Archive for the ‘digital marbling (TN)’ Category

Work in Progress

I’m looking at this coleus, which is from a picture I took several years ago at the Tucson Botanical Gardens, and I wish I could remember how I did it…..I need to find the original psd file and see if I can backtrack on it. I am enjoying getting back into playing with Photoshop at least once a week. And I have loads more pics, as we spent yesterday morning strolling the gardens. I have a show in mind called Digital Desert, where I use all local pictures of the desert that have been manipulated in Photoshop. I think that will become a “work in Progress” for the new year. I even have the name of the person to contact about a possible show. As I think about it now, I could put a small pic of the original shot on the intro card, and then display the newly manipulated image. Hmmmm……

There’s been lots happening here. The major work in progress is a business piece – we have been invited to participate in Stash Fest, a fund raiser for the La Conner Quilt Museum in La Conner, Washington, on March 31 and April 1. We will be bring a LOT of marbled cotton and silk with us, so we have started already to make fabric…and run into a couple of road blocks. One, the BOLT of fabric we bought at a wholesale price, after trying a sample to see if it would work – doesn’t. Between getting the sample, trying it, ordering and waiting for the bolt, and then trying two marbling sessions, we’ve ended up with a lot of remnants and nothing for the northwest. So we kind of lost December for production. We have ordered our usual pima cotton and are awaiting its arrival. We will probably get one marbling session in this month to finish off a custom order and hopefully begin to create what we are going to need for La Conner. In the meantime, lists are made, labels done and ready to go, folding organized, bins for storage and traveling set up. So we are slowly getting ready.

I promised a reveal of the small log cabin winter quilt. Really enjoyed making this one, and I’m looking for what I can do for the spring quilt – need to get the fabric made, and I need to get at least one of the two big art projects completed and ready for photography. So here’s the little wall hanging:

The other big stuff I’ve been working on are two entries to a major art show. I am progressing, and I’m pleased with what’s happening. I just started a new shading on the bigger rocks yesterday, after trying some ideas. No question that the shading has really added to the depth of the piece, as well as add needed dark values. I noticed that I was being too controlled in doing the shadowing, and nature isn’t perfectly symmetrical. I need to “rough up” those shadows, as well as bring in some additional other “shadow” colors. I also realized I want to get a foot with a larger plastic opening, so it’s easier for me to see where I’m going. I went to the local Bernina dealer (there are several in town), and once again this particular store just manages to make me feel so stupid when I go in. I was told “that’s not how you thread paint.” Well, that’s how I’m doing it, and I like the effect, so spplttttt……(how do you show a raspberry emoticon?)

There is still a long way to go, and I have another piece ready to go, so I have to get busy!

 

Photoshop Friday – It’s 600 TIme!

Wow, I’ve written 60o blog posts! This from someone who could never keep a diary. I guess I just didn’t have the technology waaaayyyy back when. I have new work for this Photoshop Friday, but I thought it would be fun to view some of the first posts.

My first entry:

I finally did it! I set up a blog so I can write about our marbling and related art thoughts. I’ll be posting photos of the new Photoshop class I am starting. Be kind – I am learning how to take criticism!! This has been something I have been meaning to do as a way of recording process and product, and at the same time motivate me to do more fiber work. And…I can tell my students I am finally “almost” as technologically savvy as they are! (January 26, 2007…..)

I probably wasn’t convinced this would go beyond the Photoshop classes I was starting at the time. You can see my very first Photoshop drawing here. I have since changed blogging platforms, and I don’t have my backup close at hand, so the link will have to do.

Today my work is based either on photographic images I have taken or some of the marbled fabrics we have created. The piece I’m working on today is from fabric. Hubby was downloading pictures for ebay this week, and I saw this picture of fabric from a distance, and I said, hmmmm……

So here’s the original fabric.

Then I started working with some shapes from each section of the fabric.

Then I felt I needed to change the background for more ocntrast.

I’m not sure this background color is going to stay…I have also been playing around with gradients, and I think one of those might work.

Yup, definitely like this one the best.

 

Comments? What do you think? What else does it need?

