Thursday, July 12, 2018

You Never Know When Inspiration Strikes

As in, goes on strike. Goes underground. Disappears.

And I didn't want to talk about it.

Before I knew it, a year passed. And then some.

So, I tried some ICADs recently. If you're not in on what that's all about, go here.

The prompt was "pinball," so I went in search of same. I found a really (horrible) photograph and doctored it in oh, so many ways. Thankfully, ICAD is intended to be "suggestions," so anything goes. It got me going. That's good.

This one was a bit more of a stretch. The prompt was "portrait." I wanted something to do with the quote, "Well-behaved women rarely make history." It's wrongly attributed to Marilyn Monroe instead of Laurel Thatcher Ulrich. This ICAD is composed of a photograph found on WikiCommons that received a duotone treatment and some other photos that put my extraction techniques to the test. The gingham is from a tutorial on the fabric on and toned to match the portrait of Monroe. It brings to mind a quote more likely attributable to her, "It's better to be absolutely ridiculous than absolutely boring." 

I like that idea. And the idea of an index card to play with. Nothing too serious, you know?

And an Inchie for "Japan," composed of various familiar images that invoke the country along with the characters that translate into, "Land of the Rising Sun." Okay, so that Monday was four weeks ago now, but it got the ideas flowing. I'm a little rusty. I really wanted to go with cherry blossoms, but it was having none of it. I love the vibrant red leaves of Japanese maples in autumn, don't you?

I did Finland, too. I found the instructions (destined for the recyclers, except it blew out of the box in the storm last night! You just never know where inspiration will come from, even right in front of you!) to the headlamp that my son just installed in his VW, written in 10 languages. I didn't even understand what was supposedly written in English, but he did a fine job on the repair.

I just glued some of it into my doodle journal. The first two line are all one word. Isn't that insane?

That'll do it. Hope you have a brilliant day!

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Here, Have an Apple!

For the TwobyTwo this week, I took the concept of Eve and that darn apple and gave it a modern twist. In our house, if the man thinks he's been wrongly accused of something, he responds with, "It wasn't me. I wasn't there. It's. Not. My. Fault."
If blame is being dumped on me for something that isn't (entirely) my responsibility, I hold out my hand and say, "Here. Have an apple." Therefore, I give you this photocomposition from public domain, royalty-free, non-attributable images.

A Thoroughly Modern Eve
As a photographer, I am asked occasionally if someone can use a photo I've taken. I am thrilled that anyone would be interested in my work, so I thank them.
Then, it's time for an education. Here, a brief copyright tutorial.

A photograph is copyrighted material, almost right out of the box anymore. That's because of the digital data that is stored with the image that describes what equipment was used, when (and sometimes where) a photo was taken down to the second, and if set up, who owns all that. It's called metadata, a bunch of binary info hidden in the background. (But, should you want to uphold your rights, you need to make application with your country's copyright office. That part is not automatic).
If you wish, you can pass photos and images into the public domain. That means anybody can use it in any way, shape or form. I call these Gifts to Humanity; others, quite properly, identify them as "freebies," as they are being given away, without compensation. You may find that this is the default mode for your cellie or other "camera." If that's not your intention, make sure to copyright your work. In Photoshop, you can add that to your metadata, a valuable course of action should you post your work on Pinterest, Instagram, Blogger or even eBay.
Watermarks, a digital signature on an image, are another choice, but can be visually distracting.
So, someone wants to use your photograph, say to make a painting. (Anything other than the original is called a "derivative" work). You can ask for a fee-for-use (a license) up-front and/or a royalty payment if and when that painting sells. The license could be under $100, the royalty fee, ten percent. All negotiable.
And, most definitely not "free."
It used to be okay to use another's picture if you changed it at least ten percent, such as taking a color photo and turning it into a black and white. This no longer holds up; just ask the folks at Cycling Magazine that used someone's photograph for a cover (the cyclist was filled in with all black...this was a while back). In that case, permission would have been a LOT cheaper than begging forgiveness in the court of law.
Definitely NOT free.
Then there's proper attribution, letting the public know where the image came from in the first place. If you were to paint Vincent Van Gogh's sunflowers, you would say you painted, "After Van Gogh." In the digital era, you identify who owns the copyright.

Okay, class, that's enough for today. I could bore you silly with this stuff. Yeah, I'm the kind of geek that reads the US Tax Code for kicks. So, let's get back to something more fun!

