, remember.

There are probably other questions you could ask yourself. And by the way, I find this the best way to figure out what is going wrong with your basic drawing of something. Hands become just shapes that you can deal with. Look at the negative space around them. Sometimes all you need to do is copy that negative space that should look right.

Okay, now you have found out the problems in your painting. You have a battle plan and can get to work fixing everything.

*Just a side note from yesterday....I forgot to mention that you can try to get permission to copy from the creator of the image. They might say they don't care a hoot that you using their photo exactly and you are going to sign your name to it. But GET IT IN WRITING if you plan to do anything public with this painting-like sell, exhibit, pass it down in the family for inheritance purposes. I did a painting of a house from a very old postcard. I did my best to contact the company but they had gone out of business years before I came along and wanted to do a painting using their image. But, again, be sure to document it in your files the process you took to try to do the right thing. At least you can show the world that you tried. As you can tell I will give you some of my professional expertise in the commercial world of the business of selling, etc., your art. That is what I know of it. I'm not an expert on this, guys. That's why I'm not a lawyer.

**Another side note...I won't be posting any tips until, most likely, on Monday as I'm going to go help take care of my grandson and it's out of state. Plus I wouldn't be able to concentrate anyway-even if I did have a laptop to take with.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Art Tip for the Day...It's Mine!

Well, it is mine or so I KNOW about my original images (Not this image above and I'll get into that in a little bit). That was kind of a rude title, wasn't it? But it got your attention right away, I bet.

The topic for today is keeping your art original by trying your hardest to use your own original images-photos, drawings, etc.. I know it's so easy to find a very cool picture and paint it but you have to be careful. We, as artists, are always borrowing. Borrowing from this place and that. I don't think there are too many that can paint an animal from memory, right? So, we are always having to look at pictures and who expects you to live in Africa where you could have a handy opportunity to take a picture of a wildebeest. I know we don't have one at our zoo. Anyway, that's why artists usually have overflowing files that they call "morgues" (not my idea). Depressing name but I guess you could look at it this way-dead images, images that YOU don't own. You have to respect the person who created the image by not copying it exactly and putting your name on it. It's just not fair (sound like the sand pile gang?). But it's not. The photographer got the photo of the wildebeest because he actually went to Africa.

Or how about those of you that copy someone else's painting and call that your own design (by signing it, remember?). For one thing it's kind of a rut/bad habit to get into. I know it's hard to come up with your own ideas but you can do it and you'll get good at it-WITH PRACTICE. You know you can copy a painting or someone's photo (I'm not a lawyer here but this is the way it works, I'm quite sure) if you sign your name and then give credit to the original person or magazine, etc. So for example you would put: Your name, after Van Gogh. Then that's okay. If you scroll back in my blog you'll come to the dancers that I drew out of the newspaper. I put that it was someone else's orginal idea. Get it?

Now you get to read about dummy me but I was a young dummy so I can be forgiven. That doesn't mean I didn't have to follow the rules. I didn't know what I was doing when I was a senior in high school. This was in the 1970's (don't count back on your fingers to guess how old I am) when "black is beautiful" was one of the popular catch phrases. There was a fabulous article with pictures. Did I tell you about this before? I don't think so but if I did-please bare with me. Anyway, I painted the painting that you see above of the lovely African American lady. It was quite good, I thought. So I decided to enter it in an art show. To my chagrin it was recognized from the article and rejected. Drat. I missed out on the whole art show and felt quite dumb about the whole thing.

So, get what I'm saying? Remember me when you are tempted to take credit for someone else's idea-IT'S MINE. There. Now you would want the same for you, wouldn't you? Right guys?

Oh, and I should add that this painting is a classic example of using bad art supplies. I mean-look at the yellowed finish all around her. I guess I wasn't too accomplished at putting on finishes either as you can still see the original blue underneath. I used a Liquitex finish and I would sure like to know how to get it off without hurting the painting. I'll have to look into that at another time. For now it's back to the basement it's going to go. Also, I used the awful canvas board and in addition to the stolen image it's warped. Lovely. Just lovely.

Yikes I just read back on this and what a blow hard I am.