 

Photoshop Friday

Really? Photoshop Friday? How many Fridays has it been? Too many to count, but I have been back doing some work beyond getting pictures sized for blog entries. I thought I would share how I created my holiday cards this year, of which I am extremely proud…..and obviously not at all humble….oh, well….

Here’s the original marbled paper I used to start.

Here it is transformed into holiday colors.

Now for the ornaments, which were added a layer at a time, and the opacity was taken down so they wouldn’t overwhelm the marbled paper background.

THen I just kept adding ornaments until I was happy with the final product.

It was a fun couple of hours, and it reminds me how much I enjoy playing around with Photoshop…..I need to start doing more.

Some great Photoshop brushes for download. These are the brushes I downloaded for this card. It is amazing how quickly you can increase your brushes just by surfing the web!

On the Road Again….

Well, it has been at least 10 years since we did any kind of demonstration of marbling on fabric.  Full-time teaching and the need for two of us really limited our ability to get out and work with guilds. Thanks to a faithful reader (hi, Kay!!), we were booked to do a presentation to the Sunflower quilters guild on the northwest of Tucson. I was especially excited because….it’s a school day and I was doing this DURING THE DAY….love it!

We’ve been planning for this for a couple of weeks. At one point we figured it was going to be at least two trips to the car, but with careful packing, it was only one for the trip across town.

The only thing not on this stack is the crate of quilts and a green grocery bag with fabric. We pack really well.

Kay had samples of fat quarters to build interest for our demo, and the ladies were wonderful. Hubby and I work really well off each other, and his humor comes out. We spent two hours, showing the marbling process, letting people marble fabrics, and showing a progression of quilts. I’ve found, since we started marbling, that too often people say, “what will you use it for?” or “what will you do with it?” To answer those questions, I always pack lots of quilts (both art quilts and more traditional ones) so that folks can see so many uses for the fabrics. Plus, it’s always fun for us to see where we’ve come as artists….and we love hearing all the “oooo’s”!

The crate of quilts, many of which are not available on the website or in the blog, because they are process quilts.

We had a great set-up in the recreation room.

What I discovered with this layout is that as Dean demonstrated some of the patterns , I held up the fat quarter with the particular pattern on it, and that way people got a much better look at a larger example.

Having eye candy is always a great idea….

Works in progress.

Some really high-tech supplies – left-over hospital pans for the rinse process.

What next? Well, we are going to start contacting local guilds in Arizona for demos, as we have all the handouts and  such prepared. At lunch we decided on a plan for a sampler so we can begin offering marbling classes at quilt shops. And…I’m going to start contacting friends around the country to see if we can “book” a couple of demos during the summer travel months. I’ll get information up on the blog and website as I get it finalized. You can always email us for more information.

A great day was had by all!

Work in Progress Wednesday

Well, lots of loose ends going round in my head. There are a lot of WIPs, from marketing to fiber projects. First up is my attempt to make some progress with Fine Art America. It occurred to me that rather than wait to get collections completed, I should start putting up a print at a time. Good thought. Turns out the program is not as intuitive as I figured it would be, based on all the great comments. One conclusion I have come to is that it looks like so many of my pieces that I thought were ready to go probably need to be redone, and I’m not sure I remember how I got to each and every layer.

I need to resize a lot of images, and I need to save them at a higher resolution. I am having trouble, for some reason, getting my sizing right for the program. This one to the left, for example, has been resized to an eight by eight, at 250 dpi, and it still doesn’t seem to want to show correctly on line. I also need to look at what I want for costs. The site isn’t completely clear about setting mark-ups.

There are also plug-ins to have your prints and a shopping cart on your Facebook page, as well as your website, which I would definitely like to do, but I think I need to wait until I can figure out how to get work consistently up on the site. After nearly two hours today and about the same amount of time yesterday, I put out a request for assistance on Twitter and Facebook. The site is classy, the work looks good, lots of people have given good feedback about the site, but I can’t seem to get a handle on it. This from the person who has pretty much taught herself everything she can do on the computer. So, yes, I’m frustrated……

I am nearly done zentangling my fake, flammable, plastic pumpkin from China. It looks spectacular. One more section of the pumpkin and then I will spray a fixative and enjoy.