For the EIM, a koala I found on pixabay, a photo sharing site that requires none of that stuff I just prattled on about. Looks like Einstein, doesn't he? Love the "hair!"

For the Diva, sixteen square-inches of diabolical insomnia-inducing NOT ZEN. The past three nights I've pondered what to do with the striped string thing going on. I am sooooo glad to be finally DONE with this!

That's Squido, I think (straighten me out if that's not right) weaving in and out of the stripes, with Nipa in graphite.
Oh, the Diva can be evil.
Yeah, have an apple!

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Pink Flamingo

I've had many a visit to different parts of Florida and have seen flamingoes. I gather they get their bright coral color from the shrimp they like to eat. I have some photos from those trips, but do I know where they are? Of course not. So I borrowed one from, a photo sharing site that lets you use other people's photos. For free. Without attribution or compensation. How that works, I don't know, but I'm giving it a whirl for the EIM.

We shall see!

For the Diva, it's a look at Molygon, an official Zentangle tangle from HQ. I started and realized I liked it right here. So I stopped right here.

I'll probably fidget with it and color it. I'm thinking flowers for Mother's Day here, I guess. And I'm offering it up to you for you to do with it what you want. I'd like to see what you do with it and would appreciate attribution and linkies back to me.
Hope you have a brilliant day!

Wednesday, May 3, 2017


It's been freaky busy around here, and only partially in a good way. I have some freelance work to take care of and that's good!
The washing machine quitting in the midst of rinsing spa towels, not so much. It's sitting in the middle of the kitchen, with the lid and back cover off. My handy dandy plumber diagnosed the problem and should have it all swell. Some time next week after the parts arrive.
He also is the proud new owner of a boat that doesn't go. But he knew that when he bought it. He thought he had the problem figured out, installed new parts. We took it to the nearest lake and still no go.
There better not be a third thing that decides not to work right this week. What is it about things in "threes?"

So I can get back to my normally scheduled craziness, I decided to repurpose some artwork so I can (kind of) keep up with what I've been trying to do.

For the TwobyTwo, I offer up this image of the ocean. It's a large needlepoint painting that I did in college. The signature reads 1978. I must've had a lot of free time on my hands and had the patience for such things then.

For the EIM, photographs of my favorite subject matter:

Numero Uno
New River
Copyright, Gustavsen-Stapleton Studios
That's a close-up from the first digital image I ever took in 2005, so it's named, "Numero Uno." I was pretty reluctant to embrace the technology, but don't you dare take away my camera now!

And my fave:
Dressed in Red
Copyright, Gustavsen-Stapleton Studios
This is a honey bee collecting pollen from a cholla--a nasty, prickly cactus. I call her, "Dressed in Red."
I hope you like what I have to offer this week and don't mind that I borrowed things from around the house. The photographs are for sale, inquire.

(And as always, be mindful of copyright laws and attribution. Forgiveness gets pricey when lawyers are involved!).

Thanks for stopping by! Have a brilliant day!

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Seeing Spots

This is one of my favorite times of year. The skies are (mostly) clear, the trees have leafed out creating dense shade and/or are working hard on creating next year's harvest of fruit. The pool is almost ready for the first swim of the season.
Pollen is flying everywhere. Everything is some shade of yellow.
And just when I started working on my most creative project of the whole calendar, I caught the flu bug. I thought I was in the clear, but noooooo! So, I sent off the appropriate forms to get extensions on filing all those tax papers. Yes, I waited until the last possible moment, as always.
[Dear Mr. IRS, Please note: I take it as my responsibility to pay my fair share of the tax burden and as such, do not get "creative," if that's what you're thinking. But do tell, what, exactly, does the Paperwork Reduction Act actually "do?" because I'm not seeing it!].
Thus, I'm glad I started working on some of these challenges--am I alone in disliking the word "challenges" to describe the art prompts? There must be a better word--last week or maybe two ago.
Over at EIM, the word is ladybug. I like seeing ladybugs as they are known to consume aphids, which attack my roses and some other plants. I can count how many I see each year; I'm up to "one."
My take on the theme:

I didn't follow the Diva to the letter of the law, but rather loosely painted watercolours with some splatter and splotches. Done with Sakura Koi paints and after that dried, my trusty Sharpie:

Then we get to the TwobyTwo. The keyword is..."key." I didn't take it too literally. If you've stopped by over the past couple months, you may have read about my son and his autism. He is a very fortunate and high functioning young man. What we're trying to do is help him negotiate this new part of his identity (his reaction to the official diagnosis was, "But I don't FEEL different!") as well as put together the pieces of his puzzle that will help him achieve his definition of success in this world.
It's also happens to be Autism Awareness Month and the logo for the biggest organization working on autism is a blue puzzle piece.
What that means to me is that I'm doing a LOT of reading, everything from biographies of autistics, scientific and medical treatises (is that the plural of the word?) and cookbooks.
And playing with puzzle pieces.