How do you feel about this blog? Does it help? Is there anything I can help you with? Please let me hear your comments. I'd love to hear from you.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Art tip for the Day...Move like a race car-VROOOM

Well, this isn't exactly one tip. It's a very cool exercise that is especially great for you (and me) tight drawing/painting types. What I want you to do is to pretend that you are on a trip to, say, San Francisco, and you're riding on a cable car. You will never get a chance to ever visit again in your life and you forgot you camera. Did I say that you have always wanted to do one of those street scenes that have lots of goodies in it? Now, you have 5 minutes, only, to draw everything you see. You want all the details-buildings, signs, people, animals, etc. Because you're a creative type I know you can do this-pick some place in your home or where ever you are and apply this little story mindset to it. Set the timer for 5 minutes and draw EVERYTHING you see as fast as you can. It's amazing how much you will get in. Remember that you need every detail that you can possibly fit in-words, the crack in the wall, the food on the plates, etc. I purposely chose some of those cluttered areas in my house and, yes, I did leave the dishes in the sink for that extra detail that will be needed. No, I'm not a slob.

Is your house pristine and do you live in a sterile environment? Then use my photos. It's better when you do it from a live area but these photos will work. I can't think of too many places that would fit that description-except a jail...hmmmm...not fun. Anyway, you can use my creative photos. You probably already know this but if you double click on the photo you can make it very large. Oh, I should mention that tomorrow we are going to talk about not using other people's photos for your own creative work and then signing it as yours-like you thought up the whole idea yourself. Here will come one of my dandy little life experiences that you can learn from. Drat. I have so many of those but I won't be stingy and keep all those humiliating stories to myself (not always that bad). I want you to see that I'm an artist that can fail and learn from my mistakes (hopefully). That way you will have hope that you can reach the pinnacle of artdom some day (will you let me know what it's like when you get there?).

Extra credit-use color for the exercise. Or why don't you try the moving transportation with someone else driving, of course!

There. All you tight types-don't you just feel free? Try not to get a headache over this. It doesn't matter. It does not have to be a masterpiece to show the world. Remember what I said...YOU CAN THROW IT AWAY.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Art tip for the Day...Ask yourself why you do art

Well, I'm sorry this is just a little tidbit today but I've got my midterm tonight-must study and not goof off (well, this is fun and could be considered a goof off).

Anyway, this is important. Why do you do this? Is it because you feel pressured to fulfill a talent? Is it because you love the way it makes you feel free? Is it because you need to earn money and think this will do it? What is the reason? Knowing the reason will help to guide you. If it's a negative one then you can try to figure out if there is a better reason for it behind that. When I did this quite a few years ago I had a list of about 10 things that made me realize how much it added to my life. At the same time you could be thinking about if this is a healthy thing. Am I obsessed with this and ignore my family? When I quit doing this full time in 1999 I was getting to the point that I was thinking about it constantly. It became an obsession and ceased to have joy involved in it. I was really trying to make money and figure out what people would buy (I can tell you why Van Gogh cut off his ear-FRUSTRATION). Not a good mind set, let me tell you. That's when I went to work at a dental lab for 8 years and did a little art here and there. I have to say that that long break was good for me. You get into a style rut and this freed me from that. Now I'm comfortable to do things that I like and I hope that will show in my creations these days. Doing the mosaic hearts last year brought me so much satisfaction. If you look at my horse and cat painting that I'm working on (back a few post pages) you can see that, indeed, this painting brings me joy. My 2 favorite animals in a great setting with lovely flowers. Do I care that someone might ask why I'm doing something so trite as horses, cats and flowers? Not a whit. I'm thinking of naming this "Julie's Paradise" (I would need to add my family but too late now). Maybe I could call it that and add "and behind the bush is her family".

Study time.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Art tip for the Day....Relax, dig deep and let it happen!

As I was in church today I pulled out my sketch book fully intending on working on a photo of my daughter, Gracie, when she was little. I thought I'd get warmed up (you know, with the circles I talked about before). Well, I ended up staying with the circles because pretty soon I started to see a bird forming. Then I went with that. I wanted you to see the end result. I've also included a few other of my "free" sketches. Actually I do have to relax a lot to do this but sometimes it kind of hurts in a sense. I don't know if you know what I mean but it's like something inside takes over and I have to let that something flow. I guess you can call it like a trance (no! that's toooo icky) or just into an artist's zone. I'm still listening to church but I am doing something.

As you can see in the others it almost looks like I changed my direction part way through the sketch. This often happens with the most imaginative ones. Notice also the different perspectives. If I sat down to do a snowman I would do like any 2nd grader-plop plop plop-3 circles in a row. In this snowman sketch it just came out of I don't KNOW where! The same with the other sketch. I think I started out with cloud like shapes. NOW this is where you really get to know me. See how I like to pull out of the design groups of people/creatures? Notice that they are so close and cozy? Even loving? Well, that's how I really am. I'm a cozy type of person and I absolutely love my family. I have always encouraged our children to be close. I hope that radiates from all of us. I know my husband is that way.