I’m working on the fish quilt, as I want to have it done by the end of the weekend. And we are getting materials ready for the guild presentation next week. Earlier today we created an order form, made a list of everything we will be taking, did the handout for members of the guild, and sketched out what a class would cost, as it looks like we might be moving in that direction again. I also packed up the quilts we will be taking – mostly traditional patterns using marbled fabric, since this is a fairly new and traditional group of quilters. I want to show them my progression with using marbled fabric – from only putting it with blacks to mixing lots of colors. Makes me realize I need a picture of my purple quilt, which is quite colorful, with lots of marbled blocks.

It is so ironic that 10 years ago we used to do a lot of presentations but never looked at “selling” during them. Left a lot of money on the table, as one marketer said. This time we are going with lots of fat quarters and an order form. Maximizing our potential, I think it’s called….

Alum fabric tomorrow, marble on Friday, see what we still might need for gift baskets, and schedule marbling for next week if needed.

Wrote my abundance check today after the new moon. Being positive and thinking about lots of good things developing has really been awesome. The Laws of Abundance and Attraction really work!

Introducing….Holiday Gift Baskets!

Well, actually….they’re fabric bowls, but somehow “introducing fabric bowls” doesn’t have the same ring. So this has got all the goodies of a holiday basket, but it comes in a fabric bowl that you can use throughout the year, rather than trying to figure out what to do with another straw basket. Which I must admit I thought was waaayyyy better.

Here she is! This holiday treat starts with a hand-crafted fabric bowl, in a subdued color that makes the bowl perfect for year-round use. Then it’s filled with goodies from the marbling tray: a fat quarter (18 by 22 inches) of 100% hand-marbled cotton; 4 pieces of hand-marbled Offray ribbon, in assorted sizes and width, all 18 inches in length; a 10% off coupon for our Etsy store (fabrics and small art quilts and table runners); coupons from other artists with offers for their websites; a Smapler Package of eight 6 by 9 inch hand-marbled pieces; a selection of hand-marbled silk leaves and flowers, perfect for embellishments; a set of four Digital Marbling (TN) note cards; and…a small mystery gift.

I want the fabric bowls to be in a rather subdued set of colors, as I want them to 1) fit just about any decor, and 2) be useful all year round. A “red” bowl tends to limit use. The actual bowl in this package is a nice mellow green.

The “basket” comes wrapped in plastic and fits in a priority box, surrounded by shipping peanuts. You can have it sent to yourself, o4 let us know the address and we will ship it.


This is a $50 retail value, special available for the holidays for $35.00. Want one? Head to our Etsy store and buy the one there. We’ll add additional ones as they sell, so you can see exactly what you will be getting for colors and fabrics.

These have been really fun to put together, especially choosing fabrics for the bowls. And if you haven’t tried making these fabric bowls, they are incredibly soothing….wrapping fabric while you’re watching television, or in the car, or waiting in the doctor’s office…..There are a couple of good books available if your LQS doesn’t offer a class:

We are affiliates for Amazon, so if you order through our blog, we do receive a commission (keeping the FTC happy….).

Wednesday Work in Progress

This photo is from one of my most favorite spots in the world – a small park somewhere on the Li River in Guilin, China. I’ve done some cropping, but this is the focus of the latest class I am taking from Quilt University: Artists Revisited. Technically I should have chosen a painting by one of the masters, but I have always wanted to translate some of my own photos to fabric, so I chose this. My colors aren’t an exact match, as they should be for this exercise, but I am happy with what I have chosen. I worked on the background first and then came to the foreground, where I realized it was extremely busy. Here’s what I’ve got:

It’s obviously rough, and the trees are missing. I am going to start the thread painting, and then I’ll add the trees toward the end of that step. This is taking a much longer time for me, as I want to really think through each of the thread painting stages. The first step will be the horizon lines, and then I’m going to practice on the “crags” to see what I can do to accent and at the same time soften the mountains. I’d love suggestions for ideas to “paint” the sections.

