Sunday, January 22, 2017

Growing as an artist

I participated in the 24 hour show at the Grafton Arts Mill and it was an important exercise for my personal growth as an artist.

The show involved paying $15 for a canvas. Picking up the canvas on Thursday and dropping off a finished piece by Friday. My painting then was part of a show and auction that happened Saturday night.

I really enjoyed taking part in this show. The process of preparing a project, picking up the canvas, completing the painting in the allotted time and then exhibiting it was really fun.

I approached the process like a game. I had those 24 hours and that was it. I had to finish. If this was a project I started on my own, I suspect the painting wouldn't be done. I'd procrastinate or allow my inner critic to dissuade me from finishing. Instead, I finished, I showed it and ... I sold it!

So, the process of preparing and painting was fun. I have been wanting to become a better painter and the only way to do that is to ... paint.  Sharing my art with the world is difficult and I did it and I survived. I was able to quiet my inner critic and enjoy the entire process. I think this is a struggle that many new and emerging artists experience. That fear of failure - fear of people not liking what we do - fear of criticism. Instead, I faced it and survived. Even posting this blog is a step in my process.

I've exhibited work and even sold work before but that was always collage. One of my wishes, for years and certainly for 2017, is to become a better painter. Participating in this 24 hour show has helped me get closer to succeeding at that goal. Thank you Grafton Arts Mill for hosting this very fun show!

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Making Artistamps

I send out a lot of my art and then enjoy using the images to create artistamps that I can use all year long. Artistamps are faux postage stamps not intended to defraud postal authorities or stamp collectors but to decorate my mail.

I scan all my mailart before I send it off. I then edit the images that I think will make good artistamps.

I use a little software product called ArcSoft PhotoStudio but any kind of software works - Photoshop, Microsoft Paint, etc. I reduce the size of a digital image (jpeg) and then begin editing - add borders, add text, enhance colors (remember, these will be small when reproduced so lots of detail won't show up - enhancing the colors can help make elements pop). 

I add the borders and change the colors to match or compliment the image itself. I add text such as the year and my name. Remember to flatten all the layers to keep the image size down.

I then use Microsoft Publisher to create the sheet of artistamps.

I'm pretty sure you can do this in Word or your image editing software. Use whatever you're familiar with - this should be fun, not a frustrating software lesson. :-)

Some people do these analog - ie. they don't use any software - so feel free to draw your artistamps, use rubber stamps or whatever you want!

my art edited to include borders and text
A bunch of my digitally edited art works reduced in size and repeated in Microsoft Publisher to create a sheet of artistamps. This prints out as an 8.5 x 11 inch sheet of paper. I then cut them up and use them on my mailings.

An artistamp on an envelope I mailed out last year.

Another fun aspect of artistamps is using other people's stamps to help decorate your mailart. Here is one that is full of artistamps -  mine and a couple other people's stamps!