So there you have my contributions this week. Only fair, the IRS has theirs.
Thanks for visiting, have a brilliant day! Be sure to check out the creativity to be found at the other artist blogs and how they interpret these "challenges."

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Proud as a Peacock

Continuing through the phyla of avian creatures, the EIM word last week was "peacock." I found a box of Derwent Inktense I bought and stored away a few years ago. I knew I had them and I was amused to find the metal box is decorated with a peacock illustration. (I was also amused that Freebird took a similar approach, but with beads! Coincidence? I think not.)

It was fun to finally crack open and use those pencils! I'll be trying them out again, soon.

Mostly, I've been getting up to speed on Autism Spectrum Disorder. My son officially received a diagnosis of HFA, or high-functioning, at 26. It also happens to be World Autism Awareness month and April second was the official day to Light it up Blue to promote awareness. (Depending on who is looking at the numbers, one person in 68 is autistic. We ALL know someone.).

White House lit up for April 2nd, 2017
Photo copyright: Lincoln Photography
I am grateful for the people at SARRC in Phoenix who helped us find out what's going on with TJ and have offered a variety of resources to help us help him. He's highly intelligent, especially in matters of mechanical objects (planes, trains and automobiles!) He's working full-time for Walmart and has a temporary assignment at a new location, so meeting new people. I couldn't be happier for him, or more proud.

One of TJ's favorite games is SIMON. And I chose this for this EIM, parrot, as the game requires you to repeat back, or parrot, a sequence of colored lights. Made with my trusty Photoshop program:

The TwobyTwo this week is "coin." I went by way of "coin a phrase", one attributed to Horace (Odes 1.11, 23BC) and the other to Clint Eastwood (Sudden Impact, 1983AD). These are photos I took of brittlebush, a terribly toxic plant that just looks so pretty in bloom.

I've been following the Diva for the last few weeks and put them all together this week. The challenge this week was to use circles and squares for strings. Well, they're in there, really they are. The other things going on are "Frunky," and "Noom." At first I couldn't find the step-outs for that thing and found a weight management app, instead (huh?). So, I call this, "What's in a Name?"

That's what I have to offer this week. Thanks for stopping by, have a brilliant (and BLUE!) day!

Monday, March 20, 2017

For the Birds

The EIM for the week is "woodpecker." I tried to get a photograph of one that was poking around in a mesquite tree, but even though he's quite colorful, he was very hard to get a good picture of. So I kind of borrowed an image from someone else and made a watercolor out of it.
I recall our home on Cape Cod where we had a very industrious woodpecker. He'd knock out knots in the cedar shakes and leave gooey sweet goodness for ants to find there. The ants would find the sweets, then the woodpecker would have lunch of sap and sugar-coated ants. The bird knew enough to set up shop right under the second-story eaves where we couldn't bother him because we couldn't get close!

To get caught up, I've included the last few birds--a rooster, who happens to be the mascot for a local egg company (huh?!), a green heron and a bunch of rubber duckies.

Which means the only thing missing for the inchies is a horse, of course. Just HAD to go in this direction:

I have to thank my lucky stars that the Diva this week chose a simple theme for Zentangle, to stick with tried-and-true tangles rather than fancy or complicated drawing. Headquarters calls it going with the MacnCheese, Ms. Diva Kraft Dinner; we call it, Blue Box, Please! (It might be just the thing for dinner tonight! Every once in a while, it is just right).


And simpler:

If you've been wondering what we've been up to, the previous post spells it out pretty well. Other than that, it's been a LOT of yardwork! After all the rain (15 inches so far this year!), the sun came out and warmed things up considerably (90s, 32+ Celsius). Everything is growing green and fast; faster than I can weed or trim. At one point, the grass was three feet high! I read in a desert gardening book that March is supposed to be a month of leisure and enjoying the fruits of my labours.
Ha. Ha. Hahahaha!
Thanks for stopping by! Have a brilliant day!