Also, I’ve been making cloth baskets as a start for our Holiday offerings: we’re doing a “basket, which is really a fabric bowl suitable for all year round, as I’m creating them with some fairly neutral fabrics. The thinking is that a bowl might be more useful around the house than a basket.

Once the bowls are done, they will then get filled with all kinds of goodies:

* A fat quarter of hand-marbled fabric on 100% cotton

* Four pieces of hand-marbled Offray ribbon, assorted sizes and widths

* A selection of coupons and discounts from a variety of Etsy sellers, good for use in their individual stores

* A Sampler Package of 6 by 9 inches swatches of hand-marbled fabrics

* A selection of hand-marbled leaves and flowers

* A set of note cards with Digital Marbling (TN) designs

* and…some type of mystery gift.

We totaled up costs, and the retail value of this offering is $75.00. We’ll be selling the Holiday Bowl Packages for $50.00. Now each order will be different, as every piece of marbled fabric is unique in its creation. No two Bowl Packages will be the same.

Here’s the deal – for the next week, you can order these Holiday Bowl Packages for 20% off. Email us with your order, and we’ll do an invoice and arrange shipping. This offer ends on Wednesday, September 7.

Here’s the start of one of the Holiday Bowls…..

Think of all those family members who like fabric and are really hard to shop for – this will be totally unique!

 

Monday Marketing – Preparing Collections

So one of my goals over these ninety days is to look at the pictures I have developed over the last couple of years, analyze the licensing materials, and determine ten collections that I can develop. According to the research I have been doing, I am going to need twelve to fifteen different collections. I have some ideas, but I need to get them organized, set up folders, look at what needs to be enlarged, adapted, and so on. I also want to see what can cross over to Cafe Press and potentially Zazzle, so I get as much mileage from some of the pieces.

Whew. There’s a lot there. One of the things I learned in the lynda.com classes was about Bridge – a program in Adobe Creative Suite that let’s me easily look at all my images and organize them easily – something I really need to do.

Now to get started….and DON’T EVEN THINK OF COPYING THESE IMAGES – ask if you have something in mind.

Botanicals: I have a LOT of photos that could go for calendars, prints, cards. Interesting – as I’m writing this, I realize I really haven’t given much thought to WHAT these could adorn. I have been through numerous stores, looking at design, but I’m not sure I have really thought about extending these pictures into more than two items. Hmmm. Food for thought.

(don’t even think about copying….)

Black and White: prints, cards, kitchen items, gifts, fabric designs.


Indigenous images: I love taking regional designs and seeing how I can interpret them through marbled fabrics that have been digitized. This would make good regional products. Cards, calendars, prints, fabric (if the repeat works), gifts.

Art Deco Revisited: taking images in the public domain and embellishing them with marbled fabrics that have been digitized. Cards, calendars, prints, fabrics, gifts. The designs are from a public source, in this case the Dover book on Art Deco Designs.

                                              Original                                                                                                                With the digitized marbled fabrics

Abstracts: digital manipulation of marbled fabrics to create a new design, in this case “Moons.” Prints, cards, calendars, potentially fabric, gifts.

Inspirational: Taking either marbled patterns or images from nature and creating inspirational/motivational prints and cards, t-shirts, calendars.

Seasons: digital marbling, as well as nature images that could be used in fabric, cards, calendars, prints. Pictures here could overlap other sections.

Nature: Places around the country and the world, cards, calendars, gifts, prints.

Southwest Designs: since I’m in the southwest, and I know how popular many of these images are. This one is already set in repeats. Lots of fabric possibilities here, as well as simple gifts.

Holidays: (valentines, etc) Got nothin’ here, and I know companies will want to see holidays, so I have a great place to start.

Interesting. That’s potentially ten collections. In my mind there were more, until I actually started listing them. Next steps: take this list of collections and go back into the stores to see how else these prints could be used. Stay tuned for the progress here.

