Friday, January 28, 2011

So, Who or What is Your Muse?

Tiny Dancers
16 x 20 Acrylic
Artist:  Cindy Tauer-Eckart

For years I've tried to force myself  to paint in a realistic style because I love looking at realistic artwork.  But for me its really hard work and its just not much fun, and when your extracurricular activity stops being fun its time to take stock and ask yourself what's the problem?  So, that's exactly what I did, and I came to accept that the reason I paint is for the sheer fun of it and color is my muse!  When I go into the studio I put on my favorite music and then I just wallow in the chosen colors of the day and see what emerges.  I've found that a lot of dancers have been showing up in my work lately, jumping and leaping for joy, and sure enough, that's exactly how I've felt ever since I've started having fun with my art.   Color is my muse and I love her!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Photographing Your Art - Part 4. "Staying focused" and Minimizing Blur

This post is mainly for those with SLR camera's, instead of the point&shoots.
I prefer to use a longer shutter timing so that requires a tripod. Without one you're confined to keeping your shutter timing really fast.
In my dark studio where it can be hard to see camera controls, I let my autofocus dial it in for me, and then slide the focus button to manual for additional shots so it won't keep refocusing. If you move your camera or your artwork, remember to re-autofocus before shooting more pics.
If you use a longer shutter timing, just the act of pushing the shutter button can cause enough camera shake to blur your image. A remote shutter release (a cable that plugs into your camera with a shutter button on the other end) will overcome that problem, but if you don't have one use the delayed timer setting on your camera. A setting of a second or two will do the trick. It only needs to be delayed long enough to allow you to get your hand off the shutter button and have the camera stop shaking before the shutter opens.

As I said at the start of this series of posts, I don't claim to be an expert at any of this. I'm just sharing what I've found has helped me. If any of you are struggling with the same problems that I had, I hope you'll find some of this helpful, because we all want to see pictures of your art. Good ones! :)

Click here to visit my blog and see what's been on my easel lately.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Burger by Kirk Witmer

12" x 12"
Oil on masonite

Before you ask "Where's the cheese?"
This is a hamburger, not a cheesburger.
I was all out of cheese that day.
Some folks have even told me this painting makes them hungry.
I can't imagine why.... :)

If you'd like to get advance notice of my upcoming works before they're even listed at auction, click here to submit your email.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Photographing Your Art - Part 3. Minimizing Image Distortion

Do you take a picture of your two dimensional art and find that in your picture that the two sides of your artwork are not the same height? Or the top and bottom are not the same width? It's most likely due to where you're placing your camera in relation to the art. I've found it to be very helpful to do these steps.

First of all, try to always use a tripod because it's the most convenient way to consistently position your camera. If you don't have one, I suggest that you find one, or at least a place to set the camera so that it stays stable.

I make sure my canvas is perfectly vertical by using a short carpenter's spirit level on the face, (or on the back if the paint is wet!). Then I measure from the floor to the center of the painting. That will tell me where to adjust my tripod, so that the camera lens is at the same height. This way I know I'm shooting squarely onto the canvas, which really helps in making sure the top and bottom widths are as close as possible in my photo. As for getting the heights of the sides to match, it's a matter of moving your tripod to the left or right.

Without a tripod, your other option is to sit in a chair and measure the distance from the floor to your eye, and then change the height of the painting with your easel adjustments.

For those of you who are using an SLR camera instead of a point-and-shoot, I find it helps to use a longer lens and shoot from across the room. That helps minimize the differences between the center of the picture to the lens and the corners of the picture to the lens. Yeah, I know that may sound silly, but it seems to be working much better for me.

If you use any other tricks to make sure your photos aren't distorted, click just below here on "Comments" and share with us.
Next: Part 4. "Staying focused" and Minimizing Blur

Click here to visit my blog and see what's been on my easel lately.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Reception for All WCAG Members at the Wesleyan

Marianne DeRiggi, who has been administering the shows at the Wesleyan on behalf of the Guild, gives us a very nice surprise! Marianne writes:

Hi Everyone,
I received a phone call from Dorothy Barnes who wishes to set up Wesleyan's reception honoring our guild for Tuesday, February 8th at 1:00 pm in the afternoon.
They will provide the publicity with a photographer and reporter, plus they're purchasing an ad in the Williamson County Sun.
Here is the schedule:
1) Reception at 1:00 pm
2) Prayer given by their chaplin
3) Present certificate to our guild
4) Thank you statement from Mary Beth (brief statement about the history of our guild and its purpose)
5) Tour to view art work
6) Serve refreshments
Dorothy is inviting people from their Estrella location to join in on this celebration, so I see future opportunity for hanging at Estrella.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Photographing Your Art - Part 2. Eliminating Glare

Lighting glare or light bouncing off of your painting can be a problem, but it's easily overcome. The first step is to turn off the flash! YIKES! Beyond that, remember to never put your light source anywhwere near the camera. "Angle of incidence equals angle of reflection" - remember that one? If your light source is near your camera and with light bouncing off at an angle similar to the one on which it arrived, it will bounce right back into the lens and you'll have glare in your photos blocking out at least part of your image. I keep my light source near the painting, slightly higher and off to the right. That way the light will bounce down and to the left. If you're photographing a large painting one light source may not be enough to evenly distribute light across the image, so you'll want two lights, one on either side. And it will be helpful to use lamps with shades or some kind of hood so that there's not a direct line of sight from the bulb(s) to the camera lens.
If you have any other tricks to share about getting rid of lighting glare, click just below here on "Comments" and tell us.

Next: Part 3. Minimizing Image Distortion

Click here to visit my blog and see what's been on my easel lately.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Photographing Your Art - Part 1. Lighting

Now that we have a blog for WCAG members, one of the nicest features is that we have a place for you to post pictures of what you are currently doing with your art. Since good pictures are an important part of that goal, I thought it might be a good idea to share what we know about creating those pictures, and help each other along the path to better images. I'm making several posts about different topics in that area. If you have some input, feel free to comment by clicking on the "comment" in each post, or feel free to start a post of your own on a fresh topic.
I don't claim to be an expert at any of this, but I would like to share what's been working for me, which I arrived at through a lot of trial and error. If any of this helps you along any faster to better photos of your two dimensional art, then I've accomplished my purpose.
There are different schools of thought on what light to use. Some will tell you to take the art outdoors and place it in a shady spot, preferably on the north side of a building to take your picture, but that isn't always convenient.  What about those rainy days when there just isn't enough light?
As for me, I don't want to be bothered carrying my painting around (and especially not outside to get bugs in the wet paint) so I just photo it right there in my easel, but; I'm using 5000K spiral flourescent bulbs. They're readily available at many home centers and not all that expensive. The 5,000K bulbs are about as close as you're going to get (at that price) to natural daylight. Higher or lower K ratings are too warm or too cool to accurately capture your colors. K ratings are not always printed on the package, so you may have to open them and look on the bulb for them.

If you have any other thoughts to share about what kind of lighting you use, click just below here on "Comments" and tell us.
That's enough for now. Look for Part 2. Avoiding Glare

Click here to visit my blog and see what's been on my easel lately.

W E L C O M E !

The Williamson County Art Guild members are using this blogspot to share their art and their thoughts, their tips and tricks, and who knows what else that may come along. If you're a member of the Guild and would like to participate ......
If you are already a blogger, send an email the Guild's webmaster, at and ask to be added to the list of authors to this blog. (Limit 100 authors.)
If you have never been part of a blog before, go to the Guild's website (click here for that) and then click "Info for Members" and then "The WCAG Blog" for step by step instructions on how to join in.