Back to the bird......I, also, never would have chosen this view of a bird. I wouldn't have felt like I could do it without a picture (contrary to what nonartists believe-no, we can't draw everything without a picture.....whoops! I gave our secret away. Sorry, fellow artists).

The lesson in all of this is that if you let it flow you will find abilities in yourself that will take over if you will only let them.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Today's Art Tip! Rubbing Alcohol-an acrylic painter's best buddy

Okay. This isn't complicated at all but something good to know. If you like to use acrylic paints and make a mistake it will come off very easily with rubbing alcohol. It the paint is very thick try scraping it first to get some of it off. Since it's acrylics it should kind of pull and snap off as it's essentially a plastic. Then use the rubbing alcohol to get the rest. It it won't scrape then you'll have to go over and over it. Be very careful not to let it drip on the rest of your painting. Of course, if there are oils on top you will have to use a paint thinner to get that layer off first. Mistakes aren't fun but without them we would never learn. I had an art consultant, Laura Stamps, that said she used to keep a notebook to write down all her mistakes throughout the year. Then at the end of the year she would review it and see what she had learned. I think this is an excellent idea-trouble is that I would be going into my second volume by the end of the first month. I should be almost perfect by now, shouldn't I? Hmmm. Well, not so, not so.

Okay, so I have to explain the pic. While going through old family photos I came across this one that's a real gem. It's 17 year old me, my brother, John, and niece, Melissa. This is before I became a rich and famous artist! Ha ha ha ha ha!!!!! Fooled you on that one, didn't I? Well, I am telling the truth that it is indeed me before many many years of all my mistakes AND successes. If only I would have had the wisdom that I have now.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Art Tip for the Day...I explain my Underpainting method with examples

Underpaintings, the solid base. I wanted to return to the underpainting topic again because I feel like they are so magical. Until I used them my paintings seemed flat and lifeless (to me, anyway). In this entry I thought it would be very useful to discuss one of my most successful paintings/prints: "America's Favorite City". It's actually California Street in San Francisco. I'm sure you guessed that. I really went to town on this one but it took some careful planning. I noticed and you will also that there are quite a few white buildings in this painting. I thought I would give each one a different u. p. (thanks for the break...I can't type underpainting over and over as my poor cracked and sore finger tips from the dry heat in Utah are furious today and the typing doesn't help at all). Okay, now, I can really get picky in my planning and this accounts for my prices. I put a lot of serious thought in everything I do. Look at the white buildings that are located about midsection. I gave them a red orange o. c. Moving back in perspective I used yellow ochre, pink, orange, etc. Now, in the foreground there is so much boring boring pavement. This o. p. actually looked like molten lava. Now I want you to know that that's why I love acrylics because after I laid in the o. p's. I began with very think layers on top-being careful to allow a little touch of the o. p. to show through. As you can see the white buildings definitely are stars in their own right-plus the pavement is far from boring. Later in the painting I used oils (remember oils on TOP of acrylics-not the other way around).

Okay, so I added another one of my paintings at the top of this blog because I remembered that I had a picture of it before (with just u. p.) and after (finished). This is "The McCune Mansion"-a gorgeous old mansion in downtown Salt Lake City, Utah. I've posted this before but many of you probably didn't see it. It just illustrates my technique perfectly. So, I had to include it.

You can cleverly lead the eye back in perspective by using sequentially cooler and cooler u. p. colors. I did that with green trees in another painting. I started out with red and ended up with a purple. It really works, you guys! But you have to have patience and use a little planning. The benefits are enormous (and I really like to get the job done fast in everything I I had to make myself hunker down and focus).

Oh, just so you don't think I'm the genius that thought this up I want you to know that my art teacher, Robert Rumel, suggested the brilliant u. p's. years ago. I just took that and ran with it farther than I think he thought I'd do. Thanks again, Robert!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Art tip for the day...Yes, you can freeze them!