And if you’re looking for resources, I regularly read Tara Reed, who writes an art licensing blog. Also, I have purchased materials from her about licensing (disclosure: if you purchase anything through this site, I do receive a small commission as part of her affiliate program). Also, her “Just Ask” calls are filled with great information from a wide variety of experts in the field. It’s another resource for you.  July 2011 Ask Call Replay

What’s Available This Week…..

  Before I get to the goodies available this week, I am almost at the end of my first season of 100 days in the Cocreating Our Reality challenge, where we look at practicing the Laws of Attraction. I have had an amazing nearly-100 days, both personally and business-wise. I love the feeling of always being positive and aware of the possibilities in our universe. I haven’t done the daily journaling, but I have been very mindful of the Attraction practices. I’ve met most of my goals for these 100 days, and that’s something new for me I usually think about goals, maybe write them down, and then kind of forget them. Not this time. Once I realized just how negative I normally was, I began to focus in on being positive all the time….and it does work!

Now on to what we have available this week, from Ebay, Etsy, and Cafe Press. First from Ebay, we have some very interesting art cloth, three pieces in different patterns and colors. These are all Kaufman cotton, lots of movement to the pieces. There are some minor flaws, but hey, for $4.50 you can do a lot of applique or piecing! The left is a traditional bouquet pattern, the center is a traditional nonpareil, and the one of the right is more of a contemporary freeform pattern (and the greens in this piece are brighter).

On Etsy this week is an unusual piece of hand-marbled unpolished satin, a perfect length for a table runner. The traditional chevron pattern is a joy to machine quilt to accent the lines of the piece. It’s 12 by 59 inches, and I can’t wait till we set the very large tray up again to do more large pieces like this.

On Cafe Press this week is an example of some of our Digital Marbling (TN) of our “Fossil” piece. I love this piece, based on a traditional stone pattern in the marbled fabric, and it looks great on a mug.

For so many years hubby and I would talk about how we wanted the time to do our artwork together, all the time, and now with retirement we can. The ideas are flowing rapidly, we’re getting larger trays for bigger pieces of fabric, we’re experimenting more and generally having a great time together. If you have some ideas you would like to see us try, please leave us a comment. We are always willing to try new things!

What’s Available This Week

We are getting quite active around the web and I thought it’s time to spotlight some of the things available on line this week – you can only find them this week.

First up is Ebay this week – lots of great fabric pieces available – assorted colors and marbling patterns, perfect for piecing, applique – and don’t forget – sometimes you can just make a small quiltlet with quilting the marbled pattern line. Two pieces of denim – really intriguing designs and effects.

On Etsy this week is a piece of art cloth again with lots of possibilities. We were trying for a starburst effect, and I think we achieved it. I have a smaller piece that I’m going to quilt for a small hanging.

On Cafe Press, one of our most favorite digital prints from our Botanicals Series:

And also from Cafe Press, a cool totebag with a digital manipulation of a Southwest gecko:

So enjoy exploring this week – we’ll have some new goodies next week!

Monday Marketing – Creating a Schedule

It’s Monday again….and it seems like all I did was read, look at emails, and set up buttons and the like. This is the “time-sucker.” So my goal for this blog post is to try and identify what needs to be done each week for marketing and set up a kind of calendar to work with.

This is what I’m dealing with: Ebay, Etsy, LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Cafe Press, Zazzle, newsletters, a website, lynda.com, flickr, and a blog. I am trying to avoid doing all of this every day, because nothing else seems to get done. I’m brainstorming as I write, with the hope that by the time this post is done, I will have a plan.

Ebay: hubby handles almost all of this, including postal trips. But…if we are going to increase sales, we need more product, and I would like to help with the actual marbling. So…..marbling weekly. I do need to update the About Me page…..

Etsy: the bulk of the organization is done. But…I need to be adding product on a regular basis, which means I need to keep making things. It would be nice to have one new product up each week, if not more often. One of the goals this week is to add some of the major artwork (even though I don’t expect to sell it on Etsy, it is more exposure) on the site, as the pictures are redone. I want to continue with the circles marketing, which, if I have enough products, could be done every day – 15 minutes for this. Plus, I need to keep working…….

LinkedIn: profile is done, and I have registered for several groups for business. I have found already difficulty in keeping up with reading emails each day from the groups and have already deleted one group. This week I will determine which groups look to be the most advantageous. I also need to complete the setting up of a profile of artwork.

Facebook: I read this several times a day. I have a fan page which needs serious work, as well as Art From The Heart, which is to support healing art after the Tucson shootings in January. I have added FB buttons to my blog and this week to my website. I have read the Terms and looked at all the privacy settings. I also went through the photo stream stuff for FB and fixed photos for both the personal and fan page. I need to really think through what is going to happen with the Fan Page.

Twitter: I am finishing a class from lynda.com on using Facebook and Twitter for business, and I highly recommend the site. For #25 you can choose different trainings all available for a month at your schedule. I picked up all kinds of little tips, most of which have already been implemented. But….and this is a BIG but….the time for tweets and what to tweet. By syncing a lot of the programs, my blog appears on Twitter, FB, LinkedIn, my tweets appear in a couple of places. I don’t think I can go further with this – the tweet button is on the blog and soon to be on the website. This is one area that needs some serious scheduling. Since I use TweetDeck (which is free…), I can schedule and keep track of who’s following and what is getting retweeted. So…I’m going to use Sundays for scheduling business tweets for the week, and I will look through the twitter feed once a day to see if there’s some good stuff to retweet.

Cafe Press: I have a site, a free one, so I am limited as to the number of products I can put up. I haven’t looked at this in several months and it needs serious work. To have a store isn’t much money each month, and I could have a lot more products available, but the issue is marketing and driving people to the site. I have some great digital stuff already to go, and I need to start planning around the holidays, reading about marketing through Cafe Press, and so on.

Zazzle: Ditto for Cafe Press……both are not a high priority right now.

Newsletters: oy, it’s been months since a newsletter went out, and I have all these contacts where nothing is happening. I used Constant Contact last year for a few months, until I couldn’t keep up with the demands and school at the same time. I was happy with it, but disappointed that not many people actually read it. I need to go back to a newsletter and offerings at least once every three weeks, and more during the holiday seasons. I need to check out Mail Chimp, which is free, and I have heard people have good luck with it. I’ll try and make this a priority this week.

Website: Most of the changes to the website have been made by my wonderful web lady Suzan. I need to get a couple of buttons set up, and then do something about newsletters and contacts. I also have some pages to add on Digital Marbling (TN), and I need to evaluate “print on demand” for artwork. This is a “need to think about” topic…..

lynda.com: I have until Friday to finish my month of training. I still need to finish Twitter, and I want to get the html newsletter course done. I am not going to continue with Dreamweaver because it isn’t a priority.

Flickr: I have photos up, not all of them with copyrights, and there is a class on lynda.com if I have time. I’m not really sure what I want to do here….

And finally, my blog, Marbled Musings. I went a bunch of months with no new writing, and I’m at maybe three times a week. I need to get back to at least four times a week, and eventually every day. I have plenty to write about…and I need to stay up with my Google reader – as well as comment more on some of the posts. This is probably the biggest area for marketing that I have to schedule.

Weekly:

* Marbling fabric

* Work on Etsy products

* Sewing and other design

Mondays:

* Add Etsy product

* Add Etsy circle information

* Read newsletters from LinkedIn groups

* Read Twitter feed

* Blog post Monday Marketing

* Google reader and at least three comments

Tuesdays:

* Add Etsy circle information

* Read Twitter feed

* Blog post Top Ten Tuesday

* Google reader and at least three comments

Wednesdays:

* Add Etsy circle information

* Read newsletters from LinkedIn groups

* Read Twitter feed

* Blog Work in progress Wednesday

* Google reader and at least three comments

Thursday:

* Add Etsy circle information

* Read Twitter feed

* Blog – Thursday Thoughts

* Google reader and at least three comments

Fridays:

* Add Etsy circle information

* Read newsletters from LinkedIn groups

* Read Twitter feed

* Blog Photoshop Friday

* Google reader and at least three comments

Saturdays:

* Read Twitter feed

* Blog posting on Specials

* Google reader and at least three comments

Sundays:

* Read Twitter feed

* Schedule Tweets for the week (i.e. Etsy, Ebay…)

* Blog Sunday Stories

* Google reader and at least three comments

Goals for next week:

* FINISH LYNDA.COM

*Update “About Me” page on Ebay

* Update Etsy products, especially note cards

* Evaluate how calendar is working

* See if buttons are added to the website

* Decisions on what will happen with the Facebook Fan page

* Long-term thoughts – what to do with CafePress and Zazzle

* Read and decide about Mail Chimp for a newsletter

* Spend some time thinking about what the website still needs….