This is a great idea for those of you that don't know it already. Just put your oils in a plastic container with a lid and pop them in the freezer. Then when you want to paint next time take them out to defrost. I often put them on a heat vent for about 10 minutes or so. Putting them outside on a sunny day works also. Just be careful not to forget them as they will not be as good if they are baked. If you forget them over and over, of course, they will be not great at all. But I do this all the time. It's so great and my oils last a long time. It doesn't work with acrylics because they are really a plastic and, well, it just doesn't work-let's just leave it at that.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Art Tip for the Day...You Get What You Pay for, you know-Buy Quality Materials!

Buy the best materials that you can afford. I can't stress this enough. You may not like the painting of the beach ball today but someday someone might and they'll be very sad if the paint was not artist quality and that it's painted on a canvas board that warped. Think forever or as close as you can get to that. Also, when you use good quality materials it makes you feel like you really have a purpose in this venture-what you're doing is important to you and the world. It makes you sit up straighter and feel confident in what you're doing.

Be careful to get paper that is acid free. The only time I give this some leeway is in doing doodles. You know doodles can happen anywhere. They could occur in the phone book, your school notebook, etc. You get what I mean about this.

During the '70's when the "black is beautiful" movement really picked up steam "Life Magazine" ran a fabulous article with the coolest photos ever of gorgeous African Americans. I was in high school and decided to paint one of a young woman. Well, even when I look at it now I think, "dang but that's a good painting...even if I do say so myself" BUT the tragedy of that painting is that: 1. I used a cheapy canvas board
2. I used a bad finish
I do get points for using Liquitex acrylics, my favorite and still is. Too bad it doesn't look all that great now.

As a side note I would never say that this is an original painting and take credit for the image of the woman. I would love to show this in my post but I don't want to get in trouble with copyright infringement. How about if we talk about that tomorrow, okay? It's study time around here.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Art tip for the day...That Dirty Little Devil-the TANGENT!

So, yesterday my sister, Carrie, and I worked on fixing her blog to bring it up to professional standards (we're just learning and trying so hard). Her blog, in case you're interested, is (they do faux painting, murals and general painting). Anyway, the object was to get a nice picture of her and her husband on there. We found an older one that was just perfect except for the fact that it looked like a balloon was growing out of her head when we cut off a lot of unnecessary junk on the side of the image. We decided that it would be better to leave the balloon there and Photoshop out the other distracting stuff because they balloons are fun in it. The point of this whole long drawn out story is: tangents. A tangent is something that is comical or just awful/icky feeling in a composition. You know. Haven't you all seen a picture where it looks like someone has a hat on their head but it's really the light fixture up above? Or it could be just that someone's hand is right next to the edge of the picture and it creates tension. It would have been better if the hand would have either gone off the edge of the image or pulled back away from the edge. Sometimes these tangents can be so subtle that you really have to hunt for them. But they can ruin a lovely painting because they make the viewer uncomfortable. They probably wouldn't pick that as the culprit of their uneasiness but something is definitely not quite right about it. If you have a composition that's just not working look to see if you have a tangent somewhere.

I've included a few of our family treasures in this post. We have an ongoing joke at our house. It's the "Bad Picture Album". My mom and I started it years ago. It's a collection of the worst photos that we or others (we take contributions but we are very strict about them being truly bad) have taken. There are some lulus in there. The 2 featured today are definitely tangents. The first is of my mother (she has a lot of the pictures in the album) taken by my stepfather. At first glance it looks like she has a Hitler mustache but we realize that it's really the plant. The other picture taken at Yellowstone looks like the deer is carrying her baby in her mouth. These are not purposely taken. They just happened to work out that way. I bet you have some of them yourselves. Okay, so they're the comical kind, right? I can think of one picture of mine that has a tangent but it's not a crucial problem. Look on the left of "Grace-Afternoon Nap". See her hand? Her knuckle is right on the edge. I decided that it wasn't that big of a deal and didn't warrant me redoing anything (which would have been a nightmare) and it's been a very popular painting. The tangent really only happens when it's in a frame-like at my house-so you won't see it....nanny nanny na na.

Okay, get my point here? Paintings not working? Paintings not selling? Could be the tangent's fault.

Now I really really have to get to my studying. I have a midterm next Monday and I want to study during the day because I love watching the Olympics at night and don't want to miss. By the way....Zacke Lund in the Skeleton is one of my best friend's nephew. Root for him, okay? He was the one that was kicked out of the 2002 Olympics when he was at the top of his game because of using Rogaine. That was awful and very unjust. He is a gem.

Oh, by the way. That really is an awful picture of my mother besides the tangent. She really is a pretty older women. Sorry, Mom but she's 93 and won't really know. Actually I think she would think it's funny.