Okay, I think I have a handle on this…we’ll see next week as I evaluate how the week goes. And…I’m taking some online classes!

Thoughts??

A Life-Changing Few Months

To say that it has been a while is an understatement. My last posts dealt with the Tucson shootings, and the aftermath for the community has been ongoing. Many in the community have been dealing with personal issues surrounding the events, from getting updates on Gabby Giffords and coping with the weird Arizona legislature to trying to understand our roles as humans working together.

For me, it has meant two months of a pretty severe depression, trying to cope with understanding so many of the historical aspects of this country coming in to play, trying to manage what the economy is doing to individuals, and getting ready to retire from a career of 40 years in education. I had to remove myself from almost everything extra in my life beyond the day-to-day coping within the classroom. I did a lot of sleeping and a lot of being sad. I didn’t even do a Fish Follies entry this year.

At Christmas we decided to move the retirement date to June of 2012. Hubby had some major health issues in January that will eventually lead to major surgery, and all I could think about was not having time together. His next CT scan will be in August, right when school starts again. That was probably the tipping point to look at retirement this May. I made the final decision the end of February to retire after working all the numbers with the retirement folks, and then a month ago applied for SSI.

Gotta tell ya, when I made the decision, it was like a weight had lifted. I started packing my classroom the next day – and it took the three months to get it all finished. Most of my math manipulatives, books, and supplies went to an organization called Treasures4Teachers – will be a nice tax deduction, and they were very grateful for all the goodies and posters.

In April, during spring break, we spent time with our friends up north who now have a place in Cornville, AZ, just south of Sedona right along Oak Creek. It is a gorgeous, restful spot. I was admiring all of my friend’s storage, and the conversation turned to the fact that maybe one of the problems getting back into the studio was the need to reorganize. Which got me thinking, and over the next month I started cleaning and organizing, and looking for new storage that would work. We’re about half-way through at this point, and the place looks great – and even better – feels great. Two more sets of shelves and we should be just about done. But I don’t think I’ll be waiting to get in there to sew.

So I’m recovering slowly from the depression, starting the rest of my life on my terms, planning on a nice run of happiness. And I’ll be back to blogging and creating and marbling and reading and writing and Photoshop and traveling and being with people and working for peace….

Monday Marketing – Art Show and a Great Idea

We survived the art show on November 20, but barely. We were so well organized: we showed up at 7 and were set up by 7:20 – that’s what happens when you’re married to Felix – all that preplanning….By 9 AM I was thinking we weren’t going to sell anything. We were next to the bottlecap framed pictures on one side and the painting on stone guy. Now I don’t think I am an art snob, but I gotta tell ya, this was not the venue for us.

First, this event was scheduled the same weekend as one of the two Museum of Art art shows each year. That right there was poor planning, and our numbers in attendance certainly reflected that. Also, the main show for March at an exclusive guest ranch hasn’t even been scheduled yet.

Secondly, the people who came wanted crafty things, not art cloth and digital pictures and art quilts. The other woman who had quilts was selling them off as people were making her offers below her prices and she was accepting them. Not what I want to do.

We made basic expenses, not anything else…a few bottles of paint. It looks like it is back to gallery searching for us as a venue. Which ultimately is fine, as my work is too valuable for me to just give it away. That said, I do feel like all the work packaging is going to pay off. I am much more pleased at how we presented – and wrapped – items.

Now for the great idea….a few weeks ago Alyson Stanfield of ArtBiz Blog did a great post on saying thank-you to our collectors: Gallery Space Available, Upper Right Corner. Send your mail out with a stamp of your own making, advertising your art or your business. What a great idea! Zazzle allows you to create all kinds of goodies with your artwork, but I think the stamps is just a fabulous idea. Below is an example, using a piece of our marbled paper. This is definitely on my list of things to buy, as I believe in writing thank you’s for all kinds of reasons.

Everything comes back to packaging in all its forms. We think about the big pieces that are our art work, but let’s not forget all the little things, like ribbons on packages (ours are marbled), thank-you cards (ours are digital marbling images), and now stamps.

I’m curious….what are some of your packaging and marketing ideas?

More packaging ideas:

It’s the Packaging, Stupid

Packaging, Part 2

Friday Photoshop – on Saturday….

You might remember this zentangle from last week, and I said I was dying to try some Photoshop effects with it. Well, here’s one night’s work this week, in between grading linear graphs – this was MUCH more fun!

I love them both – they are each so different. This week I have been roaming the net looking for zentangle patterns. I hadn’t realized that part of this art is set patterns that enable you to really “zen out,” as I put it, into the drawing mode. I’ll have some new zentangles up on Sunday for my week of Art Every Day Month, plus on Tuesday’s Top Ten I’ll list a bunch of the sites I’ve found.

This week also saw me playing with some of the new photos from the Tucson Botanical Gardens. Here’s the original of the one I started play with:

This metal fountain is part of the Zen garden, and one of my favorite places to sit and be with nature. I was able to capture water movement in this one, which I really liked.

One of the things I have been doing in my attempt to create some collages is using my magic wand and capturing several sections of the photo, ragged edges and all – gives it more of a water color effect, which I do like. Here’s what I captured from this photo:

I love this just the way it is, but I kept going….Here’s the marbled fabric I chose to go in the background.

I know what you’re thinking…but wait, there’s more……

Same fabric photo, but with a gradient overlay that brings it closer to what I’m after with the fountain. Now I’m putting them all together….

First blend – I like it….

Second blend…hmmmmm……

This is the final, which I think I really like. I’m torn between the first one and this one. I’ll probably do prints of both! Weigh in – let me know which one you like the best!

Photoshop Friday – Desert Botanicals

ALL IMAGES COPYRIGHTED 2010.

I haven’t done a lot lately with Photoshop Friday, and as I was thinking about it, I wanted to see the body of work I have completed that I call my Desert Botanicals series. I have been preparing cards for a November show and realized the images really looked good, so that prompted me to look at some of what I consider the “finished” ones.

Last spring was a gorgeous one in the desert, and the ocotillo were in full bloom. This was some “playing around” with a couple of gradients.

We had a blooming palo verde in our back yard, to which I added some background in a marbled fabric. Reminds me of a sunset.

This is some kind of orange succulent from the Desert Botanical Gardens with a grdient applied to it. I am really drawn to black and white.

This was one of my first “successful” manipulations of some succulents. I was just learning a few different tools and stumbled on this finished product. I do enjoy the “mysteries” in Photoshop.

This is my newest, and I’m not sure it’s a “done deal” yet. I love the small ginko tree at the gardens, and I played with the background with some brushes.

I love my garden bench. I have this in several iterations, this one with the fresco filter, for more of a “water color” effect.

This is also in several iterations. The blossom is from a pic hubby took about 5 years ago from some spring plants. That one bloom brings such depth to the piece.

This is another version – with a very different feel to it.

One of my favorites, of an aloe plant superimposed on the grate from one of the drainage areas in the Gardens. I added a “pattern” of marbled fabric to the grate.

Another favorite,  a composite of three different images, part of my playing around to make collages.

This is the one I actually printed – I LOVE that thistle leaf.

Another early one I really like. Even with all the filters, you still get the effect of cactus spines.

This is developing as a nice body of work. I am researching developing and printing these as a collection, even licensing them – one of the many things on my “to do” list. I interested in your comments – what do you like, what would you like to see more of, and any other suggestions.

ALL IMAGES COPYRIGHTED. LOOK AND ENJOY, BUT DON’T EVEN THINK OF TAKING……

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